the Last Deal
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the Last Deal

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The best kept secret in music

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"The Last Deal Finally Go First"

Is there some sort of band equivalent to being built on a Sacred Indian Burial Ground? Because The Last Deal has had some seriously crap turns of luck through its long history.

Guitarist James Stewart and bassist Matt Golden parted ways with their first drummer but found a sonic soul mate in stickman Steve Reid, only to see him suffer serious health problems that took years to become manageable. By the time the band had normalized and started playing regularly again, Stewart said that their back catalogue of songs was no longer representative of their sound, so they scrapped an album they had already recorded and started writing from scratch.

"Our release was done over a year ago," says Stewart of their freshly-dropped self-titled debut. "We waited to mix it, master it, the pressing, the art..."

With all the upheaval and uncertainty the band has faced, perhaps it’s fitting that the EP is on the dark and intense side. The album–a song cycle of tense, guitar-driven, jagged epics (kind of like space-infused punk)–is largely preoccupied with mortality and suffering with just a hint of redemption on the final track.

Stewart and Golden recorded the album at The Last Deal home studio, Casa del Deal, which is, tragically, slated to be condo-ized. More crap luck.

Still, it’s not all bad news. The boys are looking forward to touring in support of this release. "The CD sounds pretty accurate. Live, we’re louder," notes Stewart, "but it’s close. ‘Sloppy’ is an aesthetic I like, but it would be insincere with us. Musicianship is important to us, but not in a snotty way."

They’ve also been writing with a full-length in mind, targeting December as a likely release time. "Me and Matt really enjoyed recording and mixing this. Mixing the album was kind of a template for a process, and we’ll repeat same process with the full length."

He adds that The Last Deal plan on sticking with Roast. "We like being on Roast because we’re serious, sensitive vegetarians," he deadpans. "We have a similar sense of humour."


CHRISTA O’KEEFE
- See Magazine (Edmonton)


"Alberta Indie Rock? Yes, it Exists"

No Hands and The Last Deal at the Lamplighter (210 Abbott), June 17

2:20 p.m., Pacific Daylight Time. The phone rings in the Peak office. Let the interview begin.

I had a chance to sit down and shoot the chute with members of two Edmonton-based indie bands on the Roast Records label. Head ChŠf of Roast Records and No Hands guitarist Clayton Skinner, and The Last Deal guitarist James Stewart were patient enough to talk to my rambling ass for a whole 10 minutes. The frontmen for these two indie bands lead their respective cadres forward in the murky and windy forest of Canadian indie rock, an admittedly poorly defined genre, perhaps not a genre at all. Whatever.

For these guys, just think rock show. Rock Show. No Hands demonstrates punkish ethics with an electronic upbringing. The Last Deal distributes heaping piles of alt-ish rock, and finishes with jazz hands. But really, I can't tell you what they sound like. Just read the interview, then go see the show on June 17 at the Lamplighter.

The Peak: hat do you guys note as your major influences?

James: We all actually listen to quite a bit of different music, I think that's just the case as you get older. But when we started - me and the bass player Matt - we were really into the stuff that was coming out of SST Records in the early '80s. Stuff like H?sker D?, Minutemen, and The Descendents and Black Flag, and then as well, later kind of DC stuff like Fugazi . . . we listen to a lot of stuff that hopefully finds its way into the music, whether it's jazz, or hip hop as well.

Clayton: For me, overarchingly, Bob Dylan is a huge influence right now. I listen to bands like The Pixies, a lot of The Constantines - big fan of them - The Hot Snakes . . . some of us listen to a lot more electronic stuff, I listen to a lot of '60s soul, Otis Redding, old blues.

The Peak: What was the best live show you've ever seen?

James: Seeing No Means No is always incredible. The power they bring to the stage is unparalleled in most bands I've seen.

Clayton: Believe it or not, I'd have to say The Hip, in Calgary the last time they were here.

The Peak: This a word association test, just say the first word that comes to mind. Crunchy?

James: Metal.

The Peak: Angst?

James: Did you say angst or eggs?

The Peak: Angst.

James: I'll say eggs then.

The Peak: Punk?

James: Rock.

The Peak: Liverwurst?

James: Garbage.

The Peak: The Canadian indie scene is starting to take off a lot. Are you guys looking to ride this wave of popularity?

James: We're not looking to ride anyone's coattails . . . I'm pretty sure we're capable of doing it on our own. This country is pretty massive, so that's a pretty feeble thing to cling to. Edmonton doesn't have national exposure . . . we're looking forward to getting out and playing more. It's good that these bands are getting noticed and people are maybe internationally taking Canadian music more seriously, but at no point should people be getting comfortable and coasting.

The Peak: Drum machines and punk music, not often heard together. Did your drummer spontaneously combust?

Clayton: Pretty much. Our original drummer jumped in front of a truck and snuffed it. Then we got another drummer who was very young. At that point I got fed up with relying on people and the bizarre temperament of drummers in general. I can have a lot more control if I just use drum machines.

The Peak: Nik Kozub engineered an EP for No Hands. Is he Ukrainian? Because he has the same last name as my great-grandma.

Clayton: I don't know, I've never asked him, but he could be.

James: He looks a little Ukrainian.

The Peak: Is any ketchup fine or is it Heinz or nothing?

Clayton: I'll take any ketchup I can get.

James: We actually just had this conversation in the grocery store the other day, I went with the no name brand.

The Peak: Do you guys go grocery shopping together often?

James: Not as often as I'd like.

The Peak: Name three things that you perceive as being different between Edmonton and Vancouver:

Clayton: The way people dress. In Vancouver people seem more groomed, they pay more attention, whereas here you tend to see a lot of . . .

James: Burlap sacks, straw hats.

Clayton: Poodle cuts. Obviously Vancouver gets a lot more great shows than Edmonton. The indie community is a lot more scattered in Vancouver, as compared to Edmonton which is very insular, it's just a very tight knit group of people.

The Peak: If someone has a unibrow and a mullet, do they cancel each other out?

Clayton: No.

The Peak: Okay, conversely then, do they multiply to a result more than the sum of the parts?

James: I'd say that's pretty safe to say.

Clayton: There's a synergy there.

The Peak: Unibrow and mullet synergy.

Clayton: It's a potent combination.
- The Peak (Vancouver)


"The Best Band You’ve Never Heard"

Fast Forward searches Canada for the finest unsigned musical talent Autumn is traditionally a big time for the music industry. Record labels are gearing up for the Christmas rush and since school is back in session their bands are out touring campuses. It would be easy to say that there is nothing new in the world of music, but all across Canada independent bands are proving that just isn’t true. With the help of writers nationwide, Fast Forward brings you the best bands you’ve never heard.

EDMONTON – The Last Deal
It’s just one of the casualties of the music business that so many talented, visionary bands languish in local obscurity, while some guy with a bad goatee and good marketing sense manages to sell millions of crappy records. Yeah, blame it on the industry – and usually you can – but you can also blame it on being idealistic perfectionists in the case of my favourite little-known Edmonton band.
Take the serious pre-pop-punk signposts nailed in by Samiam and The Doughboys in their earlier days, add a heavy dose of atmospheric dynamics and some aggressive technical instrumentation that runs from sweeping Seaweed-esque melodies to post-punk dissonance, and you’ll start to describe The Last Deal. The trio gained a dedicated Edmonton following a few years ago, playing with the likes of Moneen and Czech prog-punkers Uz Jsme Doma. But when drummer Steve Reid got seriously ill in 2001, rather than find a new member and continue the momentum, bassist Matt Golden and guitarist James Stewart waited almost two years for a recovery before continuing. It’s part of the same frustrating dedication that sees The Last Deal continually self-record amazing analog sessions, only to scrap them and start again with higher standards. Any of the never-released demos floating around their living room would be among the best to come out of Edmonton – if they’d ever see the light of day. Here’s hoping.
GEOFF MOYSA
(See Magazine)
Ffwd Magazine October 23, 2003
- FFWD Magazine (Calgary)


Discography

The Last Deal will be releasing their debut EP in July, 2005 on Roast Records.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Inspired by the likes of the Minutemen, Isis, Mogwai, and Gang of Four, the Last Deal have been playing together for 3 years in their current incarnation. To date they have played with SNFU, Frog Eyes, Uz Jsme Doma, Submission Hold, Removal, and Moneen among others. They play progressive punk rock, but are not limited by genre.