Some Party | Canadian punk, garage, and indie rock newsletter
A weekly newsletter on independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated every Sunday evening by Adam White of Punknews.org. A sober second thought on new music, cool records, and the people making their own culture.
Vancouver's Chain Whip recently shared the first track from their upcoming full-length 14 Lashes, premiering the fast and tough "HawaiiCBM" over at No Echo. Picking up where their EP left off, the new material finds the band digging deep into some classic hardcore sounds, marrying the punch of the early Californian scene and some combative UK influences. The group brings together Josh Nickel of Fashionism (and the Neon Taste label) on vocals, with Joel Butler of Nervous Talk/Corner Boys on guitar, Brett Thompson of Stress Eating on bass, and Patrick Bertrand of Corner Boys (and Hosehead Records) on drums.
Chain Whip recorded this set with Braden Decorby, who previously worked on their EP. Daniel Husayn mixed and mastered the new material at the North London Bomb Factory. The record arrives on August 5.
Speaking to No Echo, the band commented:
"We wrote 'HawaiiCBM' after the technological glitch of January 13th, 2018, when everyone on the island received cell-phone alerts that a missile attack was imminent on American soil. I kept on thinking about the ridiculous amount of influence that some people have to expose our fragility. I also kept thinking about what it must have been like to say 'Oh oops. Sorry. — my mistake. No missile coming.'
So many people fetishize these moments. Like 'Bring it on!' kind of stuff and I think that's such stupid posturing. Still, it's probably better to die in a nuclear holocaust than through the slow destruction of climate change I guess. Still, I'd like to try and enjoy some more of my time here."
This week a handful of additional songs from 14 Lashes are set to premiere, with one destined to surface right here at Some Party. I'll keep you posted.
Celebrated electronic duo A Tribe Called Red returned last week with a powerful new single titled "The OG," which features DJs Tim "2oolman" Hill and Ehren "Bear Witness" Thomas collaborating with Black Bear, a group of Pow Wow singers and drummers from Manawan, Quebec.
The song was inspired by, and features audio samples of, Cree lawmaker Romeo Saganash speaking to the House of Commons. Last September, while debating the future of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the NDP MP, took Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to task using some infamously colourful language:
"When the prime minister says that this pipeline expansion will be done no matter what, and his minister adds that Canada will not be able to accommodate all Indigenous concerns, what that means is that they have decided to willfully violate their constitutional duties and obligations...
Mr. Speaker, sounds like a most important relationship, doesn't it? Why doesn't the prime minister just say the truth and tell Indigenous peoples that he doesn't give a fuck about their rights?"
Saganash represents the Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou riding, which encompasses much of northern Quebec. In a statement Bear Witness commented on that event:
"It would be impossible to overstate the impact that Romeo Saganash's words had on the Indigenous world and on us personally. We feel that the stand he took that day in parliament needs to be remembered, memorialized and commemorated. This is a celebration of that moment. Romeo, the Halluci Nation salutes you."
A Tribe Called Red last released We Are The Halluci Nation in 2017.
A Tribe Called Red Ft. Black Bear - The OG (Official Audio) - YouTube
Last week the enigmatic Toronto songwriter Ben Cook unveiled more music from his upcoming Young Guv record, GUV 1. He shared the track "Roll With Me," a song that label Run For Cover Records described as "a 100% certified rocker" akin to "Elliott Smith power pop." You can check it out below.
GUV 1 is due to arrive on August 2 from Run For Cover. The 8-song set, which follows up 2018's heavily stylized 2 Sad 2 Funk, will serve as the first in a two-album series, with its counterpart due in the fall. Ben Cook's, of course, well known for his more aggressive outings, be it as the frontman of the Toronto hardcore unit No Warning or as one of the many moving parts that comprise the critically acclaimed Fucked Up.
Amiable Montreal pop-punks Lost Love have a new two-song single online via Germany's Uncle M Records. The set features the tracks "Glenn Spaghetti Legs" and "Ontarien Demandé," both of which were recorded during the sessions that resulted in last year's Good Luck Rassco LP. The former seems to be a reference to when Glenn Danzig was knocked out by North Side Kings singer Danny Marianinho. Remember that? The Internet most certainly does.
Good Luck Rassco came out on May 25 via Stomp Records and the French label Guerilla Asso. It followed up the band's 2016 album Comfortable Scars. These new tracks were mixed by Kyle McAulay and mastered by Ryan Schwabe.
Lost Love is slated to play Beau'sOktoberfest this September in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. They'll play the punk-focused Black Forest Stage alongside bands like Mobina Galore, Pale Lips, The Penske File, and Audio Visceral. Across the fairgrounds, the event's main stage will feature the Vancouver indie-rock supergroup The New Pornographers headlining on Friday, with Toronto hip-hop luminary Shad closing the shindig on Saturday night. The music festival's a significant charitable fundraiser in the region as well, bringing in over $711,000 since 2009 for local causes. Some Party's a co-sponsor of the Black Forest Stage this year, which is really just an excuse for me to plant myself in the nexus of awesome that forms between that stage, the half-pipe, and the bar. Oktoberfest runs September 20 and 21.
This week I had the privilege of sharing the haunting, grungy new single from Toronto's low-fi duo Low Sun. The band, self-described as "post-industry / loser rock," are a week away from the release of their new EP, the appropriately-titled New/Shiny. That record arrives on July 20 from Art of the Uncarved Block on cassette.
New/Shiny is Low Sun's follow-up to their 2017 drone-rock album Reservoir of Impermanent Light. While the tour supporting that record brought the band through Eastern Europe, Japan, and Hong Kong, that momentum didn't make the follow-up any easier. The group spent 8 months with a new bass player, only to lose them just before another European tour, this time supporting Czech hardcore band DNO. Out of necessity Low Sun was reborn as a duo, rewrote their EP from the ground up, and started this, their second life.
Low Sun features the brothers Peter and Robert Johnson, who together run Art of the Uncarved Block (Mildew Mildew, PAX) and previously played together as Shahman. When asked about "Cold Light and a Fare," the band commented:
"I don't remember much, but I remember it being the end of something. I recall the light more than anything. And the feeling. That feeling that sticks to you like the humidity that makes the walls sweat."
Low Sun will launch the tape with a pair of shows next weekend. They'll play Weekend At Bernie's in their hometown alongside Milwaukee's Large Print, Toronto power-pop act Pretty Matty, and Blankscreen on July 20. The next day they'll be in Ottawa with Large Print for a show at Pressed.
Matty Grace recently premiered the first track from her upcoming solo record, a song titled "Connaught//Chebucto." It's due to be part of an EP titled Rumination Year, which is expected sometime later in the year. The song features production, mixing, mastering, and additional instrumentation from Dave Williams of Crusades and Surrender.
Side By Side will also see an appearance by local punk outfit Flaws, a trio made up from former members of The Tenenbaums and Muelkik. The group recently released a 7 song set at Bandcamp titled Rose. You can check it out below.
Flaws will play the Thursday night stage at Black Squirrel with WLMRT, Nüshu, and Bug Bites.
The irreverent Ottawa "pop-punk gang" NECK play classic punk rock that pairs Dead Milkmen style snark with a healthy dose of Ramones worship. I've had the trio's brisk new 10-song LP in my hands for a few months, and it's a blast. While You Don't Think It's Evil... technically arrived in April on Uncle D Records it didn't show up online until this past week. You can check it out now at Bandcamp.
You Don't Think It's Evil... follows up NECK's 2015 LP Hate To Read.
Halifax-bred indie rock act Mauno has a new video online, showcasing their latest single "Take Care." The track's set to appear on the band's upcoming full-length Really Well, due August 2 from Tin Angel Records.
In a statement Eliza Niemi commented on the song:
"'Take Care' is a play on words — it's about caregiving as a woman, and also about saying goodbye. It is about filling the role of taking care of someone and self-identifying through that, while simultaneously resenting the expectation of having to do so.
The chorus begins hinting at waiting for a relationship to finally feel reciprocal, and ends with the reveal of me actually waiting for it to fall apart / knowing all along that it was doomed."
The record finds Niemi and co-vocalist Nick Everett splitting songwriting duties across 11 new tracks that the four-piece recorded at Chad VanGaalen's Yoko Eno studio. They're following up their 2017 Idée Fixe release Tuning.
Three-piece Toronto pop-punk act Sixteen Scandals have a new single online titled "Middle C." The hooky track serves as the irreverent trio's first new material to surface in the wake of their 2017 EP Dorkmanteau. It'd be a safe bet to expect it as part of their sophomore full-length when it arrives in the fall.
"'Middle C' is all about getting stuck in a job or relationship that makes you miserable, but feels too comfortable to leave. Most of us are so busy just trying to make rent, or staring at our phones all night to realize that our lives are caught in this cycle of suck. The drive to find purpose or some sort of meaning within our current socio-economic climate is a recurring theme in our music."
The video, a Fight Club parody, was shot by Josh Bradford of Silverstein. You can check it out below.
Sixteen Scandals - Middle C (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Dunville, Ontario indie rock quartet Don Vail have a new video online for "Institutionalized," the second single from the band's new album Stand of Tide. The clip was directed by Justis Krar of IMMV Productions. The group commented:
"It's probably the closest thing to a pop song we've ever done, and we love it."
Don Vail's been around for almost a decade as the solo recording vehicle of Mitch Bowden. This record finds the project fleshed out to a full four-piece band featuring drummer Victor Malang, guitarist Matthew Fleming, and keyboardist/vocalist Kori Pop. Stand of Tide is Don Vail's first record since 2016's Fades.
Don Vail - Institutionalized (Official Video) - YouTube
In the midst of their headlining UK tour, Single Mothers have a new single out titled "Metropolis." In a statement frontman Drew Thomson revealed that the song actually predates the band's most recent full-length, 2018's Through A Wall, explaining:
"'Metropolis' was recorded just before Through A Wall at Lincoln County Social Club in Toronto, Ontario. It’s a collaboration between Peter Landi and myself. I had recently moved apartments and my old landlord had sold the building we lived in and kicked everyone out. There was a real estate boom and we were all seemingly in the middle of it. Peter came to me with the song and once we were in the studio the lyrics came right away. I was just venting. A few years before I was living in my van. Sometimes it takes all the energy you have just to keep the lights on."
Bruce Peninsula's Misha Bower has a new video online for the song "Trying to Have it All," the title track to her recent debut solo album. It was filmed by Travis Welowszky at the Western Fair in London, Ontario. Bower commented on how the setting resonated:
"The bigger ride, the better prize, the chance that life will deliver an experience that quenches desire once and for all."
Trying to Have It All was co-produced by Bower and Will Kidman of the Constantines, with Kidman also playing guitar and keys as a member of her studio band. That group featured Cons bassist Dallas Wehrle along with Royal City drummer Nathan Lawr, backing vocalist Lisa Conway, and strings from Mika Posen, Kelly Larochette, Jill Sauerteig, and Julia Narveson.
Misha Bower - Trying To Have It All (m/v) - YouTube
Vancouver's Necking has a video online featuring "Big Mouth," the lead single from their recently released Mint Records debut, Cut Your Teeth.
In an earlier interview with Exclaim, drummer and lyricist Melissa Kuipers commented on the song, stating:
"'Big Mouth' is the dollar store version of 'Our Lips are Sealed' by the Go-Go’s covered by Hilary and Haylie Duff. It’s about having a mediocre time with someone and them leaving convinced you’re obsessed with them. This song is the brave face you put on after you’ve overshared and overstayed your welcome."
You can check the Justin Gradin directed video below (Gradin was behind some memorable recent work for
You may recall Bedwetters Anonymous, the high-strung BC punk band behind the excellent (and strangely titled) February release R.U. EXPERIENCING DISCOMFORT (?). I found Bedwetters through a write-up from the Vancouver scene report Neon Waste. In Josh Nickel's piece, he rattled off a half dozen related groups, bands local enough that I didn't recognize any of them but a treasure trove of threads to follow. I took the names down and socked them into one of the messy research documents I keep to feed future newsletters. The most enigmatic entry on that list of those was, by far "Industrial Priest Overcoats," a name that either shallowly betrayed the band's genre or a swerve setting up further mysteries. It's the latter, and their new record came to light last week.
Industrial Priest Overcoats is the solo recording project of Trevor McEachran, who sings and plays bass in Bedwetters. A member of the Splatsin Nation, McEachran describes his new record as "10 tracks of intergenerational trauma, identity crises, and recovery." Titled The Years Barely Left a Trace, the set expresses those themes through heavily Wire-influenced post-punk, punctuated by that same warbling, urgent vocals that made the DISCOMFORT tape feel so immediate. Home-recorded, weirdo-pop records like these always carry a ton of personality, but they can suffer from a lack of direction, jumping wildly from idea to idea before any can really settle in. As a whole, IPO's lengthy catalogue isn't immune from that, but Trevor's choice of subject matter (touching on his history of mental illness and homelessness from an indigenous perspective) grounds these songs with some needed emotional weight.
A cassette release of The Years Barely Left a Trace, along with an accompanying comic are due later this year. This album follows a four-song EP of covers released back in May and the 2018-released full-length Self Esteem Junction.
A new piece up at Ottawa Showbox profiles Compassion Fatigue, the recent 6-song EP from the Ottawa three-piece Ornaments. The band trades in muscular garage rock with some melodic punk influences, crafting slow-building anthems that, when paired with David Pierce's growling vocals, are going to stir up more than a few Constantines comparisons. As Showbox points out, the ear-worm intro to the album-opening single "Like Men" is rather memorable. Don't let this one slip by.
Released in mid-June, Compassion Fatigue features guitarist/vocalist Pierce with drummer Kevin Kozachanko and bassist Andrew Grosvenor. The new EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mike Bond at Wolf Lake Studios and The Bond Cave (Mike recorded the latest Steve Adamyk Band LP). Outside of the two-song "Comearound" single from 2017, this EP serves as Ornaments' first new material since their full-length Blood Vessels from all the way back in 2011.
Ottawa peace-punk four-piece Dogma has a new song online as well. Titled "Zealot," it's the first preview of the band's next release (whatever that may be) and their first studio material to follow the 2018 demo EP that served as their debut. It should be evident from their cover art (not to mention their sound) that Dogma's working directly and faithfully from the Crass-inspired anarcho playbook. Dogma sounds so vital and almost joyfully punk here that the hero worship doesn't bother me one bit.
The Dartmouth folk-rock/shoegaze group Diamondtown has a new EP online, combining their recent digital singles with unreleased new material as The Voice. The group's an extension of Husband & Knife, a duo featuring KC Spidle of the beloved Halifax indie-rock group Dog Day and Evan Cardwell. Diamondtown builds on that foundation with the addition of Kate O'Neill and Eric's Trip member / Moonsocket soloist Chris Thompson.
Speaking to The East about the new collection, Spidle commented:
"I think everything I write stems back to my Christian upbringing, lots of spiritual conflict, and existential confusion that comes out. It's a subconscious creative journey I go on when writing lines... I believe the conflict is a bit more personal, just a certain traditional mindset that I always try to shake and I do it pretty successfully, I think."
The Voice follows the band's late-2018 debut, Life Goes On.
Speaking of Sappy performers, Montreal's soulful home-recording savant Yves Jarvis has a new video online for the song "360." The track appears on The Same but by Different Means, which arrived this past March on Flemish Eye in Canada and ANTI- elsewhere.
Yves Jarvis is the latest stage name for Jean-Sebastian Audet. He previously recorded as Un Blonde, releasing the critically-lauded Good Will Come to You back in 2017.
Windsor, Ontario's three-piece noise rock band Cellos is set to appear on a split 7" with the Toronto noise-punk duo Not Of. That record's due on July 19 from No List Records and Harbour House. Each band is contributing three new songs to the project, and you can take a listen to Cellos' scathing "Blight" below.
In support of the new record the bands will pair up for a couple release shows, first in Toronto on July 19 at the Baby G (with Lilim) and then the following day in Montreal at Turbo Haus with Look Sacré and Like Swamps. On July 27 Cellos will play an album release party for the Kitchener space-rock group Hawkeyes at the Starlight in Waterloo.
Lethbridge, Alberta garage rock / "tropical glam" act J Blissette has a new song online titled "Burn It To The Ground (All These People Have Families)." It's the second single of the year from the group, following "Relax" back in February. It's part of a series of digital singles released in the wake of the band's 2018 Pleasence Records full-length Until I Go Blind.
The new track features frontman Jackson Tiefenbach on all instruments save the percussion, with drums provided by Clayton Smith. The band also notes "that one really hard guitar part" in the tune was played by Jon Martin. Martin recorded and mixed the song.
After fronting the post-punk/low-fi pop bands Moss Lime and Phern, Montreal's Hélène Barbier is striking out solo. Her first LP under her own name, Have You Met Elliott?, is due this Friday from Michel Records (VICTIME, Bleu Nuit). The first single from that set was "The Good Thing," which arrived alongside a video in May by director Katayoon Yousefbigloo.
Speaking to Exclaim, where you can now stream the record in its entirety, Barbier commented on her recording process:
"I got a soundcard from my friends and started recording songs at home alone, thinking about the childish behaviours we sometimes hold onto as adults. The songs started turning into an album, and I got the opportunity to record with Peter Woodford again. Have you met Elliott? is a reminder that, as my friend's sister once told them when they were a child, 'You can't just cry to have candies.'"
Have you met Elliott? was recorded to tape at the Bottle Garden (Tough Age, Bleu Nuit) and mixed at Value Sound. The album features Barbier on guitar, bass, organ, and vocals, with Christian Simmons on drums. In the studio they brought in guitarists Joe Chamandy, Emma Coldwell, and Matt Robidoux, with Elise Paradis appearing on violin. While Michel's handling the Canadian release, the new album will arrive on Emotional Response in the U.S. and Caballito Records in Europe.
Cam Fraser shows up in this newsletter quite a bit, being both the bassist for Toronto art-punks Luge and the guitarist/vocalist for the low-fi alt-country act Hobby. He recently recorded and released a new solo set, a six-song collection titled Sew. You can find it at Bandcamp now.
This is the second recent EP from Fraser, with the singer/songwriter's contemplative All The World's A Dream surfacing back in January of this year.
Low-fi Ottawa indie rock act Empty Nesters, the solo studio project of Eric Liao, has another new track online following the May-released "Hippie Drip." The new song, titled "Duster 2," can be streamed at Bandcamp. This new material follows Liao's Tired and Bored EP from this past February.
Guelph's Bullshit Hardcore Band announced a hiatus a few weeks ago, described by the enigmatic duo as a "redirection of our subversive efforts to other outlets." In the wind-down, the group's been making an effort to share their previously unreleased recordings. The first of these was a punk record titled Marksism, which arrived a few weeks ago. The latest release in this series is the second EP from the group's dub alter-ego, the Bullshit Dub Soundsystem. Titled No Gods. No Masters. No Treble, the new set comes with a warning:
"GB and LS made this in Dec '18 with 4-track tape, a reverb pedal, and a rigged up tape delay. CAUTION - the amount of low end on these recordings may shred your speakers - you've been warned."
This is the second Dub Soundsystem set following that side project's debut in April of 2018.
ANAMAI's the atmospheric, minimalist folk project from Anna Mayberry (formerly of Toronto sludge punks HSY) and David Psutka (of Egyptrixx). The duo recently released "The Holder," their first new track in a few years, at Bandcamp. You can check it out below.
ANAMAI last released the full-length What Mountain in 2017. There's been no word yet on where "The Holder" will land or when a new album may arrive. Stay tuned.
For better or worse, the Booji Boys willfully operate outside the usual PR cycle, and while we knew that Tube Reducer, their third full-length, was coming this summer, Friday's arrival still felt like a surprise. With no fanfare and little in the way of pre-release hype, the Halifax punk group quietly shared the 15-song record online at Bandcamp, with a vinyl release not due until late August (it seems like even the band's label is caught playing catch-up on this one). Booji Boys' stubborn sense of DIY is part of their charm though. They operate almost hyper-locally with a whiff of nostalgia for the mailorder days and a less incessantly online life (Bandcamp aside, don't go looking for this on your streaming platform of choice). Sonically, Tube Reducer finds the band playing true to form, once again delivering thrillingly blown-out recordings and barely intelligible vocals with subversively hooky songwriting somehow tying all that chaos together.
Tube Reducer follows up the band's 2017 Christmas release Weekend Rocker and their self-titled debut from earlier that year (both on Drunken Sailor). Along with an occasional home-dubbed cassette, the band's also issued a pair of EPs of the past year years, 2017's Sweet Boy on Cruel Noise Records and the more recent Unknown Pleathers 7" on Sewercide.
The band's lineup once again features vocalist Alex Mitchell with guitarists Cody Googoo and Steve Earle, bassist Adam LeDrew, and drummer Justin Crowe. They recorded Tube Reducer at Paul's Hall in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia back in February, with LeDrew behind the boards in the studio and spearheading the mix. Luke Mumford of Negative Rage mastered the album.
Speaking of Sewercide, the label recently announced that they were beginning work on a 7" compilation of east coast Canadian punk and hardcore. Look for it to feature new and exclusive material from the Booji Boys as well as the Charlottetown punk groups Antibodies and Warsh, Halifax D-beat hardcore acts Fragment and Cutie, Misanthropic Minds (Cody with his Alienation bandmate Dave Brown), and B.P.S. (another shuffling of many of the personnel mentioned above). Sewercide commented:
"While it's no surprise to us that the DIY punk/hardcore community here has been producing some incredible bands over the years, many haven't been getting the attention they deserve internationally and some don't even get the opportunity to release a record... this will be a small snapshot of what's been going on with punk in our corner of the world and the first time a lot of these bands will be on vinyl."
That record, limited to 300 copies, should be out later this year. Tube Reducer arrives on wax in late August from Drunken Sailor Records.
Toronto art-punks WLMRT have unleashed their first full-length project, a 10-song cassette titled WLMRT Forever. You can check the audio now on Bandcamp or snag one of the physical copies at the fast-approaching release show on July 6 at the Monarch Tavern.
Tallies' Stephen Pitman produced the new record, with Telephone Explosion's Steve Sidoli mastering. WLMRT features lead vocalist Shelby Wilson, bassist/vocalist Kat Mcgouran, guitarist Adam Bernhardt, drummer Alex Wood, and Ryan Hage on synths. The album includes several guests appearances, with Eliza Niemi of Halifax indie-rock act Mauno and Matt Post of Ottawa noise duo Deathsticks among them.
This is, without doubt, the best WLMRT's sounded on record, and they've achieved that without losing the wild spontaneity that got our attention in the first place. The group's dry, sardonic lyrics, which spill out in a frenzied stream of consciousness from Wilson as the band roils along, are as thrilling as ever. The five-piece is following up their 2018 Pleasence Records EP Lube 2 with this set.
WLMRT's sharing that July 6 release show with two bands, the similarly off-kilter punk group Hugh Man (celebrating their latest EP, Hughs Man is it Anyway?), and the return of the hardcore quartet Sigil. The latter features vocalist Bria Salmena and drummer Kris Bowering, both of the band FRIGS, along with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan's Brandon Lim and Erik Jude of Deliluh. The group's 9-song full-length, titled Slow Ulcer, will arrive on cassette for the show.
Sigil's been kicking around for a few years now, stemming from a time when Lim and Jude both played as part of the dark-as-hell sludge punk outfit HSY. The DNA of that band's pretty evident here, with Slow Ulcer sounding absolutely caustic. Salmena trades the measured and moody vibes of the recent FRIGS record for a thrashing, throat-shredding growl here.
Spirited Saint John rock group Papal Visit released a live EP last week. Titled Prepare for Your Reversal, the set was recorded this past March in their hometown. Founded initially as a long-distance recording project by vocalist Adam Mowery and bassist Pierre Cormier (when the former had relocated to Halifax), the band's live lineup has gone through several incarnations. This show, in particular, featured guitarists Chris Braydon and Jason Ogden with drummer Geoffrey Smith. From that group, I'm told, you can connect family tree limbs to a good majority of the city's musical output. This 6-song set features an assortment of cuts from across the band's discography, including their most recent full-length, 2017's Golden Grove.
Toronto synthpop duo Ice Cream has a new single out titled "Peanut Butter" with an accompanying video by director Miss World (aka Natalie Chahal). In a statement the band's Carlyn Bezic commented:
"I wrote 'Peanut Butter' about a man I served when I was bartending, who thought that ordering an expensive scotch meant he could treat me and my coworkers like dirt. That interaction felt like a microcosm of the world at large: that those with the most power and the most money are, underneath it all, spoiled babies. Peanut butter is a stand-in for their values, getting slathered on everything from the messy hands of a child, leaving us to clean it up."
Ice Cream features Bezic and Amanda Crist. The new track was produced by Tony Price, with Steve Chahley mixing and engineering. Ice Cream's debut full-length, Love, Ice Cream, came out back in 2016. It was followed by the "Dial Tone" single a year later.
Last week saw a new song surface from Organ Eyes, the Ottawa-based recording project lead by Cam Steacy. The track, a slow-burning post-punk tune titled "Once Bitten," was written and recorded in the same sessions that resulted in 2018's Chasing Paper full-length.
Keeping with the ocular theme, Toronto's synth-heavy noise-punk outfit Eyeballs have a new two-song single online, featuring the songs "Weightlifting" and "Woke Up Like This." These tracks mark the band's first recordings since 2016's Bad Art full-length, with "Weightlifting" due for an upcoming EP titled Fun Hell. Eyeballs feature Jenn Kitagawa on vocals, synth and drums, and Britton Proulx on all of those plus the bass. "Weightlifting" also features the mononymous Koko on vocals (and a Korg Kaossilator synth, to be very specific). The group recorded their new stuff with Asher Gould-Murtagh (ZONES, Beliefs).
Canada Day saw the release of Upper Canada Blues, the third full-length in recent months from the prolific Matthew "Doc" Dunn. The new set follows two solo records the Toronto-based artist released in fast succession in late-2018, Lightburn and See Horses Run. Like those albums, Upper Canada Blues funds Dunn playing jammy psych-rock with early-70s Americana vibes. These recordings feature Dunn backed by James Matthew VII (of No Warning, fka Blind Matty) and Brian Tysoe. They were recorded last summer by Tony Price.
The album arrives alongside a Laura-Lynn Petrick-directed video for the song "Ribbons," featuring dancer Nyda Kwasowsky. The clip premiered last week at NOW.
80s-flavoured Vancouver power-pop trio Autogramm has a new single out titled "Bad Day," available from Spain's Spain's Jarama 45RPM Recs. It's backed by the b-side "Quiero Estar Sedado," a Spanish language cover of the Ramones classic "I Wanna Be Sedated." These new tracks were recorded and mixed at the Balloon Factory by Joshua Wells and mastered at the North London Bomb Factory by Daniel Husayn.
Autogramm features Jiffy Marx of Hard Drugs and Blood Meridian on vocals, guitar and synth, the globetrotting CC Voltage (of Berlin's Dysnea Boys, London's Loyalties, and BC acts Spitfires and The Black Halos) on bass, and The Silo, previously of Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, and Destroyer, on drums. The new music follows the band's 2018 full-length What R U Waiting 4?, which arrived last fall on Nevado Music.
Popular Toronto punk quartet PUP has a new video online for the Morbid Stuff song "Sibling Rivalry." Martin MacPherson directed and animated the piece based on drawings and stories by frontman Stefan Babcock. The visuals chronical Babcock annual camping trips with his sister, along with their escalating and dysfunctional quest to "out-dumb each other."
The 11-song Morbid Stuff was recorded at the Union Sound Company last spring with producers Dave Schiffman (Thrice, The Bronx) and Darren McGill. It saw a release earlier this year on Rise Records in the States and the band's Little Dipper imprint in Canada. The album, the group's third, was recently voted onto the Polaris Music Prize long list.
PUP - SIBLING RIVALRY (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Chance Hutchison of the Montreal garage-punks PRIORS and the Devo-core Sonic Avenues offshoot New Vogue has a new collection of demo recordings online. Released under the name Cosmic Club, the set features 8 slices of tweaked-out robot pop that should certainly satisfy if you're into any of Hutchison's main gigs.
PRIORS recently released their sophomore full-length New Pleasure (and an immediate follow-up EP titled Call For You) on Slovenly. The group's been prepping their next LP for a late 2019/early 2020 release. Tour announcements in both Canada and the US are expected soon.
Toronto three-piece punk group Losers were the subject of a new short by producer/director Slone McGowan of LEEK. The 12-minute clip serves as both a mini-documentary and live music video, chronicling the band's short career to date and the creation of their recent debut cassette Welcome to Help. Alongside interviews with the trio, the film features footage of the band playing on the floor of Toronto's Henderson Brewing Company.
The group recorded Welcome to Help with producer Jesse Turnbull at Worst In The City. The EP was released this past April.
Whitby-based grunge-punk act Chastity recently revealed plans for the follow up to their 2018 debut Death Lust. The new record will carry the title Home Made Satan and arrives on September 13 from Dine Alone and Captured Tracks. The group released the soaring new single "Sun Poisoning" alongside the announcement, accompanied by a video directed by Justin Singer and frontman Brandon Williams. Filmed in Toronto's High Park, it stars Holden Abraham, son of Fucked Up's Damian Abraham, and Daphne Flowers. Like much of Chastity's output, the song has one foot firmly in the 90s, and you can easily imagine it topping the charts back in the alternative rock era. Williams commented on the song:
"I wrote a song called 'Sun Poisoning' in 2013, and Kacey Musgraves provoked inspiration in me to bring this back, her lyric 'happy and sad at the same time.' A classic songwriter trope, melancholy, but in my adaptation I wanted to express the feeling of trying to smile when you know your teeth are bleeding. 'Do you want to see how easily my teeth bleed?'"
The press release notes that Home Made Satan is meant to serve as the second part of a three-record trilogy. It was recorded in London, Ontario with Williams' full live band in the two week gap between the group's recent European and North American tours. The album will feature 10 new tracks.
Chastity recently released an EP titled Death Lust Cuts, featuring four additional songs trimmed from their debut.
Chastity // Sun Poisoning (Official Video) - YouTube
Toronto three-piece garage-rock group Wine Lips have a new video online for the song "Fly Swatter," from the band's recent sophomore full-length Stressor. It follows a similarly energetic clip for their "Shark Eyes" single from earlier this year. Vocalist/guitarist Cam Hilborn commented on the track when speaking to Exclaim, and there's no metaphor here:
"I wrote 'Fly Swatter' after we experienced a really bad fly problem in our apartment. There was literally hundreds of flies all over the house and it was driving us crazy so I spent a night exterminating them one by one until they were gone."
Wine Lips, which features Hilborn with drummer Aurora Evans and bassist Bryan Coffey, are on tour now. Following some immediate upcoming shows in the US midwest they'll take part in the Grey County psych music festival Crystal Lake later this month.
Dundas, Ontario power-trio The Dirty Nil have continued with their summer covers series, releasing the second pair of You're Welcome tracks into the wild. This time out the band included covers of Van Halen's '81 single "Unchained" and April Wine's CanCon radio staple "Oowatanite." The first volume in this series, released in late April, featured the band's take on songs by contemporary San Francisco punk band Culture Abuse and Scottish alternative legends The Jesus and Mary Chain. That April Wine cover originally surfaced as the b-side to their "That's What Heaven Feels Like" 7".
The Dirty Nil's spent much of the last year on the road supporting Master Volume, their second LP of new material for Dine Alone Records following 2016's Higher Power. The 2018-released album just landed on the Polaris Music Prize long list.
While Ben Cook makes more immediate noise as leader of the aggressive hardcore unit No Warning (and as a player in the roiling cauldron of maximalism that is Fucked Up), his low-key indie-pop solo persona persists as an intriguing source of contrast. The next Young Guv record's on its way, due August 2 from Run For Cover Records. Titled GUV I, the 8-song set follows up 2018's enigmatic 2 Sad 2 Funk.
If the first single's any indication, the sound of the new record may fall closer to 2015's Ripe 4 Luv than his last album. 2 Sad found Cook toying with dense vocal modulation, taking the production effects of modern pop music to schmaltzy extremes. That record found syrupy love songs shuffled among clips of 90s-style radio ads, collectively crafting this surreal culture-jamming vibe that I'd wager wasn't everyone's cup of tea. Ripe, on the other hand, was a sweeter set of 70s-styled AM radio pop, still heavily stylized but built with more delicate parts.
Speaking about the new single, titled "Every Flower I See," Cook commented:
"Flowers have been a powerful and prominent symbol in my life for as long as I can remember. When I was young, my mom moved me and my little brother back to Toronto from the U.K. where she found a job working with plants and flowers in the back of a newspaper. She worked long hours there, but also somehow managed to keep an immaculate and beautiful garden of her own while raising us by herself. She's actually still working that job today, and is probably in her garden right now. As I was finishing this record, I started to notice how flowers had unintentionally become an overarching theme for the album, both sonically and visually."
A video for "Every Flower I See" is now available. You can check it out below.
Young Guv will tour the US with the Epitaph punk band Culture Abuse this summer. He's also scheduled to play an aftershow for Los Angeles' Sound and Fury Festival next month.
Young Guv - "Every Flower I See" (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Following up on their recent stage reunion, the experimental Montreal post-rock group Fly Pan Am have formally announced their new record. C'est ça, the band's first album in 15 years, is slated to arrive on Constellation Records on September 20. The label describes the new record as "blending tightly-wound Kosmische grooves, maximalist shoegaze noise, and bursts of sonic sabotage and deconstruction." You can find the first single "Distance Dealer," below.
Fly Pan Am (or Le Fly Pan Am to be formal) formed in 1996 and were contemporaries of like-minded high-art bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The four-piece put out four records from 1998 through 2005 before calling quits in 2006. The group's founding lineup featured guitarists Roger Tellier-Craig and Jonathan Parant, bassist J.S. Truchy, and drummer Felix Morel, with all members credited for working on the electronics and tape effects the group became known for. Multi-instrumentalist Eric Gingras (guitars, organs, percussion) expanded the band's lineup in 2002. They last released the album N'écoutez pas.
Toronto glam-pop artist Nyssa has another cool new single online. "I Don't Wanna Live On The Moon (Without U)" follows the May-released "Hey Jackie." It's the second slate of new material Nyssa's rolled ou to follow up 2018's Champion of Love EP. Like "Hey Jackie" before it, this track shows off the strong vein of 70s rock influence that's surfaced in Nyssa's confident electro-pop. The artist described the track:
"'I Don't Wanna Live On The Moon (Without U)' is a hypnotic blitzed-out lunar-soul glam shuffle, a sci-fi pulp satire call to arms—or call to the dance floor—in the age of climate catastrophe. Director/editor Matt Marotti projects a similar vision in the accompanying video with a cut-up, psychedelic freak-out montage."
That video can be found below.
Nyssa's among the performers slated to play Sackville, New Brunswick's SappyFest on the first weekend of August. The festival just announced its latest slate of performers, with Julie Doiron, Tim Baker, By Divine Right 's José Contreras, Liz Brain x Doug, Lillia, and Flour all named to the event's musical roster. The literary side of the Sappy will feature readings by Marilyn Lerch, Kate Mildew, Annick MacAskill, and Ian Roy, along with a dramatic performance by Patrick Allaby. The event touted these latest additions:
"It seems like we're never quite finished! As some of our oldest, most inspirational and foundational friends return, as some new friends pay a surprise visit, we're thrilled to welcome their legendary songs, their poetic wisdom, their story telling inventions, their sonic instigations, their bar-rock deconstructions to the Sappyfest 14 program. We hope for Sappyfest to be a conversation between everyone willing to share this space in the spirit of goodwill and with open hearts, across disciplines, genres, and forms of expression. We hope you will join us!"
NYSSA - I Don't Wanna Live On The Moon (Without U) (Official Video) - YouTube
Sappy boasts a sizable slate of Polaris long-listers among its lineup this year. Last week the 40 records vying for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize were announced at a ceremony at The Forks in Winnipeg. Sappy's share of the list includes the Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty, former Hey Rosetta! lead Tim Baker, Toronto house music collective LAL, Montreal's soulful home-recording savant Yves Jarvis, and the Hull-based punk-jazz group FET.NAT.
A few punky Some Party favourites made the cut this year as well, with the latest from Dilly Dally, The Dirty Nil, PUP, and Fucked Up all represented. You can find the full list at the event's website.
In total, the Long List was chosen from 233 albums nominated by a 199 member jury of if journalists, broadcasters, bloggers, and programmers from across Canada (of which I am one, at least until someone comes to realize I don't belong there).
If I had to pick one record to single out as the most delightfully surprising inclusion on this year's list, it would have to be the veteran Quebec metal group Voivoid. The band's 2018 full-length, The Wake, their fourteenth studio album, earned the long-running group a spot among this year's new rock hopefuls. Voting is underway now for the 10 album Short List, which will be announced on July 16. A grand jury will decide the eventual $50,000 prize winner, to be announced at a gala in Toronto on September 16.
One last Polaris note, and a local one for me. This year, for the second year running, the Niagara Parks Commission will host a free, weekly summer concert series featuring Polaris acts playing at the brink of Niagara Falls in Queen Victoria Park. After a pair of kick-off performances this long weekend from Tanya Tagaq (on Friday night) and Hanna Georgas (on Canada Day), the Niagara Stage will settle into a weekly schedule with shows every Saturday evening at 8 PM (wrapping right before the fireworks). Last year I took my daughter there to see Weaves play and she hasn't stopped talking about it (although she calls them The Weaves, which is just wrong).
This year will feature shows from Doug Paisley, Jennifer Castle, Elliott Brood, Tanika Charles, Iskwē, Milk & Bone, Kobo Town, the Fred Eaglesmith Roadshow, and Great Lake Swimmers. No Wild Side though, but there's always next year. You can find the full schedule here. We as a city don't participate much in the indie-oriented musical conversation in Canada, so as a local this series is a rare reprieve.
Last week the sardonic Toronto art-punks WLMRT unveiled the cover and track listing for their upcoming 10-song full-length. Titled Forever, the collection will arrive on cassette this July. WLMRT will debut the tape at a joint release show on July 6 at Toronto's Monarch Tavern. The band's sharing the event with the weirdo punk outfit Hugh Man (celebrating their latest EP, Hughs Man is it Anyway?), and the return of Sigil (the side-project of FRIGS' Bria Salmena with ex-members of HSY](https://hsy666.bandcamp.com/)).
Among the Saturday night performances, you'll find a rare appearance by Ottawa's dissonant noise group Bondar. The group hasn't performed together in 5 years. Bondar previously played under the name Roberta Bondar, last releasing the EP Caustic in 2014. They took on an abbreviated version of the name after the Canadian astronaut kindly requested they stop muddying her brand. When they last convened, Bondar was comprised of Lidija Rozitis, Alex Maltby, Gary Franks, and Tyler Goodman.
Speaking of Bonnie Doon, the Ottawa punk band recently released a video for the song "Panty Twister," from their excellent 2017 full-length Dooner Nooner. The group commented:
"We wanted to make a music video that showcased the opulence of being on a boat like in 90s rap videos and well... anything to do with sailing culture. Although as a punk band we are more like the underwater monstars, it was a really fun video to film, except when I got sea sick and was still eating shrimp in a shark suit with no railing to hold onto. The song is about getting your bathing suit all twisted from riding waterslides and this is our interpretation - see in it what you like! Some people say it is all a metaphor for cunnilingus."
Bassist Lesley Marshall directed the clip.
Dooner Nooner is one of the first records I wrote about when this newsletter kicked off in 2017. It endures as a fun mix of low-fi surf rock and sludgy post-punk, interspersed by frenzied X-Ray Spex-channelling craziness like you hear on this tune.
Toronto's experimental prog-pop trio Absolutely Free has a new video online showcasing the title track of their newly released Geneva Freeport EP. Directed by Bile Sister 's Julie Reich, the clip wanders through a surreal 3D art gallery, evoking and parodying the record's namesake (a warehouse complex in Switzerland that hides away an estimated $100 billion art collection).
Last week Guelph-based folk singer/songwriter Innes Wilson unveiled the video for "Of Love and Lost," the first single from his upcoming full-length The Heart That Holds This Up. It's due on August 16 from Out of Sound Records. The musician commented on the project in the premiere at Live In Limbo:
"This song is really about the vastness of love and also the emptiness of loss, which was important to communicate in the music video. I've always loved old movies and TV shows that would use miniatures instead of CGI, and my good friend Ross Millar has been making brilliantly detailed Sci-fi dioramas which I've marvelled at for years. With his intricate, static scenes, he would beautifully capture the loneliness and cold emptiness of space. It came to me that this could be exactly how I could tell the story of this song in a creative way. I pitched it to Ross and he was immediately on board. We exchanged our ideas, Ross built and designed the sets and then we brought in our pal John Forbes to film it. So three old buddies, each with our respective abilities, who saw the potential to do something very cool, got together and made this project a reality."
Wilson last released the Seaview EP in 2018, which featured music tracked at Construction & Destruction 's Quarantine studio with backing from members of WHOOP-Szo. The Heart That Holds This Up was recorded with Halifax-based producer Adam Warren (Glory Glory, Pretty Normal, The Drug Rugs).
Innes Wilson - Of Love And Lost (Official Video) - YouTube
Elsewhere in Guelph, the Royal City's enigmatic and clearly named Bullshit Hardcore Band have announced a hiatus, claiming:
"The BSHC are going underground. This is not a retreat, but a redirection of our subversive efforts to other outlets."
Despite their intention to disappear off-grid, the duo still has a few previously unreleased recordings to get into the world. The first of these posthumous releases is an album's worth of material titled Marksism, which the band recorded in the fall of 2018. They commented that:
"...as far as 'hardcore' or guitar-based music we've made, our new album 'Marksism' is our peak by a long shot."
The unit also has a second EP on the way from their dub alter-egos the Bullshit Dub Soundsystem. They issued their first diversion in that form back in April of 2018. A "really incredible collab" with an unnamed artist is also in the works.
Montreal melodic pop-punk group Brand New Lungs have a new full-length out on Thousand Islands Records, titled Like Wildfire. You can now stream the 12-song record in its entirety at Bandcamp. Brand New Lungs features Louis-Charles Berthiaume, Alex Bergeron, Fred Normand, and Philippe Thibodeau.
This is a full-throated, 90s-styled rocker tailor-made for crowd sing-alongs. I'd love to wistfully claim "they don't make them like this anymore," but the impressively prolific Thousand Islands discography says otherwise.
We've known for months that a sequel to Shotgun Jimmie's Transistor Sister was in the works, but the formal announcement only came from You've Changed Records last week. While Jimmie's regularly released music since that fan-favourite 2011 album (most recently with 2016's Field of Trampolines), Transistor Sister's always held a special place in the singer/songwriter's discography. In the press release, Jimmie commented on the project:
"I decided to make a sequel because I loved making the first one. I value the experience of making records as much as the end product. I know that I'm always trying to make something good, but I'm also aware that the process is the thing that I'll think about and revisit in the future. With this album, I really wanted to recreate the immersive experience of making the original. The first one was recorded in Nova Scotia in a beautiful little town. The session had the feeling of a destination artist residency. We swam in the ocean and watched scientists cut the head off a shark; they were very eventful days. Maybe I also wanted an excuse to hang out with Jay and Ryan for a week. The three of us are spread out across the country, so being together is a rare treat. On the last day of the session we played a rock show at a tiny Toronto club. We literally went straight from the studio to the venue. It was completely packed with pals from all over; it was the best! I played the first Transistor Sister acoustic, then the full band performed Transistor Sister 2 from top to bottom. The show provided our session a very hard deadline and was probably the cause of some studio stress, but it was a perfect magical ending to the week."
The show he's referring to happened last November at Toronto's Tranzac. It was captured by Mechanical Forest Sound as part of their heroic series of Toronto field recordings.
This record features the titular Jim Kilpatrick backed by Ryan Peters of Ladyhawk, Jay Baird of Do Make Say Think, and José Miguel Contreras of indie vets By Divine Right. The album was recorded and produced by Contreras at The Chat Chateaux in Toronto (this is the second significant collaboration from José and Jimmie of late, as the two debuted their band The Heat Death in 2018). Guests on Transistor Sister 2 include the Constantines' Steven Lambke (on Wurlitzer), and Cole Woods of Human Music on synth.
The album announcement arrived alongside the upbeat single "Cool All The Time," which features a spoken monologue by Chad VanGaalen. Jimmie reflected:
"I think of Chad's monologue like it's our version of Chuck D on Sonic Youth's Kool Thing. In hindsight, I should have named the Track 'Kool All The Time' "
The 13 song Transistor Sister 2 arrives from You've Changed on August 2. The release coincides with Jimmie's long-awaited return to Sackville, New Brunswick's SappyFest.
Hot damn! The debut EP from Hamilton's Good Grief is just gloriously fun. The four-piece churns out rollicking '77-style punk rock with such ferocity and lack of shame that it never stops to reflect on how ultimately goofy it is. I mean that as the highest compliment (it's how I feel about Vancouver's Chain Whip as well). Good Grief's secret weapon though is vocalist Dan Ashworth, who just happens to be English, replete with a heavy accent that gives these four songs an extra kick (and even if he isn't, his inflections fit the style they're playing like a glove). I can't listen to this without smiling like an idiot. The record even starts with a ridiculous theme song.
The band released Outside the Off Licence last week with a hometown show I missed like an idiot. The record came out June 7 on Trash Boy Records.
After an agonizing wait (no really, but it was a long three or four days), Toronto trio Motorists have debuted with the single "Displacement Time." The group features vocals from Feel Alright's Craig Fahner, Jesse Locke of Tough Age behind the drum kit, and Matthew Learoyd (also of Feel Alright, along with a long list of Calgary bands like Stalwart Sons, Lab Coast, and Cold Water).
Locke previously commented on the band's sound, stating:
"We've played in Feel Alright before and decided to write some new songs together since Craig moved to Toronto. It ended up kind of sounding like '80s R.E.M. if they were a punk band or the Wipers with more jangle and Grass Widow harmonies for good measure. I think you might like it."
Did I just lazily run the same pull quote in two consecutive newsletters? Indeed I did, friends.
East coast folk-rock storytellers The Burning Hell have a video online for their new single "No Peace." It's their half of a split 7" with German singer/songwriter Bernhard Karakoulakis, who plays under the name Boo Hoo. The clip, filmed in Sackville, Berlin, Hamburg, and Bremen, features Ariel Sharratt as a superhero (who in the intro receives her marching orders from a milkshake-sipping Steven Lambke). A whole host of the band's friends make appearances in the narrative, as do some high-production-value lizard people. The Burning Hell / Boo Hoo split can be found on the Frankfurt label Lousy Moon.
The band, currently on tour in Europe, has been supporting a lathe-cut 10" titled Bird Queen of Garbage Island on the road. As only 77 of these were ever made, it's entirely sold out. While the group previously declined to share the songs on the Internet, they've since relented (a bit) and have the four tracks streaming on Bandcamp at this very moment. They'll only be there through the end of the tour, though, then they're "back in the vaults." Give them a listen now, or you're out of luck.
The Burning Hell recorded the Garage Island set in St. John's at Jake Nicoll's studio in the very early days of 2019. The record features vocalist/guitarist Mathias Kom, drummer/vocalist Ariel Sharratt, bassist Darren Browne, and Nicoll in several capacities. As with much of the band's prolific body of work, these songs present themselves somehow both adorable and provocative at the same time.
The Burning Hell last full length was 2017's Revival Beach. In the spring the band announced that they were recording an album's worth of duets with an organized labour theme. News on that one's still to come.
The Burning Hell - No Peace [OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO] - YouTube
Montreal punk trio Lemongrab have a video online for "Too Many Bitches," the lead track from their recent LP It Doesn't Sound Good But It Feels Awesome.
Lemongrab's new LP's a great time, with a youthful mix of slacker rock and frantic pop-punk. Faith Healer 's Renny Wilson produced. The record features performances from vocalist Gaëlle Cordeau, guitarists Léonie Dishaw and Zale Burley, drummer Marilou Turgeon, and bassist Jérémie Cyr.
Figure Walking's a duo featuring Winnipeg singer/songwriter Greg MacPherson and drummer Rob Gardiner (Conduct, Pip Skid). They last released The Big Other in 2017. While the follow up (titled vertical/horizontal) is due later this summer from MacPherson's Disintegration Records label, the band shared an unexpected late remix of a Big Other track last week. The song "Blue World" was reworked by the Philadelphia band Tulipomania and producer/engineer Richard Hartline. In the track premiere at Jammerzine, MacPherson comments:
"I love to imagine the world through the murky, silver-on-the-ocean-floor filter that is Tulipomania's music. This remix of Blue World is astonishing for us, as a watching an eclipse with welder's goggles and discovering the sun for the first time"
Barrie, Ontario trio The Highdives have a new a video online for their single "Sophomore," directed by Adam Bialo. The track's a slow-burning melodic punk tune that builds to a crescendo in its final third. It comes from the band's recent debut full-length Ocean Blood. You can watch it below.
Ocean Blood was recorded and produced by J. Andrew Shropshire (Indian Handcrafts) and mastered by Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, Junior Battles). The Highdives feature vocalist/guitarist Scott Murray, bassist Matt Galbraith, and drummer Shawn Moreau.
The Highdives are slated to play the Black Forest Stage on the Friday night at Beau's annual Oktoberfest when it returns on September 20. They'll join Pale Lips, L'Affaire Pélican, Oakhearts, Northgang, and The Hallions that evening. The event raises money for several causes, with Black Forest, in particular, supporting the skateboards-for-youth program For Pivots Sake. The overall Oktoberfest will feature headlining sets from The New Pornographers and Shad. Some Party's a sponsor of the Black Forest stage again this year, so stay tuned for some shenanigans in that regard.
The Highdives "Sophomore" - Official Music Video - YouTube
Ross Miller of The Dirty Nil and the mighty SIDEMAN has a new two-song single online from his side-project Blue. The Welland artist is following up the five-song Positive Attitude EP he released last fall. The new set features the simmering alt-rock track "Only Anger" backed with the decidedly more aggressive punk tune "True You."
Last week Miller's main gig released "Astro Ever After," a new standalone track from the Master Volume sessions.
I don't have a heck of a lot of info on the Vancouver three-piece Pudding, other than the fact that they've played shows with more than a few bands I'm quite fond of, like Necking and Bedwetters Anonymous. The group released Pop Over, their first LP, just a week ago. Clocking in at 11 songs, it's a great deal of fun, mixing some 90s alt-rock vibes with a helping of that modern slacker-punk sound (peddled by fellow Van bands like Dumb). Pudding features bassist Darren Mountain, drummer/vocalist Cyndi Callow, and guitarist/vocalist Paula Moulton.
Toronto's sibling psych-dance trio DOOMSQUAD recently played a live session for CBC Music, playing several songs from their recent full-length Let Yourself Be Seen. They appeared alongside past-Polaris winner Lido Pimienta and guitarist Ejji Smith. DOOMSQUAD's Trevor Blumas commented on the occasion, boasting "this is like The Last Waltz but for weirdos in Toronto."
DOOMSQUAD's set to play some cool Ontario festivals this summer, including Paris, Ontario's Strangewaves and the Grey county psych gathering Crystal Lake.
Flatliners lead Chris Cresswell has a new solo track online titled "Gather My Thoughts." It's the second new tune from the punk frontman in the past few months, following the in the same stylistic vein as the introspective "To The Wind."
Cresswell last went solo with his 2014 contribution to Joey Cape's One Week Records project. The Flatliners most recently released an EP titled Mass Candescence and the preceding Inviting Light LP. Cresswell's been touring as a part of Hot Water Music in recent months, filling in for singer/guitarist Chris Wollard.
Toronto's instrumental funk collective the Badge Époque Ensemble has a new video online for the song "Undressed In Solitude." Directed by Alex Kingsmill, the clip features a collage of footage sourced entirely from the public domain Internet Archive. The 11-minute tune features guest vocals from the R&B artist James Baley, and was described in an earlier press release as "an improbable collision between psych-era Stevie Wonder and the whimsically dark Fantastic Planet score."
The Ensemble's lead by multi-instrumentalist Maximilian 'Twig' Turnbull, formerly known as the psych artist Slim Twig. You've likely heard Twig as a songwriter and producer for both U.S. Girls and the related rock band Darlene Shrugg. He's a regular performer in the psych-jazz group The Cosmic Range as well.
The self-titled Badge Époque Ensemble record was released recently on Telephone Explosion.
Badge Époque Ensemble "Undressed In Solitude" Ft: James Baley (Official Video) - YouTube
Edmonton punk group Real Sickies have joined the Stomp Records family, with plans to release a new full-length on August 30. The group, which features ex-members of the late-90s/early-2000s street punk group Wednesday Night Heroes, last released Get Well Soon in 2018 through a whole host of labels.
Real Sickies are fronted by Ben Disaster of This Is Pop, a radio show on Edmonton's CJSR and related label.
I don't have any music to share from the deal yet, but here's a tune from the band's last record.
Fredericton's joyous and noisy art-punk trio Motherhood revealed two videos featuring their sing "Hard In The Paint" over the past week. First, there's an acoustic performance filmed on a cafe patio in Brighton sometime last year. You can stream that from DiscovrTV on Facebook. They followed that on Monday with a proper music video that turns the Dear Bongo single into a beach dance party.
The band's newest LP arrived this past March from the Forward Music Group. Motherhood features lead-vocalist/guitarist Brydon Crain, keyboardist Penelope Stevens, and drummer Adam Sipkema. Look for them on stage at the above-mentioned SappyFest this August.
Montreal indie outfit Navet Confit recently unveiled a weed-fueled concept album, ostensibly in celebration of the new legal reality in Canada. Appropriately dubbed Navet Confit présente le Justin Trudeau Kinda Party, the new record claims to be "le premier album canadien entièrement créé, enregistré, mixé, matricé et mis en marché sous l'influence du cannabis LÉGAL."
If you dig into the multi-paragraph liner notes that band-lead Jean-Philippe Fréchette wrote on Bandcamp, it's a little hard to discern the line between genuine enthusiasm for the subject matter and purposefully over-excessive parody, but that's part of what makes this so much fun. The record's lead track, "Justin Trudeau Kinda Party (thème)" is a raucous shout-along, with the dozen or so contributors laughing along in the studio as they provide backing vocals over blaring horns. It's pretty spectacular.
Fréchette even comments in the notes that, enthusiasm for the project aside, he's not actually all that into pot (although he concedes that without its effect, this record's likely going to fall flat).
"Comprenez-moi bien, je ne fais pas ici l’apologie de la consommation du cannabis. Je suis moi-même un non-consommateur convaincu et j’étais écœuré d’être gelé la moitié du temps pendant cette expérience.
Mais maudit que c’était drôle."
If you really want to stumble backwards into a lesson on Quebec drug slang, throw the Bandcamp text through the Google Translate meatgrinder. It took me a few confused reads before I that realized that "gelés" (frozen) was the equivalent of "high." The whole diatribe makes far more sense knowing that. The English Canadian school system has utterly failed to prepare me for any of this.
The record was recorded in November of 2018 at Studio Le Nid with around 23 listed collaborators. These include Lydia Champagne, Géraldine, Martine Groulx (Camaromance), Melanie Harel-Michon (Perdrix), Carl-Eric Hudon, Sheenah Ko (The Besnard Lakes), and Myëlle among the crowd.
Navet Confit présente le Justin Trudeau Kinda Party will arrive on June 28 from Lazy At Work (home of Galaxie, FUUDGE, Zouz). It'll serve as the 9th full-length from Fréchette, following the March-released Engagement, lutte, clan et respect. A launch show's slated for Canada Day at Le Salon Particulier in Montreal.
Rob Brake of London, Ontario power-pop act Isölation Party has a new three-piece garage-punk group running under the name Mononegatives. Claiming influence from Tuxedomoon and The Fall, the band made their debut with a three-song digital EP titled 5 Second Future. It backs two originals (the title track and "Garbage Blood") with a cover of Gary Numan's "You Are In My Vision" (from the final Tubeway Army record).
Joining Brake in Mononegatives are bassist Jon Lamont and drummer David Cereghini. Among the three members, you can find connective tissue with London-area bands like Dislecksick, The Syndrome, Dong Vegan, and Klazo. The group's first songs were engineered and mixed by Preston Lobzun at the Watershed Studio in a day, with plans for an upcoming cassette and full-length LP in the works.
The band will take the stage for the first time this coming Saturday at Call The Office for a show supporting Basketball Knees and Trophy Knife.
As a member of Isölation Party, Brake recently released a 10-song full-length on No Front Teeth Records titled Fiberoptic Holiday.
The experimental Saint John trio Usse have a new single online titled "Free Speech Apologist Technologies." The title track, slated to also appear on the band's next full-length, is backed by the b-side "Christian Right Object" (which itself is something of a remix of the band's "Hegemony" single from last summer). The group describes the new tune as "respectively channelling a continuum of the MC5, African Head Charge and Sun Ra, refracted through the Usse dub chamber." Furthermore:
"FSAT is concerned with mechanisms of authority and suppression, extolled under facile, outmoded Eurocentric conceptions of "rights". Taken together, our single begs the question of those in narrow argument over speech or religion, is your alignment against people's very lives and existence a more palatable "freedom" to you, than that of your alignment with white supremacists, trolls and terrorists?"
While everyone in Usse qualifies as a multi-instrumentalist with half a dozen noise-makers to their credit, the poor over-simplification is that Usse features guitarist/vocalist Jud Crandall, drummer Emily Saab, and bassist Stephanie Tierney. "Free Speech" finds them collaborating with Nathan Medema of eclectic the Gatineau-based electronic duo H. de Heutz and Damon Levine of Saint John funk & soul act The Groovemasters.
Look for "Free Speech Apologist Technologies" on the Flowers For S record when arrives later this month. Look for it on June 27 on the Extra Final label.
Aaron Goldstein's folk-punk project Espanola has a new full-length due on June 28. The 11-song record's self-titled and features the new single "A Lesson," along with the previously-released "Outside Saskatoon."
Goldstein, who sings lead, and plays guitar on the record, leads a studio band that features bassist Ryan Gullen and drummer Lucas Goetz. A handful of additional players are credited on the album as well, which was recorded primarily at Toronto's Baldwin Street Sound. Kenneth Roy Meehan mixed the new songs. In the premiere at Stitched Sound Aaron spoke about the recording process:
"I produced the song and the whole LP myself. The recording experience was quick and fun. I got the song written and knew I wanted to cut it quick. Jake Boyd had played a couple shows with me and I knew he was the right guy to nail the particularly quick drum parts I had in mind. Anna Ruddick is my old friend and oft-collaborator and just a deadly bass player. I booked them both to come in maybe a week after I had the thing written. My assistant Paul Phelan, who sits in the engineering chair often at Baldwin Street, cut the bed track for us. I layered a couple guitars and sang the lead and harmony vocals and it was all wrapped inside of a day. Kenny Meehan mixed it and really nailed the simple thing I was going for"
Chances are Aaron Goldstein's hiding in the liner notes of a few albums on your shelf. He's been frequently featured as a pedal steel player on recordings by Daniel Romano, Bry Webb, Weaves, and the Weather Station among others. A decade ago he played in the Hamilton-based Huron.
Dundas, Ontario maximalists The Dirty Nil released a b-side to 2018's Master Volume last week, titled "Astro Ever After." The band commented:
"'Astro Ever After' is by no means an out-take from Master Volume. It's an accompanying track that we chose to release after the bulk of the material simply because we can. Out of all the songs we recorded during the Master Volume sessions, this is certainly one of our favourites. For anyone with a space lust, and for those who appreciate the beauty and brevity of life, the majesty of the sky, and the sludge of stoner metal: this one's for you. Please friends, crank and enjoy.
Master Volume was the band's second LP of new material for Dine Alone Records following 2016's Higher Power.
I'm excited to announce that I'll once again be teaming up with Beau's Brewing Co. to co-sponsor the punk-focused Black Forest Stage at the Ontario craft brewery's annual Oktoberfest music festival and charitable fundraiser. Black Forest will be headlined this year by Winnipeg duo Mobina Galore and Montreal pop-punk group Pale Lips. The lineup includes bands like Burlington power-trio The Penske File, Montreal's charming Lost Love, skate-punks Bussieres, and farm-town heroes Audio Visceral. The event's main stage will feature the Vancouver indie rock supergroup The New Pornographers headlining the main stage on Friday, September 20 and Toronto hip-hop luminary Shad closing the event on Saturday night.
Oktoberfest, now in its 11th year, takes places in Beau's rural hometown of Vankleek Hill, Ontario, which sits about halfway between Ottawa and Montreal. Last year's event (despite a slight tornado-based setback on the opening night) was an absolute blast. It attracted over 17,000 attendees and raised $94,323 for local community groups. Since 2009 the event's brought in $711,212 in funding.
In particular, Black Forest will raise funds this year for For Pivots Sake, a nonprofit organization founded by the Ottawa-area Birling Skate Shop to engage and mentor youth in the Ottawa community. Since 2012 the organization has refurbished decks from parts donated by skaters in the community to give back to local youth. Confirmed charities supported by Oktoberfest as a whole include Hidden Harvest, Ottawa Riverkeeper, Healthy Eating for Better Learning, Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society, Hawkesbury Rotary, Big Brothers Big Sisters Cornwall, and the United Way Ottawa and Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry.
This year will bring in Bavarian-style food from local restaurants, 65 different beers to sample (with 14 brewed by Beau's and the local Halcyon Barrel House), "School of Bock" classroom sessions led by experts from the brewing world, and an array of games, activities, and competitions. Round-trip bus transportation for attendees will once again be available from Montreal, Ottawa, and Cornwall to the festival grounds. Ottawa festival-goers can also sign up for a United Way fundraiser bike ride to the grounds. Camping passes are available too. You can find tickets and more info at www.beausoktoberfest.ca.
I'll have more on some of the lesser-known weirdos playing Black Forest in the coming weeks, but in the meantime here's the absolute classic that blew my narrow punk rock mind back in 2002.
The New Pornographers - Letter From an Occupant - YouTube
I've been exploring the lineup for this year's SappyFest, and I'm digging the overblown swamp fuzz from Fredericton's Janowskii. There was a time in the early 2000s when I somehow ended up on the promo-list for the legendary Bomp! Records and the sound of Janowskii's 2018 self-titled LP instantly transports me back to that time and the strange little distortion bombs that kept arriving in my mailbox.
Janowskii came into being in 2016, ostensibly to keep guitarist Keith Hallett and drummer Drew Budovitch out of trouble. They later brought bassist Matt Legere into the fold. The band's debut was recorded live off the floor in a barn, giving an appropriate live feel to the band's sound, which I've seen listed as everything from "Delta doom" to "psych-boogie." However you label it, it's steeped in 60s garage and dirty, bluesy psych sounds. Very cool. Very loud.
I think I've been running a new song from Single Mothers' Drew Thomson every other week. The punk frontman's been showcasing his melodic side with his pop-rock solo vehicle The Drew Thomson Foundation, the latest of which is "L.A. Lately." Drew commented on the track:
"Tripping over substance abuse and retreating from responsibility isn’t a new theme, but it’s relatable. I spent half my life sweeping up the night before and avoiding what caused the mess, determined it was the place I was living, not the life I was living that was the true problem. It’s a fight most of us go through it sometime in our 20’s. This song is just about a punch in that fight, not the knock out or the beginning - but a snippet somewhere between yelling at the bouncer and hearing the sirens getting closer down the street."
Single Mothers last released Through A Wall in 2018. The Drew Thomson Foundation last released the EP Stay in 2018. All these recent new songs are expected on a full-length from Dine Alone due in the fall.
Guelph-based singer/songwriter Innes Wilson is readying a full-length for the summer. Look for The Heart That Holds This Up on August 16 through Out of Sound Records. The first single from the set will be titled "Of Love and Lost," and it's set to arrive with a video on June 21. That's still a few weeks out, but you can peak a teaser for the video below.
Wilson last released the Seaview EP in 2018, which featured music tracked at Construction & Destruction's Quarantine studio in Port Greville, Nova Scotia with backing from WHOOP-Szo. The new LP was tracked with Halifax-based producer Adam Warren (Glory Glory, Pretty Normal, The Drug Rugs).
Innes Wilson - Of love And Lost (Teaser Trailer) - YouTube
"We’ve played in Feel Alright before and decided to write some new songs together since Craig moved to Toronto. It ended up kind of sounding like ‘80s R.E.M. if they were a punk band or the Wipers with more jangle and Grass Widow harmonies for good measure. I think you might like it."
The band recently played their first show in Toronto, with the next scheduled for this Friday, June 14th in Mississauga at the Symbiotica space. Ask a punk.
Apologies for the delay, but it seems that the Canadian music world didn't heed my request to hit the pause button while I absconded to sunnier shores last week. Here's a shambling partial recap of some of the sights and sounds that surfaced in my absence. Some Party returns to its regular weekly schedule this Sunday. Thanks for sticking around.
Lost in the fog of May I entirely missed the lead-up to the brilliant debut full-length from Montreal art-punks Lungbutter, but Honey is out now and well worth your attention. The gloriously discordant record marks the trio's first release since 2014's Extractor EP. It arrives through Constellation Records (Godspeed You! Black Emperor).
Lungbutter features vocalist Ky Brooks, drummer Joni Sadler, and guitarist Kaity Zozula. The three have collectively served in numerous bands over the years, including some intense Montreal punk acts like Femmaggots, Harsh Reality, Caymans, Nennen, Wreckage With Stick, and Nag. Anchored in Brooks' provocative half-spoken lyrics, the band assembled 11 noisy, dynamic tracks for the new collection, which vary wildly from dissonant no wave to sludgy post-punk. The album's press release takes a good swing at capturing their sound:
"Lungbutter's minimal guitar-drums-voice configuration is rooted in a visceral, ascetic punk idiom, refracted variously by free-noise, sludge rock and slowcore. Zozula marshals chaotic motifs of full-spectrum distorto-guitar, occupying a huge tonal space from low-end bass to paint-peeling treble, redolent of blown-out Melvins/Flipper fuzz and equally indebted to the frenetic dissonance of Keiji Haino or Merzbow (as in the thrilling passages of warped noise on 'Solar' or 'Veneer'). Song structures coalesce around guitar riffs of shifting tempos and the backbone of Sadler's muscular, deliberate drums, while Brooks' voice – at once mantric and declarative – deconstructs one brilliant lyrical theme after another, dancing along the knife-edge of dispassionate acerbic examination and wide-eyed cathartic revelation."
Toronto music writer Michael Rancic's recent interview with the band for Bandcamp Daily sheds some light into the gap between releases and Lungbutter's approach to the studio.
Honey was recorded and mixed by Radwan Ghazi Moumneh at Hotel2Tango in Montreal, with Harris Newman at Greymarket mastering.
Also in my absence, Toronto's playfully weird punk outfit Hugh Man shared a new EP under the title Hughs Man is it Anyway?. The group recorded this past April with Feel Alright 's Craig Fahner. The 6-song set boasts such future classics of low-fi snark as "Sad Boy," "Huge Man," and "Kratom Pride (In the Name of Love)." The new songs follow up the band's summer 2018 demos, Are We Dan, Sir?.
Hugh Man will publically launch the new tunes with a joint release show on July 6 at Toronto's Monarch Tavern. That gig will also debut new releases from both the frantic Toronto punks WLMRT (following up their 2018 Pleasance EP Lube 2) and Bria Salmena's Sigil. The latter's a side-project of FRIGS vocalist, featuring Salmena supported by members of Deliluh and Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. Sigil was last active a few years ago when that same backing personnel were all playing together as members of the dark sludge-punk act HSY.
There's a special guest to be announced the day of the show as well ("very special," in fact). Your guess is as good as mine. All I know is it isn't me, or at least nobody's told me yet.
The low-fi Toronto-based PAX has a pair of new songs online, collected under the title Eat Me. The laid-back tracks, titled "Holy Water" and "Clingfilm," showcase a slow-burning slacker rock vibe (particularly the latter). They follow PAX's recent single release from March, titled "Sink."
PAX was initially the bedroom recording project of Madeline Link (one-half of the jangle-pop duo Triples). Upon the recent cassette release of her full-length Ouch (on Art of the Uncarved Block), PAX grew to become a full live band. These new tracks feature drummer Shane Hooper, bassist Noah O'Neil, and guitarist Dexter Nash, with Link responsible for vocals and everything else you can hear.
Halifax-bred indie rock act Mauno is back in action, with a new full-length scheduled for an August 2 release titled Really Well. The pensive first single from the album, "Really Really," arrived alongside a video by Max Taeuschel (Pottery) that takes the band's core songwriting duo to the gym. Tin Angel Records, the group's UK home, had this to say about the song:
"Written by Eliza Niemi before she moved to Germany two summers ago, 'Really Really' is about the fear of losing touch with friends and family who define your identity, and the realisation that geographical distance doesn't have to result in that.
The song explores exhaustion and perseverance when faced with a seemingly endless and inconsequential task. Mauno's very real and intensive exercise serves as a fitting way to represent this – placing the band in an arduous video shoot that pushed them to their physical limit. The accompanying visuals ultimately posits that sometimes, when engaging in an absurd and terrible cycle, it's best to simply stop."
The new record finds Niemi and co-vocalist Nick Everett splitting the songwriting duties across 11 tracks. Niemi plays bass and keyboard on the album, with Everett on guitar and keys as well. Mauno also features guitarist Scott Bourdreau and drummer Adam White (not me). Chad VanGaalen tracked the record at his Yoko Ono studio.
Mauno last released Tuning on Idée Fixe and Tin Angel in 2017.
Toronto's experimental prog-pop trio Absolutely Free recently shared the psychedelic title track to their upcoming Idée Fixe EP Geneva Freeport. The group waxed philosophical on the song's meaning in a recent statement:
"Through fantasy and the starkest of realities, this song brings to question the process in which economic value is prescribed to cultural artifacts, how that value is exploited through storing them in high security storage facilities (like the Geneva Freeport) to avoid paying taxes, and how it all seems so antithetical to why most artists create their work in the first place."
The song follows the earlier release of "Currency," which featured Meg Remy of U.S. Girls on lead vocals. The record will also feature "The Endless Scroll." Clocking in at 9 minutes, that track features instrumentation from Carl Didur of the prolific TO psych duo Zacht Automaat.
My week away saw two fresh cuts from the upcoming Dumb full-length Club Nites. The Vancouver slacker-punk quartet released the audio for the track "Concrete Jungle" along with a video for the curiously-named album-closing "CBC Radio 3."
The former premiered through Seattle's KEXP, with the band floridly commenting (with tongue firmly in cheek):
"Content Jungle is a yell through the cracks in TV's hallowed total flow, about being immersed in being talked to but not spoken to... The pain... O the pain... But O the rigidity in environs the faith in seasons and acquaintances not found irl.
The static universe... There for anyone to bob and flow upon and forge an individuality otherwise precluded by one's social anxiety WHICH is only further entrenched by endless tv watching and saturation with bit form paradigms of humanity. Also it's a jungle"
Meanwhile, the laid-back "Radio 3," named after the one-time online music magazine and indie-CanCon podcast, premiered at Post-Trash.
Dumb recorded Club Nites in their Vancouver studio this past winter, less than a year since their last LP, Seeing Green. Mikey Young of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control mastered the album. The new record arrives this Friday, June 7, from Mint Records.
The group's slated to join their Mint-brethren Kiwi Jr. at a big Canada Day gig in Toronto next month. They'll play the Baby G with additional support from Mark Grundy's Quaker Parents. Tough Age guitarist/vocalist Jarrett Samson is slated to DJ the show.
Arctic metal group Northern Haze recently shared a video for "Qainna," a song from their recent full-length Siqinnaarut (Return of the Sun). The clip was filmed Igloolik by the band's Aakuluk Music label-mate Josh Qaumariaq (of The Trade-Offs). The band's performing in head-to-toe caribou in the live footage, which might be a first (although when you break it down, most Northern Haze facts qualify as "firsts").
Siqinnaarut, the band's second record, was released last November, an astonishing 33 years after their debut. Northern Haze currently features original members Naisana Qamaniq, James Ungalaq, and John Inooya, with Derek Aqqiaruq and Allan Kangok. They recorded in January of 2018 in Iqaluit with producer Michael Wojewoda (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Rheostatics).
A third single from the Ottawa synth-pop duo Surrender arrived last week. The cinematic "A Lifetime Away," like "Hurt No More" and "Hold On" before it, is awash in 80s influence, with producer Alex Gamble (PUP, Fucked Up) playing a significant role in crafting the band's vibrant throwback sound.
Surrender arrived unexpectedly earlier this year from the ashes of the heretic-punk group Crusades, featuring Dave Williams and Skottie Lobotomy. The pair were also members of the high-fantasy metal trio Black Tower). The duo tracked an LP's worth of songs in their respective home studios over the past year, Gamble producing and mixing the new music at The Hive in Toronto.
Kerrang recently premiered the video for "A Little More Time," the latest single from pop-rock act The Drew Thomson Foundation. Ryan Brough directed the piece, which follows Thomson around Hamilton. Drew commented on the approach:
"We took a few steps in my shoes, watched my life like a bag in the wind trying to stay off the ground, keep the demons at bay for a little more time."
Thomson, better known as the principle behind punk group Single Mothers, has been trickling out new material for the past few months in the lead-up to a fall full-length on Dine Alone.
Single Mothers last released Through A Wall in 2018. The Drew Thomson Foundation last released the EP Stay in 2018.
The Drew Thomson Foundation - A Little More Time (Official Video) - YouTube
Ontario post-hardcore heroes Alexisonfire continue their audio comeback with a second new song. "Complicit" follows in the wake of their comeback single "Familiar Drugs," and you can find it wherever you consume your music (and judging from the play counts at YouTube and elsewhere, absolutely nobody needs me to remind them of this — humour me, I'm playing the Niagara card).
In a statement frontman George Pettit commented:
"'Complicit' is about recognizing the unfair advantages that we are afforded as white, heterosexual males. It's about rejecting regressionist ideas of racism, misogyny and hetero supremacy. It's about accepting that there is no freedom and no future in a world that is not inclusive."
Dine Alone has the new single available as a 7" with an etched b-side. The band's new music is their first since 2010's * Dog's Blood* EP and 2009's Old Crows / Young Cardinals full-length.
Dunville, Ontario indie rock quartet Don Vail have a new full-length available titled On The Wire, a 13 song set that's their first since 2016's Fades.
Don Vail's been around for almost a decade as the solo recording vehicle of Mitch Bowden, with much of his work produced through his Mechanical Noise studio. This record sees the project expanded to a four-piece band featuring drummer Victor Malang, guitarist Matthew Fleming, and keyboardist/vocalist Kori Pop. The new record was partly tracked in Ireland at Grouse Lounge Studios.
In a Stage Right Secrets premiere for the video showcasing the title track, Bowden commented on how the song came together and the band's experience recording abroad:
"It's hard to say what the initial inspiration for it was, but I remember the general structure coming together quickly (like, in one sitting), which is rare for us. I had a cheap old guitar in an oddball tuning and just kind hammered out 3 parts that happened to work well together. The lyrics came later, after a lengthy swim through the sewer of popular culture. The song, like the rest of the record, was self-produced. We took the demo session to Ireland where we re-tracked the drums and bass at Grouse Lodge with Cameron Craig. The two weeks we spent there felt like a dream. Grouse Lodge is this magical place with a studio and multiple living areas in these beautiful 300-year-old stone buildings surrounded by rolling green hills. We met so many amazing people there and I still have dreams about that place all the time."
Toronto pop-punk quartet Bad Buzz has spent the past few months trickling songs out through my old haunt at Punknews.org. At long last they've completed the set, arriving at their new EP Try Harder. The 5-song collection was recorded live off the floor at Hamilton's Boxcar Sound with Matt Gauthier producing. You can hear the full artifact below and look for the band supporting the material on the road in Ontario this summer.
While Destroyer, the new record from Vancouver psych-rockers Black Mountain, is in everyone's hands at this point, I couldn't let their recent video for "Licensed to Drive" go unmentioned. The clip's nostalgic trip, throwing back to the Atari era and perfectly capturing the absurdly epic, electrically-charged 80s vibe this era of the band's been exploring. Director Zev Deans commented:
"'Licensed to Drive' is a deep dive into the soul of a late 1970s living room, an exploration of the deep psychedelic fantasy at the core of the birth of the videogame."
Bandleader Stephen McBean previously spoke to the song itself, calling it "a riff in A..
The first time I saw Toronto glam-pop artist Nyssa play she was opening for Fucked Up at the Horseshoe. It mattered little that her set fell between two hardcore bands, or that she was, in stark contrast to their packed lineups, performing with little else than a small synth and her vocals. Nyssa seems to commands attention by sheer force of will.
The artist launched a new single last week titled "Hey Jackie," a track showing off a newfound folk-rock sensibility. That sound marks something of an evolution from the dayglo electronic elements that fueled 2018's Champion of Love EP. It's a few added layers of organic depth that wonderfully complement Nyssa's always-rich vocal delivery. This track feels awfully complete, for lack of a better term. It has the heft and drive that's often missing from DIY-producer-driven bedroom pop.
In a statement posted to Facebook Nyssa comments that "Hey Jackie" is a song about "being free and being seen... about breaking the small rules to break the big rules...about anger and hope and resilience." In part:
"I believe in the transformative power of fiction. I believe that culture shifts society and society can create change. When women can see themselves as free, as agents of their own destiny, forging ahead on their own paths, they can step into that role. I wrote 'Hey Jackie' as an anthem of female freedom - as a means of shifting the narrative. I always intended it to be timely, because I felt it was telling a tale hitherto undertold - especially in song. There are so many free men and so few free women stalking the lonely highways of our collective consciousness. The narrator of 'Jackie' is a free woman. She has suffered and she’s running away, but she is free."
The new single arrives alongside a video credited to director Ron Hollywood. You can check it out below.
Toronto noise-punk trio METZ will release a b-sides and rarities collection on July 12 through Sub Pop Records. Titled Automat, the set will compile non-album tracks from 2009 to the present, including material that's been out of print for several years.
Guitarist Alex Edkins said in a statement:
"The idea to release Automat came after realizing our early 7-inch singles were being sold online for upwards of $60 bucks a pop. We wanted to make those songs available and affordable to anyone who might want them in the physical format. What started as reissuing a couple of 45s, quickly morphed into an entire LP, compiling rarities, demos and alternate takes from over the years."
The songs comprising Automat have been remastered by Matthew Barnhart of the Chicago Mastering Service. Vinyl copies of the album, at least for now, will come with a bonus 45 featuring METZ covering songs by Sparklehorse, the Urinals and Gary Numan.
A video for the b-side "Pure Auto," animated by Montreal's James Kerr (aka Scorpion Dagger) went live with the announcement. You can find it below. It claims to be "an exact, animated representation of METZ in their rehearsal space."
METZ last released the Steve Albini engineered studio album Strange Peace.
Vancouver punks Necking premiered another new track last week, sharing the song "Still Exist" via The Grey Estates. Speaking to the blog, drummer and lyricist Melissa Kuipers commented:
"After leaving a shitty relationship, I felt really weird being alone. So, I adopted this as a neurotic catchphrase to repeat to myself whenever I felt like I was disappearing. The song is a reminder that even when all you have the strength to do is really regular stuff, like calling your mom or getting to work on time, you’re still a real person and you still exist."
The song will appear on Cut Your Teeth, due on July 5 from Mint Records.
Necking features vocalist Hannah Kay, bassist Sonya Rez, guitarist Nada Hayek, and the drummer Melissa Kuipers. Cut Your Teeth will be Necking's first follow up to their well-received 2017 cassette EP Meditation Tape. The band recorded these new tracks with producer Jesse Gander (Needles//Pins, Japandroids, White Lung).
From the same social circle (and sharing a bassist), Vancouver shoegaze/punk combo Kamikaze Nurse revealed more details on their upcoming LP last week. The band's 10-song debut will be titled Bucky Fleur and is due on May 31. A limited cassette release is due from Agony Klub. The four-piece recorded with Jordan Koop (Dumb, The Courtneys) at The Noise Floor.
Kamikaze Nurse features vocalist/guitarist KC Wei (hazy, Late Spring), drummer John Brennan, bassist Sonya Kim (see the above news from Necking), and guitarist/vocalist Ethan Reyes.
A second preview single from the record, the urgent and haunting "Dead Meat," can be streamed now at Bandcamp.
The Beneath The Broadcast project aims to document sights and sounds created by musicians based in the Yukon territory. The effort brought together artists from an array of genres, from folk to soul, from hip-hop to alt-rock, to play unique, intimate sets in the cavernous basement of the CBC North headquarters. Local acts taking part included Jona Barr, The Sputnik Experiment, Paris Pick, Cryptozoologists, Calla Kinglit, LOCAL BOY, Soda Pony, Groan Boy, and a curiously unorthodox duo dubbed The Sweeties.
Hailing from Whitehorse, The Sweeties are one of those bands that, by the singleminded audacity of their musical output, are fully permitted to invent their own genre. In this case, it's sacred harp doom rock. The group plucks songs from The Sacred Harp songbook, a tome from 1844 that collects country parlour tunes and traditional spirituals. These are old songs, compiled in New England by Protestant Christians and popularized in the American south as part of the revival movement over a century ago.
The Sweeties take this unlikely source material use it to craft one hell of a racket. They flesh out the a cappella bones of these songs with blisteringly heavy guitar riffs, thundering caveman drums, and some impassioned wailing of a sort you'd never quite hear in those old church halls. They compound this warped anachronism with some vintage country stage dress straight from the (19)70s.
The Sweeties is the newest musical project from the Patrick Hamilton and Fiona McTaggart. The couple's been playing together for over a decade, with this latest venture stemming from their shared love of old-time bluegrass (and a mischievous sense of rock'n'roll abandon). Here they are, deep the basement of CBC North, with "Antioch":
The Sweeties - Antioch (Beneath The Broadcast) - YouTube
Angsty Whitehorse three-piece rock band Cryptozoologists also took part in the Beneath The Broadcast project. The band premiered their contribution to the film over at Dominionated last week. Their tightly-would, thoroughly compelling track, titled "Fascism," was profiled on by the Canadian music blog's Rob Dickson. He broke down the literary references packed into the song:
"In the lyrics, McCann-Armitage references the essay A Time for Refusal by Teju Cole, warning that bewilderment can lead to complacency in a time marked by rising populism, and politics of fear. McCann-Armitage and Cole each make use of the allegory found in Albrecht Dürer’s 'The Rhinoceros' where a group of people in a town continue to dismiss encounters with rhinos charging through the streets until they eventually begin to turn into rhinos themselves. When asked about the origins of the song, McCann-Armitage explained that it is sung by a naive narrator who is just realizing the urgency for and difficulty of real resistance: being clear and uncompromising against the politics of hate."
Cryptozoologists feature vocalist/guitarist Zach McCann-Armitage, bassist Patrick Hamilton, and drummer Christine Shaw.
Cryptozoologists - Fascism (Beneath the Broadcast) - YouTube
Ottawa party punk outfit New Swears shared a few new songs last week, streaming both "Wheels" and "Concrete Cowboy" from their upcoming full-length Night Mirror. The band premiered the video for the latter over at Atwood Magazine. The laid-back Americana-influenced track came with a backstory, recalling how the band lost their drummer after a show in Hamburg. As Stoney tells it:
"At one point after the show we found some permanent markers and we were all drawing on each other’s bodies, doing each other’s makeup and making questionable choices. The boys then headed back to the house we were crashing at but I decided to stick around with the locals. The Germans are quite good at the drinking. This is when everything goes black and the next 3 hours of my memory are completely lost. Once I snapped back into it I am completely alone on the streets of Hamburg, phone dead, nothing on me but two packs of cigarettes and 2 lighters..."
You can read the full account at Atwood. Night Mirror arrives on June 13 from Dine Alone Records, following up 2017's and the Magic of Horses.
I should note that the band recently addressed a controversy in the Ottawa music community stemming from the DIY music venue they once ran (the Fun Boy Club House, which shut down in 2013). The band spoke to the unspecified concerns in a statement at Facebook.
Vancouver punk act Jock Tears have a new video online for the song "Not Yr Sweetheart." The video features live footage shot at a March show in Olympia, WA for a VHS public access program titled Your Daily Hour with Me. Drummer Dustin Bromley commented to Exclaim:
"We were so excited to play Le Voyeur in Olympia with Calvin Johnson(!!) and our tourmates Apollo Ghosts, but we didn't realize that it was starting so early! We had spent the day wearing cowboy hats in the promoter, Lois' sunny backyard listening to stories of Olympia in the early '90s. We casually loaded into the venue, and Lois nudged me saying, "Ok, let's rip it!" Olympia doesn't mess around! This video takes place 2 minutes later."
The track appears on Bad Boys, the band's recent debut full-length on Inky Records. The group recorded in Montreal at Value Sound with Faith Healer's Renny Wilson. Jock Tears features vocalist Lauren Ray, former Tough Age bassist Lauren Smith, guitarist Spencer Hargreaves (Redrick Sultan), and Brutal Poodle drummer Dustin Bromley.
jock tears - Not Yr Sweetheart (Official Video) - YouTube
My fellow-Niagara native Graham Isador has a fantastic feature up at Vice with Drew Thomson of the acerbic punk act Single Mothers and the decidedly more friendly solo venture The Drew Thomson Foundation. Their chat addresses sobriety, life as an artist living outside Toronto, and the popular rise of bands from the southern Ontario punk scene (your Nils, PUPs, Pkews, and what have you).
The feature also debuted a new song due for Thomson's upcoming debut LP as the Foundation. It's an instantly likeable pop-rock tune titled "A Little More Time."
Single Mothers last released Through A Wall in 2018. The Foundation will soon follow up last year's EP Stay with a release on Dine Alone Records.
Andrew Neville of the Halifax post-punk act Moon has a new track online titled "Something Happened." It follows a slate of new music quietly released in the past few months, including the five-song EP Pure Comfort and the two song Ideal Starter Home single.
Moon last released the Paradise String EP in early 2017.
Low-fi Ottawa indie rock act Empty Nesters, the solo studio project of Eric Liao, has a new song online. You can check the chill, laid-back "Hippie Drip" over at Bandcamp. The song follows the decidedly louder Tired and Bored, the project's fifth EP, from this past February.
That's enough for this week, and it'll have to hold you over for at least one more. Some Party's taking a rare week off while my partner and I escape to an unspecified island to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary. If I see Lee "Scratch" Perry out and about, I'll be sure to give him your regards.
Last week Vancouver's Robert Ondzik announced his second full length as his suave lounge-pop alter-ego, Mr. Merlot. The record features several collaborators from Vancouver's heavily cross-pollinated indie-pop and punk worlds, principally Jay Arner, who serves as a producer and co-writer on the record. The album also features appearances by Destroyer guitarist Nicolas Bragg, Jessica Delisle of Energy Slime (and the Retail Nightmares podcast), Adrienne Labelle from Garbage Dreams and Supermoon, Role Mach's Rich Sexton, Thom Lougheed of Milk/Watermelon, and Mr. Tommy Tone himself, Tom Whalen. Titled City Sex Vol. 2, the LP is due on June 14. It was tracked at Arner's Tonehenge studio.
In a statement, Ondzik commented on the six-song record, which follows up on 2017's Vol. 1:
"City Sex is a term I came up with to describe the sexuality of the city dweller, which tends to be more progressive than the rural and often has less barriers. Sadly, men are still afraid of love because it demands they show weakness, vulnerability, and tenderness, all things they're terrified of. Women are afraid of love because men can kill them, refuse to reveal their compassion, or deal with their ego. Love is treated like a transaction, and with that, it loses its real power to change and influence."
With the announcement came the new track "Love's Going to Get You Again." It features guest solos by both Lougheed and Bragg. In a further comment Ondzik addressed the song's apparent Joy Division callback head-on:
"'Love's Going to Get You Again' is sort of a response to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart.' Love is more powerful than we give it credit for and its important to remember that if you close your heart off, you'll never be nourished nor will love find you as the song goes. Love is a risk that only rewards bravery and stupidity, it doesn't wait, it demands you risk yourself in order to fully experience its pleasures and joys. I don't believe it tears you apart, pain is a necessary component of love and loving and provides the difference that ultimately defines the goodness of love. I wrote this song specifically for those who maybe need a reminder. Maybe it'll take your whole life to find what you are looking for in someone, maybe it happened yesterday, but it will find you if you are searching. Maybe that's too cosmic for most people but I feel like you have to suspend your disbelief and power through your doubts in order to reach a greater truth."
Petra Glynt has a new video online for the track "New Growth," one of the highlights the art-punk/electropop artist's LP. The Montreal-based musician spoke to Exclaim about how she found inspiration for the song through the #MeToo movement:
"While there is still no real protocol for how to address instances of sexual harassment and assault, there is so much victory in how fellow non-men strengthened their support systems as a result of #metoo. It's monumental. I was able to take a closer look at my past experiences with men and identify how many had been unacceptable; starting with my first kiss, right up until very recently in my life... Awakening to that knowledge really moved something inside of me. It made me sick to my stomach, but it also made me feel alive and ready to dismantle the patriarchy."
The Paz Ramirez-directed video reinterprets a scene from David Lynch's 1990 film Wild at Heart with that sentiment brought to the fore. You can check it out below.
"New Growth" appears on the Pleasence Records released 2018 album My Flag Is A Burning Rag Of Love. It features 13 songs written, performed, and self-produced by Glynt. Alice Wilder (M.I.A., Austra) mixed the album.
Petra Glynt- New Growth (Official Video) - YouTube
Red Deer, Alberta skate-punk act Trashed Ambulance has a new EP on the way this June. Titled Shorthanded, it's set to arrive on the 7th via Thousand Islands Records as both a digital download and limited run of 100 tapes. The label announced the release while sharing the speedy rocker "Buy In." You can check it out below.
Trashed Ambulance last released the LP Flashes of Competence in 2018.
Thousand Islands also recently announced the signing of Montreal's Brand New Lungs. That melodic punk band's debut LP, Like Wildfire, will arrive on the label on June 14. Expect music from it to preview some time soon.
Vancouver's synth-happy power-pop trio Autogramm has a new Justin Gradin-directed video online for their single "Cool Kids Radio." It pairs the wistful track with a retro slasher horror theme (and, critically, BBQ tong handclaps). The song appears on the band's recent full-length What R U Waiting 4?, which arrived last fall on Nevado Music.
Autogramm features Jiffy Marx of Hard Drugs and Blood Meridian on vocals, guitar, and synth,
CC Voltage of Dysnea Boys, Loyalties, Spitfires, and The Black Halos on bass, and The Silo, previously of Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, and Destroyer, on drums.
" [Cool Kids Radio was] originally written in Berlin with Rich Jones (Michael Monroe, Loyalties, YoYo's, Ginger Wildheart etc.). It's kind of tongue in cheek, being well aware that we are neither kids nor cool. We took the song and changed it to sound more '80s and part of the Autogramm sound, adding keys and harmonies. The video is about a secret murderer loose in the forest around a camp site. It's supposed to be a throwback to those cheesy '80s campsite horror movies."
Speaking of Black Mountain, the popular Vancouver psych-rock group recently posted a third track from their upcoming album Destroyer. In a statement bandleader Stephen McBean shared a few observations on "Licensed To Drive," stating:
"A riff in A flat and some Neu / Nugent / Newman Motorik hustle. Was the vacation better than the journey or did the drive etch itself into your soul? I'd like to thank the DMV for the inspiration."
The new song follows the previously shared album cuts "Boogie Lover" and "Future Shade." All three will be part of the band's upcoming 8-song LP, which arrives on May 24 from Dine Alone and Jagjaguwar. It follows their 2016 full-length IV.
Destroyer features McBean and longtime player Jeremy Schmidt with new collaborators Rachel Fannan (Sleepy Sun) and Adam Bulgasem (Dommengang, Soft Kill). Returning guests this time out include Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips), Kid Millions (Oneida), and John Congleton (producer for St. Vincent, Cloud Nothings).
Black Mountain - Licensed To Drive (Official Audio) - YouTube
The Paris, Ontario music and arts festival Strangewaves recently announced the first slate of their 2019 lineup. Now in its fifth year and carrying the subtitle "Mother Nature," this year's event will once again bring together a wildly eclectic international slate of artists from a host of underground genres. Look for Chicago sound experimentalist Matana Roberts, Detroit's Wolf Eyes, footwork pioneer RP Boo, Chicago DJ Jana Rush, Turkish psych act Altın Gün, and the duo of Bill Nace and Samara Lubelski to make the trip from their respective corners of the world. Canadian acts joining the fray include Toronto psych-dance trio DOOMSQUAD, singer/songwriter Isla Craig, Montreal electronic act Pascale Project, and more. Strangewaves runs from July 19 through the 21st at the Paris Fairgrounds.
In the lead-up to Dark Blue, the new record from Constantines guitarist Steven Lambke, the singer/songwriter played a few songs live at the office of Toronto PR firm Pigeon Row. Here's another clip from those January sessions, with Lambke performing the song "Fireworks" backed by Daniel Romano on guitar and Roddy Carlyle on bass.
Lambke's latest record follows 2015's Days of Heaven, his first work under his name following several years recording as Baby Eagle. Late last year he appeared on the Revolution C split EP with Construction & Destruction. Dark Blue was released through You've Changed Records.
The first bands have been announced for this year's SappyFest, the annual Sackville, New Brunswick music festival that's become something of a pilgrimage for the Canadian indie music world. This year's event takes place from August 2 to 4, and like recent years was curated by the above-mentioned Steven Lambke. The first announcement confirms appearances by Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Tamara Lindeman's singer/songwriter vehicle The Weather Station, and rising Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty. They'll be joined by the likes of the reunited Vancouver indie-rock heroes Apollo Ghosts, the wild Hull punk-jazz group FET. NAT, Fredericton's ebullient art rock group Motherhood, low-fi Toronto art-punk group Deliluh, Halifax synth duo JOYFULTALK, Quebec psych-rocker Julie Aubé, and the cerebral Halifax indie-rock act Mauno. Experimental Toronto pop group Tryal will play, with vocalist Alex Samaras also organizing a group singing workshop. On the visual side of things, attendees can look forward to Short&Sweet, a collection of under-three-minute performances a number of artists, curated by the contemporary dancer Katie Ewald.
Not to overtly play favourites, but I suspect I'll be talking about Sappy a fair bit in the coming weeks. We were so taken last year that we booked our travel for this year's event months ago, long before we had an idea who'd be playing. All the beautiful things you've heard about the communal, celebratory nature of this little festival and the town that hosts it are pretty much accurate.
Haviah Mighty - Blame (Official Music Video) - YouTube
Speaking of the Rez Kids, the Vancouver-based duo just released their landmark new album Trapline. On the day the record dropped they shared a new video for the track "Boujee Natives." The band had this to say about the song in a statement:
"When you think of boujee, you think of an elite class of people with an appetite for luxury and high-end materials. When we say 'Boujee Natives' we are letting you know our wealth lies in our culture, traditions, and everything Mother Earth provides for us. Boujee Natives stems from our belief that everyone is an artist in one way shape or form and that we were all created to create but it's up to us as individuals to find out what that is for ourselves. We wanted to showcase all the badass First Nations artists that have welcomed us into their worlds as we were coming into ourselves and developing our artistry into what it is today. We are the creators, we are inspired natives, not native inspired, and we like to rock our shit, we dem Boujee Natives."
Snotty Nose Rez Kids are a hip-hop duo featuring Darren' Young D' Metz and Quinton' Yung Trybez' Nyce. Trapline follows up on the band's Polaris-shortlisted LP The Average Savage.
Vancouver mixed-media collective Crack Cloud has a new video online showcasing the next phase in the group's eclectic sound. In shedding some of the wiry post-punk and Krautrock styles that flavoured their early material, "The Next Fix" finds the band joyfully infusing their art-punk with a loose and funky mix of hip-hop and world music influences. Speaking to The Fader the group commented that the song was written "to remember the people we’ve lost to suicide and drug overdose," representing the first entry in a series they're calling the Pain Olympics.
While we throw around "collective" at times to denote a band with fluid membership and less traditional modes of operation, Crack Cloud fits the bill better than most. The group reiterated its mission in that same statement:
"Modeled around harm reduction philosophy, we operate as a rehabilitative outlet for a revolving cast of artists based out of the West Coast and abroad. By providing asylum for the disenfranchised, we advocate for a culture of healing and greater intersectional connectivity."
The group shares a few members with N0V3L, the similarly high-concept Victoria post-punk group who recently released an EP on Flemish Eye. Last year Deranged Records collected the first few Crack Cloud EPs as a single 12" vinyl release. "The Next Fix" is the band's first major new media release since then.
Last week Toronto's experimental prog-pop act Absolutely Free announced the Geneva Freeport EP, set for a June 20 release as a 12" on Idée Fixe. The lead single from the three-song set is "Currency," a track that features Meg Remy of U.S. Girls singing lead. If you were a fan of Remy's acclaimed LP In a Poem Unlimited, you'll find a similar vein of cosmic disco underscoring her words here. From the press release:
"'Currency' is a nervy post-punk shuffle that gradually blossoms into a dense cosmic house track featuring Meg Remy of U.S. Girls on lead vocals. The lyrics contemplate how social frameworks like gender performance are built, and finds Absolutely Free reckoning with privilege and how to best use their social capital."
The record will also feature a title track and the nine-minute closer "The Endless Scroll." That tune features instrumentation from Carl Didur of the prolific TO psych duo Zacht Automaat.
Absolutely Free primarily recorded this material with Steve Clarkson at Palace Sound, tracking additional parts with Chris Sandes at Palace and independently at Studio 5/4. Geneva Freeport was mixed by experimental music luminary Sandro Perri and marks the band's first release since their Polaris nominated debut.
A video for "Currency," directed by Rachelle Alana Walker, debuted alongside the announcement.
Absolutely Free - Currency (Extended Mix) Featuring U.S. Girls - Official Video - YouTube
The first track shared from the set's titled "Undressed in Solitude." It's an 11-minute epic that features guest vocals from the R&B artist James Baley. The press release amusingly (and accurately) calls it "an improbable collision between psych-era Stevie Wonder and the whimsically dark Fantastic Planet score." Turnbull commented:
"[the song] explores the notion of personhood as a daily application. What remains if misplaced or misapplied? How are we altered in sleep? Where is the singer if he is silent for most of a song? If an identity is misplaced, the only respite may be a rhythm to follow."
Twig's served as a songwriter and producer for both U.S. Girls and the related rock band Darlene Shrugg. He's a regular performer in the psych-jazz group The Cosmic Range.
Badge Époque Ensemble - Undressed In Solitude (ft James Baley) - SoundCloud (651 secs long, 1157 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Last Friday I premiered a video for "Sex," the closing track from The Finch Flyer, the new LP from Toronto folk-rock outfit Chladny. It's a slack-rocker of a song that reminds me quite a bit of that excellent first Ladyhawk record. Evan Chladny's breathy vocals float over some comfortingly lazy opening licks, crafting this cool Sunday morning vibe that I really dig.
Evan broke down the video's narrative for me:
"Watch Tobias Lopez navigate two very different relationships - a new friend and an imaginary one. Just as he's getting comfortable, his new friend disappears mysteriously. His imaginary friend (Chladny, as a dancing spaceman) guides him on a quest to find her.
The Finch Flyer is aiming to make you laugh and cry in equal parts. It's like having a new experience with a very old friend. You can probably find a couple feelings you forgot about in this one."
The Finch Flyer draws together members from some of the city's weirdest and wildest groups. On the record you'll find contributors who've played with the no-wave chameleons Luge, the low-fi roots rockers of Hobby, and the buzzing dream-pop act Tallies, not to mention taking part in some thrilling hyphen-punk records from Westelaken and WLMRT. "Scheduling practices can be rough," Evan Chladny admitted when summing up his collaborators' number of active side-gigs, "but they're making it work."
Restless Hamilton-based "existential disco" weirdo Man Made Hill has a new 19-song record out, his 21st release by my count. Titled Relaxed Fit, the largely instrumental new LP follows last year's Pleasence-released cassette Fingertip. It largely lives up to the promise of its title (there's little of Hill's usual howling mania to be found here). You can, however, witness a truly bizarre video for the single "Find a Freak," complete with "VHS sludge enhancement," in a clip below. It's credited to Danny Nickel and Randy Gagne.
This record collects material recorded at several studios between 2014 and 2019. It was mixed and mastered from tape by Jackson Darby at Personal Touch earlier this year.
Toronto art-punk group Deliluh reached maximum media saturation last week. They accompanied the release of their new EP Oath Of Intent with a video for the title track by Johnny de Courcy. Band lead Kyle Knapp commented that it was shot along the Humber River and the shores of Lake Ontario to "document the spring thaw, and capture the movement of nature in its dramatic state of transition." The song was improvised by the band live and recorded from the floor of the Toronto legion hall The Owls Club.
Oath of Intent was released last week on Telephone Explosion in North America (with Tin Angel handling the worldwide release). It's a 5-track set — an EP's worth of new music pressed as a 12" LP.
Deliluh - Oath Of Intent (Official Video) - YouTube
Deliluh also took a central role in a new documentary short by directors Colin Medley and Maria Todorov-Topouzov titled Somewhere Else. The feature presents an optimistic view of the changing Toronto live music landscape, with small bands embracing the challenge of booking shows in the wake of the decline of traditional music venues in the city. The community that's formed around the above-mentioned Owls Club gets the spotlight, and you'll find quite a few Some Party-regular artists peppered among the footage.
Last week Mint Records shared the second single from the upcoming Dumb full-length Club Nites. "Beef Hits" will appear on the slacker-punk outfit's 14-song record when it arrives on June 7, it features a sax solo from Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Ridley Bishop.
Dumb self-produced Club Nites, recording in their Vancouver studio over the first few months of the year. Mikey Young of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control mastered the album.
Toronto's low-fi rock duo Low Sun may be off touring Europe, but they're still trickling out previews of their upcoming full-length New/Shiny. The band premiered the song "Don't Look" at Post-Trash last week. It's the second single shared from the new set, due this June from Art of the Uncarved Block.
New/Shiny follows up 2017's Reservoir of Impermanent Light. Low Sun features the brothers Peter and Robert Johnson.
Toronto punk quartet Pkew Pkew Pkew have a new video online for the song "I Don't Matter at All." Shawn Kosmerly directed the clip. The band implores you to watch this one all the way through to the end ("cause it's a masterpiece"). The song appears on the group's latest LP, Optimal Lifestyles, released this past March on Dine Alone Records.
Pkew Pkew Pkew recently confirmed that they'll soon make their U.S. network TV debut. The group's scheduled to appear on Late Night with Seth Meyers on May 15.
Pkew Pkew Pkew - I Don't Matter At All (Official Video) - YouTube
Montreal-via-Fredericton prog-pop act LAPS recently premiered a new single over at Dominionated (Canada's finest and most dedicated music blog). The song's titled "Brunch" and will appear on the group's upcoming full-length Soon Not Often In It. It arrives on May 24. The mathy, dynamic track is one of 12 due for the new record.
I've been sharing clips from The Holy Gasp's recent release show for The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex for a few months now, and at long last here's the whole thing! Last October the theatric Toronto indie-rock group, lead by Benjamin Hackman, performed the emotionally-fraught (and often weirdly funny) record with a 27-person orchestra. The performance was staged as a wedding, with the crowd suitably dressed for a formal affair.
The documentary also notably includes some of the last footage shot at the now-shuttered Coffin Factory. The extended Holy Gasp ensemble used the former industrial building for rehearsals before this show. The Coffin Factory was closed on April 1 to make way for a condo development. It had hosted live-work artist studios in the city for nearly 30 years.
The Love Songs Of Oedipus Rex in Concert (Full) - YouTube
Welland, Ontario straight-edge hardcore act Pedestrian-X released a new 3-song demo at the start of the month. The four-piece features members of the heavy Niagara acts Wild Side, Windoc, and Easy Way Out. Davis Maxwell recorded, mixed and mastered the new material at Bell Tower Studios in Fort Erie.
Toronto's surfy pop-punk act Knifey has a new single online titled "Shallow." It arrives alongside a lighthearted Shawn Kosmerly-directed video. You can find it below. The song is our first preview if an upcoming record titled Sleepwalker (a b-side, titled "Drugged" can be found on streaming services as well). The band commented:
"'Shallow' is a story about living in a city that constantly feels the need to follow a trend rather than walk its own path. It examines a decision that we all face at some point – to bet on ourselves or to take the easy road and fit in. We wanted the video to not take itself too seriously. Playing in front of a blank green screen represents the heart of the song; the fear of becoming a blank canvas, overwriting your personality just to fit in instead of staying true to yourself."
Knifey was formed in 2016 by Phil Linton and Max Trinz.
Montreal ska-punk institution The Planet Smashers have a video online for the title track to their upcoming record Too Much Information. The long-running third-wave ska band will release the 14-song collection, their ninth, on Friday through Stomp Records.
The Planet Smashers - Too Much information (official video) - YouTube
Summer festival announcements have been arriving so quickly I've lost track of which I've made mention of here. To add to that incomplete list, Toronto promoters Transmit Presents have launched the inaugural Transmit Festival. That event will take place from June 6 to 8, with performances scheduled from Dilly Dally, Suuns, Teenanger, Sauna, and Kiwi Jr. among others. Transmit will feature nightly shows at The Garrison and The Baby G, along with free outdoor performances as part of the annual Dundas West Fest.
Sudbury's urban art and music festival Up Here is coming into its fifth year, falling on August 16, 17 and 18 this year. The first wave of artists includes the veteran Bronx no wave/dance-punk act ESG, Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Montreal synth duo Milk & Bone, Quebec's glam rock upstart Hubert Lenoir, and Constantine Steven Lambke among an international group spanning an array of genres. Up Here always involves several large-scale art installations and some astonishing urban mural work, so look forward to more of that this time out.
On a less high-art track, my hometown's getting it's own little shindig in July, with the Punk-a-Doodle-Doo Festival set to take over downtown Niagara Falls on July 27. I don't name these things, folks. Centred around the Taps Brewhouse, this inaugural event will feature veteran headliners The Forgotten Rebels alongside some loud beer-soaked sets from The Mahones, The Creepshow, The Lucky Ones, Dboy, and Heart Attack Kids.
Apologies if I've missed any of these announcements, they come in a deluge. I know I neglected to mention Hillside a few weeks ago, and I feel bad because it looks quite cool this year (with the Rez Kids, Orville Peck, and Fucked Up camping out at Guelph Lake this July).
On that note, keep an eye out for news from Strangewaves and Sappy coming up this week.