Montreal based artists artists Beaver Sheppard and David Whitten, form the post-punk band, and always unpredictable, CO/NTRY. Today, they are streaming their forthcoming release Cell Phone 1, which drops, this week via Fantôme Records Records.
Quote from David Whitten on Cell Phone 1:
“We began work on Cell Phone 1 in March of 2016 after shelving our dance record, “Techno Prisoners”. The album is a mix of many genres from post-punk, to adult contemporary, to disco. When we started writing tracks for this album, we were a little concerned at first, because every new track sounded completely different from the one before it. Each track fell into a different genre, but never completely into any genre. Beaver’s vocal style would jump from Neil Young’s Ghost, to a poor man’s Macy Grey. It was never really a problem for us, as we found this polarization made the album more dynamic and exciting to listen to, it just might be an issue for someone who hears a single then expects every track on the record to sound that way. It’s a cohesive record, just not in the “every song sounds the same” kinda way”.
The record was engineered, mixed, and produced, by David Whitten at the band’s rehearsal space and recording studio in Montreal, with additional production by Emmanuel Ethier.
Though the band likes to think of themselves as genre-neutral, their music cycles through a wide variety of styles with manic indifference. The name — originally “Country” — was chosen because it was confusing and impossible to search for online, in the tradition of enigmatic acts like Boston and Chicago. The new version was selected with greater visibility in mind, provided people can remember how to spell it, or are aware that the name has changed at all.
Sheppard met Whitten while dating his then-roommate: “We kind of formed because of the POP Montreal band lotto, where you workshop songwriting in one night. Everyone I was supposed to work with had dropped out. I didn’t even know if he was any good or anything; I just asked him. He had a weirdness to him.”
Lifestyle proclivities led the band to become a major part of the city’s seedy after-hours scene, where the enthusiastic reception they received from intoxicated audiences gave them the inflated sense of confidence they needed to continue. Fans of their music included employees of Montreal label Turbo Recordings, who helped enable the recording of their first album, Failure, the product of a single three-hour studio session.
CO/NTRY entered negotiations to sign a contract with Bethlehem XXX — a restaurant/art collective/performance space where Sheppard served as head chef — which has been described as Andy Warhol’s Factory if the point was to never produce anything at all. After agreeing to a record deal with the restaurant’s owner, the band decided to leak the album via Facebook the very next day, figuring it would supply a better narrative for future band bios. History has proven them correct.
Cell Phone 1
01. So Get A Baby
02. Cash Out
03. Beyond Belief
04. Second Life
05. Too Much
06. Living In A Body
07. Gold Standard
08. Who Cares