Vancouver Bands to Smoke Weed and Listen To
Vancouver is sometimes colloquially referred to as being a “no fun” city when it comes to its arts and music culture. With what seems to be an increasing number of venue closures and artists skipping town, one might think that cities such as Vancouver would be a death trap for hip and experimental music. Fortunately, this isn’t true! In this article, I present a small list of relatively unknown bands from Vancouver who are the perfect companion to your bong toke. Each of them possesses unique psychedelic qualities, monstrous musicianship, and chill vibes that we all know marijuana can help us to enjoy.
Genre: experimental post rock, instrumental, jazz. Good for those wishing to smoke weed and do active listening.
Flash Palace is one of my absolute favorite bands to listen while smoking weed. To me, they are the paradigmatic example of a good weed smoking band. Their music is rich in texture, harmony, and groove, but above all else, the music is beautiful and exciting (I actually had a friend of mine tell me that he was on the verge of tears when he saw them play at the Rickshaw Theatre). Their sound is unique in that it blends a variety of genres from post rock, jazz, math rock, and even sample based intelligent dance music (IDM). You can check out their music at their bandcamp page below.
Also check out this really great live footage of them here: http://www.helenpittgallery.org/video/this-weeks-video-flash-palace-from-wrong-wave-2011/
Genre: face-melting, explosive, math rock with tinges of shred and Midwest emo sensibilities. Definitely best when heard in an active listening state. If you catch one of their concerts while high you will definitely be amused.
For me, Yes Bear is an example of pure entertainment. Comprised of drummer Miles Chic, bassist Brendan Campbell, and guitarist Stefan Tosheff, Yes Bear absolutely knows how to put on a show that will challenge you. When experienced while high, I’ve found that Yes Bear is so intense that the experience itself actually becomes very psychedelic. You can become disoriented in the most pleasant way, like getting lost in an “all-you-can-eat” buffet of sound. Furthermore, the emo sensibilities of Yes Bear can feel quite profound if experienced while high. Because Yes Bear isn’t necessarily your typical pop act, the lyricism tends to feel authentic as their music doesn’t feel like it is trying to accomplish anything other than art for art’s sake. If you’re baked enough, from my experience this really can hit hard when you see them live.
Ian William Craig
Genre: ambient experimental. Good for passive listening or background music for competing a task.
Soft, warm, dense, chaotic, sublime; these are just a few words that could be used to describe the sonic palate of Ian William Craig’s music. Honestly, I don’t think I have ever listened to this guy’s music while sober before. It’s just too interesting to be enjoyed without being high. What’s really unique about the music presented here is that there is a lot to appreciate from a production stand point. Ian William Craig frequently uses analog tape to affect his music with very interesting textural qualities. This makes him a novel musician and producer, but it also makes it really chill music from a listener’s perspective. Think – the sonic equivalent of a cup of tea. There’s also a subtle emotional element to Ian William Craig’s music which is captivating and relatable. Although the music tends to be ambient, it carries a degree of melody. I find that this allows it to hold your attention for a sustained period of time; a unique treat for the ambient genre.
Genre: post rock, jazz, indie pop. Loud and beautiful at times, catchy and textural at other times.
Just a few days ago I rediscovered this band and I can honestly say, re-listening to this group for the first time in years was one of the best parts of my week. Not only for nostalgia’s sake, but for the fact that Glass Kites writes amazing music. For the stoner that loves a multi-dimensional musical experience, Glass Kites does this with aplomb. The band combines elements of jazz, post rock, and dream pop to create a product that is like a beautiful layered cake. In a similar vein to Flash Palace, Glass Kites also incorporates elements of electronica into their music and they do so in a way that is both psychedelic and highly musical. I can’t stress enough how much of a good time one will have if they smoke a joint and listen to their self-titled record (while wearing head phones). You will hear chiming guitars in each ear, huge synth pads, thunderous drumming, and just a general reverberating shimmer that comes from the bands incredible recording production.
In this article I presented a small sample of some of Vancouver’s most talented experimental acts. Each of these bands possess qualities that make for an exceptional time while smoking weed. If you like what I’ve posted here, stay tuned for part two where I document another list of amazing Vancouver groups who pair well for a psychedelic adventure.
By Trevor Wong