The MayKings
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The MayKings


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The best kept secret in music


"Edmonton Sun, October 30 - "7YRS" REVIEW"

Shuyler Jansen (Indie)
5 out of five
The Maykings (Indie)
4 out of five

These are two fine local albums; there's no doubt about that.
Old Reliable's Shuyler Jansen is striking out here in a truly weird new direction, adding the sound of robots making out everywhere atop his already solid, rural, haggard songwriting.

The Maykings, meanwhile, switch off between Brent Oliver and Tim Balash's hillbilly ethics in a tonally diverse celebration of everything from Bob Wills to the Jayhawks to ... well, another beer, please.
But what I find tremendously interesting is something you can see before you on this page. Their album covers are strikingly similar, unintentionally, I can only assume.
Both feature the placement of a lone, tragic figure, following the photographic rule of thirds, placing the man on the right. In each case, this transient's back is to us, walking away with long shadows pouring out of his feet. They are both images of farewell, with action in the air above them and a silver image pressed onto the CD itself (the Maykings chose a beer; Jansen a stag).

I know I should talk about the music more, but I find it truly fascinating that there's so much in common between the art of these post-radio-country bands. The idea of wandering loneliness amid a field of white embraced by both bands actually speaks volumes about the music. These assembled players not only exist on the periphery of mainstream by choosing to play country, but also, because of the sort of classic country they share as skeletons, don't exactly get played a lot at Cook County, either (that's the bar's loss).

Jansen in particular has gone the Wilco route, as it were - abandoning all expectations. It's like his entire album is thrown through a conceptual distortion pedal, which on songs like Beverly Ave. results in some true beauts, tasty all over with evocative organs and sweet vocal visits by Oh Susanna, Swifty and Kris Schindel. As fun as the Old Reliable records are, it's great to hear Jansen unchained by worrying whether or not the rhythm section is going to call him self-indulgent. Keep being self-indulgent, man!

The Maykings, on the other hand, keep it incredibly real. What I mean by this is they sing close to the wound, playing a more standard country sound, but one that hits a wider base, including on an individual level. Best song title: It's Hard to Get Up for Work (When You Don't Get Up Till Noon).
Go buy both of these tremendous local discs. You'll be happy, even if you need a bright light to figure out which disc goes where after the party. - FISH GRIWKOWSKY

"CJSR Radio - Top 20 of 2004"

Top 20 of 2004

Here's a list of the 20 albums CJSR played the most (cause we liked them the best) in 2004. It's based on CJSR's Top 30 Charts from January to December, 2004

1. AA Sound System - Lily Plain, Your Hardly Poor
2. Chad Van Gaalan - Infiniheart
3. Bebop Cortez - Romantic Panther Commander
4. Operators *780 - Power Version
5. Twin Fangs - Quelque Chose
6. The Sadies - Favorite Colors
7. Hidden Cameras - Mississuaga Goddam
8. Carolyn Mark and Her New Best Friends - The Pros And Cons Of Collaboration
9. Calexico - Convict Pool e.p.
10. Destroyer - Your Blues
11. Division And Wellesley - Division And Wellesley
12. George Bushes - Handsome
13. Elliot Brood - Tin Type
14. Richard Buckner - Dents And Shells
15. Falconhawk - Hot Mouth
16. Whitey Houston - I Got Fucked By Liberty Mutual 7"
17. The Hold Steady - The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me
18. The Pink Mountaintops - The Pink Mountaintops
19. ***The Maykings - 7YRS***
20. Royal City - Little Hearts Ease

"FFWD Magazine, January 6 - "7YRS" REVIEW"

by FFWD Staff - January 6, 2005

7 Yrs


· Sebadoh + Neil Young = R.E.M.

The face of Brent Oliver is pretty familiar to those who like Alberta rock. As the former front man of Edmonton’s Slow Fresh Oil, his raging mid-fi band were known not only for their two great albums, but their solid live show and occasional appearance at Calgary’s Moustache Rock shows. Trading in amped-up fuzz-rock for a country twang, his longing croon shares vocal detail in new Edmonton supergroup The Maykings. Joined by Marek Tyler of the AA Soundsystem on drums and Duncan Turner of The Shady Pines on guitar, the band reinvisions alt-country in much the same way that R.E.M. referenced the Byrds. In fact when the band’s other songwriter, Tim Balash (formerly of the Big House and the Chrome Magpies) takes the mic, his songs bear more than a passing resemblance to Michael Stipe circa Reckoning. The rest of the time The Maykings offer their own take on urban roots music with sweet vocal harmonies, country-slide guitar and two-step rhythms. Distinctly melancholy, these lads are at least as good (and in my opinion light years ahead) of another E-town rocker-turned-roots troubadour – Corb Lund. If he can make the big time with his tired brand of rural whining, then The Maykings are no doubt poised to take over the folk-fest circuit and anything they put their instruments to.

JASON LEWIS - Jason Lewis

"FFWD magazine, January 20 - Live show Preview"

The reality of part-time playing

Wednesday, January 26
Liberty Lounge

It's time to address one of the long-standing misconceptions about the good ol' music biz: that bands who play full time and don't have day jobs are, in some way, more "real" than bands that treat music like a permanent part-time job. Bands like Edmonton's The Maykings, for example.

"This all-or-nothing approach that some bands take is just completely misguided," says Brent Oliver, bass player and singer for the alt-country-pop act. "It's like having a kid and thinking they're gonna play in the NHL. I frankly couldn't care. I get to play shows and people seem to like us."

Two years in, with a full-length album, Seven Years, released last October, people do seem to like The Maykings. It doesn't hurt that the band members all have a proven track record as musicians – Oliver is known for past work in the mostly defunct Slow Fresh Oil and kinda-country band The Shady Pines (vestiges of which can still be heard in his new material); drummer Marek Tyler also does time in the AA Soundsystem; guitarist Duncan Turner was plenty busy in the ’90s with Edmonton's Pal Joey; and Tim Balash, guitarist and The Maykings's other principal songwriter besides Oliver, flirted with success in Canadian hard rockers Big House before spending later years with the rootsy Tim Balash and the Chrome Magpies. So it's not like they don't know how to make music and get it out to the public.

"Everybody's got jobs and lives, but as long as you plan it right, you can pull this stuff off," says Oliver. "We're not all-or-nothing, but we're definitely something or nothing." Oliver, the local impresario who books shows for The Sidetrack Cafe and Black Dog in Edmonton, and manages the Green Pepper Hockey League (a popular pastime for Edmonton musicians, hence Oliver's many hockey references in the course of a single conversation), says one strategy is to find the time to play one show, and then book three or four instead and make a guerilla strike on a specific stretch of geography. Get a handful of these under your belt and suddenly you've toured a sizable portion of the country.

Complementing these tactics, The Maykings have partially sidestepped the need for a label to push their record by simply putting the whole damn thing up on their website for free ( It's a price that can't be beat and it’s well worth the visit. Informed by the pop side of such ’80s Minneapolis bands as The Replacements and topped up with a love for acts ranging from the Mekons to The Band, Seven Years covers country yearning, sparse desert sounds and twangy rock in the space of a few songs. Consistent from one end to the other, it has already found decent airplay on CKUA and Edmonton’s CJSR and great reviews are trickling in from the rest of the country.

But for Oliver, the playing live is what it is all about and a great sounding record means you should back it up. Sounding sharp demands looking sharp, and indeed the Maykings do – clad in suave suits when they hit the stage. But, wait a minute. Isn't dressing up onstage something that Edmonton bands have long razzed Calgary artists for? In past interviews Oliver (also admitting that he has berated The Dudes for their Dude Bomb mascot) has publicly taken his shots. So you'd think he'd be concerned about bordering on shtick and given the litany of defences he instantly has ready, maybe he has,.

"Jay Hannley from CJSR gave me the gears about getting close to being shtick," says Oliver, chuckling, before pointing out that BB King wears suits and a student in his university classes believed wearing a suit helped during exams.

"There's the Oilers' philosophy too," adds Oliver. "In the ’80s Glen Sather made the guys wear suits, saying, 'You're pros on the ice, you're pros off the ice.'"

So the Maykings sound good and, just like the Oilers, they look good, too. We're definitely cool with that down here – and unlike the Oilers, The Maykings will actually be playing this month. - Rick Overwater

"Edmonton Journal, January 22 - "7YRS" REVIEW"

Even if Brent Oliver were singing about skipping through a field of
rabbits and wild blueberries, the MayKing's twang could still break your heart in a million pieces. As it is, on 7Yrs or Seven Years, the local
alt-country fixture writes slowish, atmospheric ditties about fickle friends (You're Not Worth A Song), the saddest man in the universe (Field in Mexico) and unforgettable faces (Rose-Coloured Eyes). Fellow MayKing Tim Balash can be just as wrenching, but his lower octaves evoke a bit more defiance. He also injects 7Yrs with some humour - It's Hard To Look For Work (When You Don't Get Up 'Til Noon) is a country shuffle with enough kick to get anyone out of bed before nine a.m.

3&1/2 our of 5 Stars
- Sandra Sperounes


"7 YRS" - CD - (independent)
distributed through Spirit River Distribution October 2004

"Rock 'Til You Ralph" - CD - (CJSR Radio Compilation)
Anti-Ralph Klein Compilation from Edmonton
The Maykings - "You're not worth a song" - Track 10
December 2004

"Tolerance" - Grant Hart tribute 7" with Lorrie Matheson (Saved by Radio) - May 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


Formed in 2003 from the ashes of Shady Pines and Tim Balash & the Chrome Magpies, The Maykings combine Alberta roots with North American flavoured indie pop to create their unique sound.

Tim Balash, formerly of the pre-spandex era Big House, is a rare breed of songwriter that has the intensity of a punk rock guitarist with the lyricism of Townes Van Zandt. Balash’s signature delivery has been called “waxing poetic, like Dylan being chased with whiskey”. Brent Oliver, ex- of Slow Fresh Oil and the Maybellines, simply rips the heart from the listener’s body. After years of hardship and experience, Oliver’s travels come through loud and clear on the band’s debut – "7 YRS".

On "7 YRS", The Maykings equally blend parts Mekons, Bruce Springsteen, The Band and the Replacements. Duncan Turner’s scorching guitar and Marek Tyler’s steady, enigmatic drumming completes what will surely be an album to remember.

The Maykings live set is an experience to behold. Dawning the sharp suits of blues and country players of old, the band take the audience on a fun, beer soaked journey full of two-steppin’ favourites and rollicking dance numbers.
They are not to be missed.