Sills and Smith are based in Ottawa and class themselves as folk/rock.
Members are Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith and Jonathan Edwards. Frank Smith is the main vocalist and lyricist of the band. Jeremy Sills and Jonathan Edwards share electric and acoustic guitar duties, backing vocals with drums and bass played by Jonathan.
The band have released two albums: "Uncertain Vista" (2011) and "No Way In, No Way Out" (2012). Their new album is set for release in late Spring 2013.
“No Way In, No Way Out” is a very nicely produced album that shows a good progression in terms of production from their previous CD, 2011’s “Uncertain Vista”. Their style varies from Midwest Indie Rock to 90’s 4AD and even has elements of folk, early goth and interesting alternative experimentation at times.
The drum and guitar sounds work really well together and the plaintive vocals sit well in the mix. Vocal influences seem to range from Nick Cave/Interpol/Michael Stipe to Lloyd Cole and The Red House Painters. There is a strong sense of empathy in many of the vocals.
If you like the styles of music described above, you will be likely to appreciate the song writing which is generally well thought out and full of diversity and innovation, just where it is least expected.
Arrangements are simple and not over busy and this helps bring out the songs to strongly showcase the band’s potential.
Personally, three of my favourite tracks from the album would be “Clouds”, “Radiance” and “Pain”.
“Clouds” seems to have a Red House Painters influence infused into it. Nice chiming chorus guitars and a folk influence from the use of a pedal steel guitar.
“Radiance” is very emotive lyrical imagery and a lovely build up to the song. It has a good musical balance that has that happy/sad feel that could go either way.
“Pain” is one of the most interesting tracks. It has a dynamic that usurps listener expectation in the light of previous tracks and has an experimental edge that borders on Bauhaus/early goth. For me it is one of the most innovative tracks on the album.
Another stand out track would be “Would it all be Different?” which has a beautiful, sad, unrequited feel where “luck is measured in a thimble.” It is a unique track full of layers and dimensions and a courageous track which culminates in an ending that veers towards a celebration of Pink Floyd.
The album is available from the many links included on their Reverbnation site. If you like good quality, alternative music from independent bands not influenced by corporate greed then this is a recommended release.
I look forward to the new album later this year and wish Sills and Smith all success from the DGR Team.
TJ Clark of the MuseBoat Radio show TJ's Muse Bridge will be airing A Writer's Retreat from our first album Uncertain Vista this Sunday night, March 24th! The show airs at 6 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. CDT and 3 p.m. GMT. Listen online: http://museboat.wix.com/multimedia This will be the first Sills and Smith (Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith, Jonathan Edwards) track to be heard on MuseBoat Radio. Keep listening to the station as Pain, No Way In, No Way Out and Would It All Be Different? from NWINWO will be in MuseBoat's regular rotation starting next week.
NO WAY IN NO WAY OUT (SILLS AND SMITH): ALTERNATIVE TO THE ALTERNATIVE! Article by PJ Cornell, Editor in Chief. Asterisked Music Journal Assessment: 9.0 out of 10. Bottom line up front: Imagine yourself somewhere in Canada. There’s snow on the ground. It’s dark. It’s cold. As you walk down the ice-laden road, you see a bar nestled amidst the pines. The lights inside flicker a warm glow out onto the frozen ground below. As you approach, you hear a band playing. The music is as warm and inviting as the weather outside is cold and harsh. You step into the bar. The band’s drummer gives you a smile and a nod as you approach the bar. You order a whiskey on the rocks. The drink is cold, but sweet, and warms you as it goes down. You let the fire on the hearth, your stiff drink, and the full sound of the band wash over you until you’re relaxed from head to toe. Highlights: The best part of this album is that it is so stylistically expansive. There’s something for everybody: metal, post-hippie jams, country, adult alternative, and good old alternative rock. This band’s sound is very thick, and the songs have good trajectory. Would it be Different is a Pink Floydesque favorite of mine. Lot’s of complex harmonies, good use of vocal technique, and amazing guitar solos. Melancholy World is another really good one; it’s a very upbeat, yet emotionally complex song with a beat that anyone can get behind, and guitar solos that make your soul ache. I Can’t Reach You is a good bluesy jam. In Pain, they demonstrate their artistic versatility by busting out a straight-up numetal anthem which is strangely consistent with the feel of the rest of the album. These Ghosts is a dreamlike song with a country feel. Criticisms: My only real criticism is that, in some of their songs, they would do well to space out the lyrics a little more. It occasionally seems that they try to compress too many words into a short space. They would do well to use shorter poems, or else give their song a little more space to breathe. They’re choruses are usually the highlights of their songs; for example, in I’m Right Here, their verses are little too wordy, but the chorus: “I’m right heeeeeeeere, I’m right heeeeeeeere….” gives me chills every time. Conclusion: This is an excellent album, overall. The more you listen to it, the more you like it. This album is better than their first one, a worthy effort in its own right (review pending) and I think the next one will be even better. I look forward to hearing it. Read review on Asterisked Music Journal: http://asteriskedmusic.us/no-way-in-no-way-out-sills-and-smith-alternative-to-the-alternative/?fb_source=pubv1
We are thrilled to announce that MuseBoat Radio, an internet station devoted exclusively to indie music will be playing four Sills and Smith songs starting this week. The tunes are A Writer's Retreat from our Uncertain Visa album and No Way In, No Way Out, Would It All Be Different? and Pain from our second release No Way In, No Way Out. On Sunday, March 24th our music will be introduced on TJ´s Muse Bridge music show at 10PM GMT, 6PM EST, 3PM PST and then again throughout the following week's music programming on the station. Then, our songs will be part of MuseBoat's 24/7 rotation. You can also vote for Sills and Smith in Andy´s MBMC Top 25 Music Chart every day. The station's music chart show with Bobby D and Jes is always on Thursday at the same time. Check out the station's website to listen in daily and request our songs if you want to hear our band: http://museboat.wix.com/multimedia or go to the MuseBoat Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/museboat You can now hear the music of Sills and Smith (Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith and Jonathan Edwards) online through Jango Internet Radio, DarkGift Radio and, as of this week, MuseBoat Radio! We are excited that our songs are receiving world-wide exposure!
We are thrilled to announce that Dark Gift Radio (www.darkgiftradio.com) has added Sills and Smith to its play-list. Our songs Would It All Be Different? and Pain from the No Way In, No Way Out album were selected for daily rotation by Dark Gift a couple of days ago. With our exposure on Jango Internet Radio and now Dark Gift we are getting heard the world over.
An article by PJ Cornell, Editor in Chief. Asterisked Music Journal (Review of Sills and Smith album No Way In, No Way Out) Assessment: 8.8 out of 10. Bottom Line Up Front: This is a band with a very full sound. It’s a big sticky ball of alternative rock that rolled down a grassy hill, picking up pieces of several other genres in its path. If you are a fan of Our Lady Peace, but think they’re too morose, you’d probably love these guys. Their songs are different enough, that you really have to listen to their songs 2-3 times before you really “get” them, but not so different that they are likely to alienate audiences. Highlights: The two things that really stand out about this band are the harmonic content, and the guitar solos. This isn’t your 3-chord rock; think more John Lennon. And when they cut their lead guitar loose, it’s something to experience. Great solos. The vocalists interact with one another very well, as well. Their best song is Would it All be Different. It starts off simply enough with a simple progression in the rhythm and a simple tune on top of it. Then everything drops off, and we are treated to a Dream Theater-esque symphonic experience. The guitars play a beautiful, quiet riff, while the vocalists create sonic textures that are somehow reminiscent of both Morton Feldman and medieval liturgical music. The section culminates in a very gratifying guitar solo before reprising to its original thought. Criticisms: I don’t have much bad to say about these guys. Obviously prolific and talented. My one suggestion is that there are a couple ways this band could go in the future. This band could easily fall into the trap of losing touch with the listener if they try too hard to be different. So long as they don’t try to force it, though, I think these guys will just keep getting better and better with time. Conclusion: I look forward to experiencing new musical landscapes with these guys in the future. http://asteriskedmusic.us/sills-smith-an-upcoming-integration-of-sound/
A Writer's Retreat from the Sills and Smith album Uncertain Vista will be played on the radio in Scotland this Saturday, January 26th on the Pulse 98.4: http://www.pulseonair.co.uk/ "The Saturday Sandwich" is a program hosted by Chas Cunningham of The Skunnerd band. The show broadcasts in East Renfrewshire from 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. (which means a 6:00 a.m. start for us in Ottawa). It has a wonderful, entertaining format, combining live music with Chas and various talented friends and pre-recorded songs. This week's theme for the show is "books, reading and writing" so our tune fits perfectly. The land of the finest single malt whisky is home to even finer people and tremendous music. If you're not in East Renfrewshire within radio signal distance, just tune in online as we'll be doing this Saturday. Jeremy Sills, Jonathan Edwards and myself will be having an early breakfast -- perhaps with a side of Haggis --with the Saturday Sandwich this weekend.
This just in peeps! The music of Sills and Smith (Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith, Jonathan Edwards) is being featured on The King Minion Music Podcast - Episode 17 along with other cool indie acts including Anton Mink, No Island and Lindsay Bryan. The King Minion Music Podcast is a weekly audio podcast broadcast from Victoria, British Columbia. Host King Minion plays some of the best hidden musical talent on the web today, choosing from emerging artists across the web and around the world. This will be the third episode that The King has selected Sills and Smith to be on his podcast, playing tracks from both of our albums Uncertain Vista and No Way In, No Way Out (NWINWO). That's Not The Reason from NWINWO is on King Minion Podcast 17. You can listen online now: http://kingminionmusicpodcast.blogspot.ca/p/episode-17.html
CKCU radio in Ottawa will be playing Saturday from our No Way In, No Way Out album on this morning's program Mar's Local Connection! Hosts Shelley Ann Morris and Pat Moore will be featuring some of their favourite Ottawa music and we're so pleased that Shelley has chosen one of our tunes. The show runs from 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. Saturday will be spun in the second half hour. So listen in on the radio if you are in Ottawa, 93.1 FM on your dial. You can also hear the show live online: http://cod.ckcufm.com/programs/366/info.html It will be available as part of the CKCU podcast Listen On Demand feature later today for 30 days.
Great news folks! Sills and Smith (Jeremy Sills, Frank Smith, Jonathan Edwards) have made the Best of 2012 albums according to Peter Kearns of influential Snob's Music, a Toronto-based music blog. Our second, full-length studio album "No Way In, No Way Out" was #94 on Peter's list, just ahead of albums by Robocode and Sonic Adventures, one place behind Grant Tilly's "The World Keeps Passing By" and two spots away from Islands' "A Sleeping and A Forgetting." Neil Young's "Psychedelic Pill" ranked #87, only 7 albums ahead of Sills and Smith on the Snob's Music list. Peter Kearns also put our debut album "Uncertain Vista" in his Best of 2011 feature. As a totally independent band, up against big label supported acts, this is a tremendous achievement that makes us so very proud. Wait until you hear our third studio album, which is scheduled for world release early in 2013! Snob's Music Best of 2012: http://www.snobsmusic.net/2012/12/best-of-2012-albums-100-51.html