Last year at SxSW i fell in love with this silly little Canadian band. Sailors is a three song EP they released digitally last year. It took me some time to track this down, because it is only available at Canadian online retailers. Why do we need multiple iTunes and Amazons? Why is this listed on iTunes.ca and Amazon.ca, but not iTues.com and Amazon.com? I mean, seriously? Is this some kind of stupid international trade dispute?
I spent a long time trying to buy the EP online, and Amazon and iTunes both told me flat out that they cannot sell it to me because i live in a different country. Because, you know, due to Canada being on the metric system their MP3s are encoded differently... Finally i located the record label website, who would gladly sell to an international buyer.
This whole experience frustrated me to no end -- it was nothing but old fashioned parochialism stopping commerce for no real reason. So, let my frustration not be in vain: when you go and buy this little EP, just head straight over to Hidden Pony Records and let them help you.
And you should get this EP. First of all it only costs $3 Canadian, which might be really cheap depending on the exchange rate. I think that as i write this US$ and CAN$ is pretty much even, but it does fluctuate with the mystical forces of the Stock Market(s). Either way, $3 CAN is less than a beer at all but the cheapest of dives.
There are three songs here, and the MP3 of each song is labeled "16-BIT MSTRD" in the MP3 file name. I find this hilarious because it implies that the kind folks at Hidden Pony Records, despite their ability to sell data across an international border, aren't the most computer savvy people around. I think someone was supposed to edit the file names that Rah Rah FTPed to the label, but whatever.
Song one is Chimney, and starts with some sort of deep bass blast that sounds like a foghorn. Then the guitars come in, chiming away in layers, with a nice martial beat. This is a typical Rah Rah song, right up the alley of what they were doing on Breaking Hearts.
Sailors is a sparser song for them. It has a jaunty melody with trilling keys and picked guitar. The bassist adds a nice riff here as well. The song grows denser, including adding in a lovely violin part, until it becomes a thick tune, all joyous yelling and instruments going at it.
Towers is the mellowest song here. The beat is nicely martial, and the keyboards drone. Marshall Burns sings lightly, and eventually guitars chime in as Erin Passmore joins in to sing harmony. Another fun, happy song in the vein of what Rah Rah do.
It's a short release, in and out in less than 10 minutes, but each of the songs is wonderfully crafted and, well, just happy. What i love about Rah Rah is that their music is major chords and solid beats. This is great pop music, and if you are willing to put up with the weirdness of international internet trade, it is well worth it.