Retro-futurist without being a throwback act, garage rock outfit Port Juvee are unveiling their debut full-length after a long string of EP and single releases.
The fashionable five-piece have been a fixture in the Calgary music community for years, driving audiences with bouncing grooves and relentless, jangling guitars that bridge 70s punk with modern SoCal garage and surf for a cohesive package that feels as modern as it does approachable.
Led by frontman Brett Sandford, Port Juvee have carved out an aesthetic home for themselves in a scene that welcomes personal expression and letting bands define their own identities.
“That’s what I love about Calgary, that it feels like each band can do what they want and define themselves in their own terms,” he says over a janky FaceTime connection from Paris, France, where he and bassist Logan Juke are attending Paris Fashion Week on behalf of the men’s apparel store, Less 17, for which they’re buyers. “I think it’s so cool that the thing about Calgary is that we’re allowed to do our own thing, always.”
Their debut full-length, Motion Control, comes after an intensive stint in New York City last year, where they teamed up with Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend) to lay down the frenetic eight-track banger that runs the gamut from moody 80s new wave to sun-drenched, too-cool-for-school jangle rock. Gerrish connected with the band’s vibes immediately and helped them develop their visual aesthetic into a sonic tour de force.
“We’re all very inspired by 70s, 80s, dawn of digital technology stuff. We all work collaboratively on ideas, on our visual aesthetics and the songs, and then start workshopping it all. A lot of the guitars on the songs and the synthesizers on the songs are throwbacks to that era, we want to reference I think that honestly, it’s those vibes that come out the most,” says Sandford.
Despite their retro influences, Port Juvee are a modern band. There’s an immediacy and urgency to Motion Control that only accelerates on stage. Their spring schedule is packed with festival appearances across North America and Europe, including shows at SXSW in Austin, TX, New Colossus Festival in NYC, Treefort Festival in Boise, ID, and a trip across the pond to play Focus Wales in Wrexham, UK.
“I just want us to really put everything on the line. That feeling is what I want for the band and what we aimed for on the record,” says Sandford. “We want to be able to have some good opportunities and put ourselves in a position to move forward and do the thing we love.”