If quality, not popularity was the true measure of a band’s success, Halifax’s prodigal band Sloan would go down as one of the greatest Canadian bands of all times. Not that they haven’t been popular, but due to complicated record label politics they haven’t received the exposure that is perhaps their due.
Formed like so many bands before them, Sloan was the product of a “coming together of friends”. Started at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in 1991, the band made waves on the local level with both their energetic live show and their debut EPPeppermint .
Peppermint , which was released by the band’s own Murder Records label, put the spotlight on Sloan and led several larger labels to actively pursue the talented band. DGC Records won the race, signing Sloan and quickly releasing the band’s major label debut, Smeared. Called “a record where Sonic Youth met Beatlesque pop”, the term “Beatlesque” would become another label that the band fought.
Sloan snagged opening act status to some alternative heavyweights (Lemonhead, FIREHOSE) but this didn’t translate into notable record sales for the band. Despite Gold status in their native Canada, weak sales in the US only began an all-too-familiar story for Sloan.
1994 saw the release of Twice Removed which many feel to be of the best albums ever. Pop, with powerful alt-rock undertones, the album saw Sloan on many “best-of” charts around the world. Still, this didn’t translate into record sales for Sloan. DGC Records refused to support the album with any kind of American exposure, an act which led the band to question its own future. Rumors persisted of the band’s impending break-up.
Instead, Sloan fought back the only it knew how: by dumping their uninterested label and making more music. After disappearing for most of 1995, Sloan emerged in 1996 with One Chord to Another , distributed in Canada by its own Murder Records, and in the US by Virgin.
One Chord to Another finally solidified the bands success in Canada and made significant inroads in the US. Since that release, the band has toured and recorded constantly, enjoying the comfort zone their increased popularity has allowed them. Releasing Navy Blues , Four Nights at the Palais Royale and Between the Bridgesin the latter part of the nineties, Sloan show no signs of slowing down or giving up.