"Be the reference." That's the mantra Yukon Blonde tacked up on the studio wall during the sessions for their fourth album, Critical Hit, and it emboldened them to rip up the indie rock playbook and embrace a synth-dazzled new sound that's easy to love but difficult to pigeonhole. Now a decade into their career, Yukon Blonde are following no one except themselves.
Critical Hit was inspired by emotional turmoil, but it's nevertheless a joyful album that's full of experimentation and discovery. Empowered by their DIY process and beholden to nothing except their own whims, Yukon Blonde have captured the purest version of themselves.
Anyone who caught on to the slow-burn success of the desolately hook-laden album Ancient Mars could sense that something in The Zolas was threatening to bubble over, and after a year of recording, 2015's Swooner (Light Organ Records) shows an alternative pop collaboration at the top of their creative game. Original members Tom Dobrzanski and Zach Gray have been joined by another longtime duo Cody Hiles and DJ Abell and this is the first album they've completely self-produced at Dobrzanski's Monarch Studios in Vancouver.
Swooner moves on from Ancient Mars' lost love and nostalgia into a cross-section of conversations between a generation of friends about life in 2015; the balancing act we all reckon with between fun and dread.