Saskatoon band delivers lo-fi aesthetic on latest album
“If it’s broke, use it,” is the motto of Saskatoon’s Caves, who mostly used second hand and borrowed equipment to create their latest album Idle Worship. Their lo-fi aesthetic is partially out of necessity, and partially comes from their penny pinching, reusing, reducing, and recycling ways.
“There is something nice about having hardware with knobs and sliders rather than the click of a mouse,” says Caves’ Peter Grier, “but the myth that recording on cassette is more authentic or artistic is not true. We get a kick out of the unpredictability of the Portastudio machine. Sometimes tracks will blend, bleed, or distort in really interesting ways, which wouldn’t happen on a digital machine. But we could just be part of the ‘lo-fi revival’ for the marketable advantages. That’s for you to decide.”
While they may be sorely misinformed about the sorcerer-like marketing powers of the ‘lo-fi revival,’ this method of writing and recording gives Caves a loose Crazy Horse or Guided by Voices aura, with upbeat shuffles like ‘Fuck Food’ (now with 33% more cowbell!) and downbeat slacker dirges like ‘World’s Biggest Breakfast,’ all delivered with off the cuff, deadpan vocals.
“If Thurston Moore and Ed Robertson met at a gala some night,” says Grier, “really hit it off, and went home together, full of passion, but dark stuff came up too. The next morning instead of feeling weird about it they made a kick ass breakfast to start this new chapter of their life. We’re talking current Ed and Thurston not heyday 1991. You gotta stay in the present.”
Caves began as a bedroom hobby for Grier, teaching himself how to record by trial and error. Songs weren’t really mapped out and couldn’t be played live, but Grier decided to turn that around and put together songs that were more cohesive for performance. He enlisted the help of Angus [musicians in Saskatoon apparently go by one name now, like Madonna], Stephen Cooley, and Jeremy Kiss to fill out the ranks.
“The bar scene has really exploded in the past few years and being part of that is fun,” he explains. “So I asked Angus and Jeremy if they wanted to play in a rock band then Stephen joined on bass. We’ve been pals for a long time and have influenced each other’s tastes in one way or another so we have a good dynamic. This album is [full] of songs we’ve been playing live for the past year or two. Caves has always been exploratory so this is an exploration in pop rock music. Maybe we’ll do something different next time.”
Put on your spelunking helmet (that doesn’t mean what you think it means) and get all exploratory with Caves this Saturday, the 21st, as they unveil their new album, Idle Worship (which is about the dangers of being lazy) at The Underground Cafe on 20th with guests Conduit (a Boards of Canada, Tim Hecker-type bedroom laptop guy), Moths (the guitar loops that haunt your dreams), and Black Tremor (doom rock duo featuring members of Cat Dad and Sexy Preacher who play some heavy shit with a fretless bass to get all slow and low).