I first learned about Tegan and Sara from listening to CBC Radio 3 (another not so secret obsession of mine) several years ago. From there, I sought out their videos and started downloading their music. Their intelligent lyrics and strong melodies swirl into a perfect storm of anger-angst-love-loss that burrows into your brain and stays there for days, repeating the same few lines of chorus over and over. And you don’t even mind.
Born: September 19, 1980 (age 32) Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Genres: Indie rock, New Wave, indie pop, indie folk
Years active: 1995–present
Labels: Vapor, Sanctuary, Sire
Tegan and Sara are a Canadian indie band composed of identical twin sisters Tegan Rain Quin and Sara Keirsten Quin. They were born September 19, 1980 in Calgary, Alberta. They began playing guitar and writing songs at age 15. They initially played as Plunk without a drummer or bass player. In 1997, they used their school’s recording studio to record two demo albums: Who’s in Your Band? and Play Day. In 1998, they won Calgary’s Garage Warz competition, using the studio time they won to record their first professional demo, Yellow tape, which was followed by Orange tape and Red tape.
Two songs from Red tape appeared on their first album, Under Feet Like Ours, which they released independently in 1999 under the name “Sara and Tegan“. They later changed their name to “Tegan and Sara” because it was easier to pronounce and reprinted the album using that name. They also wanted their name to stand out amongst the other ‘Sara’ musicians at the time such as Sarah McLachlan and Sarah Slean. Tegan was easier to remember. Neil Young‘s manager signed them to Young’s Vapor Records label, and they released This Business of Art through Vapor in 2000. They have toured extensively since then.
In 2002, the band released their third album If It Was You. Their fourth album, So Jealous, was released in 2004 and led to wider success. This album was released through both Vapor and Sanctuary. One track on the album, “Walking with a Ghost“, was covered by The White Stripes, who released it on their Walking with a Ghost EP.
Their 2007 album The Con was released by Vapor and Sire because Sanctuary chose to no longer release new music in the United States. The album was co-produced by Chris Walla. Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Matt Sharp of The Rentals and previously Weezer, Hunter Burgan of AFI, and Kaki King all appear on the album.
On October 27, 2009, Tegan and Sara released their sixth album Sainthood, produced by Chris Walla and Howard Redekopp, as well as a three-volume book set titled ON, IN, AT, which is a collection of stories, essays, journals, and photos of the band on tour in America in the fall of 2008, writing together in New Orleans, and touring Australia. The photographs in the book are by Lindsey Byrnes and Ryan Russell. While recording Sainthood, Tegan and Sara spent a week writing songs together in New Orleans. The song “Paperback Head” appeared on the album, making it the first song on any Tegan and Sara album that they wrote together. Spin magazine gave Sainthood four out of five stars and wrote, “Tegan and Sara’s music may no longer be the stuff of teens, but its strength remains in how much it feels like two people talking.”
In 2011, they launched 2011: A Merch Odyssey, which sees the launch of at least one new item in the official online stores every month, all year long. A live CD/DVD combination package titled Get Along was released on November 15 and contains three films titled ‘States’, ‘India’ and ‘For The Most Part’.
Also Check Out:
- Live Review: Tegan and Sara with Speak @ Neptune Theatre 9/24 (kexp.org)
- Premiere: Tegan and Sara Recall Innocent Love in ‘Closer’ (rollingstone.com)