Rockers give fans Twice Removed on vinyl

SLOAN at the Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), tonight (Thursday, November 22), doors 7 pm. $26.50. LN, RT, SS, TM. See listing.

Eighteen years ago, Sloan altered the landscape of Canadian pop music with Twice Removed. Buoyed by clever lyrics, jangly guitars and meaty drums, the Halifax band’s second album was released by DGC, a label that also boasted Sonic Youth, Nirvana and Beck – decent company by any standard.

Thanks to requests by fans to see the classic album reissued on vinyl, Sloan have done just that through their own Murderecords imprint. They’re also currently winding up a Twice Removed tour in support of it.

The deluxe package includes three vinyl albums (the original, demos and outtakes), a 7-inch single with two bonus demos, high-quality digital downloads, a 32-page booklet, a copy of the letter that inspired the song Penpals and other goodies compiled for both new fans and listeners who’ve been around since the early days.

“We just played out west and heard a lot of ‘We haven’t seen you guys in 10 years,'” says singer/guitarist Jay Ferguson over tea in a Trinity-Bellwoods café a few days before flying to Newfoundland with bandmates Chris Murphy, Patrick Pentland and Andrew Scott to continue the tour.

“This show might be a little more special to some people than a regular Sloan show. [Twice Removed] was the point at which a lot of people got into our band. It seems to be the album that keeps getting brought up.”

With plans to record a new album next year and then treat 1996’s One Chord To Another to a similar deluxe reissue, the Toronto-based band is booked solid well into its third decade together. And the critical and commercial success of last year’s The Double Cross, which made the Polaris Prize long list, has certainly helped remind listeners of the group’s songwriting prowess.

“I didn’t know it could happen,” Ferguson says about Sloan’s longevity. “But it’s what I wanted. The longer I’m in a band, the more supportive I am of acts who are still together.

“You know, the Rolling Stones are rehearsing for four shows this fall and a tour next year. People are like, ‘Oh, they should give it up.’ But no, man, this is what they do. It’s almost uncharted territory – a rock ‘n’ roll band that’s been playing for 50 years. How’s it going to end?”

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