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artist Huron

Hamilton, ON, CANADA
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biographical info

Huron: Riff Rock?

I am not a riff guy. I've never understood it. I'm aware of what heavy guitar riffs can do to people, though. They make some people bang their heads violently and get positively rowdy: all good things. But to me, riffs always felt repetitive, similar, and kind of boring.

But after hearing Huron's new debut record - which takes equal cues from the likes of both Black Sabbath and Big Star - I finally get it. Let me explain this change of heart.

Cam, Aaron, Adam and Pete are four gentleman from Hamilton who are serious music-makers. Each one has an extensive and impressive musical resume, and their individual history is important in understanding why their debut album feels so fresh:

Cam is the most prolific songwriter I know. Sometimes prolific is used to describe quantity and not necessarily quality, but this is not the case with Cam's songs; each one is top notch. He embodies the youthful spirit of Joel Plaskett and the musicality of Neil Young.

Aaron, or the Good Reverend Overdrive as he is often affectionately called, loves guitars. While he plays a prized vintage Gibson SG in Huron, his day job is behind the pedal steel guitar, and has quickly become the most sought after young studio musician in Canada. He has appeared on a pile of excellent albums, from rockn'stoner Ian Blurton to electro-duo the Junior Boys and has performed live with everyone from roots-rock heroes the Cowboy Junkies to the Arkells (when we're lucky enough).

Pete fronted critically acclaimed, ethereal and introspective indie rockers A Northern Chorus. He has played side man to - among others - The Great Lake Swimmers and Julie Fader, and his workman-like attitude and has seen him on the road since he was 18.

Adam is a musician's musician. The kind of player that can compliment any guitar-strumming songwriter, and has the type of musical skill that is the source of envy to everyone around. On a personal note, he will sit at the nearest piano and play "Martha My Dear" on command, and this makes me very happy.

When I heard that these four were getting together to start a band, I was immediately excited about the possibilities. All of them can play a slew of instruments (and very well), all of them can write, and all of them can grow beards (though Cam's is questionable). Seeing them tear the roof off a dive bar in Ottawa was the most inspirational musical memory of the summer of 2009 for me, and I couldn't wait to hear their songs through a pair of headphones.

I went to visit them when they were recording in east Hamilton, Ontario with producer and Toronto legend Ian Blurton, and it was there that I could feel their inspiring live show connecting immediately in the studio. In the spirit of rock'nroll, they recorded live off the floor: Pete (drums) and Adam (bass) hold down the rhythm section, while Cam (guitar), and Aaron (guitar, through as many big amps as possible) co-front the unit. Cam's "King and Country" reminds me of heavier, more badass version of the Beatles' "Two of Us". Aaron's "Chicken Wing" is Cold Roses-era Ryan Adams. "The War Between" could stand up to any 90's shoe-gaze classic.

While this collection of songs could win over any Sabbath fan (I think), they deeply connect with me: a lover of soul, folk, country, and pop. Their songs aren't just riffs, they are accompanied by lyrics that are meaningful, verses I can groove to, and choruses I can sing a long with. With that said, when the heavy riff finally hits in the "Big Dig" at 3:25, it all comes together: only a pounding riff can provide that brand of physical release. Thank you, Huron: you've made riff-rock make sense.

 

Max Kerman
January 2010

lineup

Cam Malcolm guitar, vocal
Aaron Goldstein guitar, vocal, pedal steel
Adam Melnick bass, keyboards
Peter Hall drums, vocal

influences

Neil Young
Fender Amplifiers
Black Sabbath
Lynyrd Skynyrd
The Band
The Beatles
The Guess Who
Big Star
Allman Bros
Grateful Dead
Wilco
Magnolia Electric Co.
Pavement
Sun Kil Moon
Thrush Hermit
Huron
Latent Recordings
March, 2010
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where to buy
Digital download, Everywhere
CD + LP copies, Everywhere
572 College Street, Toronto, ON, M6G 1B3
(416) 537-1620
20 Wilson Street, Hamilton, ON, L8R 1C5
(905) 523-1010
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