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

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Pop Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"SISTER Says It All"

SISTER says it all

Plumtree’s Carla and Lynette Gillis honour their family in the best way possible: with a heavy metal sound.

by Mike Landry

Carla Gillis has liked Scott Pilgrim for a thousand years, but she's utterly co-dependent on her sister. Starting with local indie darlings Plumtree in the early '90s, Carla and Lynette Gillis have always played in bands together. This week they bring their latest venture, SISTER, home to Halifax.

"I think I'm actually scared to play with other people," says Carla on the phone from Toronto. "With Lynette and I it's almost like we're speaking code, but we're not. She can just get a reference that I'm mentioning. She'll pick up on it immediately. It's just really comfortable."

SISTER's debut EP, recorded with Peter Elkas, drops in the new year just as Michael Cera rocks a Plumtree t-shirt in the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Almost a decade removed from Plumtree and Halifax, SISTER is the Gillis' Toronto-based project. The pair moved from Vancouver to the big smoke two years ago after finishing their degrees---putting their other groups, Bontempi and Bells Clanging, on hiatus.

The girls moved to be closer to their family. And while Carla and Lynette's relationship and musical history are obvious with the name SISTER, it also honours their older sister Darlene, who passed away just as they were starting the new band.

"The name just really appropriately reflects what's on our mind these days," says Carla. "So, it was sort of dedication to her, to each other, our older sister Cheryl and just our family in general."

SISTER also taps into the Gillis' musical roots. Long inspired by their older sisters' classic rock records, the Gillises have always tried to make a heavy metal-sounding band, "even though nothing we ever write sounds anything like that whatsoever," says Carla. SISTER is their heaviest sound yet, even if it's still melodic pop.

The band was originally formed with the Local Rabbits' Ryan Myshrall on bass, but Windsor native Pete Johnston has replaced Myshrall. The girls first met Johnston almost 20 years ago at Summer Rock, although they weren't really friends.

"We were really young and just really scared, and kind of anti-social. We just sort of stuck together... Mostly it was just us and a classroom full of boys," says Carla. "We just felt very intimidated."

In keeping with reunions, SISTER's first Halifax show will feature Derrick Hiltz (Stop Motion Massacre) who played with Carla and Lynette in their '90s punk band, Absolutely Nothing. Also on the bill is Matt Reid, who helped the girls build their cottage in Cape Breton.

The sisters are more excited than anyone for this "back-in-the-day show." Carla is up for reminiscing about Plumtree---just don't expect any Plumtree songs at the show---they simply don't remember them.

"It's a bright light in my past for sure...I just imagine Gus' Pub filled with smiling faces---old friends," she says. "It's the holidays and I love the holidays. Christmas is our favourite time of year, so it's just going to be a joyous night." –Mike Landry - The Coast

"Sound Advice: SISTER"

Who (besides this loyal Geocities fansite co-creator, of course) would ever have thought that the Gillis sisters would become so sneakily ubiquitous? Their 1990s all-girl indie rock band, Plumtree, is totally having its moment as their song “Scott Pilgrim” basks in the comic-cum-blockbuster movie treatment, and Carla and Lynette seized the opportunity to recently release their new Sister EP at the launch of the comic’s final volume. Sister is more in line with the dark and nervy pop of more recent west-coast Gillis projects Bells Clanging or Bontempi, but with a renewed lyrical injection of the irrefutable comfortable sibling intuition that informed Plumtree’s endearing peculiarity.

Produced by longtime Local Rabbits bud Peter Elkas (and mixed by Thrush Hermit’s Ian McGettigan!), the sisters Gillis are still using the usual Lynette on drums, Carla on vocals/guitars configuration (rounded out by Ryan Myshrall playing bass on the EP) and are still reflecting on personal matters and observations that are immediately intriguing in their simplicity. The crunchy Sloan-ish power pop of “Wishbone” (streaming above), is a literal contemplation on breaking a wishbone. Quirky, cute, endearing—but also recalling memories of the holidays when one of those birds would be floating around, pulling out the lasting impressions of childhood and family, making up what is lacked in sophisticated wordsmithery with imagination and poignant personal vignettes.

Sister also try their hand at dance pop with the minor-key bounce of “Feather on the Ocean Floor,” letting it drift into a gauzy, post-punk dreamstate, closing with a plucky dueling guitar riff taking the place of a synth.

A project named as a touching tribute to both each other and their sister who passed away two summers ago, Sister is loaded with trust and ease, and is both as fun and thoughtful as anything these sisters have given us in the past. - Torontoist

"Concert Review: Sister, Empire Lights at the Imperial Pub, August 26"

Toronto – “The Imperial Pub? That’s a venue?” So said Wade in our most recent podcast, a sentiment echoed by the rest of us. Yes, they’re putting concerts on in the back room at The Imperial these days on what seems to be a semi-regular basis and this weeks show was notable for the inclusion of Sister. Sister is the current project of Carla and Lynette Gillis, formerly of ’90s Halifax band Plumtree, and Ryan Myshrall, formerly of Montreal’s Local Rabbits. The Gillis sisters’ former band has, of course, been getting a lot of attention recently because of the inclusion of their song “Scott Pilgrim” in, well, the Scott Pilgrim movie. The band wisely had Plumtree shirts and their newly pressed “Best of” compilation for sale at the show along with their new self-titled EP. But enough about their old band, what about Sister?

Well, not surprisingly, it sounds like an extension of what they were doing in the Plumtree days, but comes at it from a completely different angle. Actually, other than featuring the same voices, it doesn’t really sound that much like Plumtree at all. Featuring lots of keyboards and layered harmonies, they put on a solid show to an appreciative crowd that they described as being “a very nice audience” or words to that effect, basically implying that we were maybe a bit too well behaved, but it was like, 10:15 on a Thursday night. How much excitement can you expect from people? There was some slight excitement when someone’s phone went off between songs (hey, it’s a small room) and we could all pretty much hear her giving directions to a friend of hers. “We’re listening to this person’s conversation,” commented Carla Gillis before moving over to the piano that resides in the back of The Imperial Pub. She also commented on the piano, clearly excited to be playing a real piano, and a totally white one no less, rather than the synthesizers she normally plays. Speaking of keyboards, the trio expanded to a four piece during the song “Orion,” as they were joined by some guy whose name I didn’t catch because I was getting another beer at the time. It was a good tune though.

Empire Lights followed and they were equally enjoyable. While Sister can lay legitimate claim to a ’90s Halifax scene pedigree, Empire Lights certainly takes some inspiration from the bands of that era, citing bands such as the The Superfriendz and The Inbreds. In fact, they even played an Inbreds cover, more or less taking a request from the show’s promoters. While I do hear some similarities between Empire Lights and those bands (as well as maybe some of the softer Sloan songs) , they didn’t so much sound exactly like those bands as they evoked the songs of that era. Probably the best of their songs was “Shit Job,” a song that really needs no further explanation and one whose sentiment most can probably relate to. That said, neither band did a “shit job” on this night. I look forward to hearing more from both Sister and Empire Lights in the future.

1x1.trans Concert Review: Sister, Empire Lights, August 26, The Imperial Pub - Panic Manual


OVERNIGHT, full-length 10-song album, released February 2015

SISTER, self-titled 5-song EP, released August 2010

SISTER covers "View Master" on a tribute CD to Eric's Trip, released on Gooseberry Records in 2009.



Overnight plays tender, melodic heavy rock. Sometimes they're Heart and sometimes Neil Young and always a little bit Sabbath, depending on the club's sound that night. Formerly called SISTER, it's the newest band by Toronto-based Carla and Lynette Gillis, whose love of heavy metal has kept them busy since their pre-teens.

Sisters Carla (guitar/vocals/keys) and Lynette (drums/vocals) have had a foothold in the indie Canadian music scene since the 90s. Their all-girl teenage rock band Plumtree made waves on the college radio scene from 1993 to 2000 thanks to three full-length albums that went on to inspire a younger generation of musicians. The band’s influence spread internationally after their song “Scott Pilgrim” inspired Bryan Lee O’Malley’s popular Scott Pilgrim comic book series, which was then turned into the Universal Pictures film Scott Pilgrim Vs The World in 2010.

Even without the unexpected profile boost, Carla and Lynette would have continued toiling away at music. It’s what they’ve done since discovering Guns N’ Roses Appetite for Destruction as pre-teens. They are lifers. Post-Plumtree projects include minimalist trio Bontempi, Vancouver electro-pop project Bells Clanging, alive-and-roaring garage punks The Lord Almightys, and SISTER, which they rechristened Overnight last year.

Now living in Toronto, Carla and Lynette recorded their just-released debut full-length album, Carry Me Home, during the spring of 2014, with Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s formidable Alaska B in the role of producer, engineer and mixer. Additionally, they recorded first single “Unsinkable” with Joel Plaskett at his Dartmouth studio in one epic day over the Christmas holidays. The sisters play nearly all of the instruments on the record, with Meligrove Band’s Mike Small guesting on bass and Alaska B handling occasional keyboard parts. The live band includes Mike Small and Bella Clava/Public Animal keyboardist Caitlin Dacey

Band Members