I have to say it. End of year lists, top 50 best albums and similar endeavours intimidate me. Not only does it seem to require a tremendous exercise of memory and an exhaustive consistency at documenting, but I am not a particular fan of the effect it has on me. Or people. On one side, it might make me question the first impression I had of an album (which is great, I might give it another go!) but on the other, it makes me feels inadequate for all the releases I had no time to give a listen to. And in a friendly conversation about music, it feels slightly weird when everyone states Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys and The National as their 2013 favourites. Maybe I am just difficult, maybe these lists are too influential. Either way, as much as we love The National and Arcade Fire here at A House Down the Road, we like to be challenged. And weirdo magicians Doom Squad have something on the go I am looking forward to.
I came across these Montreal-by-way-of-Toronro siblings a few months ago when Hand Drawn Dracula released a tribute album for the 25th anniversary of In Utero. A bunch of Torontian bands covering Nirvana in all kinds of different ways from the heavy use of synth to a real sludge fest. I already stated my excitement here. I noticed the somehow familiar name on there, loved the track. Same week, I realised they’d be playing Quebec soon. The music god works in mysterious ways.
The phrase ‘washes over you’ may be thrown around like an old pair of Levis, but using it here would be an understatement. Doom Squad sounds are a growling meditation. From the very first notes of their set, memories of my early teenage dabbles into witchcraft and wicca books appeared in my head. And all the feelings of then; the uncertainty, the secret power, the surreptitious rituals… It felt unsurprising yet so strange to remember such distant souvenirs. It stayed within me for a few minutes. Then I shifted back to listening mode. Their music being mainly electronic is astounding in it’s variances: some heavy guitar riffs, all kinds of mystical flutes, heavy percussion, and phantom-esque vocals, chanted at times. They are highly skilled musicians, the definition of layered sounds, of texture. What they offer is an atmosphere propitious to introspection, physical redemption and abandonment.
Over 2013, Doom Squad managed to create something quite prolific. They released their self titled EP, which contains the most complex, mesmerizing cover of Riders of the Storm ever. They toured Canada, playing with HSY, Viet Cong, Petra Glynt and ++. They annouced their debut LP ‘Kalaboogie’ for February 2014 and dropped the singles ‘Ovoo // The Cools’ available for streaming here. Alongside, they release a spellbinding video for ‘Ovoo’, directed by Chris Boni. They were signed to UK label No Pain in Pop for European distribution. They have been noticed by the BBC’s Tom Ravenscroft. And finally, they hopped on a plane to tour is some of the coolest cities of Europe.
This is not just fact-dropping. I am genuinely excited. They have that effect; to draw you in. A hypnotic sorcery.