Published Sep 30, 2013Sebastien Grainger perked ears at last week's Polaris Music Prize Gala when, while introducing Metric, he mentioned he'd have two records eligible for contention next year. While one will apparently be the previously hinted at reunion LP from Death From Above 1979, he'll also be issuing his long-in-the-works solo set Yours to Discover. It's Grainger's first album in five years, and it arrives November 12 via Last Gang.
Speaking with Exclaim!, Grainger notes that his upcoming song cycle is much different than his 2008 solo debut as Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains, eschewing the traditional rock sound he built with a back-up band for a more "pop-leaning" set crafted on his own. For proof, the singer-songwriter has let loose the first taste of the set, a hooky, synth-soaring gem called "Going with You." You'll find the track down below.
"I wasn't disillusioned with live rock'n'roll, but I felt like I took it as far as I could take it with those songs and with that band," he says of his shift towards pop. "The first record I made, I wanted it to sound like a band — I had people play on the record, I was gearing to make this rock show. This time there was no consideration for a live show or anybody else but me... there's some live drums on it, but a lot of drum machines. There's some guitar, but mostly keyboards."
The artist also alludes to the fact that since Death From Above 1979 reunited in 2011, he doesn't see the point in playing in another rock band. He explains, "I think that Death From Above is an awesome band, and why would I compete with that?"
Grainger began working on Yours to Discover shortly after he and the Mountains wrapped up touring behind the debut LP in 2009, checking in the next year with an album title and news that he had produced "the MOST pop-a-fied MONSTER ever." While solo plans were derailed slightly once Grainger once again hooked with Jesse Keeler as Death From Above 1979, a move from Toronto to Los Angeles with his wife Eva brought the project back to light. Their journey is chronicled on "Going with You."
"We were looking for a new apartment and driving around — it was crummy weather in Toronto, overcast. We looked at some shitty apartment and were driving back to our place, and she just mentioned, 'Why don't we go to L.A.?"
The couple made the move to California last December, and Grainger admits that the relaxed atmosphere, from sunny skies to a more isolated neighbourhood than the nightlife-centred hood he used frequent in Toronto, has done wonders for his creative headspace.
"The environment is super conducive to working and getting things done. The evidence is that I finished a solo record, which I hadn't done in four or five years."
While written, performed and produced by Grainger, there is apparently a voicemail message on the album left by the Dears frontman Murray Lightburn. Mixing duties were split between John O'Mahony at Electric Ladyland Studios in New York and Leon Taheny at Candle Recording in Toronto.
You'll find the tracklisting details and a stream of "Going with You" down below. The album cover is above.
Yours to Discover:
2. Waking Up Dead
3. The Streets Are Still A Mess
4. I'm Looking For A Hand
5. Your Body Works
6. Let's Move To NYC
7. Going With You
8. Second Of Love
9. I Want Sebastien Grainger
10. I Don't Believe In Ghosts
11. Some People Are Ghosts Too Soon