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The best kept secret in music


"Vocal mix"

Ok I am sick so you can't exactly expect me to write. Except that I have a big piece in mind that I bet I write tomorrow no matter how bad I feel. Which I expect will still be pretty bad only I'm not gonna bore you with stories about how awful I feel. Did I mention that I feel awful? Ok that's enough of that.

But I know if I don't say what's on my mind right now I'll never get around to saying it, and as it happens I've managed to drag my moribund carcass down the stairs for the third time today, somebody throw me a party & crank up the Ja Rule/Metallica collabo: YEAAAAHHHH, WE DIIIID IIIIT ok where was I. Right right. Got a promo in the mail from Ottawa last week. The Senators have the most bitchin' logo in all sports and that includes whatever sorry-ass team you're gettin' ready to say has a better logo. Go to hell and shut up but first make me some tea, the Sens have the best logo. It is the best! No one can deny it. And now there's this record what I got from some people who, like the Senators, are in Ottawa. They are called BANDITAS if it was my band I would have called it LAS BANDITAS but then again I am a pedant. Almost wrote "peanut." Wait here while I stop giggling about that.

Ok I am back like a rebel makin' trouble! Banditas are a really good band with some of the best guitar solos I've heard on an indie rock record all year. It's a good year for indie rock guitar solos because I can off the top of my head name one other indie record with bitchin' solos. That record is Sleater-Kinney's The Woods and if you do not like that record then you do not like guitar solos, in which case go back to communist Russia or something, guitar solos are God's way of telling us He loves us very much and also that He invented sex, so we should not be miserable ingrates and hate on guitar solos all the time.

Banditas have guitar solos from right out there in Monoshock territory and if you know how highly I regard Monoshock's solos then you know I am not playing around! But I have one complaint about the Banditas record and it's a serious one. It's the distresed vocals. They are on every track. I understand the allure and appeal of the distressed vocal, but if you're gonna do that on every track well just don't. It winds up putting all the focus on the vocal effect. It's like the indie Antares Autotune. It has the same effect: everything else in the song drowns under the waves of affect/effect. I apologize for the homonym slash thing in the preceding sentence. I know this is not postmodern crit-theory class and I should know better.

If I was in Banditas right now I would be saying "why is this fucken guy riding us on the vocals so hard!" but to Banditas I must say "because these guitar solos, for example the mega-reverbed one on the song called 'San Francisco,' they are so awesome that I want to crack my skull open and offer my brains to the Great Lumbering Risen God of the Mud-Bog, that is how awesome they are!" and so the vocal thing, I think to myself - Banditas you are onto something special, do not hide your light beneath a bushel but let it shine before men and the darkness will understand it not! Also, they cover a Lync song, only a man with a heart of stone could hate on a band that covers a Lync song. A man with a heart of stone! I have to admit if I'm being fair that the vocal distress works pretty well in both "San Francisco" and in "Post No Bills." John Vanderslice would probably wanna tell me that it's not the vocal distress that's the problem, it's the amount of distress and the mixing and panning and stuff but news flash Mr Tech Head all that stufff to normal ppl = THE EFFECT don't you hear me talkin'.

Ok once we use an abbreviation like "ppl" you know it's time to catch the last train for the coast. Banditas are pretty excellent and their songs are really good and I wish I could hear the singer's voice better, that's what I had to say. Took me a while didn't it! I shall now eat soup.
- Last plane to jakarta

"Album review"

You'd be forgiven for assuming that Banditas were a Thermals cover band. The two bands share many traits: they're both propulsive, down-and-dirty guitar rock groups, they both sound as if they practiced their songs approximately two times before recording them (that's intended as a compliment), and they're both led by full-throated yellers who never quite break the all-important hardcore/metal screaming barrier. Oh, and they're both pretty tasty.

the thing is, given the simplicity of both bands' formulas, it's awfully difficult to differentiate their sounds. The question, then, is whether or not we need two active bands with the same sound. The answer, in this case, is "yes". Banditas is as energetic a romp as you're likely to hear, a pure rawk explosion that starts out propulsive and simply doesn't let up. Standout tracks like "Mirrors" point up the signal difference between Banditas and The Thermals: the latter are far more accepting of minor chords and sleazier rock textures. To be fair, though, sleazy, greazy rock riffs are usually delivered with a bit more slither and slink than you'll find in "Mirrors", which pumps along at 120+ beats per minute.

Banditas also draw considerable strength from their pairing of male and female yelpers, which if nothing else adds brute force to the vocal parts. The upshot is that the vocals stand up to the raucous guitar, bass and drum parts. Thus, Banditas is a very satisfying half-hour listen. As its tone, aggressiveness and tempo barely change over the course of its running time, it's a virtually perfect accompaniment for running, kickboxing or playing Halo. It's raw, unabashed, and encourages frequent repeat spins. - Splendid magazine

"Banditas (self-titled)"

This trio come across like Red Aunts paired with the punkier side of K Records, but Liz McDermott's vocals really make this stand out from the soundalikes. The warts and all are exposed here as tempos don't always anchor and the guitars occasionally veer off course, but if you want perfect tempos and pitch, maybe you should be checking out Destiny's Child 'cause this ain't nothin' but grade-A punk rock, complete with "one, two, three, four!" intros and distorted vocals. Extra bonus points for having a song called "Tubular Balls." - Montreal Mirror


Banditas, self-titled (CD/LP)


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Banditas hail from Ottawa ON - not only the seat of Canada’s federal government, but also home to a vital, yet oft overlooked independent music community. Fronted by Liz McDermott (a museum studies student, nature enthusiast and pastry aficionado), with Scott Terry on guitar and Colin Vincent on stand-up drums, the Banditas have been stirring shit up in Ottawa and tickling the ears of underground music fans for going on six years.

Not bad considering Liz formed the band with the intention of playing just one show for friends and family at a dive bar on the Bank Street Promenade. After witnessing the driving, rough-hewn rock onslaught of the Banditas, people who were at the show kept pestering her to play another. Kind soul that she is, she agreed and everything kept snowballing from there.

In fact, the Banditas never harboured any hopes (or delusions as the case may be) of having a video in heavy rotation on MuchMusic or being invited to open a sold-out stadium tour for this or that mega-band. By and large, they’re pretty happy if they can get together for Sunday night practice, drink a few beers and play their music really loud.

But now they’ve got a debut album out on Last Drag Records, have recently opened for the likes of Mclusky and Black Mountain (one degree of separation from Coldplay!) and are making year-end top-10 lists and garnering accolades from indie heroes like John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats. As Frank Sinatra might say, ‘it was a very good year’.

For ’06 they’re ready to run with that momentum, with an aim to win more hearts and melt more faces with their visceral, breakneck brand of art rock.