PS I Love You have already released two acclaimed 7” singles. The first was a split 7” with friend Diamond Rings in August of 2009. Earlier this year, the band released a 7” for ‘Starfield’ before wowing the audience at their Canadian Music Week showcase. Catch the band perform this week at NXNE (dates below).
PS I Love You was originally the solo project for multi-instrumentalist Paul Saulnier who has performed in everything from a country-rock band to an improvised noise duo. PS I Love You was intended to be his experimental, pop music outlet using guitar looping pedals, keyboards with some gadgets and gimmicks. The addition of Benjamin Nelson on drums suddenly transformed PS I Love You’s little songs into mini, soaring rock anthems. This marked a new beginning for the band. What folks are saying about PS I Love You: As the nostalgia for bullshit ‘80s dance music seems to be subsiding for a re-appreciation of’90s gritty angst, PS I Love You have emerged at the perfect time. Live, Saulnier is an overwhelming musical force; his sensitive brute vocals are bolstered by ridiculously great guitar shredding. In its Pixies/Archers of Loaf domain, “Starfiled” showcases his penchant for snaky pop beauty, while “Butterflies & Boners” is a gorgeous display of layered guitar virtuosity unseen this side of Dinosaur Jr. – Exclaim! Honest-to-goodness, hard-line indie rock is alive and well in the great white North. “Facelove”- a ferociously catchy single from Kingston, Ontario, duo PS I Love You- was the hiding on the B-side of a shared 7” with “All Yr Songs”, last fall’s Best New Music-approved track from Toronto’s Diamond Rings. Sorry we didn’t catch the flipside sooner. “Facelove” is a towering tribute to art of the build, helmed by juicy, punched-up guitar work that demands to be felt (if not just plain gawked at). – Pitchfork
The coolest two-piece in Canada isn’t from Vancouver, Montreal or even Parkdale. They reside in the university town of Kingston and shred like Yngwie Malmsteen. Comprised of two former frenemies with “a quiet, cool, dude thing going on,” PS I Love You formed after the dissolution of singer/guitarist Paul Saulnier and drummer Benjamin Nelson’s previous four-piece, Magic Jordan. Though Saulnier used to play his frenetic ragers solo with multiple Casios, a drum machine, bass organ, four amps and a guitar, he’s happy for the new addition. – EYE Weekly
Montreal’s Suuns possess a rare trait in rock music: restraint. They use it like an instrument, which makes their debut full-length Zeroes QC as unsettling as it is wonderfully exasperating. It’s immediately apparent in album opener “Armed for Peace,” a track that starts off like a robot breaking down in a hot desert; the song’s mechanic beat plods like iron-shoed footsteps as the melody of a wheezing synth mirrors the crackling sound of old transistors and circuitry being cooked in the sun. It’s deceptively lulling, the tension almost unnoticeably wrenching up and up until the track unexpectedly opens into a barrage of nose-diving guitar riffs and crashing drums – yet the band still stays locked on the song’s linear, forward-motion direction. Suuns were born during the summer of 2006 when vocalist/guitarist Ben Shemie and guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmush got together to make some beats which quickly evolved into a few songs. The duo were soon joined by drummer Liam O’Neill and bassist/keyboardist Max Henry to complete the line-up. “I don’t think we were really a ‘band’ for the first year,” Ben surmises. It wasn’t until a friend helped them procure a spot at Pop Montreal 2007 that he says the group played their first “real gig.”
Last year, Suuns entered Breakglass Studios with Jace Lasek of the Besnard Lakes co-producing and engineering, and recorded their first album. The group wanted to create something that couldn’t be pigeonholed as simply indie rock. “Jace definitely had a huge impact for bringing to life the big sound of the band and being open and willing stretch out any idea we or he had,” Ben explains.
The resulting Zeroes QC is a warm yet dark, propulsive collusion of pop, post-punk and experimental rock – one that allows the group to musically shapeshift without losing any of the sense of tension and unease that runs throughout the record. During tracks like “Gaze,” tightly wound guitars and bass ring and buzz atop Liam’s metronomic, powerhouse drumming, with Ben’s cool, detached vocals acting as a nervy counterweight as he delivers falsely assuring lines like, “Don’t you be yourself, you are someone else.” Often his close-miced sing/speak is as metronomic as it is melodic; in “Arena” Ben’s rhythmic “What-choo, what-choo”’s are reminiscent of Suicide’s Alan Vega as he leads the band’s death disco groove into a bloodbath of razor-sharp guitars, while his icy, hushed delivery in “Sweet Nothing” is almost as motorik as the song itself. Most impressive, though, is how Suuns effortlessly sculpt memorable pop songs from experimental building blocks, frequently using noise and space as actual hooks. All of this amounts to a great first album – one that is as timeless as it is thrillingly modern.