Psychic Pollution
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Psychic Pollution

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
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2008 Album of the Year
Posted by cristóvão On January - 3 - 2009

In the five years since we’ve been doing our annual Album of the Year honours, it’s almost never been an easy choice and 2008 was no different. Especially when you have big name releases like Nine Inch Nails’ “the Slip” and the triumphant return to great hard-rock songs on Metallica’s “Death Magnetic”. New York indie darlings Vampire Weekend started off the year on a fine note while the Mars Volta found an excellent balance between spaced-out psychedelic and catchy song-writing. We even saw new material from Scotland’s Mogwai and their new album “the Hawk Is Howling”, a phenomenal instrumental collection that shouldn’t be missed. One thing’s for sure, none of these albums took nearly as long to come out as did “Chinese Democracy”.

This year also saw some fantastic releases from Canadian artists like Montreal’s the Dears (“Missiles”) and the fantastic reggae/ska grooves of One Night Band’s “Hit and Run”. Sophomore was the name of the game for New Brunswick’s Hospital Grade and Regina’s Sylvie, releasing “Secrets and Sawdust” and “Trees and Shade Are Our Only Fences” respectively. The boys in Calgary’s GutterAwl were very busy in 2008; they revealed their somewhat reinvented sound on “Red Sauce” while front-man Markus Overland also released a new Lucid 44 disc and drummer Jzero Schuurman strutted his trippy side on Psychic Pollution.

Although they didn’t qualify, Vancouver’s the Organ (who disbanded back in 2006 but somehow managed to produce new material this year), Guelph, ON’s Innes Wilson & His Opposition and Austin’s …And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead all gave us samples of their fares with excellent EPs. By far the best EP came from the Most Serene Republic with their fantastic “Live at XMU”.

So, without any further delay, here are in no particular order, the top eight albums of 2008 with my selection for the Album of the Year being the last entry;

Kings of Leon ~ “Only by the Night”; Maybe the Followill brothers/cousin ensemble will finally get the credit they deserve with their fourth album. Many of us certainly know it’s absolutely warranted.

Inner Surge ~ “An Offering”; The effort put into this album from Calgary’s politically charged metal band may have had a hand in their demise but this is as intense and in-your-face as it gets. The messages are clear, the offending targets precise and the songs fantastic.

The Black Keys ~ “Attack and Release”; Plenty of people were talking about this duo and the truth is, they certainly deserved so much more attention that we heard around these parts.

Mother Mother ~ “O My Heart”; This album is pure fun. With fantastic vocal harmonies and great hooks that you simply cannot ignore, this Vancouver five-piece has certainly made a mark this year.

Ra Ra Riot ~ “the Rhumb Line”; Great indie-rock could be found just about anywhere, even Syracuse, NY. Despite having tragically lost a member of their group in the midst of their successful rise, they manage to put out a fantastic debut full-length.

Scars on Broadway ~ S/T; The second of the post-System of a Down releases arrived this year with impressive results, further pointing out which musical influence played what parts in SOAD. We’ve even forgiven Daron Malakian for abruptly bailing on their world tour because this album is so good.

Indie/DIY Album of the Year; Damn Dirty Ape ~ S/T; This rock outfit took their sweet time releasing this album and it was well worth the wait. This is a cool, fun and solid effort from the boys of North-East Calgary that deserves plenty of attention.

Hey Rosetta! ~ \

2008 Album of the Year; Hey Rosetta! ~ “Into Your Lungs (and around in your heart and on through your blood)”; An honest and beautiful collection from this six-piece St. John’s, Newfoundland act. Produced by Hawksly Workman (who himself released an interesting album this year) it features piano, violin and cello to compliment the four-piece rock band configuration for a well-rounded sound. These songs bleed raw emotion that just guts you.

ShareThis - Off The Dial


That's Jzero Schuurman and Dan Wilson. Jzero is familiar face in Calgary's music scene. He's another genre-hopper, so you may have seen him playing in Lucid 44, Gutterawl, Jane Vain, or the Lonely Hunters, but you might also be aware of his solo project, Psychic Pollution. The debut release by that project is a melange of alienated atmospherics, instrumental snippets, and music concrete, all floating around a fairly ominous sounding sonic environment.

Dan Wilson is a mystery drummer on this night. After a hiatus from the tubs, DW has returned by popular request to join guitarist Schuurman for some duets. - Bug Incision presents


Mark Hamilton,
Calgary Herald
Published: Friday, November 28, 2008

They
say that on levels political and financial, whenever the U.S. catches a
cold, Canada sneezes--but the metaphor holds on the artistic level as
well. Much like 2008's triumphantly defiant album The American by
fellow local heroes of the future Beija Flor, Jzero Schuurman's
self-titled debut, Psychic Pollution, has a distinctively Canadian
creative reaction to the politics of our neighbours to the south.

"We're
so inundated by American media, and it's so hard to ignore what's going
on across the border. It's just overwhelming, some of the stuff that we
hear from there," Schuurman says. "It's so in contrast to our Canadian
politics. We as Canadians have it pretty good."

Compiling his
immediate thoughts on the Hurricane Katrina disaster, wars past and
present, and the current crop of power mongers in office (soon to be
replaced, thank goodness), Psychic Pollution is Schuurman's political
history of recent events. But despite its heavily political stance, the
record also chronicles a series of failed relationships, making it
distinctly personal.

With
its sludgy lo-fi rock and atmospheric improvisations punctuated by
newsworthy audio samples, Psychic Pollution isn't an easy listen.
However, its subject matter makes for a rewarding struggle.

Psychic Pollution is available at Megatunes, Sloth and Melodiya. To hear more, visit myspace.com/psychicpollution.

- - -

Jzero Schuurman

On selected songs from Psychic Pollution

Track by Track

KAT-5
"This song was written back when the Katrina catastrophe was happening,
and I felt really compelled to write a song about the government's
delay in helping its citizens. I felt emotionally affected by what was
going on there, so I wanted to portray it in an angry song, and show my
feelings about the situation a little bit."

Texan Forest Stroll "This song is a musical metaphor for a peaceful walk through the woods, assuming there are woods in Texas."

Chopsky
"This is an anti-war song describing the inevitability of nuclear
devastation in the future, using Noam Chomsky samples. One of the
biggest samples is 'This is what democracy looks like,' with warfare in
the background. That's basically what I'm trying to say with the song:
war, pain, suffering, inevitable destruction of the human race."

Don't
Take the Night Away "Another sad relationship song about losing sleep
over somebody. Basically this particular record is a kind of
compilation of works new and old. Some of the newer songs are on the
more personal side. The record doesn't have a theme, it's more of an
introduction to Psychic Pollution."

Tribute "This song is also an
instrumental, basically constructed from a sample of a former
girlfriend playing Zoo Tycoon, a videogame where you put together a zoo
and take care of it. It was just really nice to hear her voice recorded
and I wanted to build a melodic instrumental around her talking in the
background--a tribute to that particular relationship."

I Reply
"It's a story about being lost in the woods with a spiritual guide
telling me where to go, while I'm trying to navigate through this
forest of thought. They need responses from me in order to guide me
through the woods. By the end of the song I realize they're trying to
help me, so I reply. I like to think the songs I'm writing are personal
and from the heart, but a lot's from fictional viewpoints. I'm not as
sad a person as my music portrays. I like to write sad music so I have
to create these scenarios for myself."

You're a Silly Fool "It's about somebody I was seeing--this one is
personal. Basically she was making it very difficult for me to get
close to her. It turned out she was sick. She had cancer and passed
away. I didn't know that at the time. The song was written, originally
angry. Why aren't you letting me get close to you?"

Queen of the
Century "Another relationship song. Somebody I was with was quite the
socialite, and I wasn't really too keen on the scene that she was a
part of. I gave her the title Queen of the Century. She had to be the
star of the party and I didn't want to be with the star of the party."

If
It Wasn't A Holiday "I wrote it the first Christmas I spent alone,
portraying my sadness of being alone and sharing space with a cat that
I was taking care of, as my company. I was watching horror movies and
trying to take my mind off of Christmas and just trying to pretend it
was a regular day."

- The Calgary Herald


Discography

Kat-5 EP first single released in 2007
Psychic Pollution-S/T LP
released late 2008, has been in rotation in Radio stations all over Canada.

Photos

Bio

Jzero Schuurman has been a fixture in the Calgary music scene for the last 7 years. His musical abilities have been tapped by some of the greatest bands to come out of Calgary. Bands such as Jane Vain and the Dark Matter, Grandfather Fire and the Holy Morning, Gutterawl, The Lonely Hunters and Lucid 44. With these bands and his solo project Jzero has criss-crossed this country many times playing many different venues and clubs. An experienced musician in all aspects Jzero had put Psychic Pollution on the back burner in order to focus on bigger projects. Lately he has made the decision to work hard and build a name for himself not only as a back up musician but as a front man for his own project. A film grad knowledgeable with most instruments from keys to flute to drums, Jzero has spent time chizelling out his own sound in the Canadian music scene. Using ambient heavy DIY recordings the music produced can be included in anyones life soundtrack. 1998 saw the release of his first Self titled LP. Jzero's music falls within many different genres. His set is tailored for each event. Commissioned for noize pieces, gallery exhibits, soundtracks and theatre, Jzero's music runs the gamut. Some songs are dark and thought provoking while others play with relationship topics and social interactions. A veteran of the indie rock scene and a true professional. Now a resident of Victoria British Columbia. Jzero will be working even harder to promote himself on the West coast playing festivals, creating installations and continually recording.