It all started in CHEM 120, commented Paul Brogee, vocalist, guitarist, and violinist of Long Range Hustle, a local Waterloo-based indie band. </p>
The origins of the group started with Brogee and Jay Foster, vocalist and pianist, back in high school. They both decided to attend the University of Waterloo, where Brogee became lab partners with the former drummer of the group, Mike Duboff. The three then “decided to orchestrate a dorm-room jam,” and Duboff brought guitarist Josh Weiss. These four lads were the original lineup of Long Range Hustle and the beginning of an ongoing six-year music career.
Currently, the band consists of Weiss, Foster, Brogee, his brother Mike Brogee as bassist, and AJ Fisico on drums. Due to issues with new commitments, some members have left, but the origins of the group, according to Paul Brogee, “still trace back to [Foster], [Weiss], and I meeting in UWP in the fall of first year.”
Listening to Long Range Hustle’s newest album From Seedlings to Saplings… (FSTS), released March 2015, it is easy to hear all the different styles the group brings together.
“We draw on our varied backgrounds as individuals,” Brogee commented when asked about what inspired their style of music. “Some of us were brought up on folk and blues, while others were classically trained, and we have at least one metal-head in the band.” The band likes to weave their musical history together into their new song, which is very apparent listening to FSTS.
The song “Sour Milk” is an upbeat, pop-esque song with catchy piano playing. “Coyotes,” meanwhile, has heavier drums, guitar, and bass, and sounds rather sorrowful. “Engine Parts” showcases a beautiful violin solo before any singing, making it the most orchestral song out of the whole album. All in all, however, Brogee stated, “it’s still indie-rock.”
“We try to balance aspects of pop-music with elements that are more structurally complex and interesting,” he said.
When I first heard Long Range Hustle, I immediately thought of two other indie bands, Fleet Foxes and The Rural Alberta Advantage. Neither is exactly like Long Range Hustle, but they all share that indescribable sound that is indie folk music: beautiful, heartbroken vocals, passionate pianos, and stunning violins. It is impossible to describe indie folk music in a couple of sentences, but Long Range Hustle is a hidden gem in the genre.
Despite Waterloo having a large number of young people, students rarely spend their weekends going to see local bands.
“The concept of going to see independent live music isn’t really part of the mainstream social culture in the student body,” Brogee said.
When asked if there is a great band scene in the KW area, Brogee said yes, there is a warm musical and artistic community, with many great groups originating here (Patrons of Science, Safe as Houses, and Dan Howler to name a few).
Regardless of the student support, Long Range Hustle strives forward. According to Brogee, “many of the musicians and artists that do come up through UW are very resilient and driven,” and thus the community will remain strong and ambitious.
Long Range Hustle is a good band and makes good music. FSTS is a great piece of work, with fantastic songs that I recommend to anyone who likes indie/folk music. The band is currently touring and had a show March 12 at Maxwells in Waterloo. Their music is available on iTunes and streaming on their website.
The author of this article is a member of Imprint’s Board of Directors.