The Murder Plans
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The Murder Plans

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Rock Pop

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Sep
08
The Murder Plans @ Live Lounge

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jul
14
The Murder Plans @ Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Jun
25
The Murder Plans @ The Barley Mow

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Music

Press


The Murder Plans going places

Jaymin Proulx
Interrobang

Published: Monday, January 17, 2011

Ottawa, the nation's capital, is known for many things: ice skating on the canal during winter; standing on Parliament Hill on New Year's Eve to see the heavens ablaze with fireworks; the National Hockey League's Ottawa Senators; and a hybrid of culture including renowned landmarks, notable institutions, national museums, official residences, government buildings, memorials and heritage structures.

Now, they are becoming renowned for one more distinction: the moody, cathartic sounds of indie rock band The Murder Plans.

Formed in a basement apartment in the winter of 2007, Nicholas Descarie (percussion), Joel Jacques (guitar, lap steel and piano), Connor McGuire (vocals, guitar), and Michael Simon (bass, vocals) have been compared to numerous bands such as Wilco and The Constantines, as well as older generations of rock like the Talking Heads and even Leonard Cohen. The heavy vocals are even reminiscent of an earlier Jakob Dylan (the son of Bob Dylan and leading vocalist of The Wallflowers).

"The recording of the album reflects a time of change in both the band's sound as well as our lives," says band co-front McGuire. "We went from being balls out rockers to being a little more introspective. I think it really comes across on both the record and our shows – a feeling of dark optimism and comfort in the fact that everything can suddenly change and there's nothing you can do about it."

Good Omens was recorded and mixed by Dean Watson at Gallery Studios with mastering by Phil Bova of Bova Sound who has also worked with Jason Collet, Zeus and the Arts & Crafts recording label. The album took nearly two years to complete and the The Murder Plans describe the process of making the album "transformative." McGuire describes the journey: "We went into that church basement a pretty straight ahead rock band and came out nearly two years later with a record that sounds like absolutely nothing like we could have imagined."

The album is creative and well orchestrated. The broody sound is easy on the ears and would complement a quiet dinner party or a gathering of friends. But do not expect a cheerful, swinging tempo that can get you kick-started early in the morning, cheer you up when you are down, or prepare for a night to hit Richmond Row. Nevertheless, one can appreciate the music and the organization of their production. A very detailed and organized MySpace page includes all 11 tracks from Good Omens, a brief biography describing their journey in the production, and a list of radio stations in Canada to request their music (Radio Western's CHRW 94.9 is included on the list). There are even four YouTube videos of The Murder Plans playing live. Their webpage is similarly well designed.

Two distinctive tracks, Hurt Somebody and Chorus Girls, speed up the slow, folksy-rock sound and give listeners a taste of the talent that lies within the band. Overall, Good Omens is a quality album with potential for even better things to come from this four-piece band.

You can visit the Murder plans at www.themurderplans.com. - Interrobang - Fanshaw's Student Voice


WHO
Epic-sounding Ottawa rockers.

DISCOGRAPHY
The Murder Plans (Self-released, 2007)
Good Omens (Self-released, 2010)

IN A NUTSHELL
With Good Omens, The Murder Plans have come out of nowhere with a strong contender for best album of the year.

THE STORY
In a way, I kind of predicted that Good Omens, the full-length debut from The Murder Plans, would be awesome. Don't believe me? I have it in writing, right here: "The Murder Plans could evolve into something special someday soon".

Of course, in this case, "someday soon" turned out to be a very, very long three years. And, to be completely honest, while I have no recollection of what I was thinking at the time I wrote that, there's no way I would've predicted they'd turn out to be this good.

Then again, The Murder Plans that recorded Good Omens are a somewhat different band than The Murder Plans that recorded their self-titled debut EP. Whereas the 2007 edition of the band featured only Connor McGuire singing lead (I think), this time around McGuire shares lead vocal duties with Michael Simon. The resulting contrast between McGuire's gruff, Springsteen-meets-Waits growl and Simon's slightly more ethereal tenor drives the band forward into places that they previously couldn't have even dreamed of.

Don't get me wrong, individually they're both very strong songwriters. The former contributes gutsy rockers like "Hurt Somebody" and "Chorus Girls", while the latter provides epics like "Electric Lights" and "Hour Hands"; on their own, they'd be the basis for two very solid albums. Put them together, though, and the results are magical, the sort of thing you'd probably get if you were to cross-breed The Constantines with Wintersleep.

Obviously, that puts The Murder Plans in some pretty elite company. If anyone had told me going into their debut full-length that I'd be mentioning them in the same breath as those bands, I probably wouldn't have believed it, regardless of what I may have said three years ago. After spending quite a bit of time with Good Omens, though, I most definitely believe. - i(heart)music, M. Pollesel


Spun
Bryan Leedham
Gauntlet Entertainment

November 18, 2010

Hidden somewhere near Capitol Hill is a foursome that won't remain tucked away much longer. Ottawa's little secret, The Murder Plans, released their debut album Good Omens this September and their promising sound is a good kick-start to their career.

With unique and gratifying four-part harmonies as their unifying element, The Murder Plans take a relatively typical guitar, bass, drums and keys and transform them into something unusual by building a mellow, captivating and remarkably deep sound. Throw in purposeful, narrative lyrics, add a dash of lap steel and you have a memorable alternative album.

Track highlights include "Ghost Story" which recounts the common dilemmas of alcohol-fueled love encounters; the more energetic "Hurt Somebody" and "Napoleon," which honestly approach more of love's complications; and finally the beautifully composed "Blue Collar" and "Halfway House," where heavy keyboard features resonate with soaring, ambient guitar lines.

Although a few of the faults inherent in most debut releases are present, such as the occasional loss of momentum and some vocal styling that seems out of their niche, The Murder Plans put out a solid effort well worth your time. - The Gauntlet, Calgary


By Daniel Sylvester
The '00s in music will be remembered by many as the decade punk rockers discovered the Boss. Add Ottawa, ON four-piece the Murder Plans to that list of gravel-chewing dusty-footers. Interestingly, Good Omens, the band's debut, plays that roll much more conservatively than fellow-Springsteeners the Gaslight Anthem or Orphan Choir. In fact, the opening phrasing of "Well, I'm consecutive, I'll make executive," on "Someday I Won't," and the stoic organ spill of "A Minefield" are pure Constantines. But once the listener looks past the rusty surface of songs like "Hurt Somebody" and "Napoleon," Good Omens begins to offer up much more than just a specific musical modus operandi. "Tell a Lie" unravels gorgeously, while "Chorus Girls" works off of a swinging melody that's as tender as it is tenuous. On Good Omens, the Murder Plans have the mood and image down pat, now they just need to find their voice. Relax, guys, be yourselves.
(Independent) - Exclaim


“One of my new favourite bands… a captivating blend of The National's new romantic instrument-use and Pilot Speed sounding vocals… Experienced and driven. Good Omens, is full of meaningful wording and aerial instrumentals. This crew of mature, well-dressed professionals are worth a large listen… they play the familiar role of the solemn, kind men next door who may hold their words close…genius potential.” December 2010, J. Huddleston - Jess In the Round


The Murder Plans are four guys from Ottawa, Ontario. More importantly however, The Murder Plans are four musicians, and sometimes, these four musicians play music; very well. Two years in the making, their debut full-length album Good Omens will be released on Sept. 24, with a CD release party at Jimmy Jazz in Guelph on Oct. 2 to follow.

Good Omens starts off “Someday I Won’t” a somber toe tapping, head-bobbing opener. The track can most easily be described as Constantines at an Elvis Costello based karaoke party, without sounding the least bit contrived. The highlight however, is the stark contrast it carries with the second track, “Tell A Lie.” To it’s credit, “Tell A Lie” utilizes the full band structure to it’s fullest potential, making it the first track to really stick with the listener. Much of the record is carried by the upbeat, catchy guitar work, and 4/4 drum beats rich with reverb. That is until we get to the eighth track, “Blue Collar,” which might be the best example of a Tom Wait’s influence in modern media and as such, contains some of the darkest, most eclectic sounds on the record. That being said, this influence at no point becomes overbearing, and The Murder Plans keep it as their influence, but never their goal; at no point does this song sound even the least bit forced. The intra-band chemistry present that enables them to do this translates exceptionally well.

The latter half of the record shows a solidification of the bands self-described influences, and common comparisons, and advances them from merely a collection of these comrades to their own unique brand of Canadian Indie Rock. As such, the record itself progresses in a manner similar to the band themselves, being that coming into one’s own is an idea dealt with commonly, not only during the life of most bands, but also at multiple times during the lyrical content of this record. I highly suggest attending the record release show at Jimmy Jazz on Oct. 2, not only because it’s free but also because the next time they roll through town, they will undoubtedly be playing a larger, less intimate venue. Hold me to that.

Over the duration of this record, it has gone from the living (active) reincarnation of The Constantines to much more than just that. I find these songs have much more of a life of their own once you become explicitly familiar with them, and as such, the album sits at a noble

3.5/5 - The Ontarion, Guelph, Sept 2010, by Patrick McEachnie


Residing in Canada's capital city of Ottawa ON, The Murder Plans have released their newest offering called Good Omens. The 11-song CD is definitely a well crafted listening pleasure. Starting out with the haunting song “Someday I Won't” which weaves a particular feeling through the listener to set up the rest of the songs that follow. Melancholy, strong and patient are words that best describe this song. In comparing these songs to their 2007 debut EP, this is a much more introspective offering. “Tell A Lie” is a song that is moody, dark and brooding in its melody and chord structure. The music through all songs is at times funky, jazzy, rocking and brooding – just the sort of music you would expect from a band that is emerging into its own style of music. Recorded and mixed by Dean Watson at Gallery Studios (the Soiree, Ana Miura, Jetplanes of Abraham) and mastering done by Phil Bova of Bova Sound (Jason Collett, Zeus, Hiltotrons, Arts & Crafts), the checks and balances are pretty much perfect. Other standout songs are “Hurt Somebody”, “A Minefield” and “Electric Lights” for this writer based on the remarkable seamless melodies and the way the songs make you feel...almost as if the band were in my living room and playing only to me. A job well done!

You can find The Murder Plans at their MYSPACE page which will give you various videos and links to where you can buy this CD as well as vinyl. - North By East West, by Jade Sperry


The Murder Plans may not have set out to write a love letter to this city, but that’s just what they did in their new self-released album Good Omens. After going on hiatus to figure out their sound after their self-titled debut EP in 2007 bassist/vocalist Michael Simon admits the band scrapped “about an album and a half worth of songs” before going back into the studio with songs they liked. “People weren’t into the energy or direction of the EP, and a couples months later, neither were we.” So the group returned to Gallery Sound studio and within 9 months had created an exciting new sound and understanding of what The Murder Plans were to be. “We have a whole new mindset.” Simon explains.


Embracing a genre-bending style of dark rock music akin to the Constantines and Modest Mouse, The Murder Plans like that their sound is difficult to pin down. Alternating vocals between Connor McGuire and Simon, the band hopes to draw you back with each listen. “It might take a few listens,” Simon declares “but that’s how some of my favourite albums are.”

The album was designed to be released on vinyl shares Simon. “Both Side A and B very much have their own personality.” It is meant to be listened to in one sitting. Possessing an emotional build-up intensity similar to The National, one does not get that the band is holding back despite the quiet slow build up, rather control, encouraging the audience to listen that much closer to what is going on. Much of the new album uses low, dark tones. “Ottawa is a slow moving city”, Simon says.

Of the concepts that carries the album is a relatable story for many 20 something Ottawans. “So many friends have moved away.” The band capitalized on this theme of transition and growing older in selecting the ominous album cover image of the temporarily signless City Centre building, often named the city’s biggest eyesore. “In that moment it represented exactly what we were going through… you see this empty space but there’s something [about it].” This concept is especially poignant in the song ‘Electric Lights’, ‘there’s no place you gotta be/ so you burn as one of them.’ Just like the building, the album was motivated by the feeling of never quite fitting in, says Simon explaining that most of his bandmates actually come from small towns. Battling brooding egos and questioning relationships is just part of living in here the album hints sardonically. And with constant references to popular streets and landmarks, it’s hard not to relate.

While they poke fun at the city in their song ‘Ghost Story’, they are truly writing a love letter to the city: ‘you must be crazy to love this town, I was one of those ghosts myself… some of us try to hold our ground, some of us just float on, and never fall./ the only ghosts that stuck around, haunts the halfway house,/ I think I was one of those ghosts myself.’ Simon admits that this song in particular is his favourite because it was one of the few that made it from the original EP and set the mood for the rest of their sound. “It really set the feel,” says Simon.

Apartment613 hooks you up! Send your name to editors@apt613.ca with Murder Plans in the title to have a chance to win The Murder Plans’ Good Omens on VINYL 12” or CD. (1 of each is up for grabs!). Deadline for entry is 11:59pm on Sunday, October 3rd. The Murder Plans play this Friday, October 1st at Live Lounge (128.5 York St) at 9 pm with The Balconies. - Apt. 613, September 2010, Samantha Everts


On les attendait de pied ferme. Après être complètement disparus de la scène régionale pendant près de deux ans, voilà que The Murder Plans lancent leur premier album officiel. Verdict: l'attente en aura bel et bien valu la peine. Au fil de Good Omens, les Murder Plans proposent maintes histoires d'alibis alambiqués, quelques lettres ouvertes particulièrement émouvantes et une superbe réflexion pop-rock aux influences à tout coup assumées (Springsteen, The Replacements). Les plus succinctes et contemplatives (Ghost Story, Blue Collar) font frissonner par leur habileté à peindre des tableaux évocateurs tandis que les plus rythmées (Tell a Lie) mettent en lumière une formation qui n'a jamais mieux sonné. - Voir Montreal, September 2010, G. Moffet


Ottawa band The Murder Plans recently released their first full-length album of awe-inspiring lyrics and mellow sounds. The deep and somewhat raspy voice of lead vocalist Connor McGuire adds maturity to a band that sounds like it’s already made up of musical veterans. The highly anticipated album is nothing fancy but sometimes simplicity is best. The music does speak for itself when it comes to these rockers, which leaves no need for flashy sounds and outrageous lyrics. Tell A Lie discusses self-struggle and the album as a whole mixes up life experiences: “I think there’s something wrong with me / I cannot tell a lie and that’s a lie.” The Murder Plans have toured with the likes of The Sadies and Hey Rosetta! to name a couple. The mellow sounds are sure to lure you in regardless of your familiarity with this rock genre. 4 / 5 stars - The Uniter: Winnipeg's Weekly Urban Journal. By Kathleen Cerrer


The Murder Plans discover that the perfect crime is not unlike the perfect album - it's never as easy as you think it's going to be

It's not often that Alfred Hitchcock, that bulbous-headed king of suspense, comes up in the context of a discussion about music. Less still that his words should pop into my head over lunch at the Mayflower - too much ketchup on the chips, I guess. But it's not the food. Connor McGuire and Michael Simon, the two frontmen for Ottawa band The Murder Plans, are on the cusp of releasing their first full-length album, Good Omens. The two of these Murder Plans lay bare a process, from genesis to the upcoming CD release, that brings ol' Albert to mind: "One must never set up a murder," said Hitch. "They must happen unexpectedly, as in life."
"We actually booked two weekends with the intention of recording a full album and being done in two months," recalls Simon wryly. "It ended up almost two years to the day that it is actually coming out." Murder plans, as Hitchcock rightly indicated, are never straightforward.

After earning honourable mentions in XPress' 2007 Best of Ottawa survey for Best New Artist and Best New Album, The Murder Plans appeared to be a local outfit on the rise. Their particular mix of elements was earning comparisons to the likes of Wilco, The Constantines and The Talking Heads. CBC Radio got on board. Gigs with The Sadies, Winter Gloves and Hey Rosetta! followed.

Fascination over the band's name - copped from lyrics to the Nick Cave song Deanna - dominated conversation. Whether the band liked it or not, murder plans were always in their future - the demise of

a sound, at least.

"What happened was that we released our 2007 self-titled EP and none of us liked it," recalls McGuire. "We liked it at the time, but it was what it was. We changed the lineup of the band and went into the studio and recorded almost enough for a whole other album. We got together after recording all of this and decided that wasn't the sound that we wanted anymore. We just decided that we didn't want to do it anymore. I don't know how it happened."

"I remember we were all sitting around listening to the first mixes back from Dean [Watson] at Gallery Studios," adds Simon. "Everybody walks in from rehearsal, all kind of down. I think I said something like, 'Should this song be on the album?' and it [prompted] someone to say something about another song, leading to another song. All of a sudden, we all realized that nobody was happy with what we were doing but didn't want to rock the boat. So we decided to cut our losses and drive in one direction to find our sound." It feels like The Murder Plans actually formed their sound in the recording of this album.

THE FUTURE REVEALS ITSELF

Good Omens, the end result of the band's labours - a band now including Joel Jacques (keys, lap steel, guitar and vox) and Nicholas Descarie (drums) - is a very tight, listenable package of songs, ranging from upbeat, almost dance-worthy numbers to a slower, more contemplative range of structures.

"When the album was finally revealed to us, we actually liked it," says McGuire, the original surprise still palpable. "It was a completely different process from what we were doing before. Still, it was pretty much exactly what we wanted to do, and that's why it took sooo long."

"There was one song that we cut, literally two days before we sent it to pressing. We had to reorder the entire album," says Simon. "Taking the song was like pulling a thorn from your foot. Good song in a different context, but whip it out of there and the whole album gelled."

"I think the real binding theme, if there is one in this album, is that of complete and constant change. You wouldn't think it would bring everything together so much, but it does," concludes McGuire.

Incubated in a morass of unexpected developments itself, Good Omens' carefully wrought song structure unsurprisingly reflects the band's love for classic albums - albums also birthed in troubled circumstances.

"People never talk about putting an order to the tracks on a record," says McGuire. "It's so strange, because it makes such a difference. Take Music From Big Pink or Dark Side of the Moon - if they had ordered those albums differently, it would never have worked. Ultimately, I think we were the most optimistic we've ever been in the first tracks, but there is definitely something darker beneath the surface of the whole."

"We're pretty intuitive people, and we've sometimes talked about the band's name as something that won't let us go," says Simon. "Murder Plans has stuck with us, and we've kind of grown into it with our sound, this odd group of four people coming together. It's all been change, but not murder - it's a plan."

The Murder Plans

Good Omens CD release
w/ Ornaments, Darling DeMaes
@ Elmdale Tavern, Sept. 24, 10 p.m. - Xpress, September 16th, 2010


Discography

The Murder Plans EP (2007)
Good Omens, early EP release (June 2010)
Good Omens, full length album release (September 2010)

Photos

Bio


The Murder Plans are an Ottawa foursome whose brooding, cathartic sound has garnered them comparisons to the likes of Wilco, Constantines, The Talking Heads and Leonard Cohen. Formed in a basement apartment in the winter of 2007, Nicholas Descarie (percussion), Joel Jacques (keys), Connor McGuire (guitar, vocals) and Michael Simon (bass, vocals) have become known for their evocative harmonies, vibrant keys and autumnal lyrics inspired by the wind-whipped cityscape of the Nation’s Capital. From their auspicious beginnings - they were awarded Honourable Mentions in both the Best New Artist and Best Album categories in the Ottawa Xpress 2007 Reader’s Poll for their self-titled EP - The Murder Plans have since played sold-out concerts with The Sadies, Winter Gloves, Hey Rosetta! and Lowest of the Low and were featured on the CBC Radio 3 Track of the Day podcast in a week that also featured The Deadly Snakes and You Say Party!. Their highly anticipated first full-length album, Good Omens, was released to widespread critical acclaim in September of 2010 and has been featured by music critics as a top album of 2010.