Published Nov 13, 2015Rocking ladies continue to represent on Toronto label Buzz Records, with Dilly Dally's Sore followed by the Beverleys' debut LP Brutal. The band says the fitting title was in part bait for critics to bash their sound — but no one's biting.
Heavy times call for heavy music; Susan Burke and sisters Steph and Joanna Lund channel their angst into awesome grunge punk, a barrage of relentless reverb, smashed drums and unforgiving snarls. Guitarist Joanna reflects that she relates to grunge now, but didn't when she was younger. "I didn't get really angry until I turned 30," she tells Exclaim!
Drummer Steph adds, "We didn't even realize we had all that anger in us. Playing relieves so much stress and tension, though. We didn't start with the intention of playing any one genre. What came out first was very slow and loud, but dreamy and droney. After awhile we were like 'This is boring, let's play this faster.'"
Strands of ragged rawness are interwoven with memorable melodies and hazy atmospheric swirls. The band members' musical tastes are diverse, ranging from '50s and '60s pop, shoegaze, Britpop, classic punk and hip-hop.
"Our interests came together," guitarist/vocalist Susan explains. "I liked Nirvana as a kid because it was like the Beatles, but fuzzed-out and heavy. Melody is number one for me, so blending in a pop sensibility helped us put a little lasso around all our messiness."
After two EPs, the release of their LP was exciting enough for the band, but it couldn't be better timing with the recent kudos their hard-working label has received from the Toronto Star and NOW Magazine (voted best Toronto label by readers).
"We signed with them around two years ago," Joanna says. The band initially met Jude of HSY, who brought their music to the label's attention, and the Beverleys were welcomed into the close-knit Buzz community. Susan says, "They're really passionate about the bands they work with. They're growing and getting bigger and all of it is so good, so sick."
Brutal was recorded over just a few evenings, with the help of Josh Korody and the band's labelmate Shehzaad Jiwani of Greys. "They managed to capture the guitar tone and sound I wanted," Susan says. "It was so hard to translate to the recording."
Aside from a show with Dilly Dally at the Horseshoe on November 27, the Beverleys don't have any tour plans. "We're waiting for the physical records and then we don't want to tour in the winter," Joanna says. These powerful ladies are in no need of a reality check, balancing their secondary career commitments with the band's. "We will not be rock stars forever," Steph says. "Eventually our arms will give out on us."
With the intensity of how they play, the idea of busted limbs is no stretch. But driven by fierce passion, they show no sign of letting up.
"You feel like I need to do more. I need to be a better guitar player. I practice like crazy lately, worrying my punk-ass skills aren't enough anymore," Susan laughs. "That kind of energy, that psychological darkness, is where all these songs come from."
Steph echoes this, saying drumming for the Beverleys is the hardest job she's had: "It's physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting." Joanna agrees, saying "It's like being in a marriage." Hopefully for us, one that doesn't end anytime soon.