New Canyons

New Canyons

 Chicago, Illinois, USA
BandRockAlternative

New Canyons are an ambient/electronic live instrumentation group. Influences are everything from Depeche Mode to M83. Utilizing vintage synthesizers, and guitar amps for an intense & interesting live performance.

Band Press

Bandcamp Track of the Day: New Canyons. Great Depths. – When The Sun Hits

Bandcamp Track of the Day: New Canyons. Great Depths.

Bandcamp Track of the Day: New Canyons. Great Depths. – When The Sun Hits

Bandcamp Track of the Day: New Canyons. Great Depths.

Album review: New Canyons “Everyone Is Dark” – Clank For Breakfast

New Canyons - “Everyone Is Dark” (BLVD Records, June 3rd, 2013)

Often, our hectic everyday life sucks us dry like a vampire, and we need to escape to an island of rest. Chicago based New Canyons, consisting of Adam Stilson and Airiel’s Andrew Marrah, offer a musical getaway help. When you close your eyes and lean back, and their embracing, romantic blend of electronic wave-pop, shoegaze and new romantic starts to stream through the speakers, the charming tonal fragrance effects soothing like sweet chocolate and makes you smile. The well written songs have been painted with highly melodic colors and a dreamy, yearning atmosphere, and while you’re diving into the cloud of sounds that are accompanied by smooth, emotional vocals, you’re gonna notice many cleverly arranged details. There’s a good dose of nostalgia involved when my old ears absorb these retro-tinged waves that somehow could be a cooperation between Cocteau Twins, A Flock Of Seagulls, Clan of Xymox and The Chameleons, but the production does sound modern and fresh, so that’s a good combo. A delightful tidbit.

Album review: New Canyons “Everyone Is Dark” – Clank For Breakfast

New Canyons - “Everyone Is Dark” (BLVD Records, June 3rd, 2013)

Often, our hectic everyday life sucks us dry like a vampire, and we need to escape to an island of rest. Chicago based New Canyons, consisting of Adam Stilson and Airiel’s Andrew Marrah, offer a musical getaway help. When you close your eyes and lean back, and their embracing, romantic blend of electronic wave-pop, shoegaze and new romantic starts to stream through the speakers, the charming tonal fragrance effects soothing like sweet chocolate and makes you smile. The well written songs have been painted with highly melodic colors and a dreamy, yearning atmosphere, and while you’re diving into the cloud of sounds that are accompanied by smooth, emotional vocals, you’re gonna notice many cleverly arranged details. There’s a good dose of nostalgia involved when my old ears absorb these retro-tinged waves that somehow could be a cooperation between Cocteau Twins, A Flock Of Seagulls, Clan of Xymox and The Chameleons, but the production does sound modern and fresh, so that’s a good combo. A delightful tidbit.

New Canyons: Everyone Is Dark - Album Review – Violent Success

New Canyons: Everyone is Dark — The Chicago music scene these days seems to be comprised mainly of DJ’s, the occasional promising punk band, Chance The Rapper, and more DJ’s. Obviously that is a pretty big overstatement, but it gives you the picture that New Canyon’s brand of synth-pop isn’t the most common in their hometown. That might change, though, once people get their hands on New Canyon’s impressive new album Everyone Is Dark.

The duo lays their influences clearly out on the table; Andrew Marrah and Adam Stilson put milage on My Bloody Valentine’s atmospherics, New Order’s synth patches, and Morrissey’s ache. Though, New Canyon’s aren’t just using the sounds of these post-punk hall of famers for cool points, nor are they shamelessly ripping them off. Everyone Is Dark is a record about nostalgia, and these sounds of the past are used as a key to our emotional vault. Its about time someone in Chicago drew from the film soundtracks of former resident John Hughes to help pack a sentimental punch.

Once the lead synth line storms in on the opening track ‘End Colors’ you are immediately locked in. The beat become more towering as the song progresses, while Stilson’s voice tries to break free from a cage of reverb. The song ends abruptly and gives way to the dreamy ‘Pitch Black.’ The track shows that the hours they spent listening to Loveless were as educational as they were enjoyable. Gentle arpeggiated synths fill in the spaces surrounding the layers of emotive guitar work. As with most of the record, the production quality on the song has just the right blend of lo-fi immediacy and hi-fi warmth.

Many of lyrics express a yearning to return to a more fervent state, before everyone became dark. Like on the albums centerpiece, ‘Made For Rockets’, Stilson belts “I used to feel in love with you” in his best Ian McCulloch impression, over anthemic post-punk guitars and cinematic keyboard lines. The album closes with the previously released and newly remastered ‘Life Support’. As the title suggests it is the records most life affirming moment. The delay guitars and powerhouse vocal performance threatens to reach U2‘s level of grandiosity, but luckily the track ends before it has the chance to overdose on its own bombast.

The duo aren’t quite on the level of artists such as Bat For Lashes or M83, who were able to form entirely original voices from the sounds of 80's new-wave pioneers. New Canyons may have set themselves apart in Chicago’s scene, but to make a splash in independent music as a whole they will have to leave some of the comfort of their influences behind and find their own footing. They won’t have to much to worry about, though. If Everyone Is Dark is any indication, it isn’t a matter of if they will hit their mark but when…8.6/10

New Canyons: Everyone Is Dark - Album Review – Violent Success

New Canyons: Everyone is Dark — The Chicago music scene these days seems to be comprised mainly of DJ’s, the occasional promising punk band, Chance The Rapper, and more DJ’s. Obviously that is a pretty big overstatement, but it gives you the picture that New Canyon’s brand of synth-pop isn’t the most common in their hometown. That might change, though, once people get their hands on New Canyon’s impressive new album Everyone Is Dark.

The duo lays their influences clearly out on the table; Andrew Marrah and Adam Stilson put milage on My Bloody Valentine’s atmospherics, New Order’s synth patches, and Morrissey’s ache. Though, New Canyon’s aren’t just using the sounds of these post-punk hall of famers for cool points, nor are they shamelessly ripping them off. Everyone Is Dark is a record about nostalgia, and these sounds of the past are used as a key to our emotional vault. Its about time someone in Chicago drew from the film soundtracks of former resident John Hughes to help pack a sentimental punch.

Once the lead synth line storms in on the opening track ‘End Colors’ you are immediately locked in. The beat become more towering as the song progresses, while Stilson’s voice tries to break free from a cage of reverb. The song ends abruptly and gives way to the dreamy ‘Pitch Black.’ The track shows that the hours they spent listening to Loveless were as educational as they were enjoyable. Gentle arpeggiated synths fill in the spaces surrounding the layers of emotive guitar work. As with most of the record, the production quality on the song has just the right blend of lo-fi immediacy and hi-fi warmth.

Many of lyrics express a yearning to return to a more fervent state, before everyone became dark. Like on the albums centerpiece, ‘Made For Rockets’, Stilson belts “I used to feel in love with you” in his best Ian McCulloch impression, over anthemic post-punk guitars and cinematic keyboard lines. The album closes with the previously released and newly remastered ‘Life Support’. As the title suggests it is the records most life affirming moment. The delay guitars and powerhouse vocal performance threatens to reach U2‘s level of grandiosity, but luckily the track ends before it has the chance to overdose on its own bombast.

The duo aren’t quite on the level of artists such as Bat For Lashes or M83, who were able to form entirely original voices from the sounds of 80's new-wave pioneers. New Canyons may have set themselves apart in Chicago’s scene, but to make a splash in independent music as a whole they will have to leave some of the comfort of their influences behind and find their own footing. They won’t have to much to worry about, though. If Everyone Is Dark is any indication, it isn’t a matter of if they will hit their mark but when…8.6/10

New Canyons’ Debut Record – The Bomber Jacket

Every now and then 80s-influenced throwback albums pop into the indie spectrum, like the recent work from Handsome Furs, Goldfrapp, and the soundtrack to the new film, Drive… Chicago’s New Canyons, a project of Airiel’s Andrew Marrah, is releasing its debut eight-track album this spring, titled Everyone is Dark. The work is replete with bending 80s electric guitars, distant, moaning Cure-like vocals, and blankets of synths. And it’s good.” -Jen Brown, The Bomber Jacket

New Canyons’ Debut Record – The Bomber Jacket

Every now and then 80s-influenced throwback albums pop into the indie spectrum, like the recent work from Handsome Furs, Goldfrapp, and the soundtrack to the new film, Drive… Chicago’s New Canyons, a project of Airiel’s Andrew Marrah, is releasing its debut eight-track album this spring, titled Everyone is Dark. The work is replete with bending 80s electric guitars, distant, moaning Cure-like vocals, and blankets of synths. And it’s good.” -Jen Brown, The Bomber Jacket

13 Chicago Bands to Watch in 2013 – Loudlooppress

One of the reasons why I made sure that New Canyons were included in our 13 Chicago Bands to Watch in 2013 was because their sound is so focused and genre-committed… Their sound is such a synth-laden throwback that it’s difficult not to be swept up in the lush Tears For Fears slash Depeche Mode soundscapes.” -Richard Giraldi,

13 Chicago Bands to Watch in 2013 – Loudlooppress

One of the reasons why I made sure that New Canyons were included in our 13 Chicago Bands to Watch in 2013 was because their sound is so focused and genre-committed… Their sound is such a synth-laden throwback that it’s difficult not to be swept up in the lush Tears For Fears slash Depeche Mode soundscapes.” -Richard Giraldi,

Gossip Wolf – Chicago Reader

“To Gossip Wolf, New Canyons sound like OMD and the Cocteau Twins playing to each other from either side of a lonely valley—but these dreamy local synth-­poppers are bringing them together!” -Gossip Wolf, Chicago Reader

Gossip Wolf – Chicago Reader

“To Gossip Wolf, New Canyons sound like OMD and the Cocteau Twins playing to each other from either side of a lonely valley—but these dreamy local synth-­poppers are bringing them together!” -Gossip Wolf, Chicago Reader

Show Review Scene Metrospace – Peter L.

"NEW CANYONS members Adam Stilson and Andrew Marrah previously found voice with Lansing-based band VEGA, whose moody atmospherics left plenty of room for powerful post-punk dynamics. NEW CANYONS explores a more insular electronic territory that still delivers cathartic emotional content. Rumor has it they are soon to ship off for a certain major city in Illinois."-Scene Metrospace

Show Review Scene Metrospace – Peter L.

"NEW CANYONS members Adam Stilson and Andrew Marrah previously found voice with Lansing-based band VEGA, whose moody atmospherics left plenty of room for powerful post-punk dynamics. NEW CANYONS explores a more insular electronic territory that still delivers cathartic emotional content. Rumor has it they are soon to ship off for a certain major city in Illinois."-Scene Metrospace

Review: New Canyons – Strife, Struggle & Fire – Leonard’s Lair UK

There have been so many acts who appear to be leading the 80’s revival that it’s occured that the last year there wasn’t an 80’s revival was actually in 1989. No matter, New Canyons are a Chicago-based act who have clearly been influenced by the most melodramatic purveyors of synth pop but their take on it is strangely likeable.

Much of ‘Strife, Struggle & Fire’ consists of great swathes of synth pop that would make Ultravox blush. ‘Dressed To Kill’ is awash with epic keyboard melody but it’s hamstrung by the frontman’s over-emoting. Arranged in a not dissimilar fashion, ‘Last To Love’ is a messy affair which sounds like the band members are competing against each other.

On ‘We Could Drive’, however, New Canyons demonstrate for the first time that they are to be taken seriously. It’s another very portentous song but a doomy bass guitar, some sparkling atmospherics and a more restrained turn from their singer bodes well for the remainder for the record. So ‘Heart Transparency’ is a fine melancholic shoegazer track which benefits from a slower pace and ‘Slow Waltz’ is, ironically, rather quicker and its key hook displays a welcome sense of urgency that bodes well for the future. I also enjoyed the downbeat tale of ‘Caligula’.

‘Strife, Struggle & Fire’ is one of those records that can be so OTT in terms of sound and emotion that it seems ridiculous. Yet within this debut, there are some icy pop gems that remind me of a young and equally serious Tears For Fears or even The Chameleons if they’d discovered electro-pop.

Further Listening:
Tears For Fears, The Chameleons

Review: New Canyons – Strife, Struggle & Fire – Leonard’s Lair UK

There have been so many acts who appear to be leading the 80’s revival that it’s occured that the last year there wasn’t an 80’s revival was actually in 1989. No matter, New Canyons are a Chicago-based act who have clearly been influenced by the most melodramatic purveyors of synth pop but their take on it is strangely likeable.

Much of ‘Strife, Struggle & Fire’ consists of great swathes of synth pop that would make Ultravox blush. ‘Dressed To Kill’ is awash with epic keyboard melody but it’s hamstrung by the frontman’s over-emoting. Arranged in a not dissimilar fashion, ‘Last To Love’ is a messy affair which sounds like the band members are competing against each other.

On ‘We Could Drive’, however, New Canyons demonstrate for the first time that they are to be taken seriously. It’s another very portentous song but a doomy bass guitar, some sparkling atmospherics and a more restrained turn from their singer bodes well for the remainder for the record. So ‘Heart Transparency’ is a fine melancholic shoegazer track which benefits from a slower pace and ‘Slow Waltz’ is, ironically, rather quicker and its key hook displays a welcome sense of urgency that bodes well for the future. I also enjoyed the downbeat tale of ‘Caligula’.

‘Strife, Struggle & Fire’ is one of those records that can be so OTT in terms of sound and emotion that it seems ridiculous. Yet within this debut, there are some icy pop gems that remind me of a young and equally serious Tears For Fears or even The Chameleons if they’d discovered electro-pop.

Further Listening:
Tears For Fears, The Chameleons