Release Date: Oct 21, 2008
Record label: Saddle Creek
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Following his short run with Death from Above 1979, Sebastien Grainger opted to take the solo route, nixing his former band's hip-hop and punk influences for a combination of swaggering dance rock (think Head Automatica without the trashy glitz) and singer/songwriter material. "Love Is Not a Contest" is a genuine piano ballad, featuring Grainger's earnest, processed vocals and keyboard flourishes from the Stills' Liam O'Neil. The bulk of this debut record, however, devotes itself to danceability and sweaty fun.
There's more than a touch of Dave Grohl about Sebastien Grainger: from playing drums with Canadian dance-punks Death from Above 1979, he's progressed to fronting a foursquare rock outfit that isn't quite the thing his old band was. Similarly, his new sound - piledriving, anthemic, melodic - could be his ticket to bigger things than he achieved with the culty DFA79. The question is: if Grainger can write hook-heavy, arena-loving tunes like this - and there's hardly a track on this album that doesn't barrel along melodically - why hasn't he done it before? One to ponder.
If there’s a driving ethos to the ragtag band of artistic brothers and sisters that make up the nebulous genre called “indie rock”, it’s a persistent shared yearning for a sense of community. Perhaps this desire for belonging defines all musical and cultural subcultures, but it’s particularly strong in the indie community. Hippies and hipsters share more than just a prefix; they share a totalized fuzzy liberal-utopian vision of all people (or at least all the right people) united in a loose collective of artistry and common social purpose.