ALT-ROCK: Etched by Sills & Smith
by Lisa Fiorilli (April 29, 2015)
Sills & Smith are an alternative rock band based out of Ottawa who released their fourth full-length record, Etched, in August 2014. If you like intelligent, folk-influenced alternative rock in the vein of The Tragically Hip, then the 13 eclectic tracks that make up Etched will be a perfect fit for you.
The album was produced and recorded at Bova Sound by Phillip Bova (Zeus, Bahamas, Yukon Blonde) in Ottawa. The core of Sills & Smith is Jeremy Sills (acoustic guitars/piano/crystal bowls/vocals) and Frank Smith (vocals) – who take care of composing the tracks. On Etched, they’re joined by Phil Bova (bass), T. Bruce Wittet (drums), Kevin Breit (electric guitar, electric mandolin), Don Wallace (electric guitar, dobro), Roddy Ellias (electric guitar and nylon string acoustic guitar), and Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello).
The album is an eclectic mix of folk rock, alternative rock, and hints of progressive rock – ultimately combining together in an eminently pleasing 54 minutes. Alternating between sombre and moody (“What You Deserve”) and driving guitars (“End Times”), Etched rolls along at a memorable pace. The greatest success of this record is that while you’re humming along, you’d almost be forgiven if you missed the occasionally dark lyrics (see “Space Junk” for a perfect example). Thematically, Etched is a highly personal record that deals largely with the human experience and social justice, and Sills & Smith manage to work in a highly diverse set of influences into these 13 songs without sounding too jumbled.
My favourite track on the album is likely the opener, “Where You’ll Find It”, which sort of reminded me a bit of a cross between The Tragically Hip and early R.E.M. I enjoyed the off-kilter arrangements and prog rock-esque vocal harmonies in other tracks, but the laid back rhythm of “Where You’ll Find It” sold me on the record instantly.
3.5 out of 5 stars
Must-Listen Track: “Where You’ll Find It”
(Ottawa, March 22, 2015) Sills & Smith band of Ottawa has entered the CBC Music Searchlight 2015 contest. The song that they're showcasing is "Where You'll Find It", a powerful classic/progressive rock track that explores the issue of mental illness. The tune opens the band's 4th, full-length studio album Etched. "Where You'll Find It" has been entered in the Ottawa area under the CBC radio All In A Day program, so you will be hearing it on CBC during the contest. To listen online and vote for the song, go to the Sills & Smith CBC Music page, give the track a spin below the Searchlight icon and select Vote for This Artist: http://music.cbc.ca/#!/artists/Sills-Smith Voting starts on March 30th. "Where You'll Find It" is featured on the Sills & Smith CBC Music page, along with the painterly YouTube music video created by David Duchow with his photography: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMOLQLZMuPo Sills & Smith is an independent band, that has delivered its unique sound and style across four critically acclaimed albums. The group includes core members, singer-songwriters Frank Smith (words, music), Jeremy Sills (music). The Etched album and "Where You'll Find It" were recorded and produced by Phillip Victor Bova, at Bova Sound in Ottawa. The 13 tracks on Etched address social justice and the triumphs and tragedies of the human experience to a hard driving, guitar-based sound -- rich in melody. The music is a genre bending and blending stew that touches on alternative folk, classic rock and progressive rock. "Where You'll Find It" features the excellent studio band rocking out, with Phil Bova (electric bass), T. Bruce Wittet (drums), Don Wallace (electric guitar), Kevin Breit (electric guitar), Jeremy Sills (acoustic guitar). Jeremy and Frank share vocals on this melodic, layered track. Check out "Where You'll Find It" and vote for the song throughout the CBC Searchlight contest. For further information about the music of Sills & Smith -- including full songs streaming, music videos, retailers for the albums -- visit these websites: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith www.facebook.com/sillssmith https://twitter.com/SillsandSmith http://sillsandsmith.bandcamp.com/releases https://www.youtube.com/user/SillsandSmith https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/etched/id907197199 http://music.cbc.ca/#!/artists/Sills-Smith - 30 -
(Ottawa, August 7, 2014) With three previous, critically acclaimed independent alternative rock albums stoking the creative fire, Sills & Smith has released their fourth, and most accomplished studio album of originals to date! Named for its title track "Etched", this 13 track musical and lyrical adventure is both powerful and melodic. The full-length, 53 minute recording explores the human experience and social justice issues to a hard driving, guitar-based sound. Sills & Smith is an Ottawa, Canada based band led by singer-songwriters Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith. The music is a genre bending and blending stew that touches on folk, alternative rock and progressive rock styles. Produced and recorded by the legendary Phillip Victor Bova at Bova Sound in Ottawa, the new album features an all-star cast of great players: Phil Bova (bass), T Bruce Wittet (drums), Kevin Breit (electric guitar, electric mandolin), Don Wallace (electric guitar, dobro), Roddy Ellias (electric guitar and nylon string acoustic guitar), Raphael Weinroth-Browne (cello). Jeremy Sills plays acoustic guitars, piano and crystal bowls. All songs on Etched were composed by Frank Smith and Jeremy Sills -- Words and Music - Frank Smith; Music - Jeremy Sills. Both Sills and Smith handle vocals on the disc. Track order: Where You'll Find It; Meet Out By the Lake; What You Deserve; A Love For All Seasons; Space Junk; To Be Embraced; Please, Please Save Me; In Dreams; Etched; End Times; The Sound; Give Us Peace; Endings and Beginnings. Sills & Smith "Etched" is available online through all major retailers including iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby etc. A beautiful digipak CD edition will be sold online and in select box stores. For further information: firstname.lastname@example.org Sills & Smith band website: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith Twitter: @SillsandSmith - 30 -
by Dave Manning (May 6, 2014)
The Glorious Ache opens with a synth and guitar-feedback intro leading into two strong full-ahead rock pieces sung with great harmonies and excellent guitar work. The third tune, Be Careful, slows down considerably with acoustic guitar and more forefront bass with some fine accompanying electric guitar, though it has a darker, almost ominous, texture and cadence.
This prompted me to anticipate a possible progrock journey. Instead, Jeremy Sills and Frank Smith, along with Jonathan Edwards, offer up a more heavier, perhaps alternative, folk-rock sound with various elements from other rock genres interwoven.
Not that I’m disappointed. Quite the opposite. This third studio album by Sills & Smith is my introduction to them, having not had the chance to listen to their previous releases. What initially struck me was their harmonies, even on the heavier tunes, and the fitting rhythm/lead electric guitar on almost every song, as well as the aforementioned infused elements.
Advice Best Taken brings in a more folk-rock mood, though not as rocking out as the initial two, then into Parachute Love, which serves up a more upbeat up-tempo rock with some fine electric guitar lead-work. Amanda, a touching and soft ballad, slows the pace down and enters a slower, more electric folk-rock tone with acoustic guitar more prominent. This remains relatively constant through the balance of the album with the exceptions of Tornado Alley, Living On a Island, and Freezing In Here leaning more to the rock side of the equation.
There is experimentation here, such as on Hold Tight and In Memory, with the inclusion of some synth and moving into a ‘prog-rock’ area, stretching the boundaries of folk/rock into other territory. The songwriting is the star here though, as the songs themselves on The Glorious Ache would stand on their own with only acoustic guitar accompaniment.
The poetics of Frank’s lyrics are of an open structure, creating tight expressive writing where almost every word is necessary to carry the images. Many of the lyrics invoke vignettes or collages illustrating subjects ranging from loss and grief (In Memory), and one’s faith in the face of these (A Church In The Country), fear and loss (Tornado Alley), and fear and consequences of traversing outside of any arbitrary boundaries (Be Careful)…
"This world’s Not built For sissies Or fools
Be careful You’re not a dreamer Because dreamers Are not Welcome here"
Yet, all is not restrained despair or loss, for Jeremy and Frank do sing of the enduring love of one’s special lady-love in the short sweet Fill My Cup, as well as the unbound joy of ‘falling in Love’ in Parachute Love…
"Parachute love It’s such a rush Parachute love Maximum G-Force Body Crush"
What I appreciate most is Frank and Jeremy’s harmonies. They are a pleasure, meshing well with the music even on heavier, more rocking tunes. There is a flow to The Glorious Ache with a coherence in the progression of the songs even though there is a spectrum of inclusion of styles and a possibility that the two or three opening pieces seem not to fit initially with the rest of the album.
Yet, taken as a whole, and after seriously listening over the last week, The Glorious Ache reveals the scope of stylistic elements and more unconventional song structure Jeremy, Frank and Jonathan have fused into their song-crafting, as well as the depth of thought and emotion ingrained in Frank Smith’s lyrics. What we have here is an earnest melodic collection worthy of long-term listening and distinctive musical endurance.
Purchase The Glorious Ache on CD Baby and on iTunes.
Find Sills & Smith on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, and on ReverbNation.
(Review online at Modular Base: http://modularbase.com/sills-smith-the-glorious-ache/)
We have entered our song Parachute Love in the CBC Music Searchlight contest! The tune is from our third studio album The Glorious Ache. We are competing in the Ottawa area under the All In A Day program, which means you can also request that Parachute Love be played on the radio. If you like Parachute Love please help us out by giving us your vote. Go to the Sills & Smith CBC Music page, listen to the track below the Search Light icon (on lower right) and select Vote For This Artist: http://music.cbc.ca/#/artists/Sills-Smith Remember you can vote once a day until the first round of the contest closes on April 6th.
If you really dig Parachute Love, why not share the love and tell your friends to support us through Facebook and other social media connections?! Jeremy Sills and I could use your positive energy and votes to put some wind in our sails -- or parachutes -- as we leap into the studio to record our 4th album in April!
There is a music video for Parachute Love on YouTube and our Reverbnation page that works beautifully with the song that you might want to check out before you vote, featuring the daring Dexter Marcelino and his friends! This video was compiled by our musical friend Robin Youlton: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqXHVzFtk6Y
Parachute Love was written by Frank Smith (words, music), Jeremy Sills (music) and Jonathan Edwards (music). It was recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards at Corvidae Music in Ottawa.
Thank you for listening and supporting Sills & Smith band!
Cheers, Frank Smith
Sills and Smith on Reverbnation: http://www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith
Retailers (iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, eMusic etc.)
Twitter: @SillsandSmith https://twitter.com/SillsandSmith
Jeremy and I had an excellent pre-production meeting with Phil Bova at Bova Sound in Ottawa last Friday. Plans are in place to record the 4th Sills and Smith studio album from April to June, 2014. It is still too early to determine a release date. There are 25 new, original songs under consideration, enough for two albums. But we will pick the very best 12-14 of the bunch to give you a really great album. So excited! Will keep you folks posted as the recording progresses. Cheers, Frank
by Michael Popke, With an album title as epic as The Glorious Ache, you'll no doubt expect a grand listening experience. And that's exactly what you get on the third release from the diverse Canadian band Sills & Smith. Full of sometimes haunting, sometimes cynical and always memorable songs, The Glorious Ache bursts with arrangements that span four decades of musical influences — from the Beatles to Warren Zevon and Neil Young to The Cure, U2 and beyond.
Despite the name, this dynamic duo is actually a trio: Jeremy Sills (vocals, guitars), Frank Smith (vocals) and Jonathan Edwards (everything else, including some vocals). These 15 songs sound nothing like each other, which essentially makes Sills & Smith — & Edwards? — an accessible progressive-rock group. "Ready, Set, Go" bounces like an 80s dance-rock track, "Be Careful" is a dark and droning warning, "Advice, Best Taken" captures not only Warren Zevon's vocal style but also his cynicism, "Freezing in Here" rocks like a superior bar band on fire, and elements of Neil Young swirl around the gut-wrenching "Tornado Alley." But the most glorious of aches on The Glorious Ache is "Amanda (For Amanda Todd)" — a gripping and disturbing examination of the life and suicide of a 15-year-old Canadian girl bullied to death. It's a devastatingly emotional track, and any parent left unmoved after hearing it doesn't possess a soul.
The soul of Sills & Smith is what allows this group to write such compelling songs. Edwards' guitar solos take them to another realm, and strong production boosts the overall impact. Genuine, melodic and engaging, Sills & Smith simply is too good for radio. Track Listing: 1) Hold Tight 2) Ready Set Go 3) Be Careful 4) Advice Best Taken 5) Parachute Love 6) Amanda (For Amanda Todd) 7) A Church in the Country 8) It's Wrecked 9) Tornado Alley 10) If You 11) Living On an Island 12) Promises 13) Freezing in Here 14) Fill My Cup 15) In Memory
Review on Sea of Tranquility website: http://seaoftranquility.org/reviews.php?op=showcontent&id=15556
(Ottawa, October 7, 2013)
A new music video for Hold Tight, the opening track from the Sills & Smith studio album The Glorious Ache has been released. The video was made by Megan Robertson, a wonderfully talented Ottawa photographer and filmmaker. Hold Tight was written by Frank Smith, Jeremy Sills and Jonathan Edwards. It was recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards at Corvidae Music in Ottawa. Watch the video now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hdhYm5fp9XM&feature=c4-overview&list=UUrXpI0zL8IYjyUPTa_Xy2cw
Sills & Smith is an independent, alternative folk/rock band based in Ottawa, Canada. The group includes Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith and Jonathan Edwards. The band has released three critically acclaimed albums of all original material: The Glorious Ache (2013), No Way In, No Way Out (2012) and Uncertain Vista (2011). These are full-length efforts recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards in his studio, Corvidae Music.
The new music video and several others from all three studio albums are also posted on the band’s Reverbnation and Facebook pages, where you can hear many full Sills & Smith songs streaming. Links to Sills & Smith on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby and other retailers that sell the band’s music are provided on its social media sites.
Hold Tight is about surviving the perils of life in the concrete, urban jungle. We had great fun working with Megan Robertson. Enjoy the video.
For more information:
Sills & Smith band on Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith
Sills & Smith band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sillssmith
Sills & Smith band on Twitter: @SillsandSmith
We have just released a powerful new music video of Tornado Alley from the Sills & Smith album The Glorious Ache. Our song has been used as a soundtrack to remarkable film footage of the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011 chronicled by Joplin resident Colby McGehee. Many thanks to Colby for giving us permission to use his film. The music video was compiled by our talented musical friend Robin Youlton, who lives in England, so that makes this an international project. Tornado Alley was written by Frank Smith, Jeremy Sills and Jonathan Edwards. It was recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards at Corvidae Music in Ottawa. Watch Tornado Alley on YouTube now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHKuDoUwWnQ&feature=c4-overview&list=UUrXpI0zL8IYjyUPTa_Xy2cw
You can also view our new music video and several others from all three studio albums on our Reverbnation and Facebook pages and hear many full songs streaming. Links to Sills & Smith on iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, CD Baby and other retailers that sell our music are provided on our social media sites.
Sills & Smith band on Reverbnation:
Sills & Smith band on Facebook:
Sills & Smith band on Twitter:
To celebrate its brand new studio album, Sills & Smith band has just released a music video for the track Parachute Love. The video was compiled by Robin Youlton and features thrilling film footage by skydiver extraordinaire Dexter Marcelino, set to our powerful song. Now available on our just launched Youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/SillsandSmith
Sills & Smith is an independent, alternative folk/rock band based in Ottawa, Canada. The group includes Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith and Jonathan Edwards. The band has recorded three albums of all original material: The Glorious Ache (2013), No Way In, No Way Out (2012) and Uncertain Vista (2011). These are full-length efforts recorded and produced by Jonathan Edwards in his studio, Corvidae Music.
Our new album, The Glorious Ache features 15 tracks penned by the band, exploring diverse sonic territory and delivering songs filled with melodic and lyrical invention. The Glorious Ache was released on July 9th and is now available through CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and other major retailers! The beautiful digipak edition is being printed and will be out on July 30th, for online order and in select box stores.
Five tracks from the new album are now streaming on our Reverbnation and Facebook pages. Look for more music videos on Youtube of certain Glorious Ache tracks through the summer and into the fall. We are so proud of this music. We hope listeners enjoy experiencing the album as much as we enjoyed creating it.
Sills & Smith on Reverbnation: www.reverbnation.com/sillssmith Sills & Smith on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sillssmith Sills & Smith on Twitter: @SillsandSmith