S.S. Cardiacs
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S.S. Cardiacs

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The best kept secret in music


"A Wolf in Sharp Clothing"

Thanks to another shining example of curious Wavelength programming, (Patrick) Wolf's electro-pomp was countered by a closing set from the unassuming and wholly charming Cardiacs, the new indie-rock outfit fronted by singer/songwriter Jessie Stein (with rock-solid rhythmic support from Spitfires & Mayflowers bassist Andy Lloyd and Bicycles drummer Dana Snell).

While the fanboys in attendance conjured with their circa-'93 crushes on Juliana Hatfield, the indie nostalgia was further intensified with covers of Guided by Voices' "A Salty Salute" and Pavement's "Shoot the Singer". But The Cardiacs' own sugar-shocked originals boasted enough structural quirks and melodic surprises to suggest they could rely less on their heroes' songbooks and more on their own. - Eye Weekly (Toronto)

"The S.S. Cardiacs"

Jessie Stein is dropping out of university to pursue rock'n'roll full time. Her band, The S.S. Cardiacs, are recording an album that should be ready for public consumption around the end of May. Watch for it. Jessie handles vocals and guitar, accompanied by Andy Lloyd on bass, and Dana Snell on drums. Together, they delve into important issues with Sarah Kolasky: hockey, jingles, and food.

Where are you originally from, and how did you meet each other? Jessie: I'm from Montreal, and I met Dana 'cuz she was playing in The Bicycles, and I met Andy 'cuz I kissed his roommate. They [Andy and Dana] met at a party. Dana: Andy was really drunk... Andy: I tried to pick up Dana. Jessie: Yeah, Andy tried to pick up Dana, and then she asked me about it. Dana: 'Cuz I was frightened. Jessie: [laughs] Clearly it was meant to be!

How would you describe the sound of your music? Dana: Sounds like a rock band. Jessie: Today, it sounded to me like we didn't know what we were doing, but it was happening anyway. Sounds like magic, a little bit.

Why do you think bad relationships fuel so much music – indie pop or otherwise? Jessie: 'Cuz that's where our hearts are, I guess. If you're trying to be as honest as you can, or if you're an introspective person, then that's what's going to come out if that's what's happening in your life.

Do any of you have a secret passion for hockey? Dana: No. All I know is that at a certain time of the year people get really excited about it and I don't know why, and then I'm like, "Oh, it's the playoffs, I guess..." But it always kind of comes out of nowhere for me. Jessie: You have hockey moments? Dana: No, not really. Jessie: My roommates were watching it last night, and I was really bored. Andy: It's boring. Jessie:[to Sarah]: Print, "It's boring... Go Habs, go."

What's your favourite jingle? Dana: "Faaa-bric Land, Fabric Land!" Jessie: Good one! Dana: Isn't that the best? I love how they say it twice, and it's different. Jessie: It's brilliant! So complex... Dana: And they've had it for like, twenty years. They got it right the first time.

What do you think of V8 and Mott's Clamato? Dana: I really like them. Jessie: They're the grossest things of all time.

I heard this would spark controversy... Jessie: We're breaking up! I can't be in a band with you! Andy: I am indifferent to the issue. Dana: I like Mott's Clamato a lot. Andy: Actually I live off Mott's Clamato. It's my only intake of vegetables.

What about pulp or no pulp? Dana: Pulp. Jessie: Pulp. Andy: Pulp. Jessie: Yeah! We're back together. Dana: Saved by pulp. Jessie [to Sarah]: How do you feel about pulp?

I don't like pulp at all. Andy: You're out of the band, Sarah. Jessie: I was really considering asking you to be our lead triangle player.

Wavelength editor Wesley J Ramos thinks "Jessie is so sweet that he's got diabetes." Jessie: [giggles] That's really sweet.

BY sarah kolasky

"NXNE 2003 reviews"

Jessie Stein (Montreal)
Rivoli, June 5

There is only one way to describe singer-songwriter Jessie Stein … fucking adorable!

The diminutive nervous delivery only enhanced the quirkiness of her sugary, folk-pop ditties. Grinning from ear-to-ear and backed by a boy/girl rhythm section just as cute as her, Stein proves there is something in this great land of ours sweeter than genuine maple syrup.

- Jess Zalameda - Scene and Heard

"Draw the Bridge, here Comes Jessie"

By: Jamie O'Meara

Montreal suffered a diminutive great loss several months ago when up-and-budding folkstress Jessie Stein packed up her picks and lit out for Hogtown, ostensibly for school, but in truth, for the greater calling of rock. As is often the case, Stein never felt herself part of what she once termed the "moated" music scene here ("I don't think my hair was cool enough," she jokes).

"I love Montreal very much, and I love the fact that I'm from there, but if you're a rock kid, if that's your scene, it's a lot easier to have things to do if you're in Toronto," says Stein, not unapologetically. "It's a more cohesive community. Everybody knows everybody and sees everybody and it's a larger community. When I was in Montreal, I was more in the folky crowd, like Pigeon-Hole... Now I'm all about breaking out my Telecaster."

She has not wasted time. Stein already has an eight-song demo (recorded "at 1 in the morning at Lindy's house") of insightful, left-field folk-rock at the ready, twisting songs characterized by an observant, built-in witticism that can be like a hard pinch. She plans to record an album proper at the end of the summer, though in the meantime a scheduled showcase at NXNE will likely preface a tour out east.

"The idea is just to play out as much as I can right now," she says, pointing to her upcoming Montreal show at the Jupiter Room, May 10. "It'll be a half-and-half sort of deal. Some of the tunes will be solo acoustics, and some will be with more instrumentation and a band, but some of the tunes will be for sure more rock. I'm excited by that because I have a rock'n'roll heart." Stein's supporting cast onstage will include members of The Bicycles, Bodega and Spitfires & Mayflowers (Spitfires & Mayflowers will also play in their entirety Saturday night). For her relative youth, Stein is a fearless and exuberant interview, sourcing a deep knowledge on a wide array of bands and music while charming with expressions like "awesomeosity" and "aw, shucks." And though only 19 ("I'm younger than everyone I know!"), she still seems wise enough not to get ground up in the music machine she would like to be a free-moving part of. "I'm a really excited and happy person. I love my life, I love everything. I'm all, like, 'Yaaay!' and huggy and stuff, and I want to try and stay that way for as long as possible. I'm going to try to avoid being a jaded music type, so I can write my songs about heartbreak but still smile after I sing them." Awesomeosity, indeed. - Hour Weekly (Montreal)

"NXNE Review - Jessie Stein (The S.S. Cardiacs)"

BY: Jeff Cann

The ss Cardiacs
Rivoli June 5, 2003

Industry folk and indie kids filled up the Rivoli Thursday night, to check out Montreal's Jessie Stein. With anticipation in the air, Jessie's night unfortunately got off to a slow start - technical difficulties tend to do that. After 15 minutes of amp-tweaking and checking, the show was on - and what a show it was. Jessie Stein's unique vocals and indie pop sound touched on issues of love, life and asshole boyfriends. Her infectious smile grinned ear-to-ear the entire show - spreading out to the head-bopping and finger-tapping crowd. Bringing to mind the pop-ier side of Sloan, songs were delivered with a voice that can only be described as a trumpet trapped inside a flute. After getting over a few early jitters, the talented songwriter played an amazing set. - Spill Magazine


Forthcoming (Fall 2004) - Debut LP


Feeling a bit camera shy


Jessie Stein was lucky to grow up in Montreal to the height of 5 feet 4 inches. Before then, at smaller heights, she would write epics in the bathtub amidst bubbles and water-soluble crayons. When the writings on the wall, people catch on. Montreal weekly, The Hour described the musings as "twisting, characterized by an observant, built-in witticism that can be like a hard pinch." Fun times indeed for a waterlogged Stein. Splishity Splashity.

In 2003 our fair pruney friend hightailed to Toronto on a big train. Through various romantic mishaps, friends of friends Andy Lloyd and Dana Snell began the proverbial splash back, and so the S.S. Cardiacs were born. (You know, like, "sailing heartships through broken harbors out on the waves in the night?" - everyone's a Neil Young fan.)

The Cardiacs are nostalgic for guitars, they're hungry for irony and heavy into the magic of guessing at truth. The forthcoming album was produced by Jessie's older brother José Contreras (By Divine Right). It is a guitar rock party with heart and balls and a heavy dose of intelligent quirk.

The band has shared the stage with Controller.Controller, By Divine Right, Peter Elkas, Blinker the Star, The Meligrove Band, Jason Bajada, among others. In september they will be shooting a video with Broken Social Scene singer Kevin Drew.

"Unassuming and wholly charming, a new indie-rock outfit with rock-solid rhythmic support. Sugar-shocked songs boasting structural quirks and melodic surprises" - Eye Weekly