The Effens have really come into their effing own on their latest album, Eventually. The Toronto-based band released the EP, their third in total, on July 30th via Hidden Pony, and the band’s own personal label, LootBag Records. Influenced by the best of ‘90s grunge and early 1980s indie rock, the EP indulges in both melodic pop, and contemporary post-punk sounds. Although it is officially the band’s third EP, Eventually is the culmination of many years of tweaking and modifying their sound, born out of both stylistic changes, and also member changes within the group itself. At the core of the band is singer and guitarist Austin Nops, who enlisted the expertise of guitarist Paul Theo, bassist Hannah Weber, and drummer Fabian Oblivion, which now forms the definitive iteration of The Effens.
A hard-working bunch with a winning work ethic, the group self-recorded and self-produced Eventually in Nops’ grandfather’s home in Toronto. Not only do they record and produce their music on their own, but the members also shoot their own music videos, create their own merchandise, and create their own stage setup. Nops even found time to start his own record label, LootBag Records, which he originally launched just to release collaborative holiday mixtapes.
To find out a little bit more about The Effens and their many musical inspirations, the band has been so kind to join us today for our latest instalment of Stereo Six, as they handpick six records that have been instrumental in developing the sound that you hear throughout Eventually.
1. The B-52’s – Wild Planet (1980, Island, Warner Bros.)
Oblivion: “Although I had been a fan for years, I only picked up my first B-52’s record shortly after moving to Canada. I remember building furniture while listening to Wild Planet in my first apartment. It always stood out to me because they were outcasts making music for weirdos. They took the new wave sound and ran it through a thrift store on the way to a beach party. Although their debut album, with songs like ‘Rock Lobster’ and ‘52 Girls,’ is fantastic, I find myself always returning to Wild Planet. I think this is the band at their peak. The drumming of Keith Strickland and guitar playing of the late Ricky Wilson are incredibly cohesive in songs like ‘Dirty Back Road’ while Kate and Cindy’s astounding vocals expertly compliment Fred Schneider’s spoken word technique in ‘Devil in My Car.’ There isn’t a weak moment throughout the entire run of the album and I can’t help but bounce around my living room whenever I put it on.”
2. David Bowie – Low (1977, RCA)
Theo: “I was exposed to the Ziggy Stardust album at a rather young age, and by the time I was in high school I had become largely enamoured with his body of work due to how ambitious and exciting each subsequent album was in its own way. While the Ziggy era still feels like Bowie’s quintessential ‘rock n roll’ period, Low is the album that has stuck with me the most. The scope of the music is exciting and expressive, and the experimental elements throughout the album’s runtime have been very influential towards the way in which I approach and appreciate music (hearing Brian Eno’s influence is especially a treat).
Low contains within itself a beautiful sense of movement and atmospheric shifts, from ‘Sound and Vision’ to the closing track, ‘Subterraneans,’ the two songs side-by-side wouldn’t seem a fit on the same body work work, yet they coexist nonetheless, and the experience is all the more beautiful for it. It was one of the first works of music where I understood that ambient and experimental musicianship needn’t be marginalized, and can instead stand side by side in a mutually beneficial relationship with more conventional songwriting styles.”
3. Beck – Mellow Gold (1994, DGC Records)
Nops: “Mellow Gold is an album that draws on so many different genres and influences but comes out sounding completely original. Pushes boundaries in the songwriting and production, incorporating so many lo-fi elements while achieving mainstream success. It’s a major inspiration in not being afraid to make music sound ugly or distorted, and believing in the power of melody and good songwriting. There are a few Beck albums I could name where he’s achieved something really unique and sincere like Mellow Gold. It’s got a sense of humour without it becoming corny. It’s got a sweetness and fun to it with songs like ‘Beercan,’ but then it drops you into a nightmare with songs like ‘Motherfucker.’ Somehow there is a cohesive thread taking you through every song. From joy to fear, to melancholy to humour, It’s a complete human experience in an album.”
4. The Strokes – First Impressions of Earth (2005, RCA Records)
Nops: “I for some reason ignored The Strokes first two albums, but something about this album hit me perfectly when it came out. I listened to it somewhat skeptical at first and then devoured it and went back through their whole discography at the time. All of the instruments in their songs fit together like puzzle pieces, but this album takes it as far as it can go while it’s still all just five people, each playing their part perfectly. In their rougher songs, there is always this mechanical element to their music and even in their more complicated songs, like on ‘First Impressions Of Earth,’ there is restraint, everything has its place and melody is the focus. Raving restraint and keeping it simple is one of the hardest things to maintain while writing a song and I think The Strokes have put out some albums that find that balance perfectly.”
5. Tonstartssbandht – An When (2009, Does Are)
Nops: “‘Black Country’ is the single to highlight. An incredible band with a huge discography. This is just the album that introduced me to their music. They have these strange and beautiful harmonies, choir-like vocals, loops and samples, completely unique songwriting, but the thing that really blew my mind was the way they play sounds and textures like it’s an instrument. They have really influenced the way I’ve incorporated sampling in The Effens music and what I look for in the ‘sonics’ of a sample.”
6. Curveball: James Brown – Start Time (1991, Polydor Records)
Nops: “This is a compilation album. It was a Christmas present I got when I was a little kid and the first music I really loved. I must have responded to James Brown’s music on the radio or seen him on TV or something so my parents gave me this CD and it blew my mind. I would dance like crazy to it. I remember loving how sweaty he looked while performing. His songs exploded with life. It’s pure soul and it spoke to me on a spiritual level as a little kid before I would have ever had the words to express it that way. He’s still possibly the greatest performer of all time. I believe his music implanted the desire to perform in me or maybe lit the fuse that was there.”