Wednesday, June 3, 2009

herohill / music nova scotia artist of the month:: Kestrels

Well, June has started and that means we need a new Music Nova Scotia Band of the Month. This month, for me, the pick was easy. From the first time I heard Seaside blast out of my shitty computer speakers, I knew the Halifax/Truro trio Kestrels was going to be a band I was all about. In fact after one or two listens to the 7", not only did I try to get them signed on for our HPX showcase, I also said:
Seaside starts with a simple electric that resonates in the vast emptiness, but quickly vocals and rapid fire drums fill your ears. The bass line dances around your headphones and for a few precious moments you get fooled into thinking the band is hiding under the disguise of a catchy indie rock outfit. They take their foot off the pedal briefly on the slowed down chorus, but for me the band’s potential is revealed at the 2:16 mark.

Finding a riff and running into the ground is easy, but Kestrels throw you a curve ball when they explode into a Mascis-esque guitar solo out of nowhere. They don’t belabor the point with useless notes - it’s only 15 seconds - but it changes the complexion of the entire song and the abrupt shift lets the band transition into a subdued, melodic outro. All too often, a young band tries too much, too soon, but the complexity of Seaside mixed with the infectious, carefree sounds how they are going to be getting some serious attention when a full length surfaces.

The trio – Chad (guitar), Adam (bass) and Marcus (drums) – obviously have a great record collection and a big appreciation for the bands that shaped the indie scene, but it’s more than that. They are passionate about music. Live, they tear it up and you can see they love playing together. When they record, they take their time and each song is better than the one before it. They care about the things that music fans care about (vinyl, packaging, cover tracks from obscure bands). They make you want to care about music again.

So why are they the band of the month? Well, because their new LP – Primary Colours - is finally finished and it’s going to be one of the best records coming out of Nova Scotia this year. We’ve previewed the single already, but I’m pretty sure we could talk about any song and it would come back to the three simple things I love about this band: guitars, bass and drums. They aren’t layer after layer of obscure thrift store junkstruments. They aren’t banging out dance floor sythn-onies. It’s good old fashioned shimmering guitar, banging drums and old school indie sing-alongs.

Normally I don't pressure people into buying a record - we all know it's tough times out there and if you aren't winning music you probably just end up downloading it from some rarblog site - but Kestrels put a lot into this and also want to give you something back. The first 25 people who pre-order the album will receive a bonus limited edition CD EP as well as a pin and poster. These tracks will not be available anywhere else so make haste/hurry up/don’t waste time/etc. The vinyl is limited to 200 copies of black vinyl and that’s it. It also comes with an individual 5×5 print from a Lomo Diana which will include a download code for the album. Head over to to find out how to order.

As a special treat for you, the band is going to be offering 4 exclusive songs for herohill. The first - the early release of Sailed On - was a nice primer, but as a special treat, Chad recorded a stripped down acoustic take on the Dinosaur Jr. classic, Thumb. Why? well, because it's a great song and he's a great guy. Enjoy it and go pick up the new record. You'll thank me later.

MP3:: Kestrels - Thumb (Dinoasaur Jr. Cover)

MP3:: Kestrels - Sailed On

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