In their 12 years together as a band, The Junction have experienced all facets of the music industry, from rising suburban pop/rock experimentalists to major-label up-and-comers and back to DIY indie rockers blazing their own trail. The Toronto-based trio have established a consistent, anthemic rock sound that can only come from highly-developed cohesion and an unbridled joy of music.
Singer/guitarist Brent Jackson and drummer Mike Taylor met during their shared Brampton childhood, but it took a Grade 9 discussion about music for them to realize that they both played instruments. The pair began as a duo (with the occasional help from a teacher at their school), but that quickly changed when a school transfer in 2000 brought Jackson into contact with Matt Jameson, a punk bassist with a burgeoning thirst for jazz and funk. As a newly-minted trio, the Junction quickly became the outliers in a suburban hardcore scene populated by more abrasive bands like Alexisonfire and Moneen.
Their third in a series of EPs, And With This Comes Tomorrow, caught the attention of Universal Music in 2005, who quickly signed them to a record deal. Their consequent self-titled 2007 major label debut was praised among fans, but didn’t translate to the degree the label had hoped. Combined with a desire for sovereignty, the band decided to regain control and start their own label, The Junction Inc.
Being an independent band hasn’t held the Junction back. They’ve since released a successful sophomore LP, Another Link In The Chain (2009), praised by the Torontoist as “a fitting addition to a catalogue that documents the band’s old-fashioned, hard-earned place in the city’s—and the country’s—independent music consciousness,” and ChartAttack.com, who predicted that “the Junction could very well become one of the country's best pop bands.” They’ve also toured across Canada several times, including a prestigious performance at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, while their songs have appeared on Hockey Night in Canada and in heavy rotation on MuchMusic.
The Junction are gearing up to release their third LP, Grievances, on March 6, 2012. The album closely trails an emotionally taxing episode for Brent Jackson, who ended a seven-year relationship right before the recording of the album and has since lived “homeless”, camping out on friends couches and living on the road. Though the experience heavily informed his songwriting, Grievances is not a “breakup record”. Instead, it’s a musical examination of universal human pathos in all its forms – brightness and love, but also detachment and heartbreak – a consequence of Jackson’s ongoing “quest for the real”.
Recorded in Montreal with acclaimed producers Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), Grievances displays the chemistry and maturity that Jackson, Taylor, and Jameson have developed over more than a decade. Poignant, direct songwriting intersects with bouncy, feet-moving arrangements, while textured production recalls the evocative sonic ambience of Radiohead and Portishead. Newly-recruited second guitarist/vocalist Marcus Wong joins the Junction to fill out that depth in concert.
“It really feels like a clean slate for us,” says Jameson. “Without the burden of external expectations or fear, it allowed us complete artistic freedom. The relationships were already established, ideas were flying in the studio and it just felt like pure comfort.”