Ryan Beattie

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Ryan Beattie is a talented, prolific musician and performer based out of Victoria, BC who remains one of the hidden gems of Canadian indie music. Fronting two acts, group project Chet, as well as the more intimate and solo-based Himalayan Bear moniker, he truly is a diamond in the rough. Both are stylistically unique enough for separate articles, but for the sake of brevity I’ll summarize them in one fell swoop. With a voice like velvet mixed with peanut butter, and guitar playing where every strum and accentuation has meaning, I don’t think I’ll ever bore of his accompaniment. Traversing folk, Hawaiian, indie rock, and for lack of a better term, pirates’ beach side lounge music, Beattie effortlessly relays his stories with earnest and convincing delivery. Dripping in heartache, regret, conviction, bitter memory and desperation, the listener can’t help but empathize with his uncanny passion. With these songs, you’re gently whisked away to an island beach-side hammock, swinging back and forth under a palm tree, watching as the last hazy mirage of a long-lost love sails away, leaving you marooned with nothing but a bottle of whiskey and the lull of ukelele and castanets.

Over the last decade, Beattie has released 4 Chet albums (my favourite being “Kau’ai”), and 3 as Himalayan Bear (all remarkable, especially “Lo, Lonesome Island”), with no evidence of letting up any time soon. You can find most of it on iTunes and the rest here (http://himalayanbear.bandcamp.com/).

Favourite tracks
Chet: Antarctica (http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Chet)… crooning conviction.
Himalayan Bear: Beyond the Reef (http://himalayanbear.bandcamp.com/track/beyond-the-reef)… see you in the tropics.

Miracle Fortress

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Miracle Fortress is the one-man project of Montreal native Graham Van Pelt, the ginger ninja of indie-meets-electro. With the live looping skills of Andrew Bird and Owen Pallett, his performances impressively compliment his ability to craft these songs in the first place. Miracle Fortress is jam-packed with lighthearted major-key melodies, layers of clean catchy guitars, understated drum beats and hand claps, ear-catching field samples, and ethereal keyboards.

His latest releases “Five Roses” and “Was I The Wave?”, the former probably being a better starting point, are both solid, enjoyable listens from start to finish.

Favourite track: Raw Spectacle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvkKmrpk-ak)… his most epic and triumphant work to date.

Welcome to Devil-Sincere

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Back in the heyday of MSN, I used to take a strange amount of pride in coming up with what I regarded as cool sign-in names. One day I stumbled upon a software program that allowed you to look at the chronology of all one’s monikers. While scrolling through the years of ridiculousness, I came across a section where the names changed relatively frequently – my “Band of the Week” phase I went through around age 15. This jogged memories of a number of people expressing some disappointment when that tradition was randomly ceased. I guess they’d been informed of something they grew to like.

With Devil-Sincere, I hope to share some of the music I find meaningful and inspiring. Maybe you’ll find something you like too. Happy hunting.

[Logo by Emma Wickham]