The Elwins
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The Elwins

Georgina, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE | AFM

Georgina, Ontario, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Rock Pop




"The Elwins Give Their North American Tour a Personal Touch with New Song/Video Project"

By Carly LewisLike a lot of bands, the Elwins have been making their way to Austin, but they've been determined to acquire some new fans even before they arrive. The Toronto-based pop rockers have been stopping in a handful of cities while travelling to SXSW, which kicks off today (March 13), setting out to charm each one with a personalized song.

"We wrote a short song about every town we're going to on the March tour," keyboardist/guitarist Feurd Ian Robertson Moore tells Exclaim! "And we're doing a short video for every one."

The videos are part psychedelic show promo and part studio shenanigans footage. All are directed by Elwins bassist Christopher Shannon.

The project was inspired by L.A.-based music marketing guru Simon Cantlon (who Moore calls a "super creative dude") after the Elwins met him at last year's CMJ Music Marathon in New York.

"We thought it was a killer idea and a great way to connect with people in each unique city. [The videos] are pretty DIY and we are experimenting with a green screen for the first time ever."

The Elwins spent just 24 hours in the studio recording 14 individual serenades. "I definitely have a few favourites," says Moore. "It all happened so quickly, but Fredericksburg, VA turned out awesome."

They also recorded a theme song for the journey, aptly named "Goin' on Tour." "There's a good mix of slow and fast and different vibes. [Singer] Matt [Sweeney] wrote them all. He is an über -songwriting champion."

All of the tour videos can be watched at the Elwins' YouTube channel and the songs are available for free download at their Bandcamp site. - Exclaim!

"Album Review - The Elwins 'And I Thank You'"

The Elwins took their time crafting their debut LP, first paring down the collection from nearly 40 songs and then taking it to Seattle to professionally record. The Keswick, Ontario, band’s affable, breezy sunshine-pop is far from showy, but precision and care are evident in their sticky hooks and timeless melodies drawn from that endless well of old Beach Boys, Carpenters and Elephant 6 records.

The more effortless this type of classic sha-la-la songwriting sounds, the more effective it is, and the Elwins have a knack for writing polished, hummable tunes. Hidden depth reveals itself in the wistful lyrics and subtle textural touches of strings and lap steel between the jaunty bass lines and chord progressions. It won’t change your life, but And I Thank You is hard not to like. An impressive debut.

Top track: Stuck In The Middle

Richard Trapunski - NOW Magazine

"The Elwins - And I Thank You"

Through artful ingenuity and a genuine effort to omit the ego other bands break their backs to appropriate, the Elwins have come out on top. Their debut full-length, And I Thank You, is an offering of sensitive love jams masquerading as catchy pop songs, played by talented musicians who aren't gunning for top 40 flashiness. The music is upbeat, the lyrics occasionally aren't and there's enough sha-la-la-ing to induce an acid flash back. Pop rock records these days tend to swap real guitars for the synthetic, but And I Thank You keeps it real. "Behind My Eyes" resembles what a Don Ho guest appearance on an early Beach Boys album might have sounded like, and the sunny strumming with which the album opens is never fully abandoned. The whole thing feels a bit utopian, until the lyrics (and the sentient relationship metaphors within them) are given astute attention. With And I Thank You, the Elwins have freshened up a genre that's tough to crack and even tougher to do justice. - Exclaim!

"The Elwins give away their Self Titled EP Announce US live debut"

The Elwins give away their Self Titled EP Announce US live debut

Ontario Indie Pop act The Elwins don’t just make very nice sounding music, they are genuinely, very nice people. And In a very nice gesture they are giving away their self-titled EP as a free digital download.

Grab your free copy at:

The EP beautifully showcases The Elwins charm and blissful attitude and has sold a multitude of copies, garnering North American and European audiences to follow.

Equally engaging is the bands effervescent live show which has seen them take to the stage at festivals such as Halifax Pop Explosion and Canadian Music Week play alongside celebrated acts Toyko Police Club, The Coast, The Bicycles and Ruby Coast.

This March will bring their American debut, playing shows in New York City and Austin during SXSW. Tour dates below

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements from The Elwins in the coming weeks

March 11th: NYC @ the Mckibbin Lofts w/ The Twees, Only Son

March 13th: NYC @ Pianos Pre-SXSW party w/

The Lines (UK)
Cloud-Control (Australia)
Blue King Brown (Australia)

March 16th: Austin, TX at Chupacabra Cantina - MVRemix Rock

"The Elwins EP"

Just got a sweet new EP from Ontario’s The Elwins. Tracks like Time To Kill Time remind me of an early Strokes feel, a classy indie pop. They’re releasing a full length debut sometime soon which will give the Canadia music scene another ten points. Get this EP here and also check them out in NYC soon! - BBQ Chicken Robot

"The Elwins could become a household name in Toronto"

The first time I gandered at The Elwins they were performing in an outdoor ice rink, strumming away cheerfully whilst people in toques and fuzzy apparel whizzed by them. Now I’m watching them rock and bop at The Central on Friday, May 21, and though they’re one of the last to perform, they steal the show.

The guys that clamber onto the rug covered stage pack more punch for their quiet appearance. At first glimpse they resemble the well-behaved, fresh-faced lads that attended math camp, and then they trip you up with 60’s inspired, funky pop-rock tunes that force toes to tap and heads to bob.

Lead vocalist, Matthew Sweeney, has an almost-always earnest expression on his face as his fingers pluck out an easy-going beat on the guitar. Sporting a brown tweed jacket, and flannel shirt he chirps away in lilting tones.

“I’ve got to find a way back to the start of this day, when I said the things I never would have said. But I said them anyways, and I said them to you, so I’ve got to find a way back to the time machine.”

Clever lyrics and delightfully simple riffs are what hook you into The Elwins sound. The songs are catchy, situated somewhere between a relaxed beach vibe, with funkier riffs and a stroll along the English country side, lax-a-daisy rhythm.

The song “Kristy May,” starts off nice and easy, and then bounces into a springy tempo: “Took a sip. From a cup. I hope that it. Fills me up. Took a chance. At the dance. But I’ve got bad luck,” sings Sweeney.

In no time flat the audience warms to the lively tunes coming from the three dapper young gents. But this trio used to be a duo, before they found Feurd, who’s playing bass and wearing a red striped shirt, round glasses and has an impressively curly-tipped moustache.

Sweeney and Travis Stokl, who is strong on the drums, had already been in several bands together during their high school days in Newmarket before they formed The Elwins. After graduating from Humber College with a bachelors degree in music, Feurd, who had played with them before, was recruited to bring a fuller sound to the band. Currently The Elwins are searching for an additional band member who sings, plays keyboard or bass, and they plan to start recording a full-length record in October.

The April 2009 launch party of their five track self-titled EP took place in a Newmarket auditorium festooned with Christmas lights and a fun fur draped ceiling.

These guys are still a hidden gem in Toronto’s indie music community but a video that they shot with Mitch Fillion back in February for his website, Southern Souls, gave them more musical recognition. The site captures a kaleidoscope of diverse bands and musicians who hail from Southern Ontario and perform in a hoard of spontaneous and natural environments, in the tradition of sites like Black Cab Sessions.

Which bring us back to the ice rink in Aurora where Fillion shot The Elwins performing “Propinquity” on a plastic mat in the centre of the action. According to Sweeney, “It was a super fun but cold time. By the end of the performance everybody’s fingers were super numb. We sent out a message to fans inviting them to come and skate in a live music video and there was a great response.” Apparently a group of synchronized skaters requested to join the band but couldn’t make it out.

The cheerful love-song is accompanied by falling snowflakes and Sweeney’s girlfriend, Heather Lumsden-Ruegg, who joins him on vocals and plays the keyboard. Both compliment each other with high lark-like tones. “It feels like when you’re around, its a good thing I have found. And while we’re lingering I’ll hold you near to me. Because whenever you’re around, it’s a good thing I have found.”

When the boys perform the same tune tonight it sounds a bit rougher yet still pulses along pleasantly. Feurd acknowledges that performing on Southern Souls was a great way to share fans. “We have even been recognized on the street as those dudes from that ice skating rink music video.”

Near the end of their set at The Central two fellas sitting near the stage ask the band who they are. When Sweeney introduces each member in his low, soft-spoken voice, they shout back, “But what are you called?”

Sweeney’s face breaks into a rare on-stage smile as he answers. In the wake of the band’s last fast-paced song the same guys demand an encore. Soon enough the carefree, rambunctious sound of The Elwins will be easy to recognize.

Adriana Rolston
- Ryerson Free Press

"Southern Souls and Musical Friendships"

Friendship is not uncommon between bands. Particularly in Toronto, everyone in this so-called music scene is connected in some way – it’s almost incestuous. And through such friendships sometimes emerge great collaborations, side projects, and amazing shared line-ups.

Remember that awesome End-of-Summer Party we suggested you should trek to Newmarket for? Tokyo Police Club’s Graham Wright shares with us his thoughts and impressions of that night and raves about pals The Elwins. After all, we all get by with a little help from friends.

When I was growing up in Newmarket, I went to exactly one local show. It was the standard multi band bill, featuring the standard mix of punk, hardcore, and ska bands, attended by what I assume was the standard crowd. A kid sitting on the curb outside, mohawked and adorned with chains and safety pins, looked up as we walked past and yelled “faggots!”

Wait, what? I thought that these were supposed to be the outcasts, coming together in a safe place. Besides, this guy’s pants were way tighter than ours. Anyway, we never went to another show, and that was my last impression of the Newmarket music scene.

Which is why I was so impressed by the crowd and the scene at The Elwins End Of Summer Party at the White Rabbit. It was a great example of how much things have changed, for the better.

Overzealous security and inadequate alcohol stocks notwithstanding, the White Rabbit is a bona fide rock and roll venue, and The Elwins packed it. The crowd’s numbers swelled throughout the night, peaking during The Elwins set. They danced, they clapped, they sang along, and they had an awesome time. And even though I felt uncomfortably old in a room full of enthusiastic high schoolers, it did my heart good to see such an explosion of warmth and joy in the old town.

Oh yeah, and The Elwins? Well, as usual, they were incredible, playing a mix of old and new tunes with exuberance befitting the celebratory atmosphere.

So, in closing, way to go Elwins! Way to go Newmarket! Hooray!!!

(review by Graham Wright)

Another well-put-together show is the Southern Souls showcase at the El Mocambo this coming Friday, Sept 17th. And incidentally, The Elwins are playing along with Make Your Exit, Teenage Kicks, and Cam Malcolm and the Owls. - Singing Lamb

"The Elwins - A lazy Picnic Of Good Music"

Pulling their name from the 1988 movie, Willow, The Elwins are an fun band to listen to with an indelible pop quality you can’t deny.

They sound like Sondre Lerche meets Dr. Dog meets… a lazy picnic in the park. They are just a 3-piece band from outside of Toronto, hailing from the same Newmarket roots that Toyko Police Club and Will Currie & the Country French did (in fact they all still play shows together at the same small venues they started out).

I get calls from the band time to time that sound something like this: “Oh hey Nicole.. um.. it’s us. Can you help us with our (twitter, myspace, facebook, etc) account? Uh we don’t know what we’re doing“. They are sweet guys who like every other musician is trying to figure out just how to utilize the world wide web to get their tunes out there. However for the Elwins, the word of mouth has been strong enough to build them quite the fan base.

You can catch them at their ‘farewell’ show this Sunday September 26th at The Garrison, but do not be fooled – this isn’t their last show. This is the farewell to the suburban lineage that nurtured them and a hello to the rest of the world. They are on route stateside, Philadelphia & Seattle to be exact, to lay ground for their new record. As having personally played shows with the boys recently, I have been privy to their new material. I can tell you without sounding too sycophantic, this album will be something of a indie-rock-pop spectacle when it comes out, so please, stay tuned.

They sound like: Dr. Dog, Sondre Lerche, Supergrass
My favorite track: Dear, Oh My
Check ‘em out:
Twitter: - BNOTIONS Blog

"Get On Board With The Elwins"

As bad as the suburbs can be, there's definitely an argument to be made that they do a marvelous job of stimulating the creativity of talented young musicians. With nothing else to do and petty vandalism not looking too attractive, young'uns simply focus on their music, with generally good results. (Admittedly, there's also an extremely high potential they'll churn out generic mall-punk, but that's another matter entirely.)

Or, at least, that seems to be the lesson to draw from Newmarket. It's a medium-sized suburb about 45 minutes outside of Toronto, yet in the last couple of years it's turned out the likes of Tokyo Police Club, Will Currie & The Country French, Ruby Coast...and, now, The Elwins. Like each of those other three bands, The Elwins specialize in catchy, energetic pop. And also those other bands, The Elwins have made their presence known by bursting out of the gate with an EP (self-titled, in this case, and seemingly not available for sale anywhere beyond their shows) that's...well, catchy and energetic.

That's where the comparison ends, however. Where each of those other three bands specialize in songs that sound big and bold (either thanks to their group shoutalongs or their multilayered arrangements), The Elwins have a much more minimalistic approach. While a big part of that undoubtedly stems from necessity, since the band only has two members, there's something about the songs that makes it seem like they'd lose something if they had anything more than drums, guitar and vocals. Songs like "Larry Pastorus" and "Kristy May" are at once both extremely tight (since, presumably, it's hard to hide your mistakes when there's only two of you) and pleasantly loose (in the way frontman Matthew Sweeney sings breezy, Vampire Weekend-esque pop songs over top of Travis Stokl's bouncy drumming). It all adds up for an extremely promising debut, and I can't wait to hear more from them. - I(heart)music

"Reviews: The Elwins EP"

What is it about an ear pleasing, electric jangle that slinks up and down the fret board? Is it that the notes seem so simple everyone assumes they could play them or is it that anyone who’s ever picked up a guitar knows that combining those notes successfully without feedback and backing instrumentation is a remarkable talent? Either way, when bands like The Elwins put together those beautiful electric notes with light drums and the cool demeanor of a front man like Matthew Sweeney, it’s hard to not enjoy the results.

Their self-titled debut EP shows substantial polish, not something you find in young bands (especially not from a two-piece). They never push the riffs too far, understanding that subtleties are more important than brash guitars and cymbal crashes on these types of songs. The UK-cool saunter of tracks like Larry Pastorus shuffle along, complete with catchy whistles, and makes it hard for me not to think about Supergrass; not because of the sound but because of the fun loving, harmless nature the duo exudes.

The EP opener, Dear, Oh My, is full of “woah is me” bad luck, unfortunates like rain fall and trouble with his girl, but they all seem to roll off Matthew Sweeney’s back. It’s refreshing to hear a singer realize that the melodrama that plagues most artists is nothing more than an inconvenience for the majority of people. Even as he croons about “a lover that has no one” on Kristy May, the pleasant tones that accompany the sentiment make you wonder how broken up about the whole situation he is.

His biggest concern is being too bored to really do anything (Time to Kill Time). The mature realism that The Elwins present is great, especially for someone that made it past high school and university and understands that maybe that crush that ran you over isn’t actually the end of the world. Remarkably the light, summery sounds actually make you feel better about life in general, and help you put the little shit behind you.

If this EP had closed its doors after four songs, I’d have been impressed but the quick hitting album closer, Only Friend, shows the band can experiment with bigger sounds and faster tempos without losing the listener or the relaxed vibe they’ve created in the first four songs. All in all (even with Sweeney’s penchant for the mundane), this little EP is certainly enough to get me excited about The Elwins.
- Hero Hill


The Elwins EP (Independent, April 10, 2009)
Download for free here:

And I Thank You (Independent, February 21st, 2012)
Listen here:



Ontario-based indie pop outfit The Elwins have garnered an impressive pile of attention and praise considering their relative youth. From performing alongside acts like Tokyo Police Club, Arkells, Born Ruffians, Brendan Canning and Walk Off The Earth or at festivals including SXSW, CMW, POP Montreal, and the Halifax Pop Explosion to being heralded an act to watch by tastemakers like Exclaim!, CBC Radio 3, and, The Elwins have rapidly risen the rungs of the Canadian independent music scene and all without a full-length offering to their name; however, thats set to change with the release of their highly-anticipated long-player And I Thank You.

The band was born in 2008 when vocalist/guitarist Matthew Sweeney and drummer Travis Stokl bonded in a high-school hallway over their mutual love of The Flaming Lips. The two began writing songs together under the new banner and
thereafter welcomed longtime friend Feurd Moore to handle keyboard and guitar duties. Most recently the band has welcomed Frankie Figliomeni to the fold, playing the bass guitar. Since then theyve seen their audience and, subsequently, the excitement surrounding their LP expand exponentially.

Recorded in Seattle, produced by Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man) and Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead, Islands, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks), and mixed by L.Stu Young (Prince, Sum 41), And I Thank You features a refined version of the bands bouncy brand of 60s-tinged pop rock first revealed on their self-titled EP in 2010. Sweeneys soothing vocals interplay beautifully with the bands simple-yet-substantial
arrangements, resulting in a sound thats simultaneously fresh and familiar.

Songs like Propinquity, On Your Doorstep, and Stuck In The Middle, the first single from the album, boast a driving and danceable pace with some seriously sticky throwback melodies while others like I Miss You And I and Behind My Eyes are more serene in their delivery, directing further focus towards the bands talent for writing tasteful, memorable lyrics while still carrying that undeniable overall charm.

That charm emerges more immediately, though, during the bands lauded live shows. Dripping with fun (and facial hair), The Elwins notoriously high-energy sets are full of smile-inducing sing-alongs and plenty of crowd participation. The energy emitted by the band is absorbed by audiences
and reciprocated tenfold, resulting in an ever-escalating give-and-take that makes instant fans of any casual listeners within earshot.

Their quirky creativity also manifests itself outside of their musical output, be it onstage or in-studio, with the band designing and making many of their own merch items
(which can range from mugs and sunglasses to pillows and tote bags) and producing their own series of videos.

The Elwins may not take themselves too seriously, but the same cant be said for their career. Its all part of an effort to continually engage their audience while also adding to it, and needless to say, its a formula thats been working wonders thus far. With the release of And I Thank You, their profile can only be propelled upward, and there are plenty of people wondering just how high.