I like that comparison too. In terms of the Steely Dan reference, It’s hard to find a band that plays together as tight as TOPS on stage, with Riley Fleck and David Carriere effortlessly producing a studio-quality performance on drums and guitar. And what an honour for the vocals to be compared to that of the late Trish Keenan, though if I dare say so, the rounded Canadian accent of Jane Penny proves even more palatable on my ears.
There’s a fresh face in the TOPS lineup too, Penny tells me.
“We have a new bass player, her name’s Alana (Marta DeVito). When we figured out we needed another bass player, she was in town for a few days, so she came, figured out the parts, she’s a good musician, and she’s fun!”
Mac deMarco makes a cameo appearance in TOPS’ ‘Way to be Loved’ video, flashing his testicles at the 1:47 mark. What’s the connection there?
“We grew up in the same home town, in Alberta,” Penny explains. “He’s like 2 or 3 years younger than me, I met him when he was like 16, and we played shows together when he was in other bands and I was in other bands for years. He’s been at it longer than I have actually.”
Mac isn’t the only serious talent to stem from the same crew, and Jane Penny lists off a number of other hometown friends who have their own music projects on the go.
“There’s Sean Nicholas Savage. We’re really good friends from there, and Peter (Sagar), this guy who used to play guitar for Mac and now he’s got a band called Homeshake.
“He’s actually like a second cousin of mine. And this guy Renny Wilson as well, and Jenny Roberts is a girl that’s played bass with us before, she plays in tons of bands there.”