The origins of Toronto indie band July Talk read like a rock ‘n’ roll fairy tale: once upon a time in Hogtown, Peter Dreimanis sat in a dimly lit bar, ignoring the banal sounds around him, until, that is, the beautiful and beguiling Leah Fay picked up the battered acoustic guitar that was making the rounds among the drunken patrons. It was musical love at first listen, and in the clear light of the next day, he sought out his musical soul-mate. Along with Ian Docherty (guitar), Josh Warburton (bass) and Danny Miles (drums), they created a unique sound that has graced musical establishments in Toronto and across Canada for over a year now.
Montrealers shouldn’t miss out on the chance to hear July Talk: Peter’s deep, raspy voice—think Tom Waits meets Nick Cave meets Kurt Cobain—alternates with Leah’s high, clear, ironic tones. Most songs are conversations between the two of them, giving listeners quirky insight into the murky realm of relationships gone bad and the love-hate that tends to rule many a love life. Their sound is raw, bluesy, raunchy, angry, ironic and driven.
I had the opportunity to speak with Leah while she was in the car en route to Gravenhurst and the beginning of the eastern leg of their tour. She told me that the first ten songs on their self-titled album, released in October 2012, were written by Peter, but the four that were added when the album was rereleased a year or so later were more collaboratively created, indicative of a new approach to songwriting in the band. She describes the group’s creative process as “an opportunity for four people to call you on your shit: a shitty lyric is a shitty lyric and someone’s gonna call you on it.”
Leah, who has been writing songs since her days studying contemporary dance at Concordia, says the group’s influences range from the Beatles to Nirvana and Green Day, the Decemberists, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, and Feist. But a quick listen to their songs Paper Girl or Guns and Ammunition show that July Talk has transcended their influences and solidified their own style.
Leah, who spent some formative years in Montreal, says that the shows they play in Montreal tend to be important and chaotic. In fact, their first show took place at Casa del Popolo in January 2011; a whopping 12 people turned out. Without a doubt though, Petit Campus will be packed on Tuesday, and July Talk will deliver the goods. When I asked Leah if she had any special message for Montrealers, she said, “I get really nervous when I play in Montreal — you terrify me and I love you for it… I feel like I’m showing up at a party and all my ex-lovers are there. “
This is obviously a party you won’t want to miss.
July Talk and Sam Cash & the Romantic Dogs are playing at Petit Campus (57 Prince Arthur E) on Tuesday December 10 at 9pm. $10.