Most of the fuss over the Halifax pop scene--Zumpano, Thrush Hermit, Jale, Eric's Trip, Super Friendz--can be explained by how it stands in relief to the rest of Canada's underpopulated musical landscape. Apart from the underrecognized Jale, Sloan is the best band of the lot and one of the most important too: some of the members run Murder Records, the indie that's been crucial in putting the Canadian underground on the international radar by releasing stuff by most of the above bands. After ending a troubled two-album relationship with DGC and disbanding for several months in 1995, Sloan released its own third album, One Chord to Another, last summer in Canada; it has since been released in America by the Enclave. Without the pressures of a major label, the band made its finest record. It's not terribly inventive--the marks of the Beach Boys, Beatles, Hollies, and Zombies are all over it--but in terms of simple pop pleasure it more than delivers. Sugary hooks, soaring harmonies, and gooey flourishes like overripe horn charts (a la the Tijuana Brass) are nicely balanced by the raw, low-key production. The live setting should keep the indulgences in check. The superb Fountains of Wayne headline. Tuesday, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, Chicago; 773-549-0203. --Peter Margasak
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Sloan by Ray Lego.