8. Imaginary Cities, "Temporary Resident" (2011)

Hometown: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Notable Songs: 'Say You', 'Ride this Out', 'Marry the Sea'

Okay. So pretty much at least once a week, I have to defend myself against people that accuse me of being a hipster. This is, of course, one of the many dangers inherent in writing a music blog. This post, unfortunately, is not going to help my arguments against being a hipster. Not one iota.

See, I'm currently reviewing an album that hasn't even been released yet. And, in case you don't know, that's kind of hipsteresque. Along with plaid shirts and ugly jeans.

In my defence, most of the album has already been released by the band on their CBC Radio 3 website. For what it's worth.

As for the album itself? Imagine deep, soulful R&B vocals, a la Nina Simone, paired with keyboards that masterfully straddle the border of "electronic" and "indie". Other instruments - drums, pianoes, even a guitar here and there - make guest appearances, but the main show is the interaction between classic vocals and new keyboards.

'Ride This Out', my favourite song so far, adds layer upon layer as it progresses, quickly accelerating into a frenetic climax that almost sounds out of place, considering the bluesy nature of the vocals. 'Marry the Sea' is this bizarre combination of 1950s pop rock and 1990s feminist alternative groups like the Cardigans. 'Purple Heart' is this moody, atmospheric piece that lives up to the song title as it explores the nature of being wounded. And 'Don't Cry' is the type of song Billie Holiday would sing were she alive today and fronting an indie band - I can't help but notice this song's similarities to Miss Holiday's 'Don't Explain', though maybe I am the only one in the world to do so.

In other words, this is an album that always seems to have one foot in the past and the other in the future. While I am unsure of the final product, or the exact track layout, of the samplings provided us, I can safely assume that the released product is going to be a true gift, and one that everyone should be very excited for. And, the true hipster I most assuredly am not, you can bet I'll be telling people I was listening to the band before their first album was released.

And you guys can, too.

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