“Ten Kens fuse the white-hot vigor of the Liars with the dark melodic swagger of Black Mountain and Arcade Fire to create a captivating and volatile mix of bittersweet melody and spiked alt-rock all stamped with their own unique delivery.” – Experimusic
“Sounding like a detached voice lost in the collective unconsciousness, their music comes from a desolate spot with a driving sort of tribalism.” - The Spacelab
“Ten Kens overflows with big ideas evolving into big sounds.” - Music Views Monthly
Ten Kens combine raw vocal delivery, driving rhythms, and heavy, reverb-laden guitars with idiosyncratic song structures, creating a fresh, immediate sound. The Toronto quartet’s volatile mix of bittersweet melody and spiky, lysergic rock is alternately introspective and belligerent, pensive and swaggering, with a unique perspective that earns them a place at the outer limits of darkly melodic rock.
Like avant-indie contemporaries Liars and Black Heart Procession, or predecessors like Sonic Youth or Mudhoney, Ten Kens’ sonic ambition never comes at the expense of songcraft; layers of noise bolster, rather than undermine, their memorable melodies.
Comprising Dean Tzenos (guitar), Dan Workman (vocals), Lee Stringle (bass), and Ryan Roantree (drums), the origins of the band are rooted in 2003, when friends Tzenos and Workman began collaborating together. Building on their musical affinity, they played as a trio with various drummers for about a year before deciding to rent a townhouse to write and record an album entirely by themselves. From start to finish, that process took over a year, with the pair seeing very little sunlight or fresh air.
Once recorded, the fruit of their labours was burnt to disc and circulated, and following a spate of label interest culminating in their FatCat signing, the duo fleshed out the band to its current lineup, began playing shows, and set about recording their debut album proper. Though informed by their previous recordings, Ten Kens sounds fresh and revitalized, a product of the new lineup’s collective drive and ambition.
Recorded at Breakglass Studios in Montreal with Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Pretty Girls Make Graves), Ten Kens’ brooding, West Coast psych-tinged oeuvre and the space’s history seemed naturally aligned, but the recording process itself did the most to shape the album’s sound: they recorded nearly all day and all night for two weeks straight. The band’s goal was to capture the spirit unique to each song with this hard-driven schedule, and this underlying forward motion carries from song to song, creating a well-realized whole despite the tracks’ eclecticism.
Currently playing shows non-stop in and around their native Toronto, Ten Kens plan to widen their scope and tour the USA this fall in support of their self-titled debut album.
Ten Kens' Tracklisting
1. Bear Fight
2. Downcome Home
4. Y’all Come Back Now
5. Spanish Fly
6. The Alternate Biker
7. Prodigal Sum
8. Worthless & Oversimplified Ideas
9. The Whore Of Revelation
10. Your Kids Will Know
11. I Really Hope You Get To Retire