Toronto-based hip-hop sensations Grand Analog are set to release their latest full-length studio album Modern Thunder stateside for the first time on April 22nd via Feel Up Records, the brand new label spearheaded by Jillionaire (Major Lazer). The record is the follow up to their 2009 release Metropolis Is Burning, which won the Western Canadian Music Awards Rap Album of the Year award.
Grand Analog burst onto the Canadian music scene in 2007 with their debut album Calligraffiti, a raucous mix of hip-hop, dub, and soul. Brothers Odario Williams (Vocals) and Ofield Williams (DJ) pull direct influences from their father, a reggae DJ in the 80s. In addition to the brothers, the band consists of self-described record collectors, beat junkies and musicians Warren Bray (Bass), Alister Johnson (Keyboards/Engineer) and TJ Garcia (Drums/Vocals). Word around Canada spread like wildfire, with early comparisons to the likes of Outkast and K-Os. Odario claimed the energetic live shows were heavily influenced by Bitches Brew-era Miles Davis.
The brothers continued the onslaught, with their explosive 2009 record Metropolis Is Burning. The track “I Play My Kazoo” became a cult classic, catapulting Grand Analog to national acclaim, as it reached #1 on CBC Radio 3’s R3-30 Chart. The record was mixed by Timothy Abraham, who the band enlisted to also work on Modern Thunder.
Odario wanted to start fresh with Modern Thunder and not approach things from the typical Grand Analog style. He says, “With the first two albums we sampled a lot of my dad’s dub reggae albums so we wanted to switch it up and found some rare groove we wanted to emulate.” In the past the songs started with his lyrics, this time the band took the lead. The musicians got together to create instrumental soundscapes and Odario let the music influence his lyrics and Abraham came in to record and mix the record at The Hive in Toronto.
The result is a collection of upbeat, genre-swapping energetic songs. Fans might hear a bit of old school a-la Jurassic 5 in “Howl (Like Wolves)” while hearing more contemporary hip-hop on “Wild Animal Print.” Many of Canada’s great musicians earned guest spots on the record including Saukrates (member of Redman’s Gilla House collective) who rhymes on the Gorillaz-esque opener “Rap Sheet [This Day On]”, Amanda Balsys (The Wilderness of Manitoba) who shines on the reflective “Heart The Lonely Hunter,” and notorious Toronto MC Shad who fires off incredible syllables on “The Great Rhyme Dropper.”
Grand Analog are thrilled to be part of Feel Up Records and are looking forward to spending some time this year bringing their sound south of the border and across the Atlantic, starting at SXSW and The Great Escape Festival.
Grand Analog – Modern Thunder (Tracklist)
1. Rap Sheet
2. Wild Animal Print
3. Howl Like Wolves
4. 4AM in Parkdale
5. Gorgeous Jane
6. Modern Day Fool
7. Unbearable Lightness
8. Lion Head
9. Great Rhyme Dropper
10. Trip The Light Fantastic
11. Heart The Lonely Hunter
12. Cassettes (BONUS)
13. Magnifico (BONUS)