Greys

Greys

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN
BandRockPunk

Greys are a loud rock band from Toronto. Simple as that. Put it this way: If Fugazi suddenly displayed a penchant for stoner rock riffs; if Duane Denison jammed with John Reis; if Nirvana never released Nevermind; if the nineties never ended - this is the alternate universe in which Greys exist.

Biography

Indexing a bunch of influences when describing a band kind of misses the point. Nothing’s original. Not even the blogosphere-favorited who layer reverb-y tape loops while accompanying themselves on washboard and yowling into six echo mics in Icelandic. Fine. But isn’t the whole point to pretend like we’ve heard this before? So let’s get the referential, namedrop-y, “Recommended if you like…” stuff out of the way ASAP.

Toronto’s Greys play loud, feedback-fueled, angular riffs that sound a bit like if John Reis was making love to Duane Denison in an overly-lit, dead-end of America motel room, and then Dave Grohl barrelled in wearing a lampshade on his head and sprayed beer on everyone and spilled bong water all over the burnt-out broadloom carpet and there was, like, a Fugazi poster on the wall, and then someone put on a Greys tape. It’s like if a band you liked sounded like another band you liked and then you liked it. That’s enough, right?

What Greys has that shitty bands don’t have is a sense of history, of being connected to the broad, unruly narrative of “rock and roll.” On their debut release, 2011’s Ultra Sorta EP, the quartet indulged their taste for sludgy, guitar-driven rock that you could maybe call “post-hardcore,” but only if you mean that it was so post-hardcore that it doubled back on itself and just became straight-ahead rock music again. Their second EP, Easy Listening, was recorded at Toronto’s prestigious Chemical Sound studio and it sees the band expanding, getting heavier, softer, faster, slower, melodic and atonal at the same time, without being all ostentatious and arty about it. The fact that they recorded the entirety of their sophomore release live to tape is just another way of giving lesser bands the finger with one hand while grabbing their gigantic cajones with the other.

The band kept the ball rolling, returning from an extensive North American tour to record their third EP, Drift, which was released this February via Brooklyn's Kind Of Like Records. The three-song, ten-minute slugfest of a 7" was receiving rave reviews from Stereogum, Vice and Alternative Press before it was even released.

Even more impressive is that the band got together just over two years ago, in early 2011. In that time, they’ve toured across all of Canada and the United States, recorded two EPs, received coverage from Spin, Stereogum, Brooklyn Vegan, Alternative Press, Exclaim!, PopMatters and several more, and have been asked to perform at festivals including North By Northeast, Sled Island, Halifax Pop Explosion, Pouzza Fest, and 2011's invite-only incarnation of The Fest in Gainesville, FL. Their odometer read something like 45 000 kilometers in just six months, but who’s counting?

The four kids, only barely in their 20s for Christ’s sake, have already gigged with Mike Watt, Young Widows, Marnie Stern, Tera Melos, NoMeansNo, Algernon Cadwallader, Living With Lions, Glocca Morra and Nu Sensae, all the while playing hometown gigs with their buddies in Burning Love, DD/MM/YYYY, Indian Handcrafts, Teenage Kicks, Beliefs, Spitfist, Rituals, The Junction, TV Freaks, The Dirty Nil and plenty more, holding their own at each show.

That they’re a) good; and b) have earned it would be fine, but add to this a welcome sense of humor both on stage and off (see: song titles nodding at The Simpsons and Twin Peaks and all the other shit you like), and you’ve got a band that’s not only good but instantly likeable. And cool. And without really acting like they’re trying to be. And without really acting like they’re trying to not try to be.

So, Greys. Recommended if you like: Greys.

Lyrics

Rennie

Written By: Shehzaad Jiwani

Every article of clothing is made to be intrusive, exlusive to your sightlines. Guidelines rewritten day after day and every martyr is a slave to your hit parade. Talk shop when we know nothing at all. Blanket statements keeping all of us warm. Stick it out until you get your fix. Chew it up, spit it out, repeat and repeat and repeat it. What does it matter? We're all fucking wasted and none of us can hold our drinks. This religion is what we're all about. Drop the curtains and watch us scream and shout. See the wizard with his smoke and mirrors. See him spike the punch, watch us dive right in. Coming up with one excuse right after another. Circling around the drain washing over each other. Give it up, it's just another day. We wake up, see the sun, then we wait til we're born again. Come on and let me in. I swear I won't tell a soul. And none of us can hold our tongues. It's good to unwind sometimes but I'm coming apart at the seams.

Post-American

Written By: Shehzaad Jiwani

At one point standing in a line holding a sign was enough. But now all that rebellion's fine, they've all called our bluff. But it's alright. Just let the children fight. In days of old our folks knew what it took to cause a scene. Guerilla factions are in fashion, so what does all this mean? Institutionalize pariahs to use us as their alibis like Gull in his masonic quest to separate the what from the why. We've all been tranquilized. Left to our own device they'll make us all play nice but if they pay us no mind can it still be called a fight? They've got us right where they want us. We know they hear us but they don't fear us. Let's use our sticks and stones.

Cascades

Written By: Shehzaad Jiwani

My biggest fear, my greatest fear is moving on, moving past it. I wanna revel in it. I wanna take it all in. Wanna live out all my delusions. Sleeping it all off. Sleeping on and off in this blanket sanctuary. Don't bother with a wake up call, I won't hear it over this ringing in my head. I want you to be happy as long as I'm happier than you. Window's a looping scene playing out the same way every day. Rewind the highlights and act out every night til I get it right. Rot away having nothing to say. Drop the topic, pack it away, live in silence. Share a bed with all my resentment. I'll stay here with all of your blame. I want you to be happy as long as I'm happier than you. I will not be happy til I can blame it all on you. I won't say it. I won't admit it. For my pride. For my guilt. If I don't say it, did it happen? Don't wanna hear it. Don't wanna think about it. Do you hate me any less for not cleaning up this mess? For getting us exiled here for longer than we could have guessed? Do you like your surrogate home? Do you like your new area code? Is there anything left to say? What's the difference? If I said it, what would it change? We are stationed in this place to go home again. Drifting aimlessly in space, made whole again. I just want you to feel safe in my arms again. I just want you to be safe in my arms again.

Discography

Ultra Sorta (Concession Records - 2011)
Easy Listening (Concession Records - 2012)
Drift (Kind Of Like Records - 2013)

Set List

Post-American (1:12)
Cascades (3:35)
City Of Broken Lights (3:40)
Gladhander (1:58)
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Queen Of The Harpies (3:30)
Illegal Alien vs. Sexual Predator (1:50)
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Simple Living (3:30)
Black Lodge (4:00)
(25-30 minutes)