Dearly Beloved
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Dearly Beloved

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Rock Punk


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Lead by alt-rocker/producer Rob Higgins, Toronto's Dearly Beloved adheres to a rugged lifestyle largely attritutable to their post-punk leanings. Higgins, who is a well-known figure in TO's indie scene, also has the added distinction of being the nephew of Canadian rock legend Geddy Lee. A tough act to follow, but he does so with aplomb!

Teaming up with fast friends such as percussionist/guitarist Damon Richardson (Danko Jones), singer Niva Chow (Sticky Rice) and guitarist John Pogue (Sometimes Why), Higgins digs deep as he belts out 10 breath-taking tracks. It's not surprising that the majority of his subject matter deals cathartically with issues such as mortality, religion, disapointment and consequence - You are the Jaguar was composed over a 10 month period during which the singer-songwriter Higgins kept a vigil at his father's deathbed.

Channeling his rage and sorrow into every note, he exposes his innermost thoughts and emotions without coming off as being either whiny or self-centred. Dearly Beloved is a band that knows how to celebrate life - by acknowledging death and then blowing right past it. - FFWD - Calgary News & Entertainment

Dearly Beloved Interview with by Scott Fleck

It’s not everyday Sam the Record Man’s iconic spinning wheels are commandeered for a video shoot, but such was the case this past Tuesday July 11th. Rob Higgins (Change of Heart, By Divine Right, among others) brought his latest musical endeavor ‘Dearly Beloved’ for a live preview of what we are in for with the release of their album ‘You Are the Jaguar.’ It’s a tight mix of loud guitars, fuzzy bass, and intense yet sweet vocals that are at once both howling and haunting. The emotion portrayed in this music is anything but contrived, as ‘You Are the Jaguar’ was written and recorded during a difficult time in Rob’s life, with the illness and recent passing of his father during the process of making the record. Playing to a packed house and with at least one legendary family member in attendance (uncle Geddy Lee), we took a minute of Rob’s time right after the performance to discuss the band and the new album.

PunkTV: Scott Fleck for PunkTV right here at Sam the Record Man with Rob Higgins, Vocalist/Bass player/frontman for…
Rob: Dearly Beloved… So it’s been a while since you first crashed the scene...with Change of Heart... (Since then) you went…not underground, but were doing some more artistic things. Now you are back with full force a little bit older with the new group here. What kind of musical progression would you say you have made from those salad days to the professional musician you are now?
Rob: Change of Heart was the first band I was in out of school so I was pretty green, it’s been a bit of a journey, I think I’ve gotten closer to my roots as I’ve gotten older. You might think that when someone gets older they make more relaxed, “normal” music, but I find the older I get the weirder I like it…It’s great to see the people caring about this one, cause it’s the one I didn’t really care if anyone cared…It was just a real record I just needed to make. If I didn’t make it I don’t know what would have become of things…Maybe if you make choices for the right reasons good things happen. When your hand is played unforced…
Rob: Ya. The last records I have been involved with, there was a lot of pressure for them to be something. I had no pressure this time. They gave me a small budget to make the record, and I just went out and made it and nobody bothered me. For the first time I got to do things the way I would do them. Band mates helping you out? I see you have reunited with some old friends, Damon from Change of Heart…
Rob: Well that’s been the best part of it, really, to re-connect with old friends. When I dubbed it ‘Dearly Beloved’ the concept was that I wouldn’t play with people I didn’t trust or people I didn’t know really well. It
would be with people I’m tight with, who I can trust, and whose musical…(pauses), whose musicality I can trust. I didn’t want to bring these songs to someone who would change them into something that they (the
musicians) were. Everyone who helped me on this record knows exactly where I come from musically and we’re all on the same page. I think that’s why it’s so focused. How did it all come together like this?...In some ways this seems like a solo project but you give great props to your bandmates onstage, they’re stepping out and doing their own thing too.
Rob: I went to Florida for two weeks by myself cause I was losing my shit…(I) went on the beach and wrote 8 of the 10 songs there. When I came back I sat down with different people for each song…they helped me shape the attitude and the vibe. And it was recorded at Pheobe Street…
Rob: My home studio. I did the most vocals and guitar at my house. It doesn’t take a lot of gear to do that stuff well anymore. I had the right stuff, and it was more about doing it at my own pace and not feeling the
pressures of being at a studio. Were you going for any particular style? You have such a unique sound…going through the tracks…there’s elements of 1960’s pop, shoegaze, psychedelic rock it’s all there. Were you writing what you liked, or were you trying to accomplish something in particular?
Rob: I didn’t want to make a record of all the same sounding songs, that’s one of my biggest pet peeves about records today is that there’s a few good songs on them, and then the rest are all like derivative of the song that’s appealing or successful. I’ve never made a record that’s been the same form start to finish, and I don’t intend to start now, the only conscious thing was to make something genuine, authentic, and something that will make you want to shake your ass. I didn’t want to make a mopey, feeling sorry for myself record, because even though the subject matter is heavy, I wanted to celebrate life, not mourn someone’s death. There’s enough of that around anyway already.
Rob: That’s what I think. Nobody needs to listen to me mope about my problems. What I sing about are things we all have to deal with, and I’m trying to celebrate. You have a female vocalist taking on some of the duties with you, Niva..
Rob: Niva Chow, yes. (Was) that (to) get you back to the Bass guitar, your first love, or was it that you wanted that added dimension of having someone else up there kicking your ass onstage?
Rob: Niva and I have been experimenting with her voice on my songs for a lot of years so it’s really nothing new, it’s just the first time I’ve actually had the opportunity to involve her for real…and at this level, it’s been
great. A lot of the lyrics and inter-dialogue go back and forth, so I have Niva singing the response thoughts to what I was thinking…to have some counter to it…it was fun to have the dialogue. She’s almost like a Greek chorus in a way. Did you go out of your way to make sure this was a kick-ass record start to finish…
Rob:? There wasn’t a lot of thought put into it. There were a couple of things I didn’t want to do, but for the most part I let them come out as they came out…I recorded them, picked the best ten and that was it. To be honest I wasn’t sure anyone would care. So, you didn’t go out of your way then to craft (the songs) to a certain market, you were able to really put down what was going through your head…
Rob: Everything I had done up to this point was…(Pauses) cerebral and this is not, it’s from the heart. What was it like having the famous uncle come see you play?
Rob: It’s always nerve-racking, but I love him to pieces. One last question… What do you think our readers would find most surprising about you?
Rob: That I’m a Scottish Jew? I think that might just work! Are Scottish Jews not known to rock out so hard on stage?
Rob: I don’t know a lot of Scottish Jews in rock. My Mom’s side is, well, Jewish. My Dad is Scottish, put the two together. Thanks a lot Rob.
Rob: My pleasure. - Punk TV

Toronto musician Rob Higgins is getting more attention with his new band Dearly Beloved and its debut album, "You Are The Jaguar," than any of the others he started after Change Of Heart dissolved. There's a buzz that seems to be bubbling up that has little to do with the fact that he's Geddy Lee's nephew and everything to do with the music.

"I find that it's really fresh, really original and exciting," says Dearly Beloved's manager Jake Gold of The Management Trust, who represented Higgins' last band, the short-lived Doctor that he had with ex Watchmen Danny Greaves. Dearly Beloved is on Gold's label Kindling Music, which is distributed by Warner Music Canada.

"It's a real indie release, so it wasn't all about 'out of the gate.' There's not a big (commercial) radio push. We're doing everything in terms of college radio. We're doing everything in terms of alternative weeklies -- and tour tour tour tour tour."

Diane Foy of Toronto's Skylar Entertainment is handling publicity and Ken Beattie of Vancouver's Killbeat is taking care of radio, but the key to breaking this band, believes Gold, is getting Dearly Beloved in front of people, as it will be at least until the end of September.

"When you see the band live, there's an energy there that you can't put your finger on," says Gold.

The extensive two-month stint -- dubbed the Rugged Casual Tour -- was booked primarily by ex Trailer Park Boy Cory Bowles for his own band Aide-de-camp, which invited Dearly Beloved to join the bill. Some holes were filled by LiveTourArtists' Chris Amy, who is The Populars' agent, the other act on the western dates that is managed by The Management Trust. Dearly Beloved does not have a booking agent.

Joining Higgins (lead singer and bass) in Dearly Beloved are Niva Chow (vocalist) of Sticky Rice, who also works at top music video production company Revolver Films; Damon Richardson (guitar), formerly of Danko Jones; Alex O'Reilly (drums), ex of Doctor; and John Pogue (guitar) who was in Change Of Heart.

"We are all excited about getting in a van and touring, which is weird because none of us are 18," laughs Higgins, who hasn't had a tour of this magnitude since he played with seminal indie-rockers Change of Heart until 1997.

Doctor, which released an album, "High Is As High Gets," in 2004, called it quits because Greaves couldn't afford to be in an indie band because he needed to take care of his family and, at the same time, Higgins father was diagnosed with cancer.

Gold was under no obligation to manage Higgins after Doctor ended. He is a judge on TV show Canadian Idol and doesn't need to add another client to a roster that already includes Brian Byrne and the Salads -- especially one whose members are in their thirties, but he says it wasn't difficult to get behind an artist that has been around for a long time.

"No, because Rob's never actually been this committed and behind a record and I think part of the reason for that is this was a very personal record to him. He wrote it all about his dad and it was important for me to support that," says Gold.

Higgins' father recently passed away and the album, "You Are The Jaguar," is largely about that experience. The singer/bassist/producer feels that that kind of honesty could be the reason for the immediate attention and positive press the indie release has received from such publications as Chart, Now, Gasoline and The Toronto Sun, although initially the bio accompanying the CD didn't mention his father's passing because he wasn't ready to talk about it, but instead had a paragraph about growing up with Rush's Geddy Lee for an uncle.

"It's kind of hard for me to think of my last 18 months without thinking of what my dad went through because I spent almost every day with him in the hospital, watching him deteriorate. So every moment of every day was framed by that experience, and writing the songs for this record was just something that I needed to do to get through those days," says Higgins. "The name of the band was inspired by those experiences, just trying to remind myself how much I was loved by everyone in my life and how fortunate I was."

When Higgins delivered the album to The Management Trust, Gold -- who gave a small amount of money to help finance the self-produced recording -- admits it was "way better than we expected" and didn't think twice about putting it out on Kindling.

"Jake's whole thing is he likes the fact that there's no anticipation or hype around this record; it's just some guy left alone to make a record about some very personal stuff and I think that he and other people are surprised by the result," says Higgins.

As for his part, Gold says he will eventually try to license the album to other territories, but all in good time.

"We're moving ahead with all those kinds of things, but it's really taking it one step at a time. We're letting them get some wind in their sails. Let's sell some CDs off the stage, and then once we get to the point where we're actually generating some revenue, then we'll look at European opportunities."

A music video for the song "Manifesto," directed by Lisa Mann, will be serviced to video outlets shortly, and the band will be back in Toronto just long enough to stop by MTV to perform live on August 28 and on satellite radio station XM the following day. -

Reviewed By Christopher Zweerman

Warner Music


This band comes straight out of the alternative genre, and their sound is, at times, certainly what you could call 'alternative'. Sometimes off-key, off time, and yet all right-on, songs such as "Dress It Up" and "The Butcher's Dog" stretch the boundaries of clean and polished studio tracks and make no apologies for doing so. If nothing else, it's a refreshing variety of sounds ranging from The White Stripes to Nirvana to Audioslave that populate this offering from Dearly Beloved. Solid yet unobtrusive guitar work, appropriately mute drums, rocking bass riffs, and a mix of pedals and synthesizer round out this plethora of sound that comes highly recommended.

- Taps - University of Guelph

"Repo ... an intoxicating follow-up that should have throngs of screaming rock fans at their door ... genuine acts of musicianship that shock the aural senses into submission." - Jason Gladu, POPJOURNALISM

"REPO REPO REPO is fucking wicked. Rob Higgins has really stepped up his songwriting skills and the results can be heard, track 1 to 10." - Joe Zabukovec, THE NEWSPAPER, U of T

"One minute they might be a snarling, drunken rock machine, the next a dreamy, quirky alt unit. Either way, the music stays fresh, which is why Toronto’s Dearly Beloved is onto something."- Evan Davies, NOW Magazine

“The grit of old school punk, the guitars of the new rock revival and a touch of the Velvet Underground. A worthy addition to the indie scenester’s collection.”- Paul Budel, CHART

“Like a pack of junkies playing for their smack…hard-hitting, hook-heavy rock’n roll…A short and sweet set aided vocally by rock tigress Niva Chow.”-Lorraine Carpenter, EXCLAIM!

“A vital indie rock record.” - John Kendle, UPTOWN Magazine

“An artful and dynamic melodic rock unit combining elements of Higgins' past projects into a fresh, distinct new sound.”- Chuck Molgat, PRAIRIE DOG Magazine

“People better start paying serious attention to Dearly Beloved. They just might be the most original rock band going in Toronto.” -Erin Taylor, SCENE AND HEARD Magazine

- various

The highly anticipated Dearly Beloved hit the stage at 12:45 to a capacity crowd at Tattoo, and really turned up the heat in the room. They played most of the tunes off their latest cd "Repo Repo Repo", which is an absolutely awesome album ... Dearly Beloved is really fun to watch, they have lead singer Rob Higgins all over the stage getting right into the music and moving like he means it from the heart, while sexy Niva Chow is on the opposite side of the stage doing backing vocals, swinging her hair, and shaking her ass to the hard rocking catchy tunes. The music was as tight as i could have hoped for, and they delivered in a big way - IndieCan March 2008

From the moment of inception in 2006, Dearly Beloved were a band that had everything going for them, mostly because of their Toronto indie scene pedigree. Yet, in some ways, they struggled out of the gate when debut album You Are The Jaguar became a protracted meditation on the death of group founder Rob Higgins' father. Now, after exorcising some demons with their hit-and-run 2008 EP, Repo REPO Repo, Higgins and his principal partner, vocalist Niva Chow, are coming on strong with Make It Bleed. With a sound that simultaneously gives nods to Higgins' Can-Rock past with Change Of Heart and Rocket Science, and the current alt-rock auteurism professed by Jack White and Josh Homme, Make It Bleed firmly captures all of Dearly Beloved's initial promise. The ear-grabber is once again Higgins' bass playing. It's no secret anymore that his uncle is Rush's Geddy Lee, and Higgins has inherited a similar style that deftly straddles the line between melodic flourishes and solid grooves. Flexing their sonic muscles as a band certainly takes precedence on tracks such as "Move On," "Candy Coated" and "Dress It Up," and in terms of swagger, they are easily in the same league as Danko Jones or Eagles of Death Metal. But what Make It Bleed shows is Dearly Beloved taking a big step forward on all fronts. (Anthem/Rounder/Zoe)
- by Jason Schneider / EXCLAIM MAGAZINE

This Toronto rock act has taken current rock, given it a loving smack in the face to wake it up, and has brought it back to what it should be. Blending aesthetics of progressive, grunge, a hint of dirty south and any other facet that has broken off from the parent title that is "rock and roll"; this is a band that will have anyone and everyone busting out their best air guitar moves.

At this time I would like to discuss their upcoming EP, They Will Take Up Serpents, a five track power-chord assault that's simply satisfying from first beat to last. The EP kicks off with the fat bass-driven anthem Move On. the song has strong build and a fluid progression that acts as a very nice appetizer for what the rest of this EP has in store for the listener.

And really it's just refreshing to hear the bass guitar not only doing something different from the guitar, nevermind it being the lead instrument of the track; it's a cool sound that's not taken advantage of enough in today's rock genre.

The next track, Make it Bleed, will keep your head bobbing with a solid percussive that drives this track. The track has a very catchy melody and the vocal hook is very slick.

Something you'll have no doubt noticed by now in this EP is that Dearly Beloved writes their songs very intelligently as far as sonic sense goes. The songs host brilliant dynamics and employ a "less is more" aspect just enough in just the right spots; in an era where most bands pile track upon track of sound at you, it's really cool to hear a band that can use a little bit of this and that in the right spots instead of bands who ruin their sound by overwhelming the listener sonically.

Next up we have The Ride. Where Make it Bleed had a steady groove, we're now indulged with a hard and aggressive rock tune. Very quickly though it's clear this track is more than just a ballsy and aggressive track as it holds very catchy pop-like melodies and hooks that leave you wanting more; plus the palm-muted verses into the loud, ringing power chords really take me back to my highschool days of grunge music. Love it.

When Slow is the New Fast is another simple but very enjoyable track. My best way to describe this track is: listen to this tune and close your eyes, I defy you not to envision Jack White.

The EP closes up with Candy-Coated, another track with a catchy bass and drum combination and a great drive. I'm getting an early Buckcherry vibe out of this track, and that is more than fine by me. The varying drums in this song make it impossible not to bounce along to it; I'm guessing this is their standard "audience rocks out like hell when we play this live" track.

They Will Take Up Serpents is a wicked rock EP. The EP is a clinic on how simplicity can be much more effective than piles and piles of unnecessary layers of instruments; this is one of the most dynamically strong bands I've heard in a long, long time. The band is clearly composed of talented musicians, but it's refreshing to hear that they don't feel a need to prove it or flaunt it; agreed, the guitar solos are hardly face-melting, but that would actually draw away from the beautiful simplicity of the EP.

They Will Take Up Serpents is like losing your V card to the hottest girl at school: It's done in about 17 minutes but every second was awesome and you'll want to tell all your friends about it. So pick it up, it drops April 27, 2010 but is available to pre-order now, so just go do it.

I'm out. - Live in Limbo by Lee Clifford

Found Under: CD Reviews

CD Review: Dearly Beloved
13 Apr, 2010

Dearly Beloved

Title: Make It Bleed
Label: Zoe/Rounder Records
Year: 2010
Rating: 3.5 / 5

The band name almost threw me off thinking this was going to be just another crap record that has landed on my desk. After the first song, man was I was dead wrong. The Dearly Beloved’s Make It Bleed is one of the freshest records I’ve heard so far this year. It’s got sweaty passion and badass with a capital “B” written all over it. Eclectic pop-rock with impressive vocals, hard-charging grooves, infectious bass lines, electro-harmony dirty romps, consistent drumming and gritty rock guitars create catchy, hook-filled tunes that will woo your heart into bed and make love to it like an animal in heat. There’s something quite new about the band even though they remind me of bands like QOTSA and other indie rock groups. To pinpoint on what might be the primary factor that separates this band from the rest of the herd, it would be the driving bass lines that shapes the band’s overall sound. The bass lines are cleverly used at the forefront of the music, which is rare in today’s music. Vocalist/bassist Rob Higgins is ultimately the heart of the group. Along with those awesome bass lines, Rob also pumps out some formidable vocals with help from Niva Chow, who’s smokin’ hot by the way. These two really have a chemistry that flows right through the music that gives the overall sound that rich texture and deliciously addictive craving. I guess it also helps that Rob’s uncle is none other than the great Geddy Lee of Rush, who I’m sure has given Rob some more than helpful pointers and tricks to get him on his way. Anyhow, pointers or not, Rob and Co. have a pretty solid sound that pretty much sounds bigger and polished. There’s also this raw fury in the way the band attacks the songs that brings out the gritty side of the group but with the way the band balances the songs, there’s a pretty good happy medium that the songs fall into. Good examples of the way the band balances songs can be found in the ultra rock of “Move On” and the body shakin’ floor banger “Make It Bleed.” In contrast, both songs have different elements and come from two different spectrums of the band’s sound. Two of my personal picks go out to the hard rockin’ “Candy Coated” and the head groovin’ “Acceptance Corporation,” which can definitely turn any naysayers into instant believers. Although the record may fall short of ‘Best Of’ lists by end of year, it certainly is more than worthy of a listen. There’s neither simply no dull moments nor any songs that put you in an unwanted, awkward lull. Dearly Beloved is well on their way to marking their stamp onto the music scene with Make It Bleed. The record’s like having seconds without any regret. Like having your desert before the meal. I am loving it. If a bright future is what this band was after, well, a bright future is certainly what they’ve got coming. Thumbs - Frantik Mag / by Gian Erguiza

Tucked somewhere in the shadows of the Our Mother Moist Canrock radio party of the late '90s was a wealth of exciting guitar indie (some of which of course laid later-day claim to cred in bands like Broken Social Scene et al) that sounded a lot like Toronto's Dearly Beloved; not surprisingly, the band's figurehead, Rob Higgins, spent time in some of the best like Change of Heart and Tristan Psionic. They Will Take Up Serpents comes out next week on Anthem Records, and their third release in Canada (almost a teaser EP for their recently released American debut) is a great reason not to give up on plain ol' guitar rock just yet.

Though the trajectory of modern-rock radio seems to have boomeranged back to Seattle in 1992, They Will Take Up Serpents mirrors everything great about long-running "alternative" rock staples such as the White Stripes (Jack White is summoned in particular in the menacing and enticing "Candy-Coated")—confidence, hooks, and eccentricity without a hint of lame riff-rock pastiche. The post-punk dissonance of the first few barres of "The Ride" blend seamlessly into a power-pop girl/boy singalong as co-vocalist Niva Chow chimes in for the chorus and takes the bridge, while the slow-burn groove of "Make It Bleed" is a blend of some killer Siamese-Dream-smudge and Rentals-esque synth rock. EP standout "When Slow is the New Fast" (streaming above), with its polished Pixies angles, classic guitar-pop sheen and vocals, and punk-laced drive is a perfect summation of Dearly Beloved's best and boldest qualities—a tight grasp on structure with the skills and balls to work their way just outside of its lines. - Torontoist by Nicole Villeneuve

The next time I'm in Toronto, I hope I can catch a show by Dearly Beloved. And if I die before I get there, I hope they'll play my funeral. That's because their US debut, Make It Bleed, is a primer in dealing with the death of a loved one and I figure I'll be OK (well, dead), but the rest of you may need some help.

Make It Bleed, which admittedly sounds like an emo album from a band with an emo-ish name is surprisingly full of actual emotion. I was so surprised, I broke down in tears, then played it again. Well, OK, that's not true, but I did play it again, because the sound is somehow a mix of the chaos of a guitar feeding back and the fury of a person in the midst of trashing their apartment because they just found out their dad died.

And before Make It Bleed was ever recorded, Rob Higgins, who plays bass, sings, and pens the lyrics, actually did lose his father. I can tell by the words of Make It Bleed that this was incredibly difficult for him. And at the same time, there are numerous references to both the need to genuinely accept what has happened, despite the pressure to pretend things are OK, and the need to move on rather than dwell on the futility of wishing it had never happened.

At times, the music, at the furious edge of chaos or the abyss (or both), seems to be on the verge of some kind of sonic suicide, but Dearly Beloved always pull back from that precipice and drive on, or as the lyrics would suggest, move on. Which is exactly like Sisyphus, or at least Sisyphus as the famed French absurdist Albert Camus presented him.

Sisyphus, in Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus, is doomed to push a boulder up a mountain for eternity, except when he gets to the top, the boulder always rolls right back down. Camus concludes that despite the meaninglessness of the task, Sisyphus cannot commit suicide, can't take the easy way out, but must create meaning in the task itself. Ultimately, Camus concludes that we must imagine Sisyphus happy.

I'm under no illusion that anyone should imagine Rob Higgins happy— only Rob Higgins can decide that. But I think there's a chance he would. The songs on Make It Bleed evoke power in the face of the absurd. The relentless drumbeats, the aggressive bass lines and wild guitar riffs remind us of Sisyphus' climb. And at the same time, the lyrics insist on the authenticity of Higgins' emotions. The world is unfair and meaningless, and attempts to deny this, by suicide or by grinning and bearing it, are simply living in bad faith.

Nevertheless, I expect a second release from Dearly Beloved, and I'll buy it when it comes out, because I want to see where this is headed. Of course, if they dwell on the death of Rob Higgins' father, it will seem like they haven't moved on. And if they forget it entirely, they'll seem to have given up. I hope for all our sakes they take a different approach.

I realize that I'm basically asking Rob Higgins to always remember the pain of his father dying, which is really sort of a horrible thing to ask a person to do. But anyway, music reviews aren't supposed to be about feelings, unless that feeling is having your ever-loving mind blown by the intensity of rock and roll. Conveniently, Dearly Beloved's Make It Bleed gives me exactly that feeling. -

In 1972 The New York Dolls detonated the NY club scene with a style of music that no one had ever heard before. They shook us loose from the corporate controlled over produced world of what had then become rock and started a revolution. The Dolls introduced Punk to the world.

Dearly Beloved is the new generation of punk. Taking the Punk DIY esthetic into the 21st century by utilizing influences from Punk, Grunge and Rock to create something entirely unique. Their latest release Make it Bleed is a remarkable example of this approach. It is best described as pop punk but has more depth than that label implies.

Clearly influenced by The Pixies' Black Francis/Kim Deal call-and-response collaboration, lead singer Rob Higgins and Niva Chow create a distinctive sound for the band. Make It Bleed is Dearly Beloved's third album and it reflects a band that has hit its stride. This is a confident, passionate album, but one that is not without its weaker moments.

You have to love a band that opens with the line "Are you an angry young dumb-fuck?" That is the brilliance of the album's first song "Acceptance Corporation"; not only does it have the type of in-your-face lyrics that made the Sex Pistols infamous, it's also backed by a passionate rhythm section featuring Higgins on bass. The second cut on the album, "Move On" is easily the most catchy and accessible but it's songs like "Candy Coated" that show the band's real power. With Chris Molson's gritty guitar and Gavin Maguire's hard-charging drums, Dearly Beloved display their true punk roots. "The Butchers Dog" is another indelible cut. The song is dark, menacing and turbulent. The sound of trouble on the horizon. Unfortunately, Dearly Beloved lose some of their momentum at the end of the album with "Unsee" a morose dirge about moving on (didn't we cover that ground in the aptly named second cut, "Move On"?). In case we didn't get enough of that theme, the final cut is an unnecessary dance remix of "Move On".

Now pushing 40, Punk is officially middle-aged. But with bands like Dearly Beloved carrying the torch it shows no signs of slowing down or succumbing to an ill-advised comb-over. DIY at its finest.
- Caught in the Carousel by Pamela Obenchain

Toronto, Canada's Dearly Beloved was formed in 2006 by Rob Higgins and other friends/musicians who were previously in the bands Change of Heart, Danko Jones, Tristan Psionic, Sticky Rice, By Divine Right, Rocket Science, Doctor, and more. The project was initially created by Higgins as an outlet to deal with the death of his father...but ended up being much more than that. Make It Bleed features criminally infectious pop/rock with hooks galore and melodies to die for. Anyone who ever loved the harder edged tunes on early albums by The New Pornographers will most likely fall in love with this album on the first spin. The guitars are loud, thick, and fuzzy...and the vocals always spot on. But it is the songs themselves that make this disc such a wonderfully pleasing spin. Thirteen tracks in 45 minutes...and they all hit the target HARD. Killer tracks include "Acceptance," "Ride To Hell," and "Make It Bleed." Can't say enough good stuff about this will end up being one of our favorite albums of 2010. Highly recommended. TOP PICK. - Baby Sue

Dearly Beloved probably get taken for granted a little too much.

Their members all have solid resumes. Rob Higgins has played with Change Of Heart, Rocket Science, Our Lady Peace, and Doctor. Niva Chow has been in Sticky Rice and worked with Revolver films. Damon Richardson's worked with Danko Jones and Change Of Heart, and Gavin MaGuire's played with Peter Elkas and the Burt Neilson Band. But it's easy for this country's cool hunters to disregard straight-up rock when there are new Caribou and Owen Pallett records to chin-scratch over.

That's a shame because Dearly Beloved's five-song They Will Take Up Serpents EP might be the best pure blast of radio-ruling non-lame modern rock since Queens Of The Stone Age's Songs For The Deaf. It's all quality in this small song sample, but there are two specific standouts.

"The Ride" features the big sort of riffs you air guitar across the beer bottle in your hand, and the brilliant "When Slow Is The New Fast" might single-handedly bring back alt.rock era moshing to the dance clubs.

To ignore Dearly Beloved's They Will Take Up Serpents is to miss out on one of the best bush parties this year. - Chartattack / Aaron Brophy

Here's a band that i've been meaning to get out to see for well over a year now, but the timing just never fell into place. I have both their full-length CDs, You are the Jaguar (2006) and Repo Repo Repo (due out March 18, 2008), and both albums are solid. They opened the set with a song on their new album, and also seems destined to be a hit a campus bars and clubs, with its male/female vocal parts that are filled with sexual tension. Rob Higgins (vocals, bass) and Niva Chow (vocals) are the majority of the show with their dynamic actions, playing off each other, creating music-based theatrics that exude rock. By this point in the night, alcohol was definitely a factor in the crowd and since the most internally-soaked fans were drawn towards the stage, there was some serious off-balance rocking out happening throughout the entire set. This band created a stage show well worth watching and songs that are so catchy that I'm still singing them to myself while writing this. its a wicked combination. -

in front of a crowd at Montreal's cosiest dive, Barfly, this Toronto quintet hit the stage like a pack of junkies playing for their smack. Former Change of Heart bassist Rob Higgins led the charge through a short and sweet set aided vocally by rock tigress Niva Chow. This town hasn't seen so much desparate sweating in sharp suits since the last comedy festival, but at least in this case it made for some hard-hitting, hook-heavy rock'n'roll. - Lorraine Carpenter / Exclaim Magazine

In my review for Dearly Beloved's debut You are the Jaguar, my lasting hope was that vocalist/bassist Rob Higgins could keep it all together for a sophomore record. And by some act of God or the band's own thrust for world rock dominance, Higgins (alongside vocalist Niva Chow, guitarist Damon Richardson and drummer Hayden Menzies) have banged out an intoxicating follow-up that should have throngs of screaming rock fans at their door.

Like Jaguar, Repo Repo Repo is rooted in dirty, indie-dance rock, but what makes this record so different are the tight and fiery live performances captured (check out choice cuts "Candy Coated", "Dress it Up" and "When Slow is the New Fast"). it's these genuine acts of musicianship that shock the aural senses into submission and leave the listener with a far more satisfying aural journey then your standard radio rock band. But before you start thinking Dearly Beloved are one-trick ponies, let me warn you that Repo is not one huge dance party. Tracks like "Acceptance Corporation", "Fire Escape", and album closer "Bit My Lip" are all darker, with slower grooves, weird keyboard breakdowns and a mesh of swirling guitars.

Dearly Beloved's Repo is a solid rock record that won't revolutionize the rock scene but is a welcome diversion from what's commonly featured on MuchMusic. To all to this good news, Dearly Beloved are already working on their next full length and gearing up for a cross Canada tour. -


Hawk vs Pigeon - May 22, 2012 (eOne Music)
Make It Bleed - March 2010 (US release - Rounder Records)
They Will Take Up Serpents - April 2010 (Anthem Records)
RepoRepoRepo - November 2007 (Kindling Music)
You Are The Jaguar- April 2006 (Kindling Music)




Hawk vs. Pigeon, Dearly Beloveds smashing new record, wasnt actually meant to be a record.
It wasnt meant to be anything. It was just meant to be. Indeed, it existed as a very large, impenetrable and seemingly aimless digital sound file dragged home from a cathartic desert session at Joshua Trees infamous Rancho de la Luno studio yes, that Rancho de la Luna studio for nearly a year before the hard-working Toronto band had a chance to sit still for a minute, take stock and realize that, wow, it was sitting on one hell of a record. And that record was Hawk vs. Pigeon, the monstrously sublime slab of stoner/shoegaze/psych/prog/Goth/punk/pop you now hold in your hands, you lucky scamp. Cancel your appointments for the rest of the day, bolt the door, settle back on the couch with your favourite intoxicant and prepare to drink in seven shades of spontaneous awesomeness because this ones a keeper. And a keeper all the more keep-able because, as weve already noted, it was never intended to be anything more than one endlessly put-upon bands personal revenge on all the bullshit that kept making it forget why it loved being a band.
Some back story, then. A scant three weeks before Dearly Beloveds much-touted international debut, Make It Bleed, was set to surface via Anthem Records in Canada and Rounder Records in the U.S. in 2010, its American booking agent bailed, leaving it as virtuoso bassist, co-vocalist and bandleader Rob Higgins puts it completely devoid of any tour dates in the U.S. to support the record.
Needless to say, Dearly Beloved was shattered. There was nonetheless a silver lining to the sudden collapse of its much-anticipated cross-border breakthrough, albeit one that was itself born of tragedy. A couple of years previous, Higgins wracked by the too-early death of his father and subsequent, intensive preventative surgery that removed 80% of his large intestine to spare him a similar fate had absconded to the California desert for 10 days in a haze of grief, pot smoke and post-recovery morphine and Percocet prescriptions to get his head together. It worked. The desert, in his words, kicked my ass, and he returned to civilization after all that soul-searching with the dream of making a record out there in the dunes. And when he mentioned that dream on the way home to some friends in Los Angeles, they casually let slip that they knew some people with a little desert spot they ran as a studio.
That little desert spot turned out to be Rancho de la Luna, the Joshua Tree haunt responsible where a bunch of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age and Eagles of Death Metal records you love not to mention Joshua Hommes celebrated Desert Sessions series were birthed and presided over by musician and studio multi-tasker Dave Catching. So when shit went south and Dearly Beloved was suddenly left without a tour two years ago, they said fuck it and went to the desert instead with no plan at all, just the intention of making some real music.
We didnt go there with any songs, says Higgins. We just booked five days, showed up and every morning it was the same: wed wake up me and Niva and Gavin (Maguire, drummer) would be the first ones there and roll a huge joint and make a big pot of coffee and once I was super-baked Id grab the bass and the first cool thing that I played wed work out and turn into a song. And wed do that all day until the whole track was done. And at night, wed cook a big dinner, start drinking tequila, smoke more joints and do the whole thing until morning. And in five days we had a record.
We didnt use any click track, we didnt use any ProTools session files. We just turned on the computer, turned on all the machines, hit all these old pre-sets everything was vintage and old and just dumped it all into the computer. So when we got home it wasnt all broken up as songs. It was jus

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