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Roche Uhntraal likes to, um, rock and roll.

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Pop rock trio MIR has secured a new European record deal with Silversonic Records in Germany, after having released its debut full-length Invisible Science on East/West Records in 2001. The agreement includes full marketing and promotion for 7 Directions, which originally hit record store shelves in North America back in the fall of 2004. This European version will be a mixture of the 2004 effort in combination with songs from MIR’s acoustic record put out on this side of the ocean last September.

“It wasn’t until we put out The Acoustic Record that they took another listen to it,” says MIR frontman Asif Illyas. “It was kind of a catalyst for a lot of things I found in the last few months.”

The band—which also includes drummer Adam Dowling and bassist Shehab Illyas—is humbled by publicity projecting the trio as “head(ed) for international fame and destined to be the next Canadian success story,” but they keep matters in perspective.

“It’s extremely competitive, we’ve stuck around long enough to know there’s no certainty about anything. We believe in our material enough to go over there and play with confidence, at least,” says Illyas. “When we went over there the German audience was really receptive to us, but we really didn’t have a good run at it, with the tours being cancelled and stuff like that because of 9/11. We don’t really know what to expect, but we just plan on playing as much as we can, and going over there a few times.”

MIR also recently returned from Sri Lanka, where they travelled with a CBC film crew to examine firsthand how tsunami relief money is being spent on reconstruction. Many will remember how the band spearheaded Halifax’s sold-out relief concert at the Metro Centre on January 11, 2005.

“The amount of corruption and overspending and disillusionment that’s happening with the whole aid effort is crazy. Aside from Oxfam, overall, all the big NGOs…what we saw as regular guys going down was I think the big NGOs are too big to do stuff effectively,” says Illyas, choosing words carefully. “A lot of people were really upset with the way the rebuilding was going on. Like farmers getting boats instead of fishermen because of little side deals. Just out of that going on we wrote a ton of songs and we’re ready to go back and get the new recording out for this year hopefully.”

Good buys

It’s the calm before the storm with Juno weekend on the horizon, but there is some new and critically acclaimed re-released local material to get accustomed to during your North by North End timeouts. The long wait is over for Joel Plaskett fans as his DVD/EP Make a Little Noise was released in stores on March 14. Also, there may be some additional copies of The Super Friendz’ super-rare release of 1994 EP Sticktoitiveness on CD for the first time around the city. No word whether the highly sought-after promo from last week’s show will be available in more sizable quantities.

In the Juno know

A whole new crop of artists were added to Juno Fest this week, including Blessed, Carl Henry, Odel, Senaya, Silverstein, Inward Eye and the True North Records Revue (Colin Linden, Barney Bentall and Tom Wilson) as well as local bands Dog Day, Dr.dFunkt, Jimmy Swift Band and Their Majesties.

How are you getting juno-ready?: scene@thecoast.ca

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