I stumbled upon PEI’s Raccoon Bandit when we were compiling tracks for the PEI mixtape. I was a newbie to the band, but their gritty take on folk/roots that was sun-kissed with a hint of surf guitar, added some much needed dirt to the compilation and I’m glad to see their EP – Campcraft – follows suit.

The quartet rips through the first three tracks, relying on Fraser McCallum’s familiar Neil Young-ish warble and pace to push the record forward, but don’t let themselves get stuck in a pattern. They are just as happy to find riffs and use melody, like they do on the catchy Hat or veer of course with a moody, slow burners like Long Road Home and the oddly sincere Same Old Boat.

The PEI quartet took the time to really work their songs until they were ready. Tight harmonies, well placed keys and the always smart decision to keep the record concise all show that Raccoon Bandit understands music and is working hard to form their niche in an over populated folk pond. A quick listen to the AM feel they add to the Young inspired Train Song proves that Campcraft is certainly a nice start.

MP3:: Raccoon Bandit – Hat
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/racoonbandit

I’m not sure if Montreal’s The Spins could sound more different than the folk inspired PEI act they share the review with, but Flo and Cheryl are back with their second record – Icebergs Moving Through Open Plains – and considering the pedigree that helps the duo out (GSY!BE, The Dears, Arlen from Wolf Parade just to name drop a few) and the fact Brian Paulson had his fingers all over the production, I’m surprised no one seems interested.

The duo was inspired by the horrible tragedy @ Dawson College and the resilience and strength of the students trying to overcome the events. Moments of regret and helplessness of the event permeate some of the songs, especially when you hear lines like, “I want what happens when I make right what was wrong” (Future Back), but the guitar heavy anthem doesn’t wallow in self-pity and sadness. They want to inspire today’s youth – and when they harmonize “all together now” over some catchy guitar on Renamed, you can feel your spirits lifting.

I’m not sure the band’s penchant for classic female fronted indie rock from the 90’s is anything new per say, but they certainly do it very well and the subtle electronics (Giants and the click clack that drives Dandy Lions) brushed in help add depth to their guitar and bass heavy riffs, it’s much easier to settle into the comfortable sounds and just enjoy. Plus, the woman are donating the proceeds of the first 1000 records to two Dawson College fund, so I’d rather just focus on the positives and hope you help support Canadian music and give back to the community.

MP3:: The Spins – Future Back
MYSPACE:: http://www.myspace.com/thespinsmtl
BUY:: dkdtunes.com