Canada has been trumping our rock in spades in recent years, what with quality franchises like Fucked Up, Fifth Hour Hero, Weakerthans and Chixdiggit hailing from North of the Border. The Sainte Catherines hail from Montreal, as you might surmise, and ply their trade in smelly guitar-driven punk rock, heavy on the Leatherface. You don't have to say that twice to get me to take notice. Vanessa at Fat had sent me Dancing For Decadence a couple summers ago. It was their debut for the label and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they weren't a third rate Lagwagon rip-off. They were no stranger to a NOFX-y dischordant key change, but all in all, it just reinforced how boring most bands were in comparison.
Soon after, I made my first trip to Montreal and ended up catching Sainte Catherines alter-ego Yesterday's Ring down the street from my hotel. In between stupid fights with my (now-ex) companion, I ended up getting my mind blown by the countrified version of their sound. I picked up all three of the Yesterday's Ring releases while I was in town and vowed to scarf up The Sainte Catherines back catalog as well.
I managed to get virtually everything in their catalog fairly quickly, save for their debut Those Stars Are For You. That record and the early seven-inches are almost impossible to come by, depending mostly on your knowledge of the murkier areas of the Internet. The new Sainte Catherines release The Soda Machine takes a couple steps toward making it a little easier to get the out of print stuff. The Soda Machine is actually the title of the documentary by band confidante Sophie Fortier. That it self is worth the price of admission, but the DVD also comes with a cd compiling 25 b-sides and cast-offs and therein, mes amis, is where things really get fun.
The Soda Machine documentary is well done, exposing such gems as the fact that frontman Hugo is 25(!!!) and that they really had an unhealthy fixation with The Broadways in their early days. The companion cd further exposes the Leatherface adulation, including a pretty great cover of Sour Grapes. The Soda Machine cd has pretty expansive liner notes for most of the songs, with funny insights into their forays into hair-metal acoustic balladry and penchant for baiting Simple Plan. It's packaging like this that makes bypassing I-tunes all the more worthwhile. The whole package is cross-released between Indica Records, D-Tox and Outside Music, but most easily picked up at the Indica website for $15. Can't beat that price for twenty-five songs and a DVD.
The Sainte Catherines are currently touring Mexico and threatening more dates behind The Soda Machine in the Fall. Keep an eye on the sites below for dates and enjoy the DVD while you wait. Look out for a new Yesterday's Ring record, too.