GERMANS with BOCCE and FACELESS LAZERS at Sneaky Dee's (431 College), tonight (Thursday, December 14), 9 pm. $6. 416-603-3090. Rating: NNNNN
The first thing you need to know about the Toronto indie rock roughnecks calling themselves Germans is that there's no one from Germany in the group.
In fact, none of the members (who actually hail from Mississauga, Richmond Hill and Guelph) has made so much as a stopover in the country. On their decidedly Deutsche-free forthcoming album, Cape Fear (Arena Rock) - officially slated for release in February but available at their show - Aidan Koper, Leon Taheny, Tim Fagan, Steven Lappano, Jesse Foster and Michael Rozenberg sound like they've been too busy trying to decipher the messages Stephen Malkmus encoded in Slanted & Enchanted to get off the couch.
"We've definitely spent more than a few nights getting stoned while listening to Pavement," candidly concedes Taheny, "so there's bound to be some of that in our sound.
"And the name came from Steve Kado, who formed the band with Aidan back in 1999. But Steve's no longer in the group, and he's not German either."
With that logic, it's probably a safe bet that no one from the band has been anywhere near Cape Fear on North Carolina's Azalea Coast for that matter. But surely someone must have seen the 1962 Robert Mitchum thriller or rented Martin Scorsese's 91 remake with Robert De Niro, right? Evidently not.
"No, I haven't seen that film," confirms Taheny. "Hey, Aidan, have you seen the film Cape Fear? He says he hasn't seen it either. I think we should probably watch it, if only so we could make up some juicy lies about how we came up with the title of the album. It's called Cape Fear... I dunno... for no other reason than it's Cape Fear.
"We're thinking of going to Cape Fear for the CD release party, which might be fun."
It certainly could be an enjoyable trip, although they'd probably be wise to check the fine print in the contract they signed with Arena Rock to find out if the cost of those plane tickets and other expenses is recoupable against future earnings.
Considering that Germans' labelmates include the Ecclesia, Ovian, Chrushed Stars, Talkdemonic, Winechuggers and Worm Is Green, it's not like Arena Rock boss Greg Glover has a lot of extra cash lying around to blow on lavish record release soirées in resort towns for new signees.
You have to wonder how those Germans hombres got themselves hooked up with the thriving Portland-based indie in the first place. We can surmise that they weren't spotted playing a gig in Oregon.
"Around this time last year, we put together a list of our favourite labels in Europe, the U.S. and Canada and did a cold mailing of 60 demo CDs. From that we got responses from four labels: I think it was Startime, Vagrant, Ecstatic Peace and Arena Rock, and of the people we spoke to, Greg seemed the most enthusiastic.
"We met him during the summer, and he seemed like a really nice guy. He kept talking about how jaded he was and how he hasn't been this excited about a new band since first hearing Archers of Loaf. That's a long time. So we thought we'd do him a favour by signing to Arena Rock."