Best of 2014 The DIY List 2014: Alvvays and forever

Every UK gig they’ve played has been packed to the rafters, and in July they released one of the albums of the year: Toronto five-piece Alvvays reflect on a mad 2014.

Alvvays are at #8 in The DIY List 2014, a look back at the year’s best albums, one-off shows, festival performances and achievements outside of the norm.

Given the kind of year they’ve had, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Alvvays now have a slick operation in place when they’re on the road; unanimous critical praise for their self-titled debut and rapturously received shows across the world, you’d have thought, would’ve seen to that. Instead, though, they’ve just played across Europe without a tour manager, meaning things were just a little bit chaotic. Today they’re playing the second of two nights in Berlin, opening for Foxygen; tomorrow they’ll fly back to New York. “I think it’s about time,” singer Molly Rankin laughs. “We’re all starting to lose our minds a little bit. We’re definitely not the best navigators.”

It’s pronounced ‘always’ - the spelling is apparently down to somebody else having beaten them to the correct form, although a cynic might think it’s a little bit of search engine optimisation - but the Toronto five-piece haven’t been around very long at all; they formed out of the ashes of various other bands two years ago. That said, it took what felt like an age - to the band at least - for them to actually put out a record; the gorgeously fuzzy ‘Alvvays’ dropped in July. “Normally I don’t think we would have had any real expectations for the record,” Rankin explains. “We’ve all been in enough bands and projects in the past that haven’t really panned out to know that it’s probably best not to place your hopes too high. It took so long to get the album out there though, that it was difficult not to want to see people’s reactions to it - which, thankfully, have been great. I thought that maybe just a few Canadian websites and magazines would cover it, so it’s crazy to see it go over so well here, and see, like, Mexican bloggers talking about us.”

One of the perks of that attention has been the opportunities for travel that it’s afforded the band; in October, they toured the UK properly for the first time, opening up a superb double bill along with Real Estate, and commanding crowds almost as big as the headliners, too. “It was nice to get the chance to explore, finally,” says Rankin. “We’d only ever played London and Brighton, for some reason. There were at least a few people at every show who knew all the words, which felt like a huge bonus; I think the culture’s a little bit different than in America and Canada, where you’re lucky if anybody comes out to see the openers. Seeing those crowds was pretty inspiring; the amount of people buying vinyl, too.”

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