Tuesday, January 27, 2009

another Canadian band you should get to know: Entire Cities

I have to admit that I had mixed feelings when Ruh from Vintage asked me to take a listen to her band's new album, Deep River. She's a friend, after all, what if I couldn't find anything nice to say about it?

Pffft. I needn't have worried.

The band, Entire Cities, has been kicking around Toronto and environs for quite a while, but we here in the new centre of the universe have yet to experience them firsthand. And that's a shame, because I understand that their live performances are bordering on legendary.

It's hard to know how to describe Entire Cities' sound, really. When I first started listening to Deep River, I thought yeah, here's a band that is stepping in to fill the void left when Jon-Rae and the River disbanded. But that's not entirely accurate, and neither is it fair to Entire Cities, who really have carved out their own sound. A sound that is rather hard to pigeonhole, as it turns out.

I've heard their music described as psychedelic cowpunk, and that's as good a descriptor as any, I guess. Certainly there are experimental elements in the unique instrumentation and unusual time signatures on songs like Turbine, and there are gloriously unapologetic hoedown singalongs on most of the tracks. Makes me want to see them perform.

Much like Jon-Rae and the River, Entire Cities' sound is based around the larger-than-life voice of the frontman, Simon Borer. His voice booms through the album like a slightly crazed indie lumberjack on a tear, bludgeoning you with lyrics like "I'm my brother's snakeskin motherfucker" in songs like Dancing with My Brother, while moderating into more restrained power in Coffee and in The Woods. There's even a really great building song, Waiting, and you know I am a sucker for a song that builds and builds. This one is really satisfying, full of horns and full-frontal harmonies, receding again to end in a restrained plinking of piano and a chorus of "waiting... waiting".

Deep River grows on me more with each listen. It's deeply satisfying music, full of raw harmonies that conjure up images of backwoods drinking parties. I think it's time Entire Cities moved out of the Greater Toronto Area and started laying their sound on the rest of the country.

You can listen here:


Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You are too hip for the room girl. Thanks for introducing me to anothe rband I would have never heard of if not for you.

Allison said...

Yay for new music, with great descriptions like "psychedelic cowpunk." I like them. Been hitting repeat on "Talkers" via their myspace.

Allison said...

p.s. Huzzah for trumpets!

Gifted Typist said...

I'm with Monkey. There is just no end to your hipness.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I don't know about the hip part, Dr M, but I am happy to have done my bit to spread the word.

I love the phrase "psychedelic cowpunk", Al, it's so evocative. I really like Talkers, too - some great visual lyrics. Trumpets, yeah!

You are sweet, but it's not true, Gifted. I just hang around hip people in the hopes that it will rub off on me.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thank you for such a scintillating review -- I think we are all blushing a little. Or a lot. I'm glad you liked the album! I also hope we get out to Calgary soon, although it is a pretty long way from Toronto. Haha. Fingers crossed (I think we'd fit in pretty well in the Prairies).

Thank you muchly!!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It was my pleasure, Ruh. It really is a fine album, so well done, you.

I think Sled Island would be a great fit for you. You should contact Zak.

Remi said...

Ugh. . . How am I ever going to curb the cd buying habit when you keep recommending great acts.

Thanks, but grudgingly.

Sean Wraight said...

Barb- It's always, ALWAYS nice to get a recommendation for a new great musical outfit. This one really fits the bill too. Congratulations to Ruh with this one as well; I absolutely love it. I share your opinion on the Jon Rae comparison- A little bit of innocence mixed with the gritty soul of a band like Lambchop. Totally original and Canadian to boot. I can't wait to get the CD.

Thanks for the heads up Barb. I'll be watching for this one.


Anonymous said...

Madame Zombie has already linked places to get the record in mp3 form (zunior is a great one) -- you can also go to iTunes if that suits you better.

In Calgary it's available at Megatunes; Kingston, at Made 4 You and Brian's Record Option; and Toronto, at Soundscapes. You can also contact me directly if you want a physical CD instead of mp3s :)

All right -- no more advertising from me. Thanks guys, it is really nice to know people are enjoying.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I know your weakness, Remi, and how to exploit it. Mwaahahaha

I'm glad Ruh asked me to listen to it, Sean, it really is a breathe of fresh air. And they are just down the 401 from you if you find yourself looking for a night on the town.

Well said, Miss Ruh!

bloody awful poetry said...

Ooooo psychedelic COWPUNK! Really must listen to this! You is teh Awesome, really. Like Dr. Monkey said, another band I'd would have never heard of, if not for you.