Song of the Week: Dark Mean’s “Happy Banjo”

Wow, Canada sure seems to be on a bit of a winning streak right now.**

Although I’ve managed to avoid getting caught up in the music being made by the extended Broken Social Scene-family (BSS, Stars, Feist, Metric, Apostle of Hustle, etc.), four of my current favorite bands all call the Great White North home – The Dears, Hey Rosetta!, The Rest and The Rural Alberta Advantage.

And we may now have to add a fifth band to that list – Hamilton, Ontario’s Dark Mean (not to be confused with Athens, GA’s Dark Meat).

I don’t know much about the band yet. In fact, I just discovered them yesterday via an email informing me about their brand new frankencottage EP, which you can download for free here.
The EP is the first of three that the band plans to unveil over the next year and a half, and all three EPs will eventually be compiled into the band’s first full-length, entitled The Constant K Determines the Ultimate Fate of the Universe.  Oh, and the album will also serve as the soundtrack to a play of the same name.

The EP’s four tracks are all excellent, ranging from the infectious folk-pop of “Happy Banjo”, to the dark-yet-dance-y “frankencottage”, to the gospel-y singalong of “Lullaby”, to the sweeping, piano-driven “China”.  Honestly, while a lot of people will surely throw out the usual Canadian touchstones when describing the EP, the band I’d compare them to most is Seattle’s Grand Archives (who, admittedly, have their own BSS-like moments).  And considering how much I loved that first GA album, that comparison is a pretty high compliment.

Anyway, here’s my favorite song on the EP, and possibly the best new song I’ve heard this week:

Dark Mean, “Happy Banjo”

Oh, and the band has also made a video for the song “frankencottage”, so check that out as well.

And, as I mentioned, if you want to hear the whole EP, you can download it for FREE here.

I’ll be keeping my eye on these guys – hopefully we can get them and my other recent Canadian discovery, The Rest, to come visit us in the U.S. before too long.

** Musically, that is. They certainly can’t be happy about another all-U.S. Stanley Cup final.

Thursday 28 May 2009 at 5:34 pm by Steve


  1. Pingback by Baby, You Got a Stew Goin'!: Now With 64% More Midwestern Values — February 17, 2010 @ 10:19 am

    […] may remember that I first wrote about Hamilton, Ontario’s Dark Mean last May when they released the excellent Frankencottage EP. At the time, I mentioned that the band was […]

  2. Pingback by Baby, You Got a Stew Goin'!: Do Not Buy My Tagalongs, Motherf*ckers — April 27, 2011 @ 10:22 am

    […] first fell in love with Hamilton, Ontario’s Dark Mean back in early 2009, and have patiently waited as the band prepared its debut full-length album (which was originally […]

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