San Francisco, meet PS I Love You. They're new here, and they're psyched to meet you. The Kingston, Ontario duo of Paul Saulnier and Benjamin Nelson are a few dates into their first U.S. tour, weathering the ups and downs of the road and bringing their clamorous caterwaul to the adoring masses. Their new record, Meet Me at the Muster Station, released last Tuesday on Paper Bag Records, is a deceptively refined burst of rock 'n' roll urgency, channeling the blood of Springsteen, the sweat of recent tourmates Japandroids, and the tears of Wolf Parade (something like that, anyway). In preparation for their Bay Area debut tonight at the Hemlock Tavern, with Gold Medalists and The Downer Party, we grilled Saulnier, the duo's melodic half, about Canada and touring life and letter-writing etiquette.
Where are you right now?
We're at my friend Frank's house in Seattle. I just cooked breakfast for a bunch of people. We played here for the first time last night -- it was amazing. We weren't expecting any kind of crowd, since this is our first tour on our own, but it was great.
How's the tour going?
It's been mostly really fun, with lots of hilarious awful stuff and some good stuff to balance it out. We had to buy new brakes for our van, and then our guitars were stolen in Toronto, but a couple weeks later our friends found them again. My amp blew up, so we had to get that fixed, and then our van broke down again. It's been good mixed with extremely bad. But we've had a good time visiting cities we've never been to before.
Including San Francisco?
Definitely. It's one of those cities I've always wanted to visit, and I'm looking forward to just walking around and exploring. I hope to have time to go record shopping--I like to collect soul and funk 45s, and I got a tip that there's an amazing record store. We're also excited about the Hemlock--we just finished a tour with Japandroids, and they kept talking about how awesome it is and how they wished they were coming.
How was that tour?
It was fun. They tour constantly, and this is our first tour, so we learned a lot by watching them do their thing. There were definitely some weird shows in small towns in Canada where there weren't a lot of people, but some really amazing shows too. We had a ton of fun with those dudes. I love seeing them live, and I think our bands sound good together. Their guitar sound is so huge, and I'm a guitar amp junkie.
They're from Vancouver, right? What else is exciting coming from Canada right now?
I'm mostly familiar with the scene in Toronto, where there are tons of excellent bands, but I don't know how big they are in the states. There's the Arcade Fire -- do they still count as Canadian? -- and Broken Social Scene have a new record this year, which is always good for Canada. I think Canadian indie rock kind of comes in waves, and I'm pretty happy to be riding a wave right now, so to speak. I also want to give a shoutout to our friend Diamond Rings, who's sort of our collaborator -- we put out a split 7" last year, which got both of our bands tons of attention. I'd like to tour the U.S. with him someday.
What other cities are you excited to see for the first time?
San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego... we're playing Portland today. Seattle and Portland are where a lot of our guitar rock heroes hail from, like Sleater-Kinney. When I'm in Portland I'm gonna be walking around hoping to see Carrie Brownstein. I probably won't, though.
How did you come by your band name?
First of all, I don't actually think it's a very good band name. It's sort of a nickname for me based on my initials -- I used to play solo, so it fit better when it was just me. We talked about changing the name when Benjamin came on board to play drums, but people in our community seem to like it, so we stuck with it. I don't know, I shouldn't trash our name. It's not a normal band name, which is maybe better. Maybe it makes people listen harder.
Can you think of a letter to which your band would be the postscript?
"These guitars are too loud."