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Alone At the Microphone

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Album Review

The main focus of Royal City's singer/songwriter, Aaron Riches, was to write the songs on Alone at the Microphone quickly and with as much ease as possible. The end result is a lo-fi recording with fair-quality alternative/punk songs featuring a certain folk influence. Alone at the Microphone is sure to be a pleasurable listening experience, but only after accepting the shabby songwriting work, off-key vocal output, and folk-sounding guitar work. Still, with a few more spins on the turntable, the record is revealed to be chock-full of stunning lyrical expression, colorful and brightly textured percussive statements, and electrifying and somewhat breathtaking overall moodscapes. The production reveals with dexterity the honesty and sincerity in the band's intent, in a record filled with themes about death, vomit, corpses, dogs eating one's liver, etc. Perhaps it is most fitting to describe the lyrical content as possessing a dark mystifying surrealism. At times lush and pretty in their recording quality, the songs only become comfortable after repeated listens. Royal City's Alone at the Microphone is a powerful yet somehow charming statement of how a band can take the darkest of issues and bravely create music appealing enough to strike the listener — although not immediately. ~ Shawn M. Haney, Rovi


Formed: 1999 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The Toronto-based Royal City was led by singer/songwriter Aaron Riches, who worked alongside Jim Guthrie, Nathan Lawr, Simon Osborne, and Evan Gordon to create an intense and personal brand of rustic indie rock. Royal City's sound was most easily lumped in with the Palace and Songs: Ohia family of keening, country-influenced loners with guitars. The group first unveiled their fragile, acoustic-based music with At Rush Hour the Cars, their 2000 release on the Toronto-based label Three Gut. Gordon...
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Alone At the Microphone, Royal City
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