Thighs
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Thighs

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"Thighs: they may not look it, but they hate evil"

Thighs: they may not look it, but they hate evil
By Sebastian Buzzalino

Thighs came out of Disposable Cars. Rather than a shot description for a film noir scene - the femme fatale extending her perfect gams out through the open car door as the camera roves up her body, settling on her veiled face, lowered eyes and burning cigarette - it is the inception story for one of Calgary's newer bands, one on the cusp of releasing their debut album, New Words for Awful Things.

Sitting on a patch of grass on 9th St, a few feet away from Caffe Beano, Sandy Barron, guitarist for the anatomically aware band, recounts how the project began last summer.

"It was an extension of a project that Chris Dadge, the drummer, and I had that was called Disposable Cars, and we just brought in some other people. It's kind of ended up with this line-up, the three-piece."

The three-piece is rounded out by Jacqueline Bell, who brings "rad, whirly" sounds, courtesy of "the magic of (her) keyboard," to Calgary, having recently moved from Vancouver.

Having settled on a line-up, the trio quickly got to work and started to record their debut album, New Words for Awful Things, in the studio with Lorrie Matheson.

"For this," Barron explains of their new album, "we started off with me bringing songs to the band, kind of just, 'Here's this song, let's figure it out.' I think, after this record, we'll go more in the direction of writing collaboratively. For this record, these are basically my songs, but everyone makes them sound a million times better than I could ever make it," he says with self-depreciating wit, pulling a drag of his cigarette. "I'm just a hack who drinks beer and records on a four-track."

When asked about the awful things he writes about, and the nice ways in which he phrases them, Barron hesitates a bit, as if thinking about the best - or nicest - way to psychoanalyze himself.

"I have a weird obsession with theodicy," he starts, trying to find the right words, "with the problem of evil, even though I'm anti-theological at the same time. I'm totally not a dark person, and I really like poppy shit, like the Beatles... It's more of a dispassionate obsession with things that are depressing, but taking a non-depressing manner with them. My songwriting process is like really quick: I just sit down and scribble stuff down and think about what stuff means later. It's like sort of me plumbing my own words afterwards, really."

"We don't have very black souls," pipes up Bell, her infectious laugh ringing free.

"We have super candy souls," adds Barron, grinning. "(New Words for Awful Things) is just a line from one of the songs. Generally, what I do is write songs that are about awful things, but I do it in a nice way, in a palatable way... (the songs) all started essentially as folk songs, and it was kind of Chris Dadge who made them not folk songs, which I'm eternally grateful to him for."

Attend the Thighs CD release party at the Marquee Room (Calgary) on October 24. - Beatroute, Oct. 2009


"’Tis the season to be weird Deadhorse flogs second Calgary show, Clea Anais tugs on Heartstrings"

Published October 29, 2009 by Dane Swanson in 411

Riley Brandt

Blending Neil Young swagger with modern bombast, Deadhorse is set to stun Calgary audiences
Halloween comes smack dab in the middle of the drab limbo between summer holidays and Christmas break, and reminds us of something crucial: The need to rock out and be weird. If you are unclear just how to rock out or how weird to be, take note of Deadhorse. With the swagger and groove of early ’70s Neil Young and the drugged-out bombast of more modern psychedelia (think Sweden’s Dungen or Comets on Fire), this six-piece has been howling the night away since last winter.

So why haven’t you seen its name on any marquees? Because the band took its self-described “hagg-rock” sound on a tour around the Okanagan before trying their hand at home.

“The opportunity to go on tour means you’re going to breathe, sleep and eat music all day, so it’s a good chance to solidify,” says singer (and former member of late dream-folk project Consonant C) Jennifer Creighton.

“There’s a certain sound that we get when we play together… the way we write songs, we like to put a lot of work into them,” adds guitarist and singer Daniel Vescerelli, also of Consonant C. “We were happy to test it on an audience that had no expectations.”

You can be among the first to catch Deadhorse’s impressive tornado of riffs on Thursday, November 5 at The Marquee Room — and I do mean first, since there are no known recordings of the band and this will only be its second appearance on a Calgary stage. The night will also feature Afro-Cuban rockers Beuna Buya of Victoria and yet another former Consonant C member, Clea Anais, who will unveil her hushed solo EP, Heartstrings.

Speaking of new releases, local garage-rock hardasses Sharp Ends have been perking up ears all over the world in recent weeks with their two 7-inch releases on Chicago’s Hozac Records (home of Nobunny and buzzed-about The Smith Westerns) and Lethbridge’s Mammoth Cave Records. They’ll be taking in a weekend of non-stop celebration as they party the night away this Halloween at The Marquee Room with cavernous indie outfit Extra Happy Ghost and death-punk band The Rigormorticians, then again the following night with Lethbridge’s Moby Dicks (who are commemorating the release of their own 7-inch on Mammoth Cave) and Friendo at the Bamboo Tiki Lounge.

If you’re still not sure about what it means to be weird, head over to Weeds Café on November 11 to catch an evening of twisting, turning experimentalism, courtesy of Free Nude Celebs (a.k.a. Jordon Hossack of Azeda Booth), Eric Hamelin and Jay Crocker’s No More Shapes and torrents of noise from Beneath These Idle Tides.

If it’s the rock part you’re having trouble with, try checking out the elder statesmen of Calgary’s punk rock scene, The Martyr Index, at Broken City on Thursday, November 19, along with pals The Falling Pianos. They’ll teach you a thing or two.

Continuing the November new release train, Jay Crocker collaborator Ryan Bourne will release his debut LP, Supermodern World of Beauty, via Crocker’s Artunit Recording Kompany on November 21 at The Marquee Room. His affected indie-rock is often augmented by unpredictable and eccentric arrangements for his live shows (harp, horns and improvised noise were featured in previous lineups), so it’ll be interesting to see not only what sounds he brings with him this time around, but what he chose for permanent inclusion on the album. Power-pop three-piece Thighs will support, who, if you recall, just released their debut CD, New Words for Awful Things. Old Dane had a chance to pick up the beautifully packaged disc at the release party and believe me, it has some of the catchiest and warmest sounds to grace this city all year. - FFWD Weekly


Discography

Oct. 2009, full length 'New Words for Awful Things'
Self-released, recorded by Lorrie Matheson.

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Bio

Thighs is a band from Calgary, Alberta. Their primary concerns, with respect to the act of writing and playing songs, are concision, adhesiveness, and developing a strong sense of mutual satisfaction. Their first album, New Words For Awful Things, recorded & mixed by Lorrie Matheson during the summer of 2009, has just been released by the band, under the Tranist imprint.

Comprised of songwriter/vocalist/guitarist Sandy Barron (ex-Remote Kid, Church of the Very Bright Lights), Jacqueline Bell on keyboard (Crests aka A Relative Distance, Chris Smith), and Chris Dadge on drums and vocals (Phil Withers, Jay Crocker, Lab Coast), Thighs picked up in late 2008 where Disposable Cars left off in 2007. Barron and Dadge played together in that band, and thus formed the basis of Thighs. After a dazzling array of lineup changes throughout 2008 and early '09, they settled on the trio format, facilitated by Bell's return to Calgary from Vancouver around the same time.

The album presents nine songs of melodic pop music. Old upright pianos pick up where boy/girl harmonies leave off, and clean, economical drum parts are underscored by the excellent keyboard arrangements. At times one senses a whiff of Pollard, Bejar, Tweedy, or the like, but, as with his previous groups, Barron has displayed a unique approach as both as a melodist and lyricist. Both aspects reward repeated listening, but there's an urgency that makes the music automatically appealing.

New Words For Awful Things was recorded by Lorrie Matheson at Arch Audio in Calgary, mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket in Montreal. It was released in late October of 2009.