Cigarettes
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Cigarettes

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Cigarettes have a knack for creating atmospheric soundscapes in their music with crisp, bright cymbal work, reverb-drenched, lightly fuzzed guitar tones and Brad’s otherworldly vocals soaring above it all at times calling to mind Placebo front-man Brian Molko. - The Scope


As a touring musician, Brad Casey is psyched about the forecast for his upcoming East Coast trip with Toronto-based band Cigarettes.

Despite the sky-high humidex in late July and early August, it's always easier to find a place to crash when you don't have that nagging feeling that you might freeze your limbs off.

"In the summer you can camp, and you can sleep anywhere you want. I've been in situations in the winter when we've been touring and it's mid-February, and we've had to stop in gas stations and sleep in the van while it's running. It's very much preferable to tour in the summer," says Casey over a pay phone (yes, they still exist) on the streets of Toronto.

Originally from Miramichi and a former resident of Fredericton, he's generally joined live by Mike Duffield on drums. They released an album, Will to War and Wreck It, in March. Casey's melancholic, high-range vocals weave between guitars and Duffield's drums for an eclectic and genre-bending sound.

When asked how long the process of creating the record took place, Casey responds with a surprising "arguably, five years," before explaining further how he had to find a bandmate before starting to record.

"I say arguably because some of the songs existed for five years and I was writing them on and off all during that time, but I guess about two and half years ago I met my drummer and we started working together. I'm very selective in who I work with and felt like he could contribute what I wanted, and it could benefit him as well."

Either way, it's a labour of love for the duo.

"Every artist is individual and when you work in a group those personalities have to clash and meld. I wouldn't want to misrepresent another person." - Here Magazine


Performing in an ecclesiastical setting with unusual intimacy, the vinyl LP/digital release for “Will to War and Wreck It” is a sure sign of growth for Cigarettes (aka, Brad Casey) as an artist. Alternately glowing with a songwriting spirit and a freeform rock dynamic, Casey (along with bassist Keith Hamilton and Mike Duffield on drums) deliver a genre-bending palette that borders between neo-prog flourishes and post-rock atmospherics tucked around melancholic vocals, swooning ambience, and instrumental chemistry. Delivering transcendent music with experimental underpinnings, Cigarettes not only aspires to but continues to achieve. - Lonely Vegabond


Cigarettes is probably the most suitable name for Brad Casey and his music. It was chosen by Casey for its double-meanings: it can mean cool or uncool, and it can also mean acceptance or revulsion.

The image that I got from the name Cigarettes is one of an old bar with many people sitting around, casually smoking and discussing the city. And the city is a theme that Casey deals with throughout the course of Will to War and Wreck It. Together with drummer Mike Duffield, Casey creates a complex, dark and dreamlike atmosphere for his debut.

I’m going to guess that Radiohead had somewhat of an influence on the sound of Cigarettes. You can especially hear it in songs like “Ramblin’ Rose.” While the title makes it sound like a country song, it’s far from that. It’s a song with a fluid guitar picking pattern and ominous bass that sounds like something from In Rainbows-era Radiohead.

Casey also has a similar vocal style to Thom Yorke at some points- he definitely doesn’t reach for high notes the way Yorke does, but he sings with more emphasis on what his voice will add to the song than his enunciation. I couldn’t always understand what Casey was singing, but it didn’t (and doesn’t) really matter.

I really noticed the instrumentals in this album more than I have in the past. That’s probably because they’re so complex. While guitar trumps all other instruments in most records, the guitar and bass do equal work to set the mood. Often I found myself bobbing my head interchangeably between the bass and guitar because they were both so prominent.

Casey isn’t afraid of experimenting a little either. On songs like “The Night” and the epic album closer “I Saw You Once,” there are instances of what could be jamming, or just a lot of really awesome solos.

As mentioned, the album closer is an epic, clocking in at almost nine minutes and ending with a bang. It’s truly a worthy ending song that starts out restrained and slowly adds in more as it goes along.

If this is just the beginning for Casey, I’d very much like to see what he comes out with next. - Grayowl Point


Discography

Will to War and Wreck It

Will to War and Wreck It, was recorded in Toronto in an East end factory loft with Chris Lyons (of Heartbeat Hotel), Mike Duffield and Keith Hamilton (of Hamilton Trading Co, both formerly of The Postage Stamps, Diableros), was mixed and mastered in Halifax by AA Wallace (of The Sleepless Nights). The album runs at just under 40 minutes and consists of 8 songs, all of which were written by Brad Casey but one written by Jordaan Mason (of The Horse Museum). Will to War and Wreck It is available on vinyl with companion download cards.

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Bio

Cigarettes is a name taken for its dichotomies; its combination of cool/uncool, masculine/feminine, acceptance/revulsion, and is the performing name of Brad Casey. The songs Cigarettes currently performs deal with the concept of modern love in the city, the issues that come with attempts at warmth and tenderness when surrounded by cold, steel and concrete buildings, grey roads and sidewalks, cars and crowds of people. The songs, performed with drummer Mike Duffield, attempt a celebration of the sorrows that rise when dealt with these situations of love. Dark and manic yet tender, the music of Cigarettes falls into a tradition of the love song irregularly.