Said The Whale

Vancouver's Said The Whale has been on a steady upward trajectory for the past six years, as relentless touring and a prolific string of releases have led to successes including a JUNO Award in 2011 for New Group of the Year and nationally charting singles. In 2013, the tireless five-piece — which includes dual songwriters Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester, drummer Spencer Schoening, keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown and bassist Nathan Shaw — will continue to break down doors by releasing its most adventurous and hook-filled batch of songs yet.

The band formed in early 2007 and, following some early EPs, released the debut-full length Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia in 2008. Said The Whale began to amass a grassroots following through frequent tours, and they scored a string of Canadian radio successes with the albums Islands Disappear (2009) and Little Mountain (2012). These albums earned attention from media outlets like Spin, BBC 6 Music, and Consequence of Sound, and the band was profiled in the nationally televised CBC documentary Winning America. Said The Whale has been nominated for two more JUNO Awards in 2013 for Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year (alongside art director Andy Dixon) for Little Mountain.

In keeping with this inexhaustible work ethic, the band is releasing another new collection of songs in the form of the four-song I Love You EP, due out June 18, 2013, on Hidden Pony Records. Once again teaming with longtime studio collaborator Tom Dobrzanski (We Are the City, the Zolas) at his Monarch Studios, the musicians pushed their musical limits and honed their love of fast, punchy pop-rock.

"In the past I've felt pressure to write 'radio' songs, or 'cool' songs or whatever, but this time I went into the writing process with mindset of 'Fuck everything, I'm just going to write what makes me happy,'" says Tyler Bancroft, explaining that the songs were written with a clean slate and no expectations. Ironically, what resulted were some of Said the Whale's catchiest, most accessible songs yet. The singer observes, "It turns out I just like pop music."

This affection for melody shines on I Love You's title track which is led by a surge of post-punk guitars and careens between spiky choruses and a sunny, sock hop-inspired bridge. Elsewhere, the Worcester-sung "Barbara-Ann" is a buoyant blend of heartfelt romance and '60s-style vocal harmonies, while "Mother" is a synth-heavy new wave banger. These upbeat songs were mixed by Canadian studio guru Gus Van Go (Hollerado, the Stills).

"I spend so much time chipping away at my thoughts, trying to get to the core, and right now I'm finding it easy," Worcester says. "I've never felt more creative." He adds that the lovestruck mood of "Barabara-Ann" was inspired by a couple who own a hammock store in Vancouver. "It's a proposition to someone special, suggesting that we too can live together like this this beautiful pair of chilled out lifers," he reveals.

The EP offers a taste of Said The Whale's fourth album, due out this fall. These latest sessions found Bancroft taking on the role of co-producer, and he guided each song in bold new directions without adherence to genre. "Rather than record in one big session, we used the 'hip-hop method' of doing two or three songs at a time," he reflects. "This let us focus all of our energy on each song without getting overwhelmed."

The new material was penned in a surge of creativity that found Bancroft and Worcester letting their guard down and following their instincts. "My songs on this album are the most vulnerable songs I've ever written," notes Bancroft. "Lyrically it's the most honest I've ever been."

I Love You EP is the sound of a band already on the top of its game breaking free from all expectations and boldly reinventing its identity. And with a new full-length close behind, expect to see more new sides to Said The Whale soon.

Royal Teeth's six members come from three cities across Southern Louisiana, a state known for its colossal musical output over the centuries. Now residing in New Orleans, their beat-centric sound is a technicolor addition to the legacy of Louisiana. The band could not be happier with their new home at Dangerbird, saying, "We are beyond excited to be a part of the Dangerbird family. It feels great to be part of a team that we know really cares and wants to see us succeed. We look forward to an amazing year!"

Of the signing, CEO and Founder of Dangerbird Records, Jeff Castelaz shares, "I love New Orleans. My wife, Jo Ann Thrailkill, is from there, and we spend a lot of time in the city. For years, I've wanted to sign a band from New Orleans -- to raise the Dangerbird flag there, to show our solidarity with the city." Castalez continues, "On Halloween night, we got invited to see this band Royal Teeth at a little venue just outside the French Quarter. As soon as they hit the stage I got that special feeling inside, and I knew they were the band that would allow us to put our stamp on the city's musical lineage."

Since that game-changing Halloween night, Royal Teeth has taken Louisiana by storm. Not only have they played packed shows in New Orleans and Lafayette, the latter of which saw the band sharing a bill with Mute Math, but they've also spread their reach to cities such NYC for last year's CMJ Festival, This winter the band won Nikon's "Creative Invite", awarding them a free trip to Austin for SXSW where they performed alongside Fun. Playing an additional two showcases, Royal Teeth also secured the attention of CNN at SXSW who stumbled upon the band courtesy of Twitter, the discovery resulting in a special session for CNN.com.

On "Act Naturally," the vocal duo of Gary Larsen and Nora Patterson provide heartfelt lyrics as the musicians travel through lavish, synth-infused soundscapes, boasting a brand all to itself that's not quite "dance pop" and not quite electronic. Leadoff track "Wild" finds Patterson's crystalline vocal hooks bounding in joyous romps over Larsen's grounded narrative. The tune starts the EP like a warning siren, and it doesn't let go from there. The catchy tune gained rapid traction in early 2012, launching Royal Teeth into the spotlight as the song found its way into a Canadian Buick commercial in addition to Fox featuring the song in its winter promotion.

Also on the EP is the band's bold rendition of The Knife's 2003 hit "Heartbeats" which sounds like a long-lost New Wave hit from the early '80s, bubbling over with dance floor pulses and thick kick drum echoes. Royal Teeth effortlessly makes this familiar song its own without having to radically reinvent the style of the track or jeopardize the character of the band.

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Said The Whale with Royal Teeth, Influx, Painted By Millions, Cape Cod

Tuesday, August 27 · Doors 5:30 PM / Show 6:00 PM at Smiling Moose - Upstairs