When you ask Lee Hanlon, guitarist and vocalist of Gramercy Riffs, how he describes the band's music to someone who wasn't heard them before, he's not entirely sure what to say. "I'm pretty bad at describing this," he admits. "We're a pop rock band where me and Mara both sing the tunes. We use major 7 chords in every song but not on purpose." When it comes to the sound of the group's brand new full-length, Desire Trails, he's a little more confident about describing their influences. "I was listening to a lot of 70's pop when we wrote the songs for this record so I think you may hear some of that in the music." And you can. It's there right from the very beginning of the album's first track, "Heartbreak," am ambitious, driving, sweeping tune that might also remind you of 21st century groups like The Dears. But why trust us when you can check it out yourself: the whole record is streaming on Exclaim! this week, and Gramercy Riffs will be celebrating the release with a show at the Drake Underground on February 20. You'll find all the details for the event on Facebook here.In the meantime, you can stream their debut, It's Heartbreak, below — where you'll find their Southern Souls session and a round of five questions.
Members: Lee Hanlon (vocals, guitar), Mara Pellerin (vocals, keyboard), Jimmy Rose (guitar), Steve Callahan (bass), Brad Kilpatrick (drums)
Hometown: St. John's, now Toronto
Randy Newman. I'd bring "Sail Away" to 'Decide on the B-Side' (a weekly bring your own vinyl night at Communist Daughter where they listen to the A-Side of an album and the bar votes on whether or not to listen to the B-Side) the following Monday at The Communist's Daughter. Then I'd go there on Wednesday again to pick on Mike Boyd (the bartender) but as Randy Newman. How long do I get to be Randy Newman for?
2. What was the craziest live show you've ever seen?
I don't go to a lot of shows but having an anxiety attack in the crowd at Iggy and The Stooges at NXNE a few years back was kinda crazy. I hate crowds so thank you for the subway exit in the middle of the square. Apart from that I saw Rufus Wainwright in Berlin in 2007 and that was crazy good. Does that count?
3. If you could play one venue you've never played before, what would it be?
The bandstand on George Street in St. John's. When are we going to get to play it? George Street Festival 2014? Come on b'ys!
4. Say, for some strange reason, all the music in the world is going to be destroyed, but you can save all the songs from one decade. Which decade's records would you save?
The decade between 1965 and 1975
5. Beatles or Rolling Stones?