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artist The Dears

Montreal, QC, CANADA
Pheromone Recordings
Alt Pop, Alt Rock

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biographical info


Born in 1995, The Dears is the lifework of Murray A. Lightburn. Son of a jazzman-turned-preacher, Lightburn’s attunement to songwriting was shaped equally by nineties rock and a broad tableau of gospel, soul, and pop music. Early incarnations of The Dears brought bassist Roberto Arquilla into the fold, followed by Natalia Yanchak on vocals and keys. In the summer of 1998, the band holed up in a house in Westmount, Quebec: a makeshift studio built of borrowed gear and a rented tape machine. With their $1,000 recording budget they could only get one reel of tape, and had to track strings in Yanchak's sweltering apartment. Against all odds, debut LP End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story emerged in 2000 to national acclaim and cultish admiration.

The Dears’ second album, 2003’s No Cities Left, swept the group from Montreal notoriety to international rapture. The NME hailed The Dears as “Probably the best new band in the world.” As The Dears tackled the globe and attracted hysterical adulation, Rob Benvie surrendered the guitarist position to Patrick Krief, whose impassioned fretwork saw The Dears through its most frenzied period. The band toured incessantly for months behind No Cities Left, then jumped right into recording its follow-up, 2006's Gang of Losers.

Internal instability and the dynamics of a relentless workload led to the band’s fracture, and once the touring behind Gang of Losers came to a conclusion, The Dears almost called it quits. Instead, Lightburn and Yanchak headed into the studio, knowing only there was work to be done. They recruited past bandmates Arquilla, Krief, and Benvie - all of whom had moved on to other projects - with uncertain expectations. The record that emerged would become 2008's Missiles. Though this group of musicians wasn't ready to tour behind that album, it was evident something special was in the works.  

After filling in on bass for a tour in 2009, Benvie said to Lightburn: "Whatever you're doing this Fall, I'm in," before leaving for India for months. The final hometown show on this same tour, Lightburn recalls a special appearance from Krief: “...reprising his role from "Lights Off" I gave him my guitar and left the stage while he stood in the center, blazing his way through that solo.” The writing was on the wall: The Dears would come back, from an almost death.

The fruits of a decades-long history: ambitious recordings, innumerable sweaty shows, a million miles survived, and a thousand hearts shattered. Throughout, Murray Lightburn, Natalia Yanchak, Roberto Arquilla, Robert Benvie, and Patrick Krief have been bound by friendship, purpose, trust, and gallons of booze and tears. Anchored by drummer Jeff Luciani, The Dears began working in a newfound spirit of collaboration.

Between the group, MP3 demos began circulating via email. MB upon MB of tracks were zipped, uploaded, downloaded, transformed, uploaded and downloaded again. Spontaneous, late-night meetings would yield the best work of their lives: music inspired

by death, fearlessness, rage and promise. For The Dears, this was a new way of doing things and hundreds of ideas were considered for the album.

After months of rehearsals, thirteen standout songs emerged. Rather than rush into the studio, the band headed to their beloved Mexico City for a three-night residency to debut new material to some of their most impassioned supporters.

Upon the band's return, the gear was shipped straight from Montreal's Trudeau airport to the studio. The next day, The Dears began making what some are already calling "rock history." Sixteen days later, a hard drive filled with 150 GBs of recorded material was swaddled in bubble wrap and shipped across the continent to producer Tony Hoffer in Los Angeles. As the band continued to record and upload additional tracks, Tony began mixing down what would be christened Degeneration Street. The final mixes were mastered by "Big Bass" Brian Gardner. The result: 589 MBs of glory. 

Degeneration Street, the fifth album from The Dears, delivers the passion and soul that has earned the band the adoration of fans and critics worldwide. From the electrifying nihilist pop anthem “Thrones,” to the star-scraping heights of “Galactic Tides;” from the grimy opener “Omega Dog,” to the Motown sci-fi of “Lamentation,” Degeneration Street is, definitively, The Dears.




The Dears


Murray LIGHTBURN - Vocals, Guitars, Other

Natalia YANCHAK- Keyboards, Vocals

Robert BENVIE - Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals

Patrick KRIEF - Guitars, Vocals

Roberto ARQUILLA - Bass Guitar, Vocals

Jeff LUCIANI- Drums, Percussion



-generate -degenerate -filter noise into a hush -reckon w/ danger -go further -be petty but generous -live w/ youth's failing wisdom -fan/guard the flame of yesteryear -plunge into the blinding light -charge the future -bury the past -weigh mortgages and taxes -sling bruised guitars over backs -lament while seeking stars -view the world in all its furor -give up the throne -soak in blood -strum -sing -synthesize -resample -take the amp off standby -back up the hard drive -write, with a pen on paper  -drink and disagree w/ friends -degeneration street -the dears.



Natalia Yanchak
Murray Lightburn
Patrick Krief
Rob Benvie
Roberto Arquilla
Jeff Luciani
Arts & Crafts: 2003-2013
Arts & Crafts
April, 2013
List Tracks ▼
Live At Pasaguero
Pheromone Recordings
November, 2012
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Degeneration Street
Pheromone Recordings
February, 2011
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Omega Dog single
Pheromone Recordings
October, 2010
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MapleMusic Recordings
October, 2008
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Gang of Losers
MapleMusic Recordings
September, 2006
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War Child comp.
Sony/ BMG
September, 2006
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Protest EP
September, 2002
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Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique (remastered)
April, 2002
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Nor The Dahlias: The Dears 1995-1998
Grenadine Records
December, 2001
List Tracks ▼
Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique
August, 2001
List Tracks ▼
End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story
June, 2000
List Tracks ▼


Ticket to Immortality 4:01

Ticket to Immortality

CD: "Gang of Losers" (Maple Music) 2006 | Directed By: Maxime Giroux

Whites Only Party 3:08

Whites Only Party

CD: "Gang of Losers" (Maple Music) 2006 | Directed By: NA

where to buy
500-6600 St Urbain, Montreal, QC, H3S3G8
514 271 7848
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