Alvvays are two women, three men, a crate of cassette tapes and a love of jingle-jangle. Molly Rankin and Kerri MacLellan grew up as next-door neighbours in Cape Breton, lifting fiddles and folk-songs. Heartbreaks of different shades soon entered their lives, as did the music of Teenage Fanclub and Belle & Sebastian. Similar noisy melancholy drifted over to Prince Edward Island, finding Alec O’Hanley, Brian Murphy and Philip MacIsaac.
Convening in Toronto, the group has been making music since dusk or maybe dawn, when stars were appearing or fading. As a result, their internationally acclaimed, debut, self-titled album is both sun-splashed and twilit. Nine songs concealing drunkenness, defeat and death in tungsten-tinted pop that glitters like sea glass. And, the world has become besotted with it. The needlepoint melody and verse of Rankin and O’Hanley’s songs were recorded with Chad VanGaalen at his Yoko Eno studio. It was mixed by Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) and John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile.
Released on July 22, of 2014 on Royal Mountain Records (Canada), Polyvinyl Records (USA) and Transgressive Records (Europe) it achieved “Best Album Of Year” status from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste, NME, Gorilla vs Bear, CBC and more, and claimed cover stories at Exclaim and NOW Magazine. Votes for “Best Song of The Year” flooded in from Pitchfork, NPR, Fader, CBC, Drowned in Sound and Consequence of Sound. The album’s debut at #1 at College Radio in the U.S. was the first time a debut album from any artist has achieved that feat.
“Rankin possesses the sort of radiant but deceptively deadpan voice that lets her infuse these lovelorn
laments with sly, sometimes sinister wit,” noted Pitchfork.
“Millennial social anxiety, it turns out, is a wildcard genius pairing with breezy, effortlessly cool surf-rock, and the combination is irresistible,” chimed NPR.
“It’s a rare treat to discover a band like Alvvays. Whether you’re looking to fall in love this summer or pine away unrequited, you won’t find a better soundtrack than this,” said Rolling Stone.
“Alvvays Make Sunny Guitar-Pop Gold on Self-Titled Debut,” read the review headline from TIME, and the NME raved, “Summer jams meet jangly melancholy on the Toronto band’s impressive debut.”
“It’s scary to think what Rankin and the rest might achieve in the future when they’ve burst out of the gate with songs as smartly conceived and effortlessly listenable as “Adult Diversion,” “Party Police” and the devastatingly achy “Ones Who Love You,” said The Toronto Star upon album release.
Alvvays has toured alongside Real Estate (in the UK) and The Decemberists (within North America) in addition to a prominent collection of headline shows around the world. The quintet will feature at major festivals this summer and fall including Reading and Leeds, FYF, WayHome, Outside Lands and Osheaga in addition to a host of continued global tour demands. Alvvays is loud and clear and true. Flood your ears.
Los Angeles Police Department
Under the moniker Los Angeles Police Department, Ryan Pollie makes the kind of homespun bedroom pop that excels in its quiet intimacy, while retaining its emotional weight under sparse instrumentation and soft delivery. On his 11-track self-titled debut album, Pollie wrote and recorded each song in a day, allowing for small imperfections and spurts of urgency found throughout the record. It’s a creative process Pollie has now become accustomed to: “This project really changed an important misconception for me. It was that music that I was making, which wasn’t recorded in a studio with a band, was illegitimate or not real for some reason.” And so, these 11 tracks pared down from 30, recorded in a house in Hollywood, became personal anecdotes to a specific time and place: following a burgeoning relationship until its untimely end. At times shaken and hazy and at others affront with exhaustion, Pollie is able to weave a tapestry of pop songs that is the perfect distillation of where the project is currently at and where it could be taken in the future.