Junior Boys at the Vagabond March 16
Soulfulness can come from unlikely sources. For electronic duo Junior Boys, that means the industrial Canadian city of Hamilton, Ontario, and the considerable pipes of improbable-looking frontman Jeremy Greenspan — a pale, sunken-eyed, slightly shaggy guy in his middle years.
Junior Boys was formed in 1999 by Greenspan and producer Johnny Dark. They recorded and released two 12-inch EPs, including several songs that made it onto their 2004 full-length debut, Last Exit, before Dark left to be replaced by Exit engineer Matt Didemus. Over their three albums since, including 2011's It's All True, Greenspan and Didemus have carefully refined Junior Boys' sound — icy synth lines and rigidly funky drum-machine beats melted by Greenspan's steamy singing.
And surprisingly, Ontario is not as unlikely a source for this stuff as one might think. Beyond the major metropolis of Toronto, it was a border city called Windsor from which Richie Hawtin plugged into Detroit's legendary electronic music scene and developed minimal techno. The province has also given birth to the similarly emotive electronic stylings of occasional Junior Boys remixer/remixee Caribou. Compared to Hawtin's longstanding name recognition or Caribou's outstanding album Swim, Greenspan and Didemus are squarely, comfortably middleweight. But their sweetly soulful electronic music remains an unassuming pleasure.
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