March 18, 2019 | doors at 7:30pm
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Tokyo Police Club
If the universe had tilted the tiniest bit, there would be no TPC—the not-quite self-titled
fourth (and best) Tokyo Police Club album.
By 2016, singer-bassist and chief songwriter Dave Monks had settled into life in New
York City; he made a solo record and did some co-writing. Drummer Greg Alsop was
living and working in L.A. Keyboard player Graham Wright and guitarist Josh Hook
remained in the band’s native Canada. Tokyo Police Club created songs via e-mail,
thinking they had enough natural chemistry and experience to make that setup work. But
eventually, the lack of friction meant there was less musical spark, and it dawned on
everybody that the end was near. There was resignation, not anger, when Wright, Alsop,
and Hook told Monks they were done with the band. They didn’t expect him to disagree.
But Monks said this: “Fuck no. Definitely not. Hear me out.”
“Let’s make this band feel like a band we would want to be in again,” Monks implored his
bandmates. “Let’s make it about being present for the moments that are important more
than about being devoted to some rock stardom fantasy. We at least gotta go make
Abbey Road first, and go out with a bang. You don’t have to give me five records. Just
give me a few more rehearsals and some studio time and then we’ll figure it out.”
To that point, it had been a fun career built on self-imposed high pressure. Right out of
the gate, TPC felt energized and unstoppable, with critics and fans on their side. But as
the band and the world evolved, they began to feel diminishing returns, though no less
pressure. “In the mid-aughts, we were quite the thing there for a second,” quips Wright.
“Things started to level out for our career. Knowing that the tenth anniversary Lesson in
Crime tour might be our last, I found myself really alert and drinking it all in. From that
point forward, without even noticing, I started to enjoy every aspect of it.”
As the old proverb—or maybe it’s a Joni Mitchell song—goes: You don’t know what
you’ve got ‘til it’s (almost) gone. After putting aside the idea of splitting up and backburnering
their commercial expectations, there was just one thing left to do: go to church.
Specifically a church in rural Ontario, where the foursome could recapture the energy of
their early years by playing in a room together. Songs that Monks had written were
abandoned when they didn’t feel right for this new energy, and TPC started to take
shape, built on camaraderie and esprit de corps.
Oh, and some misery and confusion as well—you can’t have great rock songs without
those. Not only did his band’s near-collapse shake Monks’ songwriting foundation, but
his long-term relationship unraveled in the months leading up to TPC, ending just a week
before recording started. But what came from that mixture of renewed artistic purpose
and personal uncertainty is the band’s best set of songs in years, maybe ever. “I had the
most difficult year of my life, and making this record really helped me,” says Monks. “I
didn’t think it was a break-up record, but now it almost feels like I was breaking up with
my entire past.”
At the church, the songs and energy started to flow like they’re supposed to, like they
used to, and any lingering doubt was quickly subsumed by joy. “When we were first
going up there, I was thinking I’d punch in and punch out,” admits Wright. “At first I
thought I was phoning it in, but what that meant was instead of navigating ten years of
hang-ups and concerns, I would just simply play something. And I realized that while we
were there, I was never not having a good time.”
“I was really excited to tackle this record in this way, because the way we’d been doing it
wasn’t working,” says Hook.
“They’re just the best guys,” says Monks. “They’re such open and patient and accepting
people, and they know me so well that they’re the people I can be my truest self around.
I have nothing to prove. I was living in New York and I was really depressed, and I got to
be myself again every time I met up with them. It was a huge part of me remembering
who I was. I don’t need to be in New York trying to be somebody else, and I don’t need
to be struggling this hard. It became a real lifeline for me. I was in a low place, and I feel
like I climbed out by making this record.”
Monks’ friends could once again help shape his songs into TPC songs, and the batch
that ended up on the record aren’t quite like anything they’d done before. Album opener
“New Blues” signals that Tokyo Police Club doesn’t need a racing tempo to introduce
themselves; “Pigs” takes a sneering look at record-business politics; “Simple Dude” is
unabashedly horny. Not giving a fuck—or, more accurately, only giving a fuck about
those things closest to your heart—paid off.
Speaking of fucks and hearts: If you only have time for two songs on TPC today, make
them “Ready to Win” and “DLTFWYH.” The former features upwards of 40 F-bombs, and
the latter is shorthand for “don’t let them fuck with your heart.” Together, they feel like a
statement of purpose.
“Ready to Win” starts as a simple, blues-inspired acoustic song that takes stock of
Monks’ many mistakes—real and imagined—and turns them into a call to arms; he’s
done with the past but he’s learned from it. It was the song that turned heads when he
started playing it for people, because it sounds like nothing the band had done before
yet perfectly of a piece with its ethos. “I don’t know if you want to call it a rallying cry,”
says Alsop, “but it’s what I want to feel about our band and our career and our music—
and personally.”
It’s the channeling of that energy, which flows into every song on TPC, that makes the
record their best. They’re through being cool, through doubting themselves, and through
wasting time on ancillary things. TPC is self-titled, almost, because it’s Tokyo Police
Club circa 2018—scarred but smarter, fully re-energized.
“The feeling that we were so close to breaking up gave us the freedom to enjoy each
other more, to enjoy making music together,” says Alsop. “If we’re not doing it for the
sake of being a successful band, but just trying to make an album we’re happy with, it
takes the pressure off. The expectation was just that we’d do something that would
make us happy.”
“I think there’s a lot more optimism and a lot less confusion now,” says Monks. “That’s
why we called the record TPC. It was a whole process of looking at the band and
deciding what it is. There’s an excitement and optimism. Let’s just let it exist.”
In the suburbs, life moves at a slower pace; routine is valued and gossip fuels the local news. Strip malls, skate parks, Arizona iced tea out of the corner store fridge – stuck in between highways.

Dizzy – a band from the suburb of Oshawa, Ontario - are three brothers - Charlie, Alex and Mackenzie Spencer and their friend Katie Munshaw, who made music to combat the anxieties of the vortex of boredom. Like anyone growing up in the digital age, the band went to basement parties, discovered social media, scraped their knees, fell in love, and felt insecure. For Dizzy, though, having the suburbs as their playground for experience encouraged them to explore music and art outside of what was right in front of them - and to create their own.

"Oshawa is dense. We all grew up in modern suburbia so there’s an arm’s length between my neighbour’s house and mine.” Said Munshaw. “Making music always stemmed from my being overly sensitive about everything, so when you’re that close to so many people you’re bound to meet the essential characters that screw you up enough to start writing about them. Oshawa introduced me to friendship and heartache and change while keeping me bored enough to sit at home and write about it.”

Dizzy pen story-songs that are reflective of coming of age in suburbia. Their first entry is “Stars and Moons” - out October 13th, 2017 via Royal Mountain Records and Canvasback – which was produced by Grammy-nominee Damian Taylor (Arcade Fire, Bjork, The Killers). Stay tuned for more music from Dizzy in 2018.