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Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:30 PM
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Antisocialites – the much-anticipated follow-up to Alvvays’ 2014 self-titled debut – is set for release on September 8th. Across its 10 tracks and 33 minutes the Toronto-based group dive back into the deep end of reckless romance and altered dates. Through thoughtful consideration in basement and abroad, Alvvays has renewed its Scot-pop vows with a powerful new collection of manic emotional collage.
The album opens with the excellent strum-’n-thrummer ‘In Undertow,’ a hi-amp breakup fantasy that is both crushing and charming for its level-headedness. "You find a wave and try to hold on for as long as you can, you made a mistake you'd like to erase and I understand," sings Rankin, her voice full longing not for another person necessarily, but for what to do next. "Meditate, play solitaire, take up self-defense," Molly continues, laundry-listing some strategies for moving on. "What's next for you and me? I'll take suggestions," she deadpans under crashing waves of feedback and Farfisa.
Replete with more songs about drinking (‘Forget About Life,’ ‘Hey’), drugging (‘Lollipop (Ode To Jim)’), and drowning (‘Already Gone’), Antisocialites is a multipolar period piece fueled by isolation and loss. Perversely enjoyable dark drama springs from Rankin’s phonetic twists, quick-sung rhymes and irreverent syllable-play. “So morose for me, seeing ghosts of me, writing oaths to me,” the self-described introvert sings on the Cocteau-pop stunner ‘Dreams Tonite,’ the song from which the album’s name is derived. “In fluorescent light, antisocialites watch a wilting flower.”
To write Antisocialites, Rankin traveled to Toronto Island -- working in an abandoned classroom by day and sleeping a few feet from shore at night -- to avoid a stifling heat wave in the city. “I carried a small PA on the ferry in a wheelbarrow,” she recalls. “Every morning I would listen to my favorite records on the beach, then I’d write melodies and record demos in the classroom.” After tracking with keyboardist Kerri MacLellan and bassist Brian Murphy at Kingsize in LA, Rankin and guitarist Alec O’Hanley continued recording and mixing in their Toronto basement. A few friends descended to play on the record, including Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake.
Antisocialites details a world of ice cream truck jingles and radiophonic workshop noise, where Rankin's shining wit is refracted through crystalline counterpoint. ‘Not My Baby’ is a centerpiece, a meditation on the rapture of escape following the sadness of separation. Elsewhere, ‘Plimsoll Punks’ is the band’s answer to Television Personalities’ ‘Part-Time Punks’ and a winking surf opus indictment of the self-righteous who intend to condescend. Molly wrote the rapid-fire sugar stream ‘Lollipop (Ode to Jim)’ after singing ‘Just Like Honey’ with Jesus and Mary Chain. ‘Your Type’ is a beautiful primitive stomp about running around Paris with vomit on your feet post-Louvre ejection.
The record concludes with a movement that is at once stark and celebratory. On ‘Forget About Life,’ the apartment stands in disarray as undrinkable wine is inhaled: “When the failures of the past multiply and you trivialize the things that keep your hand from mine, did you want to forget about life with me tonite?” The resonant freaks in Rankin’s tales don’t find much resolve, but with equal doses of black humor and heartstring-tugging, Antisocialites rings a truer tone.
Hatchie is the world of Harriette Pilbeam. To hear her music is to step inside her mind; a dreamy landscape where cascading synths, jangling guitars, propulsive rhythms and white noise undulate beneath undeniable and irresistible pop melodies. Rather than focusing on the external world of her daily life in Brisbane, Pilbeam instead turns her gaze inwards, making a soundtrack out of her daydreams, setting her emotional life to song.
Take brand new single “Sure” for example. Written on a whim when a melody jumped into Pilbeam’s head, and finished swiftly in one day, the chorus plaintively unravels, setting the sorrow to shimmering synth washes, wrapping the whole thing up in a melody so gorgeous that it would fit seamlessly into The Sundays and Alvvays songbooks. “All of my songs start with singing,” Pilbeam says. “I hear the melody in my mind first and then work out the chords I’m imagining under that. I have a good ear for music, but I don’t know chord names or much music theory. I just kind of figure it out.”
This instinctual pop nous is undoubtedly on full display in “Sure”, but like all of Hatchie’s music, the track trades in shade as well as light. It’s at once accessible yet cerebral, walking a line between instant ear worm and something deeper and more oblique. “I think that’s because I’m still making up my mind,” offers Harriette. “I’m kind of jumping between, ‘Do I want to just make fun pop songs? Or do I want it to be more shoegaze and more of a band sound?’ I really love writing pop songs, but then messing them up and turning them into something else. Something darker.”
“Sure” continues the story that began with the runaway success of this year’s pop gem “Try”. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, “Try” announced Hatchie as an artist to watch. After uploading the track to Unearthed in May, the song instantly got added to radio playlists across the country. Triple J’s Nick Findlay called it, “a huge first track!” Hatchie signed management and booking deals. Her name started popping up on festival lineups. NPR debuted the clip. The track’s reach was far and wide, even winning Hatchie a fan in Cocteau Twins’ Robin Guthrie. “It’s pretty weird being social media friends with one of your heroes” laughs Pilbeam.
Things don’t seem to be slowing down any time for Hatchie either. Having already toured nationally with The Creases, there are shows supporting Ball Park Music and The Temper Trap on the horizon plus appearances at Festival Of The Sun and perhaps most impressively, South By South West in Austin next year.
Having played in her friends’ bands in Brisbane, namely Go Violets and Babaganouj, Hatchie is Pilbeam’s first foray into solo territory, something she seems undaunted by. “I feel like I’m only just beginning to really assert myself in the world and the Hatchie project has forced me to reassess and make so many positive changes,” she says. “When I look back on this period of time, I think I’ll see Hatchie as a huge evolutionary force in my life."