They say some of the catchiest songs have the fewest words and are short and straightforward. If you buy into that theory, you’ll want to pick up a copy of "The Receptive" by The Young Pixels.
Only one of the songs on their recently released CD clocks in at more than three minutes. The six-song EP features simplistic tunes that will have you singing along by the second chorus.
It’s sort of like minimalist music done pop/rock style. However, the Young Pixels have created a sound that works for them. Think about it — you have drums and a guitar. You might as well keep it simple!
Danny and Tricia Turner run an organic farm near Kenton. They jam on tunes whenever possible and much like the food they grow, their music comes organically.
They are a husband and wife team who draw obvious comparisons to Jack and Meg of the White Stripes. Tricia lays down the steady grooves on drums, while Danny handles all the guitar work.
The tracks on this EP play through like a steady stream of consciousness that the Turners say acts as a sort of "therapy" for them on various levels.
While listening to the disc for the second time, the resemblance in Tricia’s vocals suddenly struck me. Her voice sounds like it could pass for as the bi-product of Chrissy Hynde and Johnette Napolitano’s (Concrete Blonde) voices blended together.
At times Danny’s vocals are reminiscent of Ed Robertson from the Barenaked Ladies, with a tinge of Dave Grohl’s soft side.
Their music is a mix of melodic pop with a dash of whimsical psychedelia. In short, it’s a fun listen!
Why not take these creations from the Young Pixels’ living room and crank them up in yours? Support these homegrown Manitoba music makers. Pick up a copy of "The Receptive" today.
Frank: Where were the tunes recorded for this CD?
Young Pixels: Garageland Studios, Brandon.
Who produced them?
How long did it take you to compose these tunes?
Most of the songs were created in jams over the past three years.
Who does most of the writing? Or is it purely a collaborative effort?
We share all the writing equally.
How often do you practise or jam?
We jam whenever we can find a spare moment — acoustic around the house, electric in our basement jam room (with the help of a baby monitor) after the kids go to sleep, and we have babysitters three times a week for two-hour uninterrupted jam sessions.
As I recall your previous band (Spirit of Play) got its name from your child playing while you jammed in the living room. Where did the Young Pixels originate from?
Though it is true our son would play in the Jolly Jumper during our early jams, our former name Spirit of Play referenced our approach and attitude to music at the time. The Young Pixels was an evolution. We got to a point where the music became much more to us than just a fun hobby, it became a path of growth. "Young" to us is one who is ever learning and growing, and "Pixel" is one small but essential piece of the whole. The name also references a few of our sonic influences — Neil Young and the Pixies.
Do you write while you play, ala the Black Keys? In other words, do the songs come out organically?
Yes, most times the songs just come out in jams and we start blurting our stream of consciousness or babble a melody. Usually there will be at least one phrase or a chorus line to base the song around. Then we sit down and write the rest of the words together. We almost always learn something about ourselves we didn’t know was there, something that’s hidden in the dark that comes out into the light of day.
What are your favourite topics to write about?
We don’t really pick topics. What we’re feeling just comes out like we described above. We try to determine whether or not the song is a "therapy" song (for personal use only) or one we want to share with others. We want the ones we share to inspire and empower and to be something we’ll still stand by in 10 years.
What are your full-time occupations?
We farm organic grains for a living — it’s what sustains us. Raising our kids is our other full-time job! We play music full time in the winter. Each of these roles is very important to the success of the others and to finding a balance that works for us in our life.
Other than your recent show in Winnipeg, where else have you played lately?
Our last shows were a Manitoba Music event at Ozzy’s in Winnipeg, The Standard Tavern in Winnipeg, Clancy’s in Brandon, and we had our EP release at the Double Decker in January.
How often do you perform live gigs?
We played once every few months, but sometimes went longer between shows. Now we aim to play twice a month if we can. We learn so much playing live.
Where are your upcoming shows?
Our next show is at The Double Decker Friday, May 11. We’ve invited a surfy folk-rock band from Winnipeg we love called Hey Pilgrim. Beyond that we’re playing the Harvest Sun Festival Fundraiser Social June 2, a show at Pop Soda’s in Winnipeg June 21, Ridgefest 9 (at The 40) July 14 and Brandon Folk Music and Art Festival later in July.
Frank McGwire is a radio personality and booster of the music scene in Brandon and Westman.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 3, 2012