After 10 years, 6 albums and countless tours, The Buttless Chaps have decided to part ways. No hard feelings exist amongst band members, just a feeling that it is time to move on to new musical projects and that the band has creatively run its course. The most recent incarnation of the band featured Dave Gowans on vocals, guitar and banjo, Morgan McDonald on keyboards, Lasse Lutick on guitar and synthesizer, Dan Gaucher on drums, and Ida Nilsen on vocals, accordion, synthesizer and euphonium. Mint Records released their final album in 2008 titled Cartography. Original drummer Torben Wilson left the band a few years prior to these last recording sessions. The Chaps have been known for their vibrant, eclectic live shows and a fearlessness with experimenting in the studio, always exploring many different muscial genres within their compositions. Over the years the band had several notable highlights, touring with acts such as The Rheostatics & The Handsome Family, and having several concerts and sessions recorded by CBC Radio. One session titled CBC Radio 3 Sessions was released digitally last year and featured contributions from Jesse Zubot (violin) and Peggy Lee (cello).
Some members will continue with their other projects; Great Aunt Ida, Fond of Tigers & Bad Human all have recording plans in the works and lead singer Gowans will be finishing a record this spring with new act Cloudsplitter. The band also features Nilsen and Zubot, and will likely perform select concerts.
The Buttlesss Chaps will perfom one last confirmed show at the Dawson City Music Festival in July and are considering a farewell concert in Vancouver B.C. around the same time. Mint Records is proud to have released four recordings by the Chaps, 2003's Love This Time, 2005's Where Night Holds Light and last year's Cartography, and CBC Radio 3 Sessions.
Some press for Cartography:
"It's an album that makes you close your eyes and listen, which is always a good sign." - Edmonton Sun
Gowans ability to pen a sci-fi ballads and rural anthems (and tracks like Coal Grey Sky will satisfy any classic Chaps fan), but with beautiful harmonies, static electro currents and terrific percussion the Chaps are able to replicate lonely nights in dark cities (the energy that crackles throughout the desolate title track is incredible). - HeroHill
Blending folk-country with a bit of atmospheric new wave sentimentality, Cartography takes you on a soft, dream-like journey that you won't want to wake up from. - Discorder
Sombre country rock underpins world-weary vocals, and while the guitars may twang, the effect is closer to a musical meditation than a whiskey-soaked hoedown. This basic foundation allows for some interesting side trips -- such as the vocoder-filled gravitas of The Opera, which wouldn't sound out of place on an Air album-- while still providing an ideal soundtrack for a late-autumn solitary trek through fallen leaves. Suitable for a cool, Canadian October. - The National Post
From the dead-souls darkwave of "Broken Transit, Broken Soil" to the campfire twang of "Water by the Wayside", the group's latest album, Cartography, maps out terrain where others would fear to tread. It's a good indication that, 10 years into their career, the Chaps are just getting started. - Georgia Straight
Cartography is an ideal name for an album that reveals itself as an expedition across unknown landscapes, matching in name the record's sense of discovery, of twists and turns, of behemoth rocks rising suddenly out of the ground where just moments ago there was plains and rolling hills. - Vue Weekly
Cartography is a mesmerizing, virtual magnum opus from Vancouver's The Buttless Chaps. While previous Chaps albums have always tested the boundaries between organic folk and synthetic electronica, Cartography is an even more aggressive exploration of this binary, resulting in a beautifully wrought, complex and cohesive outing. - Chart Magazine
What with GPS gizmos and Internet pathfinders, the art of cartography is probably now archaic. And yet, with its latest release, British Columbia's the Buttless Chaps sounds nothing like dated. Cartography is panoramic and often futuristic, expansive in its arrangements and lyrical imagery. The band and leader Dave Gowans specialize in juxtaposing old sounds with new wave. The title track updates Doorsian psychedelia with a spacier direction, and a funny thing happens on the way to The Opera, a sublime track with a classic piano motif and a robotic vocoder. Water by the Wayside forebodes gently; Coal Grey Sky has a folk-rock strum. If it sounds like the Chaps are all over the map, that just isn't the case. Rather, its course is absolutely chosen. - The Globe and Mail
it combines strummy folk songs with vaguely futuristic synths and effects-laden guitars into a serene chamber-pop hybrid. - Ubyssey
"one hell of a new album... The gorgeous artwork accentuates the excellent album to a T. Both are exploratory things of beauty, well worth the investment of your time." - Monday Magazine
"...this is a band at its peak and Cartography is a work of art." - Discorder Magazine