. : : July 22nd, 2006 : : .
What if Morrissy was a lesbian, and the Smiths were an all-girl band from British Columbia, Canada?
Well, if you were a fan of indie rock music in the mid-2000s, you might not have to wonder very hard. Especially if you were exposed to The Organ.
Had you blinked, you might’ve missed it. If you hadn’t, you might have caught the band’s debut EP Sinking Hearts, or the follow up Grab That Gun (the latter essentially a re-recorded and expanded version of the EP).
Grab That Gun spent “more time on top of the Canadian campus-radio charts than any other record released that year” (Wikipedia), and with good reason. The band’s titular instrument heavily encompasses the retro-inspired new wave pop and frontwoman Katie Sketch‘s dour lyrics boldly pay tribute to the influences that made it feel like they could’ve been The Smiths for the Millennial generation.
Single Brother even received a large signal boost when it was featured on Showtime’s smash hit television program The L Word and subsequent soundtrack.
Unfortunately, by that point, the band had all but dissolved. Citing health and band politics, both accentuated by the grind of constant touring, the group disbanded two years following the album’s release, and before a proper sophomore album could be produced.
Fans who stuck around were treated to the post-humous release in the Thieves EP. Comprised of re-recorded demos to placate their label, who was threatening to release unfinished recordings to recoup on sunk costs, the disc is as uneven and disjointed as the recording session appears to have been. Members recorded their parts separately, in virtual isolation from one another, to avoid escalating conflicts that may have otherwise halted the project.
That disc’s strongest song and album closer, Don’t Be Angry, seems intentional. Was it written for the fans? The band members? Does it even matter? There was a brief moment in time where these girls made some great pop music and shared it with the broken-hearted and disenfranchised youth across the country, and it was brilliant.
I was lucky enough to see the band perform live only once with another criminally forgotten Canadian punk band from the era, Controller.Controller, at Zaphod’s in Ottawa. This is not that recording.
No, I was still a couple years away from trying my hand at live taping. As the band was fairly niche and mostly only (somewhat) known nationally, there’s little left to document the band’s presence at the turn of the century.
However, some time ago, I did come across a festival performance that aired on Radio 3, complete with intrusive DJ chatter. While it’s not my tape, I share it here in an attempt to right the wrong that this band has become a forgotten footnote in Canadian music history.
- A Sudden Death
- I Am Not Surprised
- Love, Love, Love
- Fire in the Ocean
- Sinking Hearts
- Basement Band Song