Wednesday, July 17 Several years ago, when eager major label scouts were frantically searching for the "next Seattle," one of the most unlikely scenes they stumbled across was in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And because female bands were another source of hype bordering on the carnivorous, Jale, four gals from Halifax, should've been a double beneficiary of industry attention when they launched their Sub Pop debut in 1994.
But trends come and go, and while ridiculous buzzwords like "next Seattle" and "foxcore" have been mercifully buried, Jale, now touring behind their second Sub Pop release So Wound, has quietly become worth the close attention, honing their sugar-buzz pop sound with a new drummer (Mike Belitsky) and a dose of what singer/guitarist Jennifer Pierce terms "maturity."
"We don't hide behind grunge guitar anymore," says Pierce from a Seattle tour stop. "We're doing things more tastefully, plus we're less scared about singing. We don't want to turn it into a choir, but we can bring the vocals up and harmonize."
One selling point everyone forgot about Jale back in '94 is one that usually turns up in articles about Alanis Morrisette, Jim Carrey, Leslie Nielsen, and Neil Young: they're from Canada. So, in the spirit of Olympic brotherhood/sisterhood -- and because we'd already covered hockey with the Tragically Hip in a past "Roadkill" -- the Chronicle asked Pierce about several other facets of Canadian culture:
Austin Chronicle: We wanted to ask about the GST (Canada's national sales tax). Some Canadian friends of ours tell us that government-determined "non-necessary" items get taxed and "necessary" items don't.
Jennifer Pierce: Yeah, they call tampons non-necessary items... And books. We protest that one constantly. You should see me.
AC: What's the best thing about living in Canada?
JP: The healthcare. Definitely the healthcare.
AC: And the worst?
JP: Well, I guess that we don't have any superstars. They all seem to move to the U.S. when they get big.
AC: What about Loverboy?
JP: They're supposed to be doing a reunion tour! [Editor's note: Loverboy did do a reunion tour, and Austin's own Javelin Boot played with them in Houston.] They were definitely an influence. The headbands...
AC: Did you wear headbands?
JP: No, it's just the only thing I can get an image of.
AC: Is there a Canadian national food?
JP: Well, in my neck of the woods, we've got something called rappie pie. It's got grated potatoes, chicken, gravy -- it's sort of a rural thing. We were actually talking about this last night, and we came up with the hot dog as the ultimate Canadian food. There's squash, too, but I'm really reaching now. -- Phil West