October 29th, 2008

Sylvie Interview in Exclaim

November issue of Exclaim has a feature interview with Sylvie

Sylvie’s Home Sweet Home
By Josiah Hughes

Regina’s Sylvie are a hometown band if there has ever been one. After three albums and multiple North American tours, the band still consider friends like Ghosts of Modern Man and Geronimo as their main influences, and find homesickness the hardest part of touring. After ten years as a band, guitarist and singer Joel Passmore and bassist Riva Racette have built a life on forward momentum.

“It’s been a constant progression,” Passmore says. “I look back years ago and it was a completely different band.” That constant self-improvement can be seen throughout the band’s discography. “If we’re just going to sit at home and do the things we’ve already done, I think it would taper off and eventually we might not be content.”

Though they grew up and discovered independent music in the same town, they didn’t even notice each other until later. “Joel and I lived parallel lives,” Racette remembers. “We were both in a French immersion high school, and we didn’t hang out at all.” Eventually, they were introduced by a mutual friend and started a band together. “We went through two years of playing crappy, trying-to-figure-out-your-instruments music,” she says. It was a time of awkward change that found them playing in bands with names like “Ned of the Bush” and “Funkenstein” before finding their footing with Sylvie. Trees and Shade Are Our Only Fences, the band’s third album, is arguably their defining statement. Aided by guitarist Chris Notenboom, keyboardist Erin Passmore, and drummer Jeff Romanyk, the band have combined off-kilter, post-hardcore aggression with plateaus of indie rock as sprawling and vast as their prairie home. In its 11 tracks, the album combines harmonic guitars, layered synths, and busy drumming with Passmore and Racette’s soothing vocals for a modernized, Canadian version of Washington, DC indie rock.

It only made sense, then, for the band to ask East coast post-hardcore mainstay J. Robbins to record Trees and Shade. As huge fans of Burning Airlines and Jawbox in high school, it was somewhat of a celebrity encounter. “Chris sent this email to J., kind of a shot in the dark, and then we actually heard back from him,” Racette recalls. “I was like, ‘Oh my god! J. Robbins knows that I, Riva, exist in the world!” Though he first thought of it as a “ridiculous pipe dream,” Passmore’s experience with Robbins was similar as it materialized. “It was more like ‘I want to go eat breakfast with J. Robbins and talk about recording after,’” he says.

The recording process was delayed by a year due to Robbins’ son Callum being diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, but the band eventually struck a balance that allowed Robbins plenty of time to spend at home. “We developed a schedule where he was able to go home at dinner time, and then come back.” In exchange, Robbins created a relaxed but challenging environment, encouraging the band to perfect their performance. “Focus and performance in the studio comes across way more than you think,” Passmore says. “It really gave us the confidence to play that way live.”

That live aspect has been tested this autumn with months of touring. While that means a lot of time away from Regina, the band have found home in each other. “For someone like me, who tends to get homesick and miss my dogs, it makes it that much better to have Joel around,” Racette says. “When you’ve spent a few weeks with everyone else, the van eventually feels like home.” She pauses for a second, then adds with a self-conscious chuckle, “I like being in a band with my man.”

Category: Sylvie

October 27th, 2008

Sylvie Interview in ChartAttack

Head over to for full interview.

by Shawn Despres
October 24, 2008

Sylvie’s third full-length Trees And Shade Are Our Only Fences has a lot to live up to. The Regina quintet’s 2003 debut, I Wish I Was Driving, received a nomination for outstanding album of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMA). Their top-notch sophomore effort, An Electric Trace, garnered more accolades and netted the act the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award in 2006.

Recently released by Smallman Records, the new album was recorded by J. Robbins (Against Me!, Jawbreaker) at his Baltimore, Md. studio over the course of three weeks in August 2007.

ChartAttack caught up with bassist Riva Farrell Racette for a chat about the disc and why it’s oh so important to pack your own stuff when traveling.

ChartAttack: What was working with J. Robbins like?
From bands that J. has been a part of [Jawbox, Channels] and being fans of records he had produced we knew he would be perfect for us and we were right. Recording with J. was the best thing to ever happen to any of us. It honestly was a dream come true. Simply hearing back from him was a thrill, not to mention that he actually liked our music. That in itself was quite validating.

We drove down to the studio in three days and stayed in a nearby apartment. There are no words to express the impact the entire experience had on us; from the drive down, to living in Baltimore, to going to the studio every day to work with J.

What are some of your more lasting memories from the sessions?
How’s this for the most awkward situation ever? I wasn’t present when all our gear was packed for the trip to Baltimore. I think I was packing and cleaning the house at the last minute or something typical like that. We get to the studio, start setting up our gear and I can’t find my bass anywhere. I search around in silent panic, but was finally forced to approach J. sheepishly and tell him that my bass was in Regina. It was the worst thing to be in my hero’s studio, and essentially unprepared. He was really understanding and it turned out well. I got to use his wife Janet Morgan’s bass on the recording and it sounded stellar.

I also remember J. asking Jeff [Romanyk] if he could tune his drums. Jeff was like “Hell yeah, J. Robbins can tune my drums,” and kept saying “J. Robbins is totally tuning my drums right now.” They sounded wicked.

Was there anything that you wanted to do differently from past releases with the writing and recording of Trees And Shade Are Our Only Fences?
From my perspective, I would say no. I think for sure we wanted to keep the integrity of our voices and instruments while recording. J. really hoped to get as much as he could from live takes, which didn’t always pan out, but was a goal nonetheless. When I close my eyes to listen to this record, I can picture a band actually playing. Not just instruments and vocal parts to songs.

An Electric Trace helped you capture the CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award. Do you think Trees And Shades Are Our Only Fences can score the band next year’s Polaris Prize and the $20,000 that comes with it?
Do you think this record could win us the Polaris prize? If so, that’d be sweet. We have paid out of pocket and beyond for this record and other band related stuff. If we won the prize, we would pay some band debts to get our heads above water again.

What are three reasons why all Canadian music fans should listen to Trees And Shades Are Our Only Fences when it comes out in October?
Never mind listen — friggin’ buy the thing! First, it’s really good, for real. Second, it’s a definite progression from the previous record, not just the same formulas for similar songs. Third, it would help us to keep up with this craft.

Category: Sylvie

October 24th, 2008

Through The Noise Tours Endures More Tragedy

This is just getting fucking ridiculous…

Comeback Kid has always been a resilient band and an event this week did nothing but solidify that fact. During the morning of Thursday, Oct. 23rd, Comeback Kid had their van and trailer stolen outside their hotel in Montreal. After driving to Montreal following a show in Drummondville, PQ, the band checked into their hotel at 2:30am and parked the van in a public lot. When they returned to the lot the following afternoon to go to the venue, the van was gone. “We called around to make sure the van hadn’t just been towed,” said guitarist Jeremy Hiebert “and once we realized what had happened, we just tried to deal with it”. In addition to their van and trailer, the band lost all of their gear and merchandise, as well as their personal belongings. While some people would be deterred by such an incident, Comeback Kid just forged on. Using borrowed gear they played Thursday night in Montreal, headlining the Through The Noise Tour with Misery Signals, Bane, Out Break, Shai Hulud and Grave Maker. They will finish the tour with dates in Toronto, London, Guelph and Hamilton before returning home and resting up before a South American tour in November.

Category: Comeback Kid

October 24th, 2008

Carpenter On Tour

New Dates Posted

Carpenter head out across western Canada with Living with Lions and Aspirations in November. Below are the tour dates so far:

11/01/2008 - Carpenter North Vancouver, BC
11/08/2008 - Carpenter Vancouver, BC
11/12/2008 - Carpenter Calgary, AB
11/13/2008 - Carpenter Edmonton, AB
11/14/2008 - Carpenter Saskatoon, SK
11/15/2008 - Carpenter Regina, SK
11/16/2008 - Carpenter Winnipeg, MB
11/18/2008 - Carpenter Medicine Hat, AB

Category: Carpenter

October 23rd, 2008

Comeback Kid Interview

A podcast interview with

Ninjoelspy gets into a a semi-heated discussion with Andrew and Jeremy from Comeback Kid,  regarding violence at Hardcore shows, the scene in their hometown of Winnipeg and some memorable CBK shows from the past. Go To:

Category: Comeback Kid

October 22nd, 2008

New Ghosts of Modern Man Dates Posted

GOMM will be doing shows in central Canada to get them to the recording studio:

Dates so far:
Nov 5 - Winnipeg, MB @ Pyramid
Nov 6 - Thunder Bay, ON @ Black Pirates Club
Nov 8 - Toronto, ON @ The Horseshoe

Category: Ghosts of Modern Man

October 22nd, 2008

Wanna Hear the New Sylvie?

Hit their page now, for a full album stream of Trees & Shade Are Our Only Fences.

Go To: . Limited time offer. NO REFUNDS.

Category: Sylvie

October 22nd, 2008

Sylvie Review from

Go Here to read the review in full.

Indie rock has a huge underground following, and while some bands are able to break open into the mainstream with some radio airplay, others prefer playing clubs and halls and moving around by word of mouth. “Trees and Shade Are Our Only Fences”, by Saskatchewan’s own Sylvie, has the power to do both.

The first track, “Please Make It Home”, blasts out of the speakers with a direct aggression, not a hostile aggression, which sounds like it could be their first single that was made for the airwaves. The vocals have a deeper Tragically Hip appeal, plus the addition of female vocals adds a nice soft touch to the overall effort.
While some tracks have the aggressive moniker, others seep a poppy cheerfulness like the members are just having a good time singing and playing. As the album moves along their roots emerge even more as independent musicians. “Mallets” has everyone playing their instruments in a forceful manner, again not a hostile manner; drums beating whenever they have the chance, clean guitars played with attitude like they were the same guitars used by Pretty Girls Make Graves.

Overall it’s a good solid effort for Syvlie’s third time around. Makes me wonder if listening to the extensive “Trees and Shade Are Our Only Fences” gives off a feeling of Saskatchewan living.

Category: Sylvie

October 22nd, 2008

Smallman Records Email Update October 21, 2008

Our semi-annual email update.

Smallman Records Update October 21, 2008


News flash. New Sylvie album is out today. Trees and Shade are Our Only Fences hits Canadian streets (you know, the ones that are lined with Tim Horton’s alongside crying amateur stock brokers who thought that they were so smart when they invested in the inflated IPO of, well, Tim Horton’s) with a fury today. Hmm, bad choice of words. Perhaps not furious. More like a soothing velvety (not velveeta) embrace. Yes, that’s it. How better to describe 11 songs wrapped in dark undertones, intricate yet challenging musical imagery and wonderful vocal harmonies. Everytime I listen to this I discover new things. Personal fave: Dark Ages.

Myspace Canada was gracious enough to do a full album stream feature for the past four days. Thankfully, Warner Music Group (USA) was rapacious enough to shut it down because they thought that they had some claim to copyright that, surprisingly, was not theirs. Lovely. How will we solve this? We’re putting the full album up for stream again today at . So get there before the Bronfman’s do.

Sylvie is on tour right now in the USA with Minus The Bear. This includes a show at CMJ in NY. So there. They return to Canada in November for shows in the Maritimes and across western Canada.


If by “Sell Outs” you mean that almost every show on the present Through The Noise Tour has been one, then yes, they are. Not what you were thinking? Well, how about the fact that the brand new through The Noise DVD PLUS Bonus CD (wha…?) was number 18 on the HMV sales charts this past week? No? Well, that’s all I have. My only suggestion is that you head out to the last few shows
on this tour. With a line up that includes Misery Signals, Bane, Shai Hulud, Outbreak and Grave Maker, this is a great tour that is not to be missed. Plus, the next time that CBK play live in North America could by light years away. They are however scheduled for South America and Australia in the upcoming months. Viva Comachos and Kangaroos!


In a case of “Holy shit, I thought that we had a great hardcore name until we almost fucking died”, Grave Maker was involved in a horrible accident outside of Revelstoke, BC. The van rolled four (yes, that’s 1+1+1+1) times before sliding down a ditch. Though there were some serious injuries, amazingly all members plus Andrew from Comeback Kid and Matt from Sights & Sounds were ok. Through all of this, we have to award them the Employee of the Month or some other such accolade. Why? Well, even though - a) the van is crushed and un-driveable, b) the singer had to stay behind in BC for a few days to recuperate and then flew to Ottawa to rejoin the tour, and c) The trailer with all of their instruments and gear is mashed like butternut squash at thanksgiving - they stayed on the tour and continued to play shows with members from other bands filling in at vocals until they were rejoined by their singer. Take that.

This all happened four days before the release of their debut album in Canada - Bury Me At Sea. Which is now available in all of your favourite locations, including your best friend’s computer where it was dumped via some fly by night Indonesian download site.


Oh yes, of course. Sights & Sounds just finished the first stage of recording with Devon Townsend. We are waiting with sweaty hands to give that little nugget a listen. Watch for a late March/early April release.

The Reason play a few southern Ontario “Hometown” shows before driving down to one of the Carolina’s (north, south, east or west… so many options) to begin recording the follow up to their 2007 release.That one will be out in early 2009. As well, watch for a digital only release coming from them in December. More info on that shortly.

Passenger Action have just finished recording with Greg Dawson in Brampton, ON, and are putting the finishing touches on that full length. Looking at a February release on that one.

Fellow Prairie-ites, Ghosts of Modern Man are going into the studio in November with Monsieur Dawson as well. They’ll be doing a few shows on the way to Ontario. Watch for that release in February/March as well.

Category: General

October 21st, 2008

The Reason Video Blog

The Reason have posted their second video blog featuring Steve’s initiation:

Category: The Reason

October 20th, 2008

Sylvie Live Review

Live review from their Montreal QC show this Past weekend.

See the full review here:

Category: Sylvie

October 20th, 2008

Sylvie Charting on Canadian College

In their first week at College Radio, Sylvie has gotten some good loving.

Last week was the first week that Trees and Shade are our only Fences was available at college radio in Canada. The result was that they were added at 18 stations and have started charting at a number of stations across Canada, including:

#4 - CFRU Hamilton ON
#14 - CFOU Trois Rivieres, QC
#15 - CJLO Montreal, QC
#17 - CHMR St. John’s, NL
#25 - CFRE Mississaugua, ON
#28 - CJUM Winnipeg, MB

Category: Sylvie

October 20th, 2008

Broadway Calls Interview with the Advocate

With Ty Vaughn on October 17/08.

Category: Broadway Calls

October 16th, 2008

Comeback Kid Hit the Big Time

If you call Etalk Daily The Big Time.

But it could be. Anyways, Etalk did a little blurb on Comeback Kid’s release and tour this past week.
View it here:

Category: Comeback Kid

October 16th, 2008

Sylvie Interview with Toronto Star

Ben Rayner preview interview for their show in Toronto tonight.

Click here for the review:

or for you lazy asses, read on:

Sylvie ready for the big time

Regina band cranks up their melodicism and musicianship on impressive new CD
Oct 16, 2008 04:30 AM
Be the first to comment on this article…
Ben Rayner
Pop Music Critic

Sylvie was never particularly half-assed in the chops department to begin with, but the Regina quintet pushes itself to daunting new levels of musicianship and melodicism on its new album, Trees and Shade are Our Only Fences.

Recorded with former Jawbox frontman and top-notch producer J. Robbins (Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, Promise Ring), the band’s third disc arrives next Tuesday via Smallman Records set entirely on “gasp.” It’s a racing mix of pop prettiness and tricky post-punk dexterity, one unafraid of emo-ish power ballads and high harmonies, that ups the ante considerably from 2005’s excellent An Electric Trace and should probably elevate Sylvie to that mythical “next level” once audiences get a couple more cracks at the band’s feverish live show.

Frontman and guitarist Joel Passmore – joined in the band by his wife and bassist non pareil Riva Farrell Racette, guitarist Chris Notenboom, drummer Jeff Romanyk and new addition Erin Passmore, his little sister, on keyboards – says the band had no choice but to step up its game.

Q: I’m really impressed by the playing on this record.

A: We planned for almost a year about going up to Baltimore to record with J. Robbins, so I think the whole goal was to get there and be as prepared as possible and, obviously, be open to his suggestions. And we made sure he knew that before we went in ... We all sort of felt that we were on top of our business. And, I mean, rightly so. You don’t want to go work with a guy like J. Robbins and be half-assed – although Riva forgot her bass. We got to Baltimore and were unloading and she realized we’d forgotten to bring her bass. So that was the first awkward conversation.

Q: What sorts of ideas did he bring to the record?

A: There’s a couple of arrangement ideas and some strings on the record. We were going to use a Mellotron, but he said, `You know what? I think we should use real strings.’ So he set all that up after we’d left and had them come in. Mostly, though, he got in there and got his hands dirty. He tuned the drums to the room. He set up a bunch of different drum setups for Jeffrey, different guitar-amp setups. He was just really involved in each song. We just took our time with sounds and he was right in there. He wasn’t waiting for us to get ready. His goal was to just, if possible, get the best in one take, especially vocally. For the most part, that was his plan, knowing that we’re primarily a live band.

Q: Your sister has now officially joined the Sylvie ranks. How did that come about?

A: About a year and a half ago, she started making small appearances onstage with us, just for certain songs. She ended up recording the record with us and was there for most of the writing, so we talked to her about committing to it and she was totally into it. It was actually a really easy process adding a member after so many years, without, for once, having someone walk away from the band and needing a replacement. It’s a lot of fun onstage, too.

Just the facts
WHO: Sylvie, with Said the Whale, the Awkward Stage and Vancougar.

WHERE: Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W.

WHEN: Tonight, 9 p.m.

COVER: $8 at the door

Category: Sylvie

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