The Attics
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The Attics


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"NXNE Festival Review"

Band: The Attics
Hometown: Winnipeg, MB
Venue: The Drake
Date: June 10, 2005
Reporter: Brian Wong
Background/Composition Winnipeg pop-rock four-piece will release their debut disc produced by Joao Carvalho (Pilate, Sarah Slean).

Grade: 81

Comment:Clean-cut boys look like Maroon 5, but make boisterous and catchy pop like Sloan imitating U2 (when U2 was cool).

Achievement of Rock 'n' Roll Expectations
80-100: Exceeds skill and knowledge expectations, i.e. rocked us so hard we peed our pants.
70-79: Achieves required skills and knowledge. Meets rock 'n' roll standard.
60-69: Demonstrates some skills. Approaches rock 'n' roll standard.
50-59: Demonstrates some required skills and knowledge in a limited way.
00-50: Has not demonstrated required skills or knowledge.

Learning Skills: E=Excellent, G=Good, S=Satisfactory, N=Sad Really

Oral And Visual Communication
Eye Contact: E Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Pronounciation: E Clear presentation skills. The band brought along an overhead projector that displayed their band name, website and song titles with accompanying illustrations.
Stage Presence: E
Stage Banter: G
Image: E
Appearance: E
Use Of Stage: G

Musical Analysis
Level Of Participation: E Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Problem Solving: G Both guitarists share lead vocal duties on these infectious tunes that touch on positivity and world events. "The Ocean" nicely combines the driving rhythms of early U2 and the harmonies of Sloan. In other hands, lyrics such as "You can change your world if you change the world in you" can come off pompous and overwrought, yet The Attics surround these sentiments in light, Beatlesque pop.
Teamwork: E
Work Habits: E
Organization: E
Audience Participation: S
Sound: E
Composition: G
Songs: E

Other Skills And Areas Of Interest
Charisma: G Strengths/Weaknesses/Next Step:
Problem Solving: G Extra clean music and genuinely nice guys goes well with faded denim and blazers. Yes, they dress like Maroon 5, but sound better than them and don't want to get into your momma's panties. - Chart Attack

"NXNE Festival Review"

The Drake seemed like a safe bet for a good band, so I chose their next slated performer, The Attics. The Winnipeg band included Aaron Klassen (drums), Chris Rademaker (bass), Rob Mitchell (guitarist/vocals), Rene Campbell (guitarist/vocals). They played pensive lyrics to some memorable rhythms. Their songs were sincere, especially one about the poor water conditions in Winnipeg. An easy comparison could be made to fellow Canadian rockers Sloan, but it’s also easy to see that the band were influenced by the Beatles’ catchy yet socially relevant songs, with lyrics like “You can change your world if you change your world in you.” It was pretentious but it worked. The foursome had a cohesive sound. This wasn’t the typical rock band scenario where one musician stood out while the others served as backup. They were talented as a team.

The young group of guys had a good appearance. Two donned cool blazers, another a grey dress shirt -- and the drummer, a sleeveless black shirt. It looked professional. The band possessed a definite passion for their music and Mitchell’s scissor-kicks were entertaining. Despite efforts the crowd wasn’t always feeling the formula like they should’ve. People stood around the perimeter of the room and behind the bar, nodding their heads to the beat. I just wanted the band to tell them to get their asses up to the stage. For a band absorbed in their music, the sound should’ve translated better to the crowd. - Entertainment Online

"NXNE Festival Review"

When you come from a town like Winnipeg and don't sing about hockey, beer, or farming you're taking a bit of a risk. Sing songs about freedom fighters and political practices in Eastern Europe and South America, and you're pretty much asking for an ass kicking. Lead singer and head Attic Rob Mitchell doesn't flinch in the face of danger, however, and would more than likely take a few cheap shots as long as the message gets across.

"We're a lot more palatable outside of Winnipeg," Mitchell offers when we get talking about the local scene. "There's this weird inferiority complex phobia in Winnipeg that I guess is just part of being from a small city. We sing songs about what's going on in the world and people call us a socialist band. We're not socialists; we're just interested in change."

While they'd rather sing about famed Czech liberator Vaclav Havel than about getting laid on a Saturday night, The Attics avoid the preachy, "holier than thou" dogma by taking a more subtle route. So when you hear a song like 68-an ode to "Prague Spring" that saw the Soviet occupation in that year- it still sounds like a good rock tune; not like a newscast set to music. That it's also performed in 6/8 time just adds to the uniqueness and appeal of The Attics. As Rob Mitchell would say, "we just want to be more direct in an interesting way as we continue the fight against apathy." Brent Raynor

The Attics take over The Drake Hotel (1150 Queen West), Friday (June 10) at 9pm. - Now Toronto

"Internet Interview"

"THE ATTICS RULE LATVIA" by Chris Yackoboski

Most Winnipeg independent bands, upon releasing their first album, take the tried and true approach to climbing the ladder of success. Get lots of word-of-mouth attention, tour out west, go east at least as far as Toronto. Not The Attics. Their first big tour following the release of their new CD, Once A World, will see them hit the ground running in — wait for it — the Ukraine.

"We thought, let's go to the places where people are under-entertained," says singer/guitarist Rob Mitchell.

To that end, the band will also play shows in Russia, Latvia, Estonia and Poland next month. "We're all interested in eastern Europe, the politics and stuff," explains Mitchell.

"We wanted to travel there as tourists anyways, so why not try to get in some shows? We wanted to not get stuck in the whole process of make a demo, get a fan base, get on radio, tour Canada, then maybe the States and maybe England, and then go farther into Europe."

Of course, The Attics haven't entirely sidestepped those dues-paying rituals. First single "Once A World" grabbed a stranglehold on the top spot in Winnipeg radio station KICK FM's chart three weeks in a row, and a fan base seems to have come along. The band have already toured Canada numerous times, dispensing their Coldplay-meets-Odds melodic rock in towns big and small.

But a strong interest in politics seems to have guided the group to make some other interesting career moves. For instance, the band's message board includes serious opinion pieces on capitalism, the potential social damages of a pornography-obsessed society, neo-Nazis and dictatorships. "We like to think of ourselves as a slightly more political band," says Mitchell.

"But we don't want to come across as heavy-handed, so we thought we'd put it on the forum, not on the home page of our site. You have to look for it. But we also have tour diaries on there, so we have the frivolity as well."

The band's ideas for videos are equally anti-fluff, judging by Mitchell's outline.

"We're going to try to get some footage in Europe for a video for [next single] ''68,' because the topic is the Soviet invasion of Prague. We also might be putting together a video for 'Once A World' with footage from Iraq. The song is supposed to be about turning a blind eye to problems that are right in front of you, so I thought that could represent the song really well."

One song on the disc that may surprise listeners is "Trudeau," a love letter to Quebec that offers an interesting perspective on the former prime minister. "That's my attempt at doing a Gordon Lightfoot," explains Mitchell.

"It doesn't have as many verses as 'Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald,' but that's OK. He was a great prime minister and a memorable Canadian. One of the things that drives me nuts is when bands try to seem American. I look to Sam Roberts — isn't rock supposed to be about sticking it to the man?" - Chart Attack

"Radio Review"

Our song Once A World is being added to campus and rock radio around Canada, and here's some comments about the tune from Scott James of 100.3 The Q - The Island's Rock in Victoria, British Columbia!

The Attics - Once A World

OK, Winterpeg better be proud of these guys. If you don't think independent music has what it takes to cut it, then check this out: I'm pretty sure you'll agree that it could stand alongside any of the so-called heavyweights any day of the week. This damn hypnotic and hooky single conjures up a whole lot of Coldplay images, but there's more of an edge up there in the Attic. I can't quite figure out who's doing those lead vocals, but he sure makes it sound easy - and of course, as we all know, it's anything but. I can't wait to hear more of the album - if you can't either, you can listen to some very high quality audio at the band's very well-designed website. Hey, did I mention the songwriting's great? The Attics claim they've been together for only two years, and if that's true, then this is all the more phenomenal.

100.3 The Q
The Island's Rock - The Q - Victoria

"Concert Review"

This concert review - by Michael Jack - appeared in the arts and entertainment magazine Cobblestones

The Attics

I had the opportunity to check these guys out at a recent "Industry Night" at Cowboys. Foregoing the stereotypical "rock banner" hanging behind the drummer, The Attics opted for slides on an overhead projector a la high school math class - a unique idea that allowed for rotation of the backdrop from song to song. From the first song, The Attics' most obvious strength lay in the vocal arena. When each band member who approaches a microphone sounds great, it usually follows that the result will be pleasing to the ears. As for the members who shared most of the lead vocals, their combined result evoked some fond memories of past vocal ensembles like the Finn brothers of Crowded House fame. The Attics displayed an ability to strike a great balance between complexity and accessibilty in the crafting of their melodies. It's pretty refreshing these days to listen to a band who can make you leave the gig humming their tunes, yet avoid the decline into syrupy pop. Having said that, their substance came across quite obviously from the stage, especially when they alluded to a deeper dimension with tunes like Your World In You. - Cobblestones Magazine

"Newspaper Review"

This review of Once A World appeared in the 10/14/05 issue of the Winnipeg Sun


STYLE: Britrock with a Canadian accent

SUBSTANCE: Being inspired by U.K. pop is one thing. Being able to distill the entire genre down to its essential elements - and then recombine them in distinctive new ways - takes some doing. The Attics do it very well on their full-length debut Once A World. The arena-sized hooks and soaring choruses wouldn't be out of place on an Oasis album. The passionate sincerity and flasetto vocals bring some Coldplay to the table. The songcraft, naturally, often harkens back to the Fabs. And the vibrant production of Juno-nominated Joao Carvalho polishes the whole affair to a bright sheen. It could all fit in nicely on Top of the Pops - though we doubt you'd find many Britrockers writing songs about Trudeau.

STANDOUTS: The bouncy Beatle-pop twang of Your World in You; the chiming doorbell guitars and midtempo surge of the title cut.


***1/2 out of ***** - Winnipeg Sun

"Campus Review"

Once A World album review as appeared in the 09/26/05 issue of "the Projector"

Rating: A

Having just become acquainted with some of the music by the Attics, I thought I would get my hands on their new album, Once A World. The album was released two weeks ago and combines the latest Brit-rock with a unique and solid approach to rhythm.

The Attics, which consists of drummer Aaron Klassen, bassist Chris Rademaker, and guitarists Rob Mitchell and Rene Campbell, exists in a highly developed envelope of talent. Their sound is seamless, professional, and passionate.

The lyrics that accompany are anything but superficial. Inspiration, injustice, and change all permeate their respective songs and find their places within the music. Songs about alcoholism and war are juxtaposed next to themes of faith and love. There is no surface scratching here: it is as honest as they come. Clearly this band has some things it wants to say and some things it wants people to understand. This band is trying to do more than make music: they are trying to make a connection.

The album was recorded at Private Ear Recordings in Winnipeg and was produced by Joao Carvalho whose credits include Sarah Slean and Pilate, among others, and it shows. This is no tin can thing, and it sure doesn't sound like their first kick at it either. This may be their debut album but nothing is lost. These guys are clearly seasoned professionals.

Overall, Once A World is a dedicated and thought-provoking album that is going to turn some heads.

- Brenda Boonstra - The Projektor

"Campus Review"

From the September 15, 2005 issue of "the Uniter" - University of Winnipeg Student Newspaper

Taking It To The Red Menace - The Attics

By Mike Lewis

I got to sit down and talk with Rob Mitchell, Aaron Klassen, and Chris Rademaker of The Attics in the midday sun after their set for O-week. As I consumed lunch and they consumed beer, we spoke about the life of the band. Formed in 2003, the band have since released a couple of demos and have toured Canada extensively, and yet this week will see the release of their first full-length album. While that may seem backwards to some, The Attics like to do things their own way.

Rather than play to the same crowd over and over again while trying to push a song to radio in their hometown, they took the music on the road. "We've been doing a lot of repeat shows, hitting the same places, getting to know people," says Rob. "Every time we go, we make more money, make more friends, there's more people there. Every tour has been getting better and better."

When asked about his view of touring East vs. West, he replies, "There's so many bands touring out [east] that it's hard to make money. Whereas you go out west, there are fewer bands touring, so there's better reception and it's easier to get paid to play original songs. We love touring out west. We're going back there in October to play at the Western Canadian Music Awards."

After years on the road, the band has finally set about recording a real album. The band worked with producer Joao Carvalho (Pilate, Hawksley Workman) to create their debut ("Once A World"). Rob describes the overall sound as "more British-rock influenced, more progressive. Most of our influences are mainly from Europe. I think we distance ourselves from the North American cock-rock scene."

In keeping their distance from the stock musical output found these days, The Attics try to tackle more relevant issues in their songs. "We try to not write frivolous lyrics," says Rob. "We kind of look at it as, not as a soapbox, but if we have the opportunity to sing about something we want it to have meaning and purpose. I think a lot of it has to do with social change, social justice, a bit of politics and history, things like that. I mean, there's obviously things about relationships, but mostly we focus on social issues."

Politics and history in music? "One of the songs that we're going to push to radio is a song called "'68." It's about the Soviets invading Prague in 1968 and the Czech people standing up and losing. Still, the nobility of standing up for yourself. Even a losing cause is worth fighting for," answers Rob.

Chris continues, "It's one of the last songs we wrote in the studio and it really pushes the envelope musically as well."

Aaron adds, "[We want to come across] intelligent in the lyrics and intelligent in the musicality."

The social issues that Rob speaks of can range anywhere from the scope of Russian politics to problems right here at home. "One of things we've been doing for the last couple of years is hosting a concert called 'Hear the Hungry.' All the proceeds go to Winnipeg Harvest. We do it around Christmas time, get a couple of bands together, and people can bring in donations. We've been focusing on things in Winnipeg, but next year, as we start to go more abroad, we'll start getting more involved internationally."

That's when Rob drops the exciting news. "We're booking a tour in eastern Europe right now. No bands tour there, but if there is a concert going on, people go crazy!" he exclaims. "They come out in literally the thousands! No advertising, people hear a noise and they go to it. It's a place where there's no record company influence. We're an independent band. Over there, we're neck and neck with every other band in the world because there's no record companies, no HMV. It's all black-market, sold off the stage. So we're going to go, play shows, and make friends."

Despite the plans to explore overseas, The Attics are still excited about Winnipeg. "I think the Winnipeg music scene is awesome," Rob says, a fact he attributes to the greater number of venues in this city than in other major cities. "We've become friends with a few bands like Quinzy, Tele, Inward Eye. In fact, when we play in Vancouver we're playing with Quinzy and The Morning After (laughs). It's funny, on the last few tours I've done a few interviews and each time I get asked about the Winnipeg music scene. I didn't realize it, but it is pretty well-known for having great tunes."

Ultimately, great tunes are what make checking out The Attics a worthwhile experience. Their release party for ("Once A World) takes place on Thursday, Sept. 15 at the West End Cultural Centre, and will feature Matt Epp and The Morning After. Having only heard The Attics for the first time last week, I can say that they won me over pretty quickly with the sincerity and passion in their music, and if you're looking for something good, you'll be won over too.

For more information on The Attics, please visit - The Uniter

"Uptown Magazine"

BACK IN THE USSR by Jen Zoratti

The dead of winter is an excellent time for a Winnipeg band to take its tunes across the pond. February is certainly a good time to hit Barcelona, Rome, Athens and all those other exotic cities that have better climates than ours.

The Attics decided to skip those Mediterranean hot spots and head off to Moscow.

Spending just over a month navigating their way around treacherous roads and questionable border officials, the band toured through Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Poland — places your average Canuck indie band wouldn't consider for a European tour. That's exactly why The Attics decided to spend their February trucking around the Baltic Sea.

"It was mostly because no one does it," singer/guitarist Rob Mitchell says over the phone from England. "I had a couple contacts out there, and through dozens of e-mails it came together."

Taking off to play clubs in Eastern Europe was a bit of a risk for the band, whose debut album Once a World came out last September. Though the band wasn't exactly expecting to find hardcore Attics fans in Liepaja, Latvia, music aficionados in the tour-starved Eastern European countries were certainly intrigued by the Winnipeg rockers.

"I had a feeling people might be more curious about us," Mitchell says. "If you go to London, like Winnipeg, there's concerts every night. But (in Eastern Europe), it's a bit more rare. They're not exactly over-entertained there, if you know what I mean."

Mitchell says a healthy interest in English-language music also made The Attics a draw in the Baltics.

"They're huge Britrock fans over there. We stayed in one girl's flat, and she had Oasis posters and Coldplay lyrics on her wall," he says. "They wanted to hear English music, and a lot of them speak English. But we did our best to learn ‘hellos' and ‘thank-yous.'"

British music is something the band is also interested in. The Attics have a '60s-throwback Britrock sound that makes them infectiously listenable and melodically powerful. The quartet, which includes Aaron Klassen (drums), Chris Rademaker (bass) and Rene Campbell (guitar), have tempered catchy pop-rock hooks with smart, politically charged lyrics, striking a perfect harmony between their influences and their own inventiveness.

Like the band's hometown, Eastern Europe was very receptive to the indie rockers' energetic live show — when they managed to get themselves onstage, that is.

"Were in a city called Ryazan in Russia, and we showed up for our show really late because Russian roads are really bad," Mitchell recalls. "As soon as we pulled up, all these people loaded our stuff for us. We set up, played, and all these people were crushed against the stage. And after, they all wanted to party with us, giving us vodka. It was the craziest two hours — set up, played, tore down, blitzed on vodka."

It was also an interesting night for four Canadians who found themselves in a Russian club on the night the Russian hockey team ousted the Canadian squad from the Winter Olympics being held a few countries over in Italy.

"They were pretty proud of that," Mitchell laughs. "They kept shouting a phrase which basically translates to ‘Sport is fucking shit but vodka is forever.'"

In addition to trading in Canadian beer for Russian vodka, The Attics also traded the ‘comforts,' such as they are, of North American touring for life on the road in Eastern Europe. Even though the Trans-Canada in the middle of winter isn't always the friendliest of terrains, Mitchell says it's nothing like the roads in the backlands of Russia.

"The thing that made touring a lot harder than I thought it would be was the roads. It's so much more populated than Canada, so there's all these little towns you have to slow down and stop for. We made it to every gig, but it was a miracle," Mitchell says. "Seriously, it was like driving on the moon."

If it wasn't sketchy roads screwing with the group's schedule, it was colourful border officials.

"We ended up having to sing a song for the Ukrainian border guards to pass," Mitchell laughs. "It was really strange, and no disrespect, of course, but all the guards had on different-coloured uniforms and were all half-cut on vodka. One said, ‘You're in a band? Then sing a song.'" So we sang Hard Road by Sam Roberts. We thought it was fitting."

It's worldly experiences like these that shape how The Attics write songs. Mitchell has seen a good part of Western Europe, and he spent a year living in Dublin and did some travelling in South America. Russia was always on his list of places to see.

"Russia was a place we wanted to go as tourists, so we thought we might as well play some shows," he says. "Yeah, we won't make much money, but part of being a band is getting to see all these amazing places."

The Attics will finally see a familiar place when they play a homecoming show on Mar. 11 at the King's Head Pub before heading out West for a few gigs. Then it's off to work on a new album, one that will no doubt reflect their trek through Eastern Europe.

"I can almost guarantee it will affect us," Mitchell says. "You are what you eat, so to speak."

For now, Mitchell and his bandmates are looking forward to the comforts of Canadian touring.

"We missed good roads and Tim Hortons," Mitchell says. "I mean, we loved the experience part, but there were times where'd you be sitting there thinking, ‘Man, I'd love to be going 110 down a double-lane highway in a good vehicle with a large double-double." - Jen Zoratti


"Once A World" - debut LP (9/15/05)
"the Attics" 6 song EP Ltd edition (2005)
"Hear The Hungry 2" 3 song EP (2004)


Feeling a bit camera shy


In the Christmas season of 2003, a drummer named Aaron Klassen, a bassist called Chris Rademaker, and guitarists Rob Mitchell and Rene Campbell got together and decided to take the momentum from their previous bands to form a new Winnipeg super-group: 'the Attics' Ignoring the musical landscape of the times, the band rose above the cock rock and decided to make music for the heart, the mind and the raised fist.

Fusing musical inspiration from Canada, Britain, Ireland and beyond with the worldly experience of traveling across the Americas and Europe; the band took what they had seen and heard and wanted to make music with something to say. There are always great melodies on the radio, but how many great lyrics are there? How many songs give you something to think about; something you can use? Enter 'the Attics'.

Always thirsting for new experience and adventure, the band has been a constant staple on the touring circuit. The four songwriters in the group channeled their touring and traveling experience to write and hone songs which became their debut album: Once A World; a genius manifestation of their virtuosity.

Recorded in Winnipeg at Private Ear Recordings, the album was produced by Joao Carvalho whose credits include Pilate, Hawksley Workman, Hayden, Sarah Slean and many other great Canadian artists. Following a great showcase at NXNE and a September 2005 release of "Once A World" the band will continue touring across Canada and the United States with further world domination to follow.