05.28.2015 — “City Sublet” by Slow Down Molasses

Slow Down Molasses

If you only listen to one song today, make it “City Sublet” by Slow Down Molasses (2015, from the album Burnt Black Cars).

Slow Down Molasses is a five-piece indie rock/dream pop/shoegaze collective from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Sometimes their membership has swollen to as many as 14 people, but there’s really five official members right now. I don’t understand this analogy, but sometimes people refer to them as “the Broken Social Scene of the prairies”. They call themselves a “collective” as opposed to a “band”, and sometimes there are a ton of people in the mix, and they’re Canadian. That’s about where the BSS similarities end. Stylistically, Slow Down Molasses is often compared to Slowdive. I’m much more prepared to get on board with that likening than with the BSS likening.

One of the core members is Jeanette Stewart (vocals/keys/synths) who used to front a band called Jeans Boots. Her style of folky indie rock with a dash of punk earned her many comparisons to the great Julie Doiron. And that’s more than alright with me. In Jeans Boots, Stewart was always accompanied by Tyson McShane, who is the front of Slow Down Molasses.

The band just released their third album Burnt Black Cars this month, but I had never heard of them until I got something in the mail bag promoting the album. The email didn’t provide much in the way of biographical info, but it included a private link to stream the album, and it got me with the hook which was the mention of Slowdive and that massively influential Irish shoegaze band. For the record, I don’t think Slow Down Molasses sounds anything at all like MBV, but they baited the hook with that comparison.

I listened to a couple of songs and knew that I really like this. I wanted to wait until the songs from that private link went public before sharing. They haven’t yet, so I’m actually sharing an older version of a song from the new album. The version I’m sharing was on a promo flexidisc and a standalone digital single in 2012. It was produced by famous Canadian producer David Carswell.

“City Sublet” (David Carswell mix) by Slow Down Molasses

The new album (including the album version of this song) was mixed and produced by Jace Lasek from The Besnard Lakes. I can’t say enough how brilliant Jace is and how much I love Besnard Lakes. Their albums always end up in my year-end top ten. Their most recent record —Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO— was my #8 favorite album of 2013 and my second favorite Canadian album of that year. See the full list here. So after I was already hooked, it was just an added bonus to see Jace Lasek attached to this project.

The album version is substantially brighter, and the album version puts some delay on the vocals, but apart from that, there’s not much different about it. A lot of times when bands do this, the album version is drastically different. Harder, or softer, or flip-flopped coed vocals, or something like that. This isn’t one of those times.

Burnt Black Car came out on May 12, and you can order it from iTunes or amazon. Get the album, and play it loud.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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