In 2005, Montreal’s the Unicorns would disassemble and regenerate as the band Islands. The Unicorns dabbled in experimental pop music that had a signature low-fi sound. Islands, on the other hand, lends itself to a more futuristic pop sound.
Islands was formed by two former members of the Unicorns, Nick “Diamonds” Thorburn (vocals, guitar, keyboard) and Jamie Thompson (drums). Since their 2005 formation, Islands’ roster has featured numerous contributors, both on stage and on record, including the likes of Alex and Sebastian Chow, Jim Gunthrie, and rappers Subtitle and Busdriver.
In a short span of time, Islands became a household name within the Montreal rock scene. Their 2006 debut album, Return to the Sea, was recorded in Thompson’s bedroom and featured members of fellow Montreal bands Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade. In support of the album’s international release, Islands went on tour with Metric. Shortly after the tour ended, founding member and drummer, Jamie Thompson, made the announcement that he was leaving the band.
Two years later, Islands signed a contract with ANTI- Records and released their second album, Arm’s Way. Thompson briefly rejoined the band and appeared on their third album, Vapours, only to leave again in 2010. Aaron Harris, a band member between 2006 and 2009, would replace Thompson in the lineup.
Islands’ 2012 album, A Sleep & A Forgetting, was inspired by the break-up of Nick Thorburn’s marriage—the music on the album is considered the most sincere and direct music of the band’s career thus far. A Sleep & A Forgetting was produced by Thorburn and fellow Islands member Evan Gordon in less than two weeks—all the songs were recorded live off the floor.
News about Islands
Islands at the Music Gallery on February 28, 2012
Watch the new Islands video, "Hallways"Islands have released a video for "Hallways" from new album A Sleep & A Forgetting, and if you like goofy skeleton marionettes, you'll love it. It features band frontman Nick Thorburn leading a band of skeletons, and eventually becoming one himself. Watch the Lex Halaby and Toben Seymour directed video above.
Listen to the new Islands album, 'A Sleep & A Forgetting'Nick Thorburn's newest output, Islands' A Sleep & A Forgetting, is a darker affair than we're used to hearing from him—the album is being released next Tuesday, on Valentine's Day for the purpose of closure (it's about a broken relationship). Exclaim! has a stream of the album now, so if you'd like to delve into Thorburn's heartbreak a bit early, head over there to give it a listen. Islands will also be doing a small Canadian trek in support of the album; you can check those dates out below. 2/27 - Montreal, QC - Cabaret du Mile End 2/28 - Toronto, ON - The Music Gallery 3/3 - Winnipeg, MB - West End Cultural Centre 3/5 - Edmonton, AB - The Haven Social Club 3/6 - Calgary, AB - Ironwood Stage and Grill 3/8 - Vancouver, BC - The Rio Theatre
Listen to a new Islands song, "Hallways"Islands won't release A Sleep & A Forgetting until Valentine's Day, but they've already released a second song from the album, perhaps hoping it'll build buzz as they ready the release of their first album since 2009's Vapours. "Hallways" does a complete 180 degree turn away from the sombre sounds of "This Is Not A Song," opting instead to bounce along with a fun-loving sound carried on a plinky piano backbone. A Sleep & A Forgetting is out February 14th via Anti-.
Listen to a new Islands song, "This Is Not A Song," from the upcoming albumWe've already learned that Nick Thorburn's new Islands album would purposefully be released on Valentine's Day in order to put an old broken relationship to rest, and now we get our first listen to what that heartbreak sounds like. "This Is Not A Song" is, first off, a lie, because it is a song, and second, is a sappy little piece of pop, as would probably be expected. You can listen to the song below.