7-Day Mixtape: Vol. 56 – WENDY VERSUS
Though they’re already busy preparing for a NXNE 2012 festival showcase at Cameron House on June 14, and plotting out the inner-workings of a Northeastern US/Eastern Canada tour TBD later on in the summer, Toronto-based electro-pop three-piece WENDY VERSUS still have their hands full back home throughout the month of May.
The trio is getting set to drop their full-length debut Crayon Wars on June 1st (both digitally via Bandcamp, and physically on vinyl) and are celebrating with a bash at Sneaky Dees with friends LOVELY KILLBOTS, MIX CHOPIN, and PATRICK GRANT in tow.
We convinced the members of our May 2012 Featured Artist to check in this week with a mid-month mixtape, and they delivered a round of electro-pop tracks that will collectively make you want to dance, and drift off into the distance – check it out below. But first a quick foreword from the band!
“The three of us come from very diverse musical backgrounds. WENDY VERSUS is electro-poppy, but the influences feeding into it aren’t all four-to-the-floor, so it makes our working in this genre much more interesting. This mixtape is a glimpse of where we get our inspiration.”
NEW ORDER – The Perfect Kiss
Dean Marino: One of my favourite bands of all time (and one of my biggest influences) is JOY DIVISION. JOY DIVISION literally re-defined what a basic voice/guitar/bass/drums band could do. After the death of singer Ian Curtis, they continued as NEW ORDER. NEW ORDER (also one of my favourite acts) is like a ghostly glimpse through some magic mirror showing hints of what JD could have become. Gotta love Peter Hook’s killer bass!
THE NOTWIST – Solitaire
Owen Norquay: This German band is responsible for my first purchase of a drum machine; their record Neon Golden is fantastic top to bottom. It’s hard for me to pick one song off of it because I love all of them but having to choose I’m going with Solitaire: this song is dark and groovy yet somehow sweet. A few years back I saw them live at Lee’s Palace and they used Nintendo Wii controllers to affect the rolls and dynamics of the drum machine… sooo cool.
THE CARDIGANS – Paralysed
Wendy Leung: Gran Turismo is one of my favourite albums of all time; it’s the only CARDIGANS album that veers into a darker, synth-ier, minor key realm, and that sonic detour definitely caught my attention. We’ve talked about covering this song for a while but nothing’s come of it… Yet…
BRITNEY SPEARS – Piece Of Me
Wendy Leung: We may well get kicked off this site for my picking the least indie artist of all time, but I’m doing it! BRITNEY’s often referred to as a blank canvas and that’s exactly what makes her music interesting. Her albums aren’t avant-garde but they are always current because the songs are crafted by some of the world’s best production teams (this one’s courtesy of BLOODSHY & AVANT). I do have quite a bit of BRITNEY in my music collection, so its dance-y, poppy, infectious-y goodness does seep into my creative brain from time to time. Let’s be clear: this is not a winner for its insightful lyrics, but try and tell me you don’t want to get up and dance just a little bit right now…
KRAFTWERK – Tour de France
Dean Marino: The members of Kraftwerk may not have solely invented what would later be coined “techno,” but they definitely brought the new genre to the masses and were great inventors both musically and technically. They pioneered many of the techniques that have become common in music today. They even invented their own electronic drum-kit (patented in 1975) which bears a striking resemblance to the Roland Octopad.
BJORK – Joga
Wendy Leung: I love Bjork. Love, love, love. But I only started listening in recent years so a lot of my discovery was in going through her back-catalogue. I admire her curiosity and ability to orchestrate with such diversity – I feel like I’m always learning something when I listen to her songs. Her affective voice is the one consistent element that carries across, and it is always so clear amid layers upon layers of sound. There are a dozen of her songs I wanted to pick but I chose Joga because it’s a bit lament-y with its sustained vocal lines, and I like that.
THE BOOKS – Take Time
Owen Norquay: I discovered THE BOOKS the year that I moved to Toronto from the west coast. This track became a sleep-aid, wake-up call, and reminder to slow down and think outside the box. The time signature changes juxtaposed with a simple vocal line opened my eyes to the beauty of complex/simple arrangements and the use of unconventional rhythm instrumentation has heavily influenced my beat-making.