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Canada Invades Fort Wayne for a Night of Dreamy Pop Fun
By Ben Larson
Fort Wayne Reader
Saturday, March 26th, will bring a double shot of Canadian dream pop to The Brass Rail in the form of Paper Bag recording artists Young Galaxy and Winter Gloves, with local openers Wooden Satellites.
It has also just occurred to me that a good portion of my readership may be completely unaware of what the term “dream pop” means, so let me give you the nickel tour. The term “dream pop” is most often applied to groups who overall are rooted in the pop genre, but who create atmospheric, etherial soundscapes within the music (often with keyboards or electronics), which gives them the “dream” element of the name. Some of the bands associated with dream pop include: The Arcade Fire, early Echo & the Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, and Animal Collective. Ok? Ok.
Based out of Montreal, Young Galaxy is currently touring in support of their third full-length album, Shapeshifting, which Matt Collar of Allmusic.com describes as “sexy, transformative, and utterly impressive,” and Jonah Flicker of Paste calls “grandiose electro-rock that feels both like a throwback and the future.” Described by nearly everyone as a new direction for the band, vocalist and guitarist Stephen Ramsay himself had this to say about the album, “We were tired of the traditional indie audience reaction - people judging with their arms folded, not moving. We wanted to make people move with this record. We also wanted to make more space in the sound - to make that as important to the record as the sounds you hear. We've always had a tendency to fill space - to make an epic wall of sound. We didn't care so much about being epic on this record - we are aware that lots of bands talk about change of direction, but usually that just means a few wibbly synth sounds over their typical sound. I find that annoying. I felt like we needed to deliver something very unusual for us - to have the record signify a brave choice, failure or not. We aren't afraid to fail in the name of pushing our creative frontiers.”
The group formed as a duo in the summer of 2005 by Ramsay and Catherine McCandless, and currently consists of Ramsay on vocals/guitar, McCandless on vocals/keyboards (the two trade off lead vocal duties), and Stephen Kamp on bass. Recent years have found the band touring with such heavyweights as The Arcade Fire, Death Cab for Cutie, and The Frames, and their 2010 album Invisible Republic was nominated for a Polaris Music Prize. More info. can be found on the band’s website, younggalaxy.com, where they also have several songs available to stream.
Also on the bill that night will be the similarly Montreal-based Winter Gloves, who are touring in support of their newest album, All Red. Winter Gloves was started in 2008 by the band’s vocalist, Charles F. Not wanting to start anything serious, he originally recorded a few synth-pop songs just for fun. In his words, “First, I recorded three songs by myself in my apartment. It was not really a solo project, but just a project to get the songs out there. But I was having so much fun with Vince [Chalifour], who helped me mix the record, [that] we decided to start the band. I wanted three other guys who I could communicate my ideas with, and everything happened super quickly after that.” These days, the group is made up of Charles F on vocals, Wurlitzer, and organ, Vincent Chalifour on synth bass and keyboards, Patrick Sayers on keyboards and Nico Ormiston on guitar.
Less etherial-sounding than their tour mates, Winter Gloves fall a little closer to the rock side of the spectrum, with a more stripped down, riff-based sound and more straight-ahead dance beats. Charles F. describes the group’s sound this way: “We've got gritty synths, [and] we've got big bass synths that go over the song. It's kind of hypnotizing, in a way, and dancey. The drums are always bouncy. We try to be very melodic, but at the same time, we don't want to do dance music. It's dancey, high energy music, I guess.”
More info. on Winter Gloves can be found at winterglovesmusic.com.
Tickets for this show are $8, and can be purchased at The Brass Rail or at brownpapertickets.com.