Bend Sinister Release 'Big Star' and 'Gotta Get Ready'

Learn more about the two singles here!

By: Apr. 04, 2024
Bend Sinister Release 'Big Star' and 'Gotta Get Ready'
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No matter who you are, you could use a friendly but firm hand every now and then to keep your nose to the grindstone. Enter Vancouver quartet Bend Sister, who dole out two kinds of motivation on their latest, double-A-sided single — a musical wake-up call for aspiring rockers and anybody else who needs a little bit of a fire lit under them just to take on the day.

The exuberant “Big Star” sets the pace, laying down an in-your-face groove that's the perfect vessel for sentiments every working musician should heed:

You got to play the game 

If you want people to remember your name

It's hard to write a hit

If you give up and quit

So grab a guitar

It's time to be a big star 

Ironically, the genesis of the tune itself was a significantly less urgent process. “‘Big Star' started as an impromptu jam session captured on an iPhone voice memo and left to simmer for months, if not years,” the band reveals. But something about it struck them as the appropriate soundtrack for a hymn to diligence: “Calling from the realms of Deep Purple and '70s organ-rock, the song fit the vibe of either giving it your all or getting off the pot. Rock and roll life is a hard life, so  suck it up and pay your dues!”

The Purple comparison is more than apt. The classic timbre of the song's keyboard line will indeed have you picturing the dearly departed Jon Lord rocking his Hammond furiously back and forth, while the gospel-tinged vocal wouldn't be out of place on the next Glenn Hughes tour. On the flip side, “Gotta Get Ready” applies more vintage organ squiggles to a slightly different vibe and a self-help sermon that's a bit broader in scope. The tune is a slower, more sinuous curb creep than “Big Star,” with a repeated ascending riff that nudges the listener to commit to the not-so-simple task of getting up in the morning.

Like a bird hunts for prey 

Like a star casts its rays  

Its a game to be won 

So son,

You gotta get ready now

Are you ready now?

You gotta get ready now

Are you ready now?

Everybody involved was definitely wide awake for the live performance videos the band shot in front of a lucky audience at Vancouver's Tyrant Studios to promote “Big Star” and  “What It Takes.” All three tracks appear on Mostly Great Things, the group's just-released seventh album and their first full-length release since 2018. Produced by regular collaborator Ben Kaplan (Rare Americans, Five Alarm Funk), it's the product of an eclectic set of inspirations the double single merely hints at.

“At some point in 2022, we made a giant playlist with a bunch of songs from Styx, the Doobie Brothers, Herbie Hancock, April Wine, Funkadelic … really whatever we were feeling, and just got to work,” the band says. “This record is the result. Nothing too fancy—just some good times, rock and roll and a few guitar solos!”

Creative synthesis has been Bend Sinister's thing since 1999, when bandleader Dan Moxon (vocals/keys) conscripted three of his high-school friends to start writing and performing music influenced by math, indie, prog and alternative rock. Over the ensuing quarter-century, Moxon and bandmates Joseph Martin (guitar), Matt Rhode (bass) and Nick Petrowich (drums) have cultivated a diverse catalog that careens joyfully from influence to influence—sometimes even within the space of the same song.

As they describe it, their music can find “the tender longing of a Billy Joel piano ballad followed by the grimy, fuzzed-out riffing of Queens of the Stone Age, with the dramatic crescendo of a Mozart symphony, culminating in a fist-pumping BTO lumber-rock singalong chorus.” But you need to have plenty of musical arrows in your quiver if you want to convey the emotional peaks and valleys of a lyrical oeuvre that encompasses “love, life on the road, and dogs.” (Come to think of it, maybe there's a stealthy conceptual motif at work here: As any pet owner will tell you, having a dog will teach you to get up good and early real quick.)

Currently signed to Cordova Bay Records, Bend Sinister have scored two Top 30 rock radio hits, and have racked up more than 5 million cumulative streams while being featured on multiple Spotify playlists. The new single and album are bound to goose those numbers even farther into the stratosphere. And the rapt crowd in those Tyrant Studios performance videos is just a hint of what the band will be seeing from the stage in 2024. Tickets are on sale now for Bend Sinister's Thursday, June 20, headlining appearance at the Rickshaw Theatre in Vancouver—part of the prestigious venue's four-day 15th-anniversary celebration. Keep your eyes peeled for further dates as the year unfolds; having your attitude adjusted has never been this much fun.


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