5 ON THE FLY Five mini reviews of records from the West Coast Garden City — Victoria, BC

Purely Decorative – Unplugged

Aaron Bergunder teams up with Kye Plant, who in turn takes a break from their confessional solo work to indulge in some pop and beats. But despite all its sugary goodness ‘Unplugged’ isn’t purely decorative (just mostly), as some serious issues facing the LGBQT community are actually addressed, albeit in an entertaining way. “Queer World Order”, for instance, provides a humorous commentary on how queers are taking over. It’s all tongue-in-cheek in its house/pop bubbliness, but when Plant warns, “It’s our mission and our quest to rip off all closet doors”, you know there a seriousness at the core.

Prime cut: “Call Him Daddy”

Garden City Disco – Garden City Disco EP

Buddies and fellow house enthusiasts James Gray and Jordie Shier collaborate in a cornucopia of club beats sparkled with keyboard flourishes. The two met an the University of Victoria Computer Music program, so it comes as no surprise that electronic equipment plays a big part in their music, especially their use of analog synths. They also prove to be no one-trick-pony as the music shifts from disco to jungle/drum’n’bass, and then from techno to house. Besides, anyone calling themselves Garden City (aka Victoria) Disco are cool with us.

Prime cut: “That Thing”

Rosacea – Rosacea

Led by the versatile pipes of singer Max Monday, Rosacea plough through a collection of emo/screamo numbers with the bloody-mindedness of a bulldozer. Right off the bat they engage in high-speed punk on “Cool Girl (Solidarity Song)” as Monday pours her heart out in female solidarity, insisting, “Girls to the front/Girls get to the front”. But, despite their tendency to be heavy (which is just fine with us) the band can switch quite easily to a gentler pace, such as on the intro to “Shin Splints”.

When Monday shrieks it’s cathartic, when she sings it’s calming and when she speaks she commands attention. She deals with tender personal moments (e.g. “Shin Splints” and “Queens”) but there always seems to be a universal theme that we can all relate to as she manages to pick the right style of vocals to fit the moment.

Prime cut: “Bedhead”

emochanel – emochanel

emochanel is much more than a clever play on words. Their lo-fi approach is a wonderful aesthetic and provides a great backdrop for the lead singer to roam. And roam he does, in a completely idiosyncratic way. His voice is fittingly shoved to the back on the messy, noisy opener but comes to the forefront on “an incoming call from an unknown number” where it is shaky, vulnerable and very personal. He takes a more middle of the road approach on “one last scream at your beautiful aching mind” combining singing with quasi-speaking, but goes fully emotive on his singing in the glorious closing track “i’m not glad that it’s over i just want a sense of relief”. When a child comes in a the very end with the chilling comment, “without it, you’d be dead”, it is nothing short of genius.

Prime cut: “i’m not glad that it’s over i just want a sense of relief”

okpk – Pleasure Seekers

Electronic artist okpk combines ambience, a dash of weirdness, and a strong sense of rhythm to dazzling effect. “Getaway” is an escape for your soul — to wander up, untethered to the glorious ether. “Pleasure Seekers” on the other hand is rooted in an earthly beat, but the music still wanders free in inventive ways with some truly original soundscapes being created. okpk also manages to manipulate empty space, with “On the Way Out” being a masterwork of minimalism.

Prime cut: “On the Way Out”