SNOWDEN with THE AUTUMN STONES at the Garrison (1197 Dundas West), tonight (Thursday, August 2), 9 pm. $8. 416-519-9439. See listing. CANCELLED
UPDATE: From the band's FB page: "Thank you miscreants of Chicago. You broke into our van while we were playing... stole my clothes, passport, and our drummer's c-pap. Also, thanks to homeland security for making it impossible to get into Canada without a passport and the great governor of Texas, Rick Perry for blocking the enhanced driver's license program that would have worked instead of a passport."[briefbreak]
What happened to Snowden? That's the question fans have been asking ever since the Austin-based indie rock band slipped under the radar following their brilliant 2006 debut, Anti-Anti.
The short answer is that singer/songwriter Jordan Jeffares endured some drawn-out label drama, in which emo imprint Jade Tree dropped his dour dance-rock styles after keeping him in legal limbo for over a year.
"It's like finding yourself right back at the start," says Jeffares over the phone from New York City. "I kept waiting and waiting and wondering, ‘What the fuck am I doing with my life?' Finally everything came together last August."
That's when he signed a deal with former tour mates Kings of Leon's new label Serpents and Snakes to release Snowden's long-awaited follow-up, No One In Control, due out in October.
But the excruciating and frustrating wait saw Jeffares slinging suds to get by and returning to his indie roots out of desperation.
"I had to do something. I was going stir crazy," he says about Slow Soft Syrup, a stopgap Snowden EP he wrote, recorded and digitally released on his own in 2010. The five-song collection was a sleeper gem, showcasing patient and refined songwriting, while still delivering the sweet, layered melodies fans and critics had celebrated. There was no label, no tour and no promotion to support it.
"The EP songs were slower simply because it's easier to mix and record slow stuff when you're working all by yourself. Reworked versions of those songs will be on the full-length, but there's some upbeat rock stuff, too."
The Toronto show will conclude a two-week warm-up tour featuring a new lineup - "everyone else has moved on with their lives, except me" - which is Snowden's first string of dates in nearly five years.
Needless to say, Jeffares is busting to get back on the road and onstage. And if the swell of interest around first single The Beat Comes is any indication, the wait will have been worth it.