Despistado [I]The Emergency Response[/I] Review

Saskatchewan is often known for it’s flat land filled with wheat and grain. Now, the province shall also be known as the home of a new indie rock sensation, Despistado. Hailing from Regina, the band has come a fair distance in a short period of time. Their live performance made an impression on me at a Canadian Music Week show, and I knew then, their EP had to be mine.

The band derives their influences from such musical geniuses as At The Drive In, and The (International) Noise Conspiracy. Imagine smashing those two bands together, and you have Despistado. The first track catches you with fast repeating guitar riffs and quick paced singing. The song gets you tapping your foot and wanting more. Near the end of the first track, the drums and one of the guitars and bass, fade off just leaving one guitar and the repeating of "what a stirstick can predict is more than we dissect," then kicks back in. Following the introductory track is a song with a title that will surely make you laugh.

"Can I please have an order of girl with a side of confused," follows a similar pattern as the first, with the fast singing and guitars, and even the fade off of instruments at the end of the track. This fade technique is tough to comprehend at first, but after a few listens, you will begin to love it. The fourth track takes a turn and changes the band’s song formula. "Bubbles" makes more use of slower, more harmonic guitars and a repeating verse that you can sing along too. For some reason, the fifth track, "Hi/Fi stereo" was recorded right from "the floor in one session," which it sounds very much like. The recording is much different from the other five tracks, and takes a little away from the overall record. It is not a favorite track either because it lacks a bit in the catchy verse or chorus category. One of the best songs on the album is the closing track "Lipstick." The opening riff is unique and is used throughout most of the song in various sections. The clapping at the beginning of the song, adds to its uniqueness.

The guitar riffs are often repeated in each song, but the picking sections can be technical at times along with the bass lines. The drumming parts are always kept at a faster pace, but the overall sound is quick as well. The vocals flow well, and like I said, are somewhat quick. The use of backing vocals is very effective, and adds more to each song.

This band has a bright future ahead and this EP, which soon is to be re-released on Jade Tree Records, is one that can be loved by any fan of indie rock. The only real downfall to this EP would have to be the fifth track. Recorded properly, it could be a good track. Other than that little blip, the record is definitely enjoyable.

Track Listings:
1: A Stirstick Prediction.
2: Can I Please Have An Order Of Girl With A Side Of Confused.
3: Taste This Picture
4: Bubbles
5: Hi/Fi Stereo
6: Lipstick

Favorite Track: A Stirstick Prediction.

Leif, Dagan and Joel Gets to grips with the Mighty Subba-Cultcha Questions of Justice

1. At what moment did music actually affect your life, becoming more than a mere background?

leif: i was 6 years old and was listening to rafi (baby beluga) and i thought "this shit is gold"… for real.

dagan: i was 8 listening to dire straits playing pool and air guitaring with a pool cue, and i realized the future wasn’t pool it was air guitar.

joel: i’m not sure.  i think music has affected me since i can remember.  if i had to pick a moment i’d say, when i went to the regina folk festival when i was like 8  and made a craft guitar at a craft station and pretended to jam with all the bands i saw.

2. What bands influenced you the most with a) musical style, b) your dress sense?

leif: a) mike olfield – tubular belles (b) 34 waist pants, 36 length, 42 long jacket.

dagan: a) mc hammer (b) hammer pants

joel: a) all the friends i’ve played music with (b) i don’t wear dresses

3. A moment in your life and a song that seem so perfectly intertwined in your memory?

leif: sade, that song off the newer album, umm… lovers rock in a european cafe

dagan: elderly woman behind a counter in a small town by pearl jam as a girl kissed my neck and freaked me out.

joel:  sigur ros (first song on blue album) at my wedding as my wife Riva walked down the aisle.  she was so beautiful and song is also beautiful…

4.The best show you ever saw, and the reasons why it was so amazing?

leif: At the Drive In in Barcelona because it was good and fun.

dagan: Constantines in austin texas at the sub pop showcase because it was empowering and honest.

joel: Fugazi.  i never thought i’d get the chance to see them.

5. The best show you ever played yourself and why?

leif:  all of them were good but saskatoon at the 306 fest was the best. People streaked and stormed the stage.

dagan:  um…

joel: 306 fest in saskatoon, same as leif.

6.Why did you chose to pick up and start playing the instrument you primarily play?

leif:  it just happened that way.

dagan: it looked super cool…

joel: i don’t know….

7. we all have favourite songs for different moments/emotion. What are your;
A) top three love songs

1) i don’;t want to wait in vain – bob marley
2) beds too big without you – police
3) bobby mcferrin off of the circle song album

1) Maps – yeah yeah yeahs
2) nothing compares – shinade o’connors
3) moondance – van morrison

B) top three sad songs

1) hurt – Johnny cash
2) hurt – NIN
3) bed are burning – midnight oil

C) top three party songs

1)  i feel good – james brown
2) the big payback – james brown
3) what you do to my body – lee arron

D) top three get obliterated to songs

1) leif doesn’t drink – the dumb question band
2) the piano’s been drinking – tom waits
3) and justice for all – mettalica   

We know a lot forgotten good polish sound but names of artists and titles will tell you nothing

8. Favourite Joke?

so far, this interview…

9.Party trick?

leif: weird back trick.

joel: leaving early

dagan: doing the worm across the floor.

10.The person you connect with most?

leif: my mom

dagan: my best friend jay/ the crowd man…totally vibing dude

joel: my wife riva

11.Name three people you could quite happily see disappear?

1. George w. bush
2. Houdini
3. Tony blair

12.Are you happy?

leif: more happy that you know.

dagan: yes

joel: yes

Despistado Does It

Got down to the 360 super-early Saturday because word was that lineups would be huge for Jade Tree-signed Regina emo kids Despistado . The club wasn’t packed, but there was a healthy showing of underage kids with Billy Talent patches on their shoulder bags itching to catch one of the few all-ages CMW shows. The strictly enforced no-smoking rule was a relief after too many sweaty, blue-hazed events. Despistado started early – definitely a first for any festival showcase we can remember – and killed with a super-tight set of intricate emo-tinged songs that were (mercifully) more like early Sleater-Kinney than Jets to Brazil. Their boyish, shouty harmonies were endearing.

Fuck Billy Talent and Sum 41 – these are the Canuck punks who deserve bigtime success.


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The Great White North has, of late, been the hot bed of indie-rock. In recent months Canada has delivered onto us not only the quirky Unicorns and the girthy Godspeed, but let’s not forget the spunk-rock of Hot Hot Heat and the ever-earnest Weakerthans. On that note we’d like to welcome our first ever international signing, the Saskatchewan based four-piece DESPISTADO, to the Jade Tree family. Influenced as much by Wire’s artful passion as perhaps Modest Mouse’s steadfast quirk, these boys have been devastating every club they play, so by the time we finally caught their live show the results were jawdropping.

We will be releasing their CD EP The Emergency Response (JT1096) on June 25 (available for pre-order on 4.20.04) and the band will be stepping in the studio with Phil Ek (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Modest Mouse, The Shins) late next month to begin work on their debut full-length due sometime late Fall.


Please consult the Despistado for current dates.

Despistado Hook Up With Jade Tree

There have been rumours circulating about it for weeks and now it’s finally been confirmed. Regina, Saskatchewan’s Despistado have inked a deal with Jade Tree Records and in the process, have become the label’s first "international" signing.

Jade Tree rose to prominence in the mid- to late-‘90s as they helped expose the world to music from the likes of The Promise Ring, Joan Of Arc, Cap’n Jazz and Jets To Brazil. They’ll attempt to do the same for Despistado when they re-release the quartet’s The Emergency Response EP on June 25. The EP will pave the way for the group’s debut full-length, which is expected to surface in the fall. The band will be heading to Vancouver to record the album in April with Phil Ek, whose impressive resume includes work with Pretty Girls Makes Graves, The Shins, Modest Mouse and Built To Spill.

Since forming in late 2001, Despistado have been garnering praise for their intense post-punk sounds and exhilarating live shows. The four friends toured relentlessly, gaining new fans after every live appearance. They hooked up with Does Everyone Stare Records and released The Emergency Response in October 2003, quickly selling out the first pressing of the disc. They then toured Canada some more and sent a demo to Jade Tree. The indie label flew down to Regina, was completely blown away after catching two of the group’s concerts and the rest, as they say, is history.

Despistado will get to meet some of their new labelmates when they play Jade Tree’s South By Southwest showcase in Austin, Texas later this month. Prior to playing the highly acclaimed conference, the band will be playing a string of shows in Southern Ontario, including a Toronto date during Canadian Music Week.

Despistado Tour Dates:

March 1 Hamilton, ON @ The Underground
March 2 London, ON @ Call The Office
March 4 Ottawa, ON @ Bumpers
March 5 Brantford, ON @ The Ford Plant
March 6 Toronto, ON @ The 360
March 18 Austin, TX @ The Parish
March 20 Austin, TX @ MoMo’s

Despistado [I]The Emergency Response[/I] Review

Greeting us from the icy land of back bacon and toques are Canada’s own Despistado, a group of jangly-guitared indie-rock ass-kickers. Their six-song EP, The Emergency Response, is an energy-packed powerhouse of terrific tunes.

Despistado has a great sound that is fresh to my ears. The closest I can come to a description is a less angry At The Drive-In, but a couple of the tunes make me think of some of the great modern rock musicians. "Can I Please Have An Order Of Girl With A Side Of Confused" reminds me of a young, punk Boys Don’t Cry-era Cure jamming with Daniel Ash. And the last track, "Lipstick", has a great droning melody line that may make you think of Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth.

Lyrically, Despistado is nothing short of amazing. Expressionistic slices of life, politics, and self-examination will challenge and impress you. Despistado is a fresh breeze from up north, and The Emergency Response is a great preview of what this band has to offer. If you are one of those people that complains about the lack of talented bands out there, you need to pick up The Emergency Response.