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The best kept secret in music


"Uniter Review of IPX 5"

Local favourites, Novillero see their first release since the reformation of the band after 2001’s The Brindleford Follies. Their four tracks (including one featuring new bassist/keyboardist Grant Johnson on lead vocals), flaunt Novillero at their very best, with the unbelievable breakdowns, ridiculously powerful vocals and wonderful musicianship that their live show is known for.
Shaun Gibson - Uniter (University of Winnipeg Press)

"Exclaim! Live Review"

This cross-pollenating Winnipeg group has been pared down to a kick ass quartet with strong new material and shifty time signatures that never lose their pop core. It says something when their Small Faces cover is their weakest song. Ex-Duotang bassist Rod Slaughter is electrifying, especially when he's simultaneously hammering his keyboard and banging a tambourine off his head. - Exclaim! Magazine

"Chart Attack Report Card for CMW 2004"

If Ben Folds wasn't such a twat, he could have a sound like this. But he is, so he won't. Novillero wins!
These guys have virtually mastered the perfect mix of edgy noise and melody. They rock hard, but the keys, guitar melody and singalong vocals turn it into pure ear candy. In addition, they stole Rusty back from The Waking Eyes and the horn section from ska band JFK And The Conspirators. Bonus points for covering The Supremes' "Someday We'll Be Together" with an impressive amount of soul for a bunch of white boys from the 'Peg.
I never thought I'd see a guy almost chuck a keyboard across the stage in excitement — while sitting down. Novillero aren't rich yet, but when they are, they'll probably trash the stage at the end of their sets, because they seem like that type. -

"Globe and Mail (Toronto) review of"

Novillero is a most Canadian band. I almost said a great Canadian band, but that wouldn't quite fit with this album, wonderful as it is. These dozen songs are really about the non-great lives most of us lead, and about the distinctly Canadian talent for throwing dust on the feet of those who think themselves called to greatness.
In these tracks, fashioned in Winnipeg with a rocking mod sound imported from long-ago London, the Canadian dream is something you forget the instant you wake up.
The dozen songs are about the moral dramas that get raised and abandoned over the kitchen table, or in the club if you can still stand the pall that has fallen over the place (the problem in Morally Deficient Business).
The answers to all questions come down to measly quantities of one thing or another. How many coins for charity does it take to dull the knowledge that the dogs are eating the dogs (Laissez-Faire System)? How many paycheques add up to a life wasted chasing a questionable goal (Gaining Ground / Losing Sight)?
A less truthful band would fire these queries like accusations. But Novillero (and especially Rod Slaughter, the main lyric writer) sees the whole sorry carnival in the first person. The first half of Aptitude could be a parody of a down-beat father crushing his kid's dream with worldly wisdom.
But then the lyric turns, and you realize it's about a failure in love, and there's no room for satire.
Habit Over Heart is like a vernacular echo of Trudeau's line about reason over passion. Irony creeps in only as this ode to the status quo winds up to a rock catharsis.
Some of these tunes are disarmingly jaunty, though most find subtle ways to mirror the moods of the lyrics. The punchy off-beats of Gaining Ground are the sound of things being knocked out of balance, as are the seven increasingly frantic modulations that send the tune up the wall near the end. Slaughter's most direct warning not to aim too high (in Aptitude) is accompanied by the most sophisticated harmonies on the disc.
Let's Pull Over Here is a sublime, ultra-Canadian highway reverie that reverberates with protective isolation, and with the feeling that attainment is always the end of something. At the other end of the disc, The Hypothesist rocks out with a sketch of somebody too trapped in his own ruminations to act on any of them. This too is part of the sound of our lives, and it should be crashing out of every radio in the country.
Robert Everett-Green - Robert Everett-Green

"Montreal Mirror Review of "Aim Right...""

These power-poppin’ ’Peggers have a history, or at least one album years ago on Endearing that was skewed more to the orch-pop end of things. Distilled down to a base of bass, drums, guitar and—in an almost focal role—keys, they haven’t shaken the rich fullness of that first disc. They’re only bringing it on with greater propulsion. Primary songwriter Rod Slaughter, who earned his purple heart with minimalist mod pairing Duotang, carries over his knack for unshakable hooks and erudite, incisive lyrics. While recalling the finer moments in mod rock and Mersey beat, Novillero’s is very much of the now. 8.5/10 (Rupert Bottenberg) - Montreal Mirror

"See Magazine Review of "Aim Right..." (Edmonton)"

I would recommend this unreservedly, but with the understanding that horns always make me weak in the knees, and there are horns a-plenty on this
one, along with some of the purest pop songwriting around. Just about my favorite psychedelic/pop/rock/northern soul/mod group yet, and that's saying something. - See Magazine

"Dagger Review of "Aim Right...""

I loved Novillero's debut THE BRINDLEFORD FOLLIES, (on the Endearing label) from a few years back (2001 to be exact) Š. you know, the one that hardly anyone heard. The band has, as we writer types like to say, their chops down. They can write the songs that have honest-to-god hooks and they sound like they're having fun while doing it (what a concept). I guess the closest thing I can compare them to would be Zumpano and main songwriter Rod Slaughter, in addition to having one of the coolest names in rock, has crafted a 12 song record that flows perfectly from one song to the other . The 1-2-3 punch of the first ! 3 songs ("Laissez Faire System", "The Hypothesist", and "The Art of Carrying On") will have you dancing in your living room and that's just the beginning. I wish more records were like this, fun and not self-conscious. Whatever you do Rod don't fire the trumpet player ! In fact, more trumpet, more trumpet ! One of 2005's best records . - Dagger Magazine

"Winnipeg Sun Review of"

Knife-edged guitars, dancable beats, punchy horns and percolating keyboards are layered together into a colourful foundation for Slaughter's
arch lyrics and vocals straight from Top of the Pops. Which, come to think, is pretty much where this
irresistible disc sits on our hit parade.
Darryl Sterdan - Darryl Sterdan

"Chart Magazine Review of"

These Winnipeg modlovers crank up the retro pop hooks on their unstoppably jubilant second disc. Seriously, anyone who resists this huge sounding rock 'n' roll party of a record probably has difficulty spelling "fun." The quartet's brass-happy, jaunty piano-backed gems are imbued with Motown romps ("The Hypothesist") and enough ooh-ooh harmonies for ceaseless California dreamin' - it's almost questionable whether these guys are really from the 'Peg. And just when it seems as if they've exhausted their happiness, they throw in a righteously romantic classical piano solo over a crash of guitars and cymbals (on "Insomnia") like a bunch of power-pop Axl Roses. Brian Wong - Brian Wong

"Winnipeg Free Press Review of"

After almost breaking up in 2002, Winnipeg's Novillero pared itself down to a quartet, jacked up the tempos and confined its focus to a power-pop sound that's informed by '70s AM radio (think Three Dog Night) and artier '90s acts (i.e. Stereolab) but ultimately sounds entirely original.

The results are nothing short of spectacular, as chiming indie-era guitars and Stranglers-aggressive basslines share space with sugary vocal harmonies, exuberant horn arrangements and piano melodies sweet enough to satisfy Elton John. Given the majesty of the sound, main songwriter Rod Slaughter's lead vocals may seem a little gritty. But that's entirely congruent with cynical lyrics about people who refuse to change -- or advocate change without doing a damn thing about it.

Members of The Afterbeat, Nathan, The Waking Eyes, The Paperbacks and other Winnipeg bands lend their instrumental talents, but this is all Novillero's triumph. If you download before you buy, look for the beautifully biting Gaining Ground/Losing Sight or The Hypothesist, a sprawling stunner. In stores Tuesday, while Novillero plays the West End Friday. 4 1/2 stars
Bartley Kives - Bart Kives


iTunes Canada single of the week June 05 (The Hypothesist) album and streaming video (The Hypothesist available through iTunes
#3 most added album CMJ AAA (US) (Peak)
#6 Canadian College Radio Airplay (Chart) (Peak)
#93 - CMJ radio chart (US) (Peak)
Aim Right For The Holes In Their Lives (May 2005, Mint)
IPX No. 5 Split EP (2004, Endearing)
The Brindleford Follies (2001, Endearing)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Winnipeg, Manitoba: Winter, mosquitoes, the Golden Boy, dirt, Monty Hall.
Mod Soul Power: Tight, impeccable, sophisticated, swaggering, passionate.
Winnipeg Mod Soul Power: Novillero.

Ladies and gentlemen, please help us welcome to centre stage, the one and only Winnipeg Wall Of Sound, Novillero. Rising like a Phoenix from Arizona from past indie-rock acts such as Mint's own Duotang, Transonic, and Bulletproof Nothing, Novillero is a four piece tour de force of chops and charisma, played by musicians who have been there, done that, toured the globe and back again, and have matured into knowing exactly what they want, and how they want to deliver it.

Key songwriter, keyboardist and bassist Rod Slaughter spent the last eight years in Duotang, a minimalist mod band of just bass and drums (on hiatus at the moment as drummer Sean Allum attends to his being a father!). In Novillero, it's as if Slaughter and his bandmates Sean Stevens, Grant Johnson, and David Berthiaume are making up for lost time, layering instrument upon instrument, chorus upon chorus and hook upon hook, molding their "Aim" into the band's finest work to date.

Searing out of the speakers like a modern day all-star shakedown of the Small Faces, the Who, and the best of the earth-shaking Booker T and The MGs, Aim Right for the Holes in Their Lives does just that - if indeed what you lack is an adrenaline shot of the purest mod exuberance.

Start with the incredible energy of "The Hypothesist" (possibly both Novillero and Slaughter's best song - ever) then move on to the pysch-stunning "Habit Over Heart," change it up with "Abbey," then try the title track "Aim Right For The Holes...." This is tight, realized rock n roll music.

Oh, and yes, even the four members of Novillero admit that they don't pronounce the name of their band correctly. Sure, if this was, you know, Spain, or even Sesame Street, it would be correctly pronounced "Nobby-yerro" (meaning a novice bull-fighter), but everyone up here in Canada has referred to the foursome phonetically for so long, don't feel guilty doing the same.

Like West Coast heroes Hot Hot Heat and The Killers, Novillero are beginning to produce the kind of tight-packed indie tunes that could one day take them far. The Fly (UK, Nov/Dec 2004)