Jets Overhead fire up a storm

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

Listening closely to Jets Overhead's Juno-nominated debut album, Bridges, befitting the band's namesake, you will in fact hear a faint rumbling off in the distance.

"We did overdubs on Hornby Island, which is one of the Gulf Islands out here," says Jocelyn Greenwood, bassist for the Victoria, B.C. band.

"There are only a few homes on the island and we set up a studio in this house on the edge of a cliff - and there was a raging storm outside. If you listen closely, you can actually hear the storm on the recording, especially on No More Nothing - we just left it in there."

Greenwood and the rest of the Jets will be at Power Plant on the University of Alberta campus tonight.

Beyond rainy-day recordings, there is something almost quintessentially West Coast about Jets Overhead. The band's sound certainly seems the byproduct of or complement to some manner of B.C. psychedelic.

Dubbed "trance rock," the tag is one that Greenwood says she can not only live with, but takes particular pride in creating.

"I'm the bass player, so I'm slightly biased," she laughs. "A lot of people question that and wonder what we mean, but I think once you hear the music you get a better understanding of it.

"When we first started jamming on the original tracks on our first EP, we got into these really long grooves - really beat-oriented, with melodies over top. It's good for headphones - a really ambient backdrop."

Last year, the band's exposure was helped along by opening for Our Lady Peace on its Canadian tour, including an Edmonton date that Greenwood says was particularly rocking and memorable.

OLP lead singer Raine Maida even saw fit to put Jets Overhead's single Get It Right on the War Child benefit album, Help! A Day in the Life.

This year, Jets Overhead landed a Juno nomination for best new group. And Greenwood says the band wouldn't be where it is now without the support of another Canadian rock heavyweight: 54-40 lead singer Neil Osborne.

"We wanted a producer who was more musician than engineer and we heard that Neil was not only living out this way, but that he was looking to get into producing," recalls Greenwood.

"It was very serendipitous. It went really well. He really understood what we were trying to do.

"He would talk about imagery that went with the music and he'd describe what he wanted to hear - almost like music as a painting - and we would try to achieve that."

See, that does sound very West Coast, doesn't it?

"Yeah, it sounds a little airy-fairy," she laughs, "but it's true."

Now, there's also no excuse for not hearing what Jets Overhead is all about.

In another hippie-approved move, high-quality MP3s of the complete Bridges album are available for free download from the band's website.

An honour system allows fans to make a donation for the MP3s, and Greenwood is encouraged by just how many people have been doing so.

"We actually have all the rights to all our digital stuff on our Microgroove label," she explains, adding that the free download system may be the shape of things to come for many independent acts.

"The way the music business is going, it's obviously getting further and further away from the traditional form of purchasing, where people go to a music store and pick out a record.

"With physical sales down, things like ITunes are doing quite well. At the same time, people are still downloading music for free.

"What we want first and foremost is for people to get the music and be able to listen to it."


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