Tag Archives: Indie-pop

The Just Barelys – “Mad Bits”

Sometimes when you listen to an album you get a really good idea of the band’s personality. Whether it’s the lyrics, the tunes, or the overall sound of the music, the songs give good insight into the personalities of the band members and make the music a lot more fun. In the case of The Just Barelys, the music says the band is awesome. They seem quirky, cool, and just plain weird. It’s a taste of something different, and like the weird friends we have and the things that surprise us, they make our lives a hell of a lot more interesting.

Adding this interesting break to our music playlist is “Mad Bits“, the latest and highly anticipated release from the Halifax-based The Just Barelys. It has been an album in demand for several years, as fans have waited both patiently and longingly for a new release from the twosome, and it has met every desire. As we have come to expect from the band, they have created an album full of fantastic lyrics, inventive melodies, and a lot of randomness. It’s something you just can’t stop listening to, and even when the music sounds improvised and random, it slowly begins to make a lot of sense.

The sound might be considered “experimental electronic indie pop”. Think of a weird electronic version of Stars, or a poppy dance poetry reading. The melodies don’t follow the (boring) traditional structures or rules, but this is part of the fun. Imagine a kid making up a song as they sing to their food, but with lyrics about getting older or stealing satellite TV. For people who like this sort of quirkiness, the music is fantastic.

Other bands have tried and failed to create a similar sort of sound, but The Just Barelys bring something special to make their attempt successful. Mainly it’s their earnestness, not trying to be anything different than what they are. The guitar riffs are super catchy and inventive, and the two-part vocals go together in a way that’s not completely harmonious but still really cool to listen to. There are computerized beeps, some girly screaming, and rhythms to make you want to dance the robot. In the end, it’s a great album from a weird and awesome band. You can listen to and buy the album on Bandcamp, and then join the queue to demand more.

The Just Barelys - "Mad Bits"

Writers’ Strike – “Stay Down”

Why are the best albums always so damn short? Like the best romances, they never last long – you start to fall in love and then just like that, it’s over. No phone call, no warning, just a reminder of perfection echoed on repeat. It is nothing but a tease, an unfair taste of unfinished love.

All pouting aside, Stay Down, the brilliant albeit tortuous EP from Halifax-based Writers’ Strike, is simply fantastic. The EP’s three tracks (yes, only three) are awesome. They are clever, well-written and hard to forget, and despite its length, this album has everything. Catchy riffs, popsy and even dance-worthy beats, intelligent lyrics and completely stellar vocals round out each song, leaving little to be improved and nothing to change. How often does an album like this come along? It’s a struggle to find something negative to criticize, making this short romance even harder to get over and more difficult to replace.

Stylistically Writers’ Strike fits in the same category as Wolf Parade, Arcade Fire, and Modest Mouse, that high-spirited Indie-pop sound that is taking the world over. The band itself fits nicely into the niche of the “overeducated, underwhelmed and underpaid” (“Stay Down”), a familiar and indie-music loving fan base that will love the sound of Writers’ Strike. The band has clearly been influenced by some other incredible artists, but with their own style and direction, Writers’ Strike may be one of the best bands to come out of Nova Scotia in the past decade.

This is an album that you keep meaning to turn off, but it just doesn’t happen. “Just once more” turns into another two hours, and despite having only three tracks the album never gets tiresome. It’s a muted, classy, and interesting collection of songs that beg to be listened to again and again, and until their next album comes out, that’s what we’ll have to do.

Their debut full-length album will be released in early 2012, but for a taste of Writers’ Strike, download the EP’s title track “Stay Down” below. You can also stream each of the tracks on the band’s website. The band is also embarking on an Eastern Canada tour early next year, so follow Facebook and Pigeon Row PR religiously for regular updates. Writers’ Strike is damn good, and with so much left to show and do, this love affair is bound to go on.

MP3: “Stay Down” from Stay Down:

Writers' Strike - "Stay Down"