27 November 2010

12 Canadian Bands - #8 - Gregory Pepper & His Problems

There were literally a metric tonne of bands I considered for this position, but so many of them either put out their music in 2008 or not till 2010 that they just didn’t qualify. All I’ll say now is that my Canadian best-of for 2010 (whenever I get round to it) will be killah.

Gregory Pepper of Guelph, Ontario was a late discovery, but a breathtaking one. In an indie scene filled to the brim with moody oddballs (see the upcoming Chad Van Gaalen as but one example), it’s nice to have someone who’s got the endless optimism of XTC and the ear for instrumentation of Sir George Martin all mixed there. His sophomore album, With Trumpets Flaring, takes on a rollercoaster of refreshing unpredictability; this guy works hard on making his arrangements different with every song, using his voice in different ways, and generally trying really hard not to bore us. He succeeds.

While I don’t much much about the fellow personally, his homemade artwork and obvious pop-culture affection gives his presentation very much a whole Dmitri-Martin-of-music feel -- that kind of oddly-happy off-beatitude that could have only happened in a post-They Might Be Giants world. As they often did, Pepper limits his songs to just long enough to express the idea, and out. Again, I love it when people have good judgement on how long a concept should linger before saying goodnight; “leave us wanting more” is a philosophy that sorely needs a comeback.

Picking one track to try and represent this album is completely impossible; every track is its own story and most are told entirely differently to each other. Here's a track I think is closest to typical for him, but I would recommend a sampling via iTunes of the whole record to get a much more accurate feel for his music. Problems like these, I should be so lucky ...

“7ths and 3rds” by Gregory Pepper & His Problems

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