Scenematography: Fancy Diamonds – “Rocknrollin”

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Saskatoon, Saskatchewan four-piece Fancy Diamonds released their debut EP Sparkle Party in October, but just released the video for single “Rocknrollin” last week.  It may be late (TO THE PARTY????), but it’s a fun and quirky offering that makes it worth the wait.

“Rocknrollin” itself is, to quote the last paragraph, a fun and quirky offering (!).  The first verse and chorus are driven solely by vocals and…tambourine (ha), before the full band comes in for the rest.  The song has a definite surf/garage rock vibe, and really that’s the band in general.  That said, “Rocknrollin”‘s main riff actually comes from a keyboard.  There’s a lot going on, but it’s more subtle and complimentary than a wall of sound.

The video for “Rocknrollin” gets going with a marquee intro graphic, which does make sense as it presents as a mini-movie.  Frontman Dylan Evans then sings in front of a bunch of TVs as his fellow band members pop up around him.  After, the guys are outside smashing a stroller…which Evans then gets pushed around in.  Then they’re inside doing a performance, where they ultimately become skeletal figures…and there’s a bowl of glass (?) that’s being eaten like cereal and…it’s odd, and fits the song perfectly.

So that all happens.  Fancy Diamonds are touring in support of the EP May 5th-14th, with all dates in the Prairies.  As mentioned they have elements of surf and garage in their sound, and a notable pop sensibility that’s reminiscent of Joel Plaskett and even Said the Whale.  If you’re in Western Canada you can see them live next month, but regardless you can watch the Eyecatcher-produced video for “Rocknrollin” right now.

Fancy Diamonds online:


Interview: ACRONYMS

It’s a common story in rock, especially with younger musicians: bands play gigs together, become friends and gradually find that their true musical partners are those who they’re not currently in a project with.  Such was the case for ACRONYMS.  Consisting of Billy Tataryn (guitar/vocals), Adan Lemus (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Brynn Krysa (bass/vocals) and Tyson Goodyear (drums), the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan indie rockers released their debut EP SimpleComplex in January, led by single “Fake Fear”.  While heading out on a Western Canadian tour in support (which they’re on as we speak), they took some time to chat with TPS.

You guys first came together by filling in with each other’s previous bands.  What was the moment that made you think “this might become something bigger”?

First time we came together to try and see if us playing together worked, we jammed straight for like 8 hours.  At that moment we were certain this could form into something special.

Your sound has been compared to Tame Impala and Radiohead among others.  Are they big influences?  Who are some of your favourite artists?

Anyone who owns a flanger is a fan of Tame Impala and who doesn’t like Radiohead.  We draw influence from everything we listen to.  Nothing is off-limits, at the moment some of our favourite groups would have to be Beck, Foals, Close Talker.  Pretty much anyone who’s doing something that comes across as genuine and makes us feel something.

SimpleComplex was named in honour of recording the album live off the floor.  What made you do that instead of regular studio production?

To be completely honest we didn’t have the funds to record a full-length as tracking individual instruments would take up way more time in the studio.  That being said we play really well together as a group live and in practice.  So it only made sense to try doing it live off the floor.

The Sheepdogs and Wide Mouth Mason are two well-known acts from Saskatoon.  Who else from the city’s scene would you guys mention as standouts?

 Our buddies in Close Talker are doing some really exciting things, as well we love sharing the stage with Mario Lepage.  Two great groups who bring it all to live performance.

You’re doing a Western Canadian spring swing right now.  Any plans to tour outside the region?

 At the moment no talks of international tours yet, of course the opportunity to tour outside of your hometown is always rewarding.  Hopefully we get the opportunity to venture out of the country as well.

After experiencing ACRONYMS for the first time, is there anything you especially want people to take away from it?

 A t-shirt, cd, and a dirty grin.

ACRONYMS online:


Profile: Wide Mouth Mason

The thing about mainstream music is, you can’t often be just a bit too left-of-centre or you won’t truly be appreciated.  Now, I’m far from one of those people who’s like “MAINSTREAM MUSIC IS WATERED-DOWN CORPORATE FLUFF AND LACKS ANY SUBSTANCE”, but sometimes an artist doesn’t quite take that next step because they’re not straightforward enough.  To me, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s Wide Mouth Mason have always been one of those groups.  Truth be told, they’ve actually enjoyed a fair amount of success in Canada and wouldn’t totally be classified as underground, but I’ve always felt they were a bit under-appreciated.

WMM started in the mid-nineties as Shaun Verreault (vocals/guitar), Safwan Javed (drums) and Earl Pereira (bass/vocals), with Pereira being replaced by Gordie Johnson of Big Sugar/Grady in 2011.  They do blues-influenced rock, that also features a pop influence.  Aside from 1996’s indie debut The Nazarene, which is out of print and largely re-recorded for their self-titled major label debut, they have six albums: 1997’s Wide Mouth Mason, 1999’s Where I Started, 2000’s Stew, 2002’s Rained Out Parade, 2005’s Shot Down Satellites, and 2011’s No Bad Days, the first with Johnson on bass and the second album of theirs he produced (after Stew). 

Wide Mouth Mason are an eclectic group, and their sound has definitely evolved over the years.  It was Stew where the pop influence really came through, with hella catchy singles “Smile” and “Change” (the audio quality in the latter video is poor, but Earl looks like such a badass that I had to link to it).  Shot Down Satellites got a little heavier, and throughout blues has been a staple of the band’s sound, with other randomness.  Shaun Verreault is a very good and interesting guitarist, and has one of my favourite voices in music – sure he’s the frontman, but my love of WMM still comes largely from him.

Looking at the full discography, seven albums in nineteen years is actually not a bad average, but WMM have been more sporadic with the releases over the past decade.  They did have a time bassist-free, as Earl Pereira left to concentrate on his other band Mobadass, now known as The Steadies.  Their current bassist is also in two other bands and produces for many others, and I suppose it’s better to go three or four years between albums and make them count, than put one out every two and be so-so.

What will 2015 bring for Wide Mouth Mason?  There doesn’t appear to be word on a new album or tour dates, but they’re very active on social media and worth a follow there.  That’s actually one thing about the band: they’re very down-to-Earth.  They post lots of random things online, are goofy, and by all accounts nice too.  I actually exchanged e-mails with Safwan Javed years ago for a project I was putting together, and even from that one response I got he seemed genuine and cool.  Hopefully we get more music – live or recorded – from Wide Mouth Mason this year, because the official stance of TPS is they’re one of the most underrated bands in Canada.  It’d be nice to see them have an international presence too, because to my knowledge they’ve kept it fairly close to home so far.  I also hope I haven’t shortchanged them by calling them underrated and left-of-centre: they’ve won awards and shit don’tcha know.

Wide Mouth Mason online: