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Friday, January 21, 2011


Shoulder was from London, Ontario from 1994 to 1997. Bryan Webb (guitar, vocals), Chris Irwin (bass) and Doug MacGregor (drums) started jamming together in the fall of 1994, highly influenced by bands such as Fugazi, Hoover and Jawbox. During late 1994, Bry joined As We Speak to replace their original guitarist that had left the band. Shoulder’s sound then changed to a more mid-western emo sound, influenced by such bands as Split Lip, Endpoint, Falling Forward and Shotmaker. In March 1995 they recorded their first demo at Studio 107 in London. These four songs were released on cassette tape. When rehearsing, the band often recorded various songs in their jam space (Bry’s basement) on a four-track recorder.

Not very long after the demo’s release, Paul Bright, from As We Speak (which had recently broken up) joined Shoulder as guitarist. The band played some more shows in their local area and the rest of Ontario. In October ’95, they recorded their first and only full-length, “Touch”, once again at Studio 107. The acoustic instrumentals between the songs were recorded by Chris Greenwood, and featured Vanessa Thatcher on violin. The LP/CD was released on Detroit’s best known label, Conquer the World Records, co-released by the band on Winter Records, a label operated by Paul Bright, in December of 1995. The band then started touring, entering the states, for a one week tour in the winter of ’95-’96, which took them in a loop around Lake Erie and back home. During these shows, the band would play covers of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”, Rites of Spring’s “Hain’s Point” and “End on End” and a Dag Nasty song.

In 1996, they went back in studio for the third and final time and recorded five songs. The first two of these songs were released on the”Kindling” 7″ which was released by the same labels (Winter Records had by then changed name to Rhythm of Sickness). The third song was meant to be on a compilation for Rhythm of Sickness Records, which never happened. The fourth and fifth songs would be used on the Goodfellow Records compilation “The Difference Between Us”, and on the split with Morning Again on Moo Cow Records, both in 1997. At this time the band embarked on a two week tour with Holocron and played all the way down to Florida, and did a Quebec tour on their way back. It was during this time that the band played with the greatest hardcore band ever (my opinion), Morning Again. They discussed doing a split, and upon return hooked up with Moo Cow Records to release the split on 7″. To this day it’s still one of the hardest to find, because people simply wont part with it.

Other than the Rhythm of Sickness compilation, the band had quite a few plans that fell through… Struggle Records was due to put out one of the most anticipated compilations entitled “Benefit for the Buffalo Animal Defense League”. Mike Warden of Conquer the World also talked about re-issuing the Kindling 7″ on CD compiling it with the rest of the songs from the session, and possibly other songs that were never recorded. They were also due to release a split with Chokehold on Rhythm of Sickness, but it ended up being with Left For Dead in the end.

Through out 1997 they continued to write material and play festivals, and were talking about recording another full-length, including the newly written songs “EastEnd” and “Owned and Operated”. They never got to record any of the new material in studio however, and played their final show on October 10th 1997 at Call the Office in their home town (it was their 65th show) with Holocron (the band they played with the most), Acceptance and Slipshod.

In 1999 one of their home basement recordings from 1994, “The Woods”, was included as a hidden bonus track on “The Emo Diaries Chapter 3: The Moment of Truth” released by Deep Elm (and I’m not sure how this song was included). During this year most of the final line-up (Bryan, Paul, Doug and newly recruited bassist Dallas Wehrle) started jamming again under the name Constantines, but Paul Bright was soon asked to leave to be replaced by Steve Lambke and the band would rise to fame. The only surfacing of Shoulder since has been the inclusion of “Second Hand” taken from their full-length on the digital compilation put out by CTW “15 Years”, to represent the ending of the label in 2006.

shoulder - 1995 - touch LP (winter records)


shoulder - 1996 - st 7'' (rhytm of sickness records)


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