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Video Premiere: "Sad Sad Surf" by The City Gates

The City Gates - SuzyGevin
14 September 2018

The City Gates – Photo Credit: Suzy Gevin

Not so long ago, The Big Takeover presented the Montreal post-punk/shoegaze band The City Gates’ astounding new album Forever Orbiter, released via Northen Light Records. The album follows up the band’s debut release Collapse from 2013, and their now sold out, special limited edition cassette, which was released in 2016 for International Cassette Day. Now, we are delighted to premiere the video for “Sad Sad Surf” off the band’s latest opus.

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, The City Gates has its roots in the alternative music scene of the ’80s and ’90s. They draw their inspiration from bands such as The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Chameleons, The Sisters of Mercy, Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine. By using guitars with lots of fuzz, reverb, and delay pedals, the band can be described as a modern answer to Phil Spector’s infamous “Wall Of Sound”: intense, powerful, melodic, moody, textured, and raw.

The band is well known for their amazing live performances that truly exemplify their driving and contagious live energy, along with their epically massive searing guitar soundscapes. The City Gates has shared various stages with notable bands such as NOTHING, Heaters, shoegaze veterans The Veldt, The Stargazer Lilies, The Foreign Resort and Manic Sheep, to name a few.

The band also recently went on tour to promote their new album Forever Orbiter and headed to the U.K., including a showcase in Manchester (at a venue which coincidentally had just been rented out by The Jesus & Mary Chain for rehearsals three days after!) and a live session in the BBC Radio Wales studios. They also performed at the Focus Wales festival as part of a Pop Montreal showcase. The U.K.’s Drowned in Sound magazine placed The City Gates in their top 25 bands list over 300 bands that played the 2018 Focus Wales festival edition.

Their newest album, Forever Orbiter, has been well-acclaimed by critics. Echoes & Dust magazine stated that it was, “the album of the summer of 2018” . Brett Miller from Somewherecold magazine genuinely described the opus: “The City Gates present a gorgeous mix of melancholy and euphoria as heard on the Joy Division-inspired “Echo Radio”, complete with Max Wingender’s throaty Ian Curtis-like delivery, “Checkpoint Charlie”’s impending storm of distant vocals and textured guitars, and the upbeat tempo of “Sad Sad Surf” that builds slowly, drawing you in until the shimmering guitars blast away the grey clouds to reveal a warm sunny day.”

The City Gates now unveil a video for their latest single “Sad Sad Surf” here at The Big Takeover. As the final track on Forever Orbiter, the song is a dazzling jangle/obscure/post-punk/shoegaze tune that will make you want to go on a strange road trip.

The new video clip was produced by TCG’s guitar player Francois Marsan and evokes a sense of nostalgia for the band. Like Francois said, ““Sad Sad Surf” lyrics are the last ones that were composed by our bass player Jean-Sebastien before he left the band (you can also hear him on the main vocal). We wanted the lyrics to be an important part of the images. In fact, the lyrics we see on the screen are taken from the original handwritten paper. As the song is a sort of ‘‘end of the line’‘, I wanted to go back where it all started. I looked for old VHS recordings we made in the early 90’s when we started playing music together as teenagers. Then, I tinted them with a bicolour filter, remembering the alternative music videos that we grew up with as teenagers, growing musicians and music lovers.”

The captivating video also features some vintage surf footage that perfectly flows with the crests and ebbs and dreamy swirl of the song’s burnished guitar lines. The VHS tape bits focus on the Canadian band members performing and hanging out. At the start of the clip, the film is imbued with a light gold-sepia tone, conjuring up memories of old photographs and 8 mm home video reels. As the song whips up to a transporting froth, the snips of the band become colored in a deeper gold with bright bursts of purple. Song lyrics are occasionally interspersed, flashing by in a bolder style, adding vivid punctuation to the airy and buoyant atmosphere.

The City Gates is about to release Forever Orbiter on vinyl. It is due to the end of November. Their next show will be on October 24th at Mademoiselle (Montreal, Ca.) with New Yorkers post-punk/goth band Blood Blush.

Forever Orbiter is out now via Northen Light Records and can be purchased at Bandcamp
Available on cassette, CD, digital. Vinyl can also be pre-ordered here as well.

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