This was originally the very first post. It has since been edited, ameliorated and reposted, with much more material in the download link (thanks to Ryan Moon and Doug MacGregor for all the help). So I am proud to present one of my absolute favorite bands, and all time favorite emo band, Shoulder. This band was from London, Ontario from 1994 to 1997. Bryan Webb (guitar, vocals), Chris Irwin (bass) and Doug MacGregor (drums) started jamming together in the fall of 1994, highly influenced by bands such as Fugazi, Hoover and Jawbox. During late 1994, Bry joined As We Speak to replace their original guitarist that had left the band. Shoulder’s sound then changed to a more mid-western emo sound, influenced by such bands as Split Lip, Endpoint, Falling Forward and Shotmaker. In March of 1995 they recorded their first demo at Studio 107 in London. These four songs were released on cassette tape. When rehearsing, the band often recorded various songs in their jam space (Bry’s basement) on a four-track recorder.

Winter Records #2 - Shoulder "Touch" CD/12", 1995

Shoulder “Touch” CD/12″, Winter Records/Conquer the World Records, December 1995

Not very long after the demo’s release, Paul Bright, from As We Speak (which had recently broken up) joined Shoulder as guitarist. The band played some more shows in their local area and the rest of Ontario. In October of 1995, they recorded their first and only full-length, “Touch”, once again at Studio 107. The acoustic instrumentals between the songs were recorded by Chris Greenwood, and featured Vanessa Thatcher on violin. The LP/CD was released on Detroit’s best known label, Conquer the World Records, co-released by the band on Winter Records, a label operated by Paul Bright, in December of 1995. The band then started touring, entering the states, for a one week tour in the winter of ’95-’96, which took them in a loop around Lake Erie and back home. During these shows, the band would play covers of The Cult’s “She Sells Sanctuary”, Rites of Spring’s “Hain’s Point” and “End on End” and a Dag Nasty song.

Rhythm of Sickness #2 - Shoulder "Kindling" 7", 1996

Shoulder “Kindling” 7″, Rhythm of Sickness Records/Conquer the World Black, 1996

In September of 1996, they went back in studio for the third and final time and recorded five songs. The first two of these songs were released on the”Kindling” 7″ which was released by the same labels, although Winter Records had by then changed name to Rhythm of Sickness and Conquer the World Records used its short-lived subsidiary “Conquer the World Black” (aka “CTW Black”) to put out this release. The third song was meant to be on a compilation for Rhythm of Sickness Records, “The Cold Front” which never happened. The fourth and fifth songs would be used on the Goodfellow Records compilation “The Difference Between Us“, and on the split with Morning Again on Moo Cow Records, both in 1997. At this time the band embarked on a two week tour with Holocron and played all the way down to Florida, and did a Quebec tour on their way back. It was during this time that the band played with the greatest hardcore band ever (my opinion), Morning Again. They discussed doing a split, and upon return hooked up with Moo Cow Records to release the split on 7”. To this day it’s still one of the hardest to find, because people simply wont part with it.

Shoulder split 7" vinyl with Morning Again, Moo Cow Records, 1997

Shoulder split 7″ vinyl with Morning Again, Moo Cow Records, 1997

Other than the Rhythm of Sickness compilation, the band had quite a few plans that fell through… Struggle Records was due to put out one of the most anticipated compilations entitled “Benefit for the Buffalo Animal Defense League“. Mike Warden of Conquer the World also talked about re-issuing the Kindling 7” on CD compiling it with the rest of the songs from the session, and possibly other songs that were never recorded. They were also due to release a split with Chokehold on Rhythm of Sickness, which ended up being with Left for Dead instead.

"The Difference Between Us" compilation. Goodfellow Records, 1997.

“The Difference Between Us” compilation. Goodfellow Records, 1997.

Through out 1997 they continued to write material and play festivals, and were talking about recording another full-length, including the newly written songs “EastEnd” and “Owned and Operated”. They never got to record any of the new material in studio however, and played their final show on October 10th 1997 at Call the Office in their home town (it was their 65th show) with Holocron (the band they played with the most), Acceptance and Slipshod.

The Emo Diaries - Chapter Three: The Moment of Truth, 1999

The Emo Diaries – Chapter Three: The Moment of Truth, Deep Elm Records, 1999

In 1999 one of their home basement recordings from 1994, “The Woods”, was included as a hidden and unlisted bonus track on “The Emo Diaries Chapter 3: The Moment of Truth” released by Deep Elm (and from what I was told, without the band’s approval). During this year most of the final line-up (Bryan, Paul, Doug and newly recruited bassist Dallas Wehrle) started jamming again under the name Constantines, but Paul Bright was soon asked to leave to be replaced by Steve Lambke and the new band would rise to fame. The only surfacing of Shoulder since has been the inclusion of “Second Hand” taken from their full-length on the digital compilation put out by CTW “15 Years”, to represent the ending of the label in 2006, and once more without band acknowledgement.

Shoulder Complete Discography (with full band permission)

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  • AlumniSCI

    Touch (as well as some super-rarities from a few bands listed in the liner notes of Touch) can be heard here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AlumniSCI

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  • Matt

    I would love to hear this stuff but my permission was denied. I think the link is dead

  • Stolen bikes ride faster

    Does anyone know the names of the 7 unlisted songs towards the end of the “Touch” LP?

  • Mark

    and if you still need the kindling 7′ i may have a copy back in london. just have to wait til i make it back there for a visit. which should be may or june.

  • Mark

    Todd I would love a copy of that. I was there and remember that show very clearly! Amazing night! email me? mdjeffery@gmail.com

  • You know what pisses me off? When the media can’t make a 30 fucking second effort to CHECK FACTS on a feature / story they are writing about…particularly when they are making some outrageous or negative claim. I’m tired of it. This morning, we learned of this blog which claimed that Deep Elm used a song without permission on The Emo Diaries (www.deepelm.com/emodiaries) and hinted that this was the reason the song appeared as a hidden track. The blogger claimed the band told him this. Well, we ain’t too hard to find on the interwebs Alex! A simple email to Deep Elm at info@deepelm.com would get you the REAL TRUTH including a scan of the written agreement SIGNED and DATED by one of the band members who claimed we used the song without permission. Furthermore, it was listed as a hidden track AT THE BAND’S REQUEST which they actually noted right on the agreement “crew would prefer it if there was no mention of the band, song name, etc. at all on the layout (we is mysterious). if you really want to print the shit, that’s cool, but give it some thought, keep it real.”

    Deep Elm has always done everything 100% by the book and treated every single band we’ve every worked with beyond fair. Our agreements far exceed industry standards with regard to fairness to the artist. And they have since day one…

  • Hello kids….

    from your godfather

    Mike CTW

    I would love to see hear that live material as well it would mean a lot to me.

  • This article weighs in as a heavy weight hitter in my opinion. The content is informative, but it’s also clear. This is right on point as far as I’m concerned.

  • EVCco

    FCHC! Rimbault’s Basement shows 4life……….

  • Ben

    Todd – those are my 3 favourite bands…and you say you have a DVD of their full lineups together!!!

    I would kill for that – my email is xpunchbox@hotmail.com or bennyd254@hotmail.com to see if you could get that sorted somehow? … Thanks.

  • paul bright

    hey man, i would love to see that live stuff. did you say it was on dvd/

  • goodolday

    Todd i would love a copy of that show (well if your offer still stands). My email is empathy94@gmail.com, drop me a line… let me know.

  • goodolday

    You should upload the full shoulder set on youtube, i would love to see it.

  • todd

    Does anyone know where I can get a copy of the kindling 7″? I would love to have one, I would even be willing to give up one of my copies of the morning again split (i have black and colour vinyl).

    I also have a live performance of theirs. Its from a show they did with propagandhi and left for dead. The dvd has all three bands full sets. If anyone wants a copy, Im sure I can get them one.

  • paul bright

    i would like to hear that,

    paul bright
    pauljjbright@gmail.com

  • paul bright

    thanks for the effort in putting this together, i as well, think that last stuff should have been recored. i remember shoulder with dallas writing that one constanties song,,, “no… ( something ) ” no… i forget what they ended up calling it… but that was the last shoulder song. in fact i can still play it start to end.. what is it called …???

  • Pretty cool coverage. A few things left out but also a few things I didn’t even know like Dallas started playing with them with Paul. I really wanted to do that final CD but we couldn’t find the DAT tape I checked all over.

  • goodolday

    I have a radio interview of shoulder from 1996 (i think)… It took place at CHRW radio station… I could prob upload if you want, just have to find what tape its on.