Asthmatic Kitty's Royal City to drop retrospective TOMORROW!
For a generation of Guelph music fans, Royal City was something akin to a supergroup. From his early teens, band ringleader, Aaron Riches had been a figurehead of the city's hardcore punk scene, fronting numerous politically charged punk bands and promoting DIY gigs (including one of Fugazi's first Canadian shows). At the same time, while bands like the Constantines were still gestating, the Jim Guthrie Quintet was a go. A local lo-fi recording guru, Jim had assembled a hot-shit band including the in-demand duo of bassist Simon Osborne and drummer Nathan Lawr to play his experimental pop epics. In 1999 or so, Aaron sought out Jim to help him make a new record at Jim's home studio.
The band solidified around Aaron, Jim, Simon and Nathan, with a loose open-door policy that welcomed Leslie Feist, Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and Bobby Wiseman of Blue Rodeo fame into the lineup for short stints. Even after Nathan left the band and new drummer Lonnie James (formerly of Superfriendz) stepped in for Little Heart's Ease, Royal City always made room for distinct musical personalities to make a wonderful, unified noise.
Then there are beautifully rendered sketches like "I Called But You Were Sleeping," "Can't You" and "They Came Down," which bask in their stark, hazy ambience. Royal City had a lighter side, too, that can be felt throughout "A Feast," "Burning Torch," and the band's theme song/anthem (which, on a rough night, became "Royal Shitty"). Their cheeky, 3/4 time take on "Is This It?", recorded in the UK with the legendary Edwyn Collins, breathes considerable warmth into the Strokes original. The songs are so diverse, recorded years apart by different lineups, but it all hangs together surprisingly well. One could almost believe it was a lost Royal City record.
For more information, visit Team Clermont.com - Royal City