Adjective
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Adjective

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | SELF
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What is it about punk rock that makes it the gift that keeps on giving for so many of today’s bands? Is it a quest for authenticity? Or have youth movements forever been altered by the nuclear-darkened nihilism of the ‘70s, never to return from across the breach again? One such band who looks backward in order to look forward is Vancouver’s own Adjective who have just released their hard-hitting new EP I Am Sorry For Your Loss, a 17 minute lesson in how to make all the right post-punk moves. The EP feels both longer and shorter than 17 minutes, which is a tribute to how focused this band’s sound is. They’ve mastered the technique of layering their tracks with several interlocking parts: while the first guitar and drums thrash on the beat, the second guitar, bass and vocals play a figure that slams home on the one and the three or four, giving the songs a danceable, three-dimensional feel. Only two questions remain: can they do it live? And when do we get a full-length?
—Jonathan Evans - Discorder Magazine


by Jenny Charlesworth

I Am Sorry for Your Loss (Independent)

Twenty seconds into “Profession”, the lead track on Adjective’s debut EP, the outfit’s musical inspiration is pretty clear: Wire. Sure, there is some Bauhaus in there, and maybe even a little Pixies-tinged rock, but the local postpunk quartet’s jarring riffs sound as if Graham Lewis himself were at the helm. And as unbelievable as it might be—he actually is.

Moonlighting as coproducer and backup vocalist—however muted—on the gloomy number, the legendary British bassist adds some serious street cred to Adjective’s first release, especially when you learn that Lewis apparently offered up his services after being cold-called by the disc’s coproducer Adam Veenendaal. If the buzz around town is any indication, this talented act was getting by just fine before it added a Wire alumnus to the mix, so it’s anyone’s guess what will happen next. Who knows? Maybe Kevin Haskins is available.

www.straight.com - The Georgia Straight


by Quinn Omori

Vancouver's Adjective have finally readied their debut EP, I Am Sorry For Your Loss, which has been a long time coming.

"[Singer/guitarists Luna Tic and Ryan Riot and drummer Jenni Hanna] were jamming for maybe a year or a year-and-a-half before I even joined," explains bassist Dustin John Bromley. "They went through a few lousy names, like The Injections, and I think they were actually The Adjectives at one point.

"When they decided to start playing shows, Ryan was playing bass and wanted to switch to guitar, and so I got brought in. That was about two years ago — spring of 2007."

The band's first show, at local festival Music Waste, happened shortly after. And while the quartet have since graced stages all over their hometown, their growing local following has been forced to be patient when it comes to anything in the way of recorded material.

"Before I joined, they recorded some songs at OGRE Studios — earlier versions of three of the same songs that are on the EP. The engineer that recorded them — I don't know what he did, but they were pretty much unusable," says Bromley of the junked session.

The band faired better after their latest round of recording, knocking out an EP that perfectly captures their brand of intense, brooding post-punk. They also picked up some notable assistance along the way in Wire's Graham Lewis.

"At [Calgary music festival] Sled Island, Luna's boyfriend [and I'm Sorry for Your Loss' producer], Adam [Veenendaal], met him and talked about recording with him," Bromley notes, recounting how the initial contact with Lewis was made. "Later, when we were mixing the record, Adam got back in touch with him and asked if he'd lend a hand and he offered his advice on what to do with the production process and agreed to put his background vocals on the EP."'

The Wire bassist lends his pipes to "Profession," I Am Sorry For Your Loss' driving opening number.

With their debut finally out of the way, the band aren't about to wait another two years to get more songs in the can.

"We're looking to record another EP in middle to late summer, and we want to get that out for as soon as possible," explains Bromley. "Depending on how much material we write, it might even be a full-length."

Adjective are tentatively planning a west coast tour in June or July. In the meantime, you can check them out here:

March 7 Vancover, BC @ The Media Club w/Twin Crystals, The New Values, Against Civilization and DJs Justin Gradin, Dustin John Bromley and DJ Girl Friday March 8 Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore Cabaret w/Japandroids, Terror Bird and DRMHLLR (afternoon)
March 25 Vancouver, BC @ The Beehive at Honey Lounge
- www.chartattack.com


By John Lucas

Vancouver’s own Adjective specializes in wiry postpunk, but the band isn’t afraid to drop the G-bomb

The members of Adjective admit that their band hasn’t been the most prolific one in the Vancouver music scene. Since its inception in April 2005, the quartet has recorded just one six-song EP, which it released independently this March. Part of the reason for Adjective’s less-than-prodigious output is that the group doesn’t function as the vehicle for a sole creative voice; there’s no one songwriter whose singular style dictates the project’s direction. Instead, the band’s four members create the music together, with singer-guitarists Ryan Riot and Luna Tic each contributing lyrics.

“It definitely took a while to hone in to a good way of doing it, but I feel now we’ve gotten better at working together at creating something. For a while there, it was very slow working,” says bassist Dustin Bromley, gathered with Riot, Tic, and drummer Jenni Hanna around a table in the near-deserted food court of the Downtown Eastside’s International Village Shopping Centre, a short walk from Adjective’s subterranean rehearsal room on a desolate stretch of Abbott Street.

“I think we’ve got a functioning process now that’s going to help us move a lot quicker with writing and coming up with a lot more new stuff in the near future,” agrees Riot.

For the time being, though, there’s the aforementioned EP, I Am Sorry for Your Loss, a collection of songs that bristle with a nervous energy that pierces the dark surface of the record like a lightning strike on a coal-black autumn night. Clocking in just a few seconds shy of two minutes, “Integer” pogos to a spirit-of-’77 beat jolted along by staccato cattle-prod guitar chords and Tic’s commanding vocals. “Masheena”, meanwhile, blends rumbling surf-rock riffs with hanging-garden atmospherics, all topped by Riot’s almost frantic yelping.

It’s a sound that has caused more than a few observers to drop the G-bomb, and that idea is bolstered by the fact that Adjective’s members tend to drape themselves head-to-toe in black. “I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing to be compared to goth,” Riot says, “I think what goth was in the beginning was sprouting off of postpunk.”

There is indeed a fine line between postpunk and gothic rock, with proponents of the former broadly defined subgenre eager to avoid being labelled as the latter. Certainly, the likes of Joy Division, Bauhaus, and Siouxsie and the Banshees would never have described themselves as such, yet no self-respecting goth’s record collection would be complete without them.

The mention of Joy Division stirs up a little controversy around Adjective’s food-court table. When the quartet competed in CiTR’s long-running battle-of-the-bands competition Shindig! two years ago, one judge compared the deep-voiced Riot to Ian Curtis. For her part, Tic considers Joy Division “overrated”, and Hanna finds the whole topic somewhat vexing. “I just feel like people who compare us to Joy Division don’t really have a bigger sense of what we’re about,” the drummer insists. “I think they just use that as, like, some darkish band that sticks out in their minds.”

A clearer picture of where Adjective is coming from emerges when Riot notes that the project had its genesis four years ago, when he and Tic met to talk about putting a band together. It was evident right from the start that the two musicians had at least one major influence in common. “We were pretty obsessed with Wire at the time,” Riot says.

That obsession was abundantly clear to Adam Veenendaal, who mixed and mastered I Am Sorry for Your Loss and is credited as the disc’s coproducer. The resourceful engineer had a chance encounter with Wire bassist Graham Lewis at Calgary’s Sled Island Festival last summer, and Veenendaal carried on his dialogue with the veteran English musician by contacting him through MySpace. Such was the rapport between the two that Veenendaal planned to ask Lewis to help out with an Adjective tune called “Profession” when Wire played Vancouver that October. That show ended up getting cancelled, so the collaboration moved to the virtual realm. Veenendaal sent Lewis the track electronically and asked him to add some backing vocals to the song, but the Wire man, who lives in Uppsala, Sweden, ended up doing more than that.

“He actually took the time to chop the song up and do a few production quirks,” Veenendaal says in a telephone interview. “If you listen to the record, there are all these little sort of bleeps and bloops and production things. Graham just had this idea—in postproduction, if you will—that the song could use some urgency, and he added all this stuff as well as his vocals. It was great.”

The Tic-led “Profession” kicks off the EP with verve, its appropriately wiry guitar-rock stomp augmented with subtle electronic scribbles and layered harmonies. Veenendaal credits Lewis with giving the song a needed boot to the pants. “I sent him a bunch of revisions,” he says. “He was really great about letting me send him different versions of the track. He basically gave his advice on every version of the mix that I sent along. He was happy that the last version of the song I sent him had the most urgency—that was the key word that he wanted that track to have. The track really fell together after he started giving me advice on how to build that. In the end, he said he was pretty happy with the mix, and the fact that it had a lot more punch than the first version I sent him.”

The members of Adjective, meanwhile, were oblivious to what Veenendaal was up to, with no idea that one of their idols was about to end up on the opening cut of their first release. “I kept it a secret from the band, actually,” the engineer says. “I wasn’t going to tell them until I had a mix of the song with his vocals on it.”

The group, needless to say, was thrilled. “You should have seen us when we first found out about it,” Bromley says. “We were all pretty stoked. We didn’t even know about it at all until Adam dropped that bomb on us. I think it was at the beginning of one jam, and the whole time we were beaming with smiles on our faces, trying to play our songs.”

“I actually just sent him the CD today,” Tic says on the subject of Lewis, “with some smoked salmon and maple syrup.”

Don’t expect Adjective’s aesthetic to stop evolving just because its current sound has the Graham Lewis seal of approval. The group is writing songs that will eventually find their way onto a full-length album. The consensus is that some of the material leans in a more obvious pop direction and that some maps out far darker territory, but that it all displays the outfit’s growing confidence. “I think the songwriting’s a bit more sophisticated, and we lost a bit of the punk side,” says Riot, to which Tic interjects: “In a good way.”

For now, though, there’s I’m Sorry for Your Loss, which the band acknowledges hasn’t been given quite as big a promotional push as it deserves. As with its songwriting, Adjective is learning the music-biz ropes as it goes. Up to now, the group’s personnel admit they have shown a distinct lack of business savvy. They neglected to include a bar code on their CD’s packaging, for example, and had to affix UPC stickers to get the disc into stores. At the time of its Georgia Straight interview, the quartet was just getting around to doing a major media mail-out of the EP—almost three months after its release.

Oh, well. Record-industry acumen isn’t everything. Winning people over with a killer live show counts for a lot, too. To that end, Adjective hopes to be on the road by the end of August. In the meantime, it will be playing at Honey Lounge on Wednesday (June 10) as part of the Music Waste festival. Your correspondent’s humble suggestion? See Adjective now, and you’ll have serious bragging rights when the legions of Wire fans catch on to the band’s jagged-edged charms. - The Georgia Straight


Discography

EP - I Am Sorry For Your Loss
Released March 7th 2009

I Am Sorry For Your Loss hit #1 on CiTR 101.9fm chart

Music Video for The One We Know

http://www.vimeo.com/5598692

Photos

Bio

"Adjective is a dark fist through the lily-white pussy lips of your iPod. Adjective will describe your nouns ... until they beg for verbs."
- Naben, Bend Sinister

Name changes, scrapped recordings, countless local shows, Adjective went through the typical growing pains in the lead up to the release of I Am Sorry for Your Loss. It's just taken them a little longer than most bands to get to where they stand.

In an era when acts go from hyped to forgotten in the time it takes to pirate the latest Metallica record and labels rush releases by artists still wet behind the ears, the three-and-a-half years between Adjective's inception and the release of their debut EP is a musical eternity.

The timing meant that an ever growing local following had to patiently wait for anything to play on their stereos, but it also meant that the band was able to hone their chops and sharpen their songwriting in front of that same increasingly larger audience before heading into the studio to document their efforts.

I Am Sorry For Your Loss features songs that were written over the course of Adjective's existence, but the tracks are brought together by a unified sound: brooding, intense, post-punk that doesn't hide it's pop charm.

The influences are what you might expect from any similar act, heavy hitters of the genre like Joy Division and Bauhaus, but few of their contemporaries can boast a helping hand from one of the legends they pull inspiration from.

The cues taken from Wire's economical riffage and clinical execution are easy to hear on I'm Sorry For Your Loss, but the celebrated foursome's impact is also evident in one of their founding members, bassist Graham Lewis.

After a chance meeting at Calgary's Sled Island festival and a follow-up email from producer, Adam Veenendaal, Lewis agreed to lend both backing vocals and production advice to leadoff single, "Profession."

Lewis' presence is a notable distinction for the band, but Adjective charts their own path on I Am Sorry For Your Loss, a record that captures the band at an exciting time: when they've brought together influences and found their own sound, but are still itching to move forward.

Adjective is currently recording a follow up LP for release in late spring 2010