Harsh Lenses Point Homeward
Central Meaner Street represents the culmination of four years of life-experience, writing and recording for Toronto-based musician Dean Marino (under the moniker EX~PO). Dean describes EX~PO as: "well-crafted indie pop, filtered through sunny vocal arrangements, fuzz-guitar, punchy rhythms with psychedelic 'studio-head' tendencies." Like most kids, Dean grew up on his parent's record collection. These stacks of vinyl and 8-tracks contained typical British invasion and West-Coast pop but his folks also had a penchant for oddities like the Velvets, obscure soul and jazz. Unlike most kids, music completely saturated Dean's life. His father played in several Brit influenced garage bands with names like "the NYC Teens" and "the Spiders," while his grandfather was a prominent jazz bassist. Inevitably, Dean started his first band (Lucid Dream, which later became Smile) in high school with his brother Pete and current collaborator Jay Sad. Influenced by the local indie and punk scene, Pete and Dean went on to form Knacker, a pop-via-punk outfit, which after a string of minor successes and two albums, went on hiatus in 2004. In that same year, Dean released Harsh Lenses Point Homeward under the EX~PO moniker. This limited-run release garnered critical acclaim, with wide-ranging comparisons to Belle and Sebastian, Mark Bolan, Sonic Youth, Wilco, Elliot Smith and Sloan. Upon listening to Harsh Lenses or Central Meaner, one will notice that Dean has expanded his influences beyond his inherited and teenage roots and while one can undoubtedly hear George Harrison and Brian Wilson in his work, one can also find heavy traces of Sid Barrett, Wayne Coyne, Kevin Shields, Jason Pierce, John McEntire and Elvis Costello. In addition to fronting EX~PO, Dean is a well-known studio engineer and record producer and currently plays electric guitar for the Toronto-based roots rock collective, Tin Star Orphans (recently signed to Sparks Music). He co-owns Chemical Sound Recording Studio with long-time collaborator Jay Sad and has produced or engineered many notable records. Central Meaner Street comes as a 12" vinyl LP with stunning artwork and a digital copy (CD).