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Sloan

Sloan was one of the most successful Canadian bands of the '90s, which was both a blessing and a curse. While they were well known in their homeland, where their Beatlesque power pop became a radio staple, they had a difficult time breaking into the American market, especially after their label, DGC, decided not to market their hooky pop in the wake of grunge. After spending several years fighting the label, and nearly breaking up, Sloan re-emerged in 1996 with One Chord to Another, a record that became an instant success in Canada and a critical sensation in the U.S. upon its American release in 1997, establishing the group as one of the leaders of the new wave of power pop groups in the late '90s.

Andrew Scott (drums), Chris Murphy (bass, vocals), Patrick Pentland (guitar, vocals), and Jay Ferguson (guitar, vocals) formed Sloan in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1991. Ferguson and Murphy had previously played in the local band Kearney Lake Rd., a group inspired by underground American bands like R.E.M. and the Minutemen. Scott and Pentland also played in various local bands, but the group didn't come together until Murphy and Scott met each other while studying at the Nova Scotia School of Art and Design. The group debuted in the spring of 1991, and within a few months, their feedback-laden live shows had gained a sizable audience. By the end of the year, their first recording, "Underwhelmed," appeared on the local Halifax compilation Hear & Now. Early in 1992, they released the Peppermint EP on their own Murderecords, and by the summer, they had signed with DGC. Sloan's debut album, Smeared, a record where Sonic Youth met Beatlesque pop, appeared in October in Canada and in January 1993 in America, and it was greeted with positive reviews. While the band had a gold album in Canada, the good press didn't translate to sales in the U.S., even as the group supported the Lemonheads and fIREHOSE at several concerts. Nevertheless, the domestic success of Smeared sparked a brief period of interest in "the Halifax scene," with groups like Eric's Trip, Thrush Hermit, the Hardship Post, and Jale all benefiting from the exposure.

For their second album, 1994's Twice Removed, Sloan simplified their sound considerably, concentrating on melodic, hook-laden power pop. DGC wanted the album to be noisier, yet the band won its fight to keep it bright and melodic. Nevertheless, DGC failed to promote the album upon its release, especially in America, even in the wake of good reviews and strong Canadian sales. The band toured relentlessly to support Twice Removed; the record was named "The Best Canadian Album of All Time" in a poll by Chart! magazine, and Spin called it one of the "Best Albums You Didn't Hear This Year," but DGC was not giving the band much support. By the end of the year, the group decided to cancel their remaining shows in the new year and decide whether they wanted to pursue a career.

Sloan re-emerged in the summer of 1995, playing a handful of concerts and releasing a single, "Same Old Flame," on Murderecords. During their hiatus, the members pursued various side projects, with Scott forming the Maker's Mark and playing in the Sadies, while Murphy drummed for the Super Friendz; Pentland wrote a handful of songs, and Ferguson worked at Murderecords and managed the Inbreds, as well as co-producing a record by the Local Rabbits. Toward late summer, Sloan decided they wanted to continue as a band, and that winter they recorded One Chord to Another, a record that expanded the power pop approach of Twice Removed on a small budget. Although its origins were modest, the album was a huge Canadian hit upon its June 1996 release.

After much negotiation, Sloan signed with the fledgling EMI subsidiary Enclave in early 1997, and One Chord to Another was finally released in the U.S. in the spring of 1997 to overwhelmingly positive reviews. Navy Blues followed a year later. A double live album, 4 Nights at the Palais Royale was released by Murderecords in 1999, as was a new studio effort, Between the Bridges. Pretty Together arrived in 2001, followed by Action Pact in 2003. The career retrospective A Sides Win: Singles 1992-2005 was released in the spring of 2005. The following year, Sloan released their eighth full-length record, the self-recorded Never Hear the End of It -- which featured songs from all four members -- on Murderecords in Canada, while Yep Roc issued it in the U.S. Parallel Play arrived in 2008, followed by the Hit & Run EP (2009) and the full-length Double Cross (2011). ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

I saw the widows peak on your forehead dude.
I love power pop and this band is one of the best in this genre. I hear shades of Cheap Trick, Big Star and even The Beatles.
Excellent, going to hit, no doubt, solid good qual music. nice. thanx..
Hands down one of my favorite bands of all time.
mjmarchio
They stole this guitar from Keypone!
@xminorthrea t b o y 1 3 x (AKA Punk Guy with the Stars in His Eyes): I *wish* I had a boat. And the New Yorker's not too bad.
I've been a huge fan of these guys since the first time I heard Underwhelmed played on a Windsor radio station back in what... 1992? So unappreciate d in the states.
Sloan is great. My first impression was like a Canadian Squeeze-- smart lyrics about many subjects, great melodies and musicianship in a variety of styles. These guys are great, can't wait to get most of their CD's. It riles me to no end that US radio and record companies shut bands like this out that are tuneful and can easily craft intelligent catchy pop rock, it's a crime really.
@Punk guy, the band is called Sloan after a joke. A friend of the band's worked for an older guy with an accent who didn't like his employee much and called him "slow one", but his accent made it sound like he was saying "Sloan." Just a bit of trivia :)
Sloan has been my favorite band since I moved to Niagara Falls, NY in 1995. Love the brilliant lyrics and the fact that the members switch off instruments and they all write songs. Have seen them at least 20 times, despite the fact that I have moved all over the US - have been lucky that they always seem to play in my town. And they are SUPER nice! Chris usually hangs out after shows to talk to fans, not just sign autographs but to have a friendly chat. "4 Nights..." is a car-trip staple ;)
I love Sloan! One of my favorite bands of the past 10-years. Right behind the British band DOVES.
steve20828
Yes Please!
rwayman16
After reading Sloans Bio, I would like to read a bio on the dumbass that was making the decisions @ DGC. Too bad that the boys didnt get the U.S. market (at least beyond Detroit). They are SOOO much better than some of the CRAP we hear all the time! anyways...I still listen!
Her spelling's atrocious.

Now that's GOLD. Made me laugh.
They are a good band, but man the name reminds me of a Northeastern rich b**tard who talks about his boat and the New Yorker constantly. But then that's me.
this band is really good. much respect to canada.
I've followed Sloan ever since the early days of 'Underwhelme d ' , and they continue to stay fresh & surprise me with their new materials. Totally one of the most overlooked bands of all time.
fallenangelc o 9 8
Ever since I started watching MVP: He Shoots She Scores on Soapnet, this song has been stuck in my head! It is awesome!
Sloan is the best band in the world! Their new LP is fantastic (entitled "Parallel Play", on the YepRoc Label), and that's after the late 2006 release of the 30 track magnum opus which is 'Never Hear The End Of It'.
Long live Sloan!!!
As if Sloan, The Tragically Hip, The Guess Who, and Cardinal Official weren't enough, now Canada has health care that's better than the US... deliciously tempting.
Wow! These guys have great songs! ANOTHER NEW DISCOVERY

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