Trevor Halls Album KALA a Sound for Sore Ears.

Trevor Hall’s KALA is a call home. Throughout the album Trevor Hall’s recurring message of unity, love and inclusion drifts on beautiful compositions that effortlessly draw in any listener whose ear gets caught in them. New voices featured on tracks include Xavier Rudd, Nahko of medicine for the people and Australian slam poet Luka Lesson. A banjo plucking in certain songs is a surprising element (almost as mesmerizing at times as the hypnotic wailing featured on the song “Sammy”).

Primarily categorized at folk and roots listeners will feel reggae beats driving Halls music. Trevor Hall’s most recent albums Chapter of the Forest (2014) and KALA (2015), debuted at #3 and #2 on the iTunes singer songwriter chart. He has released 7 studio albums, including KALA, 2 Eps and is currently producing a new album titled The Fruitful Darkness, a crowdfunded record that he is releasing 3 songs at a time. A large following of loyal fans known as “Villagers” connect to the culture of yoga, meditation and eastern mysticism that are strongly reflected in his music. Closest musical cousins would be Xavier Rudd and Nahko and Medicine for the people, or imagine Bob Marley’s songs sang by the Fleet Foxes.From the first few seconds of listening to KALA’S first song ”To Zion” I knew I had to hear more. If you’re familiar with Trevor Halls music you might have heard a version of this song on Halls 2008 record The Elephants Door. Listening to each song: the first version sounds like a search, or a journey; the version you hear on KALA, is densely woven layers of sound and reverb, this song sounds like something’s been found. The other songs on this album are long, most 4 and a half or 5 and a half minutes and separately they tell full stories.

The main sense portrayed in the music is a sense of longing- the song “uncle Joe” tells a story of respecting animals and nature. The chorus is simply “hello friend…”. Two singers (Trevor Hall and Nahko from medicine for the people) really ad to that feeling of brotherhood.

The mother Hall sings to in “Mother feat. Xavier Rudd and Tubby Love” is the earth: “From the mountains to the deep deep waters It’s Mother”.

Layers of sound and harmonies create depth in every song. You may find yourself lulled into the “You Can’t Rush Your Healing” as the music acts like a mantra- focusing in on the message in the song and quieting your mind. Combined the with Trevor Hall’s naturally low, growly voice that stretches up to meet the highest notes in moments of falsetto, or whispers next to your ear, and it would be difficult to find a more soothing album

Trevor Hall’s Music is soul music. It’s simple choruses and the deep, lush reverb created by guitars and harmonies make KALA into a journey of sound and storytelling. For anyone tired of 3 minute songs without a deeper meaning, KALA is worth checking out.

2,224 Deaths Marked in Oppenheimer Park

Friday Organization’s based in the downtown east side gathered at an event to share the memory of those that have died in the past 3 years of the opiate crisis. 2,224 stakes will be placed in Oppenheimer park to draw attention to the issue.

A Survivor speaks to the crowd “I have 5 names” She says, “5 names of my relatives that have died in the last year and a half.” The stakes, many with names of loved ones written on them will be sent to Ottawa in an effort to draw action from the prime minister.

 

Vancouver Dispensary Describes Possible Safety Measures For Legalization

One of the BC government’s top concerns in creating new Marijuana regulations is how to make legalization safe.

Vancouver’s Compassion Club, operating since 1993 is a non-profit dispensary. They gave a response to safety worries noting that a lot of the concerns around issues could be addressed with clear concise packaging and labeling as well as being transparent in education.

Currently the Province is asking the public to share their preferences in a survey although Vancouver’s Compassion Club has not been contacted by the provincial government for any input on these subjects yet.

Where Are Our Self-Driving Cars?

Recently The Society of Automotive Engineers held an info session in Burnaby to discuss safety regulations in this rapidly evolving industry.

There are 5 levels of classification for self driving cars. Chair of the committee developing US regulations Barbara Wending describes the basis for those levels as “the taxonomy classifies those driving features that automate part, or all of the dynamic driving test on a sustained basis. Thus they alter or eliminate the driver’s role”.

Drivers can look for cars with a traffic jam assist, a level 3 feature, in 2018.

Robin Hansen, Evolution 107.9

Vancouver Homeless Need More To Stay Warm In Winter

Winter is a test of endurance in this city for people living on the streets.

This year’s Metro-Vancouver Homeless Count found over 1000 people sleep in the cold.The Union Gospel Mission works to keep people without shelter safe by handing out cold weather Gear and survival gear for people who are unable to come into a shelter, for instance: heat reflective sleeping bags and waterproof sleeping bags.Vancouver provides limited resources and emergency shelters as well.

For A homeless population that’s up 30% since 2014 it’s not enough.

 

Robin Hansen Evolution 1079

Disproportionately High Percentage of Vancouver’s Homeless Aboriginal

With the release of The Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver and the meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities happening in Vancouver this week there are a lot of people talking about the rise of homeless in the lower mainland.

The results of the 2017 count found that there are 3605 homeless in the region. But even more astounding is 34 percent are Aboriginal even though Aboriginal people account for only 2 percent of BC’s population.

Marcel Swain, CEO of the Lu’ma Native housing society say’s he’s not surprised by the numbers. In the 18 years he’s worked with Lu’ma Vancouver’s homeless population has always been roughly 30 percent Native peoples, as well as the overall count continuing to increase. Part of the reason for the high percentage of Aboriginal homeless is the greater challenges faced by the community as well as a greater sense of isolation for those that have moved to Vancouver from other parts of the lower mainland.  

In a hostile housing climate with less than 1 percent vacancy rate Swain says Aboriginal people are often lowest on a landlords list of potential renters. As a result the 1 shelter in Vancouver dedicated to aboriginal peoples is constantly at capacity. Dr Patrick Stewart, chair of the Aboriginal Housing Committee say’s the problem is with what Vancouver defines as affordable housing. Currently affordable housing in Vancouver is set at 10 percent below rental value, But in a city where a bachelors suit can cost upwards of 700 a month. The 2017 Homeless Count Report found that housing was too expensive, income too low and there weren’t enough services in place to help homeless deal with addictions and medical concerns. 

Gorillaz Infiltrate Our Psyche Again With New Album Humanz

Written last year the new Gorillaz album is an apocalyptic dance party created for the zeitgeist of a world caught in a president Trump reality.

The first track released, titled “Hallelujah Money” features Benjamin Clementine. Clementine’s singing and vocal range has mostly been compared to that of Leonard Cohen and Nina Simone. Every track on the album features a different artist.

When Damon Albarn was first thinking of beginning work on the album he set himself the benchmark to produce songs of at least 125 bpm. Which gives us an idea of what listening to the new album will feel like.

As for what it will sound like: every collaborator was asked “to imagine a night where everything that you believed in was turned on its head”. that prompt is what drove Humanz into existence. But listening to the songs that have been released so far it is clear this is much more than a protest album. Gorrilaz was always more than music, it’s the art and music videos are as important as the songs. In the music video for Saturnz Barz feat. Popcaan the video starts out in a bright, mundane world before shifting into a land of monsters. In a past interview Damon Albarn estimated that of all the music videos none of them had cost less than a quarter of a million pounds.

Concert dates have already been announced and those of us unlucky enough to live in Vancouver face a tough decision: drive down to Seattle or spend those hard earned air miles on a flight to Toronto. If those options aren’t available for you with Humanz released today hopefully now at least we can listen to some good music when we need a break from all the fake news.

Evo Cars Came Equipped with Wicked Soundtrack

250 Evo cars came equipped with shiny new Said the Whale CDs yesterday. As Long As Your Eyes Are Wide could be yours if you sit in the right car. I know I’d make the switch to drive Evo if awesome Vancouver music was riding in my passenger’s seat.

If you haven’t heard the band’s new music yet get ready for an evolution of sound. The band went through their own evolution last year when they created their most recent album with only 3 of its original 5 band members. The show this Saturday, April 29th, will not be 2 degrees quieter. Said the Whale continues to perform as a five piece and has said the show will be “louder and really tight”. A streamlining of band members- so to speak- has led to less head butting and more “saying yes to everything” and greater experimentation and creativity getting the go-ahead.

The drive-away give-away CDs were picked up and tweeted about by Vancouverites all over, including peak DJ Casey-Jo.

@saidthewhale I drive a 99 Mazda Protege. I’ve cleared a CD sized area on the passenger seat.

But hey, why not fill every Evo Car with awesome Vancouver music? I’ve got a few suggestions for great driving music I’d like to find in my wheels.

How about some love for our West coast’s Lovecoast? This band is consistently a party every time I see them. Wouldn’t it be great to take that party on errands all over Vancouver when the new CD they’re working on comes out?

Sometimes it’d be nice if there was less funky driving on the streets and more Five Alarm Funk playing. Fast, crazy fun beats. Imagine finding this to listen to as you drive around on a sunny (haha) afternoon.

Currently touring Europe, Youngblood is ready for some big things. This band already has the stage presence to match. Opening for Mother Mother’s final Vancouver show this group can pump up any crowd. Even a rush hour commute.

More Vancouver music more of the time, is that a lot to ask for?

Party at the end of the world

Protest songs are making a comeback in a big way after the recent U.S election. Songs from every genre from Fiona Apple’s “Tiny Hands”, “Million Dollar Loan” by Death Cab for Cutie to Franz Ferdinand’s new song “Demagogue”. Even Eminem has reemerged with his anti trump song “Campaign Speech”.

Gorillaz new song “Hallelujah Money” is part of this new onslaught but also part of a new emergence of end of times party music. When producing Humanz, Gorillaz aimed to hit 125 BPM on every song. As with earlier albums there’s a concept behind Humanz– all the songs are written as if in a post Trump world.

Montrealer Chris Velan travels through an apocalyptic landscape with the video for his song “Un-American Gothic”. A upbeat song that could fool you into thinking it’s a happy summer tune- until you listen to some of the lyrics.

Fellow Canadians The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer have created their own end of world music in Apocalipstick which they hype as an album “perfect for any doomsday date-night”. The band first gained a following from fans of rock and blues. Apocalipstick will take their bluesy guitar and twist it into an album framed by psychedelic landscapes.

So far I’m liking the trend, it’s a very 2017 way to negotiate the frustrations of a world that moves so fast it sometimes feels out of control.

Osheaga releases lineup

Start hunting for that new pair of shades and message that estranged uncle and aunt who live near Montreal because the Osheaga lineup is out and it sounds amazing.

Osheaga is famous for attracting alternative artists from all over the world, some of the top names at this year’s festival include Muse, Lorde, Die Antwood not to mention Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, The Alabama Shakes, Cage the Elephant and Father John Misty.

For a bit of perspective on the quality of the lineup at this festival I listened to song songs from the bottom of the artists listed on the release poster.

Choir! Choir! Choir! Is just a gigantic sing along waiting to happen. A guitar or two backs the choir who cover popular songs. If you’ve got any voice left when they’re on stage head over to dance and sing along.

Check out their version of Better Man by Pearl Jam:

Fans of Hiatus Kiayote will be enthralled by Olivia Swann’s soulful vocals. If you need to listen to something chill while you rest and save up energy for the night your ears will fall in love with her music.

Here Olivia Swann sings Unloosen Me :

For a taste of alternative music made in Montreal Bernadino Femminielli sings on stage wearing a pair of angel wings. He looks like an experience to experience. Listening to and watching some of his past performances feels like walking into a 70s club that’s being run by David Lynch.
Whatever your tastes are take time to watch some artists you don’t recognize, finding that barely known bombshell musician can be the highlight of any music festival.