Apr 3, 2014

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3 Songs: “The Zolas Are Unreasonably Good at Their Jobs, Part 1” edition:

I feel like I spend a lot of time talking up The Zolas, but I can’t help it; they’re my favourite band. I’ve racked up more listens on Tic Toc Tic than any other album in my extensive iTunes collection, and I keep going back for more. The Vancouver-based duo have crafted some of the finest indie-pop songs imaginable, both well-written and full of energy and emotion. I already spoke at length about their most recent album, Ancient Mars, elsewhere on this site, and way back in 2010 on another blog entirely I called Tic Toc Tic one of the best albums of the year. Choosing just three songs was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do for this project, so I’ve actually split this post so I can choose the best songs from each of their major albums. I’ve got several album-by-album posts planned for other artists down the line; it’s a nice way to circumvent having to pick just three songs out of a big pool of favourites. So here are the three best songs from The Zolas’ debut, Tic Toc Tic:

The Great Collapse
It’s an apocalyptic love song, you guys. A love song about being with your loved one during the apocalypse. A metaphor for breakups using the collapse of the universe. “The Great Collapse” hits so many of my personal sources of joy that it might as well be shorthand for all the stuff that makes me squee like a moron. The piano. The acknowledgment of the futility of nostalgia. The album title drop. The line “Yeah, we were lovers in the great collapse / the seasons came, the seasons passed.” Zachary Gray is a goddamn genius at conveying regret and longing in his vocals, and these qualities will be on display elsewhere in this post and the following.

And you can buy the track, if you like it, from Bandcamp: http://thezolas.bandcamp.com/track/the-great-collapse

Marlaina Kamikaze
I was introduced to The Zolas when they played the Market Square stage during Rifflandia 2010. I spent so much time focusing on their music in part because I realized, with horror, that my ex-boyfriend S was close by in the crowd, and I’d spent most of the past several months avoiding being in the same room as him. Then The Zolas announced this song, which is about seeing your ex everywhere you go. S and I laughed about it many years later, and the song itself remains one of the best from Tic Toc Tic not only because it’s frighteningly true to my own life but also because it’s fucking great on its own. Here I must draw attention to the composition, because “Marlaina Kamikaze” maintains a weird jazzy time signature throughout its verses and then proceeds into a totally fantastic piano-led bridge by Tom Dobrzanski that will knock your socks off. Like I said, the Zolas are one of the most energetic indie bands out there, and this song is a prime example. And as a conclusion to the story, the next guy I dated (and had a breakup with) lived in an entirely different city: Vancouver. So I never had to worry about this happening.

Buy the track here: http://thezolas.bandcamp.com/track/marlaina-kamikaze

Pyramid Scheme
I read an interview once where The Zolas said that this was their favourite song to play live, and it’s easy to see why; it’s a weird, almost prog-like song that includes everything from dreams to vows of jealousy to plays on children’s nursery rhymes. All I can really say is that it contains the lyric “Fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a Caucasian”. SOLD.

Buy it here: http://thezolas.bandcamp.com/track/pyramid-scheme

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Nov 8, 2013

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November 2013: The Zolas – “Ancient Mars”

November 2013: The Zolas – “Ancient Mars”

In which your hostess makes a complete fool of herself by applying her critical writing skills to gushing like a teenager.

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