The New Deal was a three-piece electronic band formed in 1998 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. With a drummer (Darren Shearer), bass guitarist (Dan Kurtz, now playing with Dragonette), and keyboard player (Jamie Shields), the music incorporates many elements of modern electronica, which they have branded live progressive breakbeat house.
The band formed in 1998 after a friendly, impromptu jam session they had at the Toronto venue the Comfort Zone. Upon listening to a recording of the show, they were transfixed by how much it sounded like a DJ mix. They subsequently released the jam session as their first album, This Is Live.
The band was without a name prior to the release of This Is Live. Jamie Shields, whose previous band One Step Beyond had wrapped up recently, indicated that the band hadn't settled on a name. At one point, they were calling themselves "Reprise". The New Deal stuck shortly afterwards.
Originally billing themselves as an acid jazz group, they soon found themselves swept up into the emerging musical genre of livetronica. The drumming of Shearer often resembles the simplicity of a drum machine, while still tastefully complementing the accompanying music. Shields never loops a keyboard track and always plays everything live, even if a pattern is to be repeated. Thanks to the widespread sharing of bootleg versions of their early live shows, a national buzz ensued and within two years, and they signed a major label contract with Jive Electro.
The promotion with Jive proved disappointing, and the band fell short of a highly anticipated crossover. Nonetheless, they continued to tour, developing their fanbase. They released several more live shows on a label they created, Sound+Light Records, and produced two studio releases in 2003: Please Be Seated and Gone Gone Gone. In 2004, after a year-long hiatus, The New Deal toured several cities, often playing to crowds of 800 or more demonstrating the continued devotion of their fans.
The band continued to tour, and over 200 recorded shows have been made available at the Internet Archive and etree for downloading. In recent years, seeing the band live has been difficult as concerts have become sporadic. Only a few recent concerts have been made available because of difficulties accommodating "tapers" and obtaining soundboard recordings.
On April 8, 2011 an e-mail was sent out stating The New Deal would be breaking up in 2011. According to the e-mail the band feels "We have come to a point where the time and commitment that it takes to maintain our band at its best is no longer possible.". A summer and fall tour took place throughout North America to end off the 12-year career.
THIS IS LIVE (1999),
The New Deal (2001),
LIVE:NYC O5.31.02 / 06.01.02 (2002),
LIVE:PORTLAND ME 12.17.99 / GUELPH ON 04.05.00 (REISSUE) (2002),
Gone Gone Gone (2003),
Please Be Seated EP (2003),
Live: Late Night 8.27.05 (2006),
Live: Toronto 7.16.09 (2009)