Tuesday, May 6, 2008

WIN A CD: "Words to ponder, ass shaking music!" - Parlour Steps

They call it "Thought-Rock". I call it paint by Magic Numbers.
It's all about the harmonies, although the music proffered here is, admittedly, less irksomely upbeat than The Magic Numbers. In addition to the harmonies however, the two bands share well-crafted, catchy, pop-tinged indie songwriting. Parlour Steps take things a step further with articulate, and certainly more edgy, lyrics. Try:
"An orgasm ain't success, however / It feels close enough in this cold weather" (from 'There but for the Grace...').
Vancouver's Parlour Steps signed to Nine Mile Records mid-November 2007 and, shortly after, released their latest independently-recorded album Ambiguoso; their first album to be available outside of their native Canada. And it sounds good...both on the surface, and upon more intent listening.
Lead track Thieves of Memory has obviously been kicking around for a while, as it won Parlour Steps a place in the 2005 International Songwriting Competition. And these songs do sound lived in - confident, familiar, honest, dear to the heart of those performing. Principal songwriter (and vocalist /guitarist) Caleb Stull has produced, mixed and sound engineered for other fledgling bands, and his experience really shows. The songs here are polished, yet not over-produced.
Completing the line-up are Julie Bavalis on vocals and bass guitar, Rees Haynes on guitar, and Robert Linton on drums. With some formal musical education and a jazz background, these guys really know their stuff. They are making the music they want to make and have evidently thought a great deal about what exactly that is. Astounding, then, that Ambiguoso was done and dusted in only five weeks.

I was lucky enough to snag an e-mail interview with Caleb Stull (he's the one waving "Hello" just up above!), and here are the results:

- What are your main musical influences and who has your sound been compared to?

CS: When I started all this I wanted to sound like the Pixies, then I obsessed over The Dirty Three, Radiohead, and Tom Waits. Then I heard The Shins, Arcade Fire, and Modest Mouse. Now I wish I wrote like Veda Hille and Matt Pond PA. We seem to have been successful at apeing our favourites, cause we've been compared to nearly every band I just listed as influences.

- What's the song you're most proud of writing?

CS: Thieves of Memory (of which we are just about to launch a video) came the easiest and seems to still speak to us the most, although Only Mystery has a very enjoyable intensity to it when we play it on stage.

- What was the first album you ever bought?

CS: Dreamboat Annie by Heart. They were hot and they ROCKED!

- And what is your guilty pleasure band?
CS: Justin Timberlake. You won't print this, will you? I have terrible weakness for top 40 pop in all its auto-tuned, pro-tooled, vapid glory.

- If you could only ever listen to one album again, for the rest of your life, what would it be (compilations and box sets are cheating!)?

CS: Beatles, The White Album.

- There seems to be so much great music coming out of Canada lately...who are your personal favourites/hot tips/musical buddies you'd like to 'big up'?

CS: Check out Portico, Jesse Matheson, Veda Hille, The Neins Circa, Jenn Grant, and Eisenhauer.

- Can you describe yourself/your sound in 6 words?
CS: Words to ponder, ass shaking music!

- Finally have you got an interesting fact/anecdote/musing that you would like to share with the readers of Ceci N'est Pas un Blog?
CS: The records the devil in our Thieves of Memory video, to be released soon, is destroying are Barbara Streisand and Boney M. The book he tears up is a Reader's Digest condensed. Some sacrifices were required.

Visit Parlour Steps at:

Parlour Steps website



Buy Ambiguoso (CD or mp3) at CD Baby.

mp3: Only Mystery - Parlour Steps

mp3: What the Lonely Say - Parlour Steps

mp3: Thieves of Memory - Parlour Steps

Check out the songs above and, if you like what you hear (which I'm sure you will), why not enter my competition to win a CD. All that is required of you is to leave a comment on this post, and a winner will be picked at random. You will need to either tick the box to be notified of further comments on the post, check back, or leave an e-mail address where I can get in touch with you...just so you know that you have won!
Competition closes in two weeks - 20 May 2008.



Niiiice. I'm loving your back-to-back Canadian reviews! So I've definitely "seen" these guys on the live music circuit but haven't listened to their stuff before this but I should try and catch one of their shows next time I get a chance. It's always great to see some homegrown talent :)

howard said...

The more good Canadian bands I hear of the more I can quiz my French-Canadian tutor PAs music knowledge. So this is awesome :) also thought I'd start leaving posts now theres an insentive :P

Divinyl said...

And the winner is...


Thank goodness, as BB won the last one, and people might have thought she was teacher's pet! An overwhelming response to this competition eh?!

Howard, if you can get in touch with your details (you can find my e-mail address at the top left of the main page) I will get the CD posted out to you right after the Bank Holiday :o)

Apologies for the delay in announcing this...I have been a little M.I.A!

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