The Coast
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The Coast

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While the publication widely known to Haligonians as The Coast has been in circulation since 1993, the Toronto band of the same name will be bringing it to our streets for the first time this weekend. Formerly known as The July 26th Movement, the group recently switched identities following some uncertainty among the foursome. “Ben likes to say that, first and foremost, The July 26th Movement wouldn't fit on the drums. But our old name was a little too politically charged. That's not to say that we're not political guys, but our music isn't at all political,” he says. “Last year was also pretty rough for all of us. After we released the CD, it seemed that at some point or another throughout 2004, each of us really hit rock-bottom.”

While there have been drastic changes made to their personal lives and a renewed devotion to their music, the group’s atmospheric pop sound has remained the same. The band which notes influences including New Order and The Verve will play the Khyber with Sproll September 16.


-by Chris McCluskey - The Coast - Halifax, NS


THE COAST * * *

Independent

Toronto quartet The Coast open their eponymous second EP with strong, bittersweet shoegazer "All Farewells" and maintain the atmospheric ambience straight through to the Death Cab-aping closer "Harbour Lights." Ben Spurr's shaky vocals suggest an inherent vulnerability that is well suited to the heavy reverb and delay that the band fancies, and Jordan Melchiorre's rolling drums add a fullness that is only truly appreciated with the help of headphones. The spacey, Verve-like quality of their delicate tunes wouldn't sound out of place on the Lost in Translation soundtrack as an aural manifestation of Bill Murray's alienation. Similar song structures and an affection for echoes mostly work well but run the risk of making the ethereal songs play out like one overlong track. On the whole, a moody effort that satisfies even while it plays it a little too safe. ANDREA MILLER - Eye Weekly (Toronto)


This six-son EP is an impressive step for Toronto's the Coast. Following up on their 2004 debut EP 'Take a Walk Outside', this quartet prove they've got some skills in the studio. The guitar melodies have a distinctly British sound that soars as high as anything Coldplay can do, and Ben Spurr's vocals have a fragile quality with a hint of falsetto that marries itself nicely to the band's sound. Growing up listiening to bands like U2 or the Verve has proven to be an excellent spark, and the big, spacious guitar pop sound they deliver pays homage to that, but comes across as their own. Closing track "Harbour Lights" is a grand and beautiful way to leave the listener wanting more. The Coast are yet another example of the increasingly talented and seemingly unstoppable Canadian indie music scene.
-Rob Bolton - Exclaim! Magazine


Toronto band The Coast sound very influenced by post-punk eighties acts such as Joy Division, U2, and especially the Smiths. What sets them apart from other bands is the power and intensity they bring to their performance. The songs on this disc emit a real vibe to them – they’re a quietly psychedelic band, epic in scope and highly emotive (not emo). I’ve seen them live as well (under their old name, the July 26th Movement), and I happen to know that they bring their sound to even greater heights in that setting. As it stands, this 6-track e.p. is a successfully executed, moody mini-masterpiece. The songs aren’t bursting at the seams with hooks, but I’m not sure if that’s their goal; just throw it on and let yourself get swept away by The Coast.

~Vladimir Urnst

- torontoindie.com


This interview took place in the Pizza Pizza across from the Reverb. The place was full of bands eating before going on stage to compete for the final Indie Week competition.

State your name and age.
Ian; 24.

Last name?
Ian: Oh, Fosbery sorry.

Ben: Ben Spurr; I am 21.

Luke: Luke Melchiorre; 22.

Your band name, how did you come up with it?
Ian: It’s a Paul Simon song, that’s the long and the short of it. We’re huge Paul Simon fans.

Luke: We had another name that was bad for many reasons.

What was your alternative name?
Luke: The July 26th Movement.

Influences?
Ian: We usually like to say…

Don’t give a usual answer.
Ian: This is where we all meet after all our diversions. Back in the day we listened to: early U2, Verve, Paul Simon, New Order and Smiths.

Luke: Early U2 is a misnomer; we’re not listening to like Boy and October. Early U2 is not correct; we mean Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby, anything after War. October Fire up to Zooropa really.

Ian: Oh, Spiritualized too. Jordan our drummer, Luke’s older brother, is not to fond of Spiritualized.

Favourite place to tour?
Ian: Thus far the east coast.

Ben: Montreal is very fun.

Luke: We got the best response in Halifax. In terms of cities Montreal is very beautiful; I love Montreal.

Where would you like to go?
Luke: New York city and Paris and Rome.

Ian: Europe that would be cool. Japan, everyone seems to like Japan.

Uniformly speaking, Japan and Europe?
All: Yes.

Ben: We had an offer to go to Paraguay, Ecuador, we turned that down though. We had various complications. We had a suspicion it was through a religious radio station. We thought they were going to try to make us missionaries. I think we would have played in front of the faithful or something like that; or the faithless that we were trying to make faithful.

Luke: We haven’t had our discussion with the Vatican yet.

What are you currently reading and listening to?
Ian: Currently I’m reading a lot of engineering stuff because I’m in school. I’m still working on Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry and Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Listening to Wolf Parade, a bit of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and getting back to old Radiohead.

Kid A?
Ian: No, I recently discovered Pablo Honey and I found out, Luke told me, that they were heavily influenced by REM and you can hear it in this album.

Ben: I just finished reading The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon. I’ve been reading a lot of Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ryan Adams.

Ian: That’s Ryan with an R.

Ben: Yeah, not Bryan Adams, clearly.

Luke: I’m back at school and this summer I read Truman Capote, In Cold Blood. I just got Soulseek and I’ve been listening to an unhealthy amount of Smith bootlegs. I don’t know why and Ryan Adam.

What’s your message? What do you want people to take away after listening to your music?
Luke: I think it doesn’t really matter. I don’t like that question in many ways because, it’s like if you draw a picture or something you have an idea, and you want to be like Michelangelo. Well what if you draw a shit picture and you don’t have talent, it doesn’t matter that you’ve tried to be like Michelangelo. Your interpretation is just as important as everyone else’s. So, I think for me to say that when you listen to All Farewells in the second verse I want you to interpret this in the lyrics, I don’t know, I think that we don’t think in those terms; it’s kind of contrived. We write songs as they go and I think that there is a thread. I don’t think it’s for us to say really.

We are a band that if you’re interested in really getting into a record and really listening to lyrics and you want stuff that means things and cohesion to it – I think we offer that. We have a song called Careless, I’ve been asking my friends about it lately because I love it and at first they’re like I don’t really like it that much and then on the fifteenth listen they’ll be like “Oh God I can’t stop listening to it, I love it.” I think a lot of our songs are like that, I don’t know how to say this without sounding pretentious. I think that there’s a lot of stuff in there that if you are a person that likes to look into stuff it’s in the songs I think.

Ben: Hopefully people would like to identify what’s in the songs. Most of the time we are good with getting what’s on our minds and hopefully people will find some common ground. I think that’s why people would like us.

Luke: That’s also why I really like talking to people who like us.

Well no shit.
Luke: No, not in that kind of way, aren’t I great, but it’s actually like oh cool, maybe we said something in the song that you can identify with. Instead of being oh, thank you (you being down there, me being up here) for liking me, it’s oh cool you’re someone I would like to talk to if you’ve identified something that we’ve said in the songs.

Ian: At the same time, Luke said this before, with out songs it’s really cool that you can connect with people that you normally wouldn’t be able to. We might not have any common ground otherwise.

Luke: In addition to that, it’s that I’m not a very social person, I have a small tight knit group of friends, but it’s nice to feel that there are people beyond that group that I could connect with, like Ian said. Especially if that’s difficult for you in the real world if you can do it through song then that would be really nice. I think that’s the reason we’re in a band I guess, so yeah. - torontoindie.com


With a new name and a fresh outlook, local indie act looks to shore up support

By Tabassum Siddiqui

There's something about falling for a new band that's rather akin to a crush: there's that whole rush of discovery, then the descent into obsessiveness, and everything about them seems fresh and different and interesting.

But when you're an indie band in a roiling sea of 'em, how on earth do you distinguish yourself from the pack so that listeners take a fancy to your music?

Local quartet The Coast doesn't have the magic answer to that key question, but they plan to keep playing until they find it. Formerly called The July 26th Movement (you may have seen their gig posters up around campus over the last few years), the band formed six years ago from two pairs of best friends (and a set of brothers) while they were still in high school.

"We've been together since we were 15. We chose which university we were going to go to based on the band. My most important ideas and thoughts are put into the songs. We've just found a way of communicating through the music," singer/bassist Luke Melchoirre explains.

Melchoirre, fellow songwriter and vocalist/guitarist Ben Spurr, and guitarist Ian Fosbery (they're minus Luke's brother, drummer Jordan Melchoirre, tonight) are hanging out talking music at a Second Cup in the Annex, just around the corner from campus. They're charming, thoughtful lads, betraying their status as students as soon as they open their mouths-that unique blend of profound and profane marking nearly every sentence.

They've got that fascinating mix of personalities that can usually be found in any band, too-Melchoirre's the passionate, articulate one, trying to find the perfect phrase to express his point. Fosbery, on the other hand, is laid back right down to his posture, slouching casually against the wall and offering asides. Spurr's kind of a bridge between the two, offering up licorice all around and listening intently to his bandmates before adding his own thoughts.

The name change came about a few months ago because they were tired of people wondering what it was all about (the July 26th Movement was Fidel Castro's revolutionary group that stormed into Mexico City), so they changed it to The Coast after the Paul Simon song.

"The old name was a little too politically charged," Fosbery points out.

"We're actually taking a course in Latin American politics now, and now I think it's a worse name than I did before," Melchoirre groans.

"Now the first question people ask is, why did you change the name?" Spurr chimes in.

"At least now they're not going to ask, 'Are you Communists?'" Fosbery laughs.

Paul Simon may be one of their major common influences, but The Coast's melodic, atmospheric sound has more in common with the anthemic British pop of yesteryear (Melchoirre constantly references The Verve's 1997 album Urban Hymns), with its chiming guitars, Smiths-esque vocals, and bittersweet lyrics.

The band's sound hasn't changed all that much since releasing their debut Take A Walk Outside EP in 2004, Fosbery says, noting that the group has been working on re-recording some of the songs from that disc and also working on new ones for a forthcoming disc that they hope to release by next March.

"It's not like we've gone from what we did before to, like, disco-punk or something," he grins. "Just in terms of all those bands that are making it big right now, we're much less spontaneous."

Ah, yes. Making it big. Indie-goes-global. The Coast don't really feel part of that whole group-hug local scene thing, but that doesn't mean they're not encouraged by the success of their fellow Toronto/Canuck acts.

"I ascribe to it in the sense that independent artists are people who are making music for the sake of music," Melchoirre offers, his words tumbling out in a torrent as he warms to his subject. "We're putting ourselves out there-we are producing something as opposed to knocking something down. And that's one thing that I love about the Toronto scene right now. People are making stuff happen."

And while his band is still trying to find their way in the often-frustrating indie scene, they do share a common thread with those further up in the stratosphere-a finger on the pulse of youth.

"We're united by a kind of anxiety. People are fucked up. It's awesome to romanticize, but it's impossible to deny," Melchoirre declares. "That's partly why bands like Arcade Fire and Broken Social Scene have done so well-they're crystallized that sense of panic."

Well, if anyone has reason to be stressed out, you'd think it'd be these guys-all four juggle their all-encompassing dedication to rocking out with hitting the books. The Melchoirres and Spurr (whose byline often graces these pages as one of The Varsity's associate news editors) go to U of T, while Ian is in Engineering ("six years, but who's counting?") at Ryerson.

"I love U of T-it's an underrated school. I love the campus, I love the foliage. Beautiful women as well," Melchoirre enthuses.

"Yep. Everything but the work," Spurr adds, dryly.

But they manage, squeezing in rehearsals and recording between studying and day jobs. They're hoping to find the right label to work with once their EP is done and would love to do more touring (they just drove all the way out to the East Coast for a string of well-received dates, save for one dubious show in Bathurst, NB) in the future.

"It's a challenge, that's for fucking sure. We're only now figuring out how to get your music out there, like the Web, or always having CDs to sell to people at shows," Fosbery says. "Being in a band itself is a little narcissistic, so of course you want to be successful."

The Coast will have a chance to bring their music to new ears and perform alongside some major UK acts (Elbow, The Duke Spirit) when they play one of the biggest shows of their career this weekend at the big Bright Lights festival at the Distillery District put together by local Brit-influenced collective/magazine UKULA (founder Jordan Timm liked what he heard during a recent Coast gig at indie haunt The Boat and invited them to be part of the show).

And maybe that's what being indie is all about-taking it one show, one song, one new listener at a time.

"There's something great about the position we're in-there's a kind of wide-eyed desperation, but also a grandiose sort of bravado," Melchoirre muses.

"I like us embarrassingly a lot. I think I'm our biggest fan. You always have this idea in your head about what the perfect band would be. And we're working towards that."



The Coast play the Bright Lights Festival at the Distillery District (55 Mill St.) this Saturday (Nov. 5). Tickets ($25 for the full day) available at all the usual suspects or at the door (note: doors open at 3 pm).
- The Varsity


I thought I was done with shows for 2005, but a quiet night and an opportunity to see a friend and former bandmate play led me to Rancho Relaxo for one more bout of live music before the calendar expired. My involvement with Lake Holiday pretty much ended over a year ago, but singer/songwriter Brad Davis has been carrying on under the name in both band and solo formats. Last night it was just him with the acoustic guitar, playing old and new songs. I hadn't seen him play since the last time I was onstage with him, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how much he's improved as a live performer - more comfortable, confident and just plain sounding better than I recall. The songs sounded really good, too. He played a number of selections from his/our album, This Is How We Say Goodbye, which has been in process for, um, a couple years now. I've taken to calling it Chinese Democracy. But at the moment, it looks as though it'll be out in late Winter/early Spring of '06, so here's hoping. I'd really like to hear it. And tangentially, it was quite weird/neat to click over to My Old Kentucky Blog this week and see my own mug and a writeup on Lake Holiday.

The only other act I stayed to see was The Coast, whose name was familiar to me because they were on the bill for the Ukula Bright Lights festival back in November, though I didn't catch their set. After hearing them last night, I'm not surprised they were on that bill - their sound would have been a natural fit for that distinctly Brit-friendly lineup. The most obvious touchstone would be mid-era New Order (post-Movement, pre-Technique), and judging from their cover of "Face Up", they know it. What's impressive is that they manage to pay sonic homage without any of New Order's trademark sounds - almost no synths, just effected guitars, mostly non-Hooky bass and stripped down drums. Not even any Anglo affectations on the vocals, which were still Sumner-esque but a little raspier. But wholly organic. What they do cop is the upbeat, shimmering pop music that could get folks dancing without a single disco hi-hat. Overall, I found them fresh and impressive, and considering they managed to nearly pack a bar three days after Christmas, I'm not the only one. I was under the impression that an official release of some sort was forthcoming in the near future - I'd like to check that out. In the meantime, there's some audio on their MySpace page, and a handfull of photos from the show here. - chromewaves.net


After carefully listening to The Coast's self-titled sophomore EP, I've come to a conclusion: they were kidnapped sometime over the Christmas holidays and replaced with aliens bent on taking over the world via stadium-sized rock.

Unlikely? Perhaps. But the six songs here are miles beyond what the band was doing (or at least what was streaming on their website) back in the Fall; the band seems to have transformed from decent (but generic) emo into potential world-beaters. In particular, frontman Benjamin Spurr seems to have learned how to use his voice to his advantage, no longer sounding thin and reedy, but instead having the kind of tremulous voice that conveys enough emotion to be inhabited by the desires of millions of people.

It helps, of course, that the songs are big enough to match that kind of voice. Songs like "All Farewell" (available on The Coast's Myspace) and "Harbour Lights" have the kind of ringing riffs and emotional heft that helped make U2 famous, while songs like "The Lines Are Cut" and "Evening's Heights" are brisk enough to ensure that the band never sinks under the weight of too many ballads. It's all excellent stuff, and there's every reason to believe it'll be enough to help aliens...er, The Coast gain their goal of global domination.

One can only hope that their post-domination plans aren't too evil.

-Matthew Pollesel - I (heart) Music (www.iheartmusic.net)


Discography

The Coast EP (2006)
Take a Walk Outside EP (2004) (sold over 500 copies side stage alone)

If you'd like to hear some of the band's music just visit www.thecoastmusic.com.

Photos

Bio

"...unexpected synth oscillations, interweaving guitar jangle enhanced with anabolic distortion and stunningly layered vocals come at you like a ton of bricks..." Cam Lindsay, Exclaim! Magazine
"Canada's best kept secret" MTV Canada

“…upbeat, shimmering pop music that could get folks dancing without a single disco hi-hat.” – Frank Yang, Chromewaves.

Voted destined for success in 2008 by Eye Weekly's 2008 Critic's Poll.