Release Date: Jan 17, 2020
Record label: Persona Non Grata
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
Ask a dozen people to define the term "indie rock" and you'll probably get a dozen different answers that include word combinations like "Archers of Loaf" and "Foster the People" and "indie rock is dead" and "sir, this is a Wendy's." As the term has evolved over the past few decades--from its origins denoting music released by an independent record label to a vague descriptor of a certain kind of sound--it's no wonder the words have lost much of their meaning. Make no mistake, however: Kiwi Jr. is an indie rock band.
It'd be understandable to initially confuse Kiwi Jr.'s Leslie as an obscure, early-eighties I.R.S. recording. But let me stop you before you hop onto YouTube in search of any long-lost archival footage—the Southern-tinged jangle-pop track comes from four Prince Edward Island musicians who now call Toronto their home. Leslie is just one of the sly, yet rickety tracks found on their debut full-length album, Football Money.
In 2013, Jeremy Gaudet relocated from Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward Island, to its biggest city, Toronto. And he soon became acquainted with the cruel irony of moving to a vibrant, bustling metropolis overflowing with cultural activity and opportunity--i.e., that you often need to find a soul-sucking, creativity-stunting desk job to survive there. (A librarian by trade, Gaudet has quipped that "I work in Excel.") A natural big-city survival strategy is to carve out a small community that reminds you of home--which Gaudet did by starting a band with fellow Charlottetown expats Mike Walker (bass), Brohan Moore (drums), and Brian Murphy (guitar).
Keeping it at under 30 minutes, Toronto based Kiwi Jr have somehow managed to fill their concise debut Football Money with a long list of influential checkpoints, humour aplenty and stacks of melodic joy. Well schooled in the ways of jangly guitar (think R. E.
Rating: NNNN Though all members hail from Charlottetown, PEI, and they're signed to Vancouver's Mint Records, Kiwi Jr. are very much a part of Toronto's independent music scene. Leaving the Birthplace of Confederation for the Big Smoke isn't the only thing they have in common with fellow transplants Alvvays: both bands share Brian Murphy, who pulls double duty on bass with Alvvays and guitar with Kiwi Jr.