Reviews

Sebastian Grainger and the Mountains

Author: Jessica Pieklo
04/09/2009 | Minneapolis Star Tribune | www.vita.mn | Live Show Preview
It was only appropriate that I caught Sebastien Grainger at brunch.

"Cooking is something that I enjoy doing, and I hold it in pretty similar regard to songwriting in the sense that I like doing it, and I like doing it alone, and I can kind of almost go into autopilot," he said by phone from a crowded Seattle restaurant. "When you are doing both of those things, there's a sort of improv involved in the final product. They kind of behave the same way in my brain. It's really easy, and it's really fun. If the day consists of writing, music and cooking, that is probably the perfect day."

Based in Toronto, he's now on tour to support his solo debut, "Sebastien Grainger & the Mountains," which mixes his postpunk instincts with a heavy dose of dance beats for a dish of catchy-but-heavy pop. He's traded the suffocating cynicism of his previous project, Death From Above 1979, for expansive openness, while maintaining an obsessive attention to songwriting detail. "I tend to get more adventurous on my own," he said. "I am less self-conscious now and I feel like the performances really benefit from that." The album was a year in the making, with Grainger playing shows throughout the recording process. "I'd have the energy of those performances in mind, so the live band and the record go hand-in-hand."

From a raucous appearance at South by Southwest to more recent shows, both Grainger and his audience are clearly having a blast. "It's fun to go to cities that we've never been to and find that there are people there that know all the words to the songs. We've come so far as a band, and as a live show we are only right now hitting that momentum with the audience where people come to the show with a blueprint or an expectation of what they are going to hear. It's getting far more interesting and far more rewarding to be out on the road."

The tour brings him to the 400 Bar in Minneapolis on Sunday. He made sure to mention that he's looking for a good breakfast spot in town.