Strawmen turn back time on new release

Giving the saying “less is more” just a little more in the way of credibility, Moncton-area garage-rock band The Strawmen are set to celebrate the release of a brand new cassette with a show at Plan B Lounge on Saturday night.

Consisting of just two guitarists and a drummer (there is no bass player in the group) The Strawmen’s newest offering is made up of a hometown show that the group played in support of another garage-rock band, King Khan, approximately two years ago.

Just in case you might have missed that fine detail, that’s no mistake above – the band’s newest release is being released on cassette. No CDs. No vinyl. Strawmen vocalist-guitarist Tom Martin explains their decision to go with what some would consider an outdated format.

“Cassettes are really huge right now for some strange reason,” Martin admits. “I think that lugging records around is totally worth it for the better sound quality, but tapes are just clunky and don’t sound all that hot.”

Before you start worrying that the group’s next release will be featured on an 8-track or better yet, a 78 rpm record, think again. Though the sound quality of a cassette can leave much to be desired, Martin acknowledges the band embracing the cassette format is more of a reaction against the widespread availability of music in today’s digital age:

“Going with a cassette is just a reaction to all of this digital garbage that is just a little too easy to get hold of. If you get a cassette, it is almost like you can be reassured that someone actually cared enough to take the time to make it for you.”

Formed in 2008 by Martin and friend Jordan Dugas, The Strawmen underwent a line-up change earlier this year when they acquired drummer Emily Boutilier. Though the friendship between Martin and Dugas has endured more than 20 years, Martin says that Emily has fit in well with the band thus far, and has not been intimidated by the boys long-standing friendship.

“Adding new blood into the band has made us alive again,” Martin declares. “Plus she is a really great drummer and very easy to deal with. She has fit in with us perfectly.”

With their upcoming live cassette and one 7-inch single to their credit, Martin says the band is in the process of writing new material and testing it out in the live environment. He believes the band would much rather opt to make another 7-inch single as opposed to releasing a full-length record. In other words, fans hoping for a triple-album opus from The Strawmen might have to wait a little while yet.

“I feel that fans of punk rock, including myself, have terribly short attention spans and by offering only three or four songs at a time, it is tougher to get bored,” he says. “Our live shows tend to be short for the exact same reason; we want people to stay interested.”

Article published in December 10, 2010 edition of the Times & Transcript