Album Time Capsule
Everything on our site is a reflection of who we are at this moment in time.
Below details the history of our previous 5 albums and how we got to where we are right now,
starting from... the start
Birds and Fear
May 29, 2010
Our first album. We recorded this with our pal Jay Halliwell at his home studio in Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia. Two of the songs — More and Slag Heaps — were done by me (Mike) and Jason Wareham as our Christmas project while we were at NSCC for Recording Arts.
As we were recording this, we weren’t 100% sure of what the lineup of our band would be. We had never actually planned to be a duo. There was no predetermined decision to play as just the two of us, it kind of just happened. We auditioned a number of bass players that for whatever reason didn’t work out. After one particular audition didn’t pan out, we decided to just move ahead as the two of us. We had already been practicing the songs as the two of us for multiple years so we understood each other’s tendencies in every possible way.
Once we made the decision, we had to figure out how to do it. We had to somehow sound like a full band with only two people on stage. I had an idea/theory about using two different amps and splitting the signal to different pedals. I bought the necessary gear and low and behold, it worked like a dream. Bruce started to play like a possessed man, beating the hell out of the skins of his drums. Because of my shoulder and arm issues mentioned in our bio, I could only play in open tunings. This coincidentally worked in our favour. With the chord formations I had to do in those tunings, everything sounded more full.
Having only drums, guitar and vocals to rely on essentially changed the way we wrote our songs. Rhythmically, we tried to sync up the kick and snare with the strumming pattern on guitar. Our songs were usually short and typically had our hook in the vocal melody. There were definitely a lot of challenges that came with this. If either of us messed up there was nothing to hide behind. We had to make sure we were on top of our game. Luckily, we’d been playing together for so long that we developed all the same habits. We knew where each other was going and what to expect.
When we started to play shows, the biggest thing people would say is that we sounded like there was a lot more than 2 people on stage. That was a huge compliment. Our bio at the time stated:
“Although minimalist in terms of numbers, their sound is anything but that. Self-described as “The most noise two Cape Bretoners can make”, that noise is a cascade of passion, urgency and belief in their songs…”
"The most noise two Cape Bretoners can make" kind of inadvertently became our tagline. That was the line that every announcer seemed to gravitate towards. We definitely knew a few rowdy Capers who could make a hell of a lot more noise than us when on the rum, but we rolled with it nonetheless.
Here’s a few quotes from back then:
“The band may be small in terms of numbers with only two members, but Halifax rockers The Town Heroes are mighty in sound”
— Ken Kelly, Times and Transcript
“Crafting hooky, classic indie rock songs with a huge sound that belies their minimalistic set-up.”
— Stephanie Johns, The Coast
“Halifax’s The Town Heroes sound like a mix between Pinkerton-era Weezer and The Weakerthans. While that might not be the best description from a purely musical standpoint, I think it’s spot-on when taking into account their earnest vocal delivery, dynamic ranges, big-yet-understated choruses and (at first glance) haphazardly places falsettos. Plus, bonus points for guitars made out of duct tape.”
— Nash Bussieres, Ride the Tempo Blog
The first music video we ever released was for Slag Heaps. We did it with our young pal, and soon to be frequent collaborator, Dillon Garland. Bruce tortures the hell out of Mike in a small, colourful room. People asked us where we got all the weapons. They assumed we must have went on an epic quest to assemble such an arsenal. In fact, my cousin Liam just happened to have every single one of them lying around his house.
We put out Birds and Fear on May 29th, 2010. It felt good to finally have our songs out into the world; to have a representation of who we were and what we believed in at that point in time. Lyrically, the album had a lot of themes about our home in Cape Breton. Since we don’t live there currently, our bio doesn’t say we’re a Cape Breton band anymore. But we are. Everything about that island is our home. Everything we know about life, music, and the world in general comes from our upbringing on that small island on the northern tip of Nova Scotia surrounded by the brooding Atlantic Ocean. We’ve always found inspiration and pride in our island. Our songs are about the longing to be home when we’re away, the joy and camaraderie experienced when we’re there, and the socioeconomic struggles of our fleeting population. Deep down at the root of our songs it’s there. Always.
The album ended up taking us to Germany, the U.K., Finland and across Canada. We were the Nova Scotia Regional winners for the National Radio Star Song Writing competition, had Slag Heaps played during the World Hockey Championships in Finland, won “Best New Artist” in Halifax’s The Coast, and met a lot of amazing people along the way.
Here’s our first ever video and press shots: