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Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

Chutzpah! Festival Celebrates Diversity With Multifaceted International Programming

by Yasmine Shemesh In Hebrew, chutzpah means “brazen audacity.” As such, it’s fitting that the term would be the namesake…

Dead Friends’ Evil, Sunny Garage Psych Debut

Friday 09th, March 2018 / 07:00
By Kennedy Pawluk 

Rebellious youth anything but dead 
By Logan Ladouceur


EDMONTON – Edmonton’s hazy garage four piece Dead Friends is largely an act of rebellion. 

“I had a kindergarten class with Carter Mackie (bassist), we were just walking around and decided to knock over this huge pile of blocks,” says guitarist Jesse Ladd in a reminiscent tone.

“It made a ton of noise, made a huge mess and we got in a bunch of trouble and we’ve been hanging ever since.” 

It’s relatively minor acts of unruly fun like these that are evoked sonically by the band’s self titled debut, Dead Friends 

With a quip of daunting psych inspired organ to kick off the proceedings, Dead Friends is quick to push forward into the catchy as all hell garage punk track “Can’t Sleep.” 

“‘Can’t Sleep’ is about my dog who sleeps all day,” claims Ladd. “Due to my insomnia, I can’t sleep at all at night.”  

Lyrically the track conveys the general experience of anxiety and absolute restlessness; a feeling that you can never really just chill out.  

Marking the mid point on the record, “Friends are Dead” bears memories of being stoned, blinded by the sun, and melting on a hot summer’s day. The blend of keyboardist Callum Harvey’s signature organ tones with the guitar workings of Ladd formulates a lush magnificence. Enhanced by Ladd’s deep, haunting vocals and drummer Ellen Reade’s high harmonies, “Friends are Dead” sets a high point on the record.  

Despite the macabre namesake of the project, the members are very close and their music is the result of complete collaboration and growth in unison. 

“We’re all best friends,” says Ladd.  

“Of course, we get into little fights and things just over bullshit always. At the end of the day we all still love each other.”  

“In Dead Friends I’ve learned I really just love working with a band and doing as much as possible with a band. Getting along and seeing how far you can go, working away at goals,” adds Harvey.

“Musically I’ve learned little things like paying attention to other people more, almost like not listening to yourself but more so everyone else. This band is a very collaborative effort. So I’ve learned a lot about arrangements and how things work collaborating. I’ve also learned a lot about opening yourself up and just going for it really. I just love oiling the gears of rock ‘n’ roll. Just keep the machine going, keep working on it, moving forward.” 

For those who would think to claim the idea that garage rock is “passé,” Dead Friends’ debut is an ultimate rebuttal.  


Dead Friends release their self-titled debut at the Sewing Machine Factory on March 16th [Edmonton]. They will be performing with Jock Tears, True Branch and the Slight Brains. 

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