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Music

Producer helped duo with heavy lifting on new release

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 27/12/2014 (848 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Jenna Priestner and Marcia Hanson of Winnipeg punk-rock duo Mobina Galore had a clear MO for their sophomore album, Cities Away: go heavy or go home.

The band made a name for itself on the Canadian college-radio circuit on the strength of 2012's Skeletons EP and 2011's debut full-length Revel -- efforts that skewed more toward Black Keys-indebted garage rock than punk rock. As Priestner (guitar/vocals) and Hanson (drums/vocals) started listening to faster and heavier acts -- think Japandroids, the Distillers, Title Fight -- the approach to their own music became more aggressive.

Marcia Hanson, left, and Jenna Priestner of Mobina Galore.

Marcia Hanson, left, and Jenna Priestner of Mobina Galore.

Failed States, the 2012 record from veteran Winnipeg punk band Propagandhi was a big influence on Mobina Galore. So, they wisely enlisted its producer, John Paul Peters, to helm Cities Away.

"We were both extremely intimidated by him," Priestner says with a laugh. They had never worked with a producer before. "We didn't know what his expectations would be of us. We're not gearheads at all. But, we went for soup and chatted about what our goals were, what artists we were looking to, what sounds we liked. All three of us were on the same page. It felt like he was part of the band."

Mobina Galore's chief goal for Cities Away was to make a well-produced record that still retained the band's punk-rock spirit. "We wanted to be able to be played on the radio -- which we are," Priestner says. Lead single Bad Love Song reached No. 6 on CBC Radio 3's R3-30 chart and has been picked up by two commercial radio stations, one in Regina and one in Kamloops, B.C.

To purists, getting radio play might not seem like a very punk-rock goal -- but Mobina Galore, which calls itself a "punk-alt-pop" duo, has never been snobby or secretive about its pop leanings. Besides, priorities change; the women of Mobina Galore are pragmatic and career-minded.

"If you had asked me four years ago if I wanted a super-produced album and to be on the radio, I would have said no," she says. "Now, that's what we want."

The album's lyrics reflect a similarly grown-up outlook. The album's blistering second single, You're Not 23 Anymore, is about being accountable to yourself and others; Pieces of You, the duo's first co-write, is a personal track that deals with the death of Hanson's father.

"As you get older, you go through more life experiences," says Priestner, who is 29 (Hanson's 31). "There's a lot of reminiscing about the past without wanting to be in the past." It's an important distinction; these raw, visceral songs are about looking forward, clear-eyed.

Priestner says Cities Away is exactly the record she and Hanson set out to make.

"We're both so confident about it," she says. "We took more time to release it, which was part of the plan, and we still love it. Months later and we're stoked on all the songs still."

 

jen.zoratti@freepress.mb.ca

Read more by Jen Zoratti.

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