I have always loved music. From my angst ridden teenage metal days to the cannabis induced appreciation for progressive music and surf rock, music has been an important part of my life for a long time. That being said, I have just recently started exploring the music that comes from my own back yard. It has been just over two years since I wandered down the rabbit hole of local talent that seems to be abundant in my own city. In my late 20's now, I came slightly late to the party, better late than never though. Here are 5 albums that were made by people in the Calgary music scene that have really impacted my life and changed the way I view local music!
The Galacticas- Diagnostics
This is the first release from a local bad that I had really looked forward to. After hearing the bands four song EP I was hooked. The pop-punky feel and catchy chords made me reminisce of a simpler time. I listened to those four songs back to back, multiple times per day. I did the same thing with this album when it was finally released. I remember thinking to myself while listening to the EP, “Man I can’t wait until these guys release more music,” and I was very excited when they finally did. The nerdy references that are heavily laden throughout the album make my inner geek jump for joy and the pop culture plot lines are just plain fun. The singable chorus’ and the relatable lyrics have made The Galacticas one of my favorite bands in Calgary. Within the first week of Diagnostics release, I easily listened to it 20 times cover to cover. I love this album!
Crooked Spies- High Plains
This album is put together so well, it truly blew me away the first time I heard it. The bluesy vocals in combination with the heaviness of the instrumentation is an absolute treat for the ears. I really like this album, it is like an auditory roller-coaster ride that hits you with high speeds and big drops right off the bat before easing you into a loopdy loop and a gentle finish. The first half of this album is on the heavier side, spotted with gnarly breakdowns and grooving melodies, the high school metal kid in me that lurks just beneath the surface appreciates it immensely. The second half of the album is a bit on the softer side, with fluttery guitar riffs and soulful vocals that reminded me of Louise Armstrong the first time I heard them. The harmonic balance of heavy and soft makes this album an absolute joy to listen to.
OdderOtter- Bebo Grove
This is the album that started it all for me. This album kicked off my self-indoctrination into the local music scene. Adam (OdderOtter) and I worked together during the time that he was working on this album. Adams passion and dedication for music was a real inspiration to me. When he found out that I also did music stuff he instantly wanted to collaborate. I had never collaborated with anyone before. Working with Adam took me outside of my comfort zone and showed me just how fun making music could be. We made a few songs together and I even performed with Adam at the 10 at 10 showcase as well as at Rocking 4 Dollars. That is when I truly got to see just how unique and supportive the Calgary music scene really was. I was hooked, I wanted to help foster that sense of community that I felt so strongly on those nights. I decided then that I wanted to share, with whoever would listen, just how much talent and support could be found within the local music scene. As a result Groove Talk was born, thank you Adam!
All Hands on Jane- Sorry I Set you on Fire
This is one of the very first local albums that I purchased. For those who don’t know All Hands on Jane is an all-female rock group and, I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, I had an idea of how this album was going to sound before listening to it. I was expecting a generic brand of female fronted indie rock, oh how wrong I was. Within the first 30 seconds of the album the goddesses of rock blew the notions of how I thought this album was going to sound straight out of my head. The grungy garage rock sound and psychedelic synth lines that greeted me were a pleasant surprise. With distortion laden guitar riffs and an abundance of crashing cymbals this album is filled with heavy hitting rock fuzz from start to finish. This album was one of the first to show me just how good local music could be and the girls showed me just how inviting the people who make up the scene could be.
Alter Ego Collective- Indigo Hours
Ever since I listened to the very first song off of this album I have been hooked. It was one of the very first hip-hop albums that I listened to front to back. The problem that I have with a lot of hip-hop, and country music for that matter, is relatability. Objectively I have lived a relatively easy suburban life. I have never had to worry about where my next meal will come from and I have been relatively sheltered from the struggles that a lot of rappers have been subjugated to. I’ve never lived in the country and don’t own a pickup truck either, so country music is out as well. I’m not saying that you have to fully relate to everything that you listen to, but it helps. Indigo Hours was one of the first hip-hop albums that I really felt like I could relate to. It reminded me of summer days, chilling with friends and shooting shit in the sunshine. I have really grown to appreciate hip-hop, all types of hip-hop, and the respect that I have for the lyrical mastery of most of its producers cannot be overstated. Like most good art, hip-hop was born from struggle and is a way for its creators to vent their frustrations, challenge the system, and deal with difficult emotions of all kinds. I’m still not entirely sold on country though…