Community Trees: A Musical Forest of Wonderment


What it is with indie-rock bands and saxophones. Those woodwind instruments seem to be all over the scene these days. One group the employs (or perhaps deploys) a sax to great effect is Community Trees. This sextet of Coquitlam-based hipsters is a full five-course meal; an overnight camping trip with all the fixes – a carefree excursion complete with matcha green tea, cliff diving, hiking, watersports and entertainment. It’s a garden party.

Not only does having a saxophone and being a six-piece make these guys unique, but they alos have effectively two drummers. Zay Brignall keeps the wind steady on kit, while back-up vocalist and occasional guitar player Gel Bernardo has mastered the art of the floor tom. Plus, Brignall and bassist Sam Naso do occasionally switch off. And about the saxophone player, well he also plays mandolin and lapsteel. Whereas more recent bands have the saxophone front and centre much of the time, Corbin Vanderzalm remains largely in the background and acts as a lovely complement to the rest of the group.

These guys must be doing something right. I walked in about halfway through their set and was almost immediately intrigued and entranced by their sound and musicianship. It’s really quite a friendly atmosphere and environment. Bernardo is very stylish and creates lovely drum harmonies with Bignall. Lead singer Braeden Vanderzalm has that typical, quirky, indie rocker flare that works so well and guitarist Tony Malerba rounds out this group of funky millenials. Put all of them in a vegan shake and you get a sound that is your typical young generation indie rock feel, yet with a slight edge on style and substance. And their name fits right in with the urban, young & mobile vancouver crowd who fight for peace, love & free will. It’s modern, yet with twinges of the glorious 50s and the early days of folk.

So have a cold matcha frappe, take off your fedora, and get up and dance to these snazzy cats making their way through your town.

Community Trees’ album – Flo – is digitally available for download. You can find it here: 

RIYL: Hey Ocean!, The Zolas, Arcade FireThe Lumineers

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