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York Redoubt on fire 

The young band is making noise on the national scene, but Laura Kenins finds there's no mistaking its Halifax sound---or its Halifax confidence.

York Redoubt has a self-deprecating streak, but the band doesn't need it. Over sushi on Quinpool, the band gripes at length about how terribly they played at a PEI show the previous night, and refers to the content of their tape released this spring as "crappy York Redoubt." All this bad press from a young group that's been setting the local music scene on fire and looks poised to make waves nationally, in just a year of existence.

Releasing its "ultra-limited" self-titled LP---just 100 copies pressed---this week, the band has already toured the country, played Calgary's Sled Island Festival, finished two recordings and gathered a strong following at home.

Various parts math-rock, post-punk, pop and feedback-filled, reviews have alluded to a certain Halifax sound in York Redoubt's music (they say they sound the same as PEI bands, but louder).

"We finished the album quickly in May---we sort of rushed, which is probably better," says guitarist Brad Lahead (ex of Tomcat Combat). "You stick to an idea better."

"We're going to try to do something new really soon," bassist Mike Wright adds. "We need a bad concept before we can start." Lahead suggests the Jonas Brothers.

What's the concept on the first LP? "I don't know if we were thinking much about that," says Lahead. "We wanted it to be noisy."

"There are a lot of Japan references," adds guitarist Caleb Langille (the band also includes drummer Noah Dalton).

Half the album was recorded at a former schoolhouse in Truro, owned by Lahead's great-uncle. "I used to just go for family get-togethers," says Lahead. "I'd never cursed there before, or smashed things in the basement."

Wright calls the schoolhouse the "definitive sound" of York Redoubt. Its tape, Cheap Funerals, took its name from a homemade sign on the lawn. They found chains and baseball bats in the collapsing basement, and are looking for conclusive proof that the building is a serial killer's hangout.

Their summer tour was "more of a trip," according to Lahead, with just a dozen shows over six weeks. "We were sort of planning on driving across the country together before Caleb"---who also plays with The Gideons---"joined the band, and then we thought we'd just play some shows." They camped out and made a stop at Sled Island along the way, where they played with a techno band from Scotland.

As for York Redoubt, the national historic site, "we went, and it was creepy," says Lahead. "The band once journeyed to the fort at 3am with friends The Gamma Gamma Rays.

"I was scared, I wanted to turn back," says Lahead. But there's little to be scared of with this York Redoubt: with another recording in the works and an upcoming appearance at Pop Montreal, the band's outlook seems bright.

"We're the future," says Langille, which sounds about right.

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