JAY ARNER at Handlebar (159 Augusta), tonight (Thursday, June 13), 9 pm; and at Comfort Zone (480 College), Saturday (June 15), 10 pm. Both NXNE wristband or $15. nxne.com.
After playing in countless bands over the years, including most recently the dance pop duo Fine Mist, Jay Arner is discovering the perks of going solo. On June 25, he releases his self-titled debut album under his own name.
"I tried to indulge myself a little more," says the Vancouver multi-instrumentalist, producer and remix artist. "So I took all my favourite sounds to the extreme: tape echo, drum fills, arpeggiators, stupid prog rock shit. I'm really happy with it."
He's not the only one. West Coast indie label Mint Records recently added him to its roster, Pitchfork called the post-punky song Midnight On South Granville "quietly riveting," and the album's been streaming on The Fader.
What is it about his current batch of noise-pop gems heavy with analog electronics that's making people take notice?
"I think I'm just a late bloomer in terms of songwriting. In my old bands I probably cared too much about what people were thinking so I was a little more shut down. Lately I've been making music for myself first, and the funny thing is that that makes it more listenable. Worrying about how you're perceived dilutes your sound."
But don't let the word "solo" give you the wrong idea. A five-piece band brings the tunes to life at Arner's double shot of NXNE shows.
If you like Jay Arner, also check out Sloan at the Great Hall, Friday (June 14), midnight. NXNE wristband or $20; or Pick a Piper at the Painted Lady, tonight (Thursday, June 13), at 2 am. NXNE wristband or $12; and the Comfort Zone, Friday (June 14), 11 pm. NXNE wristband or $12.