Having spent the better part of her life emulating Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, convinced that her calling was to be an R&B/soul/pop singer, all that nonsense was put to a stop when Olivia Balanga-Santos went to her first rock concert at the ripe old age of 20. She had no idea who Franz Ferdinand was at the time but she went because of Brit band, Delays, with whom she fell in love just the previous week.
That very night, Olivia began songwriting and hasn't stopped since. Her indie folk/pop-rock tunes followed her from her hometown of Montreal to Ottawa where they helped sustain her during her embittered battle with law school. Feeding the urge to give her songs their proper due, she somehow found kindred spirits in Joe Lamantia, a jazz guitarist with a rock streak, Gary Sifoni, a metal bassist, and Marc Vachon, a precisionist rock n' roll drummer.
Named after a children's book by the wonderfully weird Robert Munsch, the music of Alligator Baby is as quirky, charming and versatile as its members. And, of course, just as loveable.
*In January 2011, Alligator Baby launched their debut EP, Civilled, which was recorded and mixed by Howard Bilerman (who worked with Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade and Basia Bulat, to name a few) at Montreal's hotel2tango. A concept album of sorts, it is told in chronological order and is based on Olivia's personal experience as an academically challenged law student who wins the battle but is still in the throes of war. The Civilled EP is available to stream on soundcloud and can also be purchased at shows.
Alligator Baby hit the studio again March 2012 to record their first full length album entitled Cool Side of the Pillow, and is to be released officially at the July 6th show in their home town of Montreal.
Olivia Balanga-Santos - Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar
Joe Lamantia - Lead guitar / backing vocals
Gary Sifoni - Bass Guitar
Marc Vachon - Drums
Civilled EP (2011)
Cool Side of the Pillow (2012)
Alligator Baby on Under the Radar's Digital Sampler
Alligator Baby gets a track on the digital sample of Under the Radar's Issue #47
Montreal’s Alligator Baby Complete a Successful Ontario Tour
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Alligator Baby closed out the Southern Ontario leg of their album launch tour with a show at Hamilto...Alligator Baby closed out the Southern Ontario leg of their album launch tour with a show at Hamilton venue The Pearl Company. The Montreal-based band recently released The Cool Side of the Pillow, their debut full-length album, and have been promoting it locally as well as on the road.
The band played well received shows in Toronto at the Cameron House and the Tranzac prior to traveling to Hamilton, bringing their pop-melody infused rock sound to the GTA. Playing alongside local bands such as The Fox and the Moon, Erika Werry and the Alphabet, Blood of the Fallen, The Real, Whiskey Epiphany and Amber, Alligator Baby entertained audiences with their catchy tunes like Sweet n’ Sour Slant, my personal favourite off the record. Lead singer and songwriter/guitarist Olivia Balanga-Santos has a vocal range and quality that allows her to sing softly and gracefully in songs like Jon and the Mysterious Cloud and also turn up the voltage and belt out melodies in songs like Calling Confidence. The strong vocal lines and song structures are backed by Gary Sifoni, Joe Lamantia and Marc Vachon on drums.
They are currently filming a new music video. Until its completion, check out Sweet n’ Sour Slant and listen to the groovy ska vibe in the middle.
Alligator Baby’s got some Bite!
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Alligator Baby are an unabashedly brazen foursome whose debut album The Cool Side of the Pillow has ...Alligator Baby are an unabashedly brazen foursome whose debut album The Cool Side of the Pillow has several notable traits that combine to make an interesting collage of sounds and ideas. In some ways it harkens back to retro days while also offering a refreshingly modern flare.
The album features sparse musical textures reminiscent of Led Zeppelin or the Who back in the 70s, yet the vocal melodies have a modern power-pop quality to them that gives the songs great energy.The group often sticks to the basic band set-up: vocals, guitars, bass and drums, but some tracks like Invitation to Treat feature auxiliary instruments like the glockenspiel and triangle which add a lovely flare to the album as a whole.
Singer/songwriter Olivia is a master of enunciation, which seems like a simple thing but I’ve heard very few singers who pronounce their words as clearly as Olivia. This is really important in storytelling songs like Jon & the Mysterious Cloud where there are a lot of words in a little time. You’ve never left guessing what she’s saying, and that’s nice.
My personal favourite is Sweet n Sour Slant which breaks into a jumpin’ ska section in the middle of the song which features a great saxophone part (is this the sour in the sweet n sour? For me it’s the sweet!). What’s your favourite track?
Alligator Baby is made up of Olivia Balanga-Santos (vocals, guitar), Joe Lamantia (guitar), Gary Sifoni (bass) and Marc Vachon (drums).
Alligator Baby will be performing in Toronto Thursday July 11th at The Cameron House (408 Queen Street) at 6pm and Friday at The Tranzac Bar (292 Brunswick Ave) at 8pm and as part of the Hamilton Jamboree on Saturday July 13th at 8pm (for more info).
You can stream the Thursday and Saturday shows live @ numubu.com/live
All Eyes On: Alligator baby
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Last September, I discovered a groovy local band while at a showcase competition at Le National. All...Last September, I discovered a groovy local band while at a showcase competition at Le National. Alligator Baby quickly grew to be one of my favorite sounds this year; with playfully edgy instrumentation and unique vocals that bring back memories of No Doubts' Gwen Stefani, an interesting combination indeed. When I heard that their first full-length CD was to be released July 6th, I decided to sit down with lead guitarist Joe Lamantia to discuss history, arm wrestling and unforeseen setbacks.The first liaisons were between lead singer Olivia Balanga-Santos and Joe who raved about their favorite 80’s bands while working at a bookstore together. Olivia was already part of a band called Sputnik Sweetheart that were looking for a bass player and it just so happened that Joe fit the part perfectly. A few years later, they parted ways only to reunite once again for Alligator Baby. Joe dove into the role of guitar player and they found themselves a bassist and a drummer. They went on to record a 5 song EP called Civilled, which tells stories of Olivia’s crazy times in law school: "The recording process was an enriching experience. We learned so much and grew as a band. Our sound engineer, Howard Bilerman (who worked with Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade and Basia Bulat, to name a few) was a great inspiration and a bottomless pit of knowledge" says Joe. Unfortunately, their bassist quit the band not long after the recording and Joe’s long time friend and fellow teacher Gary Sifoni proved to be quite the bass slapper. The chemistry was perfect and just as they were getting ready to record their first album, their drummer quit the band creating feelings of hopelessness among the other members. But Alligator Baby proves to be strong in battle and got right back on their feet when they stumbled upon drummer and arm wrestling champion of Canada, Marc Vachon. They are now happily settled and ready to put their Indie compilations to the test. After long debates on the artwork and formatting of the album, The Cool Side Of The Pillow is finally ready to be shared. This quirky quartet is preparing to hit their hometown of Montreal hard with their album launch at O Patro Vys on July 6th.
Podcast featuring Alligator Baby's Music
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Music this week provided by Alligator Baby. The song Calling Confidence can be found on their new al...Music this week provided by Alligator Baby. The song Calling Confidence can be found on their new album, The Cool Side of the Pillow. They will be launching the album on July 6th at O Patro Vys in Montreal – check out their Bandcamp page for more Canadian tour dates.
|Dec 7, 2013 Saturday||8:00 PM||CFC (Formerly Zoobizarre)||Montreal, QC, CA|