Kill Devil Hills

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-- jim clements

Raging angels, world-destroying floods, flowerbed graves, glass ships, grey-clad virgins, volcanoes, murder, self-loathing, redemption, damnation, and, of course, true(ish) love: the world of James Clements is a strange place to rest for the night. But, with melodies this sweet, you'll have no trouble finding peace of mind. Just make sure the doors are locked, and keep a sharp knife under your pillow.

Hailing from the always disturbing city of London, England, but raised in the Canadian prairies, James Clements is not your typical songwriter. In an almost allergic reaction to the confessional school of singer/songwriters, Clements does not want you to accept his word as gospel. He does not want to tell you what to think; he hardly knows himself half the time. Consequently, these are songs of confusion, hidden motivation, and, occasionally, outright deception (and we're not talking little white lies, either). But that's not to say there's nothing of substance here: as Leonard Cohen once sang, "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." There's truth here; you might just have to look for it.

The sound of Clements' world? Maybe if Dylan's Basement was situated somewhere in the Yorkshire Moors, it would sound a little like this. Call it Kill Devil County. You can maybe hear some of Neil Young's messy prettiness in the acoustic guitar and perhaps Neil Finn's somber sweetness in the melodies. There's a bit of Wilco in the arrangements (if it's country, it's the undiscovered country), and you might be able to pick out Nick Cave's gothic spiritual venom in the lyrics. That's saying a lot and then not much all at once. Perhaps you should just take a listen for yourself.

Clements has been playing acoustic shows here and there for quite some time, but other Toronto musicians have been joining his crusade recently, turning black-and-white Kansas into glistening Oz. Clement's Kill Devil Posse reads like a who's who of the Toronto underground: for the upcoming recording of his 4-song demo, The Mad Bastard himself, Kevin Quain, will be playing keys, while solo artist and occasional Mad Bastard Dean Drouillard will be contributing his shimmering guitar. Neil Leyton and "Boy" bassist Steve Payne have been playing live with Jim and will make appearances on the album, (with Steve also doubling as producer) while former Royal City drummer (and critically acclaimed solo artist) Nathan Lawr will drive the songs along with his rusty rhythms. With a band like this, you'll be able to pinpoint Kill Devil County on a map before the year is out.

-- Studio photography & candid band photo by Nicole; live photos by Caitlin.

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