Said The Whale

Vancouver's Said The Whale has been on a steady upward trajectory for the past six years, as relentless touring and a prolific string of releases have led to successes including a JUNO Award in 2011 for New Group of the Year and nationally charting singles. In 2013, the tireless five-piece — which includes dual songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, drummer Spencer Schoening, keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown and bassist Nathan Shaw — will continue to break down doors by releasing its most adventurous and hook-filled batch of songs yet.

The band formed in early 2007 and, following some early EPs, released the debut-full length Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia in 2008. Said The Whale began to amass a grassroots following through frequent tours, and they scored a string of Canadian radio successes with the albums Islands Disappear (2009) and Little Mountain (2012). These albums earned attention from media outlets like Spin, BBC 6 Music, and Consequence of Sound, and the band was profiled in the nationally televised CBC documentary Winning America. Said The Whale has been nominated for two more JUNO Awards in 2013 for Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year (alongside art director Andy Dixon) for Little Mountain.

In keeping with this inexhaustible work ethic, the band is releasing another new collection of songs in the form of the four-song I Love You EP, due out June 18, 2013, on Hidden Pony Records. Once again teaming with longtime studio collaborator Tom Dobrzanski (We Are the City, the Zolas) at his Monarch Studios, the musicians pushed their musical limits and honed their love of fast, punchy pop-rock.

"In the past I've felt pressure to write 'radio' songs, or 'cool' songs or whatever, but this time I went into the writing process with mindset of 'Fuck everything, I'm just going to write what makes me happy,'" says Tyler Bancroft, explaining that the songs were written with a clean slate and no expectations. Ironically, what resulted were some of Said the Whale's catchiest, most accessible songs yet. The singer observes, "It turns out I just like pop music."

This affection for melody shines on I Love You's title track which is led by a surge of post-punk guitars and careens between spiky choruses and a sunny, sock hop-inspired bridge. Elsewhere, the Worcester-sung "Barbara-Ann" is a buoyant blend of heartfelt romance and '60s-style vocal harmonies, while "Mother" is a synth-heavy new wave banger. These upbeat songs were mixed by Canadian studio guru Gus Van Go (Hollerado, the Stills).

"I spend so much time chipping away at my thoughts, trying to get to the core, and right now I'm finding it easy," Worcester says. "I've never felt more creative." He adds that the lovestruck mood of "Barabara-Ann" was inspired by a couple who own a hammock store in Vancouver. "It's a proposition to someone special, suggesting that we too can live together like this this beautiful pair of chilled out lifers," he reveals.

The EP offers a taste of Said The Whale's fourth album, due out this fall. These latest sessions found Bancroft taking on the role of co-producer, and he guided each song in bold new directions without adherence to genre. "Rather than record in one big session, we used the 'hip-hop method' of doing two or three songs at a time," he reflects. "This let us focus all of our energy on each song without getting overwhelmed."

The new material was penned in a surge of creativity that found Bancroft and Worcester letting their guard down and following their instincts. "My songs on this album are the most vulnerable songs I've ever written," notes Bancroft. "Lyrically it's the most honest I've ever been."

I Love You EP is the sound of a band already on the top of its game breaking free from all expectations and boldly reinventing its identity. And with a new full-length close behind, expect to see more new sides to Said The Whale soon.

Kopecky Family Band

Like all families, Kopecky Family Band beats with the same heart and writes in the same blood. 'The Family' began creating music together in Nashville, Tennessee in the Fall of 2007. What began as late night talks about life and dreams gradually flowed into eccentric and beautiful music that has led to numerous tours, including adventures to CMJ, SXSW and Bonnaroo, three EP releases and friendships across the country.

Meet the Kopecky Family Band from Nashville:

Leading the family are singers Gabe and Kelsey, along with Steven (lead guitar), Corey (bass), Markus (cello), and David (drums). The music is emotive, and evokes raw honesty and vulnerability, whilst capturing your attention through its unmistakable power and presence. The sounds created by the booming and orchestral-like 6-piece challenge the listener's ear while still offering sweet melodies to sing along with.

The family has a time-line with oodles of notable events including their 2008 CD release party for the Embraces EP. The party was the talk of the town with its theatrical décor, black tie dress code, and opening act of a string quartet. Excitement continued into the fall of '09 when the Kopecky Family's performance took the Next Big Nashville Music Festival by surprise.

In the spring of 2010, it was time for the family to pack into their 15-passenger van (which was lovingly called "The War Wagon") and head to Austin, TX for their showcase at SXSW as one of ASCAP's notable bands to watch. A follow up performance at Next Big Nashville in 2010 had A & R reps scurrying to put their Blackberrys away and listen. When in the studio with Partners in Crime, Russ Long and Chris Grainger (Wilco, Sixpence None the Richer), the Kopecky clan produced The Disaster EP which was released in August 2010.

The Kopeckys followed up SXSW with a mammoth CMJ 2010, where they won over NPR's own Bob Boilen and were invited to play at the official Paste Magazine showcase before becoming the darlings of 'Store-Cute' and online retailer, Fred Flare.

Straight back into the studio after CMJ, the band produced the follow up to The Disaster, the perfect compliment entitled Of Epic Proportions. The EP is comprised of digital B-Sides & rarities, featuring crowd favorite "Howlin' at the Moon", and a remix of "God & Me" that explores the band's varied and broad scope to produce amazing and diverse sounds.

Since then, the band released a limited edition split 7″ vinyl with Seattle friends Ivan & Alyosha, and returned to Austin yet again for SXSW. The band played the infamous Paste Magazine showcase, Schubas Day Party, Next Big Nashville and performed for Austin's KUT during the festival. And to keep themselves really busy in 2011, the band attended Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the first time as performers. Notching up 3 amazing sets during the festival and amassing several new friends and fans along the way.

Kopecky Family Band at Bonnaroo - view from the drumkitBack again in the studio in 2011, the band is writing and recording new tracks, so ready yourself for a new release later in the year. Anyone who encounters the Kopeckys will testify there is never a dull moment in this family of six.

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Said The Whale with Kopecky Family Band, Alvvays

Wednesday, November 13 · Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM at Ritual