What do you get when you combine two Canadian music legends into one guitar-heavy, power-pop unit that strives to sound like Minneapolis in the 90’s? You get SLIP~ons!
They come by their brand of rock honestly, with Brock Pytel of The Doughboys on guitar and Brian Minato of Sarah McLachlan on bass. Add to the mix Rob “Shockk” Matharu of The Spitfires on guitar, and Shane Wilson on drums and you’ve got a rock ‘n’ roll quartet with a vibe not unlike The Lemonheads,** Hüsker Dü**,** Ash**,** The Replacements or Dinosaur Jr**.
After a long run of obstacles, SLIP~ons have finally been able to announce their debut EP Heavy Machinery (mixed by** Dave Ogalvie of Skinny Puppy fame) with a single and accompanying video for the title track of their new vinyl release.
The black and white video (directed and edited by the R.D. Cane**, shot by Ryan C. Clark) consists of layers of short montages of the band in rehearsal with heady, swirling edits that play with time and space. Viewers get a frenetic and intimate side stage view of the band rocking, with Shockk’s sick guitar solo a climax in the middle of the video.
The visual style of the video allows the deep rhythm of the track to shine through, and as director RD states, “It’s cool to provide a comfortable playground to let the boys be as comfortable and real as possible.” The video highlights real-time recording of the band to capture the feel of their enigmatic live performances. Reflecting on the video shoot, Brock says, “I’ve always been a bit iffy on music videos, so we just borrowed some grip gear and lamps from my film buddies and created a bit of a playground in our rehearsal space for RD to do his thing. Jam Space Confidential was the theme. RD was really working up a sweat directing traffic, and I love that you can see the crew moving around with us moving ladders and waving light wands.”
The track Heavy Machinery has Pytel’s signature gravelly vocals and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that paint a picture of a night out wandering around Vancouver’s East Side. The pounding guitars offer grungy, punchy licks with hints of The Pixies and build up to a crescendo that echoes the name of the track.
Sparse but poignant gang vocals round out the sound and add an interesting depth to the song. Looking at the EP as a whole, Pytel mentions some early praise it has already garnered: “The mastering engineer, Ronan Chris Murphy, is a dear friend that I’ve known since the Doughboys played with his band Pumphouse at Rockitz in Richmond, Virginia in the late eighties. He got back to me after I sent him the audio files to work on and said, ‘This might be the best music I have ever heard from you. Good job doin’ us old guys proud.’”
SLIP~ons are a guitar forward, power-pop band from Vancouver, BC. Somewhere between Exile on Main St. era Stones and Afghan Whigs, the four-piece was formed in 2012 by Brock Pytel (half of the singing/songwriting force behind Montreal’s Doughboys), and Brian Minato (Sarah McLachlan) and includes Rob “Shockk” Matharu (Spitfires) on guitar, and Shane Wilson on drums.
The new EP comes on the heels of Pytel’s recent solo EP which garnered press from outlets like The Big Takeover, and airplay at notable college stations like WFMU and CJAM. In the years leading up to the EP’s release Pytel was buried under seemingly endless hours working in Vancouver’s film industry where eventually the stress and lack of sleep caught up with him. Reflecting on his mortality, (after serious health issues in 2020) Pytel explained, “One of the things that really hit me at that time was how little music I’d put out into the world compared to how big a part of my life making music is. I was really motivated to get things going in that regard.”
With renewed vigor and determination, Pytel and SLIP~ons plan to complete more recordings and videos in the months ahead, and announce North American tour dates for 2023 and 2024.