Best of 2015: Indie Music Videos


This year saw great accomplishments from Edmonton bands, and bands who played Edmonton venues. These delightfully inspired folks are troubadours of our prairie highways. Keeping things professional and honest with a neatly picked tune resting alongside fascinating lyrics, soon becomes a well rehearsed and received performance…to then commemorate in audiovisual eternity makes childhood dreams real. Finally, a Youtube-hosted music video worthy of mid-90s MuchMusic! (We can only long for pop-up videos for so long until they make a comeback right?)
Take a look at these videos produced in 2015 by some Edmonton niche favourites. By no means are these the only wonderful videos released this year. Live music videos are becoming the new normal, it seems.
(Northern Sessions focus entirely on recording live performances of emerging #yegmusic highlights.)

Old Towns


Old Towns (Robbie Shirriff – Edmonton/Saskatoon/Vancouver) is a one-man powerhouse and sometimes a band. He released a solo EP produced by Jesse Northey in Feb2015, and toured with SNAKE LEGS in Fall2015. You’ll find him anywhere from Victoria, BC to Montreal, QC depending on the sound of the wind. Robbie craves whiskey AND beer, but needs melody. [photo: Jude Keefe]

Revenge of the Trees

Revenge of the Trees

Revenge of the Trees (Mikey Muscat, Kurtis Cockrill, Brayden Treble, Nich Davies. – Edmonton) are an honest band with love for the land…and can’t-beet-em-broil-em food puns. These boys have spent 3 years fine tuning their experimental folk funk resulting in Into The Night EP, featuring three songs Mikey envisioned becoming a complete video story. This video of a tireless day of filming is thanks to Mack Lamoureux production team. [Photos: stills from video]

Astral Swans


Astral Swans (Matt Swann – Calgary) released All My Favourite Singers are Willie Nelson + brought existential pop-punk quips from mental illness to living rooms in Canadian house show series thanks to Madic Records (Dan Mangan) killing anxiety with kindness. [astral swans is and is not the buffalo springfield. his cat’s name is graham.] Credit//[Photos: screenshot from video; inset photos: Jude Keefe]

Stone Iris


Stone Iris (El Niven, Reid Theil, Jeff Burwash. – Edmonton) is a fully independent troupe of Alberta boys relying on hard work, kickstarter, and good fortune. they have a thing or two to say about living a life to love. former SONiC BOTM, and Canada’s spot at Indie Week UK 2015. give El any reason to play and you’ll find him with or without the boys on a stage. Credit//[Photo: screenshots from video] [Artistic Design: Jude Keefe]

Mobina Galore


Mobina Galore (Jenna Priestner, Marcia Hanson. – Winnipeg) are a duo of grungy hardcore punk with moments on par with DFA1979 from the stage. familiar in Germany, and well seasoned by touring Western Canada extensively…these hardcore ladies are the future of feminist power taking over our radios from bad love songs. Credit//[photos: screenshots from Jenna Arcade curated video][Artistic Design: Jude Keefe]

Snake Legs


SNAKE LEGS (Andrew Brostrom, Curt Blandy, Adam Burt, Marcus Rayment. – Edmonton/St. Albert) is the happiest feminist punk party band of brothers. Their favourite places are the coziest of bars, basements, and living rooms, playing Neil Young covers alongside Against Me! and intelligent originals. if you see a van of boys stopped for a yoga break, you might have happened across these handsome crocodiles. ep produced by Root Cellar Records. Credit//[photos: screenshots from video] [Artistic Design: Jude Keefe]

For any independant musician, finding a venue to sustain an occasional evening audience requires ongoing dedication from a reliable cross section of each diverse arts community. These bands have all been supported by the Edmonton venue network in recent history. They have also been the victims of economic struggles forcing a burst of venue closures. The loss of a place to play is also the loss of a local business felt deeply like a fresh wound. It just goes to show how fantastic Edmonton’s artistic community is, for embracing such vulnerability in temporary defeat as a strength inspiration will sustain the future no matter the circumstances.
Matt Swann has played a variety of our dirt-city’s true hidden gems in the last year especially. He had this to say about the shift in the wake of Wunderbar being the last collapse of the year’s tumult:
“[Loss of these venues] is a real shame. I consider Wunderbar to have been one of my favourite all time venues. That space played a very defining role in the scene, and I made a lot of amazing friends as a result of that space. Craig Martell, and [Wunderbar] crew deserve a lot of praise for their role in terms of community development. As for the Artery, I sadly only had the opportunity to perform there once, but it was a great experience. I draw a lot of inspiration from the Edmonton scene. There are so many gifted, humble, and underrated players in Edmonton, and they have always been incredibly giving.”
There’s a great amount of welcome hope for Edmonton to find new ways to thrive in 2016, including the Artery team developing a phoenix-like rebirth with the Aviary. Craig Martell has begun booking for Bohemia, as Double Lunch Productions, alongside reemergence of Whyte Avenue options in the gastropub Almanac. Showing there is still a strong community of first-timers who are willing to explore the struggles and delights of hosting sweaty, dedicated musicians.
My prediction is that 2016 will be a resurgence of the house show as a community effort to ensure live music remains ever present. If we as an audience can find a healthy balance of support for the local bands around us, the spiderwebs created will be indestructible.
Our songs of freedom are all we can expect to maintain in this crazy world.

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