SOULMATTERS MAG (CANADA)
Dany Laj and The Looks – Telepathic Voices
by Cheryl Thompson
Dany Laj and The Looks aren’t just another indie band from Montreal. Sure, they’re an indie band currently making waves in Montreal but they are they are doing their own thing. I first came across this band when I checked out their video “Chamberlain Sessions” on youtube, and well, don’t take our word for it, get a sense for yourself what’s so fresh about this band and their four-track EP Telepathic Voices. On “Mr. Rebound” you get a good taste of Dany Laj’s vocals but what also stands out is the simplicity of the track. It’s the kind of track that would serve as the perfect backdrop to a teenage angst film. “Take It Away” and “799 Queen St West” are quintessential Canadian rock songs with hard guitar riffs, defined back beat, and cheeky lyrics. And finally, “What’s Wrong with You” is an indie rock song through and through. With its forlorn lyrics and background vocals, if you don’t like this tune, it begs the exact same question, what’s wrong with you?4/5
ELUSIVE LITTLE COMMENTS (UK)
ICE CREAM MAN POWER POP (SWEDEN)
If you like your power pop with an edge, then check out Dany Laj and The Looks. Hailing from Totonto, Canada, Dany Laj and The Looks deliver a rather tasty slice of power pop here and I am not sure if it is Dany’s looks (I watched the Chamberlain Sessions video before listening to the tracks on bandcamp) but I immediately thought of Elvis Costello when I saw him and listening to the mans music, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a fair amount of Mister Costellos music in his collection.
The tracks here remind me of a mix of early Elvis Costello and The Replacements and let’s face it, they are two excellent reference points, but this isn’t saying that this is all you get, it isn’t, these tracks are pleasently raw, energetic, bouncy and seem to have a little punk ethos about them, I like that. In fact there is nothing here not to like, but, as always, take a listen to the tunes and judge for yourself, me, I am going to spend the rest of today playing this EP and the band previous EP “The Match.” Enjoy.
THE MAIN (MONTREAL)
After finding themselves in a precarious living situation, Dany Laj and the Looks were offered the chance to take over a 2 month sublet in Le Plateau. They set out to escape the Ontarian landscape for a tick, while playing as many shows as possible.
Laj, who looks like Elvis Costello’s nerdy cousin is the leader of the pack, but he relies heavily on his crack team rhythm section; drummer Vassil Mester and bassist Jeanette Dowling. The Looks play a variety of styles, sometimes veering into serious Westerberg territory, but always keeping it a little Power Pop.
Dany Laj and The Looks will be performing a weekly stint at neighbourhood dive Barfly, every Sunday from 6-9pm.
CULTURE ET PLAISIRS (MONTREAL) *EN FRANCAIS*
14 OCTOBRE 2012
J’avoue sortir du garage en vous présentant ce groupe tout droit sortie des années 60. Je ne saute toutefois pas de l’autre côté de la clôture. Dany laj pourrait être confondu avec Buddy Holy dans la rue, autant pour son génie que par son look. Autour de lui règne un aura incompréhensible, il respire l’expérience. Si on écoute les murmures autour de lui, on peut entendre des histoires de tournées croustillantes, mais il n’a pas besoin d’en parler. Il a clairement raccourcie son nom de famille pour faire de la musique et non pour créer un personnage.Après plus de 12 ans de tournées entrecoupées, de divers projet et différents groupes, Dany nous présentent sa musique, authentique, vieille, bien que aucunement dépassée. On peut aussi compter parmi les rangs de son trio, la typique geek sexy qui joue de la basse caché derrière ses grosses lunettes et ses tatoos. Délicieux.
Vous ne trouverez pas de vidéo viral sur le web, votre Facebook ne sera jamais tapisser de leur promo, mais soyez certain que d’ici peu, ils auront joué dans toute les salles de l’Amérique et auront conquis les oreilles des plus fines de la pop vintage.
WILLFULLY OBSCURE (http://wilfullyobscure.blogspot.com/2011/09/dany-laj-match-ep-2011-boppa-do-down.html)
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2011
Dany Laj - The Match ep (2011, Boppa Do Down)
A little birdy passed this one along to me and what a pleasant “tweet” it turned out to be. Dany Laj (abbreviated for Lajeunesse) is a chap from a small Ontario town who set off to Toronto to create the great American pop album. Well, come to think of it, The Match isn’t actually an American proposition at all, since he’s still a Canadian resident, and furthermore this six-song release technically qualifies as an ep, so forget all that “album” nonsense. What was I thinking? So yeah, we have the great Canadian ep called The Match, which showcases a budding troubadour who has “raw talent” written all over him. Laj possesses the same visceral moxie that forebearers Ted Leo, Elvis Costello, and Joel Plaskett made their respective calling cards, and just like that trifecta he makes it sound so damn effortless. Beyond quality material if you ask me, but listen for yourself. The Match apparently hasn’t hit stores yet, and in fact, a record release party is slated for November 27 at The Piston on Bloor St. in Toronto. Was so impressed with I heard I thought I’d share the ep in it’s entirety (at least for a little while). Per Laj’s corner of Facebook, he recently toured under Dany Laj and The Looks, though I’m not certain if The Look are backing him up on these half dozen tracks.
01. The Match
03. Alien Ate Some People
04. Oh Dear
05. Orange Buoy
06. Smile On Face
ABSOLUTE POWERPOP (http://absolutepowerpop.blogspot.ca/2011/12/2011-clearout.html)
Dany Laj & The Looks-The Match EP. Staying north of the border, Laj & Co. hail from Ontario and have released an impressive EP that brings to mind Nick Lowe, Dave Edmunds, and The Plimsouls. The title track is classic roots-based pub rock, and despite its silly title “Alien Ate Some People” is another enjoyable track in the same vein.
SOLVENT MAGAZINE (www.solventmagazine.com)
THE DRAMATIC RETURN OF DANY LAJ
It was the 3rd Wednesday of December in 2009 at Cecil’s when Dany Laj last took a North Bay stage, accompanied by Joey Clement on drums and backing vocals. There would not be much disagreement amongst those in attendance, that they saw one of the best rock shows in recent memory that night. Since then, Dany has been working to further establish himself on the Toronto music scene, regularly gigging at venues such as The Press Club, The Dakota Tavern, and Graffiti’s. Also, he has recently completed a 6 song EP called “The Match”.
On September 17, Dany Laj and The Old Youth will return to play 100 Georges.
Although, for the sake of his music career, he calls Toronto home, his roots are in the north and his connections to the north remain extremely strong. Before heading to the city, Dany lived in and belonged to the music scenes of Kirkland Lake, North Bay and Sudbury.
Of course it all started in Kirkland, as he grew up in a family with a strong musical tradition. “After dinner, the table got cleared, moved out of the way, the family sat in a circle and the instruments came out. The entire family was involved with music in some way,” Dany relates.
His first band in Kirkland Lake was called Swank, whose line up included another ex-citizen of Kirkland Lake, Chad Newton. After Dany failed to crack the line up of a band he wanted to join, Prime Tension, he heard Chad Newton outside of school talking about how Swank needed another guitarist. Dany would not to be foiled again in his attempt to join a band: “I kind of swindled my way in by saying I knew scales and stuff… which I really didn’t, but I really wanted to be in that band. The next thing I knew, I was playing my first show with that at the Polish Hall in Kirkland.”
Another major musical counterpart was Joey Clement, a talented musician and songwriter, with whom he played in Too 4 Flynchen. The pair eventually outgrew Kirkland and went to Toronto in another of Joey’s bands called The Awesome Team which was on the verge of making it. By the time that The Awesome Team was signed by a label, Dany had already gone back to Kirkland to reconnect with his roots. This is when he started writing songs for himself.
Sometime in 2003, Dany moved to North Bay, to once again join a band with Chad Newton, The Intesteens. This band consisted of Dany Laj (guitar, vocals), Chad Newton (guitar, vocals), Clint Mallete (drums), and Brett McNeaul (bass) who all emigrated from Kirkland to North Bay during the Kirkland invasion of the early 2000’s. They went on to become fixtures on the North Bay scene, and released an album on Shocknova Records which was owned by Jake Naylor, also a North Bay resident formerly from Kirkland. After the departure of Brett and Clint, Dany and Chad brought The Intesteens on a cross country tour with a rhythm section borrowed from Form One; Nathan Gray (bass), and Mike Brushey (drums). It would be their last tour.
After the untimely demise of The Intesteens, Dany moved to Sudbury to form The Old Youth with Julie Houle (vocals), and Steve Joncas (bass, vocals) and Luke Sellen (drums). North Bay native Russ Jack, formerly of The Drones, eventually replaced Steve Joncas on bass. This band was a regular headliner at The Townehouse, achieving critical acclaim and considerable success with an album called “Lost in Dust”.
After the untimely demise of The Old Youth, it was time for another roots discovering pilgrimage to Kirkland Lake. There was only so much that Dany Laj and the Modern Day Citizens could do in Kirkland, so Dany decided it was time to go where the music industry was, Toronto. Not surprisingly, in Toronto, Dany is collaborating with old friends and band mates from Kirkland. On the upcoming EP “The Match”, Joey Clement (drums, vocals) and Chad Newton (bass, vocals) are both involved. The EP was recorded in Parkdale by Dave Misener, who happens to own a cottage outside of Kirkland, and mixing was done in Guelph by former Awesome Team bandmate Dan Beeson, who is originally from New Liskeard. For this upcoming EP, Dany also worked with Toronto musician Lori Hirst who sang on one of the tracks.
The manifestation of The Old Youth that we’ll see in North Bay will be Chad Newton (bass. vocals), Sean Dignan (drums), Erika Werry (keys, vocals) and Sara Fitzpatrick (fiddle) .
Playing at the George is a perfect fit for Dany Laj and The Old Youth. No venue is more dedicated to supporting original music than is the George, and Dany is perhaps one of the hardest working promoters that the North Bay music scene has known. The knock on a North Bay bars is that they don’t bring in enough original acts. However, Dany sees his role as entertainer from the perspective of the venue owner. These are businesses and are interested in making profits. He knows as an entertainer, his job is to bring people out, and make sure the bar does good that night. So, when Dany plays, expect a party.
As a musician, not only is it important to promote your own shows, it is also important to support the efforts of other musicians who are playing original music. If you don’t show up for shows, don’t be surprised if people don’t show up for yours.
“You do have a duty. If you want there to be a scene for original music in whatever city you live in, you have to get out and be at shows even when you aren’t playing. I’ve lived in North Bay, and I understand the struggles that the North Bay Scene faces. It works when people are showing up, and fails when people stay home. It’s that simple. The bars will book original music when they think the people involved can be successful for the bar.”
It could be looking up in North Bay in terms of access to original music, with the return of Drew Vendetti and the re-launch of Organ Grinder, his promotional company. North Bay can look forward to seeing acts like C’mon, and The Sadies, in the not too distant future. Given Organ Grinder’s track record of success, Drew is not having any problems finding venues that are eager to work with him.
“It’s good for North Bay to have Drew back with Organ Grinder. If you support Drew’s shows, he’s the kind of guy that will help your band out in any way he can. I know this because I’ve dealt with Drew years ago. He knows how to promote, and works with people that support the scene. He’s successful because of it.”
Recently having turned 30, Dany has a long musical career already behind him. He also has a long musical career ahead of him, as his dedication to making music drives everything he does in life. The new album EP, is currently available on the CBC Radio 3 website, and will be released on CD and vinyl in the near future. If hard work and the quality of the product have anything to do with it, the sky is the limit for M. Dany Lajeunesse from Kirkland Lake.
Oh ya, by the way, come out to the George on the 17th, it’ll be a party.