Arbutus Records Label Profile: Friends Supporting Friends in the Montreal Music Scene

“We also only work with people that we have a close personal relationship with. This ensures that we understand our artists intimately, allowing a mutual trust and support. Decisions we make are in line with each others’ ideologies, so everyone is comfortable with what’s happening. Moreover, the love we feel for our bands motivates us to work really, really hard.” - Sebastian Cowan, Arbutus Records Label Founder

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Connan Mockasin Band Interview: Caramel Dreams of an “Oddball”

Like a shiny unicorn of the indie pop world, Connan Mockasin is the type of musician who has earned himself a number of adjectives and associations, often whimsical and colorful in nature. His 2011 record, Forever Dolphin Love, set the precedent for this; it was full of unconventional words, strange voices, and fictional characters, giving one the impression that he is one who floats off early and often into the ether, with one foot grounded in this world and one in another. As a result, media and press often generalize Connan Mockasin to be an “oddball” — an assertion that he finds “kind of a bit weak”, for he doesn’t in fact feel odd…

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Remembering Freedom Fighter Leroi Jones & Examining His Recorded Output as Amiri Baraka

On January 9, 2014, we lost one of the most eloquent voices of the freedom fight, Imamu Amiri Baraka, the man formerly known as Everett LeRoi Jones. Amiri Baraka was one of the most published and respected artists of the Black Arts Movement, and his work had an extreme polarizing effect. He was made the Poet Laureate of New Jersey, only to have that title stripped away because of his poem “Somebody Blew Up America”, was a controversial statement about 9/11. He was a lifelong advocate for equality, but has been accused of anti-semitism, misogyny, and racism. He was a contradiction. Amiri Baraka was an artist at the crossroads: between pre-war and baby boom; between black and white; between free-jazz

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Bringing Intimacy to the Celebrity Myth: Teddie Dahlin & Sid Vicious

In March 2011, the Norwegian author, Trygve Mathiesen, published his book, Sex Pistols Exiled to Trondheim. An account of the notorious punk rock band’s tour of Norway in 1977, this story of rock n’ roll in the cold north contained a significant contribution from Teddie Dahlin about her teenage romantic involvement with bass player Sid Vicious, whilst acting as the band’s interpreter. At the launch of the book, the one question on everyone’s lips was, “Who is Teddie?” Today, thirty-five years after the tragic demise of Vicious of a heroin overdose and many years after a media obsession with his life and death had ceased, things were about to get a reboot, 21st century-style. Teddie Dahlin was to find herself

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Forgotten Gems & Dusty Classics: Blind Bluesmen – Willie Johnson, Willie McTel, Willie Reynolds, Gary Davis, Snooks Eaglin

The “blind bluesman” is perhaps the dominant image of the genre, and one that evokes a number of associations. As noted by scholar Joesph Witek, the idea of the “blind genius” dates at least as far back as Homer. Given that many of these musicians were extraordinarily talented, their blindness might have fed popular interest in their music. However, blindness was almpso a debilitating condition for many of these men, especially in the rural South, so that the blind musician occupied a place of pity in the public mentality. Economic necessity is probably the most compelling argument for the relatively large number of blind blues musicians. Most African-Americans living in the South had few other possible careers outside of manual

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Album Covers of the Year 2013

Every year, we interview a number of musicians and artists for the intimate details and philosophical underpinnings of their album cover artwork. It’s an ever-massive undertaking, but we make sure to include ever genre, from doom metal to disco, minimal electronic to mainstream pop, with the intention of highlighting the best visual art, regardless of why or who created it.

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Up-And-Coming Portland Musicians: Holocene’s 2013 Year-End Bands To Watch

To pay proper homage to the musical grandness of 2013 and to usher in the new year 2014, we’ve once again decided to call upon our tastemaker friends to compile their favorite up-and-comers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here, Gina Altamura and Van Pham of the innovative, multimedia-minded nightclub Holocene give us the scoop on Portland bands to watch.

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Up-And-Coming Seattle Musicians: Cairo’s 2013 Year-End Bands To Watch

To pay proper homage to the musical grandness of 2013 and to usher in the new year 2014, we’ve once again decided to call upon our tastemaker friends to compile their favorite up-and-comers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Here, James Scheall, Cameron McCreery, and Katherine Humphreys of Seattle’s stylish boutique shop and venue Cairo throw out their wide-ranging picks for Seattle bands to watch.

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Psychoactive Soundscapes: The Trippiest Psychedelic Albums of 2013

A lot of the problem with viewing the universe as being comprised of matter comes with the idea that it’s devoid of conscious experience somehow. More and more, little by little, we’re starting to wake up to the insane limitations of this philosophy. Renders people humorless if you ask me. Nothing adds up, which creates profound existential desperation resonating throughout the collective psi-grid of humanity. There is no explanation for why anything happens, so we instead focus on how things go down in obsessive detail. Not to knock this approach, as it creates order by combining with the mystical chaos of internal infinity. Too much mystic psychic sizzle and you’ll get torn to shreds, but when you look at only

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South African Music: Feel-Good Mixtape (#29) – Curated by Umlilo

As the Northern Hemisphere goes full blast into the wintry days, those in the Southern Hemisphere are in for hotter and sweatier times, perfect for feel-good sounds that scream of sunshine and socialization more than darkness and hermitude. After our experimental foray into South African house music proved to delight audiences domestically and abroad, we’ve invited the androgynous genre-hopping musician Umlilo to offer up a hand-picked selection of noteworthy South African musicians, as marked with the seal of approval by a local. So before we launch into the mixtape, complete with Umlilo’s thoughtfully written track descriptions, please enjoy his latest music video for “The Elements”, which shows off his interest in fashion, gender-bending, and explorations of vocal styles galore. Umlilo

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Tape Recorder And Synthesizer Ensemble (T.R.A.S.E.) Musician Interview: Uncovering a 30-Year-Old Project

“When I left school, there were three things I wanted to do before I die. Work for the BBC, work for myself doing the job I love, and record and release an album. Until December last year, I’d settled for two out of three. Now, it is with a deep sense of irony, I have achieved all three, and the third was recorded before I’d made those choices over 30 years ago. A humbling experience.” - Andy Poppelwell, T.R.A.S.E.

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Lumerians Band Interview: Exploring The High Frontier’s Internal and External Territories

“For us, music is about exploration. We may start down a traveled path, but our real objective is to discover what is beyond. We’re no retro-fetishists, but it seems like the future used to be more boundless and inspired.” - Marc Melzer, Bassist & Vocalist of Lumerians

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