Release Date: Mar 19, 2013
Record label: Captured Tracks
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia
Alex Calder's debut EP, Time, was recorded in his Montreal living room, with Calder playing all the instruments himself. He sticks to mostly the classic guitar-bass-drums setup with the occasional keyboard sneaking in, as he knocks out seven very catchy pop songs in 20 short minutes. Inspired by melodic pop of the '60s and the gentle weirdness of British psych, while sounding quite similar to fellow Captured Tracks artists like Beach Fossils and ex-bandmate Mac DeMarco, the album leads off with the best song, the sweetly hooky "Suki and Me," and keeps the level of craft quite high.
It might be a disservice to hypothesise about labelmate influences when it comes to Alex Calder. After all, fellow Captured Tracks cohort Mac DeMarco was a former band colleague in Makeout Videotape. The label exuberantly promotes the Calder-esque aesthetic of smooth ambience and pulsing grooves with the likes of Beach Fossils (and their DIIV/Heavenly Beat extensions), plus the more experimental inclinations, which draws reference to The Soft Moon as well.
When you think about Canadian indie pop provocateur Mac DeMarco, "tasteful" is probably not a characterization that springs to mind. Though this year's 2 proved the guy can do more than just an, ahem, "creative" cover of "Beautiful Day", he's probably not someone you'd willingly leave your kids with. But he can write a tune, and at least some people in his orbit share that ability.
Alex Calder, formerly drummer in oddball Vancouver duo Makeout Videotape, has more in common musically with his former collaborator Mac DeMarco than an entry on his musical CV. The two might have quit work working together back in 2011, but on the evidence of their two recently released recordings, they retain a distinctly shared vision. Both have a penchant for making warped, woozy 70s-style pop music, in the vein of Ariel Pink: sunny yet water-damaged songs, which sound like they’ve been unearthed after years spent in a dusty, poorly-stored briefcase.
Following the dissolution of genre-defying Vancouver outfit Makeout Videotape in 2011, founding members Mac DeMarco and Alex Calder put about 2,250 miles (that’s 3,600 kilometers for our neighbors to the north) between them. DeMarco, after knocking around Montreal for a few tough months renting out his body to medical science, landed on label Captured Tracks and within months miraculously got his schizophrenic track “Moving Like Mike” on a Target commercial. Instead of rolling the dice in a new metropolis, Calder laid low at his mom’s pad in Edmonton, plotting his next move amidst the shadows of mega malls and oil rigs.