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Canadian power pop group the High Dials were formed in 2003 by singer/songwriter Trevor Anderson and guitarist Robbie MacArthur. The band grew out of Anderson's former project, the Datsons, who essentially changed their name after a New Zealand group using the same moniker became popular in North America. Viewing it as a chance to wipe the slate clean, Anderson and his bandmates released what was to be the High Dials' debut LP, 2003's A New Devotion, on the Rainbow Quartz label. Initially associated with the garage revival, the High Dials' first release had a distinctly retro '60s British mod sound that they have slowly distanced themselves from over the intervening years. Their acclaimed 2005 follow-up, War of the Wakening Phantoms, added elements of psychedelia, folk, power pop, and even shoegaze. They continued to tour extensively, evolving their sound and honing their songcraft with 2008's Moon Country and 2010's Anthems for Doomed Youth. All the while, the lineup continued to shift, always revolving around the creative core of Anderson and MacArthur. They worked with former Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham in 2011 on a cover of "She Smiles Sweetly," and in 2014 two of their songs were featured on the hit Netflix series House of Cards. Following a period of inactivity, the High Dials reconvened as a trio with producer Marc Bell and recorded their fifth album, In the A.M. Wilds, which was released in early 2015. ~ Timothy Monger
2001 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada