Hafilax Does HPX: Day One Preview featuring: Austra, The Flatliners, Soupcans & more…

Hey peeps, welcome to this year’s edition of Hafilax does Halifax Pop Explosion 2014. The festival is the city’s biggest music festival, that is happening between the 21st to the 25th of October, and it kicks off less than a week from now. This year, there’s gonna be over 170 bands playing in roughly 14 different venues, and the crew from Hafilax will be there covering all the action.

On Tuesday, day #1 of the festival, the official artist line-ups look pretty formidable to last year’s opening night, and choosing which bands to see will be quite tough to decide. Though, in the spirit of HPX, it’ll be also quite fun jumping from one venue to another to catch as much music as possible. My top picks this year for the opening night are a experimental-indie show at Reflections, a punk/rock show at the Seahorse, and a straight up punk show at Gus’ Pub.

Tuesday, October 21 – 10:00pm Reflections Cabaret

What I like about this line-up? New Brunswick’s latest electronic-pop band, Vogue Dots are opening up the night. Check out their SoundCloud page here, they are quite good for being a band that has been recently assembled. Their sound, I’d describe them as being dark and dreamy electronic music, very synth-based. Also, this will be a release party of some sorts for their Mauka EP, which is scheduled to be released that same day. I don’t want to miss this band, as I’m really digging them right now. (Most of this music you’ll find is fairly new to me, so we’ll preview together as we go through the list of bands.)

Astral Swans is the solo project of Matthew Swann, from Calgary. Very folky-like, a bit of contrast in genre from the rest of the artists playing at that venue. But the sound haunting, and guitars on his work are so drowned out, that you’ll feel this artist will fit right in. I think it’ll take a bit of warming up to get into this band. Hopefully he’ll be showcasing more than the two tracks that you can find here.

If you are looking for something tribal sounding, and totally out there (psychedelically), look no further than Petra Glynt. The vocals coming from solo-member Alexandra Mackenzie will get your attention for sure, and the matter of the music is hypnotizing. I thought the Astral Swans were a bit of a contrast to genre, Petra Glynt is a bit of a contrast to music in general. It should be interesting to say the least. Be sure to check her out over here.

Last but not least, the headliner, and the band that is luring me to this venue that night, Austra. I totally digged their album that they released last year, Olympia, which was a bright and magical listen. And they just recently released their Habitat EP. To describe their sound, take an ordinary electronic/dance band offstage, and just mystify them. They’re probably one of the most interesting acts I’ve heard over the years. Check out some of their tunage of the CBC, here.

Tuesday, October 21 – 10:00pm The Seahorse Tavern

With a line-up like this, at such a small venue like the Seahorse Tavern, this is probably the show you’ll want to get to early, as I’m predicting this will be a crowded house. Halifax’s Outtacontroller is the first band to play. I’ve seen them recently in my travels, and I’ve also caught them playing at last year’s Halifax Pop. They played this Ramones, surf-like punk rock that sounded really good, and had a good presence on stage playing their instruments. Check their music out here.

Teenage Kicks, probably the hottest thing coming outta Toronto right now. These two brothers like to write music about their life-experiences, and are kinda emotionally driven in their lyrics and sound. To me, they just play some good old rock music, with some killer power riffs. More music here.

Kiss that sweet emotion goodbye, cause when Single Mothers hits the stage it’s gonna be a party of punk-rock music. Their sound is loud, and wild. Kinda in the tradition of Halifax Pop Explosion. Sweet, they’re in good company here!

And the last band to close out the night at the Seahorse, The Flatliners. By the time this band comes on, the place should already be packed. They’re based outta Brampton, Ontario, and have been around since the early 2000’s. Their sound is angst punk that seems pretty focused, with a bit of ska influence. Don’t tell me this track here is not awesome.

Tuesday, October 21 – 10:00pm Gus’ Pub

My last top pick line-up of the night comes from Gus’ Pub. With so much good music happening on the first night, It’s kinda tough to decide, cause each of these 3 venues I would recommend, but it might just come down to what kind of music I’m feeling. In this scenario, if there’s a place where I just wanna go nuts, and listen to noise/punk rock, this will be the place to find me. And if you’re coming here, expect a mosh pit and some sweaty kids.

Negative Rage open up the night, their music can be summed up in one YouTube video over here. Quite thrashy, all killer. The super lo-fi sounding, WTCHS are up next. They’re a good mix of indie and noise rock to lead you into the night that ends up in some craziness. More tunage here.

Strange Attractor, if punk music came from the 60’s, it wouldn’t sound like these guys. There’s no way. Cause they would be too loud and obnoxious for the audience to ever let into a venue. And that would not help the genre. But good thing we aren’t living back then. This band is crazy good! Relive your alternate 60’s right here. The Beatles excluded.

Soupcans, if you want some dirty, distorted noise rock that is just outta control, this band will just open their lid, and spill all over you. I’m really digging their Parasite Brain EP that they released last year. Can you believe it, it’s only 10 minutes long. Their music is so insane, it’s like pulling your own teeth, and then eating candy. Get your fill here.

Alright, that’s it for one night. This is gonna be a tough call on choosing what shows I would like to see on Day One of HPX. But the rest of the Hafilax crew will be out & about covering a wide variety of shows, possibly even shows I haven’t even mentioned on here. (Yeah, there’s a lot of music).

Stick around for Day Two, coming up soon. Also, check out the website for more music happenings on Day One of Halifax Pop Explosion, by clicking here.

About the author


Me, I'm an avid music goer, documenting/photographing Halifax's music scene. I like loud shows, and long walks on the beach.