Really Well // Tin Angel
Mauno’s third release, Really Well is a sparse and contemplative album. Following the bands 2017 sophomore release Tuning, the bands growth is clear. Mauno’s most recent shines in its limitations. While less dense instrumentally, Really Well is lyrically playful, and allows the listener room to consider the absurdity of the mundane.
Recorded at Yoko Eno, the home studio of Calgary’s Chad VanGaalen, and backed by guitarist Scott Boudreau and drummer Adam White, the long time tour mates play as such, with precision and intuition that allow the songs to sit as they should. Warm drum tones and guitar sounds varying from jangly spring reverb to dense and lush round out the refined, sharp songs.
Since their first release in 2016, Mauno’s unique and intricate style of indie rock has grown and been better shaped by the band. While they have announced a dissolving of the band, Really Well is a truly exceptional final offering. One to be remembered by.
- Ella Coyes
Golden Hits Of The Shangs // Judigee
The Shangs first new album after a long hiatus reaffirms their reputation as a truly unique voice in Canadian independent music. The tongue-in-cheek titled, Golden Hits Of The Shangs is a collection of new material compiled by David Byers (the solo remaining member of the group) from false-start reunions of the Shangs and Simply Saucer (Byers’ other group) in the 24 years since The Shangs’ last release. The material is not unlike something you might hear out of the Elephant Six recording company in the late 90’s; the songs pay homage to a specific type of 60’s songcraft, but are informed by the fifty, or so, years of avant-garde influence in popular music since the heyday of Shangs influences The Shangri-La’s or The Feminine Complex. The album is not a quick listen (15 tracks and around 75 minutes) but the quality of the songwriting never suffers. There are gems all over the tracklisting, from the Mancini-esque opening track to the “Pet Sounds in a washing machine” vibe of “Just A Little Boy” midway through the record. This track is probably the best example of why this record is so interesting; if you peel away the bachelor pad lounge music veneer, what you’re left with is something a little deranged, a little disturbing, and completely original.
- Sean Newton