The Nils, whose compositions are now seen as benchmarks that helped define the post-punk sound of the late 1980’s and who created a legacy of power-pop classics, finally released their second proper full length album, ‘Shadows and Ghosts,’ nearly 28 years since their now classic debut record.
Formed in 1978, The Nils’ popularity began in 1982 upon the release of a 5 song demo entitled “Now”. In 1983, they played Montreal’s legendary venue the Spectrum; once with The Ramones and later with X. The band acquired a significant following by extensively touring North America while still managing to release two influential EPs back to back: Sell Out Young (1985) and Paisley (1986). Their critical success and unmistakable sound caught the attention of executives of the now defunct NYC label Profile records. The band signed a five year contract with Rock Hotel, a punk/rock sub-label of Profile and with the help of English songwriter Chris Spedding as producer and Phil Burnett as engineer, they released their first full length self-titled album. Upon its release, the album charted and was a critical success, reaching as high as #8 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s college charts in 1988. Their ever increasing fan base including legions of musicians in the genre began naming them as a direct influence: The Goo Goo Dolls, Superchunk, Jawbox, Meat Puppets, Down By Law, Bob Mould (Sugar, Husker Du) and many of the power-pop punk bands.
After a series of setbacks, including the death of principle singer/songwriter, Alex Soria, the Nils lay dormant for years, not sure of exactly what to do. However, with encouragement and support of friends and fellow musicians Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks/Off), Chris Spedding and
John Kastner (Asexuals/Doughboys/All SystemsGo!), the band picked up and recorded ten never before released songs in their hometown of Montreal. ‘Shadows and Ghosts’ was produced by Peter Edwards (Grimskunk) and adorns the unmistakable songwriting structure that had distinctly set The Nils apart from other bands.
The band now consists of two original members: Carlos Soria and Jean Lortie, along with Mark Donato and Phil Psarakos, and are actively playing shows again in support of new and old material. Do yourselves a favor and check out one of Canada’s most influential punk bands.