Today, Ontario, Canada quartet Tokyo Police Club announced a 10th anniversary edition of their beloved sophomore album, Champ, due out on vinyl + digitally on March 5, 2021 – distributed via Mom + Pop (US/Mex./Aus.), Dine Alone (Can.) and Memphis Industries (UK/EU). Pre-order the album here.
In conjunction with the announcement, the band has released a never-before-heard track from the album’s sessions with producer Rob Schnapf, “Hundred Dollar Day,” sharing a video made up of archival footage – watch + share it via YouTube. The single will be included in the Champ reissue on 7” vinyl b/w an acoustic version of the album track “Bambi.”
Discussing this unearthed nugget, guitarist/keyboardist Graham Wright stated, “One nice thing about revisiting something ten years after the fact is that you at least have a shot at some perspective. I’m sure that at the time, 23 years old and stressing over our big swing second record, all the hours we spent agonizing over whether or not to put ‘Hundred Dollar Day’ on the record seemed very good and important. But of course now I forget about all of it, and I just hear a damn cool song that brings me happily back to a hell of a time in my life. But then again, if we’d put the song on the record in the first place, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it right now. So maybe we were on to something after all.”
In addition to “Hundred Dollar Day” the digital deluxe edition will feature a brand new remixof “Gone” by Matt & Kim, along with b-sides, demos, and remixes by Andy Rourke of The Smiths, Passion Pit and more.
Long-time music critic and Executive Editor at Talkhouse, Josh Modell, offered his take on this opportunity to revisit Champ…
The idea that you never get a second chance to make a first impression—that’s only partly true. But when you’ve made as strong an impression as Tokyo Police Club did with their first record and a half—2007’s Lesson in Crime EP and 2008’s Elephant Shell—it can be sneakily difficult to change the narrative, especially if the narrative has been good to you so far. But in deference to and celebration of its tenth birthday—that’s at least 50 in rock years—it is time to re-celebrate and re-examine Champ, the Canadian band’s fantastic-yet-underserved sophomore album.
In a sense, Champ is the one that got away. It wasn’t panned or ignored or widely misunderstood, but—critically, anyway—might have been damned by faint praise. They called it “polished” and praised its brevity. They said it was “clever” and “economical” and “glimmering.” Crucially, it was also sliced with that double-edged sword of a word “mature,” which is what you call a band that’s changed just enough that you’re not sure exactly what you think of ‘em anymore.
I wish they had listened longer or more closely. I wish I had listened longer and more closely to Champ when it first came out, even though I loved it plenty then. It’s revealing and special in ways that aren’t readily apparent, and when you’re a band known for immediacy and energy, that can be either flummoxing or easy to miss. It’s an easy record to really like after a couple of spins — but if that’s where you stop, you’ve missed something.
The layers are there on Champ, and there quite consciously. The band scrapped an entire early version of the record because it didn’t sound as big as they’d hoped it would. They knew they had the stuff to ride a longer wave, to take that youthful energy and shape it for their evolving tastes. There was no reason other than fate or luck that they shouldn’t find themselves on the same path to medium-sized arenas as their sorta-contemporaries like Vampire Weekend or Passion Pit
It wasn’t to be—not exactly anyway. And now with the resurgence of vinyl repressings we get to face Champ a decade later and maybe a little bit wiser. The way I figure it, you’ve got two choices: You could celebrate your early-adopter status, patting yourself on the back for getting it right the first time around—for peeling back the layers and soaking in their majesty. Or you could let the scales fall from your eyes and recognize Champ as a lost classic of new-millennium indie-pop, hoisting it to the special place in your collection—physically or mentally—that you keep the good stuff.
After all, “Boots of Danger,” the single, is every bit as catchy as the Strokes’ “Last Nite,” though it trades New York cool for youthful Ontario exuberance. And it’s not just the hits that drive Champ: Its bench is deep, from the insistent, twitchily bouncer “Big Difference” to the somber sorta-ballad “Hands Reversed,” which could be a cousin the best Walkmen songs. And even if you’re one of the smart ones that knows every song by heart and understands every nostalgic turn of phrase and sneaky melody, this new Champ features a song you’ve never heard before: The jaunty “Hundred Dollar Day,” encased in amber for the past decade, appears here for the very first time.
Tokyo Police Club couldn’t help but show how much fun they were having, even as their songs took a more layered turn, both musically and lyrically. With aloofness the order of the day, maybe they were just born at the wrong moment. It doesn’t matter now, of course; what matters is this glowing, glorious batch of songs, eager for your ears for the first time or the thousandth. I’m glad for you either way.
Champ 10th Anniversary Edition:
Vinyl LP Edition:
1. Favourite Food
2. Favourite Colour
3. Breakneck Speed
4. Wait Up (Boots of Danger)
6. End of a Spark
7. Hands Reversed
9. Big Difference
10. Not Sick
Bonus 7″ single:1. Hundred Dollar Day (Previously Unreleased)2. Bambi (Acoustic)
1. Hundred Dollar Day (Previously Unreleased)2. Bambi (Acoustic)
3. Gone (Matt & Kim Remix)
4. I’m On Your Side (Demo)
5. Breakneck Speed (Demo)
6. Polka Breakneck (Interlude)
7. Boots of Danger (Passion Pit Remix)
8. Boots of Danger (Dom Remix)
9. Breakneck Speed (Andy Rourke Remix)
10. Favourite Colour (Bad Biz Remix)
11. Once I Was The Keeper
12. First Date Kit (Born Ruffians + Tokyo Police Club)
13. Young Vincent Price