Jul. 04, 2012 - Issue #872: The Beer Issue
The City Streets
Street Fighting Men
Sat, Jul 7 (9 pm)
The City Streets
With Whiskeyface and guests
After making the move east to Montréal in 2009, the City Streets are heading back home to Edmonton to celebrate the release of not one, but two new full-length albums.
The band had enough songs recorded to release two discs, so rather than releasing one, doing promo and waiting to release the second, the decision was made to get them both out to audiences together. Sawdust & Rum and Winter Lightning are being released at once, but couldn't be more different.
Sawdust & Rum was inspired by singer and guitar player Rick Reid's grandfather, who passed away two years ago. Reid describes him as an individualistic, libertarian, unique man, and his death inspired him to put the pen to paper. This is the first time he's addressed personal subject matter in such a direct manner, but he believes that in spite of the lyrics being about a certain person, they can resonate with any listener.
"Everyone has someone like that in their life, you know, someone they can look up to ... it's just a human experience to go through losing someone you love," Reid notes, adding that writing helped him get through the situation, and he wanted it to be about celebrating life in general, rather than a self-indulgant endeavour. "Sometimes you've got to capture that moment in life where you feel certain things."
The entire album was recorded over the course of a week at a secluded cabin owned by Reid's uncle on the Northumberland Strait in Nova Scotia. The isolated environment allowed the band to record around the clock without any interruptions or complaints about the noise.
"We knew it was going to have a certain rawness and rough sound to it because we're not trained engineers or producers, but that was sort of what we were going for and it was more of the spirit of the thing," he says. "We basically locked ourselves in with some Ichiban and some whisky and set up a recorder and went all day and all night, passed out for a couple hours, woke up and just kept going."
In contrast to the melancholic sentimentality of Sawdust & Rum, Winter Lightning offers Motown-charged power-pop tunes that were recorded in Montréal by Howard Bilerman at his Hotel2Tango studio. There was no thematic element to Winter Lightning and Reid says while some of its lyrics are influenced by friendships and relationships, it was more so a chance to delve further into the pop genre. Winter Lightning was recorded on two-inch tape, which Reid says he'd do all the time, for drums in particular, if he could because of the richness in sound that's produced.
"There's a reason why guys like Jack White are obsessed with it," he says of the format.
Both discs have been released on the City Street's independent label Clamour Records and the trio already has plans to head back into the studio to start recording another album, although it won't be released for another year. Reid says that during this tour they'll make a stop in Vancouver to record the new tracks with Jesse Gander at the Hive Creative Labs.
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