Friday, February 15, 2013

The Suppliers Are A Band To Watch

Ashtyn Beaudette
If there is one band that has been sorely under covered in recent months, it's the Calgary-based four piece led by the smoky and sometimes ferocious rock vocalist Ashtyn Beaudette. But that's all right. Expect things for the band to progress rapidly this year.

The Suppliers, who released a self-titled LP a few months ago (about a month before their website launched), have already slipped into the studio to start on a second album. Plans are also being made to tour again in March. They have committed to several dozen shows at home in Calgary.

The Suppliers are a new band out of Calgary.

Although the band had been working on an album for the better part of two years while playing plenty of local gigs in Calgary, their initial break came last year after competing in a radio station contest. The competition gave them additional exposure before they won an opening spot at the half-day outdoor X-Fest in Calgary, playing ahead of bands like The Joy Formidable, Silversun Pickups, and Linkin Park.

On the heels of the unexpected win, The Suppliers put out their self-released, self-titled album a few weeks later. The 13-track album, produced by band members Kirill Telichev (guitar) and Sean Friend (drums), is mostly a straight up heavy rock album with some punk underpinnings and blues textures. The latter are largely thanks to Beaudette's voice and Robito Cortez's distinctive bass.

The breakout song, Simple Man, is a pulse-quickening lure, catch and release number as Beaudette belts out her lyrics with a seductive huskiness reminiscent of Sarah "Sin" Blackwood (Creepshow). Her bandmates gallop along in time with her, creating a dirty back alley rocker that draws people in and pushes them away at the same time.

Not everything on the album is as quick paced or riveting as Simple Man, but there are several standouts as the album progresses. The best of them rely on the band hitting the instruments full force, powering through the songs as Beaudette draws upon her naturally aggressive attitude.

In almost every instant, it's her angst that becomes both the hook and the band's permission to play hard. Inside The Machine is good example. It's a big and pulsating rock number that eventually runs away with itself. As it does, the band finds more breathing room than on any of their more restrained compositions.

Rhyme Or Reason is memorable for much the same rationale. When Beaudette boils over with all the smoke and soul that she is capable of delivering, it's hard to ignore her near voodoo-infused vocals. Likewise, Your Time Has Passed plays up the guitars and percussion as she dominates the end of a relationship with a straightforward scolding. The track immediately following, (Going) Down, is too smooth for its own good vocally but the instrumental runs make up for it.

The Suppliers
Underrated tracks are Airplane and Wrong With Me. While they are not nearly as strong as the aforementioned tracks, both prove that The Suppliers have some diversity up their sleeves. What they don't do as well, it seems, is anything overly commercial or mainstream. Skip songs like Colours, In My Hands, and Strangest Places. None of them fully realize the band's potential, with the exception of a few glimmers of savagery (like the endings of Let Me Go and Strangest Places) that are too few and far between.

Overall, it's pretty clear that The Suppliers are still trying to find themselves as a band, perhaps because Telichev and Beaudette played together prior to 2010 and Cortez and Friend have known each other since they were 11. One early interview even suggests Beaudette and Cortez didn't hit it off.

The Suppliers Self-Titled Album Sees Smart Spots At 5.1 On The Liquid Hip Scale. 

Outside of earning more exposure outside of Calgary, The Suppliers have real potential as long they steer clear of those occasional overtly polished pop numbers. While that can work for some bands, this one seems to have an affinity for darkly aggressive or wounded and brooding. A few songs with deeper lyrics would be welcome too, but Beaudette is clearly capable of making a simple song sound strong too.

The self-titled debut by The Suppliers is available on iTunes. You can also find Simple Man on Amazon. You can also keep up with the The Suppliers on Facebook.
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