Mitch Bowden is the founder of Mechanical Noise Studio, a recording studio that reportedly sits at the en dog a quiet, winding country road in Dunnville, Ontario, Canada; the sort of road frequently hared with foxes, windmills and little else. He’s also the founding member and creative mastermind behind indie rock act Don Vail — and over the past decade, all of those different identities have blurred into something synonymous for him.
Bowden emerged into the Canadian indie rock scene with the release of his 2009 Jordon Zadorozny-produced, self-titled debut, an effort that deftly paired harmonic warmth and dispassionate math rock riffs. And instead of serving as a launching pad for Bowden’s career and rising profile, he spent the better part of close to a decade, releasing eight songs and playing two shows. 2016’s self-recorded, self-performed effort Fades managed to be a carefully crafted effort that on a certain level revealed the effect that isolation can have on an artist — way too much personal control, mastery of their craft countered by crippling perfectionism and a lack of urgency.
Interestingly, during the spring of 2017, Bowden (and in turn, Don Vail) received a rather fortuitous invitation as a result of the previous year’s Fades — an invitation to record material at Grouse Lodge Studios in Ireland. Of course, there was a major catch: the window to show up and record wasn’t open indefinitely; in fact, Bowden only had a matter of a few weeks to turn sketches and pieces of ideas into fully fleshed songs. And at the time, Bowden realized that the band needed to be more than just him. So he enlisted the assistance of longtime drummer Victor Malang, guitarist Matthew Fleming and keyboardist/vocalist Kori Pop for the recording sessions for the act’s forthcoming third full-length album That Stand of Tide.
The newly-constituted quartet wrote and rehearsed material together — and they all treated the experience at Grouse Lodge as an opportunity not to be wasted. And although the album was finished back at Mechanical Noise Studios in a similar fashion to his previously released material, the trip to Ireland pushed Bowden to get his shit together and finish the album. Reportedly, the album’s 13 songs at points recall Guided by Voices, Jon Biron and Figure 8-era Elliott Smith. While that may be arguable, the album’s latest single “On The Wire is an anthemic bit of fuzzy power pop centered around big and seemingly effortless hooks, and a palpable anxiety and uncertainty; but at its core is an intentionally heartfelt earnestness.
Directed by Mitch Barnes and the band’s Victor Malang, the recently released video for “On The Wire” follows a painfully awkward and incredibly sad sack man, desperately trying to figure himself out and forge his own identity. And as he does so, he fails miserably — at everything. If there’s one thing that he’s good at, it’s his own nerdy awkwardness. Interestingly, the visuals are purposefully lo-fi, and bring to mind classic MTV with a mischievous aplomb.