Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Current Obsession : Diamond Rings

"Wow" is a term that Toronto's Diamond Rings should be used to hearing by now. That was the first word that stumbled out of my mouth when I first heard John O'Regan's solo project (he's also the frontman of The D'Urbervilles), namely the infectious electro-pop track "Wait & See." Butting heads with Sony/BMG for an unwarranted pull-down of his low-budget first video for "All Yr Songs" garnered shock and lots of grassroots support, eventually resulting in an apology.

Another surprise was in order when I first saw his press shots and music videos. O'Regan's voice is a soothing baritone which stands in refreshing and stark contrast to the synth blips and tricks that are pervasive in his singles. Unexpectedly, his persona, which is captured in its nascent stages in the aforementioned "All Yr Songs" video, is one of unabashed and colourfully exuberant androgyny. In a culture where androgyny is often portrayed as sex-less and dominated by masculine females, the lanky O'Regan dances confidently with both the guys and gals, looking every bit as comfortable in a basketball jersey or a pair of zebra print tights. The "Baby One More Time"-esque dance moves in "Show Me Your Stuff" warrants viewing in contemporary gender studies classes for its unashamed celebration of the kinetic male body. Again, wow.

After a series of EPs and singles, Diamond Rings will be releasing his debut Special Affections via Secret City Records on Tuesday, October 26. He will be stopping by Vancouver on November 20 at Biltmore Cabaret. Hope to see you there!

[Edit: stream the full album below!]

Diamond Rings - Special Affections by SecretCityRecords