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Pop Violence ~ Becs D'Oiseaux ~ Buy It

Vailhalen is a Canadian band that plays dark pop songs.

Chris Vail played in bands for years and years until he reached the point where he had garnered a strong enough reputation in the music community to be able to start a band called Vailhalen, where all of his favourite musicians agreed to play his songs.

In order to squeeze in all of the players that he likes playing with, Vailhalen ended up with a rotating 5- to 7-person membership that, at its best, features 2 drum kits, 2 keyboards and 4-part harmonies.

Everybody has a good time, everybody loves the band, the band loves each other, and now there are recordings:

Vailhalen -Pop Violence CD coverPop Violence

Pop Violence , the first full-length from Canada's 7-piece wall of sound Vailhalen, was recorded in a high school band room in Calgary, Alberta. The band took full advantage of most of the musical instruments that they found at the school, including piano, glockenspiel, tubular bells, marimbas, gongs... just about everything they found (except for the timpani — nobody had the first clue how to make those things go!).

For his part, the engineer took full advantage of the large empty hallways and staircases that surrounded the room for their natural reverb. Every effort was made over the course of the two weekends of recording to create a natural vintage sound, inspired by the old records that Pop Violence's production attempts to emulate: mixing old Motown recordings with late sixties/early seventies rock sounds such as "Who's Next" and "Lust For Life". All of this over 13 songs that are contemporary in their arrangements, and modern in their lyrical and technical style.

There are 9 brand new tracks here, as well as re-arrangements of older songs that originally appeared on Vailhalen's debut EP Becs d'Oiseaux. The new version of "Was It A Fix" features Mr. Dan Vacon (The Dudes) on lead vocals. Another successful rearrangement is the XL Birdsuit (a former Chris Vail band) song "Girls Fight!", which features the Henry Wise Wood High School Girls Rugby Team performing some chants. Another noteworthy guest star is Mr. Bob Keelaghan of the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir, who played guitar throughout the album.  

Chart Action

Pop Violence hit #1 at all three of Alberta's campus radio stations - CJSW in Calgary, CJSR in Edmonton and CKXU in Lethbridge - in August/September 2005. It also got chart positions in BC and Ontario, which got it up as high as #21 on !earshot-online's National Campus Top 50.

Poppily Violent Press

Mike Bell interviews Chris Vail for the Calgary Sun (September 16 '05)

The Edmonton Sun's Fish Griwkowsky wrote both a glowing review (August 28 '05) and a glowing article (September 9 '05) about Pop Violence.

Christa O'Keefe did the double-header review/article combo too, in See Magazine, but on the same day (September 8 '05).

Even Toronto's taking notice, with Stuart Berman's review in the October 6 issue of eye weekly.

Tracks and Details:

  1. Awake In Flight
  2. Bones of the Dead
  3. The General
  4. Take on Me
  5. Moodkiller
  6. Girls Fight!
  7. Angry Mothers
  8. Was it a Fix? (featuring Dan Vacon)
  9. We Fill the Cracks
  10. Tiny Frequencies
  11. Pop Violence
  12. Lost Our Sound, Reply, Return
  13. Love’s a Home

Produced by Gabriel Collins and Chris Vail. All songs written by Chris Vail and arranged by Vailhalen (Brent Gough, Carl Lukasewich, Chris Vail, Garrett McClure, Dolly Sillito, Bob Keelaghan). Engineered by Gabriel Collins. Mastered by Chris Sturwold at This Is Oddyo.

Vailhalen -Becs d'Oiseaux CD coverBecs D'Oiseaux

Becs D'Oiseaux, VH’s five-song debut release, broke into the Canadian campus radio top 50 in September 2004, and reached #1 at CJSW in Calgary in October 2004.

Vailhalen Voice (Press)

Derek McEwen tries to keep track of all the Vailhalen members in FFWD Weekly, September 23, 2004

Cameron Gordon thinks about spit and Becs d'Oiseaux on

Erol Vzberk from the University of Western Ontario Gazette weighs in, September 16, 2004

"(Vail’s) songwriting grows in leaps and bounds with each show and he is unafraid to take risks."
— Derek McEwen,

"twisted pop…reminiscent of everything from the Dears to disco."
— Peter Hemminger, The Gauntlet

On the Charts

As of the (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend, Vailhalen had reached #1 on CJSW in Calgary, #3 on CJSR on Edmonton, and made #45 on the cross-Canada campus/community radio top 50 chart.

It's also charted on:

  • CFRU in Guelph, ON
  • CFUR in Prince George, BC
  • CJMQ in Lennoxville, QC

Track List

Track list for Becs d'Oiseaux:

  1. Spit In The Mouth
  2. Was It A Fix
  3. The Moodkiller
  4. The Synth Is Speaking
  5. Good

Produced and mixed by Chris Vail and Gabriel Collins. Tracks 2, 3, 4, 5 recorded as XL Birdsuit in 2003, commandeered by Vailhalen in 2004.

You can purchase the CDs online from Saved By Radio
or contact our distributor, Outside Music.

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