By Michael Grondin
CALGARY – Feel Alright, the jangle-power-pop masters of DIY and devotees to Calgary’s diverse and committed music community, are releasing their second full-length album In Bad Faith. It’s a harmonious testament to collaboration in our flourishing scene.
According to Feel Alright’s main mind Craig Fahner, who started the project while living in Pittsburgh in 2008, In Bad Faith is a reflection of “the kinds of people who work tirelessly to contribute something vital to the music community.”
And it does so through catchy, catchy melancholy, confessionals and rock and roll clichés that leave you feeling all gooey inside.
“I left Calgary originally in 2008, and I think I left with this chip on my shoulder about Calgary not being a very hospitable place for the arts,” explains Fahner. “After I left I realized how much I missed the kinds of people who are involved in Calgary’s art community, they’re so committed in spite of what can be perceived as hurdles, in terms of the dominant conservative culture in Calgary, the economic situation in its oil booms and busts.”
At the time, Fahner was bouncing between Pittsburgh and Montreal, and was recording songs in more of a “scrappy” fashion with a mixed bag of pals. Their first album, hahahahahahaha (initially released summer 2011 on Planet of the Tapes and reissued summer 2012 on Kinnta Records), an explosive, shimmering and fuzzy collection of tracks was a lot more lo-fi, and reflective of his time of transition.
“It was barebones and I was just trying to get things done in the most quick and efficient way possible,” says Fahner, adding that all these experiences are fuel for Feel Alright’s songs.
“After moving away, you see a much different social and cultural landscapes where similar struggles are not as clearly pronounced, and the quality of the conversations didn’t have that same level of vitality that I would experience with my friends at home,” says Fahner.
Currently, Fahner records many local bands in his homemade studio, adding, “Access to recording is a really important part of participating in the music community, and getting people’s music heard. It became a great way of connecting with other bands and other musicians.”
In Bad Faith, released through Toronto’s Pleasance Records, was a collaborative process which also featured a variety of guest artists on its recording roster. Their main live line-up consists of band mainstay Brady Kirchener on guitar as well as Joey Mooney and Dallin Ursenbach.
“In Bad Faith was a very slow process. I think the songwriting reflects a longer, more thoughtful approach,” he says.
“I’ve been really focused in building up a studio, and even just the process of accumulating and building the space was a huge part of how the music sounds now.”
Feel Alright have loaded their plates at the project buffet, they got a new music video in the works co-directed by visual artist Mat Lindenberg, and they’ll be hitting the road this spring after their album release party on June 9 at
The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club alongside Edmonton’s Wares and YYC locals Slut Prophet and Lashes. Surveying a familiar landscape, Fahner is optimistic about the fruitfulness of future collaborations.
“I have a lot of admiration for people who are committed to their practice and how hard you have to work to make something vital in Calgary, but that’s what makes it a city worth living in.”
Check out the Feel Alright album release party with Wares, Lashes and Slut Prophet June 9 at The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club (Calgary). And at Sled Island June 23 at Broken City (Calgary). The album is available online at https://feelalrightpleasence.bandcamp.com/Broken City, Feel Alright, Lashes, Sled Island, Slut Prophet, The Palomino Smokehouse and Social Club, Vital Signs, Wares