Braids "Liver and Tan"

Braids "Liver and Tan"
Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention this week and missed an opportunity to plug this band yesterday to coincide with their Montreal date supporting Deerhunter and Times New Viking, but I suppose it's not too late considering they're also doing tonight in Toronto at Lee's Palace.

The band I'm referring to are the Neighbourhood Council, or were called that — they've just changed their name to BRAIDS, just as I was typing this up. Yeah, their MySpace page changed over and everything, right in front of my eyes.

Cue weird digression!

Explanation from the band's Katie Lee on the name change: We felt like the Neighbourhood Council does not represent the music that we play anymore and we thought it was a good time to change it because we just moved to Montreal and it was suitable to change it for these shows. We created this band about a year-and-a-half ago and our music then had a direction that is completely opposite of where we want our music to go. Plus 'the Neighbourhood Council' was thought up in such a ridiculous way. And we knew we would tire of it some day. I guess the day was yesterday.

Now where was I...

A four-piece all currently under the age of 20 from Calgary and now based out of Montreal, they've scored possibly the most coveted opening slot in their circle supporting Deerhunter and Times New Viking for two dates. I'll admit it, their opening stint is what introduced me to these fellow Canadians, and I'm grateful for it. They adorably classify themselves as "experimental pop" and I can't argue with that.

Considering they formed last year and took home the youth category trophy for songwriting at the Calgary Folk Music Festival only months later, well, the evidence is all there in the two tracks on the BRAIDS MySpace page. They've just dropped an EP titled Live At CJSW, as well as a previous one called Set Pieces, and according to the band, they're currently working on a full-length debut set for release some time in the new year.

"Liver and Tan" is a wonderfully arranged song that uses layers to the band's strength, patiently intertwining intricate guitar work, haunting piano and some spirited kit work that immediately tells me why Bradford Cox and company approached them to open the shows. The slow build is dramatic yet never becomes tiresome, and when it introduces some vocals, it picks up but doesn't go all predictably Arcade Fire and become some cathartic eruption. Instead, BRAIDS let the song unravel like Stereolab would by keeping it so warm and beautifully controlled throughout. Not everyone needs to bottle up and explode and I think to be able to pull that off with the kind of music they make is pretty remarkable.

Relocating to Montreal will certainly be beneficial for a band as adroit and creative as BRAIDS, considering how many of the artists from that city have flourished and gone on to do such amazing things.