Best of Vancouver Music 2013

The Ballantynes


There’s so much music happening in and around Vancouver that making a list might seem restrictive. It wasn’t easy paring our picks down to these ten. We’re hoping our selections here open your ears to some of the best stuff that’s happened this year (if you haven’t already heard it) and also prompt you to share with us anything you think we may have overlooked.

Share your own 2013 standouts in the comments below or tweet your dirty little mouth off at @VancouverWeekly.

So here, in our humblest of opinions and in no particular order, is what we deem to be some of the best music that happened in Vancouver this year.


The Ballantynes

This East Van sevensome (don’t look that up…) has been smashing the tambourine for a few years now, releasing three 7” and most recently, their first EP, Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church (released October 25 on La Ti Da Records, along with their video for “No Love”). In their relatively young band-lifespan, the group has supported the likes of The Pack A.D., Brooklyn rock’n’rollers The Jay Vons, and the legendary Lee Fields. If Prohibition were still a thing, The Ballantynes would be the premiere booze can house band – actually, they’d probably be running the place. Ballantynes’ Moonshyne does have a ring to it…

The rhythm section here is massive, with Michael McDiarmid and Trevor Racz each pounding their own sets of drums, and mustachioed Max Sample laying down a bass line you could hitch a caboose to. Corey “Babyface” Poluk’s energetic guitar-playing matches bandleader Jarrod Odell’s wild frenzy, and everything gets tied together by the sweetly saucy voices of Jennifer Wilks and Vanessa Dandurand. Though seven people on a stage may seem a little excessive to the untrained eye and ear, it takes about seven seconds of live performance to convince you that each piece here’s integral to the whole.

The October EP release show at The Astoria saw The Ballantynes take to the stage in good company – with young upstarts Skinny Kids and another hot Vancouver group you shouldn’t miss out on, Gang Signs. I’ve never left a Ballantynes gig sober, dry, or sad – it’s always the opposite of all three. I can’t often offer an absolute guarantee of a good time when recommending a show, but I can with The Ballantynes. If you’ve seen them already, you need no convincing. If you haven’t, well, stop sucking and get on it!

Catch The Ballantynes at the Hotel Vancouver’s massive multiroom New Year’s party next week, brought to you by the same creative team that threw those wild Waldorf hootenannies.