I must confess that I have been on a bit of an indie Brit-pop bender lately, taking trips down memory lane with the likes of James, Suede, and the LA’s during some daily commutes. Music that not only acted as a life buoy to keep me afloat during a period of dismal mainstream music choices (the lows of commercial British radio in the early 90s), but also influenced and molded the next chapter of my audio listening pleasures. Hearing tunes that sound as fresh today as they were three decades ago has certainly fueled a passion to seek out some ‘new’ indie tunes from this side of the pond.
Cue the perfectly timed arrival found in my email inbox earlier this week regarding news of Calgary’s Flemish Eye Records signing singer-songwriter Dana Gavanski to their growing stable of artists, and I was very quickly reminded of her single, “Catch,” which was released back in November last year. Born in Vancouver to a Serbian family, and now splitting her time between Montreal, Toronto, and the UK, Dana is truly a citizen of the world, and with her psychedelic indie-pop roots, happens to be a perfect test pilot for drawing parallels between my life in 90s Great Britain and my current attachment to present-day independent Canadian music. Having turned heads with UK listeners over the last six months, this collaboration with the Calgary based label aims to replicate her success here in North America.
Opening with a quick volley of drums, and some retro synth and throbbing bass, it is Dana’s voice that immediately grabs my attention on “Catch.” Powerful, evocative, and with just a trace of her Eastern European accent peeking through at times, Dana’s stunning vocals never become swallowed up in the ever-increasing volume and intensity of the instrumentation. I’m sure that, like me, you’ll draw comparisons to the recent works of Leslie Feist (possibly her closest contemporary), yet nothing prepares you for the unique instrument choices and combinations, or the frequent changes of pace and key. Factors that cement her sound to the true indie greats, whilst demonstrating her own originality and passion during this 3:55 modern indie classic; one that draws influences from across several time zones, yet remains true to the traditions of this genre.
With production duties shared between Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason, and UK-based Mike Lindsay, “Catch” is certainly an infectious psychedelic number that warrants repeat spins. “Catch is a conversation with the gods of creativity, an attestation to the daily struggle to be inspired and how not to lose direction,” Dana shares. “It’s often a challenge for me to believe in myself … it’s my search for how to suspend judgement or loosen it enough to let something pass through.” With an extensive tour of the UK and Europe commencing next month, expect Dana’s debut full-length album with Flemish Eye Records to be released later this year. Fear not – this one is on my radar – I won’t let you forget anytime soon.