Doug Hoyer
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Doug Hoyer

Athens, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF

Athens, Georgia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2009
Solo Classical Singer/Songwriter




"Sled Island Music & Arts Festival 2014, Sled Island Music & Arts Festival 2014: Day 4, Spiritualized, St. Vincent, Doug Hoyer"

Although there were many impressive bands peppered throughout the week, no day of Sled Island packed quite the star power of Saturday, when St. Vincent and Spiritualized performed. St. Vincent opener Doug Hoyer was also a major highlight as well. (Let’s hear it for the little guys.)

Doug Hoyer was the biggest surprise of the evening. The unassuming musician from Edmonton wore a tropical shirt and dedicated a song to his wife (cue girly choruses of “awww”), basically winning him the prize of most sensitive singer/songwriter of the festival. It also didn’t hurt one bit that his playful tunes sound a bit like a Jens Lekman/Divine Comedy mashup. - Under the Radar

"Gold Soundz: Artist of the Week / CD Review"

This week’s artist of the week is an Albertan dude who made this awesome pop album and is now touring across Canada trying to make the mindless masses aware of this work of genius. The artist of the week is…


The easy comparison with Hoyer is Jonathan Richman – like that legendary singer/songwriter, Hoyer’s music is sweet, charming, poppy, and just a bit witty (“I’d bring Trosky, Trudeau, and even Trebek”) and just tremendously enjoyable. On the other hand, there are no spanish songs on his debut LP Walks With The Tender, Growing Night, but there is a nice little disco rave-up (“Northern Lights“), some ukelele serenades (“Tatoo”, “Coast To Coast”) and the song with the strings (“Oh, The Wind Will Blow“).

I want to talk just a bit more about his lyrics here in this second paragraph. Sometimes they’re witty – tossing in nods to Trudeau and Trebek in “Lakes Of Mars” is witty just by virtue of Canadian-ness, really – sometimes they’re a little random (“When I was a young lad/I was very chubby/And doing some running would have done me some good“) and at other times they’re really sweet. For instance, “Tattoo””s little punchline is “So if you wanna know why I’ll never get a tattoo/I’ve been saving every inch of my body for you,” and then there’s pretty much just the entire song “Things That I’ll Keep” which is about hoarding things like an airplane ticket and a shitty pair of pants because they have sentimental value.

Another cool thing about the album is that the production is pretty eclectic. This is no lo-fi guitar and drums affair a la most of Richman’s albums; this album is decked out from head to toe with guitars, synths, ukeleles, bongos, drum machines, horns, etc. Whatever was in the room. Or not. The people who recorded this thing just relished being able to create all manner of pretty sounds.

Like I said, the album is seriously enjoyable, very hummable, tunetastic to the extreme, melodically magnificent, etc. I highly recommend you check it out here and you can come see Doug Hoyer play Toronto’s Smiling Buddha Bar on August 18th. - Gold Soundz

"CKUA CD of the Week"

Reviewed by Grant Stovel, host of Lunch Box, Notes From Home, and Alberta Backstage Series

Walks With The Tender & Growing Night takes its title from an excerpt of a poem by 19th-Century American poet Walt Whitman; much like the poem, Doug Hoyer's latest album is joyful, energetic and imbued with a great sense of yearning for the sublime. It's the latest project from a young Edmontonian musician who has spent the past several years releasing 7" singles, cassettes and EPs full of the kind of whimsy and passion that Whitman's poem "Song of Myself" evokes.

The recording projects have ranged widely -- he's become quite well known as a champion of sweet, ukulele-driven pop music, and has also garnered acclaim for the pastiche of pop, beats and abstract sounds that he creates under the moniker "Bike Month". The new album certainly will be greeted by Hoyer's fans as a natural bringing together of just about all of many musical elements that he's displayed in his discography to date.

It encompasses not just the full spectrum of Hoyer's range of expression and creativity, but also of his immediate musical environment; it finds multi-instrumentalist Hoyer in the company a panoply of other talented musicians, many of whom are part of the Edmonton-based Old Ugly Recording Company -- a record label known for its DIY attitude and its diversity of musical styles, ranging from hip-hop to acoustic folk. The gamut of sounds on Hoyer's new full-length disc would be dizzying if it weren't for the fact that it all serves the music so well; all those cellos, bongos, ukuleles, drum machines, trombones and vocal groups somehow belong perfectly together on Hoyer's winsome, lovely songs.

August 26, 2011 - CKUA

"Doug Hoyer - Two New Songs (7" review)"

Doug Hoyer - Two New Songs
Old Ugly
Published December 9, 2010 by Mark Teo in CD Reviews

Listen, we understand if you’re wary of the next-gen wave of ukulele troubadours. After all, just about any Korean toddler armed with a webcam, a YouTube account and a lyric sheet to “Obladi Oblada” can seemingly achieve uke stardom. But it’s unjust to lump Edmontonian Doug Hoyer — perhaps best known for skronkier side-project Bike Month — into such categories. Indeed, Hoyer doesn’t confine himself to the sometimes kitschy, oft-minimalist underpinnings of plenty of uke-adours, instead opting for a fuller sound backed by Gobble Gobble’s Calvin McElroy and a host of other friend-contributors.

Accordingly, its disarmingly conversational A-side, “Song From a Kind Stranger’s Floor,” has Hoyer name-dropping endless city names atop stuttering drum machines, mismatched harmonies and twinkling recorders. Less a touring lament than an exercise in twentysomething existential terror, this comes across like Sufjan Stevens after a few lines of Ritalin: Free-spirited in tone, but razor-sharp in its composition.

The release’s bubblier track — and one that’s received plenty of blog love — is “Lakes of Mars.” A playful, sci-fi-themed love song cautious of veering into nauseating twee territories, its Jens Lekman-indebted baritone croon and spattering of pop culture references immediately rewards serotonin receptors. Its real strength, though, again lies in its arrangement: Built around a slightly distorted yet perfectly synchronized rhythm section, this is pop so flawlessly executed that it seems effortless.

Of course, that’s not the case — Hoyer’s ability to cram multiple, often diverse concepts into tidy, three-minute gems hints at a tireless commitment to refinement. Two Songs’ brevity has listeners wanting more, but more importantly, it has us questioning if Hoyer can meet its lofty standards. And if he can, Edmonton has a serious songwriter on their hands.

Fast Forward Weekly: Plenty of players seem to focus on stripping down the ukulele to its most basic. Why did you opt for bigger band instrumentation instead?

Doug Hoyer: In theory, you could play a good song by itself on the ukulele, and I like it a lot for the portability of the instrument — I went to California and Europe with it. But I don’t consider the uke to be my full thing — if anything, I’m slightly moving away from it. I’ve been playing ukulele for years now, and to me, it’s just an instrument like a guitar. I’ve been wanting to move into a fuller, bigger sound for a while, so it just naturally happened. I’m willing to write on anything — you always gotta keep your fingers moving in different ways.

There’s a real sense of existential confusion on your songs. Where’s that coming from?

(Laughs) Good question. It’s literally probably because I’m 25 years old — I’m fumbling my way through my mid-20s, as most people do. I was seeing someone, and when we broke up, she just said, “Well, I just feel like I don’t know who you are.” I thought about that more, and well, I don’t even know who I am! It’s a scary thing — what am I? Am I just the books I read, the records I own? I always wonder if we’re a collection of what we’ve amassed through media, tradition or culture, or if we have our own independent thoughts.

That definitely comes across on “Songs From a Stranger’s Floor.”

I have to stress, I always hated the songs about touring. It’s like reading a fictional book about authors, or 30 Rock — it’s well written, but it’s a show about making TV shows! It’s too meta. I’ve always felt that was really weird. It’s poor form — but here I am, on my A-side, with a song about tours (laughs). But the other part of it is about who, what, where, why and how. Where am I going with all this? It’s literally about waking up on someone’s floor and wondering why you’re there and what you’re doing there. You could ask the same questions to someone who’s working on their sociology degree — which I am doing right now. - Fast Forward Weekly

"Doug Hoyer - "Lakes of Mars""

Clever dead-pan baritone vocals over playful instrumentals clearly put Edmonton's Doug Hoyer under the stylistic umbrella of greats like Jonathan Richman and Jens Lekman, but with ukulele in tow, Hoyer's songs also take on their own distinct charm. On "Lakes of Mars"—the B-Side to his forthcoming 7-inch on Canadian label Old Ugly—Hoyer discusses exploring far away galaxies, dreaming of a chat with God, and getting lost in someone's eyes all while a pounding rhythm section and hook-laden melodies wrap a stranglehold around your ears. Order the 7-inch for $7 or download both tracks digitally free here.
- Everybody Taste

"Doug Hoyer 7" review"

On paper, Doug Hoyer is a ukulele troubadour demanding charisma comparison to Jon Richman and Mr. Merritt and a never ending collection of whimsical melodies that could easily fit into Jens Lekman’s catalog. Thankfully though, Hoyer is more than an exercise in “sounds like” and the Albertan nomad’s songs really come to life the minute you press play.

In fact, his new 7? – the appropriately named Two New Songs By – finds Hoyer exploring some of the same sonic regions as Mat Kom and The Burning Hell are these days and forces you to rethink your preconceived notions about the uke. Bigger arrangements full of harmonies, energy and electronic that dance around the spirited banjo and create a smile ready canvas for Hoyer’s questions about the reality of love and hardships of touring… you know, “standard white singer-songwriter material.”

Both songs are available as a free download on Doug’s bandcamp site but you’d be better served paying for the 7? friends. Trust me, it’s worth it. You won’t be able to get “Lakes of Mars” out of your head.Plus, how can you not enjoy a lyric like, “I’d bring Trotsky, Trudeau, and even Trebek.” - Herohill

"Doug Hoyer - Lakes of Mars"

Canadian Doug Hoyer has a new 7” out on Old Ugly Recording Co. Above is the B-side Lakes of Mars, that if it doesn’t get a pep in your step, I don’t think anything will. Doug is a pretty awesome dude, who I think we can expect to see a lot out of in the future. Whether he’s writing slow introspective songs or upbeat dancy pop, you can count on one thing. And that is that Doug will write honest music. You can’t get that guarantee just anywhere.

Go scope the new 7” tunes here, and even pick up a copy if you feel so inclined. And I think you do ;) - smokedontsmoke

"Doug Hoyer - Lakes of Mars (review)"

It’s difficult for me to pinpoint what it is exactly that makes Doug Hoyer’s “Lakes of Mars” so enjoyable, but that might be due to my inherent failings as a human being. Were I a more confident writer, I might say it could instead be that his vocals are very They Might Be Giants-esque. It might also be the charms of a meta song espousing philosophical ideas in a surprisingly upbeat package. Or, it could just be that it’s simply a good song.

If you like this as much as me, there are more options for you. You’ll be glad to know Hoyer, a ukulele playing singer-songwriter from Edmonton, has got a Bandcamp page with another track available for download. If you are of more of a physical media type, Canadian based (and wonderfully named) Old Ugly Records are releasing the two songs on 7? in early November.
- tympanogram

"Doug Hoyer: It's all in the past. Doug Hoyer looks back while moving on"

David Berry /

Saddled into a bar stool at the Jekyll & Hyde—obviously comfortable in the basement of his second home, the Hydeaway, where he hosts a monthly songwriter's circle and can be found most every weekend in between, as well as next Wednesday, where he'll be releasing his latest EP and kicking off a cross-Canada tour—Doug Hoyer begins recounting the stories that inspired his songs with little provocation. There is one about the childhood friend who he's since grown apart from; another about hanging out in an abandoned hospital with hash-smoking (and shortlived) roommates.

When it comes time to put pen to paper, Hoyer most often draws from his past. Granted, the stories he's relating now are most decidedly the longer versions: Hoyer specializes in stripped-down, intricate pop songs in both lyric and melody, with an eye towards little details and an ear for simple earworms.

"Yeah, most of my stuff is autobiographical. Partly it's a way of figuring it out for myself, but also, that's what I know, so that's what I can write about," he says, in his typically earnest way. "Some people can be really abstract about things, and I'm kind of jealous of that, because I just can't. When I try to write like that, it sounds like a Grade 9 student writing poetry about his emotions."

Hoyer hasn't let his penchant for unadorned writing hamper him, though. He tends to look at his past with a certain wry humour, which he admits stems from a little bit of trepidation towards throwing himself out there on stage and record.

"People tend to think some of what I do is funny, and I am ... OK with that," he says with a laugh. "I mean, when you're exposing yourself, expressing yourself, it can help to try and mask it with a bit of humour.

"Because, I mean, my songs aren't, like, laughing-out-loud, pissing your pants or anything," he continues. "Really, a lot of them are kind of about sad things, but I just throw it up there as, 'Hey, this is funny, right?' In 'Teenage Romance,' there's a bit about how I gave a girl a love note in high school, and she just never even acknowledged it. We rode the bus together for three years, and she knew, but never said a word. And now, that's funny, you know, but it's actually kind of a big, stressful way to start the day. It wasn't fun at all then." V - Vue Weekly

"A year in the life: Reflections from the road fill Doug Hoyer's new EP, Songs From Grand Marquee"

Francois Marchand,
Published: Thursday, May 08 2008

"For me, songwriting is a diary," singer-songwriter Doug Hoyer says. "When I meet people I haven't seen in a while and they say, 'What's new?' I just want to give them a copy of my new EP, or I want to play a new song. 'This sums it up right here. This is where I'm at.' "

And if you stopped and listened, you would get "a year in the life of Doug Hoyer": Quitting his job. Travelling across the Rockies. Meeting a girl named Emma in Vancouver. Getting turned away at the U.S. border. Ending up in Hawaii and Scotland. Writing songs about his journey and the people he met along the way.

Hoyer's new EP, Doug Hoyer Presents Songs From Grand Marquee, is as much a tribute to his battered old car as it is a tribute to the Kerouac experience: hitting the road with no pre-defined goal, hoping to tour the States with no other vision than to soak in the sights and sounds of America.
Doug Hoyer, seen here crowd-surfing while standing perfectly still.View Larger Image View Larger Image
Doug Hoyer, seen here crowd-surfing while standing perfectly still.
Marc Bence/Edmonton Journal
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Hoyer explains how his failure to even make it across the border -- officers sending him back because he was packing too many musical instruments and a portable fridge, which in their minds meant he was going there to work illegally -- actually made the experiment even more compelling.

Rolling with the punches, Hoyer struck out for Hawaii. Since airplane tickets have a return date, the U.S. couldn't deny him entry. There, he sat on the beach with a ukulele writing songs about his trip. It's something he then continued to do once he set out for foggy London and the misty boroughs of Scotland, thinking about how he got there and where his Grand Marquis should've led him in the first place.

"For me, it's all about hindsight, because then I can see where I stand with the situation," the 22-year-old explains. "Maybe I can put importance into something that, at the time, didn't seem important at all.

"When you distance yourself from something, you can reflect on it more," he adds, "and I guess that's what happened with a lot of these songs. There's at least one phrase in every song that I resonate with completely, fully and truly -- something from the core of me."

Hoyer's EP showcases a maturing talent, but he is still somewhat of a musical oddity on the local indie scene. Hoyer is as apt at playing the accordion and the ukulele (both of which he picked up at an early age) as he is playing more "conventional" instruments. Songs From Grand Marquee is peppered with these sonic curiosities, and Hoyer's sound could easily satisfy the cravings of both indie and folk types alike.

"It's funny because a lot of people didn't know I played bass," Hoyer says with a grin. "A lot of people had seen me play solo and then found out I joined Illfit Outfit -- 'Well, hopefully he can fill the shoes.' No, this is what I'm actually good at."

He laughs.

Songs From Grand Marquee not only benefited from the input of other local musicians -- Calvin McElroy on bass and Jesse Orge on drums, as well as additional support from his popster friends in Illfit Outfit -- but it also garnered the help of Jacob Stalhammar, famous for mastering indie sensation Jens Lekman's early albums.

"It was a pretty huge deal to me," Hoyer admits. "Someone told me, 'You can record your album DIY, but if you're going to do that, you should put the money into mastering.' So I e-mailed a few people that worked on my favourite records to find what their pricing was. When I e-mailed Jacob, he was really helpful about everything and very excited and very affordable. I'm just a huge Jens Lekman fan. It's a bit of an ego boost, right?"

But as much as Hoyer is a Jens Lekman fanatic, his true love lies in Joel Plaskett's no-nonsense Canadian rock. Future recordings will probably leave a little bit of Hoyer's trademark "cute," minimalist factor behind and lean towards a rockier sound.

"I'm not sure if I want to be 'precious,' " Hoyer chuckles. "Maybe I should start swearing more in my songs." - Edmonton Journal

"blog review"

"... In addition to Richman, there’s a lot of strong comparisons to Jens Lekman: both have their deep, deadpan vocals and incredibly happy, fun songs that make girls want to dance in their underwear. As it’s getting closer to spring, I know this will be getting a lot of play."
-Max Mellman, -

"Save a ukulele: Doug Hoyer does his part to elevate the instrument"

James Stewart /

Doug Hoyer isn't one to shy away from a challenge. Anyone who's seen him perform around town can attest to his self-deprecating wit and a knack for off-the-cuff humour in his wry, winsome pop tunes. So who better to launch a local campaign to rescue the much-maligned ukulele from being a cruel punchline, or being easily dismissed as meaningless kitsch? With an all-ukulele 2008 fundraiser raising just over $1000, Hoyer decided to take another kick at the can with Uke Fest 2009, featuring a stacked lineup featuring local and touring talent showcasing the ukulele.

"I started Uke Fest with [New City talent buyer] Mark Hayes last year," Hoyer explains. "I'd met a Peterborough band called the Burning Hell on tour," Hoyer explains. "They're a totally fun, awesome band that use the ukulele. Their singer, Mathias Kom, introduced me to an organization called Ukuleles for Peace. Basically they set up these classes and ensembles in Israel, and they bring Israeli and Palestinian children together, and teach them how to play the instrument and have concerts. It's just a really grassroots way of promoting peace."

Initially introduced to the instrument on a Hawaiian family vacation many years ago, it wasn't until Hoyer heard the distinctive tone throughout many of his favourite records that he took the time to get reacquainted with the instrument.

"I have this very distinctive memory of sitting in a tree in Hawaii in Grade 8, watching the sun set over the ocean and picking out the bass line to 'Pretty Fly for a White Guy' by the Offspring on a ukulele," laughs Hoyer. "I definitely don't view it as a joke anymore. I don't see it as kitschy at all—it has a really nice sound to it. Also, a while back I toured Germany with the Blazing Violets, and after the tour I was kind of stuck overseas without an instrument, so I started to go pretty crazy. So the next time I went travelling I brought a uke with me and you really appreciate how light and portable of an instrument it is."

It should serve him well again this fall, when Hoyer hits the road for a cross-country drive alongside local songsmith Michael Rault, as the two tour their way out to the Halifax Pop Explosion.

"Michael Rault will actually be playing bass in my touring band, and my friend Kevin Guadett will be playing drums for me. It's not my regular band, so it'll be interesting to see how different it might be. Kevin actually dropped out of college to do this tour, so hopefully I haven't ruined his life." V

Thu, Sep 24 (8 pm)
Uke Fest 2009
With Doug Hoyer, Be Arthurs, Renee Wilson and more
New City, donations (all proceeds go to Ukuleles for Peace)

- Vue Weekly


Blood Dรถner EP [Tape] (October 2015)

To Be A River [LP/CD] (May 2013)

Walks with the Tender and Growing Night [LP/CD] (2011) 

Two New Songs By [7" Single] (2010)

Busy Busy Busy EP (2009)
Songs from Grand Marquee EP (2008)
Tattoo EP (2007)



Doug Hoyer will take you by surprise. The unassuming songwriter has taken many turns through his youthful career, from his starts as a ukulele troubadour to Can­Rock feedback to his 'of the moment' focus on rhythm, Talking Heads­esque funk and all things tropical. Through it all, he's always had a lyrical eye for exploring the everyday, turning it inside out and seeing it from a refreshingly playful angle. Having recently opened for St. Vincent, Athens, GA via Edmonton's Doug Hoyer is excited to take his band on the road and continue working on his followup to 2013's sophomore LP, "To Be A River". 

Similar Artists:
Jens Lekman, Jonathan Richman, Erland Øye, Talking Heads, the Magnetic Fields

Band Members