Gig Seeker Pro


Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | INDIE

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Pop Progressive




"A band called Gay debuts a song called "Asbestos""

"Asbestos," the new track from Gay, Toronto's jangle-prog quartet, starts with a meta-lyrical flourish: "I wanted to write a song 'bout Asbestos." And they did, a whole three years ago, on a 12" split with a fellow veteran of local glam pin-ups Foxfire, Sexy Merlin. But that was before either Gay or Pleasence, the label they recorded for (now one of our favourites), had made a name for themselves, and, save for a few local press mentions, never made huge waves.

Now, in advance of a UK tour, Gay is putting out a new mixtape, To The Choir, and decided to give the epic, tropical-tinged tune its proper due. Listen to the new version, below.

Gay member Tom Avis explains:

"It's kind of got a weird history. We recorded it a few years ago for a split that Ben Cook produced. That was in the early days of Pleasence and of the band, before we'd figured out that its generally a good idea to tell people when you put a record out, so it never really went out into the world in a real way. As we were doing a mixtape we thought it would be a nice opportunity to tweak the mix, change the intro, and put it out properly. Ben and Sean [Dunal, of Sexy Merlin], took it in a really neat, weird direction."

Besides Ben Cook (of Fucked Up, No Warning, Y Club and so much more) and Sexy Merlin, To The Choir also features production work from Slim Twig, and a remix from Digits. For a certain sector of the Canadian music scene (the one you'll probably see at whatever bar show you're going to tonight), that's a dream team. - Chart Attack

"Video Premiere: Gay – “Dante And Susan”"

Yeah, we know, the band name is kind of dumb, but that’s nothing new in this era of “eh” band names. And they’re from Canada, so who knows, it’s probably some kind of a comedy deal. And maybe they are gay, and, oh, whatever. Aren’t we all post-post-modern at this point? Nothing means anything anymore, so let’s move on to this Gay video premiere.

First off, that “photosensitive epilepsy” warning at the start? Not a joke. Brief bits of colored tubes quickly shifts to the band spazzing in some bar, beach goers swimming around with the shiftiness of a ‘20s silent flick, someone gets their eye poked out, cheap cracked animation appears, and yet more of those colored tubes. It’s all a bit of a jittery mess of fun, not unlike the quirky, chirpy keyboard pop tune that zips along with it. And again, it all probably “means” little except that the nifty hook should stick with you and might make for a fine, first shot of “summer’s coming” soundtracking.

Gay has worked with US Girls husband/collaborator, Slim Twig, and they’ve got a new mixtape, To The Choir, coming out in May on U.K. label Heart Throb, with UK tour dates to follow. For now, meet Dante And Susan and check the tour dates below. - CMJ

"Premiere: Gay - Another Green Stitch"

Toronto is a hub, a hive for new music.

On a guitar front alone, the Canadian city has spawned the likes of Arts & Crafts, Broken Social Scene and more, accepting new influences and turning them into something distinct in the process.

A relatively new (blunt and quite memorable) name, Gay have been attracting attention through their transition from C86 cutesies into powerful prog-pop bedlam.

Setting their sights on Europe, the band have strung together a raft of tour dates and a new tape.

Released via (that handsome young man) Jamie Milton's label Heart Throb, the cassette is a neat introduction to a group who are rapidly blossoming into something quite different.

Clash is lucky enough to be able to premiere a new track. 'Another Green Stitch' is gently poetic in a surreal kinda fashion, with the guitars interlocking around choirboy vocals and kinetic, fevered drums.

Listen to it now. - Clash

"Aux Top 10: July 2013"

Dance Mix 95
(Pleasence Records)
It’s hard to take an album called Dance Mix 95 seriously—especially since Gay hardly channels Whigfield. But like the band’s nomenclature, their Pleasence debut is unpredictable at every turn. Opener “Less Than Learning” sets the stage for the LP’s A.D.D. tendencies, shifting from post-rock to late-night sexy sax fare, eventually resting on a proggy rock-opera groove. Dance Mix 95 doesn’t settle into any defined groove from there — they flirt with angry-young-man pub rock a la Nick Lowe (“Dante and Susan”), Devo-esque new wave (the effervescent “It’s Summer”), and smooth, vocal-harmony driven folk (“Military Man”). There’s little consistency to the band’s caffeinated art rock, aside from their evident love of everything ’70s and British—from which they sample endlessly and with ferocious aplomb. On that level, Dance Mix 95 is most reminiscent of Roxy Music’s most energetic moments or XTC’s amphetamine-fuelled take on new wave: It’s frenetic, chameleonic and endlessly charismatic. (MT) -


Awhile back, we premiered the second single from Gay’s debut LP Dance Mix 95. Pleasence Records – the group’s label – loves us so much that they offered us the video as well! Now that we’re in the midst of the season, what could be better than a saucy flick replete with clowns, crotch shots, beaches and bugs? I can’t think of much else, actually. The short film finds the band prancing around Toronto Island, enjoying the sights and having a great time basking in the unusually hot summer weather. Obviously, shenanigans ensue, and it’s all very-well documented. One final note: the video is NSFW due to some pasty white nudity. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Dance Mix 95 is available from the Pleasence Records website. - Decoder Magazine

"MOKB Premiere: Gay - Chrysotile"

Over the past several months, we have introduced you to Canadian duo Miss Elizabeth with their songs “Ein Weiwein” and “Richmond Girls.” One of the members of that outfit, Tom Avis, is also the drummer for another music project that goes by the name of Gay. In addition to Avis, Paul Erlichman, Neil Rankin and Cameron Michael Murray round out the lineup that has released a couple of EPs since the formation in 2009. On July 12th, the band will be releasing their quirky titled debut album Dance Mix ‘95 through Toronto label Pleasance Records. The first single from the release is the throwback “Chrysotile.” You will here a little bit of Roy Orbison, horns reminscent of Polyphonic Spree, with some garage for good measure. It has a little bit for everyone. Find the stream/download for it below and pre-order for the record here. - My Old Kentucky Blog

"Premiere: Gay Stream Debut Album ‘Dance Mix 95’"

Champions of the ungoogleable, Gay, are clever sods. Title-wise, theyd rather you think otherwise. A debut named Dance Mix 95' doesn't bring to mind baroque horn sections and super-intelligent arrangements, but that's what you get here. DIY's delighted to bring you a stream of one of the most progressive debuts of the year so far.

The Toronto four-piece - Neil Rankin, Paul Erlichman, Cameron Murray and Tom Avis - are alarmingly modest. Opener 'Less Than Learning' declares there to be no "epiphanies here to speak of", how they're all about the "get up, fuck around" mentality. First impressions are deadly.

Including the previously unveiled 'Chrysotile', the album was recorded in Toronto in the dead of Winter. Somehow, the quartet managed to fledge crystallised guitars - half evoking the rush of Grizzly Bear, the other an 80s melodrama not dissimilar to Roxy Music - and clarinet solos from this deadening environment.

As it progresses, 'Pete Rose Hair' stands loyal to a Wave Pictures-wave of wit, while 'Once Upon A Time' gives a nod to the record's title, bringing forth a dancehall-ready sense of drama.

We'd anticipate Gay to turn heads with this remarkable, ever-dynamic first work. - This is Fake DIY


Toronto's very own Gay not only have a bluntly memorable name, they're also really good at making music videos for their summery, upbeat, poppish rock tracks that will make you uncomfortably dizzy within the first 60 seconds. Clearly the boys in Gay are just as excited as you are about the return of summer in North America, since their whole concept for this video is simply: four guys gleefully rolling down a hill. Their upcoming album is also called Dance Mix '95, which will probably make you laugh if you're Canadian, but otherwise you just need to know that they're making a very awesome reference to a very awesome compilation of dance music that came out in the year 1995.

I sat down with Gay to chat with them about their newest video, along with their sometimes tenuous band dynamic. Their fights are about as controversial as the kinds of arguments you hear about when four dudes live with eachother in a house for too long. "Who ate all the peanut butter cups, bro?" They're charming nonetheless.

Noisey: How did this video come together?
Tom: There's a Pixies video (for "Velouria") where there's a static shot of them climbing down a hill in super slow motion. I kind of liked that idea and suggested it to Aaron Kopff who directed it. He definitely never saw the Pixies video and did something completely different with it, but it is, in essence, us rolling slow motion down a hill—it's just not at all the same.

Did he avoid watching it on purpose?
Tom: No, I didn't even mention it.

Neil: I didn't know that you stole that idea until just now.

Tom: Really? Well, the video is really pretty and nice, and slow motiony and kind of serious. It's just one stationary shot and they sort of fall through the frame for the duration of the song. So it's super different in its execution, but essentially the same idea.

Neil: It's a pretty basic idea.

Tom: It's not like we ripped off some plot line or something.

Are you guys fans of basic ideas?
Tom: I suppose so. We got a lot of pretty basic ideas.

Cam: I think that's the only way four songwriters can make a band work, is to have basic ideas and then have people pile on top of them. The foundation is pretty simple—we write simple songs, and over top we add more complex stuff to them. Even the band name is a basic, very simple name.

Did anything funny happen while you were making the video or were you too busy enjoying all that hill-rolling you were doing?
Paul: Neil and I got physically ill doing it, which was fun. I was the biggest baby. I just got really physically ill, rolling down. I really couldn't handle it.

It makes me really uncomfortable watching it, actually. Because I think I would probably feel sick too. I don't like that motion.
Neil: I have a good stomach, but it killed me.

Tom: I had two broken ribs when we shot it, which was really, really uncomfortable. When we were going to shoot it, I had broken my ribs two weeks before in a bike accident. We were talking about alternatives to me rolling down a hill and when it was actually happening, I couldn't not do it. Initially, everyone was enjoying themselves so much, but then we did it upwards of 15 times each at the end. By the end, it was not at all fun.

Neil: I think your direct quote was: "The heart wants to roll."

How did you feel after?
Tom: I thought I was going to end up making the injury a lot worse than it was. I ended up being mostly fine, but I think it definitely ruined Paul and Neil's day.

Paul: I played tennis after for a while. I even had a beer after.

You guys really suffer for your art. What else is in the works for you guys this summer?
Tom: We've got an LP coming out on Pleasance Records on July 11th, which this video is a first single for. We're going to do a video right before the release for a song called "It's Summer." And we're starting to plan a little Midwest tour for August as well, so we're probably going to Chicago, Detroit, and Indiannapolis and just around there.

What are your best tour stories?
Cam: We almost broke up. We went on one tour. We toured the States last year and we finished recording the record last January, and we were sort of waiting to get some rough mixes back to get a sense of what it was going to be like. We took a tour of the States—started in Montreal and did a little U around the Midwest. We rented a very small car for two weeks and we didn't have enough shows for us to be super pumped, so there there was a lot of stress, and by the end we had a lot of animosity towards one another, and then we had to have a band meeting a month later to decide if we were going to continue, while we were still waiting on the record to be done.

When you guys fight, what do you fight about?
Neil: We need space.

Paul: We fit all four of us comfortably in the - Vice / Noisey

"Gay: Dance Mix 95 Review"

Toronto quartet Gay are actually about 20 years off in their estimations—the band’s third album, Dance Mix 95, siphons its mojo from that mid-’70s moment when glam-rock was maturing into something more sophisticated and cosmopolitan and Bryan Ferry gave up his space age–Elvis get-ups for white tuxedos. Thankfully, despite a shared fondness for duelling saxophones, Gay can be ambitious without losing their sense of irreverence, thereby avoiding the slide toward Avalon-grade soft-rock austerity: The awesomely titled “Pete Rose Hair” is a slinky ode to the disgraced but remarkably coiffed baseball hero, and “It’s Summer” is a suddenly topical endorsement of inebriation in public parks that’s pure Sparks (the band and the tongue-staining energy drink). But while the worst possible advice you could give to an independent band in 2013 is to sign to a major label, Dance Mix 95’s occasionally erratic art-pop overtures cry out for big-budget productions and a greater sense of cohesion, particularly on the incongruous opener “Less Than Learning,” wherein frontman Neil Rankin drops his sweet croon and assumes a more theatrical Nick Cave–like baritone for a six-minute salvo that feels both over-the-top yet incomplete. Presumably, any resource issues will be solved once Gay license the shit out of the crystalline single “Chrysotile” to every Wes Anderson–inspired indie dramedy applying to Sundance next year. - The Grid

"Disc Review - Gay / Sexy Merlin - 3D in 3D"

4 / 5 Ns
Building on the success of last fall’s split 7-inch with White Suede, Toronto weirdo indie rockers Gay (fronted by Foxfire bassist Neil Rankin) continue to explore the possibilities of the single format on this boundary-testing collaboration with Sexy Merlin, the solo percussion project of Sean Dunal (also of Foxfire).

Both acts work together on the A-side’s Asbestos, a soulful, upbeat epic that takes on tropical inflections thanks to Dunal’s rhythm work. The B-side is three linked songs; two Sexy Merlin tracks bookend Cool Island by Gay, effectively serving as a trippy intro and outro.

Introspective and wistful Cool Island is the standout, sounding like it could have come out of early-2000s NYC, with Rankin’s soaring vocals landing somewhere between David Byrne and the Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser. They’ve clearly tapped into something special. - Now Magazine


Mixtape (May 2014): To the Choir (Heart Throb Records - UK)

12" (July 2013): Dance Mix 95 (Pleasence Records)

Cassette release: (January 2012): Talking Points (Pleasence Records)

12" (March 2011): Gay/Sexy Merlin: 3D in 3D (Pleasence Records)
- Produced and Engineered by Young Guv (Ben Cook of Fucked Up)

Split 7" (October 2010): Gay / White Suede (Pleasence Records)



"...summery, upbeat, poppish rock tracks that will make you uncomfortably dizzy within the first 60 seconds" - Noisey

"These guys have struck gold...Chrysotile is exactly the kind of forward-thinking juggernaut that can make a career. Bets are on it doing exactly that." -DIY Magazine

"These lads count the likes of Roxy Music and Orange Juice as influences, and fit nicely alongside such legendary company." - Decoder Magazine

"Its all a bit of a jittery mess of fun, not unlike the quirky, chirpy keyboard pop tune that zips along with it." - CMJ, on "Dante and Susan"

"They've clearly tapped into something special." - Now Magazine

Gay are a band from Toronto comprised of Neil Rankin, Paul Erlichman, Cameron Murray and Tom Avis. Formed in Toronto, they have released two singles on Pleasence Records, including 3D in 3D, a collaboration with Sexy Merlin (Moon King) which was produced by Ben Cook of Fucked Up, and Dance Mix 95, their first full length, which received positive attention from Vice and DIY magazine, and marked the band's transition from the C86 janglepop of their earlier releases towards "concert hall sized Prog Pop", adding string and horn sections and more complex and varied song structures to encompass the influences of 70s art rock heroes like Brian Eno and Roxy Music.
The band are currently working on an EP with Toronto mainstay Slim Twig to be released in 2014, and are releasing the mixtape "To the Choir" in May 2014 through UK's Heart Throb records.

Band Members