Based out of Charlottetown in Eastern Canada, Tin-ear are a quintet formed on the cities busy music-scene and built around the songwriting partnership of guitarist Rosanna Kressin and frontperson Helaina Lalande. Describing their sound as, “old-school Midwestern emo channelled through maritime candor”, the band recently teamed up with Gentle Reminder Records for the release of their debut mini-album, Cadastral Maps.
Tin-ear set out achieve a rather charming mix of, “the sweetness found in the pure human endeavors of friendship and love with the zap of ocean saltiness that permeates their hometown air”. Citing influences from the maths-meets-emo of Cap’n Jazz through to the twee-pop of Tiger Trap, Tin-ear might hark back to the world of the early 1990’s yet they do so with a curatorial ear, as if they’re borrowing the best bits and shaping them into something intriguingly fresh. The record opens with the angular-thrust of Fling Straw Man, a clattering, intense starting point reminiscent of contemporaries like Horsegirl or Wednesday. Elsewhere recent single Dress Up With Me combines sing-speak vocals with a relentless drum clatter, while Tin-Ear starts as a rambunctious indiepop bounce before descending into angsty-feedback and the title track has a similar melody-meets-rage quality to Joanna Gruesome. The record finishes with something of aside, on the near nine-minute instrumental, Untitled, which finds the band going full post-rock, combining the intense guitar assault of Explosions In The Sky with the jazzier tendencies of Do Make Say Think. Tin-ear don’t make music for the faint hearted, Cadastral Maps is a record that wears its intensity and complexity as badges of honour, yet give it time and the edges soften just enough to let you in, and once it clicks, it’s really rather wonderful.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Tin-Ear?
Tin-Ear is an emo five-piece from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The original idea was that we’d be a free-flowing art collective but it turned out that we were just a band. Our members are Connor Nabuurs, Helaina Lalande, Rosanna Kressin, Ryan Kirkpatrick and Sacha Luttermann.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
We played at a potato-themed music festival in someone’s backyard. There’s actually a YouTube video of our set. We sent it to Tim Kinsella but he didn’t say anything. Mathias from the Burning Hell was working the sound board, he was incredibly kind but was there for hours working for who knows what compensation. They played a killer set in the afternoon but we’re not sure most people saw it. One of the major acts booked forgot to show up and the organizers filled time by covering The Lumineers on stage, respect.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
We’re all art enthusiasts – Rosanna and Helaina make visual art and are heavily inspired by paintings and cartoons; Ryan is sort of a poet and has an encyclopedic knowledge of conceptual art in the Cage-ian heritage; Sacha and Connor are both definitely more music nerds but have a big appreciation for local artists and graphic art. For us, this band is more of a specific outlet for each of us to engage in our own creativity and with our community, that just happens to be 90% musical. We all have multi-faceted creative interests that we think would be cool to associate with the band (for example, Helaina and Rosanna have done all the visual art for the tapes and shirts), but the music is the core of what allows us to come together and make our creative energy into “a thing”. The energy, sense of community, and viscerality of emo songs also just can’t be put into paintings or otherwise. They would appear too juvenile and alienating. And you can’t put D-beat in a painting.
FTR: What can people expect from the Tin-Ear live show?
Well, the only thing we know 100% is that we will never be playing Israel, so we are sorry to our Tel Aviv fans. That being said, we may not ever play a live show again, but if we do, we hope that it will be quite different from our previous ones. In order to fill set time, we created the “jam song” song (yes, it fades out in the recording) that we played live for about the same duration as the rest of the set. This was really fun and I think pursuing more of a jam approach would play off our chemistry and develop our individual ideas better. Sacha and Rosanna, the two guitarists, have both been mainly playing doom metal recently, so perhaps we would resemble a cross between the 7 Year Rabbit Cycle and Boris live sets.
FTR: What’s next for Tin-Ear?
We tossed around the idea of being an online band for a while. Rosanna has been writing some new songs that aim to be more abstract, so there can be room for improvisation for all the instruments. Right now, we are all focusing on our personal lives and careers, while Ryan, Sacha and Connor are in other bands in Charlottetown. The hope is that eventually we can afford the Sunn Model T, get back in the same place and then we’ll go from there.
They Listen To…
Frankie Cosmos – Being Alive
Ryan: I listened to Vessel a lot that summer (the summer we recorded Cadastral maps)
Foxtails – Punishment Light
Sacha: I like it because every instrument feels super tight while staying very loose including the vocals and by that it puts me in a little groove. Plays best when walking somewhere fast
Patterns Make Sunrise – Silo Coordinance
Rosanna: The YouTube channels theangryemonerd, Simon B., and sweetbabyjaysus are the best treasure troves for rare/old emo EPs. I found this band in that YouTube sphere and connected with them very strongly. I think this song is catchy and captures a big range of emotions.
Grass Widow – Time Could Bend
Helaina: The meandering vocal and guitar melodies that meet like big waves crashing and dissolving into each other are big Tin-Ear inspo. I love the noisiness and catharsis of this album
Chad Vangaalen – Where Are You?
Connor: Love how blown-out this song is, kinda noisy and distorted. The repetitive and off kilter drum groove puts me in a bit of a trance while listening.”