The British Columbians
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The British Columbians

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada | INDIE
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The British Columbians' 2011 Canadian Press Kit.
Download the PDF file with the link above.
If you have any questions or need help please email dave@ruralrecords.ca or call 604.760.2542. - Rebel Music Publicity


The Manvils / The British Columbians / The Capitals
The Venue, Vancouver, BC, October 15
By Joshua Kloke

The Venue stills feels like a tacky dance club. But with big-name acts filtering in, the new room seemed like a fitting place to showcase one of Vancouver's most promising up-and-coming live acts, the Manvils.

Fronted by the jovial and boisterous lead singer/guitarist Mikey Manville, the band kicked off the night by premiering their new video for "Turpentine," which features Hollywood actor John Savage, of The Deer Hunter fame. The video was a speedy take on Pulp Fiction, in which a desperate dude beats a man to death with an ashtray. All the while, the Manvils, clad in Sgt. Pepper's-esque uniforms kept up a snarling, uniquely Canadian beat.

Following the video, there was still a lot of live rock'n'roll to be had, including a forgettable set by the Capitals, who tried desperately to evoke a dusty, rolling sound. Thankfully, the British Columbians got things back on track and, in fact, stole the show. Snarling and groovy-heavy, their undaunted set erased any sins permeated by the Capitals. With dry ice penetrating the nostrils, the band chugged through a mature, Southern-tinged set. What became immediately apparent was not how much the British Columbians wanted this opening slot, but how much they deserved it.

Finally, the Manvils took the stage, putting forth chunky rhythms and a propulsive sound. The three-piece were louder than one might expect and treated the crowd to many a high-octane number from their self-titled sophomore effort. Debuting punk-ish numbers full of bravado, the Manvils soon plowed through "Turpentine," with Mikey Manville joking about about how well the video would do on MuchMusic. Funny, seeing as how a video like "Turpentine" is exactly the kind of shot in the arm that MuchMusic needs.
- Exclaim! Magazine - Oct.15/09


"This Vancouver four-piece proved that driving 5,000 miles across Canada (for NXNE) was worth it as they started the night with a bang at Toronto's legendary venue (El Mocambo).The British Columbians had the 8 p.m. slot with a sparse crowd in a dimmed candle-lit setting. They immediately brightened the atmosphere with crunching blues guitar harmonies that remained tight throughout the set. (They) rocked us so hard we peed our pants."
Ciara McCann - CHARTattack - Chart Attack


"This debut album by The British Columbians is so clear in its vision and spot-on in its execution that we wonder why we've never heard a peep about them until now. The four-piece mixes gritty blues-rock with sleazy classic rock and throws in some softer folk, too. The rock songs are built around tough, slinky guitar riffs and singer/guitarist Girard Knox's badass voice...a polished, promising debut." Carla Gillis - The Now (Toronto) - The Now - Toronto


Nov.25/08

Some groups form after coming together by traveling across the borders of states, countries, and oceans. Others, however, may derive from the same town or even the same neighborhood. All of this geographical effort holds relevancy to finding one thing: seamless collaboration. Whether the core of a group meets in person because they live next door to one another or they form some long-distance relationship online, the end result for success is often the same. The method in getting there and finding the means necessary to do so is not. In their namesake alone, The British Columbians exhibit a sense of pride for where the band formed, despite some members having origins elsewhere. Girard Knox - the group’s lead guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter - is not based out of British Columbia at all; he moved there in the late ’90s in pursuit of his musical ambitions. Drummer David Moran, however, has lived in British Columbia for all of his life, growing familiar with the province’s music scene and the life that circulates within it. When Knox moved up north, it was Moran who made the transition seamless. Knox had the talent and means necessary to steer a group toward success, but he was in need of a vital collaborator who demonstrated a similar degree of talent, motivation, and a more prosperous knowledge of the area’s musical roots of the past and present.

Whether you choose to look at examples of the past like the Smashing Pumpkins or the future like Digitalism, it is a tough task to count how many groups have formed from its members meeting at a music store. This is exactly how The British Columbians came together, although it arose out of actual employment rather than a per-chance meeting. Specifically, Knox and Moran happened to be working at the same music store in Surrey, a city in the province of British Columbia. The expected happened and their musical interests overlapped to form a mutually ambitious demeanor of sorts, as their hopes to ignite a new project were abundant in their early conversations. The duo’s shared vision eventually evolved into The British Columbians after several songs were written and the general stylistic demeanor was decided. Bassist Chris Ellis joined shortly thereafter and the trio put their songs to life, apparently in a run-down shack by the “switching yard in Port Moody, BC”. Ellis joined based on his previous connections with Knox, who had played in a variety of local bands when he just arrived onto the scene in the earlier part of the decade. In addition to playing with Cremona, he worked in several sessions with Subconscious Satellite, the group in which he first played with Ellis.

So there you have it; a local and a traveler formed a band out of a mutual love for music, with their geographical origins holding no bearings whatsoever on the definition of their sound. Their separable derivations actually prove quite useful in their sound, which translates to an eclectically enjoyable fusion of blues and folk. It would be very easy to call the style quite Americanized for a band based out of Canada, but such a classification would be for those who have underestimated the blues scene in Canada. With an abundance of labels, societies, and artists who specialize in the genre, artists like the Powder Blues Band and Colin James have proved that it is not difficult to attain a massive Canadian fan base out of blues music if the songwriting and performances are of a high standard. While blues is a definitive and arguably the most predominant influence within The British Columbians’ sound, it certainly shows a capability to capitalize on modernistic methods of production and songwriting. Like other contemporary blues-rock acts in the vein of The Black Keys and The White Stripes, The British Columbians incorporate elements of indie-rock in their ardently invigorating sound. I have heard some blues fans mocking such acts by declaring that they “dumb down” blues music, but I have to strongly disagree. Blues has always been one of the most enjoyable forms of expression in music, and these acts simply remain synonymous with that belief while incorporating new and innovative techniques that consequently enforces a higher level of accessibility among younger listeners, perhaps encouraging them to become engaged with innovators like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, and B.B. King in the process.

All influences aside, the aspect of The British Columbians’ self-titled debut that I came away most impressed with is how the trio are able to craft nine songs that sound so meticulously different from one another despite remaining in a similar stylistic realm. You can listen to a song like “Gasoline Handshake”, a single-worthy effort that sees more of an emphasis on grainy garage-rock than blues, and get an impression of The British Columbians as a group that generates an intensely intricate but radio-friendly sound, but if you listen to the preceding “In the Leaves” first, then a more acoustical, folk-led vibe is bound to be more prevalent. You could also look at something different like the stereotypically enjoyable bluesy sing-a-long “Hail to the Rising Sun” or the subsequent “By and By”, a track which utilizes a slide guitar and organ excellently to complement some very southern imagery with its incorporation of folk, blues, and even country. Like “Gasoline Handshake”, “Ain’t No Direction” is another song that shines with an accessible demeanor and strongly expressive chorus, supplemented very nicely by some brass (courtesy of Miguelito Valdez) and congas (courtesy of Maurice Earle).

All of these songs are headed by Knox’s utterly sensational vocals, a clear-cut talent that can shift from an effectively gentle whisper to a spine-tingling howl in a heartbeat. Shades of Robert Plant, Chris Robinson, and Kristian Mattson are all present depending on the specific moment, but Knox’s voice is undoubtedly his own and he makes it shine even more through his impressive songwriting.. The only track in which his vocals do not appear on is the instrumental “The Rolling Tide”, a mid-album interlude of sorts that sees a thickly implemented bass line continuously support some excellent brass and guitar solos that resonate simultaneously for over five minutes. The brass squeals while the guitar and bass remain suave and seductive, a contrast that proves to supplement the song in excellent from. It is just one of nine indications of this excellent debut album of both Knox’s ability as a songwriter and the group’s overall talent. Simply put, this is a highly impressive debut chock full of tightly knit gems of blues-rock and folk. For fans of talented groups in the vein of The Black Keys and any others that successful choose to modernize blues-rock in a way that is neither shameless nor desperate, The British Columbians is a vital purchase.

Reviewed by Mike Mineo
@ obscuresound.com
- Obscure Sound


Dec.01/08

The name says it all where the band comes from but this group does not have many Canadian signature sounds on their self-titled debut with their southern rock style and heavy bluesy guitar riffs. The British Columbians drive through nine musically substantial numbers with an over four minute track average the trio packs a wallop into every song without ever overdoing it or wearing out their welcome. Girard Knox's voice has a slight distorted draw to it that carries each tune with a gritty howl while the band completely supports each track with thick bass lines and beating drums. This sonic experience is most evident as the dirty rocker "Gasoline Handshake" rolls right into the almost six minute instrumental rocker "The Rolling Tide" that is led by a blazing trumpet. The group also has no problem putting out a catchy sing-a-long mid tempo stomper in "Hail To The Rising Sun", which completely pulls the listener in and makes them feel like they are in the front row of a show or the pleasant soft ballad closer "Going Out On You", which points out that they are more than a one trick show. The record was mixed and finalized by Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Destroyer), which seems to have paid off because the record has a rich and vibrant sound that pops at you out of the speakers. The British Columbians may not necessarily offer anything brand new to this genre but their solid style can easily hold their own with the best and easily makes their self-titled debut worth checking out!

Reviewed by Reece Michael
- The Fire Note


12/05/2008

Forget any notions of lofty peaks and clear Canadian skies. These British Columbians mostly troll a darker underbelly that’s more akin to the swampy environs of the Mississippi Delta or points likely well within the devil’s tawdry reach. So while they come by their namesake through actual residency, their musical references couldn’t be any more disparate. Taking their cue from the stir-fried boogie and low, lonesome ruminations of the bayou country, they reference innumerable forebears, from the swagger and wail of Kings of Leon (Gasoline Handshake”) and Led Zeppelin (“Hail to the Rising Sun”), to the impassioned blues moan of John Lee Hooker and other down-home denizens (“Ain’t No Direction”). Happily for those alienated by plodding, monolithic stomps and other dervish-like frenzy, relief arrives via the album’s final two entries, “By and By” and “Going Out On You, rustic rambles that find more in common with the mellower Faces under the stewardship of Ronnies Wood and Lane. A promising and imposing debut, this eponymous effort reflects a band seemingly in search of a permanent musical habitat. (Rural Records)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

- ESD Music


Nov.13/08

the british columbians out of vancouver have a new album packed with canadian flavor that in some instances (like on "in the leaves") make me feel like i'm listening to kansas while johnny cash sings, except if johnny cash were into canadian campfires rather than rings of fire and kansas were flourishing in 2008. but don't let that fool you. listen to "hoodoo" and you'll begin to wonder if your ex-hippie dad influenced them to go searching for CCR or jimi hendrix to pull musical ideas from. the point is, their sound is all over the place, and that might be a nice thing for those of us who have multiple musical personalities. this band is the zyprexa for such a disease...

mog.com - MOG.com


Dec.4/08

The story of The British Columbians began in the basement of an old shack in Port Moody, B.C. in the summer of 2006.

Despite being from Canada, their first, self-titled album possesses a very distinct, Deep South rock and country sound peppered with some blues influence, impressive songwriting, and some outstanding vocals.

The band’s CD appears to perhaps either bring back country music or just show off their own twist on this particular genre.

Check out the acoustic, folk-tinged “In the Leaves,” the album’s strongest track, then rolls into a different direction of the garage-rock typed “Gasoline Handshake.”

“By and By” is also an innovative song, featuring the use of the slide guitar and organ which only The British Columbians can pull off with ease.

The single-worthy “Hail to the Rising Sun” is full of bluesy overtones, giving listeners the instinct to sing along. “Bye Bye Marie” starts with a quick-paced banjo intro and goes into yet another country sound.

As the album progresses from beginning to end, listeners will be exposed to the full blend of the different genres The British Columbians are capable of performing and then some. This is only their first attempt at a CD, but if this is any indication of what is to come in the future, their music can only get that much better from here.

Reviewed by L. Anne Carrington


- L. Anne Carrington Notebook


December 2008

AUGUSTA, GA –The British Columbians, in their self-titled debut album, bring old-school, grassy-root blues into a rock-infused modern era accessible to a younger generation.

Girard Knox, guitarist and vocalist, along with drummer David Moran and bassist Chris Ellis, began life as The British Columbians in the basement of an old shack in Port Moody, B.C., in the summer of 2006. Their twist on contemporary blues rock incorporates indie-rock elements into their eagerly invigorating sound.

The British Columbians are comparable to other contemporary blues rockers such as The White Stripes, and The Black Keys.

Impressive songwriting, the predominant blues influence, and sensational vocals keep the songs, so insanely different at some points, stylistically similar.

From the acoustical, folk-like “In the Leaves” to the gritty garage rock of “Gasoline Handshake,” the British Columbians beg you to keep up.

Refreshing and innovative techniques in “By and By” as well as the use of an organ and slide guitar allow The British Columbians to capitalize on a new way to express Southern imagery.

The single-worthy “Hail to the Rising Sun” gives listeners the sing-a-long bluesy addiction they have been waiting for.

It’s not your granddaddy’s blues, or even your father’s, but it may be yours. The album is available for download on iTunes.

Reviewed by Aubrey Petkas

- Metro Spirit


The British Columbians merrily want to be everything at once. Between raucous and soothing material, the Canadian band is steeped in American rock and roll, electric blues and elegant Americana. The self-titled album tosses and turns like rough seas, like Jekyll and Hyde, like troubled sleep and fervent dreams.
In actuality The British Columbians comes off like a greatest hits package. The variety of material at work here seems like it was pulled from years of creativity. It ranges from banjo laced near lullabies to barn burning, pounding rock numbers that would startle The Black Keys or Jack White. Slower paced songs like ‘By and By’ or ‘Going Out on You’ sound beautifully ageless, like Dave Matthews trying to be The Band. ‘Hoodoo’ boasts fantastic fuzzed out guitar and vocals that sound like terse cries seeping from a dark alley. Girard Knox’s nasal wail is ominous, especially when the lyric Every time the sun goes down is repeated over and over. He’s a fitting kindred spirit to The Red Devil’s late singer Lester Butler. ‘Gasoline Handshake’ storms along as well, like Wolfmother aping old Soundgarden. But the album’s centerpiece is the semi epic and instrumental ‘The Rolling Tide’ whose throbbing rhythm is punctuated by horns, fractured guitar notes and the sheer length of its drawn out coda.
While the album switches mood - craftily and often, the result is something mild-mannered, ill-tempered, a brilliant collection of fire and warmth that stomps as much as it caresses the soul. The British Columbians have a lot to work with musically. Hopefully we’ll see more of it. Easily one of the best albums of 2008.

Brian Tucker
Bootleg Magazine
- Bootleg Magazine


Discography

The British Columbians (self-titled - 2008)
Singles: In The Leaves, Hoodoo

Made For Darker Things (2011)
Singles: A Fine Mess, Feel No Better

Photos

Bio

www.thebritishcolumbians.com
www.facebook.com/thebritishcolumbians
www.twitter.com/thebcs
www.youtube.com/thebritishcolumbians
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ARTIST BIOGRAPHY

Vancouver area-based quartet The British Columbians have spent the last number of years firmly entrenching themselves in the Canadian music scene, and in a relatively short time, have garnered critical praise from the Canadian music industry and media, along with an impressive list of accomplishments.

The band’s eclectic blend of rock, blues, folk and world music has been described as “old-school blues influenced, stompy rock & roll”, “psychedelic slow burn” and even “dark & wooden folk music”. It just depends on the track you’re listening to or the venue the band is performing at on any given night.

Over the past 4 years and 2 independent album releases, The British Columbians have been building an underground cult-like following, and have shared the stage with the likes of Broken Social Scene, Our Lady Peace, K-OS, Plants & Animals, Band of Skulls, Arkells, Grady and The Sheepdogs, to name just a few. 

The band’s 2011 album “Made For Darker Things” was nominated for Best Rock Recording at the 2012 Western Canadian Music Awards and the singles “Feel No Better” and “A Fine Mess” broke the Top 20 Charts at multiple AAA, college and satellite radio stations across Canada. In the spring of 2012, the band was featured on “Live@TheVerge” - a XM/Sirius Satellite radio channel - where the band performed 5 songs live in studio, that were then streamed out across North America.

Throughout 2012 The British Columbians have continued to tour throughout Canada and are in the process of booking their first European tour dates for the summer of 2013. The band is currently writing and recording new music for release in 2013.

INFLUENCES

The Band, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Gillian Welch, Fela Kuti

QUOTES

“This is Canadian rock & roll at its finest.” - Beatroute

"This young quartet brings a fresh take on music that straddles the border between old time blues, and stompy rock 'n' roll. Real, earthy and rugged as a B.C. mountain top." - CBC Radio 2

“There’s no mistaking the raw energy of Made For Darker Things. These soulful tracks are steeped in the spirit of the blues, which is only fitting given (singer) Knox’s lifelong love affair with the genre.” - Georgia Straight

"With its' beautifully sinister tone, this album floored me upon first-listen. Made For Darker Things is nothing short of impressive... required listening for anyone who wants to spend 38:45 entertaining his or her dark side." - !earshot

"The debut album by The British Columbians is so clear in its vision and spot-on in its execution that we wonder why we've never heard a peep about them until now. The four-piece mixes gritty blues-rock with sleazy classic rock and throws in some softer folk, too. The rock songs are built around tough, slinky guitar riffs and singer/guitarist Girard Knox's badass voice...a polished, promising debut." - NOW Magazine