July Fourth Toilet
Lucid and visceral from Vancouver BC
July Fourth Toilet is a long-running multi-piece act from Vancouver, British Columbia, who have presented a wide variety of candy-coloured bargain basement showbiz extravaganza theme shows. Some describe them as eccentric. We describe them as lovable.
July Fourth Toilet has had dozens, perhaps hundreds, of members pass thru its ranks in its eleven year history, and continue to do so. The core membership have all been in the band for five years or more and have appeared in several shows and on many recordings.
Kim Stewart, Frank Ackerman and Judy Chee have recently played with us live, and are contributing to our new album Balls Boogie. Ex-members of note include Jay McLaughlin, Josh Stevenson, Shayne Ehman, Max Lee, Lester Smolenski and Soressa Gardener. Comedian extraordinaire Paul Anthony has joined us on stage for a few recent shows.
phun phact: "Therapist" John Singer and Gregg Turkington of the Zip Code Rapists bestowed our name upon us in 1993. Wild!
The critics weigh in on us below. We can neither dispute nor verify the accuracy of their comparisons and colourful descriptions. We make the kind of music we like, infused with childlike wonder and ritual, melody and sass, wrapped in a warm crepe: cream spilling out the side, yearning to be free. We want you to like us and accept us. We're nice people.
"July Fourth Toilet is sort of a modern day Zappa and the Mothers or Bonzo Dog Band. A wild ride through happy pop, Waits-ish weirdness, demented '60s era folk-rock and points in between."
- The Province
"A fresh dose of weird art-rock that is eclectic and undeniably catchy. Sounds like a comedy album camouflaged behind the sounds of an elementary school band tuning up to play some T-Rex. Pure musical schizophrenia!"
- The West Ender
"Novelty rock to the max. Their live shows often fall into the legendary category."
"Vancouver branch of the musical genre spearheaded by Thinking Fellers and Caroliner. You know, straddling the line between serious musicianship and songwriting and pretending they don't care about anything except being weird and quirky in a trippy sort of way. It's a hard fence to keep your balance on, but JFT do an excellent job. The result is a fairly interesting mix of songs that tend to sound like a 1970s children's album..."
"July Fourth Toilet did an eastern mystical-snake preacherish Krishnabilly set... (They) are hillbillies. Their music is challengingly communal (though each member seems deeply tuned or purposefully detuned in to their own specific instrument, there is a snugness and dedication to the whole, and a sense of friendship...) The lyrics are high and close, the melodies range from delicate to foot-stomping, and the ethic is for hard work, wonder and woe... July Fourth Toilet has a musical sensibility I admire more and more every time I hear modern rock and realize how much it has tortured, betrayed and corrupted the childhood musical appreciations that each of us is born with."
- Terminal City
"Something for Everyone is... pretty fun, especially if your idea of fun is the kind of soundtrack you might hear if you fell asleep watching The 5000 Fingers of Dr T and then had a nightmare about The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. And, speaking of The Beatles, it's hard not to sing along with the final track, the six minute anthem, 'One Day Is Representative of Our Time Together.'"
Don't want to listen to the critics? Here's what our contemporaries have said:
"Something tells me that maybe something is going to happen with the kind of giant musical ensembles that were responsible for Hair. You've got the Polyphonic Spree, the Arcade Fire, and the Hidden Cameras. They all have this big-ensemble feel. The leader of this multimembered, costumed concept movement will be Vancouver's July 4th Toilet."
- the infamous Nardwuar the Human Serviette
"It's time for that record, you know the one that comes around every not-so-often to defy description. Don't be scared off by the vast Toilet spectrum, from old-world folk ditty, to amped-up helium romp through mythical lands of never-was, to the tenderest of ballads. It's an astonishing arsenal of pop hooks and poetic aplomb, weaving through eleven testimonials to the joy of song, where Laughter and Sadness and Whimsy commingle. Witness 'One Day Is Representative of Our Time Together,' perhaps the pinnacle of all shambling folk-pop sing-alongs, where the band picks itself up from the initial mournful dirge and rises phoenix-like from its own sad ash, building, voice by voice, horn by synth-horn, into a jubilee of wailing falsettos, chants and fanfare. Follow those voices and find the thing you've been waiting for."
- Dan Bejar of Destroyer and the New Pornographers on our album Something For Everyone