The J. Arthur Keenes Band is the project of multi-instrumentalist and Dan McLay from Oakville, Ontario, Canada. McLay is known for combining vocals, guitar, and an expansive and eclectic variety of instruments with chiptune programming, lo-fi electronics, and influences ranging from ‘ to .

McLay first began posting songs to chipmusic community 8bitcollective in 2006, and later released his debut EP, Pamplemousse, on Pause on October 28, 2009. Written and recorded while still in high school, the EP was warmly received and praised by many of the chipmusic community’s most well-known members. Its follow-up, Computer Savvy, was released by 8bitpeoples a year and a half later on May 31, 2011. The EP contained reworked versions of older 8bitcollective songs alongside new material, and heavily expanded upon and refined Pamplemousse’s sonic palette.

A third EP, The World’s Smallest Violin, followed on August 18, 2012, and marked a massive shift in sound for the project. It featured a lesser emphasis on chiptune elements and a greater focus on McLay’s vocals and lyricism, and eschewed his past reggae and ska influences entirely in favor of a more delicately-arranged, ‘60s pop-inspired sound. McLay’s first full-length, entitled Mighty Social Lion, was similarly self-released on August 10, 2013. It expanded upon TWSV’s sound with more intricate arrangements, psychedelic textures, and the inclusion of live drums. The LP was preceded by a single, “Congratulations/I Love You More,” and accompanied by a mini-EP exclusive to CD pre-orders, Old World Monkey.

In the final months of 2013, the project put out a few more releases, all of which featured little to no chiptune elements. A split EP with Squiggly Lines, the project of McLay’s brother Rob, was released on November 7, and the “Lost Bay/Cabin Fever” single—comprised of two tracks originally released via Weekly Treats at the end of August—was put out in early December. On December 31, with almost no advance notice, McLay released his fourth EP, Get Some Sun. Clocking in at a few seconds shorter than Pamplemousse, the release was his shortest EP yet; it was also his most blatantly experimental work to date, featuring heavy usage of sampling, ambient effects, and lo-fi recording techniques.

In addition to all of his main albums, McLay has also put out three mini-EPs written entirely in 48 hours via the forums (48 Hour EP Vols. 1, 2, and 3); scored a short film (Xinyue Yam and The Mystery Level Original Soundtrack); released an EP comprised entirely of cover songs (Smothered With Covers Vol. 1); put out a single on on Metrodub (“Footsteps / The Shrine”); and contributed to various compilations (Including Pause’s Sea of Ice, Chiptunes = WIN’s Expansion Pack, several CalmDownKidder Records releases, and 8bitpeoples’ Reformat: A Tribute to Bit Shifter’s Information Chase).

Edited by Stugard on 1 Jan 2014, 00:01

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Formed in
  • 2006
Founded in
  • Oakville, Ontario, Canada
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