The High Dials

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The High Dials
The High Dials - 2012.jpg
The High Dials in 2012
Background information
OriginMontreal, Quebec, Canada
GenresIndie pop
Power pop
Years active2003–present
LabelsRainbow Quartz
MembersTrevor Anderson
Robbie MacArthur
Past membersMax Hebert
Rishi Dhir
Robb Surridge
George Donoso III
Eric Dougherty

The High Dials are an indie rock band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The band started out playing a brand of pop music strongly influenced by 1960s British mod styles, but their sound has broadened to incorporate power pop, psychedelic music, shoegaze and folk rock.[1]


The High Dials evolved out of an earlier three-piece band known as The Datsons. The Datsons released music on Union Label Group affiliate Tyrant Records in 2000 [2] and Off the Hip Records in 2002 as "The Datson Four". [3] Confusion with New Zealand band The Datsuns and a new sound and line-up resulted in a name change following SXSW 2003.[4]

The High Dials' debut album, A New Devotion, was released July 29, 2003 through Rainbow Quartz Records.[5] Described as a concept album about "a boy named Silas attempting to escape from a nightmarish city of the future",[6] it reached the top ten of the !earshot National Top 50 Chart.[7] E Street Band guitarist and radio personality Little Steven Van Zandt played the album on his Sirius radio show, and later booked them to perform at his 2004 Underground Garage Festival in NYC,[8][9] which featured The Strokes, Stooges and New York Dolls.[10]

2004 saw the band release a follow-up EP - Fields In Glass - featuring album outtakes and electro remixes by Michael Musmanno, Davy Love and Will Carruthers.[11] Exclaim! likened the sound to a mix of Chemical Brothers and Robert Pollard.[12]

In 2005, the High Dials released their sophomore album War of the Wakening Phantoms, which marked a departure from the overtly retro feel of their first album.[13] Produced by Joseph Donovan and mixed by David Bianco, the songs featured lusher, more varied instrumentation and Sam Roberts as a guest violinist.[6] The new direction in sound was generally well received by critics, with the album dubbed a ‘latter-day psychedelic classic' by NME.[14] It reached the number one spot on Canadian college radio charts.[15] The High Dials toured in support of the album, including support act slots for Brian Jonestown Massacre and Neko Case.[16][17]

The album was followed by The Holy Ground EP in 2007, which featured a guest appearance by Rod Argent of The Zombies on keyboard.[18]

The High Dials released the album Moon Country independently in 2008, before returning to Rainbow Quartz Records in 2010 for Anthems for Doomed Youth. The latter album enjoyed airplay from KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer.[19] Album track “Bedroom Shadows”, featured in the SyFy series Being Human.[20]

Notable High Dials' concerts in this period include supporting Echo & the Bunnymen at SXSW[21] and the Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal, 2011.[22] Later in 2011, they worked with original Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham on a cover of “She Smiled Sweetly” for The Andrew Oldham Orchestra and Friends Pay The Rolling Stones Songbook Vol. 2.[23]

Following two teaser EPs - Yestergraves (2013) and Desert Tribe (2014) - the High Dials released In the A.M. Wilds on February 3, 2015 , each co-produced by Marc Bell.[24] The album marked another stage in the band's evolution with its post-punk influences and pulsing "electronic shimmer",[25] though these sounds had previously been noted by critics on 2008's Moon Country.[26] Album track "Echoes and Empty Rooms" featured in season four of the Netflix series House of Cards.[27]

Following its release, the band toured Mexico and Colombia for the first time.[28]

In November 2018, the band returned from hiatus with the Foreverish EP and video.[29]


The High Dials have had a fluctuating line-up since 2003, centred on founding members Trevor Anderson and Robbie MacArthur. Band members have included drummer George Donoso III (ex- The Dears) keyboardist and backing vocalist Eric Dougherty, drummer Max Hebert, bassist/sitarist Rishi Dhir and Robb Surridge (drums).



  • Fields in Glass EP (2004)
  • The Holy Ground EP (2007)
  • Yestergraves EP (2013)
  • Desert Tribe EP (2014)
  • Foreverish EP (2018)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "High Dials Biography". All Music Guide.
  2. ^ “Various – State Of the Union”.By Patrick Lejtenyi, Exclaim, 2000-09-01
  3. ^ "The Datson Four - See! Off The Hip Records".By Beverly Paterson, The Lance Monthly, via Music Dish, 2002-09-23
  4. ^ "Edwards, Sahara Best of SXSW". Rolling Stone, By Bill Crandall and Colin Devenish
  5. ^ Sendra, Tim. "A New Devotion Review". All Music Guide.
  6. ^ a b Rashbaum, Alyssa. "The High Dials: Profile". SPIN.
  7. ^ "The National Top 50 For the Week Ending: Tuesday, September 16, 2003".. !earshot.
  8. ^ "High Dials Prep New EP, head to Little Steven's Garage Fest". ChartAttack. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015.
  9. ^ "Review – Little Steven’s Underground Garage Festival". David Sprague, Variety”, August 15, 2004
  10. ^ Sisario, Ben (Aug 11, 2004). "Little Steven's Big Crusade". New York Times.
  11. ^ “Discogs – The High Dials Fields In Glass EP”
  12. ^ "Review: High Dials Fields In Glass". Vish Khanna, Exclaim, October 1, 2004
  13. ^ Sendra, Tim. "War of the Wakening Phantoms Review". All Music Guide.
  14. ^ Cramp, Nathaniel. "High Dials: War of the Wakening Phantoms Review". NME.
  15. ^ "National Campus and Community Radio Report (July 12, 2005)". !Earshot.
  16. ^ "High Dials Kick Arse in Austin, Release New EP and Tour With Neko Case". ChartAttack. Archived from the original on 23 September 2015.
  17. ^ Porter, Christopher (April 11, 2006). "High Dials Standing Tall On Their Own". The Washington Post.
  18. ^ “Rod Argent credits - All Music Guide”
  19. ^ "Rodney on the Roq Playlist, 10-25". KROQ.
  20. ^ "Being Human Soundtrack: Season 2 Episode 12". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  21. ^ "Echo and the Bunnymen and Musebox at SXSW 2009". Synthesis.
  22. ^ Duguay, Denise (July 29, 2011). "Osheaga 2011: A Schedule For Your Convenience". Montreal Gazette.
  23. ^ Stevenson, Jane. "Rolling Stones First Manager Would See 2013 Tour If On Same Continent". Jam!.
  24. ^ "BTW-starring The High Dials, Closer To The Heart, Winterfolk Festival Highlights, Lesley Curtis, Dee Bronte, Timber Timbre, Dan Mangan & Blacksmith". Cashbox Canada, 01/30/2015 by Lenny Stoute
  25. ^ "Album review: The High Dials keep it fresh with In the A.M. Wilds". Bernard Perusse, Montreal Gazette, February 3, 2015
  26. ^ "Montreal's High Dials reject retro rehashing". Mike Usinger, The Georgia Straight, October 8, 2008
  27. ^ "House Of Cards Soundtrack: Season 4 Episode 2 Chapter 41". Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  28. ^ "Trevor Anderson Of The High Dials Talks About His Latin American Tour". Lola Who, By Jesse Templeton
  29. ^ "Indie88 Premiere: The High Dials Release Video For Foreverish". Indie88, by Chelsea Brimstin, December 12, 2018

External links[edit]