Spotlight on... The Urban Aesthetics
By Ren Tomovcik

The Urban Aesthetics

Take two guitars, a bass, one songwriter and a drummer.  Mix in some sweet vocals and add a dash of trumpet, and you've got the recipe for The Urban Aesthetics, the quirky six-member indie band that has captured the ears - and the hearts - of Ottawa.

The Urban AestheticsFirst collaborating musically just two summers ago, the members of this little ensemble haven't taken long to make a name for themselves on the Ottawa indie music scene.  Pairing clever lyrics and catchy beats with a sassy stage presence and enthusiasm that's contagious, the Urban Aesthetics know how to put on a brilliant live show. All six members take the stage with verve and confidence, delivering a smooth mix of sound in which each performer and each instrument has a voice.

Lead singer and guitarist Greg Janssen composes the music and lyrics, but the musical arrangement is a collaborative effort that brings together the creative minds of all the members in this musically-gifted group. 

Band members Mike Braia (guitar), Neil Gerster (bass), Jon Rifkin (drums), Jen Rouse (vocals and percussion) and Lawrence Pernica (trumpet) each step onto the stage loaded with personality, and the music they produce together is at once classic and innovative.

The Urban Aesthetics Live @ Zaphod's - Photos by Jesse Hildebrand
Above: live at Zaphod Beeblebrox, New Years Eve. (See more here!)  Photos by Jesse Hildebrand.

A big year for the Urban Aesthetics...

The Urban Aesthetics spent 2008 preparing and recording their debut release, The Urban Aesthetics EP, after receiving a FACTOR demo grant the previous fall. Collaborating with Ottawa indie producer Dean Watson, the group recorded a set of vibrant tracks that show off their musical depth, with sound ranging from upbeat, folksy pop to lyrically-driven indie rock.

The Urban Aesthetics EP was released in October 2008, and since then the group's star has been rising in Ottawa and across Canada.  The band has performed a string of live gigs at local venues including Babylon, Zaphod Beeblebrox, the New Bayou, Cafe Dekcuf and the Live Lounge, and their tracks have been attracting attention on campus radio charts across Canada.  They have also been featured on the CBC programs Bandwidth and Radio 2 Drive.  Their debut record was named one of the hottest Canadian albums of 2008 on the popular music site I(heart)music, and the band is planning to tour on the Ontario festival circuit this summer.

There's no doubt we'll be hearing a whole lot more about the Urban Aesthetics in the near future - but here in Ottawa, we can proudly say we heard them first! 

Urban Aesthetics EP THE URBAN AESTHETICS, The Urban Aesthetics EP

Have a listen on the band's Myspace page, or check out The Urban Aesthetics live @ 8:00pm on January 23rd at Cafe Dekcuf
(221 Rideau Street, Ottawa).

Buy the album at Compact MusicOttawa Folklore Centre, Sounds Unlikely or End Hits, online at Indiepool or on iTunes, or snag a disc at any Urban Aesthetics live show!

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