Jackie Valentine
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Jackie Valentine

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | MAJOR

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | MAJOR
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"The music that moved us in 2011: the Georgia Straight's critics pick their top 10 albums"

Adrian Mack

These are in order up until number two and then it’s a free-for-all, you crazy bastards!

PJ Harvey
Let England Shake
An everlasting gob-stopper of a record, this crone’s-eye view of conflict, clashing empires, and England’s blood-soaked earth—recorded in an 18th-century church, appropriately—is the album that elevates Harvey to godlike-genius status.

Hayes Carll
KMAG YOYO (& Other American Stories)
From gonzo rock ’n’ roll to boot-in-the-gut balladry, Carll is taking country out of the hands of the Nashville-stamped CGI death merchants and back to the existential hippie-cowboy bar in Texas where it belongs.

The Black Keys
El Camino
“Lonely Boy” set the scene in October and it only gets better on El Camino, which sounds like a trash eater’s idea of a soul revival. This is a mind-shittingly good follow-up to Brothers.

Jackie Valentine
Building Walls and Burning Bridges
White Rock? Pop music? 604 Records? Wait, come back! I know if the tables were turned and it was me reading about a scarily accomplished debut that sounds like the Jackson Five collaborating with ELO, I’d be pretty fucking intrigued.

John Maus
We Must Become the Pitiless Censors of Ourselves
We suffered through a vile and ugly decade of rinky-dink synth pop so that high-functioning superweirdo John Maus could turn it into demented and slightly terrifying art 30 years later. It all makes beautiful sense now.

No Gold
No Gold
Fuck me, a record that makes me think of German communal anarchists from the ’70s working for Factory Records in the ’80s. Plus, it’s local, and organic.

Kourosh Yaghmaei
Back From the Brink
The eggheads say there are rich and complex Persian folk influences in Yaghmaei’s music. I just found this collection of polyester-clad casbah rock from prerevolution Iran to be one of the most transportingly strange and beautiful things I heard all year.

Dirty Beaches
Alex Zhang Hungtai’s exotic deconstruction of rock ’n’ roll beggars description, but I picture a chronic masturbator in a motel room in Reno erotically fixated on Kenneth Anger’s “Scorpio Rising”. The celestially grimy “True Blue” is the part where he paints the ceiling.

The Smith Westerns
Dye It Blonde
A bunch of guys still counting their first pubes breathe life into the old glam-fizz-pop template while slathering on the murk to remind us that this isn’t the U.K. in 1973 (much as I wish it were).

Greg Pope
Monster Suit
You have to eat a lot of dog shit sprinkled with icing sugar when you’re a power-pop loyalist. Then something like Monster Suit comes along and all’s well in the sunshine-and-rainbow factory again, albeit in this case with Marc Bolan and a bit of Zep echoing off the walls. - Georgia Straight

"Gimme Jackie"

Because it was the company that Nickelback built, Vancouver's 604 Records faced a mountain of prejudice when it introduced itself to the public in 2002. There's still an unreasonable amount of hostility directed towards the label. If the initial charge was that 604 might be the headquarters for a bunch of post-grunge sound-a-likes, label heads Chad Kroeger and Jonathan Simkin promptly pulled the rug out by partnering with Mint Records and signing The Organ -- one of Vancouver's key hipster bands at the time.

Since then, the label hasn't hewed to any one type of music, with the cabaret electropop of Jakalope sitting beside Daniel Wesley's breezy, beachside reggae, Thornley's testicular, gearhead rock and the new country of Aaron Pritchett. And that's just a small cross-section. Nobody's required to think all or even any of it is good, but in fairness to the label, 604 is known to indulge its bands in the studio in ways that would give your classic A&R bozo a coronary. Plus, much of it is actually very good.

604 is also a shamelessly populist venture. There's a portion of its roster -- Carly Rae Jepson, Faber Drive -- aimed stealthily at the tween market, so anybody still intent on bashing it has a pretty wide angle right there. On the other hand, there's a scale and ambition behind the Marianas Trench album Masterpiece Theatre that you wouldn't glean from the routine and uninformed drubbing the band has taken from pretty much anybody that isn't glued to MuchMusic.

The label's newest rave, Jackie Valentine, will probably get the same kind of kneejerk treatment. And it's tragic, because 604 is sitting on a phenomenally talented band -- from White Rock, no less, and fronted by a singer-songwriter named Kieran Mercer who's all of 22. That Jackie Valentine is making digitally buffed, modern pop music is irrelevant; debut album Building Walls and Burning Bridges is so stunning in its range and confidence that it simply doesn't matter what genre the band slots into. But guess what? You'll just have to take my word for it, since it isn't released until the Spring. But the first single "Brand New Car" is available for your listening pleasure here. And guess what, again? I've been spinning Building Walls non-stop for over a week and I think "Brand New Car" -- as good as it is -- is also probably the least striking track on the album.

Jackie Valentine - "Brand New Car"

You'll get a better sense of Jackie Valentine's scope if you head to its Myspace and check out the Jackson-shaped neo-soul and pop hybrid "Someone to Go Home With" or the blue-eyed Maroon 5 dimensions explored on "Giving It Up to Me." As for the rest of Building Walls, skeptics need to give a fair hearing to the fiendish syncopation of the title track -- which at the very least demonstrates how well these little bastards can play -- and they should lend an ear to the more classical influences wafting around elsewhere, whether its ELO ("Keep it Going"), Fleetwood Mac ("On My Way"), McCartney ("Lay Low," "On the Phone"), or Cheap Trick ("Caged Down Here").

Of course, if you happen to be militantly opposed to commercial pop music marketed to kids, no matter how smart and brilliantly constructed it is, then I wouldn't bother. But it's a position I've never been interested in myself. Same goes for Simkin over at 604, who signed Jackie Valentine based on a demo he heard on Mercer's Myspace. If the 604 head has been on the trail of another world-devouring golden egg, Jackie Valentine might very well be it. - TheTyree.ca Adrian Mack

"Fall For This Week's Playlist Artist, Jackie Valentine"

Every week, we offer free downloads of music by Canadian indie artists. This week, check out a song by Jackie Valentine and nine other artists here.

There's a very good chance you haven't heard of Jackie Valentine. There's an even better chance that you will, very soon, and a lot. The sound is pop-redux: classic hooks and rhythms rooted in the '60s and '70s, but thoroughly new-millennial, and infectious as heck.

Jackie Valentine is actually four guys in their early 20s -- Martin Leather, Graham Boots, Cameron Grey and founder Kieren Mercer -- from lovely, beach-swept White Rock B.C., a Vancouver suburb.

Jackie Valentine is also a girl, a young woman now, who was in Boots' and Grey's class in high school while Mercer, who went to a different school, knew her from the local party circuit. She lives in Victoria now, studying at UVic.

"I always thought it was a really sharp name," he says. "So I thought it might be a good band name. I was kind of afraid to pitch it to the guys, but they liked it."

Mercer still lives at home; the band's rehearsal space is his basement. Their ride to becoming 604 Records artists -- that's the Vancouver-based label established by Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and entertainment lawyer Jonathan Simkin -- started straightforwardly enough.

Mercer would record demos of his bright little pop confections, playing all the parts himself on computer-based studio software, and fire them off to Jonathan Simkin's Facebook page with all caps enticements to "CHECK IT OUT!!" Simkin did, asking back every time whether Mercer had a band.

Band? The only time he'd played was noon-hour high-school events where the kids would listen and throw their lunches at him because that's what kids do. But eventually he got the hint, put a band together, got some gigs and Simkin sent one of the office staff to see them. The report was very positive.

"It was pretty exciting to get an email from him on MySpace saying, 'Come on down,'" says Mercer. "That's the ultimate dream, to get signed to a record label.

Jackie Valentine signed a management and recording contract with 604 and, before long, the four were ushered into fabled Mushroom Studio in Vancouver, the space where Heart recorded Dreamboat Annie, where Led Zeppelin and the Supremes had laid down tracks, and many classics from the likes of Trooper, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and Sarah McLachlan were put to tape. From a White Rock basement and a laptop to these platinum record-lined hallways was a tad overwhelming.

"I'd never been in a real studio before," says Mercer. "That was definitely a major one to walk into."

Helmed by 54/40's Dave Genn, a Beatles fanatic to equal Mercer, Jackie Valentine's debut album is complete, and the group awaits a release date and a cross-Canada tour. Today's featured download from Jackie Valentine is "Brand New Car," high-energy pop that stirs together elements of Cat Stevens and Michael Jackson.

"I was just fishing around on the guitar one day," says Mercer, "and I found that really cool octave effect and came across that riff. The lyrics just kinda came out of singing gibberish. It's in the scheme of an old Beach Boys song. It's about a car, but it's really about a girl, right?"

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/Fall+this+week+Playlist+artist+Jackie+Valentine/4286105/story.html#ixzz1EH9U4LUo - Vancouver Sun


Building Walls and Burning Bridges - Oct 25, 2011

Singles from Building Walls and Burning Bridges:
- Brand New Car
- Someone To Go Home With
- Never Gonna Break My Heart



“Hey now, I’m a golden king,” sings Kieran Mercer on “Building Walls and Burning Bridges”, from Jackie Valentine’s debut album. He’s almost certainly not addressing himself, but it’d be bang-on if he was. Two years ago, Mercer was just a guy with a handful of demos and a Myspace page. Cut to 2010, and the 22 year old singer-songwriter-guitarist is sitting on a mind-blowing debut album recorded at Vancouver’s Mushroom studios.

“The first day was weird,” Mercer confesses, “because we’re a bunch of kids from White Rock, and there’s Trooper records and Loverboy records on the wall, and we’re going in and doing our little songs…”

His songs make too much of an impact to be “little”, but self-effacement aside, it’s easy to appreciate why the Golden King is dazzled by his current situation. When 604 Records head Jonathan Simkin originally happened upon his DIY Myspace efforts – specifically, a nugget of baroque pop called “The Divorce” that could easily pass as a string-driven Left Banke cover - he advised Mercer to get himself a band. By the time he entered the legendary west coast studio, the industrious Mercer was flanked by guitarist-vocalist Cameron Gray, bassist Martin Leather, drummer Graham Boots, and dream producer Dave Genn.

Clearly, the chemistry was precious - Jackie Valentine and their Midas-fingered knob-twiddler have managed to find a middle ground between Maroon 5 and Paul McCartney on power pop overdrive.

Check out “On the Phone”, which could be Ram-era Paul hanging with Badfinger.

Or “Lay Low”, which is lover’s rock with a dash of Wings’ “Let Me Roll It”.

Things get even more ear-bending with the Cameron Gray composed and sung “Caged Down Here”, where stacked doo-wop harmonies and thumping piano conspire to suggest Todd Rundgren pretending to be post-Smile Beach Boys.

Same goes for “Keep It Going” - imagine shimmering, new millennium dance pop somehow splitting the difference between ELO and meathead-free BTO.

This is strange, captivating, wholly original music from a young band with a strong feel for history.

“I think that sense of pop music has been lost,” Mercer pleads, adding that Michael Jackson is another bottom-line influence. “When people hear the word ‘pop’, they think of boy bands and stuff. I’m thinking more along the lines of the Beatles, Elton John, classic rock with a pop feel to it.”

The other side of Jackie Valentine – the Jackson side – is there in “Someone to Go Home With”, a sparkling, quasi-funk triumph built for summer nights and first love.

“Building Walls and Burning Bridges” is weird and finicky blue-eyed pop pitched somewhere between Prince and the Philly sound.

First single “Brand New Car” is modern dance pop built on a claustrophobic guitar riff.

It’d take a tin ear to not love this stuff. Or to put it another way, if you’ve ever adored a pop song in all its luminous, feelgood glory, then you know that Jackie Valentine took their one shot and aced it. Mercer has to admit he’s a little “spooked out” that his world is changing faster than the speed of sound. It’s almost like things are working out too well.

“It’s gonna be weird standing there with a bunch of extras and a film crew working around a song that I wrote in my basement on a Saturday night,” he chuckles, about an upcoming, Motown-inspired video shoot – but there you go. Every Golden King should be so humble.