This is a big year for The Middle Coast.

Not just because they finally put out their debut album, The Making of: The Middle Coast, after years of hard work, but because the band’s last underage member, Roman Clarke, turned 21 in May. “It marked the official end of worrying about being kicked out of the bar before getting onstage,” says singer/guitarist Dylan MacDonald.

That, of course, hasn’t stopped the Manitoba indie-rock trio from playing as many shows across North America as possible over the past few years. MacDonald explains, “We’ve always been relentless about trying to play as much as we can… We’d book ourselves into any terrible – or nice – bar we could, and any small-town event we could find on the internet, or by calling the town office, simply so that we could get better at our craft.”

“We’re really curious and excited to figure out what we’re going to sound like.” – Liam Duncan of The Middle Coast

That determination to improve and grow extends beyond shows. The band is also known for recording every set they play, and reviewing them afterwards. It’s a dedicated work ethic that has led them to some notable breakthroughs, including an opening slot on tour for Calgary singer-songwriter Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. And when they weren’t opening for him, they were also performing as his backing band.

There’s still a ways to go for the Middle Coast, though. While they’ve successfully released their first full-length album, the band admits that they’re still working on refining their sound, which may or may not veer away from their self-described “yacht-rock” label. With new demos in the works, keyboardist Liam Duncan says some songs lean further into that ‘70s sound, but some sound nothing like it.

Either way, Duncan says one thing is clear: “We’re really curious and excited to figure out what we’re going to sound like.” Just another task for these diligent musicians.