If your salt-stained winter boots have you yearning for clear springtime sidewalks again, Raleigh's sweet folk-pop are like that perfect pair of canvas sneakers, to help you transition into spring. And if those canvas sneakers weren't already more than welcome after a dreary season of cold, what's better is that not only have you already worn them in, there seems to be something new about them this time. Even if you're not one for metaphors, you'll still appreciate that Raleigh comes to the forefront with a little bit of Calgary music history backing them up.
Raleigh is made up of Matt Doherty on drums, Clea AnaÃ¯s on cello, piano and vocals and Brock Geiger on guitar, bass and vocals. All three members have taken part in some of Calgary's most influential indie bands -- Axis of Conversation, Dojo Workhorse and The Dudes, respectively. They all have various solo projects under their belts as well.
"Clea and I started playing together in 2009," explains Geiger. "We played on each other's solo CDs that we each released that year. . . . We hooked up with Matt in February 2010. He saw Clea and I play a show as a duo and told us afterwards about the drum parts he imagined in each song."
One of the things that brought them all together is their appreciation and love for Calgary's music scene.
"The variety and amount of talent is pretty exciting," says Geiger. "It's pretty wicked that you can go to Weeds and watch people geek out with synths and garbage toys one night, and then check out a rock show the next."
Although Raleigh is each member's newest musical venture, it's not by any means their only one. Their previously mentioned projects still get some lovin' -- Raleigh is just a different outlet for the trio.
"We all still play in our other bands, but Raleigh gives us each a completely fresh outlet for material," says Geiger. "We've joked that our genre is "prolk" [progressive folk]. As a band we are pretty interested in dynamics and we definitely pull from a wide range of influences. I guess sometimes the mash of ideas creates something you could consider ornate or quirky . . . I think the fact that we're a trio with cello, guitar and drums sets us up to have a different sound right from the start. The collaborative writing process we work with keeps everything fresh and surprising. It is three brains taking one song different directions, and then pulling it together to make something hopefully cohesive."
All of these diverse elements will culminate in Raleigh's newest full-length release, New Times in Black and White. The group started work on the album last spring and have been recently sitting on the completed product.
"It was recorded at the Audities Foundation with David Kean," says Geiger. "We're excited to have the album listened to as a whole, if people still do that."
If indeed you are one of the proud few who respect the integrity of an LP played in continuity, but are still wary of committing, the song "Drip" is a pretty good introduction to a lot of the elements Raleigh employ throughout the CD. That's not to say that all the songs sound the same though -- "Drip" is just an appropriate preface to the Raleigh aesthetic.
Geiger also has a special invitation for Gauntlet readers. The group are set to release their first album on May 28 at Grace Presbyterian Church with an all-ages show. Dan Vacon from The Dudes will be performing, as will Clinton St. John.
Whatever the venue, Raleigh's flowery "prolk" is enough reason to lace up your spring sneakers and prepare for your ears to smile.