Hospital Grade

Hospital Grade

 Saint John, New Brunswick, CAN

Hospital Grade's music breathes and pulses with warmth and life, yet is infused with the stark angles of progress and hints of the repetition and rhythms of manual labour and machinery. It's a horrific accident in the industrial workplace and the subsequent, neccesary infirmary / recovery at once.


Only a blue-collar town like Saint John could produce a band like Hospital Grade. The city is an odd mix of pollution, industry, seaport, technology and art. It’s got a lot of character; a lot of confusing, one-way streets; a lot of weathered, interesting stone and brick buildings. There are giant cranes looming over the city’s downtown core from the port terminals, like great red robots from some dreary apocalyptic dream.

The city is constantly trying to reinvent itself, and in doing so, every few years they blow something up; the great empty corpse of an old world General Hospital, maybe a couple of the foreboding crane sentries by the harbor. They might flatten a few of the city’s ancient and wonderful features in order to build a low, flat box or two to cram with technology and telephone operators.

Since 2004, Hospital Grade have also been polluting, building, programming, creating, confusing, and occasionally blowing things up. Ever since Mike McAloon, Jason Ogden, Andrew Earle and Adam Kierstead came together in the burned-out shell of an apartment building that they dubbed The Firetrap, they’ve been chasing a mutation of that same elusive muse that tempts and rejects the city they live in. It hides in the corners of dark, deserted basements and storefronts; it lurks in the rhythms of industry; machines that pound away in the night; it’s never the same beast or beat, but it’s always seductive, and has a sweet song to draw you in right before it drops its mask and takes you somewhere new and unexpected.

Hospital Grade’s first album, Written Axe to Trigger, was released in 2004 on URININE Records out of Kansas City, MO. Indie Workshop heralded the debut as being “both addicting and discreet” and defined the band as plumbing “soil grinding lows” and “soaring to ceiling pounding highs that few bands can reach”. They followed the release with a U.S. Tour, then an ongoing Canadian tour.

Over the past two years, the band has been recording a new album called “Secrets & Sawdust”. The band considers this album a “new map” to the twists and turns in their live shows. It, too, is an addictive and discreet document, full of warnings, pounding fists, frustration, cries for help and pointed fingers. From the winding, sinewy strains of "Walking Papers, Too" to the stark, melancholy landscape of "Soviet", Hospital Grade keeps things surprising enough to keep you guessing, all the while planting subtle hooks that infect and incubate.

Finding patterns in chaos can bring some semblance of comfort. To be sure, the maps in Hospital Grade's glovebox are detailing routes that are anything but direct. But the mix tape playing on the battered stereo is full of the familiar sounds of 90's alt /post-punk, Dischord Records and britpop. The engine growls beneath, driving things forward, and a nervous foot twitches over the brake. With Secrets & Sawdust, Hospital Grade hands over a few more of their maps.

NEW! Video:


Ten Year Ring

Written By: Ogden / Hospital Grade

You emptied out my day when you didn't kiss me goodbye this morning. So I got up slowly and I was late before I even left. I breathed warm apartment air out onto the icy streets for a moment. Fallen into traffic, rode the grey currents to work. Dreamt of dreaming beneath your ceiling. It's days like these that my body feels like a bottle for refused tears. I felt that lack of you on my lips and past goodbyes whispered in my ears. Stay with me forever. And after that, lets haunt someplace together. I'll write it in my best hand on craft paper.

Empty Ambulance Bay

Written By: Jason Ogden / Hospital Grade

Next to a line painted white and marked with a sign-- "No Standing"-- I whispered, "There's nothing sterile here". The last light of city buses wound through here hours ago. It's dark, it's a weeknight, Jesus Christ, what am I doing here? I've come here alone. And keeping the same company try doors to admitting. My fists are shaking. Will no attendants come rushing? Lamplights over the entrance flicker and finally cut. I look out over acres of empty parking lot. My pulse speaks up, asking for a clot. Timid in the moonlight, it stammers in black drops. Cigarette butts interject, over the asphalt's wet cough. I put my face to the dark window of the Emergency Ward. I listen for liars, hypochondriacs and saints. If they're in there, tonight they're quiet in their restraints. Put my hand to the glass as if to check the pulse and my watch stops.
"I don't feel anything," I say to myself. My pale reflection in the dead of eyes of Emergency looks like a ghost. But the chill is unmistakable. I drop my hands and glow. With the white light sudden like a blood clot break. Another open wound, I get caught in the spray. An hemorrhage from the empty ambulance bay. I have to make my way there on my elbows and knees. I shudder to think of the stains I leave. Nurse, my God, if you're in there please. Send for the doctors if they're still alive. If they haven't gone home or found places to hide. I've got an old list in my pocket of death bed attendees. Someone inside drop a dime for me.
Give me change in eye pennies. Nurse, my God, if you're in there, please.

An Essay In Your Lungs

Written By: Jason Ogden / Hospital Grade

I knew in the gap between transmissions there was an epic. I felt the tremors of an Underwood, or was it a Royal Portable? Some easy-writing antique worth its weight in words. I crossed my arms and waited, tried to stay awake. I played symphonies on my fingertips and accompanied them with calloused feet. I heard your words coming across the ocean, finding their way with the insects, like disease. I closed my eyes and waited. Tied to the ocean’s wake. I played symphonies on my fingertips and accompanied them with shallow breaths. The dark ember walls of my study couldn't block the sound. Part of me wanted them shipwrecked. Part of me was already drowned.


Secrets & Sawdust CD (2008) (BBQ)
Written Axe To Trigger CD (2004) (URININE Records)
Scrap Is The Metal, Metal Is The Weapon EP (2003)(self - released)

Set List

Typical set list length:
opening slot = 30 / 45 mins
headline slot = 60 mins / 90 mins +