vancouver sleep clinic – “killing me to love you”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

vancouver sleep clinic has a storied history on dimestore saints, and across the internet; the creative outlet of brisbane singer, songwriter, and producer tim bettinson was our favorite new artist of 2013, in large part due to the hauntingly gorgeous immediacy of early tracks like “vapour” and “collapse.”  after capitalizing on this feat with his debut ep, winter, in the early months of 2014, bettinson went into a long period of hibernation, powering down for coming-of-age experiences that lie outside the realm of music.

after more than two years away, vancouver sleep clinic resumed activity late last month with an animated music video for “lung,” the first single off of the group’s forthcoming debut full-length.  while bettinson & company construct an ambient dreamscape on “lung,” awash in titanic chords and cascading piano melodies, its successor, “killing me to love you,” explores the sleep clinic’s pop-oriented side, bolstered by prominent percussion and a massive vocal hook that releases every ounce of tension in the song.

vancouver sleep clinic’s debut album is coming soon, but its contents have yet to be detailed.  for now, revel in “killing me to love you,” below.

listen to a new song from vancouver sleep clinic

on the heels of an impressive 2013 and in anticipation of their debut ep, the ethereal new zealanders known as vancouver sleep clinic have let another track go, and it’s gorgeous.  “flaws” is wrapped up in layered vocals and tim bettinson’s heartbreaking falsetto, but clearer timbres like acoustic piano and electric guitar sneak in through the ambient pads.  take a listen below, courtesy of the band’s soundcloud page.

best of 2013: new artist

the title of “best new artist” sometimes confuses and is misleading to me.  i frequently see bands that have two or three albums already under their belt pop up on various round-up lists, and sometimes a band releasing their debut full-length constitutes as a “new artist,” even if they’ve been together for a few years and have released a string of singles and eps.  the big to-do events like the grammy awards are always the best; i’ll never forget how amused i was to see bon iver take home the award for “best new artist” at the 2012 ceremony, despite for emma, forever ago being released to critical and commercial acclaim four years prior.

for my “best new artist” category for 2013, i decided to look at bands that didn’t exist in 2012.  at all.  that meant painful axings for savages and chvrches, fantastic groups that put out really important debut albums this year.  that meant pity sex and daughter didn’t qualify either, as prior years of demos and eps established each band quite well in their respective circles.  while i’m just one guy who inevitably misses out on a lot of what goes on in the music world, there was one brand new band this year that really caught my attention and got me really excited for their subsequent output in 2014.

now, without further ado, let the accolades of 2013 in music begin.

– best new artist: vancouver sleep clinic –

it’s been hard to ignore tim bettinson’s rise from obscurity and his subsequent impact on the indie blogosphere over the past six months.  since the release of his debut single as vancouver sleep clinic, “vapour,” at the end of june, the seventeen year-old from australia has garnered a significant amount of buzz.  early comparisons were made to bon iver and james blake, similarities further condoned by bettinson’s self-admitted adoration of those two artists, but there’s a level of maturity and coherence in both his lyricism and compositions that is beyond rare for someone who graduated high school last month.

 

i waited in the edge of my seat for months before the next vancouver sleep clinic song dropped, but the artistry attached to “collapse” was worth it.  it’s the lead single off of the band’s upcoming debut ep, already one of my most-anticipated releases of 2014.  the winter landscape “collapse” evokes struck at the perfect moment half a hemisphere away, and this was reflected by vancouver sleep clinic reaching the top of the hype machine charts within days of the song dropping.

 

the success of both “vapour” and “collapse” foreshadows vancouver sleep clinic’s potential to be a heavy hitter in the ambient, atmospheric realm, as well as the band’s capacity to cross over into elements of folk and post-dub with relative ease.  london grammar just picked up bettinson and company as the support act for a string of tour dates in australia next january.  at the rate this band is snowballing, i wouldn’t be surprised to see vancouver sleep clinic dominating heavy-hitting sites like pitchfork and stereogum within the next few months.  they’re certainly worthy of the buzz.

listen to a new song from vancouver sleep clinic

tim bettinson’s intimate bedroom project vancouver sleep clinic first caught my attention back in july with “vapour,” an excellent stand-alone track that evoked self-admitted bon iver and james blake influences.  bettinson has since fleshed out the sleep clinic, adding a couple of members to make it a legitimate band, and recorded a debut ep, out early next year.  i’d rather not have to wait to hear the entire thing, but i’ll settle for the lead single for the time being.  “collapse” continues down the same path as vancouver sleep clinic’s original aesthetic, combining a vernon-esque falsetto with delicate synths.  stream it below, courtesy of the band’s soundcloud page.

listen to a new song from vancouver sleep clinic

it’s not very often that you find a band with a name that so accurately describes their intended aesthetic.  aside from the slight geographical misdirection (the sleep clinic is based out of brisbane, not vancouver), tim bettinson’s music functions just as you would expect.  he openly admits that his songs are catered towards fans of bon iver and james blake; i see the former much more than the latter in his new song “vapour.”

it’s airy and driven by a very similar falsetto and acoustic guitar tandem approach to the one that appeared on justin vernon’s first album, but “vapour” also retains some discernible electronic elements, perhaps creating a loophole for people who would be quick to write him off as another rustic cabin wannabe.  if it’s any consolation, i live in eau claire and think this song is worth a listen.  check it out below and see for yourself.