TOPS are a four-piece band from Montreal, equal parts girls and guys, delivering a raw punk take on AM studio pop. Change Of Heart / Sleeptalker is a 7" record with their lead single "Change Of Heart" backed with "Sleeptalker". Both songs are featured on their new record, Picture You Staring, which is a lush array of timelessly crafted songs.
Singer Jane Penny gives a new voice to the silent girl at the edge of the circle, disillusioned but honest and unpretentious, a tone complemented by David Carriere's seamless guitar playing and the measured drumming of Riley Fleck. TOPS' subtle arrangements are delivered with a cool restraint that blend with the individuality and self-assured desire of their female lead.
Change Of Heart / Sleeptalker gathers strength through intimacy. Self-written, recorded and produced at Arbutus Record's studio in Montreal, these are impeccable examples of pop craftsmanship that will reward repeat listeners.
Bermuda Waterfall = invisible action, unconscious fertilization, the subconscious master plan continuum.
Much of the words to Bermuda (which I feel are the center piece) were written whilst traveling between one place I loved and another place/people I loved, and trying to describe my most potent dreams related to my most potent life experiences. There was a feeling of disappointment in communication with the people that I'm calling out to connect with through my performances and travels in the last year, a feeling of loneliness. Full of yin and yang, and just sitting back and taking a look at my life, something I'm happy with, and came naturally in the words of which I intended for the first time nothing. I'll have to wait a few years before I understand exactly what's going on in the record, in this time in my life, and I'm alright with that, cos i'm into mystery. - Sean Nicholas Savage
After having released their critically acclaimed debut Native Speaker in 2011, and hot off the heels of their 12" single In Kind // Amends, BRAIDS have returned with their new LP Flourish // Perish out August 20th on Arbutus Records.
After 18 months of touring in support of Native Speaker, along with the departure of a band member, the group secluded themselves in their Montreal studio for a year of writing and recording. While Native Speaker was written in an organic and live environment, the group sought to explore a more introspective and electronic approach to songwriting. Sonically, the songs from these sessions are delicate and tight, yet thoughtfully open up to the rich lushness reminiscent of their older material. Lyrically they are honest and vulnerable, demonstrating the group's emotional growth and maturity since their last record.
With Flourish // Perish, BRAIDS marks an exciting new partnership with Montreal-based label Arbutus Records.
Paula is the music of gifted songwriter and producer, David Carriere. Though his work with past and present bands TOPS and Silly Kissers (disbanded) is known and loved by many, Relaxed Fit is his first solo record.
Lacking restraints or confines, Carriere's arrangement ushers the listener within layer upon layer of addictive pop hooks, an assault of programmed drums, synth lines, guitar, and refreshingly candid vocals. Though it references 70s punk, 80s synthpop, and 90s hip hop, the music remains unmistakably contemporary. The lyrical content is true to traditional pop motifs, but these themes are recontextualized through Carriere's air-conditioned attitude. Married to the recordings, the sound translates as distinctly punk, raw, and genuine. Paula's music is both the strength and the fragility that holds human nature together.
On July 16th, Arbutus Records will digitally re-release Relaxed Fit with two previously unheard bonus tracks 'Black Acura' and 'Totally Nice'. The release coincides with the vinyl release of Relaxed Fit, available through Ethereal Sequence Records (Drag City).
After having released their critically acclaimed debut Native Speaker in 2011, BRAIDS have returned with a new 12" single In Kind // Amends. Out June 11th on Arbutus Records, the 12" features two singles from their forthcoming sophomore album, as well as two exclusive b-sides.
The first single "In Kind", hits the pinnacle of the group's songwriting as a four piece. Written live, it is a layered and emotionally raw saga. The second single, "Amends", is a strong contrast, and shows the group's exploration into electronic and dance music. Filling out the 12" are two exclusive tracks that explore the textured and atmospheric side of the band - the subtly percussive "Near Enough" and the mesmerizing "A Dawn in Me".
Sean Nicholas Savage is driven by the magic of the voice. A fixture of the Montreal music scene, Savage uses his instrument to express both the strength and fragility of the human experience. In his writing, Sean has the keen ability to articulate the intricate emotions of everyday life and romance with a measure of specificity and maturity uncommon to most singer-songwriters.
This is a collection of deep and personal songs, which showcases a focused, darker side not seen on his previous titles. Welcome to Sean's Other Life.
Blue Hawaii, Arbutus Records and many of their Montreal counterparts all began with the same breath in early 2010. To date Blue Hawaii has released an 8 song EP: in May of that year, "Blooming Summer" (Arbutus, 2010) was recorded following the pair's travels in Central America. It frames a time of warmth and novelty, featuring dense female harmonies, tape saturated synths, guitars and drum machines. Eventually Ra - returned to her role in BRAIDS, touring constantly, while Ag - moved to Europe, treading deeper into dance music, electronics, and production.
The two decided to make "Untogether" in 2012; they began recording on New Years Day in Vancouver and intermittently worked on the project until summer broke in Montreal. The music followed their winter in Canada, it became colder, more introspective. It again captured a time and place, but instead of a dense saturation of love and excitement, this record reflects the vast world of self-awareness and delicacy. It takes for its subject the question of belonging, despite overwhelming space.
Musically, the production on the album is more spacious and physically it was recorded in separation. Despite this, it belongs together in its final form. It demonstrates successful creative process in a pair who composed apart, and in doing so it is a meditation on communication: how technology and art influence modern human relationships. It contains the vast space of two years passing, including watching their Montreal scene change as some launched into international success and others turned deeper inwards. Here, the album finds the conflict of separation / belonging to one's self and community
The duo notice that throughout the changing social and personal landscape which is one's twenties, these divided notions and people somehow stay together. Even the name Blue Hawaii suggests a kind of melancholic, jaded paradise, but a paradise after all. It is because - or perhaps in spite of - these disjointed intersections that the record is called "Untogether."
Marooned in a world of 24-hour status updates, Doldrums - aka Toronto native Airick Woodhead - is out to reclaim a space for the individual in a hyper-connected society. Fusing classic pop melodies and electro-hallucinogenic freak-outs, Doldrums' androgynous voice floats on a sea of chopped up samples and primal percussion to create the perfect soundtrack to nostalgia infused solitude. Beginning in 2010 as a series of videos and websites posted for fictional bands under various pseudonyms, Woodhead gained notoriety in Toronto as 'Doldrum' through performances at Everlasting Super Joy, his studio and DIY venue co-run with members of DD/MM/YYYY.
2011 marked his continued rise, with a burst of 7" releases and a VHS mixtape of original music videos. Notably, his interpretation of Portishead's 'Chase the Tear' came to the attention of the band, and it's inclusion as the B-side to the track's single on XL led to the release of a debut EP, Empire Sound, through cult London indie No Pain in Pop. An integral part of the Arbutus community since it's inception, Doldrums is one of the first acts to join the Arbutus family since its initial roster in 2010.