The D'Urbervilles
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The D'Urbervilles

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"The D'Urbervilles - "We Are The Hunters" CD Review"

The D'Urbervilles
We Are The Hunters
By Chris Whibbs

Electric and nervy post-punk? Have we entered a time warp? If we have, well, fuck it, because when these young Guelph-via-Oshawa, ON natives get things perfectly aligned, these songs are some magical musical amphetamines. Though instrumental track “Knock Out the Fat� sets the mood, the proper introduction comes from the title track, which, at its peak, feels like a Memorex ad. Yes, when the shouts and calls, crashing drums and tight, layered guitars are going full steam ahead at the climax it’s akin to the immediacy of early Constantines. Though this tension and release has been heard before, these young musicians have an instinctive feel about how to make a maximum impact and then get the hell out. This can be spectacularly heard on the insane peak of “Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade� and on the crackling “Spin the Bottle.� Yet the true coup de grace of the D’Urbervilles comes on the note perfect “The Receiver.� Starting with a simple clockwork beat and John O’Regan’s plaintive vocals, it explodes on a dime and never looks back. When the bands starts shouting, “Speak into the receiver/Do you hear a believer?� I say yes, yes I do. - Exclaim!

"Pop Montreal Day 4 - the D'Urbervilles"

Yesterday was a slow day for musical discoveries, barring Guelph’s The D’Urbervilles, who played an invigorating afternoon set at Le Divan Orange. Unfortunately, Adam and His Amethysts were too dull to deserve such a sparkling moniker; what’s worse, their front man is also a member of Miracle Fortress, a band whose praises I would gladly bellow, loudly, from the very top of Mont Royal.

First, the good stuff. Hailing from Guelph, Ontario, The D’Urbervilles are a quartet whose sound contains a lot of odd, possibly contrary referentials, from the mainstream (The Killers, the last wave of post-punk Brits like Franz Ferdinand) to the less so (a hollered vocal line here, a bass groove there recalled the D.C. heyday of Fugazi or Black Eyes, minus the rough edges). Their closest Canadian kin would be Tokyo Police Club, another band that shares the occasionally unfortunate habit of aping the vocal inflections of Birmingham rather than Ottawa. Frontman John O’Regan may have been wearing a Billy Joel t-shirt, but his stage presence was more Ian Curtis-on-Paxil than Piano Man. Check out songs like “Hot Tips” here, but keep in mind the very indie production and release—live, these tracks come across in a self-assured blast of assurance, wilder and rawer than the recordings.

- the Village Voice

"The D'Urbervilles - class of 2008"

They say patience is a virtue, and if that is true then the band from Guelph often misspelled as the “D’Ubervilles� (which would translate as “exceptional town,� a rather lame name for a band; instead these dudes are hard - or should I say, "Hardy") are some real virtuous motherfuckers. Someone once told me they weren't big on how the band take a while to get to the point (read: some time passes before it gets loud and good), but considering none of their songs even strike the five-minute mark, well, that’s just impatience on said listener’s part. Personally, I enjoy how the D’Urbervilles’ begin with a slow strut and build up to a climactic and feverish getaway. You can always anticipate that crashing wave of the band converging in noise. They seem to do it with every song; in fact, just listening to their debut full-length, We Are the Hunters (out February 19 on Out of This Spark), I come to realise that, hey, it’s their signature move - kind of like how Koko B. Ware had the “Ghostbuster� or crazy Bob Backlund had the “Crossface Chickenwing�. The D’Urbs get in the ring, build up some energy with some mild arm grappling, and then BAM! they start wailing on you up against the turnbuckle with their guitarmy force and slam you to the ground. Okay, so it has little to do with wrestling, but it's important to recognise that it also has little to do with that “quiet-to-loud� post-rock bullshit. This is just on-the-edge rock’n’roll that explodes when the time calls for it.

Their self-titled EP from 2006 was an impressive premiere, but We Are the Hunters hones their sound with some polished production (no, no, it’s not quite Bloc Party), elevating the intensity of their dynamic interplay and emotional turbulence. As “Hot Tips� proves, though, these dudes can also be sexy, slipping in the kind of falsettoed back-up vocals and handclaps that earns unpretty bands like Spoon their groupies. In 2008, I'm looking for the D’Urbervilles (there’s more than one “r� in there, remember) to rise above the indie ranks and become one of the nation’s great exports. No pressure though...

- Cam Lindsay - Exclaim!

"The D'Urbervilles Want You to Snap Your Fingers"

Screaming. Shredding guitars. Body slamming. These are all things that weren’t happening this past Friday night at Sadlier House, despite the fact that an overwhelmingly disproportionate number of metal and hardcore shows get put on in this fine city of Peterborough. Rather, this evening (hosted by none other than Peterborough’s own up-and-coming folk legend Jonas Bonnetta, complete with his sailor’s cap) featured several of Ontario’s finest independent acts, including the justifiably much-hyped The D’Urbervilles.

It only took the first two songs of their thirty-minute set for The D’Urbervilles to get the full house packed into Sadlier House out of their seats and dancing like a bunch of ecstatic maniacs, as well as gleefully snapping their fingers upon the band’s request. With bass lines so funky you’d swear they could bring James Brown back from the dead, this Guelph, Ontario four-piece delivered a tight set of quirky, danceable rock songs.

One of the many highlights of their set was the inclusion of a truly bone-chilling rendition of the Friends in Bellwoods compilation track “We Are The Hunters.� Also note-worthy was a surprise collaboration featuring tour mate Mika Posen. With Posen providing a string section to The D’Urbervilles’ already multi-layered sound, Peterborough was left begging for “One more song!!!� as their set came to a close.

Mika’s band, the Forest City Lovers, also graced the Sadler House stage on this frigid evening. Fronted by the charismatic Kat Burns, the Forest City Lovers had the Peterborough crowd both in stitches and in tears.

When they weren’t playing songs of heartbreak and lost love (Hello, “Don’t Go Please�), they were telling tales of eight-hour drives from Guelph to Oshawa, and of Greyhound rides to Toronto to pick up a violin that somehow never found its way into the tour van. All in all, their set of melodic pop songs went over well with all who were in attendance, and their decidedly slower style provided a pleasant contrast to the high-energy rock that oozed out of The D’Urbervilles.

Last but not least, the two-piece known as David & Kelly who opened the evening’s festivities were perhaps the surprise crowd-favourite of the night. Their simple, stripped-down sound, consisting mainly of sparse piano and acoustic guitar/mandolin arrangements, worked perfectly in the already cozy attic vibe of Sadlier House. There may not have been any screaming or shredding guitars, but David & Kelly’s hauntingly beautiful set provided a much needed breath of fresh air into the Peterborough music scene. Thank you.

Leks Maltby - Arthur

"Novel Approach"

Guelph rock upstarts the D’Urbervilles take a page from the classics


Southern Ontario rising rock threats the D'Urbervilles' decision to name themselves after the bane of every high-schooler's required-reading list was originally an Oshawa in-joke.

But as the now Guelph-based four-piece gain momentum and notoriety for their tightly wound, outward-looking anthems, the themes of Thomas Hardy's tragic classic seem like a weirdly appropriate fit.

While the tracks on the D'Urbervilles' self-titled, spiral-bound EP may not, say, challenge Victorian sexual mores (even their song Spin The Bottle is wholly chaste), their pointed, precise attacks on class disparity and portraits of working-class frustration have an uncanny resonance with Hardy's story of a hapless underdog literally fucked over by the nouveau riche ruling class.

"If the songs come across as being motivated by a social consciousness, if a song like War On The Poor inspires kids to go out and join Food Not Bombs, that's awesome," effuses self-effacing singer/lyricist John O'Regan, whose background in social justice and aboriginal rights causes is a clear motivator for the anything but navel-gazing tone of D'Urbervilles' tunes. "But even if we just make people feel like they're not alone and someone else in the world thinks the same way they do, that's incredible to us.

"In general, I'm more interested in the stuff people make when they're starting out. It's always really raw, coming from that place where you have a chip on your shoulder and are trying to make a mark. I mean, you start a band cuz you want attention; otherwise, you just go to shows or make music in your bedroom."

The D'Urbervilles are tight and very good at the music they make – echoing, grey-scaled saw-toothed guitar rock, driven by muted drums and pounding bass – but they're working from a heartland art-punk template shared by tons of other bands (think the Constantines and Q & Not U).

It's the calculated, to-the-point critique and unselfconscious urgency of the band's lyrics that are the D'Urbervilles' biggest strengths.

"There are more than enough bands like ours," O'Regan sighs. "White college boys with guitars is definitely not a genre that's in need of greater representation. We can't do a lot to change that other than realize our privilege and act in a way that's not taking up too much space for other people to express themselves."

O'Regan's songs address what it's like to feel beaten down in places like Oshawa and Brantford, where the collapsing industrial infrastructure leads to jobs being yanked out from under communities' feet. He insists that neither he nor his bandmates deliberately set out to write political songs, but cops to an admiration for predecessors like Springsteen ("We're all suckers for Born To Run"), fellow Oshawans Cuff the Duke and the Constantines.

"With that first Cuff the Duke record, I couldn't believe they were from our city. I'd listen to it and go home and play guitar for hours. Our main goal with the band, besides playing a show at the local bar in Oshawa, was not to sound too much like them."

Since forming the band in original drummer C. L. Smith's basement two years back, the D'Urbervilles have been climbing slow and steady. Tonight's Sneaky Dee's show is their first local headlining gig, and their Pop Montreal showcase received buzz.

Peers like Born Ruffians have proven that the trajectory from under-the-radar to international success can happen in mere months, and O'Regan and his pals are starting to worry about how to hold onto their ideology and still look forward to label deals.

"There's less in the way of labels promoting or taking a truly independent stance on things. Not that it's not happening at all," he quickly adds. "There's a great collective out of Guelph right now called Burnt Oak who release a huge variety of lo-fi stuff. But in general, it seems like the indie labels that'll be able to pay for you to get food are getting really big-time.

"We're trying to take things slowly, but it's tough. Remember how we were talking about urgency? It's hard to have these songs and know that if we sit on them for six months someone else'll come along and do it better." - Now Magazine

"The D'Urbervilles Bring You Dancing, Donuts, and Pie"

Tuesday September 12, 2006 @ 06:00 PM
By: Staff

Up-and-coming Guelph indie faves The D'Urbervilles are a band who, to the outside observer, seem to have everything going their way. An infectious debut EP currently capturing the ears of the Canadian music industry? Check. Opening slot on the impending Controller.Controller/You Say Party! We Say Die! Ontario tour? Check. Not one, but two, performances booked at Pop Montreal? Check. Which makes it all the more surprising that, about a week-and-a-half ago, drummer C.L. Smith up and quit the band he formed with his Oshawa, Ontario high school pals (they relocated to the Royal City on scholarly grounds). To quote Kevin Federline, "What up with that?"

"C.L. is such a good friend and he has been with The D'Urbervilles since the Oshawa days, so seeing him go has been tough for everyone," explains keyboardist/guitarist/singer John O'Regan. "He thought of our band name, let us practice in his parents' basement when we were starting out... even the keyboard I play belongs to his mom.

"It's seriously going to be hard to replace someone like him. He's a great artist and is thinking about going to grad school. He's got a job and he's busy with his own life."

Not ones to miss the proverbial beat, however, The D'Urbervilles are marching on with temporary replacement Steve Hesselink of, appropriately enough, Social Arts Club rockers We're Marching On.

"Not only is his drumming amazing, but I really love the energy and intensity that he brings to the stage," says O'Regan. "We're really excited."

Hesselink will face a trial by fire of sorts with his new mates (who also include guitarist Tim Bruton and bassist Kyle Donnelly), with a university tour booked for October with The Mark Inside, as well as the Pop Montreal trip and the aforementioned Controller.Controller tour that will take the quartet around southern Ontario for much of the rest of the month.

"I'm really looking forward to putting on fun and energetic performances that will help get everyone ready to enjoy the other two bands," explains O'Regan. "It would be awesome to sell lots of CDs, and hopefully we will, but I think our main goal as an opening band should be to get the audience and the other bands excited about interacting with one another and having a great time.

"I love seeing an opening act that pushes the other bands on the bill to do their best, and that's exactly what we want to do."

Being the opening band on a three-act bill can sometimes be an unforgiving prospect, but their danceable rock sounds (including EP highlights "We're Blowing Up!" and "Shout It Out") should prick up some hipster ears. If not, O'Regan explains, The D'Urbervilles have ways of making you dance.

"Sometimes we do trivia between songs and the winners get free donuts or slices of pie. I guess donuts and pie might not make someone dance, but we're happy just making connections with the audience. We don't want to force people too far outside of their comfort zones, but we have been known to knock over our fair share of bar furniture in order to get people moving." - ChartAttack

"Meet the D'Urbervilles"


Guelph-by-way-of-Oshawa/Whitby quartet who count The Band, Ted Leo, Gang of Four, Nas and Fine Young Cannibals as influences. The current lineup is drummer Colin Smith, guitarist Tim Bruton, bassist Kyle Donnelly and guitarist John O'Regan, who cameos in Guelph dance-rock squad Spy Machine 16; old friends Bruton, Smith and O'Regan formed the band two years ago, while Donnelly joined six months later after they relocated to Guelph. They recently released their self-titled debut EP, which features the much-buzzed-about "Spin the Bottle."


Oshawa has a hallowed rock lineage that includes Harem Scarem and the Killer Dwarves, but The D'Urbervilles cite hometown alt-country rockers Cuff the Duke as their biggest local inspiration.

"They were making music that wasn't like really bad [Swedish pop-punk band] Randy covers," says Bruton. "I remember going to see them at [now-closed Oshawa club] Catch 22 and I was like, shit, I can do this."

The D'Urbervilles don't, however, consider themselves part of the Oshawa indie scene, which, along with Cuff, recently produced Kat Burns and The Mark Inside.

"We don't call those bands on the phone to hang out. We're not like, 'Hey guys, how's the scene going?'" says frontman O'Regan, though he does add that opening for Cuff the Duke was one of their early goals (since accomplished).

Post-secondary education took them to Guelph, though they missed the heyday of the Constantines and Royal City. Instead, The D'Urbervilles have developed alongside a new crop of Guelph talent, including Barmitzvah Brothers, the Nathan Coles Outfit and indie label Burnt Oak Records.

"We really didn't get serious until we got Kyle, and then we were very much in Guelph," says O'Regan. "It's a really good town because a lot of people are really supportive of a wide variety of music."


Named after that staple of high school reading lists everywhere, The D'Urbervilles' style is anything but by the book. Having opened for everyone from Controller.Controller to John Vanderslice, the band is gaining a following based on their devastating live sets and catchy yet virtually hook-free songs. They adhere to the rule "don't do anything ad nauseam," shunning the verse-chorus-verse-chorus blueprint.

"John's written some catchy little vocal ditties that only happen once a song," says Bruton. While the band are self-described minimalists, Bruton admits the truth is "we're lazy."

"We're a pretty stock set-up," admits O'Regan. "It's a four-young-white-boys-from-college-with-guitars band -- we're really not reinventing anything, so just recognizing that is important."

O'Regan is involved in anti-poverty work in Guelph and supporting the Aboriginal blockades in Caledonia. His political bent shines through on songs like "War on the Poor" and "People Helping People." But he stops short of preaching. "People hear enough white men telling them what to do," he says.

With school out until the fall, Smith and O'Regan have been booking shows all summer while preparing to write a full-length album. It's a good life, says Bruton: "What did we do today? We hung out in a house, played music, got yelled at by a neighbour, ate some hot dogs and came here and talked to you.... I could have been at work today doing dick-all. This was a good day." MARK MEDLEY
- EYE Weekly

"NXNE show review"

The D'Urbervilles

If the Constantines’ younger brothers spent more time with the Talking Heads than Fugazi while practicing dance moves to Devo, they would be the D'Urbervilles. These Guelph upstarts made the most out of a last-minute gig, filling in for the suddenly defunct From Fiction, with slippery bass grooves and electrifying lead singer John O'Regan defying you not to believe their opening number: "We're Blowing Up!" MB - Exclaim!

"The D'Urbervilles EP Review"

By Vish Khanna

Guelph-via-Oshawa live favourites the D’urbervilles lay five songs down here that reveal great post-punk promise. They’ve already got a veritable anthem on their hands with “W.O.T.P.,� a fantastically crafted, socially conscious street-punk song that they wisely re-recorded here. Singer and multi-instrumentalist John O’Regan sounds wise beyond his years on the herky-jerky “Spin the Bottle,� while a catchy Talking Heads-esque bass line drives the intricate guitars of “We’re Blowing Up.� Other than the sudden country push of “People Helping People,� however, there is often something overly familiar about the band’s approach. The D’Urbervilles are a product of the times; a young, energetic band caught up in a ’80s new wave revival that is limiting by its very nature. They show real flashes of brilliance and righteous ambition here though, which suggests a move away from reverence to innovation.(Independent) - Exclaim!


"We Are The Hunters" (Out of This Spark, 2008)

"The D'Urbervilles" EP (Independent, 2006)

three song ep (Independent, 2005)



Guelph, Ontario has yielded some fantastic young post-punk bands over the years but few have created as much of a fuss as The D'Urbervilles. The Oshawa-bred group has mixed a scrappy sensibility with an earnest, empowering outlook that has fostered wise-beyond-their-years political anthems and a fan base of true believers. Winning hearts every time they pour all they've got into their live show, the D'Urbervilles now have a bold, blistering document of songs with their new debut full-length, We Are the Hunters. Raw, heartfelt, and bounding with measured exuberance, The D'Urbervilles continue to write cool, quirky pop songs with an angular edge that speak to a young, righteous worldview. The band is slyly political, hoping to provoke social change through thoughtfulness, rather than hard-headed dogma. Recorded by producer/engineer Chris Stringer (We're Marching On, Ohbijou) at the fabled Halla Music studios in Torono, We Are the Hunters is a mighty, meticulous collection of nine sensitive, street-tough songs that bring out the pounding heart of the D'Urbervilles, who have never sounded so cohesive.

- Vish Khanna