A pair of bands with strong Surrey roots - Good for Grapes and Rykka - play Vancouver's Fortune Sound Club on Saturday night (Dec. 8). It's a 7 p.m. show at the Chinatown venue, which has an amazing sound system.
Rykka is the latest musical project of Christina Rieder, who was known professionally as Christina Maria before adopting the new handle.
Rykka's latest songs involve jagged electric guitars and synths in a spirited dance-rock mix.
"For the last year, I've been writing in seclusion, really far away," she says, in a post on rykka.com, of her exploratory creative burst. "The music has evolved so much from where it was."
The 12 songs on Rykka's debut album, Kodiak, were written in the European farmhouse where she composed for much of 2011. Recording sessions later happened in Vancouver's Mushroom Studios and District Four Recordings, with input from engineer Sean Penner, mixer Warne Livesey and producer Ryan Guldemond, of Mother Mother.
Interestingly, all of Kodiak's tracks are sung from the perspective of different animals, such as "Blackie" (a murder of crows) and "Down in the Depths" (deep sea fish). Listeners
might never realize that the songs' protagonists are not people.
For the holidays and beyond, Rykka will again jet to Europe for concert dates in Switzerland and Germany.
She's here in B.C. on a break from a tour in Switzerland opening for the Lovebugs, a veteran pop-rock band.
"At the start of the tour we had a CD-release party in Zurich," Rykka told me. "I'll be starting to release singles in Canada at the beginning of the year. I've decided to not let labels hold the music back anymore; I'll be releasing the music independently through my own label, Vissen Records."
Also recently, Rykka performed at the Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg.
"It was a super crazy weekend, involving me loosing my voice from too much crazy travel," she said. "I was silent nearly the whole weekend until the show, which was in a 60capacity, super-packed club, where I was standing in the audience - and my voice worked!"
After band rehearsals this week locally, she says the new music sounds and feels good.
"I feel like I've really grown from the last performance in Vancouver, because of all the touring in Switzerland. I'm really excited to see how my growth translates here."
TIME FOR VARIETY CONTEST
Aspiring vocalists across B.C. are once again invited to audition for Variety's Got Talent, presented by Coast Capital Savings. The winner of the third annual competition will receive a "Rising Star" music package and appear on the Variety Show of Hearts Telethon, set for Feb. 16-17.
Finalists will have the rare opportunity of performing before a panel of music industry and celeb judges, including music manager Bruce Allen and Global BC's Steve Darling.
The competition is open to all B.C. residents ages 13-29. Audition videos should be submitted to www. varietysgottalent.ca during the time period of Jan. 2 to 16. Videos should run between two to three minutes, with singers performing a capella, to track, or with acoustic guitar or keyboard accompaniment.
All finalists will perform before a panel of judges and a live audience at Richmond's River Rock Show Theatre on Feb. 9.
NICHOLS HITS ROCKIN' RIVER
Next summer's version of Rockin' River Music Festival in Mission is taking shape, with country star Joe Nichols announced this week. Nichols, whose "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" was a big hit, will join Big 'n' Rich (whose "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" was also a big hit worldwide) at the three-day fest, happening in Mission next Aug. 15-17.
"We're excited to add Joe Nichols and his brand of country to the fifth annual Rockin' River festival," said concert organizer Kenny Hess. "Nichols brings a different musical flavour to Rockin' River than Big 'n' Rich, so he adds another dimension to our growing event."
The rest of the 2013 lineup will be announced in the months to come. Watch for updates at rockinriver.com.
FLEETWOOD MAC IS BACK
Fleetwood Mac is headed for Rogers Arena on May 19, 2013. The Vancouver concert is among dates on a North American tour of 34 cities for the band, following a three-year break. Tickets for all Canadian dates go on sale Monday, Dec.
17; American Express card members can get advance tickets for all tour dates via a Live Nation mobile app, beginning Dec. 13. The tour also marks the 35th anniversary of the band's classic Rumours album, a deluxe reissue of which will include previously unreleased studio and live tracks.