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Event Archive - Samantha Savage Smith, Lab Coast, Masahiro Takahashi, Half Chinese

Mon. August 5th 2013 The Cobalt (No Minors)
$7 adv / $9 door
Tickets at:
Presented by: A.R.P.
Samantha Savage Smith is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter based in Calgary. Upon the release of her debut album Tough Cookie in 2011, the bulk of the critical acclaim it received was rightly placed upon her startling, unique voice. Smith's ability to infuse her tunes with a timeless sense of grace and personality makes it a no-brainer that her influences run the gamut from old masters such as Anita O'Day and Billie Holiday to more recent contenders such as St. Vincent and Kurt Vile.

Tough Cookie was picked up for distribution by Arts & Crafts (home to Broken Social Scene and Feist) and led to two Canadian tours, performances on CBC's Q with Jian Ghomeshi and Canada AM, and two acclaimed music videos (for "You Always Come To Mind" and "The Score"), and Calgarians chose the album as their favorite of the past year in the 2012 FFWD Weekly ‘Best of Calgary’ reader’s poll.

Smith's new songs have achieved the feat of building on the vocal-heavy allure of those on the debut while adding newfound depths and contours to the tunes themselves. Live and in the studio, she's backed by some very fine Canadian musicians, including members of Woodpigeon, Snailhouse, Lab Coast, Friendo, Ghostkeeper, and Chad van Gaalen. The new album, currently in pre-production, is shaping up to be a batch of songs that are as insistently memorable as they are downright singular.


Lab Coast began in late 2008. The band revolves around the short, hooky, guitar-laden song written by David Laing and Chris Dadge. Laing conjures up melodies while wandering around city parks and neighbourhoods, then Dadge fleshes out arrangements and tries his hand at whatever instruments they have lying around. Their music has been likened to early REM, ‘Sic Alps if they were from Calgary” (Rich Kroneiss, Terminal Boredom), and Guided By Voices covering the Las.

Within a year of their inception, the band had completed their first collection of tunes, which was issued as Wilding, first as a self-released disc, then as a tape on the prolific Canadian cassette imprint Scotch Tapes. This album was quickly followed by a split 7” with fellow Calgarians Extra Happy Ghost (on Saved By Vinyl) and their second full-length, Pictures On The Wall, released by the beloved Portland label Eggy Records.

The songs on these albums, recorded by Dadge and Laing using a plethora of instruments and basement-based recording techniques, were well received by radio stations, blogs, and magazines around the world. FFWD Weekly praised their “effortlessly appealing pop songs”, and Weird Canada’s Paul Lawton ventured that the band was producing “some of the best hooks to come out of the city of Calgary in a long time.” Glowing reports from Exclaim!, Coke Machine Glow, AOL Spinner, NOW Magazine, The Independent (UK), and Puck Magazine (Belgium) led to their next two releases on UK label Faux Discx and Night People, the latter being one of the preeminent imprints of the US cassette underground.

Lab Coast’s latest album, Walking On Ayr, is completed and due out this spring on Mammoth Cave Recording Company. The record is their most jam-packed statement yet, featuring a pile of brand-new songs and contributions from the live band members, past and present.

The live, in-person band is comprised of David Laing singing and playing the keyboard, Henry Hsieh (Friendo, Samantha Savage Smith) on guitar, Samantha Savage Smith also on guitar, Dice Parks (Ox, Jane Vain & The Dark Matter) playing the bass, and Chris Dadge (Bug Incision, SSS, Gold, Snailhouse, Woodpigeon) on the drums. They’ve shared stages with Grimes, Snailhouse, Chad van Gaalen, Cousins, Woodpigeon, Wild Flag, Uncle Badtouch, the Barr Brothers, Renny Wilson, The Famines, and The Ketamines, and are preparing for a UK tour in May 2013.


Masahiro Takahashi is from Tokyo, inspired by both pop music and experimental music. Using both acoustics and electronics, he has performed at the Nihon Rock Festival, like a Japanese SXSW, and Music Waste. He lives at Paradise City in Vancouver with Half Chinese, who deliver post-punk, indie rock, flying nun influenced fun.


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