Dinosaur Bones Take Their First Steps Out

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

As exciting as a new, forthcoming release can be for a band, there's something special about the prospect of a vinyl release. Part of that certainly must have to do with the fetish quality inherent to a 7” single or a full-length, 33RPM album; CDs are indestructible compared to those tiny grooves in an album or single, and collectors need to observe the levels of external stimuli including temperature and moisture in order to best maintain their music. Arguments have been made that vinyl sounds better and that isn't an argument that will be debated here, but there's no question that the maintenance of a record collection is a true labour of love for the modern vinyl aficionado.

While vinyl records were once the primary source to obtain music, they're now a status symbol and perceived as the items of true fandom and/or connoisseurism for audio documents.

Needless to say, while a new release for a band can be a celebrated thing, a new vinyl release is revered; especially now in the digital age, the medium is lauded. For Toronto-based indie rock band Dinosaur Bones, the prospect of releasing their debut seven-inch is, according to singer/guitarist Ben Fox, a dream come true – after only two years of honing their sound, it's beginning to feel like they're on their way. “We've got vinyl in the works right now,” beams the singer with almost palpable excitement. “A little seven-inch to take on tour with us and spread around before the record because it may yet be a little while before that actually gets out so we wanted to have something there to keep things going and keep people interested.

“Having a vinyl single seems to have a more lasting tangible quality than a CD does,” continues the singer. “For me, CDs are a way to get music onto my computer and then they're coasters; I feel like vinyl is a cooler thing to hold onto in the long-term than a CD. To a certain degree, it's a matter of not being able to download a record and wanting to have something a little more tangible; the artwork's bigger and, to me, it feels like more of a production than a CD does.”

Such passion for a format is rare and, really, rather surprising when one thinks about it. A seven-inch single doesn't leave a whole lot of room for error; traditionally, a band that releases a single gets just two shots to make an impression on listeners. It has to be an incisive strike to capture attention and the additional limitation to the medium is that it can't be a prolonged attempt – the songs have to be fairly short to fit on the vinyl. Such limitations would imply confidence in an untested band and Dinosaur Bones certainly has that but, given that this is the band's first wide release with a full-length being mixed for a release date to be announced, rather than hammer listeners over the head with their first two great, blockbuster singles, the band has elected to use the limited time they have on a 45RPM to illustrate the breadth of their sound and songwriting, rather than just pound and wow everyone within earshot. “We wanted to put out the two songs that were the least similar and show two completely different sides of the band,” explains Fox of the band's reasoning when it came time to choose an A- and B-side for the single. “We wanted to have one that was catchy and sort of a favorite at shows, so “Royalty” was the pick between maybe two songs that we thought filled that role, and then “Ice Hotels” was something that we thought was the polar opposite; the tone was drastically different and, we think, really complimentary to “Royalty” as far as covering the difference between the extremes of what we do. We wanted to show multiple dimensions rather than just two catchy, single songs or two brooding tracks.

“I think the rest of the record kind of fills the space between those two extremes out,” continues the singer, expanding upon the two songs' role in comparison to the rest of the band's songbook. “Like, if you listen to the album top to bottom, they don't stick out as drastically as they do on the single but that's really what we wanted; we wanted to show the diversity of the material we play.”

With this 7-inch being the first formal release from Dinosaur Bones ("The only music that we had available previously was a demo EP that we recorded when the band was only about four months old so there's a big gap of time and development in between those releases," says Fox), it begs the question of whether or not the single will set a precedent for the band in regards to future releases – particularly given the band's excitement about it. Is this only the first vinyl release from Dinosaur Bones, or is the band's dream also sunk in a hint of novelty? When the question is put to the band's singer, he candidly reports that his band's future is undecided. "We hadn't really thought about it," ruminates Fox. "Lots of bands record and release singles, but it's an attractive idea. I really like the format and I like it when bands release a lot of content even if it isn't on a full-length but, for the time being, all of our attention is on this album – we're hoping to have the full-length out by Fall but nothing is set in stone yet – and promoting the seven-inch so, if we do it, it'll be further down the road."
According to Fox, the band is really excited for the release of the single and ecstatic at opportunity to let uninitiated, foreign listeners judge for themselves exactly how the songs in the band's repertoire correlate as these shows will be played out on largely undiscovered (for the band) terrain; further bucking tradition, the Dinosaur Bones' forthcoming tour will only feature a handful of domestic dates before they head to the US to try their fortunes. “This is our first run down to the States so we're pretty excited about what kind of reception we'll find there,” beams the singer. “Prior to this point, we've only done tours out to the East Coast and as far south as St. Catharines [in southern Ontario –ed], but now that we have all the tracking done for the full-length and are just waiting for the mixes to be completed, the goal is to get in front of as many people as possible to try and build something. We're pretty much contained to the Northeast on this string of shows, playing Rochester, Boston, a couple of shows in Brooklyn, a couple in New York, Washington, Providence, Vermont and New Hampshire, but it's still pretty exciting for us; we've sort of identified ourselves as a band that should be playing larger cities as much as possible – I think that's where we're best received – so that makes the best sense and now we're going to see how well that theory holds up. This tour ends at the end of February and then we're home for about two weeks and then we're going to Texas for South By Southwest – that's a first which we're really excited about – and the goal is to keep hitting the road while we figure out what to do with the record – the seven-inch is coming out on Hi-Scores Recording Library which is a vinyl-only label based in Toronto and New York, but we're shopping the full-length around to different labels to get it out.

“This single is basically going to function as the business card for what we can do, and hopefully we can draw interest for the full-length on the basis of that and our live show.”



Dinosaur Bones – "Ice Hotels"


The "Royalty"/"Ice Hotels" 7" is available now from Hi-Scores Recording Library. Buy it here .

Comments are closed.