Zeus is a Toronto-based indie rock band formed in 2008 that’s signed to the Arts & Crafts record label, whose members include Rob Drake, Carlin Nicholson, Mike O’Brien, and Neil Quin.
The band was founded by members Mike O’Brien and Carlin Nicholson who met in high school in Barrie, Ontario—a city just north of Toronto. The two bonded over ’90s grunge and rock music and would later form separate bands while remaining close.
O’Brien’s band Paso Mino scored a gig as Jason Collett’s backing band, but they would later disband after guitarist Afie Jurvanen left to tour with Feist. Shortly after Paso Mino dissolved, O’Brien touched base with Nicholson to see if he would help him out on some home recordings, including the lead single “How Does It Feel” off Zeus’s album Say Us. Golden Dogs guitarist Neil Quin and former Paso Mino drummer Rob Drake would soon join the picture and voilà Zeus was born.
In 2009, Zeus signed to Arts & Crafts, the label best known for Broken Social Scene. A year after signing to the label, Zeus would release their debut album, Say Us—a teaser EP Sounds Like Zeus was released prior to Say Us in late 2008. Two years after the release of Say Us, Zeus returned with 2012′s Busting Visions.
News about Zeus
Exclusive photos from Arts & Crafts Field Trip at Fort York & Garrison Common on June 8, 2013
SCION SESSIONS: Zeus debut new song "One Line Written In"Scion Sessions and AUX take you front-and-centre with exclusive performances and insight from your favourite artists, like Austra, Hooded Fang, Teen Daze, Cadence Weapon, and more—highlighting the flow of original vinyl releases, free downloads, and live shows that are its hallmarks. Visit ScionSessions.ca for the full scope. In the days leading up to Field Trip Music & Arts Festival, Arts & Crafts mainstay Zeus invited Scion Sessions into their Ill Eagle Studio in east-end Toronto for a taste of what the band is conjuring up for their label's 10th anniversary celebrations. Zeus' exclusive in-studio performance of brand new song "One Line Written In" is the first they've shared from their followup to Busting Visions, a gently swaying march with low-slung melody and a humid air. AUX cameras were flies on the wall for this intimate performance, captured for the ongoing Scion Sessions video series that has included exclusive song premieres by Hooded Fang, Teen Daze, Cadence Weapon, and Austra's recently released "Painful Like". Scion Sessions is honoured to be a close partner of Arts & Crafts' inaugural Field Trip. The festival celebrates the 10th anniversary of the seminal Toronto label with an immersive day of discovery and community, with world class performances, art, food, and celebration of proud collaborative spirit. Field Trip brings together a highlight reel of all Arts & Crafts artists, including a one-time reunion of Broken Social Scene, and 2012 Polaris Music Prize Winner, Feist. As official vehicle supplier of Arts & Crafts Field Trip, Scion Canada has joined forces with UBER taxi service on an exciting initiative to bring festivalgoers down to Fort York for the June 8 event. #FieldTripRoadTrip will see a fleet of vehicles drift into the UBER mobile app offering Arts & Crafts fans free rides from anyone in the Toronto core down to the Garrison Common, with in-vehicle contesting giving lucky passengers the chance to win VIP upgrades, Field Trip after-party access & UBER rides, plus more exciting prize packs from Scion Sessions, Arts & Crafts, and UBER. Check out the full #FieldTripRoadTrip details.
AUX PREMIERE: Watch Zeus' new Live From Ill Eagle video, "Stop The Train"Toronto's preeminent retro-rockers Zeus released their long-awaited sophomore album Busting Visions almost two months ago, and have since been working through a video series called Live From Ill Eagle, showcasing live studio performances of each album track. Filmed live-off-the-floor from their own Eagle Ill studio, the latest clip is for "Stop The Train," and AUX is pleased to premiere it below. Zeus will also start their latest Canadian tour soon, starting in Regina on May 22, and making their way back home to Toronto for a show on June 9. Check out the tour dates below as well. 5/22 Regina, SK - The Exchange (with Wake Owl) 5/23 Calgary, AB - Broken City (with Wake Owl) 5/25 Victoria, BC - The Lucky Bar (with Wake Owl) 5/26 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore (with Wake Owl) 5/28 Kelowna, BC - Habitat (with the Darcys) 5/29 Nelson, BC - The Royal (with the Darcys) 5/30 Canmore, AB - Communitea (with the Darcys) 5/31 Edmonton, AB - Pawn Shop (with the Darcys) 6/1 Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's (with the Darcys) 6/2 Winnipeg, MB - Lo Pub (with the Darcys) 6/6 Hamilton, ON - The Casbah (with Two Hours Traffic) 6/7 Waterloo, ON - Starlight Room (with Two Hours Traffic) 6/8 London, ON - APK Live (with Two Hours Traffic) 6/9 Toronto, ON - The Phoenix (with Two Hours Traffic) AUX Blog player with bigger default dimensions. Autoplay enabled. brightcove.createExperiences();
Kingston's Wolfe Island festival announces Sam Roberts Band, Zeus, Rich Aucoin, Elliot Brood, and more for 2012Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands, located near Kingston, has announced its lineup for this year's festival. From August 10-11, you can check out Sam Roberts Band, Zeus, Rich Aucoin, Elliot Brood, and Yukon Blonde as some of the higher-billed acts, as well as Mike O'Neill, Hollerado, The Weather Station, Little Scream, D-Sisive, and lots more. Not exactly the most thrilling (and certainly not the most diverse) lineup, if we're being honest, but as far as overall festival experience, Wolfe Island should be a good one. Earlybird tickets are now on sale; it'll cost you $65 for a weekend pass, which includes the camping fee. Head over here to purchase, and check out the full lineup so far here.
TRENDSPOTTING: Bands, beards, and the return of classic rock“Rock & roll is dying because people became OK with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world... So they became OK with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit – therefore you should never try to be the biggest rock band in the world. Fuck that!" So went the emphatic words of Pat Carney, drummer for the Black Keys, printed in Rolling Stone back in January. If you’ve read any other interviews with the band, you probably know that Carney is not averse to making such sweeping, declarative statements, but coming from the once-hallowed perch of rock and roll traditionalism that is the cover of the Rolling Stone, it’s hard not to read it as a manifesto. Near the end of their rise towards arena rock stardom, the Black Keys chose Nickelback as the obstacle on their way to the top. Their goal: to be the biggest rock band in the world. It’s not hard to see why Carney chose Nickelback as his symbol of the mainstream establishment. Turn on any “modern rock” radio station, and chances are you’ll hear a song by Nickelback or a band of their ilk – the crunchy power chords and in-your-face choruses of ‘90s rock boiled down to their most commercial essentials, reproduced and overproduced as watered-down post-grunge. Either that, or an original song from the grunge era. Recently, however, a new strain of popular rock has begun to creep its way onto the airwaves, and it’s not far removed from the sound or ideals of the Black Keys. Analogue gear, rootsy hooks, weed-laced harmonies, beards and bell bottoms – these are the markers of many new bands making waves on the radio. Rather than the ‘90s, many bands are looking towards the late ‘60s and early ‘70s for inspiration, clogging modern rock radio signals with AOR hooks more often found just a few call numbers up on classic rock stations. Modern bands have been drudging up elements of classic rock ever since it was established as a genre, but a cross-section of contemporary rock – not “indie,” “post” or “dance”, but plain unadorned rock and roll – looks torn from the Summer of Love archives. Hairy, axe-wielding bands like The Sheepdogs, Yukon Blonde, Zeus and, most recently, Alabama Shakes, are getting hyped to high heavens both critically and commercially, often accompanied by sentiments like 'giving music a much-needed dose of soul' or 'bringing rock back to a simpler time.' “We want to bring some real rock back to the radio,” Sheepdogs lead singer Ewan Currie told the National Post , who tailed the band Almost Famous-style during a busy SXSW. A (perhaps deliberate) echo of Carney’s Rolling Stone screed, Currie’s tossed-off words speak volumes about the current crop of neo-classic rock bands and the modern music landscape as a whole. Until recently, no self-considered “real” rock band would aspire to radio play or chart success, let alone the status as the biggest rock band in the world. Indie rock originally formed as a reaction against such commercial goals, and for much of the last few decades those bands, satisfied with a dedicated cult fanbase and a critically adored catalogue, were the only bands considered “real.” But as the internet rose in prominence, record sales tanked, print publications lost their distinction and the monoculture splintered, indie rock became the mainstream (or at least one of many simultaneous concurrent, equal streams) and blogs and mp3’s functioned a lot like the radio. If young listeners wanted to hear the hot new band, they’d go online (while the last generation raised on radio could easily jam out on the ‘90s hits of their youth on the radio). The Sheepdogs avoided that route to prominence, instead winning their major label record deal along with their career-making cover feature from a well-publicized Rolling Stone contest. Their win came as a result of fan voting, but the publication couldn’t have picked a more perfectly-suited band. By “breaking” a long-toiling road band from Saskatchewan the magazine returned to its rock-star-maker roots, and winning the contest provided a handy “road-warriors-finally-make-good” underdog narrative for the band. (No coincidence that their next record will be co-produced by Pat Carney and Austin Scaggs, the Rolling Stone writer who wrote the feature). It’s not uncommon for acts to shoot to overnight prominence on the back of some blog-fuelled hype. Fuelling the neo-classic rock mythology is the sense that they didn’t really “earn” it, whereas they, like their classic rock forebears, struggled their way to the top by way of dive bar gigs, workhorse ethic and hundreds of thousands of miles (or kilometres) logged in shitty tour vans. Hence why the Black Keys chose a replica of their original touring vehicle for the cover of their latest album, El Camino. And hence why many of their peer bands come from non-major markets (like their Akron, Ohio): the Sheepdogs from Saskatoon, Yukon Blonde from British Columbia and Alabama Shakes from Athens, Alabama. The assumption is that in a teched-up culture of blog hype and David Guetta-aping mega club pop, “realness” or “authenticity” equates to beards, beer, amps and Guess Who hooks. But building your image on outdated Boomer ideals, however, is just as “inauthentic” as Lana Del Ray’s “gangsta Nancy Sinatra” image; it’s just part of a longer lineage of mythology propagated by a generation proficient at self-mythology. It’s fake nostalgia for an era that neither the musicians nor their target demos weren’t alive to experience, and it’s propagated by the passage of time. Conveniently, it also gives such acts an excuse to aim high. Until sometime in the mid-‘70s, appearing at number one on the Billboard charts, getting radio airplay or appearing on the cover of a major magazine wasn’t considered “selling out” and it didn’t carry the same risk of backlash that it does now; it was the reward for hard work, and it came accompanied by groupies, adulation and piles of money. And that’s a little bit more lucrative than a “Best New Music” designation, a daytime slot at Coachella, or an inclusion in the Hype Machine zeitgeist.