Burn Treatment for Shortwave

When Shortwave released their debut EP breaker/breaker last summer they got a nice little surprise in their inbox - a fan letter from former Boys Brigade frontman turned Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn. It wasn't long before Burn extended an offer to the band to come down and spend a week recording at his Colonial mansion in the Catskills. Shortwave's answer: "Hell yes!"

Singer Ryan Johnson told me "in the room I was staying in there were eleven vintage guitars" as he lists all the gear Burn let them access during their time there. Every day the band got up, got going, started recording, ate dinner and then went back to recording - no pressure, no clock watching.

The end result of their week in the Catskills is their second EP which they're releasing this week. The sound is rich and full, and the songs are well-crafted. For an indie band, the sound is remarkably radio-friendly, except it doesn't suck like you'd expect when you hear the term "radio-friendly."

Talking to Ryan, I get the feeling he really treats the band like a family. I guess it helps when your brother Sager's playing guitar. The brothers have been playing with drummer Devin Jannetta since grade school. Shortwave is filled out by Nic Oliverio on bass and Cary Parker on keys. "It definitely has a family sort of vibe to it," claims Ryan.

At the release party this Saturday night at the el Mocambo (464 Spadina Avenue), the band will be joined by friends the Giant Baby and the Dunes. Ryan says they're "trying to surround ourselves with bands who we like and playing with friends." If Shortwave are a family, then the bands they like to play with become their extended family.

When I ask about what they're planning to do next, Ryan tells me that not only does Malcolm Burn want to record the band again, but apparently they also have a standing invitation to record with David Lowery (former frontman for Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven). I guess it won't be long before we can expect to see a full length album from them.

By the way, cover charge at the release party will also get you a copy of Shortwave's new EP. Not too shabby.

Photo by Angus Rowe.

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