Category Archives: Reviews

Review: How Loud Do The Birds Sing?


(Travis Scott – Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight Review)

Is Travis Scott’s new album considerably better than his debut? On September 2nd Scott released his long awaited Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight via iTunes. The album features a number of A-list collaborators such as Andree 3000, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi, The Weeknd, Young Thug, Bryson Tiller & Quavo from Migos, but does it matter?

Scott’s first major release was the highly anticipated and instantly forgettable Rodeo. Thus prompting him to quickly follow it up with Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight. This time around, he went as far as promising a solid album saying ‘’Every track is a banger’ but is it really his best work to date?

Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight opens up with The Ends. A song that starts off the record with Scott’s signature auto tune drenched vocals over a spooky synth, giving us that classic Travis Scott feel that made him a staple in recent years. It’s also worth mentioning that The Ends also features Andre 3000 from Outkast, providing the closing verse of the song… So far so good. The second song on BITSM is titled Way Back, and once again, Scott doesn’t fall short and delivers his signature recipe resulting in some more auto tune drenched vocals, but this time over a brighter beat as heard on Rodeo’s highlight Oh My Dis Side. In my opinion, Way Back is a solid track with strong lyrical content delivered by Scott’s typical flow. Standout lyrics include ‘’ Need my Rio de Janeiro and I’m swimmin’ out that b**** Michael Phelps with the medals ’’. Next up is Coordinate, which starts off with the help of Black Youngsta, but I wouldn’t go as far as calling it a feature since his contributions are equal to a lengthy voice mail. That being said, Scott handles this one on his own, it might not be a BITSM highlight but it’s very fitting with the project’s mood.

Fast forward to Through the Late Night where Kid Cudi brings out the best of Scott, creating a standout on BITSM. Scott even goes as far as quoting some of Cudi’s Day ‘n’ Nite lyrics before flawlessly jumping into his own flow. He may be lacking rewind worthy lines here, but it doesn’t even matter since the mood is dark and the vibe is perfect. Take Cudi’s word for it “The vibes are effervescent, delicious, just how they should be”. Early in the album, we can feel that the mood is clear and when Scott goes for something a little brighter like he does on SDP Interlude & Sweet Sweet, the record is still cohesive. However, the flaws start appearing at the tenth track, First Take, where Scott never really finds his footing on a slow T R A P S O U L -ish beat which in fact, features Monsieur Bryson Tiller himself. By the end of the song, you hear what it could have been, if it had been a Tiller Featuring Scott song rather than what we got.

Then comes my first real issue, previously released songs end up on the album. I mean, officially released and not leaked songs, Pick up the Phone, Guidance & Wonderful were all previously released. Pick up the Phone was released in June as a Young Thug & Travis Scott joint and as the story goes it was originally supposed to be a Young Thug feat. Starrah & Quavo’s song. Listening to the original version kind of disappoints with Scott’s lack of creativity by taking the song. Next up is Guidance, which was also released in June by Brampton, Ontario’s K. Forest, making Scott’s version feel more like a remix then an album worthy cut. Finally, Wonderful was released by Scott on his Soundcloud in December of last year, which makes a year old song on a highly anticipated album not worth the attention.

Now the question is do these songs deserve to be on this album? That’s impossible to answer, since these songs previously released by Scott have already run their course on most fans. He left us only with Guidance as new material and it doesn’t fit the mood that BITSM had established so far. However, I must mention that after the First Take decline, there’s one gem hidden between the previously released bunch. The song is called Lose and with the help of Hooch (which did not make BITSM DON’T ASK ME WHY!) could have completed the album in a cohesive fashion fitting the album’s mood.

Blah blah blah, cohesive cohesive cohesive but…

In 2016, this COMPLETE cohesive element is the missing link found in all of the great hip hop albums released this year, such as Untitled Unmastered, The Life of Pablo, Coloring Book & Blank Face. Why did Travis Scott finish the album the way he did? One can only speculate, perhaps too little time once the hype train got going with the release date. Perhaps better songs didn’t make BITSM due to sample clearance, perhaps that was the issue with Hooch (still not over that) or maybe his focus had already shifted on the upcoming G.O.O.D. Music compilation he’s executive producing. One thing is for sure, at times BITSM felt rushed and potentially could have reached higher peaks if its ending was as grand as its opening. We can certainly call this album Travis Scott’s second best project and depending how you feel about Days Before Rodeo, possibly his best project to date.

Simon R.D.

Travis Scott – Facebook | Instagram | Soundcloud | Twitter

LABS – Brave

This last week Canada saw the Juno Awards take place, Drake finally becoming interesting and LABS introduce us to their new track ‘Brave‘.  Only one of those things I actually gave a shit about.  You See.. LABS debut single ‘Down‘ has been moving people, and their followup looks like its doing much the same.  ‘Brave‘ is a perfectly low-key chill out track which still holds a momentum that you’d expect form a synth-pop band.  Lindsay Bryan sings her ass off perfectly within the instrumental and briefly contrasts a synth line that appears only once but will give you a nosebleed (in a good way).


Sounds like: MGMT,  Haim,  Polica

Victoria based indie/pop electro-duo, LABS, began as an experiment in 2014 between long term collaborators Lindsay Bryan (vocals) and Adam Sutherland (keys and guitar). The intention was to create stock samples for electronic music producers, however, the demos quickly became full songs and thus, LABS was born.  The band has been quickly catching the attention of notables in the music business, recently linking up with Artist Manager, Nathan Beswick, former President and founder of SQE Music (At The Drive In, Rusko, The Faint)

The band’s sound contrasts high-fi to lo-fi analog synth and guitar tones, hooky melodic vocals, big drums and rich bass tones. Download their track Downfor FREE here:

Mature & Intimate Vibes at Bass Coast 2015


Bass Coast Music Festival

For those who haven’t heard, Bass Coast is an arts & music festival that takes place annually in Merritt, BC. From downtown Vancouver it’s about a 2 1/2 hour drive down the Trans-Canada highway; a route well-worth it for the sight-seeing alone. At the heart of this festival is a love for electronic music, community-building, technological innovation and the creative craft, with a strong focus on showcasing emerging artists, both local and international alike.


The perfect place to chill out under the summer sun.

Nicola Valley provides a pristine setting hugged by jagged sandy mountains from all sides. A freshwater creek runs through the middle of the venue, separating the festival from the campgrounds and providing attendees a place to cool off in the daytime.

One of the best parts about Bass Coast is the camping culture. A generous amount of space is allotted to campers, many of which secure beachfront property on Friday morning. People go to great lengths to make their three-day pop-up homes cozy, unique and welcoming to all. Highlights included a colourful geodesic dome adorned with hammocks, an aerial hoop and surrounding art installations, and Camp Hugz, which offered an elaborate menu of free hugs to pass-byers.


Is this real life?

Over the bridge and into the festival was the Cafe, one of Bass Coast’s four stages and the first to turn its speakers on & off each day. The Cafe bumped upbeat bass music for the listening pleasure of hungry patrons munching from a menu of all-organic eats. Many of the options here were raw, gluten-free and/or vegan. The food was so good that I feel obliged to post a picture of the menu (you’re welcome!). I caught Barlee here on Friday night and DJ Abasi’s classic house set on Saturday afternoon, both of which had me groovin’ in the smoothie line-up and coming back for more.

Next to the cafe was the festival’s sanctuary, which had undergone a make-over. Replacing last year’s bright, towering tee-pee was a smaller tent with a pathway and bridge leading to an enclosed space by the creek. Pillows and blankets padded the corners, creating a safe haven for partiers to escape to. The added privacy, dim lighting and relaxing sound of trickling water was enough to make you forget where you were. Sanctuary volunteers were also sent to make rounds of the festival, educating people about available options for harm reduction and handing out condoms.

Past Sanctuary was the Brain, Bass Coast’s designated classroom. Discussions were run throughout the daytime and tailored to the Bass Coast crowd, covering a wide range of unusual topics. Workshops on music and art, such as the sound production and wood-working classes, stuck closer to Bass Coast’s raison d’etre. Others took the opportunity of an open-minded audience to explore ideas around non-monogamy, mind-altering substances and even Chinese metaphysics. As someone who’s interested in naturopathic medicine, I felt particularly sour about missing “Healing Alchemy of Spices & Ayurveda”.


The most tentacularrr stage of them all!

Down the path a little further was the momentous main stage, a theatre-like permanent structure outfitted with massive wooden tentacles for this year’s theme, Tentacularrr. Invented by organizers, the nonsensical word encouraged attendees to “reach out and explore the world through feeling”. It also made for very interesting costume pieces…

The main stage played host to some of Basscoast’s bigger acts as well as its more elaborate performances. San Francisco’s j.phlip stole the show on Friday night, while Saturday was dominated by illusory dance group Subscura and Bass Coast co-founder the Librarian. On Sunday night the Funk Hunters uplifted crowds with funkadelic beats to make you dance your socks off (if you weren’t already barefoot).

Rotating 3D sacred geometry and a wooden deer skull whose shifting lights responded to heartbeat.

Rotating 3D sacred geometry and a wooden deer skull whose flickering lights responded to your heartbeat.

Bass Coast’s arts district exploded into view just past the vendors, where a multi-coloured forest housed numerous interactive art installations. It was easy to get lost in this hallucinatory playground, as every single piece begged to be played with. Some were more passive, such as the sculptural third spaces that gave attendees a place to kick back and take a break from all the noise. Others required direct intervention, like the cash register-turned DJ controller or the photo booth.

A nod to the rogue DJs of days past.

Pirate Radio

Turning right took you to Pirate Radio, a nod to the rogue DJs of days past. Appearing as something between a castle and a pirate ship, this multi-dimensional stage was outfitted with crow’s nests and tied-up nets, giving partiers all kinds of vantage points from which to enjoy the music.  The dance floor here was a bass-heavy pit of dark and dirty beats. A stacked line-up on Friday night kicked off with Taal Mala followed by Portland’s Eprom and then Mat the Alien, who blew up the PK speakers with a gritty trap set that had my teeth vibrating. Detroit Swindle was one of Sunday’s highlights, though Sabo might’ve won the night as his sunrise set played on late into the a.m. for somewhere around 5 hours straight, making him the final act of Bass Coast 2015 (and a total champ).


Slay Bay

Closer to the river was Slay Bay, a beachfront paradise nestled beneath a whimsical canopy of shifting lights and patterns. The dangling threads were reminiscent of old man’s beard, or hanging lichen, giving it a playful, forest-grove appeal. The DJ booth was framed by two massive, feathery white wings in an otherworldly display of creative stage design. Slay Bay was always a great place to be, but you really missed out if you happened to miss Saturday’s 2 p.m. reggae jam. With a few clouds in the sky, festival-goers happily took a break from the river to throw down to some Caribbean soul music. DJ Dubconscious kicked off the night shift followed by Alberta-born Smalltown DJs and El Papachango, who killed it with a Latin-inspired set of bass music and hip-hop. JPOD the Beat Chef kept the party going with some bouncy beats on Sunday afternoon, and finished his set by initiating a giant group-hug on the dance floor. This was in response to the marriage proposal that took place on one of the speakers in front of the stage, a real indicator of the love that was in the air. Sunrise sets by Ekali and Michael Red made it impossible to stop dancing, even as the night surrendered to the light around us.

Speaking to the festival’s logistics, both Pirate Radio and Slay Bay had grass-laid dance floors to control the dust; a successful solution to an age-old problem. Free (cold, delicious, glacier) water was provided at designated fill stations, though these were reserved to the festival grounds and not the campgrounds, making it difficult to transport large volumes back to campsites without a wagon. Getting into the festival was as smooth and low-hassle as could be, and line-ups were never an issue – a perk of Bass Coast’s capped headcount. One suggestion for next year might be the addition of a second bridge across the river closer to Slay Bay, as this would eliminate the long walking distance for those camped on the far end.

Finally, I would be committing a grave injustice if I failed to mention the amazing community vibe that sets this festival apart from others in its genre. Not once did I ever feel nervous or threatened – not once did I think twice about ditching my coat by the dance floor or dancing up to a stranger. To put it into perspective for you, within 10 minutes of dropping my wallet I was able to collect it from lost & found. Of the $200 inside, not a single bill was taken. 3000 attendees – 3000 friends.

Thank you Bass Coast Project!

Hozier – Take Me to Church (The Golden Pony Remix)

I’ve been on somewhat of an upbeat-house kick lately; maybe it’s just that energetic sort of pick me up that helps get me through the bitter end of winter – but this song is just obviously pretty damn good.

The Golden Pony are one of those rare production duos that can do no wrong. Checking out their vast array of tasteful pop bootlegging, I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had actually re-done a few of my favourite artists, namely Chet Faker.

Check out their newest remix of Hozier – Take me to Church!

If you dug their newest, check out this throwback from a month or so back:

Revamped Electropop for Healthy Attention Spans


When someone says that something is refreshing, this could mean (at least) two things. It suggests, obviously, that you have been deprived of it (this definition makes sense, and I think few would question it, unless they don’t know what the word means or what a question is). At the same time, however, there is the implied possibility that this “something” is now made “fresh” again and, perhaps, that it is good for you. Both of these definitions came to my mind during Fortune Sound Club’s Canada Day Long Weekend Party.

When I first came in, Kalibo was already up, playing to a trickling stream of attendees. While there was no crowd in sight just yet, he delivered a subdued and consistent set in tune with what the other DJs would all individually set out to champion: a revamped take on early 90s dance. Kalibo’s material was the kind of foreground sound that doesn’t annoy and the kind of background sound that only rewards. His selection of 90s–themed electronica was a slick presentation of the bold yet intelligent sounds that brought house and ambient together in the first place (the calmer, minimalist sides of The Orb and hints of early club-oriented Kompakt material came to mind). He was perfect for those who had found their seats and were pacing themselves for the long haul. Then, WMN Studies kicked it up a notch, seamlessly carrying the tone over, but bringing more punchy beats and live remixing. He can be accredited for being the first person to give the place a “moving” pulse, as evidenced by more heads turning and more bodies claiming positions on the dance floor (if you wanted to, you could imagine Underworld sneaking in and discreetly pressing buttons, but no one’s forcing you to). His driving beats and low-end throbs were applied sporadically and sparingly. This was, without a doubt, the smart thing to do; having barely reached the evening’s halfway mark, mere suggestions of what is to come manage to compound the anticipation rather than simply cashing it all in prematurely. Ultimately, the guy managed to do just that.

Following the first two sets, Pat Lok took over the controls. Amassing what the two previous DJs had presented, he somehow pushed both styles further, sprinkling in more dance moments and flashy remixes, but also finding more effective moments of singular, minimalist bliss. It was during Pat Lok’s set that I started to consider why 90s dance is so “refreshing.” There is no doubt a component of nostalgia; many generations of late 20-somethings/early 30-somethings may also hear a soundtrack to impressionable childhood experiences with summer breaks, innocent friendships, new places and plenty of sugar. However, there is more to it than that. In a world that has abandoned “plenty,” is easily surpassing “too much” and heading unquestioningly towards “what’s the point?,” I am reminded that less has always been more and- you know what?- will probably continue to be so.

It was around this time that Le Youth took the stage and dove into a full-fledged celebration of what has made his name. Girls flooded the stage and the dance floor came to life as he quickly celebrated nostalgic classics (Salt N Pepa’s “Push It”) and showcased his own tunes (the infinitely-remixed “Dance With Me”). Perhaps the set’s finest moment was the way he played with Corona’s “The Rhythm of the Night,” cutting the thing into pieces to scaffold the emotional pay-off and breaking apart the layers to explore their individual potentials. Though it was a centerpiece, it did not feel elongated or berated; it felt more patient and substantial, and this was the impression brought about repeatedly throughout the evening. Flexible space and a focus on singular ingredients were consistent features of the four artists in the main room. Meanwhile, the crowd was both modest and enthusiastic; when they lost their shit, I didn’t get the impression that it would be super expensive nor easy to replace.

As the pinnacle of the evening, Le Youth seemed to encapsulate the 90s quite well; the clear piano hooks of “Feel Your Love” channeled early 90s dance like Ce Ce Peniston and the reservation/release of Javeon’s vocal performance is reminiscent of what Basement Jaxx is still trying to perfect to this day. The strength of the song for me, like the strongest moments of all of the sets, has to do with giving good ideas the spotlight of center stage, complementing them with clarity, respecting them with patience and providing them with the space to breathe. To round it out, the evening’s DJs all revealed an intuitive mind and an active ear, as evidenced by their understanding of when and how to finally give the listeners what they’d invested in.

At the end of the ephemeral highs, I think even clubbers and concertgoers know full well that less is more. What remains important is how well that “less” is executed. In the case of the evening’s roster, the answer is, quite simply, “quite well.” Some may see Fortune Sound’s embrace of 90s dance for a Canada Day celebration as a desperate grasp at the last available scrap of retro left behind; far from it. If nothing else, the encapsulated summer vibes of 90s dance reflected the dead heat that ended a long, dry June for this northern corner of the west coast. More importantly, for those individuals that remember a world before the internet and this thing I’m typing on, the Long Weekend showcase was both a reprieve for “present” brains and a reminder that there is plenty behind us that we have yet to explore.

Keep up the great work, Fortune.

Youngsta @ The Red Room Feb. 16, 2014


As dubstep seems to be panning out and spreading itself thinly into other genres these days, a rich and heavy sub culture has formed around paying tribute to it’s roots. Daniel Lockhart (A.K.A Youngsta) is a distinguished pioneer and trailblazer for a whole network of deep, minimal dub artists and is actively regaining some hard earned and well deserved respect for his knowledgeable mixing. Known to work with up to three decks, it’s no mystery that Youngsta’s trained ear and gifted attentiveness are driving forces behind his precise, intricate and all around tight sets. Although you’ll be hard pressed to find many dated self produced tracks from Youngsta, this by no means is reflective on his influence on the scene or work ethic. Gaining momentum steadily over the last decade, Youngsta is a resident DJ on Rinse FM with a weekly set that was last month justifiably voted as “Best Radio Show” and he also took the title of “Best DJ” for the Dubstep Forum awards. Youngsta’s most recent focus is on releasing his own tracks in collaboration with like artists under Tempa, a thoroughly established record label where he sits among 9 other kings of dubstep. To say the least, this guy could dance circles around most on the decks.

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You could probably assume that when I became aware Youngsta was going to be in Vancouver spinning a set at Red Room and that I was to be reviewing it, I was ecstatic. I have read that he has a keen crowd reading ability and is known for his proficiency in live scenarios. I am proudly confident to report that I support maintaining that reputation. His sound, which I so greatly appreciated getting to hear played on a worthy sound system, is one that bases itself around a spacious, low, heavy and warbled bass line with jungle influenced break beats and sparsely scattered gargantuan growling for a signature sound like a sexy, haunted, radioactive dungeon. The carefully selected tracks he laid down were expertly timed and pieced together with a good ratio of crisp, tinny high hats and silent junctures that act as a creepy, chilling breeze for your eardrums between weighty, elastic, unforgiving sequences. He dropped a few of his newer tracks on Sunday including one of his solo produced “Destruction” that was only released within the last few months that I think does a fantastic job of displaying exactly what Youngsta is capable of and a great reason to get excited about him releasing more in the future.

I have frequented Red Room Ultra Bar in the past and the space typically fits 400 party-goers in it’s large, dark, open concept room with a well known headliner and promising openers. Now, with a rainy Sunday night slot I could comprehend why the place might have not been packed to the rafters, but I certainly expected more than this. My group of about ten friends who accompanied me managed to comfortably spread ourselves along the front of the dance floor with plenty of groove room. Now although this was a dream come true for us, getting a seemingly private show from Youngsta for less than 100 of my friends and myself, I couldn’t help but wonder where the Vancouverites are with respect for the “deep, dark, minimal ,sub-bass journey” Youngsta and the Rinse FM crew is on.

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“I’d love to come back soon and giver with you guys on like a Friday or Saturday,” Youngsta told a sweatier version of myself in the first hours of Monday morning after thanking the appreciative crowd for coming out, “Sundays are tough”. He’s not wrong, and although I felt a little like our city let him down, his ear to ear grin proved that he was aware that even though the building wasn’t filled, the people who attended were giving it their all. My only hope is that popularity of this uniquely branded style can blossom at a quicker rate here in Vancouver so we can have an opportunity to see large-scale parties with deep music that are such a hit in the UK. Wouldn’t be the first time their music scene has been years ahead of ours. But big ups to Youngsta for a great set and I can only hope to continue to hear more tracks with his branding.

By Jaclyn Adair

Youngsta – Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Digital Motion Events – Facebook | Soundcloud | Twitter

Crystal Fighters w/ Clubfeet @ Sydney, The Hifi

Crystal Fighters w/ Clubfeet @ Sydney, The Hifi Firstly, Clubfeet played a few songs before Crystal Fighters and can I just say I have never heard any of these guys original stuff, but after that performance they now have a new fan (and hopefully many more). Check out their track “Last Words” below along with their cover of Disclosures “Latch” and their remix of “Wave” by Crystal Fighters! Really good stuff, would love to see these guys take off. [soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] [soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] [soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /] Starting off 2014 seeing Crystal Fighters live is one great way to ring in the new year. I was pretty much front and centre when they came on stage and the lead singer, Sebastian, walks out in this odd hippie outfit with a sequinned veil over his head & banging 2 urn/pots together and from that point I knew it was going to be an interesting show. Sebastian, Crystal Fighters(Photo taken from the Crystal Fighters Instagram) These guys put out such an amazing energy, vibe and positivity which gets transferred into the audience, its really a spectacle to watch. At one point between songs the Guitarist, Graham, tells the everyone to turn left and right and hug someone that they’ve never seen/spoke to before, then asks us to “let the sun gods hear as many decibels as possible” by getting the crowd to cheer. [soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=ff6600&auto_play=false&show_artwork=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /] They played almost all of their 2 albums (including “Love Is All I Got”) which you may think their songs are pretty relaxed when you listen to them but when played live they are a completely different story, even the slower/chilled out songs like “Plage” and “Bridge of Bones”. Every song has a much more hyped up tribal dance vibe and you just lose yourself in that moment. During the encore, they finished up with “Wave” and “I Love London” where the audience (including myself) just went nuts over. Really amazing performance and would definitely recommend anyone to not pass up the opportunity to see these guys perform.

TJH87 – Break Away Kicks! EP

The press release for this made it’s way to the ol inbox this AM. I’ve known and heard of Stereocool refered to as a cool guy. His remix on the EP is a glitchy, funky rendition of the track as one might expect. The WAFA remix is also a standount. In large part becuase I fancy high bmp “weird” music. Those being only my picks I strongly encourage you to give each track a play. All around, a highly versatile four track release from La Valigetta. Mark November 26th down as that is the release date.
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