The Vitals by Patrick Ross - Andrew Ross
The Vitals by Patrick Ross - Andrew Ross
New Music

Winnipeg’s alt rock and punk scene overview and bands worth a check, by THE VITALS

4 mins read

Fresh off the release of their new EP “Anesthetics”, Winnipeg’s post punk / alt rock’n’rollers THE VITALS join us for an insightful commentary about their local scene, best bands worth a check and their subjective perspective on local independent music and arts.

The Vitals are a 4-piece outfit from Winnipeg, MB, playing moody post punk mixed with gritty rock’n’roll. Combining experimental noise, 70s punk, and 80s goth influences, The Vitals achieve an intriguing, pensive, haunting, and sometimes brooding sound. Following up on 2016’s self-titled EP, the quartet continues to expand sonically and flourish creatively with their forthcoming five-track EP “Anesthetics”.

Recorded and mixed pre-pandemic by J. Riley Hill (Mulligrub, Yes We Mystic) at Collector Studio, “Anesthetics” encapsulates an eerie vibe of impending doom, characteristic of our collectively ominous epoch.

The Vitals are: Jimmy Shand: Drums/Vocals, Pat Ross: Bass, Robb Hill: Guitar/Synth, Sean Andert Guitar/Vocals

Recorded and mixed pre-pandemic with J. Riley Hill (Mulligrub, Yes We Mystic) @ Collector Studio

The band’s guitarist and vocalist Sean admits that the great thing about Winnipeg is the Art and Music scene and the people that collectively contribute and help each other within it. “Almost any day of the week you can find a great show of many different genres from Punk and Metal to Country and blues to experimental and hip hop. Since venues started opening their doors again, the response has been great and busy.” – says Sean.

Local venues like The Handsome Daughter, The Good Will, Times Changed, ANAF Club, Pyramid Cabaret and The Royal Albert among others have helped keep the scene alive.”

“Music fests and collectives like Jazz or Folk Fest, Real Love, Harvest Moon, Cluster, New Music and others allow people to get the opportunity to play and get exposure.”

Local studios like No Fun, Collector, Private Ear also make recording a great experience.”

As for his favorite locals, Seas enlists Trampoline, Wind Ups, Inflatable Band, The Sorels, Paige Drobot, Bloc Parents, Tunic, and Sweet Alibi.

Paige Drobot by @Jsenftphotography
Paige Drobot by @Jsenftphotography

“I’ve been to one show in Covid times and had to leave to tap out the sitter before the best band in the city (Kandekt) went on.” – adds guitarist Robb.

“I’ve yet to come across a band so experimental yet so tight and unique in sound. They should not be able to pull it off but by some strange voodoo/pact with the dark lord Crondor they do. Def check them out.”

Expounding a bit more on local venues, he cotinues: “Lots o’ good venues in town, all with a diff vibe. Times changed is an incredible roots music venue with vibe on point and expertly curated bookings. Goodwill and The Handsome Daughter are also killer and cater to a broader demographic. Magic Bird, the fried chicken place at The Handsome Daughter seriously fucks and worth it to book a show there on the merits of said chicken alone.”

Winnipeg has a weird dichotomy of music as much of it is funded through gov organizations that support projects based on commercial viability. “You either get grant supported killer musicians/songwriters writing cool cbc radio three type music or fucking weirdos self funding equally awesome oddball music.” – admits Robb.

Some of his favorite local acts include: Kandekt, Boy Golden, Field Guide, Cookie Delicious, Jamboree, Sean Andert’s forthcoming solo opus, ANDERT – On my own.

Jimmy, on the other hand, hasn’t been to one show since the start of the pandemic, so he’s been out of the loop when it comes to their scene, but he still has a lot to say about the local independent arts and music envorinment. “Regarding venues, my local favourite is probably The Handsome Daughter and all its prior iterations (The Rose n’ Bee, The Standard, Hooligans, Eddy’s Garage).” – he admits.

“I like the small space, it’s in a great neighbourhood, and they make a pretty good ‘old fashioned’ imo. Good food, too (Magic Bird Chicken). The last show I saw was KEN mode’s “NULL” album release (so good!) at The Goodwill Social Club in September, which is another great place. And of course, I have to mention No Fun Club studio. You can’t step foot in there and not feel creative, inspired, productive.”

Jimmy’s favourite local bands are:

Trampoline – blown away every time I see them. Phenomenal drummer, guitarist absolutely slays.

Robojom – their live show is like being on drugs without being on drugs. Good drugs, like magic mushrooms ibuprofen.

Moonfield – when I first heard them, I was like “yeah…this is *Jimmy* music.”

The Inflatable Band – we’ve shared the stage with them many times, and I’m always massively entertained by them.

Spacebutt – I heard they recently got back together, which I hope is true. The drummer is so awesome, and the vocalist put on a show that had me laughing wildly at first but then I just enjoyed the shit out of the rest of their show. Amazing.

“One of the best things about Winnipeg’s music scene is the myriad genres of music you can catch on any given night. My list of favourite bands? All massively different from one another, but you could easily catch 3 or 4 of them on the same bill.” – concludes Jimmy.

Asked about his take on the local scene of Winnipeg, The Vitals’ bassist Pat admits that he hasn’t been to a show since pre-lockdown and he is deeply ashamed of this. “I imagine there is a lot going on; I know there are a lot of great bands here in Winnipeg.” – says Pat.

Softswitch is a great local band, they recently put out a great EP called ‘Happiness’.”

“I do know there is a phenomenal new recording studio here in Winnipeg called No Fun Club. Amazing space, staff, and equipment – there is no doubt it is helping out the scene a lot.”

Venetian Snares is from here and I am a huge fan, and have been very influenced by his soul crushing/emboldening music.”

“I also got to hang out with the Speed Dealer Moms guys when they were in town recording some years ago, that was an experience I’ll never forget. They released a great new EP last year (SDM-LA8-441-114-21) which is massaging my frayed brain wires. We have a great jazz festival that happens here every June that has hosted some unbelievable musicians.”

“I saw the Jeremy Ledbetter trio earlier this year (‘22) at the legendary Royal Albert Arms – a great old venue – and was moved to tears about five times. Just an incredible experience.”

Anesthetics, the long-awaited follow-up to The Vitals‘ 2016 self-titled debut EP is out now.

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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