Friday, June 13, 2008

Quick hitters:: United Steel Workers of Montreal

web site :: label :: buy from Zunior

After taking forever and a day to get the Alberta mix up and running for our Great Canadian Mixtape project, we are trying to be a bit more proactive with the Quebec-edish. Although we are going to scatter the whole province, Montreal is generally regarded as the epi-centre of Canadian indie music, so I'd wager we're going to have a proverbial ton of Moe-re-al bands to choose from. Already, one I guarantee will the final cut is The United Steelworkers of Montreal.

Their latest effort - Kerosene & Coal - melts down styles to form a strong, flexible sound, in a process similar to the people the band takes their name from. The result is something called "dive bar city-grass", which is probably as accurate as descriptor as you'll find. Breathtaking harmonies, strings, and banjo that come together at the confluence of their sound, and support Gern's grizzly vocals. Sure, the tracks have all the elements of bluegrass, country, dive bar rock you'd expect to find in rural America but the grit that comes along for the road is as urban as smog and overpopulation.

Even the most traditional arrangement (a terrific song like Standing There), one that should be pure as a summer breeze across a desolate corn field, still feels like the it's only getting out of the city for a few days, unable to leave the rat race completely behind.

And because of that urgency, The United Steel Workers of Montreal can make you stomp a hole into the dance floor on one track (Small Town Banks or Life Bearable), and make you hold your girl tight as you sway to the next (Emile Bertrand). You know everything isn't as perfect as a country sunset or a relaxing drift down the river. No, life is there to be lived, short, fast and sadly full of regrets, so you should cherish every picturesque escape you can find.

Posted at 7:16 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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