Canadian musician Rich Aucoin made a name for himself in the late 2000s, pairing his ambitious and exploratory pop music with impressive feats of endurance, including a coast-to-coast tour via bicycle and another that involved long-distance running, each of which supported a different charity. By the time he'd released his 2011 debut, We're All Dying to Live, Aucoin had made friends and collaborators all across the country and developed a reputation as a captivating live act. Subsequent releases like 2014's Ephemeral and 2019's Release only bolstered his renown as a pop auteur.
Following its release, he embarked on a cross-Canada tour on his bicycle, raising money for the Childhood Cancer Canada charity and supporting his album. After completing the journey, he immediately went on tour with Nova Scotian indie supergroup the Hylozoists, who were founded by his older brother Paul Aucoin. The sudden lack of physical exercise during the Hylozoists tour caused him to develop an iron deficiency and once he recovered, he launched another solo tour, this time running partial marathons between shows and raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society. During these various tours, Aucoin collaborated with a variety of friends and musicians around the country, recording his first full-length album, 2011's We're All Dying to Live. Broad in scope, Aucoin's first grand indie pop statement included over 500 guest musicians and drew comparisons to the Flaming Lips, Daft Punk, and Arcade Fire. His live shows developed into a wild spectacle of symphonic pop and multi-sensory effects, including the unfurling of a giant parachute over the audience. Aucoin's second album, Ephemeral, released in 2014, was similarly broad in scope and inspired by the children's novella The Little Prince. Over the next few years he continued to tour, write, and record, returning in early 2018 with the Hold EP. As its name suggested, it served as a sort of holding place and all four of its songs later appeared on Aucoin's experimental third album, Release, which came out in May 2019. ~ Timothy Monger