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Broken wrists or patio beers?

Canadian rockers Hollerado return to Whistler in search of some cold ones

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When Canadian indie-rock quartet Hollerado rolls into Whistler to play the Garibaldi Lift Co., on Mon., June 12, it will be towards the end of an extensive cross-country headlining tour behind the band's new album Born Yesterday.

"We have a day off in Whistler so I think it will be nice to just sit around... what should we do?" asks lead vocalist and guitarist Menno Versteeg, in a phone call the day after the opening show of the tour.

Go hiking, I say, or rent some bikes and get up into the bike park.

"That sounds like a recipe for missing a bunch of shows," Versteeg says.

"Years and years ago I was in a punk band and we were playing Whistler, and one of our buddies, the bass player, he wanted to go snowboarding... sure enough, he went out of bounds at Spanky's Ladder and got caught in a mini avalanche, fell off a cliff.

"It was like 100 feet, and he lived... all he broke was his wrist — his fuckin' bass-playing wrist."

Maybe the band should just find a patio and drink some beers, I say.

"That sounds better," Versteeg agrees.

After a lengthy tour behind a new album, Hollerado (Versteeg, Nixon Boyd on lead guitar, Dean Baxter on bass and Jake Boyd on drums) will have earned some patio time.

When Born Yesterday was released on April 14, the band said on its Facebook page that they'd never worked harder on any project — a bold statement considering their last project was an album of 111 songs.

"It just seems like it's a combination of basically 10 years of work, to be honest," Versteeg says of the new release, adding that the band essentially recorded two separate albums in the process.

"We wrote a whole album, and then it wasn't that we, like, threw out that album, but we kept writing... so we ended up basically making two records and releasing the second one," he says.

"I guess we just felt like we hadn't said what we wanted to say with the first batch, so we just kept going."

The result found on Born Yesterday is Hollerado's tightest, most radio-ready release to date.

Will fans ever get a chance to hear the abandoned batch of tracks?

"We've never been very precious about releasing stuff that is not the best, so I think we probably will (release it) at some point," Versteeg says.

Take 111 Songs for instance — a 2015 project that stemmed from a pre-order promotion that allowed fans to send the band their name and a few facts about themselves in return for a personalized song.

Ambitious hardly captures the end result.

The songs are wildly divergent in terms of style, length and content, going from straightforward indie rock numbers to acoustic ballads to synth-pop and back again with a reckless and refreshing disregard for the traditional structure of a rock album.

I haven't yet heard the whole thing, I admit.

"No, us either," Versteeg jokes. "You get to see all aspects of the thought process with that thing."

And while some tracks found their way onto Born Yesterday, the two releases are as stylistically distinct as could be.

"There was no such thing as a mistake with that project. There was no such thing as a bad decision... whereas with this one we tried to be more critical of ourselves," Versteeg says.

Even in comparison to 2013's White Paint — the sophomore release chock full of experimental tempo shifts and exploratory guitar riffs — Born Yesterday gleams with a noticeable polish.

"White Paint was such a classic, 'band on their second album' (release), being like, 'People like us, we can do whatever we want!' You know? You learn from that," Versteeg says.

But that's not to say the band won't go down that road again.

"We can't help ourselves," Versteeg says.

"It's fun to do that... but when you open that can of worms — anything goes — you'd be surprised what a worm hole that can be. But it's a fun one, and I've always loved that — the element of surprise in a song."

When it comes to its downtime in Whistler, at least, Hollerado plans on playing it safe and predictable this time around.

"It's going to be summer time, so as long as there's a venue with a PA system and we're there with our buddies and some coldies, we're going to have a good time," Versteeg says.

"Yeah — I think a patio sounds fantastic."

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