Just the facts, ma’am:
- We are a rockin’ melodic power pop band from Vancouver B.C., Canada.
- Members are: Tim Chan, vocals & guitar; Vern Beamish, guitar & vocals; Mike Chang, bass & vocals; Kevin Dubois, drums & vocals.
- We’ve released three albums: The Usual Angst, 2015, Nothing’s Not Worth Knowing, 2011 and China Syndrome, 2007.
- All three of our albums were produced and recorded by David Carswell (The New Pornographers, Destroyer, Tegan & Sara, The Shilohs, COOL TV, the Evaporators) at JC/DC Studio in Vancouver.
- You could call our sound a combination of the driving pop hooks of The New Pornographers, Teenage Fanclub and XTC with liberal dollops of 60s and 70s classic rock influences.
- The reviews of The Usual Angst have, thankfully, been good:
- An August 2016 article in The Georgia Straight calls The Usual Angst, “one of the most enjoyable albums to come out of Vancouver this century.”
- The music blog, de scribe de sound says The Usual Angst “is a modern day masterpiece…”
- The Vancouver Sun, Album of the Week – “The Usual Angst is an infectious batch of rock. Each song has its own identity, blending modern and retro elements, and the production makes the music feel like a breath of fresh air.”
- The Province, CD of the Week – “…the sincerity behind such songs as “It’s Happening Over Again,” “Sorry For Everything” or “Humble Pie” [are] all supported by a strong guitar backbone and an attention to arrangements…”
- The Georgia Straight – “The best track is “My Pal Dan”… boasting fun ‘woo-oo-oo’ background vocals, a horn section, and some fantastic, hooky guitar…”
- Reviews of Nothing’s Not Worth Knowing include: The Province – “[it] exudes confidence”; The Georgia Straight – “no-frills approach to four-chord power pop”; The Big Takeover – “absolutely solid, songwriter-intensive slab of catchy, muscular Vancouver power pop.”
- We played at the weddings of two of our members…
- …which means we’ll play nearly anywhere, anytime, just ask us.
- Kevin is an artist; his artwork graces the back cover of The Usual Angst.
- Mike has a hiking website.
- Vern is a music teacher.
- Tim likes cats.
- Former members include Scott Watts and Jesse Cappelletto (both played on Nothing’s Not Worth Knowing), Matt Gibson and Gord Berry (both played on China Syndrome) and Eric Lowe. Daniel Fortin also occasionally fills in as well.
Finally, a bit of hype about The Usual Angst:
The band’s muscular power pop approach provides a backdrop for an album of songs singer and lyricist Tim Chan somewhat jokingly says are about ‘the usual angst.’ “I was wracking my brain trying to think of a title for the album so my wife asked me what the overall theme of the album is and I spontaneously said, ‘oh, the usual angst.’ We both thought it was funny and appropriate for the title so we went with it.”
The songs cover a wide range of topics including the seemingly endless cycle of global geopolitics (“It’s Happening Over Again”), the hardship of poverty (“Corner of Gore and Pender”) and a fanboy tribute to the late singer and guitarist Steve Marriott (“Humble Pie”). There are also songs about the good and not-so-good times of being in a long-term relationship (“October Mansion,” “Let It Out,” “Sorry for Everything”), the perceived cruelty of an old friend who’s made it big in music (“My Pal Dan”), a road trip that went awry (“It Seemed Like a Good Idea”) and just general angst (“Pay to Play”). But things are not so bad overall, as “The Happy Song” pays a straight up tribute to the beautiful city of Vancouver.
As on their previous albums, the band is adept in a variety of styles (from straight ahead power pop to Stax/Muscle Shoals grooves to punky hard rock and points in-between) augmented by keyboards played by the band and horns played by members of another local group, The Beladeans. David Carswell’s dynamic production highlights the catchy and melodic songs, while the locked-in rhythm section of drummer Kevin Dubois and bassist Mike Chang provides a solid foundation for the sinuous guitar interplay of Vern Beamish and Chan. And the entire band chips in with lush harmonies and background vocals throughout the album.
The Usual Angst is a concise compendium of China Syndrome’s strengths: great musicianship and arrangements, memorable songs and thoughtful lyrics.