Human Highway is the new collaboration from two of Canada’s most-loved troubadours: Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn. Both Guthrie and Thorburn have been long-time fixtures of Canadian pop music. Jim is best-known for his releases on Three Gut Records, both with Royal City and as a solo artist, whereas Thorburn first gained international exposure with the Unicorns in 2003, and now fronts the super-pop group Islands. Guthrie was also featured on the first Islands record, as well as in the group’s original live line-up.
Fittingly, Human Highway began on the road. “For me, Human Highway started in a hotel room on a U.S. tour with Islands,” Guthrie says. “Nick had this rad song called “My Beach” and asked me if I wanted to help him record it. He played and sang at the same time and let me be for a bit to do harmonies.”
But what started as harmonies on a simple pretty song soon blossomed into a full blown old-timey vocal romance. “Beautiful harmonies like the ones you’ll hear on this record can only be achieved when you look directly into the other person’s eyes as you sing. It also helps to slip into something ‘more comfortable’ and light candles.”
While folks can expect plenty of hot man-on-man vocal action, they can also expect a wide sampling of the kind of songwriting that has garnered both artists so many passionate fans over the years. “I think this album works because Nick and I both share a love for oldies” Guthrie says—citing the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison and the Kinks as a few touchstones for the Human Highway sound—“and we both really like the show ‘Scare Tactics’. It’s a new genre called ‘Golden Moldy Indie Oldies’. It’s AM radio rock for the babies of the future past.”
Plans for a video are in the works, and maybe, if we’re a lucky, a show or two in Canada. Says Guthrie, laughing, “Only for a 1 million dollars deposited directly into a Swiss bank account…unmarked bills…and a plane fueled and ready to fly us off to an island where your laws can’t touch us.”
[photo credit: Jamie Hogge]
If you're reading this you've probably already seen it, but Human Highway just debuted their first official video, for Moody Motorcycle's catchy lead track "The Sound". There are two versions courtesy of director Olivier Groulx: the straight up Norman McLaren NFB throwback, and the full on interactive, move-it-yourself version. Check them out at moodymotorcycle.com. Human Highway, by the way, is hitting the road shortly, including dates in Montreal and Toronto. Check it:
Human Highway hit the road! If there anyone feared that the collaboration between Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn was going to begin and end with Moody Motorcycle, rest easy. In December the duo will bring their melancholy melodies and happy hooks to the stage spanning four shows in Canada. They'll hit Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Guelph. Check the shows section for more details; these are likely to sell out!
"Plenty of charm, a warm and welcoming bedroom recording feel, and songs that stand among the best that either artist has ever written..."
"The harmonies on Moody Motorcycle are so dense and lushly constructed that it’s hard at points to discern who’s doing the singing most of the time." Prefix rating: 8.5
Yup, that's right. If you've been revving to hear more swoony sweetness from Human Highway, look no further. The album is currently streaming in its entirety on the band's Myspace page.
It'll be in stores across Canada next week, and as always, you can pre-order the thing directly from us, too.
Little known fact: the Human Highway album, Moody Motorcycle, was the first thing to be played over the big fancy sound system at the new Apple Store in Montreal. Ok, so it was only full of employees and members of Adam & the Amethysts (Miracle Fortress fans take note!), but still. Anyway, the fine folks at iTunes are also offering an advance single from the album for your purchasing support. Check it out!
"Full of lazy Sunday afternoon strums, sweet and subtle harmonies, and the kind of breezy pop you might hear on AM radio if you traveled back in time to the 50s, it's a collection of songs even your grandma could warm up to."
"The interesting breakdown and depression that riddles the tropical vibe of My Beach (the whole album really) might go unnoticed until you get crank up your headphones, but shows how creative this duo can be when focused properly. The arrangements are complex, but never overwhelming."