Ashleys, Deleted Scenes & Grounders @ Café Dekcuf
Toronto’s Grounders played their inaugural album tour show in Ottawa at Cafe Dekcuf with D.C.’s Deleted Scenes & Ottawa’s Ashleys on Nov. 9, 2013
When bands play Ottawa for their first time above Mavericks‘s folk metal night, they assume Ottawa is mostly comprised of metalheads. Who are we to say otherwise, when the downstairs tremors of frenzied bass is encroaching on their tunes? Luckily the three bands that played last night at Cafe Dekcuf were made to rage in their own experimental rock way.
Ottawa-based Ashleys warmed up the early crowd. Four lads from New Brunswick who grew up within 20 km of each other ended up in Ottawa on a fluke and decided to form their band. They insist they are all boys but their name is suspect. Their album is but a year old but I think its quirky indie rock will carry them far. They wrote a song about a couple fighting called “Terry & Tory,” and if Mike the frontman hadn’t let me know if was an obvious pun on “territory” I wouldn’t be writing about it. Funny dudes with three toques, three mics, a wild drummer, and a lot of basement party rock started us up just as their lead guitarist broke two strings at once and had to borrow one from Deleted Scenes’s frontman Daniel Scheuerman.
Ashleys: four lads from NB who formed a band in Ottawa, and are almost definitely not girls.
The helpful Deleted Scenes band was formed in the District of Columbia in 2005, a long time coming for four friends who met in grade school. They are a prolific band, as you can see in the description of their Bedbedbedbedbed EP and from their recording history. I mean two albums & two EPs, the second of which was released just this week, is a good ratio for an eight-year-old band. Their next album Lithium Bird is due to come out in 2014 and will feature the songs from their Stutter 7″.
Dan pointed out that besides a distinct difference in the graphic design of our road signage, the US & Canada are not that dissimilar. And he spread the word that D.C. has also seen its mayor Marion Barry caught in a video smoking crack back in ’89 during a sting operation. He did his time and ran again for mayor in 1994 and won… Since declared “mayor for life” (in hearts & minds, not in office) his example is something Canadian mayors can look up to. Cause when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. A reputable journalist said that once, when he was really fucking high.
A band after my own heart, they’d love to get postcards from you. Their first LP, Birdseed Shirt, came out in 2009 and they’ve have since made their way around the continent with a mess of organ-like keyboard sounds, a drummer with a wicked double bass drum & a fantastic machine called the monome. Dan’s style of screaming & wrapping the mic cable around his neck made me cringe in delight, also I thought he was going to throw up. Lively! In the states they work under Park The Van Records, north of the 49th they are with Nevado Records along with their colleagues Grounders.
Deleted Scenes from Washington, D.C. on the move.
So Grounders just released their first EP, Wreck of a Smile. This has been something many people have been waiting for, from a band that regularly plays POP Montreal every year and tours extensively. I have to hand it to an independent band trekking across Canada & the States with not just CDs and vinyl, but audio cassette of their sound with their own art on the cover. And then you listen to them. There’s hints of dance music coupled to catchy guitar riffs and Andrew Davis’s lyrics. I heard them on All in a Day on CBC Radio 1 this Thursday, “Along the Line” got me excited for the show and you listen to it below. I got to sit down with bassist Mike Searle to ask him about it, among other things, just before the show. Check that out here, if you’d like.
When they hit the stage the Cafe had filled up to a warm buzz, drowning out the bass below. After their first song Andrew suggested, “If you could all just take five huge steps forward that would be great.” And everything fell into place. “This song is called Duncan,” he continued. “It’s about my roommate. His name is Duncan.” Enjoyable in person and in sound. For a first show in Ottawa they played their avant-pop rock matched to their synth-surrounded instrumentalist belting out electronic joy. It was a great way to announce that Toronto has spit out a feel-good group of five who are ready to take to the streets with their newly recorded material. Let there be more music, we’re ready.
Wreck of a Smile is out now, and available on a 10″ vinyl that you can’t pass up. Ten dollars for 10 inches — ’nuff said. If that ratio keeps up, I’m stoked to see the size of their LP.