While bands often spend their early days discovering their musical directions and vying for visibility, the story of Vancouver’s Dear Rouge is something unique and almost unheard of in Canada. The band is led by husband and wife duo Drew and Danielle McTaggart. Between the two of them, they carry years of touring and recording with multiple bands and different musical ventures. It was these days of young exploration that led them to meeting. Both driven by a passion to create energetic music with a creative backbone, they formed Dear Rouge and their debut EP Heads Up Watch Out.

Their follow up EP Kids Wanna Know helped hone their alternative dance-rock sound and also led to the duo winning the Peak Performance Project in 2012, the largest artist development project in Canada. Bolstered by their success and now financially equipped to delve further into their music, Dear Rouge got straight to work on their first full-length record. The record’s lead single “I Heard I Had” is a driving synth-rock jam, which shocked the entire Canadian music industry by steadily climbing the alternative and rock charts to the Top 5 – with no label or album backing it; a rare feat especially for a band that had no previous charting history.

Dear Rouge’s debut album BLACK TO GOLD is the culmination of these achievements. “This was our chance to go deeper. We had the time now to take some risks”, says Danielle. The album boasts an expansive sonic palette with punchy guitar hooks, uplifting synth layers, and the sincerely powerful vocal delivery of Danielle. Producer/Engineer Ryan Worsley and Drew produced the majority of the album, providing a steadfast vision for their sound whilst working alongside Howard Redekopp (Tegan and Sara, Mother Mother) and Gavin Brown (Metric, Hey Ocean!). One listen of “Colours” or “Best Look Lately” showcases the band’s ability to craft songs with mass appeal that maintain independent authenticity. Dear Rouge have found a distinguishing strength in tackling heavy, hard-hitting emotions in song form by transforming them into tunes so easy to digest, you may not realize what’s being explored on the first listen. “We Don’t Fit Together” explores the tensions of a love that cannot be, juxtaposed by harmonies sung by the married leading duo. On the anthem-like “Nostalgia”, try not to feel that bittersweet emotion when Danielle achingly pleads, “Hold on; I won’t forget you”. The title track “Black To Gold” is an unabashedly 80’s influenced affair as Danielle’s vocals pierce through the uptight synth-drums to announce, “We came too far to be looking back”; summing up the organic beginnings and stream of creativity that has kept them looking forward, excited of what is to come, rather than to the past.

It feels as if Dear Rouge has been in existence for quite some time; a thought that was stirring in the mind of this duo since before they met or first started playing music. Now that this idea has been realized, it will soon be in your head too.

Autumn 2012 saw the release of The Poet's Dead, the third and most accomplished album to date by Regina, SK sextet Rah Rah. Building on the strong foundation of their last release, the critically acclaimed and iTunes Canada championed Breaking Hearts, this new ten song effort effectively captures a band at the peak of their abilities doing what they do best.

The Poet's Dead, recorded in late 2011 under the production guidance of indie-rock recording geniuses Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), clearly displays that Rah Rah has truly fine-tuned the essence of the band and refined the maturity of their sound.

"Recording with Gus and Werner was one of the most rewarding challenges I've ever been a part of," says band member Erin Passmore. "They understood how and when exactly to push us and I'm so proud of what we've been able to create with their help and guidance."

Lyrically, The Poet's Dead showcases some of their finest, most direct songwriting yet and is their strongest collective step forward. From the self-reflections of "20s", "Prairie Girl" and the album's title track to the wistful hope of "First Kiss" and the twisted anything-for-love paean "I'm A Killer", the songs discuss maturity, growing up and life in a rock and roll band from a group that have spent much of the past few years doing exactly that. These are songs handcrafted to make you think, to create dreams and to break your heart.

Rah Rah formed as a trio in 2007, originally created by Erin Passmore (vocals, drums, keys, guitar) and Marshall Burns (vocals, guitar). By 2008 they had been joined by Kristina Hedlund (violin, keys, accordion, vocals) and Erin's brother Joel Passmore (formerly of Despistado and Sylvie) on bass. Later that year another former Despistado member Leif Thorseth (guitar) also joined the band. The band is rounded out by its newest member, Jeff Romanyk (drums, keys, guitar).

The members of Rah Rah share a collective mentality, taking turns taking the lead, both in songwriting and while on stage. The melodic male/female vocals and shared instrumentation traded off seamlessly (Erin Passmore and Jeff Romanyk both play drums, keyboards and guitar, while Kristina Hedlund plays violin, keyboards and accordion), plus a true level of fun throughout ensures that a Rah Rah show will not disappoint.

"The members did a lot of instrument switching and almost everyone in the band sang lead on at least one song," writes Andrew Sacher of Brooklyn Vegan in a recent live review. "And just in case their catchy songs weren't enough, their stage antics are sure to be remembered, which included throwing "R" "A" & "H" balloon letters into the audience, shooting out confetti, and breaking open a piñata at the end of their last song."

Rah Rah was crowned "Best New Canadian Band" and "Best New Alternative Band" by iTunes Canada in 2009. The band's songs have also been featured as iTunes Single of the Week and Starbucks Pick of the Week in Canada. The band has toured incessantly behind their previous two albums, sharing tours with the likes of Minus The Bear in Canada and USA, Wintersleep in Europe and Canada, and label-mates Said The Whale. Expect the band to continue touring heavily in support of The Poet's Dead.

Graceful Closure is an American musical duo that originates from Columbus, OH. The band was formed in 2013 by Jared Condon with childhood friend, Matthew Beatty, and brother, Bryce Condon. In early, 2017 Matt and Bryce resigned their position in the band to pursue other avenues in their personal lives. Jared's little brother Chase Condon was invited to join the group as a duo after Matt and Bryce's departure.

Graceful Closure consists of two brothers, vocalist/guitarist Jared Condon and keyboards/BGV, Chase Condon. They released their debut EP (fully Crowdfunded) Rév, in 2015. Graceful Closure was born in a phone conversation between Jared and Matt. Jared explains that this story of grace, undeserved kindness, has become a foreign concept in events in our world and lives. Often these events do not make sense, but that is when we choose this undeserved kindness and allow it to close the event so we can move beyond.

In 2014, the band released two tracks, “Chasing Fears” and “Back To You”. In mid 2015, their song, “Chasing Fears” was picked up by a local radio station, RadioU (WUFM), in their hometown. The song quickly reached No. 1 on the station. At that point Graceful Closure teamed up with IHS Promotions which resulted in national airplay and a No. 4 on BDS Billboard national airplay chart. In 2016, the band released a new single, “Choices”, off their EP, Rev. The song quickly became an anthem to stay alive and reached No. 6 on BDS Billboard national airplay chart.

Graceful Closure brings a mix of piano, synthesizer, drums (sometimes mixed with electronic drums), guitars, and vocals. Jared said the reason they write music is so people know they aren’t alone and to make them think about their purpose throughout this adventure called life. The alt pop duo is rapidly building a following as a result of their energetic show, relentless interaction on social media, and connecting with fans on a grassroots level. This has allowed them to share the stage with bands like: Family Force 5, Twenty One Pilots, The Decemberists and many more.

The band is dedicated to presenting hope to those struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. Graceful Closure is currently working on new music which they hope to release early 2017.

$8.00 - $10.00

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