You Say Party! We Say Die!
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You Say Party! We Say Die!


Band Rock Punk


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By their very nature, British Columbia band You Say Party! We Say Die! seem reductive. Who's to say that hedonism and destruction are the only alternatives-- or that they're mutually exclusive? Fusing the leftist party-punk of Le Tigre with the dark, militant dramatics of Pretty Girls Make Graves, full-length debut Hit the Floor! neatly strips punk rock and politics alike (one and the same, really) to just get with the beat-- or get beaten. Exclamation point, exclamation point. Synthesizer!

Nocturnal guitar stabs, mournful harmonies, dance-mother-fucker bass, and clanging hardcore beats advance the band's agenda of overthrowing, well, something. YSP!WSD! has a knack for emphatic codas that all but slip its agitprop past the brain's trusting hook receptors. Singer Becky Minkovic's voice exudes a horn-rimmed idealism that charms even as she shouts breathlessly for violence. "We're gonna take 'em down in numbers one by one!" Minkovic repeats on "The Gap (Between the Rich and the Poor)" as it surges into a bridge fit for a riot or a noise violation, then sighs, "All we want is for things to be fair." As a generational rallying cry, not quite "No one here gets out alive," is it? All the better. The instruments still dip into martial call-and-response. The opening instrumental and final hidden track bookend the album with synth-washed apocalypse-- explosions, flames crackling, clocks pealing-- but first this band's painting the town red.

Indeed, the object is less Poli Sci discussion-section and more full-body participation. The physical realm looms large both musically and lyrically, from the yawpy, hand-clapping pogo-punk of "Cold Hands! Hot Bodies!" to the spinning, dipping "Midnight Snack" and "Stockholm Syndrome Part One" in all its skin-and-bones frenzy. The bouncy multi-part pop of "You Did It!" could pass for Architecture in Helsinki, goofily cheering, "Now throw away your pack of lies!" The band's politics-- personal and otherwise-- and its punk are ultimately about self-determination: "I will follow me," Minkovic proclaims at the end of "Stockholm Syndrome Part Two". Of course, what's inside the body has a beat, too. "Hold it in your chest," she chimes on you-say-die-another-day hopscotcher "He! She! You! Me! They! Us! OK!" The songs are all better than their titles, I swear.

Still, beneath the oddly thrilling over-the-counter leftism and patchwork punk, YSP!WSD may be a sensitive band waiting to reveal itself. Translucent mid-tempo anthem "Don't Wait Up" unfolds like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' heartbreaker "Maps", right down to waiting and breakup-precipice subject matter. "Can't let my head believe what my heart already has received," Minkovic pronounces wispily, eventually building into another sloganeering coda: "I'm your truth/ You be dare." On "Midnight Snack", she pledges to "build a moment out of feathers" for a tired lover, toeing the line between vulgar sentimentality and soaring romanticism like a certain Pretty Girls Make Graves namesake (Steven, not Jack). So too the hidden track, which lays a timeless, vocoderrific mortal sentiment over a bed of synths: "It's our last night on Earth/ Let's be together." Turns out dance parties and revolutionary politics are easy; love is the big exclamation point exclamation point period. Question mark.

-Marc Hogan, September 20, 2005 - Marc Hogan

October 07, 2005

Hit the Floor comes barrelling at you in a hard-hitting haze of pounding, suffocatingly energised noise rock. Filled with unstoppable post-punk anthems, this Vancouver band’s debut is a brilliantly dark collection of spasmodic dance-inducing tracks. “Cold hands! Hot bodies!” sears with flaring synths and thrusting bass lines before getting deliriously feverish with all-or-nothing clap-alongs. YSP! continue to lose themselves in vicious concussive Casio overtures and deranged but highly danceable rhythms. “You Did It!” shows off the band’s playful nature with its pop-laden jerky style and a quirkiness that is reminiscent of Toronto’s DIY darlings Fox the Boombox. The final track, “Don’t Wait Up,” brings the energy down just enough to accent a bit of sentimentalism, again showing another side of the band’s personality. Hit the Floor brims with indulgent sounds, rich with clever lyrics and rhythmic fits and starts that make each song an explosion of exciting sounds. - Liz Worth

Who says that Canada's boring? Well, most of the developed world, actually. With that in mind, thank God for weirdo bands like Arcade Fire and bastions of piss sex and 'golden' harmonies The Hidden Cameras for flying the mad flag for the ol' Maple Leaf. Now add You Say Party! We Say Die! to that list - singer Becky Ninkovic here repeats, "We're gonna take a dump!" over and over, while her band make the kind of synth-pumped mess that has more in common with ¡Forward, Russia! than merely the punctuation. The fact that they've also produced artwork featuring a corpse tooting a party blower should impress, too. - NME


You Say Party! We Say Die!

Saturday, 3rd June 2006

Words by Dave Sugden

Ho ho, I bet we've all played 'guess the genre' before. Yeah, you know the one, it's where you take the name of a band you've never heard of and try and work out what style of music they play. I have; I'm pretty sure you have too. So if you've yet to encounter Vancouver five-piece You Say Party! We Say Die! then take a moment to play my game ... go on, please, we can play together and then when I stop rambling you can see how well you did. Here goes ...

You Say Party! We Say Die! fall into that driving, up-tempo keyboard-led melting pot often called 'dance punk' and whilst the Faversham kids are a little shy and slow to react, the music on stage is in its own mini cauldron of crazed dance and frenzy. Everything about YSP!WSD! is short, snappy and straight to the point; from the constant beats to the politically-inspired chants, the exclamations in the name are more than a wink at their fast and frantic immediacy.

So when it's played it is of no surprise that the crowd make involuntary limb-movements and throw their bodies around to single "The Gap (Between The Rich And The Poor)", a direct, catchy and full on socio commentary ... "all we ask is for things to be fair ... for the problems that we all share ... we're going to take them down in numbers one by one".

I'm sure you're getting a bit of a picture now, but as I have a pen in hand I'd like to close by adding that You Say Party! We Say Die! are not particularly Le Tigre-esque * - yet not a million miles away either - nor are they in Yeah Yeah Yeahs * county - although I admit that vocalist Becky Ninkovic can do a decent Karen O impression.

So yeah. That's me done; how did you do? - Leeds Music Scene

Heat's back at Rio with spasmodic Dance Punk

Live: You Say Party! We Say Die! at Club Rio, 2.9.2006


The re-opening of Club Rio, after its seemingly never-ending "Sommerpause", was always going to be something special. As a guy that knows what he likes and sticks to it, Rio is something of a staple of my Saturday night diet; the varied live acts, guest DJs, maze-like building site interior and mixed-bag crowd make Rio essential for a "Sonnabend" out on the town and pretty much single-handedly embodies the so-cool-it-hurts-all-night-party attitude of Berlin.

Add one of the finest live bands around to that already impressive mix and you've got a sure-fire recipe for success. You Say Party! We Say Die! hail from British Columbia in Canada and have more or less made Berlin a second home given the frequency with which they've played here recently. I first caught these guys at the newly-opened Lido in Kreuzberg in May and was gutted to learn I'd missed their Rosi's show a few weeks back so to catch them at Rio was a must.

Power Pop? Punk? Indie Rock? A bit of Retro Disco?
You Say Party! We Say Die!
Photo © Dorfdisco 2006
Rio's back room was packed in anticipation of the band starting and once they stepped up on stage, plugged in their instruments and started to do that "thing" that only they can do, the crowd, which seemed to swell by the second, were captivated. For around 45 minutes You Say Party! banged out hit after hit with virtually no let-up in the pace, frenzy and emotion of the set. To try and describe the You Say Party! sound is like trying to explain what black tastes like or how heavy light is. Is it power pop? Or punk? Indie rock? Maybe it's a bit of retro disco? Perhaps it's all of these things together and a secret ingredient, the X-Factor if you like, that makes it all work together in a delicious, shambling sort of way. One thing You Say Party! can do like no other band is make fact, Noise with a capital N. It's difficult not to be swept away by them when they're flogging the PA to death and causing such vibrations around the room as to make your internal organs re-organise themselves and your ears want to take a day off and go and lie down somewhere quiet. I'm sure the speakers went into therapy after the audio-assault inflicted on them. Forget Phil Spector's legendary Wall of Sound...You Say Party! play with such passion and ferocity as to leave the Wall in ruins and take volume to stratospheric heights.

Favourites from their debut record, Hit the Floor, were of course present and correct...Stockholm Syndrome Part 2 had the crowd going epileptic, the obligatory hand claps of Cold Hands! Hot Bodies! got everyone joining in as though they were pensioners at a pantomime and the spiky pop-punk He! She! You! Me! They! We! Us! OK! was a blinder of a track which, by the time it had finished, had more or less ruptured my pancreas. The band were incredibly tight (not surprising given their recent, hectic touring schedule) and literally careered from one freak-out party track to the next. One thing about this band that is less evident in many of their contemporaries, is that it is blidingly obvious that they love being up there, love to have an audience and love to play. I'm sure that if you offered them €5 and a packet of biscuits to play the opening of a new Pankow branch of Netto they'd be there 3 hours early and itching to get on stage. Their obvious love and enthusiasm for what they do is infectious and rippled throughout the crowd, ensuring they were ready to party and/or die.

Becky Ninkovic, You Say Party! We Say Die!
Photo © Dorfdisco 2006
Lead singer Becky Ninkovic is less of a frontwoman and more of an event. It's impossible to take your eyes off her for a moment. She's a dinky creature with crazy hair and maniac eyes; she dances like a cross between something that comes out of a cuckoo clock and a clockwork toy, and how God managed to shoe-horn such a powerful pair of lungs into such petite housing is one of those biological miracles. She's a combination of punk bitch, cute pop star, Amazon savage and ballerina...and she could kill a man at 10 paces with one frenzied rattle of her ever-present tambourine. At one point in the set she straddled the monitor and howled like a banshee...was she fucking her own music? Probably, and who could blame her?

Mention also has to go to bass player Stephen O'Shea. Dispelling the myth that a bass player has to look bored as fuck and stand in the background with his back to the audience, he's as much a showman as Becky, leaping around the stage like someone with Tourettes on a sugar rush; whirling his bass round his head and jumping up and down from a box at the back of the stage. Quite how he managed to perform such musical acrobatics on a stage the size of your average public toilet without taking his band mates' heads off is quite breathtaking.

By the end of the set, the band, no -

2009/09/14 | Aaron Miller,

Ask Becky Ninkovic about the upcoming You Say Party! We Say Die! record and the singer will tell you its the album the group's been working towards from the start.

Once darlings of a burgeoning so-called �dance-punk� sub-genre, the five-piece has rebounded nicely from several setbacks in recent years and created a slick-sounding and varied third effort, XXXX, out on Paper Bag Records Sept. 29.

And once known for their exuberant, unbridled synths and Ninkovic�s daring shrieks, XXXX is by far the band�s most mature offering, though that wouldn�t be the word Ninkovic would use.

�The songs definitely carry a different energy,� she admits.

�It is raw and it is full of energy, but it�s not a hectic, frantic kind of energy. We�ve really honed into each song.

�The last albums were really rushed projects and we were really discovering ourselves ... it�s like that old yearbook photo, �Oh wow, I really wore that hair?� you know?�

XXXX is definitely a more polished offering, with vocals that at times flirt with the juvenile yelps of CSS but just as often come across like the seasoned Emily Haines on an electro kick.

As a result, with some exceptions the new YSP! WSP! is less interested in making you dance than showering you with carefully prepared doses love, or so the title - and Ninkovic - suggests.

�It (XXXX) is kind of code word for love that�s been around with us for a long time,� she explains. �You�ll see it in our art work, we�ve secretly incorporated a dash of love into everything we�re doing.�

Ninkovic says the level of pride and accomplishment she feels in the completed version of the new record is unlike anything she experienced on two previous studio releases or 2008 remix disc Remik's Cube.

And because of health issues that plagued the singer following 2007�s Lose All Time tour, her intensive work with a vocal coach and recent collaboration with producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan And Sara, The New Pornographers) Ninkovic calls XXXX, �the most true piece of work that I ever put out.�

The band is also working with a lawyer to undo a five-year U.S. touring ban it was slapped with when it tried to enter the country without the proper work visas a couple of years back.

�We were so unaware of the consequences of what we are doing,� Ninkovic admits.

It�s all been part of the process, perhaps not of maturing, but simply of growth.

�People who may not have understood what we�re doing before, they get this," she continues.

�Music critics will say, 'Oh, they�ve changed.' I see it as a really positive thing that happens, life is all about growing and changing."
YSP! WSD! plays The Phoenix in Toronto on November 20 with Think About Life and Little Girls.

Photo Courtesy Paper Bag Records


dansk wad, EP, 2004 (independent)
Hit The Floor!, CD, 2005 (Sound Document)
Hit The Floor!, LP, 2006 (Reluctant Recordings)
The Gap, 7" single, 2006 (Cheesedream)
You Did It!, 7" single, 2006 (Sink & Stove)
Lose All Time, CD, 2007 (Paper Bag Records)
Remik's Cube, Digital, 2008
(Paper Bag Records)
XXXX, CD, 2009
(Paper Bag Records)
XXXX (Limited Edition Vinyl), 2009 (Paper Bag Records)



British Columbia's You Say Party! We Say Die! (aka YSP!WSD!) are back! Having reinvented themselves with their spirited style of New-Wave, and a new depth of material, the band is excited to announce the details of their much-anticipated third release, XXXX, out on Paper Bag Records on Sept. 29th. YSP!WSD! has embraced soul, feeling, and rhythm while still bearing the tenets of their original sound, which caused critics around the globe to embrace the band's first two albums, Hit the Floor! and Lose All Time.

After years of touring, hundreds of shows worldwide, and countless van hours together, patience has become a virtue to lead singer Becky Ninkovic, bassist Stephen O'Shea, keyboardist Krista Loewen, guitarist Derek Adam and drummer Devon Clifford. In late 2007, during a sixteen-week fall/winter tour of Canada and Europe, the band had reached a breaking point. It happened during a physical confrontation at the legendary "Rock and Roll Herberge" in Berlin, ending with Ninkovic being thrown into the street by two beefy German punk rockers.

Road-weary and listless, the group were desperate for new inspiration. This came in the spring of 2008 when they were offered the opportunity to tour China and Japan for the first time. The group's experience in Asia brought them closer together than they had ever been, and a new motivation to love each other and "do whatever it takes" was found. Thus, the seed of XXXX had sprouted within the You Say Party family. Members began paying attention to their personal lives again, pursuing artistic endeavors and meaningful employment. They provided supportive care for adults living with disabilities, aid to the poor in developing countries, and services for the homeless in Vancouver's Downtown East Side and the message was put forth that "the loving is the everything."

The rest of 2008 was spent creating the songs that grew to become XXXX. Collaborating with producer Howard Redekopp (Tegan And Sara, The New Pornographers), XXXX was recorded between January and August of 2009, and is their most intensive effort to date.

YSP! WSD! will embark on a North American tour in support of XXXX, and are looking forward to returning to the US for the first time in several years.