BANDS >> The Burdocks

“Seth writes songs that are about something real, but he makes it so you can’t tell what that is. I write songs that often aren’t about anything but sound like they are about something obvious.” – Christian Simmons to Wavelength Zine, 2004

Every rock band formed in Halifax after 1994 faces the curse of Sloan: the local darlings whose catchy pop licks went national and forever cast their shadow on our coastal berg. With two vocalists and a strong rhythm section The Burdocks earned its share of Sloan comparisons, but leaving it there leaves this band short.  

Music writers rejoiced in comparing the Burdocks to other bands, pulling in everyone from Built to Spill and Modest Mouse to Pavement and Polvo. Christian and Seth were very different writers, with diverse influences and different styles but together they created a sounds that was distinctly their own.

 Airplane Tracks is the last record the quartet released on its home label, Out of Touch Records, which found its first home base in the rundown “luxury townhouse” that members Christian Simmons, Seth Smith, and Nancy Urich shared with label founder Dale Fahey. Out of Touch gave the foursome a freedom to make the music as they heard it.

 From the albums opening with Seth’s smart and snarky lyrics on “Battle of the Band” to Christian’s snarling, controlled yelling on “We Seat Ourselves,” Airplane Tracks is a perfect snapshot of the band as it was in 2004. 

Listening to Airplane Tracks 13 years later, you can still feel the energy they brought to the stage: Seth close up on the mic with his eyes closed. Christian’s bass neck pivoting wildly as he plays. Nancy intensely focused on her guitar work but very much connected to what’s happening on stage. Sean grinning and hitting the frequent time changes expected from this scrap rock crew. Bass lines pound, guitars attack, and tempo changes abound.


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