David Lowery has maintained a healthy career as a split musical personality. When he isn’t playing laconic country-tinged pop with his band of 25 years, Camper Van Beethoven, he’s thrashing away at his guitar as the frontman for Cracker, the rock outfit that’s releasing its 10th studio album, Sunrise In The Land Of Milk And Honey, this week. Lowery adds another line to his resume as he guest edits magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with him.
Lowery: For the last several years, Canada has had an outsized footprint in the world of indie rock. Maybe it’s nothing new—Canada has always had a bigger share of rock and pop sales than its relatively small popluation would suggest. But Rush, Loverboy, Alanis Morissette, Shania Twain and Avril Lavigne were hardly innovators. This new Pax Canada seems to change all that. I don’t want to get in an argument about who really started all this. But it is clear that a lot of the new energy has come out of the loose ensembles that are the New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene. Metric is led by Emily Haines and James Shaw. Both come from Broken Social Scene. Haines is the daughter of poet Paul Haines, who collaborated with jazz pianist Carla Bley. Emily was born in India and has said her early musical influences included Bley and Robert Wyatt. This is a somewhat typical curriculum vitae of the current crop of Canadian indie rockers. It’s what makes them good at this cerebral brand of rock and not so good at more visceral music like, say, traditional folk or the blues. (Note: I exempt the residents of Cape Breton Island and Newfoundland from this observation.) Metric would not be regarded as the most innovative of their ilk, but in a contest for who can bring the pop hooks, they win hands down. Check out “Help I’m Alive.”
“Help I’m Alive” (acoustic) (download):