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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Garage Rock


This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Switches @ The Palomino Smokehouse

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Switches @ local 522

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Switches @ Denizen Hall

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada



October 31, 2014

From Edmonton, Alberta; we bring you a premiere listen to Switches upcoming album, I Just Wanna before it’s release date on November 4. Tara McMahon and Tamar Diner founded the group, enlisting talents like keyboardist Stefan Opryshko, and bassists Angela Mason, Caity Fisher, with Marlaena Moore currently handling the bass duties. Operating on a minimalist mode of making an album about everything Switches want out of life—or at least everything and anything they want to do on an idyllic afternoon.

“15 Beers” is the idle sound of summers where every day is a hops, barley, and wheat holiday with best friends, while “Stole All My Stuff” is an aggressive ode and angry later to selfish, thieving, and filching perpetrators. Stefan’s organ peppers ballads like “Ma Cherie” that growls melodic modern romanticism, before Tara and Tamar unleash their title of wants and demands that blazes through the fast living speedway on, “I Just Wanna”. Keeping their code of values and pacts firmly in place, Switches raise a can of cold lager on “Best Friends” with posi lyrical thumbs up on the chorus that goes, “best friends, they rule, best friends, so cool.” Fast times, fast living, and more factors in on, “Fast Car”, where the band takes you from the open road of the drag strip to the city grid of lights, busy streets, and bustling sidewalks. “Super Eight” is about a date with an extra-terrestrial alien lover with “brown hair,” before “Ppp’s” pays an affectionate tribute to a beloved pet dog that past away whose memory is toasted with the utmost respect. As Switches keep the action switched on, “Push Pull” throws out the instructional manual and courtesy signs for a visceral final punch to leave your head buzzing. After the following stream of I Just Wanna, check out our interview with Switches after the jump.

From playing in various other bands, how did everyone’s visions come together as Switches?

Tamar and Tara had been in bands with really experienced musicians who had the creative vision in the projects. Tara had just moved back from Victoria and we wanted to start our own thing to see what we could do ourselves and what kind of music would come out of it. Plus we like hanging out a lot. Stefan joined soon after and brought a 60’s feel with the organ and we rolled with that.

We’ve asked ourselves that a lot and don’t have a vision of what the band is supposed to be which leaves us a lot of room to create whatever music we want and like. Everyone is free to bring there own taste, vision and ideas. We don’t always agree but we always make it work and have hilarious discussions all the time, we are really into communicating! We come from all different genre backgrounds but we all want to make good times songs and have fun playing them.

Keeping that energy alive, honest and expressive from “Beers” to “Push Pull”; tell us about what it was like making the first Switches album, I Just Wanna.

The recording process was amazing. It wasn’t painful at all, I’ve heard all these nightmare stories of taking 50 takes of one song. We did it in two days and two takes probably on every song. We recorded it just the way we would play it on stage, tons of energy and not a lot of cut ins. I think we all had that vision and it worked out. We were a little worried about recording on analog tape but when we finally got to Rene Wilson’s super cramped basement storage room/recording studio we felt right at home. We had all the songs ready to go so we were able to burn through them like we were playing a live show. As a producer Rene really knew when to push us, give us suggestions, when to back off, when to go for Indian food or donairs and when to record fake car commercials for the radio. It was seriously so fun, we didn’t want to return to the real world when it was over. We really hope that comes across on the record.

Anecdotes and stories behind songs like, “Stole All My Stuff”, “Fast Car”, “Ppp’s”, etc? It feels like all of your songs are all connected and inspired by responses to observations, incidents, etc.

Ya? I’ve never really thought of that. I write the songs from feeling, lyrics always come after. If feels sad it ends up being sad. “15 Beers” — it was summer, and that song felt like summers full of drinking in alleys, river valley hangs, road trips, being a dumb ass. So that’s what it was.

“PPP’S” I wanted to write a real love song. PPP’S was a dog in my life that passed away, it felt like that kinda love song, and when I play it still feels that way. “Ma Cheri” is about Tara’s roommate [Sheri], we jam at their house and even though she has heard our songs 100,000 times she is excited every time we jam! It’s amazing! She is so awesome that we wrote a song for her.

What can you all report from the Edmonton, Alberta scenes?

It awesome! Its big enough that you can consistently have people at your shows, being sweaty and fun. But small enough that you know the people in the audience and are friends with the people in the other bands. Its not competitive everyone is supporting each other.
All of the scenes are connected and support each other, it may not be your jam but you still support the fact that people are making music and art.

As a band, I can’t believe how supportive Edmonton is. The venues here like Wunderbar and Empress that go above and beyond to help local bands out consistently blows me away. More then than that the venues communicate and support each other and the bands too. I mean for our last tour I had so many bands, promoters, venue owners help me out with cities and contacts; it’s inspiring to see and be part of.

Shout outs to other artists and bands that haven’t been getting the publicity they deserve?

To be honest two of the most amazing musicians I’ve seen in a long time have played bass in our band, Marleana Moore who is our new bass player and Caity Fisher and the Final Frontier who recorded the album with us. They deserve all the respect! Jom Comyn is incredible and deserves to be on the same level as any big Canadian act. Jessica Jalbert is releasing a new album right away and I hope it blows up cause she is amazeballz. OH and Rene Wilson cause he’s wild and super talented and is so fun to watch!

What’s next for Switches?

SEX PARTIES hopefully in a town near you.

Switches’ I Just Wanna will be available November 4 via Bandcamp. - Impose

By Lizzie Plaugic
November 12, 2014
This sleaze-punk foursome claim to have a fondness for denim tuxedos, and with track names like 15 Beers and Fast Car, they seem like exactly the group you’d want around for an anything-goes, shit-kicking night in Edmonton, Alberta. - CMJ

Stop and take note | The gritty rock of Switches

by LJ Kessels

Three women and one man that create a whole lot of noise; the Switches brings you garage rock mixed with raw wailing vocals, doo-wop and 60’s organ to be exact. It’s a combination that can only come from the capital of Alberta, Edmonton in Canada. A city that serves as a gateway to diamond mining and oil sands in the north and host a scale of festivals year-round. The music of the Switches reflects this in its gritty sound and fun harmonies.

Since 2013, the four piece has created catchy rock tunes filled with anger and heart, singing sweaty and sweetly about dear roommates and laser ray power adventures. There is an air of romanticism in their punk rock that invites you to sing along. They want their audience to have one of those long merry nights having your arm around your mate sweat coming down both your backs and you all shouting out lyrics. Creating a synthesis of vocals where the voices from the band members and their audience collide.

Their debut album I Just Wanna gets out on November 4th. The first track of the album 15 Beers has now been released in anticipation. Starting out with a classic punk rock bass riff, it’s followed by a 1960’s organ which gives an almost psychedelic twist to a garage band trope. As all the female members of the band take on the assignment of singing the lyrics in a punk harmony, it becomes a throw-back to riot grrrl bands from the greater Pacific North West area of the United States. Like a freight truck driving past, it causes the ground to shake. You have to stop and take notice.

There certainly is a particular correlation between the places bands hail from and the sound they produce. As is the case with Switches, they can go on all night in the festival city, while the workers take the long way north to the winter road looking for oil in Fort McMurray or diamonds in the Northern Territories. There is a sense of dirt under the fingernails and public intoxication, but in a joyous, happy fashion.

Disclaimer: Switches is highly recommended for all whom like Ty Segall, La Luz and The Shangri-Las. Check them out below. - gold flake paint

By Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal October 8, 2014

EDMONTON - More than 50 acts will take over Edmonton during the Up + Downtown Music & Arts Festival, which kicks off Friday.

One of Canada’s cherished indie-rock acts, Constantines, headlines the Rocktober extravaganza, which also features upstarts (PUP, The Darcys, The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer), established U.S. punks (Less Than Jake, Big D & The Kids Table) and some of the city’s best acts (Tee Tahs, Mitchmatic, Slates, The Secretaries).

Only in its second year, UP+DT is already in expansion mode — from two days to three, from eight venues to nine, including the city’s newest spot, Denizen Hall, located in the Grand Hotel (10266 103rd St.).

The festival includes a free block party, featuring DJs (Joses Martin, FAIIITH, The Specialist and NVS), light installations and food trucks, just south of the Edmonton Journal building, on Saturday from 7 to 11 p.m. The location is Macdonald Drive between 101st and 102nd Ave.

Three-day passes are available for $95 plus service charges at yeglive.ca. Or fans can use the site to buy tickets for individual shows (except those at the Starlite Room — those tickets are available through Ticketfly.com).


Apart from the Constantines and Calgary rockers Port Juvee, here are UP+DT’s can’t-miss artists:

1. Homeshake

Hot on the heels of Edmonton expat Mac DeMarco comes his former guitarist Peter Sagar, better known as Homeshake. Another homeboy who moved to Montreal, he mixes jazz noodles, laid-back percussion, quivery vocals, creepy synths and yowling noises on his latest effort, In the Shower.

When: Friday at 12:15 a.m., The ARTery.

2. Shooting Guns

Saskatoon’s most psychedelic export since … your guess is as good as mine. These doom-rockers made this year’s Polaris Music Prize long list and recently scored the soundtrack to WolfCop, a made-in-Saskatchewan film about a cop who turns into a werewolf.

When: Friday at 9:45 p.m.

Where: Starlite Room, 10030 102nd St.

3. Faunts

While most Edmonton musicians tend to gig too much around town, these dream-rockers don’t play enough. After tending to other projects — including Duplekita and Artisan Loyalist — Faunts are re-emerging with their first new tunes since 2012’s EP, Left Here Alone.

When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Where: McDougall Church, 10025 101st St.

4. Language Arts

Quirky, joyful and layered indie-rock crafted by Kristen Cudmore, her looping pedals and her Arts mates. The Toronto-based musicians released their debut, Wonderkind, earlier this year.

When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Where: Brixx, in the basement of 10030 102nd St., and CKUA Radio, 9804 Jasper Ave., respectively.

5. Switches

One of Edmonton’s sassiest — and catchiest — group of soulful punks, fronted by Tara McMahon. At a time when most female pop stars are still encouraged to sound like cute dolls, she’s not afraid to out-rasp the likes of Bry Webb, Courtney Love and Tom Waits.

When: Sunday at 11:15 p.m.

Where: Denizen Hall, 10266 103rd St. - Edmonton Journal

Posted on October 2, 2014 by marklosingtoday

Fancy a slice of stereophonic shakedown then the switches might just scratch that itch – they hail from Alberta, Edmonton if you’re really wanting to split hairs, three girls one lad, they’ve an album incoming titled ‘I just wanna’ scheduled for November record store counter action from which ’15 beers’ is being leaked as a teaser single. In truth one of the niftiest slabs of garage groove we’ve heard in a fair while – a whole heap of ripping rock-a-hula all sprayed in a 60’s vintage which rather than growl purrs with the kind of ear candy bare arsed pop prowess that has you falling in love with records all over again, add in to the formula Hammond drenched struts, swaggers and swoons aplenty and the kind of smoking cool lip sneering aloofness that just makes you sigh – reference wise should you need them imagine a Suzi Q hosted studio party attended by Shangri-La’s, the Sirens and the Shaggs types. Nuff said. - Mark Losing Today

By Sandra Sperounes
November 3, 2014

Album: I Just Wanna
Artist: Switches
Four stars out of five

If you’re going to cover an artist’s career-defining hit, you might want to take a few lessons from Edmonton’s Switches. Their version of Tracy Chapman’s wistful acoustic ditty, Fast Car, is one of the best covers of ANY song EVER — because the Edmonton garage-punks render it almost unrecognizable. “I had a feeling I could be someone,” Tara McMahon snarls triumphantly as a gritty guitar and an NHL-style organ tussle in the back seat. Even better, their rendition doesn’t stick out like a Mustang in a fleet of jalopies on the foursome’s new album, I Just Wanna, due Nov. 4. (Look for it on Bandcamp.) Their Fast Car sounds like just another one of the gang — you might need a few spins before you even realize it’s a cover — fitting in with tunes about beers, babes and bad-assery. “I just wanna shake it up / My way,” McMahon warns on the title track, a fast ’n’ ferocious number. “I just want her now,” she howls on Ma Cherie, a ’50s-style ballad punctuated with disheveled back-up vocals. “I don’t need you by my side / But I still want you by my side,” she weighs her options on Stole All My Stuff. There’s no doubt about it: McMahon and her pals — Marlaena Moore, Tamar Dinner and Stefan Opryshko — will steal your heart. Switches kick off a 11-date western tour on Wednesday, Nov. 5 at Wunderbar, 8120 101st St. The Sorels and Book of Caverns will open. Tickets are $10 at the door.

Catch Switches in these fine cities:

Nov. 6 – Saskatoon, SK @ Vangelis Tavern
Nov. 7 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Windsor Hotel
Nov. 8 – Regina, SK @ German Hall
Nov. 9 – Lethbridge, AB @ Electric Eye Manor
Nov. 10 – Calgary, AB @ Pizza Bob’s
Nov. 11- Vernon BC @ Gallery Vertigo Suite
Nov. 12 – Kelowna, BC @ Fernando’s Pub
Nov. 13 – Victoria, BC @ Logan’s Pub
Nov. 14 -Vancouver, BC @ The Lido
Nov. 15 – Vancouver, BC-@ The Railway Club - Edmonton Journal

reviewed by Laura Stanley
November 13, 2014

In their dynamic garage rock/punk style Edmonton’s SWITCHES are an untamed gift. i just wanna is a record charged with enough energy to throw you from your seat and, with the leftover gusto, drag you off the floor and up performing your signature dancing/rocking out maneuvers. The band is fun, cheeky, and have packed their record with enough pop hooks and sing-a-long moments that will make you move fast to hit the replay button.

Sometimes delivered in a growl and other times in a playful scream, the vocals from lead singer Tara McMahon, often accompanied with drummer’s Tamar Diner, drives the record. Complete with Caity Fisher on bass and Stefan Opryshko on keys, the duo’s vocals makes the clever lyrics shine a little brighter. They ooze through a cigarette smoke and testosterone filled haze and perfectly give off that “fuck you” vibe that’s key to many of their songs.

In a breathless fury, SWITCHES capture different aspects of reckless youth (adulthood) with every passing song. The opener “15 beers” matches the feelings that come with the high points of a drunken evening where, “I don’t care about this anymore/I don’t care about anything at all” gives you a temporary feeling of happiness.

When a band covers Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” they are instantly in my good books. A guilty pleasure of mine, without the guilt, “Fast Car” is undoubtedly one of the best songs ever written. True to their band name, SWITCHES energizes the tune, redoing it in a punk style, including a fun riff from a church basement sounding organ, that makes it beyond recognition. In their abridge version, the emotions of the song have a new and more gritty spin for a fantastic and original take on a gem of a song.

Other standout hits include an endearing love song (“ma cherie”), a homage to “best friends” (because the rule and are so cool), and a fast paced title track that’s brimming with confidence.

While the topic of love and relationships is throughout i just wanna, the bittersweet love song that is “super eight” is the strongest. Though claiming, “my alien lover was a big mistake” (read into that what you will), the muse of the song, “she’s got brown hair,” is treated to a movie, a hotel room, and a Swiss Chalet dinner throughout the course of the song. Hilarious, tragic, and super fun, “super eight” is SWITCHES at their best.

In their Bandcamp profile, SWITCHES boldly claim they, “are your favorite band. Only with more sing along parts. And more parts in each song. And less guitar solos. And more women. And more lazer ray power.” By record’s end, it’s clear that “and more energy” would fit quite nicely in that list.

Top Tracks: “fast car” “super eight”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) - Grayowl Point

Sorry, Edmonton music fans, but you will not get a brand new Switches vinyl under the Christmas tree this year.
In a 2014 that has seen many things fall into place for the spirited garage-rock four-piece — including a grant, its first full length album and a successful Western Canadian tour — the vinyl version of its new effort I Just Wanna has been delayed due to unforeseen setbacks on the manufacturing end.
Nevertheless, Switches will go ahead with its would-be release show Saturday night at secret downtown venue Space, with a stacked lineup featuring openers Tee-Tahs and the Secretaries.
Switches will take vinyl pre-orders for $15 Saturday and host a separate listening party at a later date for everyone who orders a copy. I Just Wanna is already out on CD and cassette, thanks in part to a grant from the Edmonton Arts Council.
“I would encourage anybody who’s interested to come to the album release to buy it there, because it will be cheaper than if they buy it on Bandcamp. And then they get to come to a listening party, so they get to go to two parties,” says singer/guitarist Tara McMahon.
Parties and good times are a common thread on the infectious rock’n’roll record, which blends 1960s soul and ’70s punk under slick organ leads, three-part harmonies and McMahon’s gruff vocal leads.
Launching with party anthem 15 Beers, the album pays tribute to good pals on Best Friends and veers into outlandish territory on Super Eight — a song about falling in love with an alien.
I Just Wanna’s lyrical approach is refreshingly unpretentious and glows with the same fun-loving spirit that Switches oozes at live shows.
“I don’t know how much of the lyrics are super meaningful, in a lot of the songs, to be honest,” McMahon says, adding some songs do delve into more personal territory.
Even a cover of the somber Tracy Chapman classic Fast Car is upbeat, rendered nearly unrecognizable from the original.
The idea to turn the song upside down first came as a joke during a jam session.
“When I was a teenage acoustic folk girl, everyone was ‘Play Fast Car.’ It was this thing,” McMahon says. “I think we were just joking around. We were like, we should do it — but do it like this.”
McMahon co-founded Switches with drummer/singer Tamar Dinner and added Angela Mason on bass before Stefan Opryshko, who previously played in Montreal band Swamp Sex Robots, brought keys into the mix.
Caity Fisher stepped in on bass and backing vocals to record I Just Wanna, but has since left and been replaced by Marlaena Moore. A notable solo artist in her own right, Moore was surprised to get the call.
“Tara messaged me on Facebook and I was kind of confused as to why she would ask me. I was really flattered and kind of nervous,” she recalls.
“I was drunk in a movie theatre bathroom and I messaged her on Facebook being like, all right, sure, let’s do it.
“She sent me all the songs and I felt like I was a teenager in my bedroom, just rushing home after work and listening to songs and playing them in my room, and practising in front of a mirror. I was so, so excited. I’m still really excited.”
Chances to see the band will be few and far between for the next while as Opryshko is planning a three-month move to Colombia. Search “Switches I Just Wanna” on Facebook and message through the event page for the address. Tickets are $10 at the door. - The Edmonton Sun

"Anyone that saw this band heading into this year would surely bet they had a really good shot at having an incredible year – and they did indeed. Losing their bassist didn’t slow them down one iota. The quartet is an incredible live band, and they’ve assembled a full-length album full of fun and flirty indie-surf-pop" - Gigcity.ca

Alvvays – Alvvays
Amy Van Keeken – Live Right
BadBadNotGood – III
Brazilian Money – Brazilian Money
Bry Webb – Free Will
Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust
Clinton St. John – Minor Arkhana
Community Theatre – Northern Register
Double Tooth – Volume 1
Doug Hoyer – Blood Döner EP
Doug Paisley – Strong Feelings
Eamon McGrath – Exile
Electric Youth – Innerworld
Elephant Stone – The Three Poisons
Fiver – Lost The Plot
Gold & Marrow – Forever
Homeshake – In The Shower
J.Eygenraam – Brutal Love
Jennifer Castle – Pink City
Jom Comyn – In The Dark on 99 (All the Time, All the Time)
Jon McKiel – Jon McKiel
Julien Mineau – Fontarabie
Kyp Harness – Armageddon Blues
Legato Vipers – Legato Vipers
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
Michael Feuerstack – Singer Songer
Monomyth – Saturnalia Regalia
Nancy Pants – Total Nancy Pants
Napalmpom – The Unconditional Love of Napalmpom
Owen Pallett – In Conflict
Pink Mountaintops – Get Back
Reuben & the Dark – Funeral Sky
Rich Aucoin – Ephemeral
Ryan Boldt – Broadside Ballads
Ryan Hemsworth – Alone For the First Time
Spring – Celebrations
Switches – i just wanna
Tanya Tagaq – Animism
Teetahs – Buzzkill
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
The Provincial Archive – It’s All Shaken Wonder
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Mended with Gold
The Wooden Sky – Let’s Be Ready
Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
TOPS – Picture You Staring
Valery Gore – Idols in the Dark Heart
Vogue Dots – Mauka
Weather Station – What Am I Going To Do With Everything I Know
Wet Secrets – Free Candy
Zeus – Classic Zeus - CKUA


Switches EP 2013

I Just Wanna- full length- 2014



A cohesive ball of energy and gritty punk infused garage rock, Switches sing out sweaty and sweetly about dear roommates and laser ray power adventures. Since  2013, the band hailing from Edmonton, Alberta has created rock that will have you shouting out to the harmonized hooks and dancing to the clamor of raw wailing vocals, doo wop and 60’s organ. The band’s 2013 EP  made top ten lists across the country, and brought their shouty, romantic punk rock to venues, festivals, parties and alleys across Western Canada. The foursome released their debut full length album “I just wanna” in fall 2014, coinciding with a successful western Canada tour. 

Switches started in 2012 by Tara McMahon (guitar and lead vocals) and Tamar Diner (drums and backup vocals), two women who had played in several bands before but were looking for a way to express their own unique songwriting vision. The band was solidified whenAngela Mason (bass 2012-2013) and Stefan Opryshko (keys) agreed to join the group. 2013 saw local shows, festivals, a tour and an EP release before Mason moved on to Portland, Oregon. The bass duties were temporarily filled by Caity Fisher (who is on the recordings for I Just Wanna) before Marlaena Moore stepped in to finalize the new lineup. 

With psychedelic sing-alongs perfect for late night drives down deserted highways, switches songs pay homage to the history of iconic punk rock anthems. Pulling the listener out of their chair to twist the night away before pushing beyond the garage rock sphere and blasting the speakers with shouting choruses. 

Switches should be played at full volume with full knowledge that it will be addictive.

Band Members