Sunday July 23, 2017

Victory Lap

I'm trying to avoid using the phrase "unless you've been living under a rock" on this newsletter, as this publishing schedule is meant to encourage and allow for all manor of subterranean habitation. That said, it was pretty hard to miss the news online this week that Propagandhi, the internationally renown Winnipeg-based anti-fascist punk band, had announced and previewed their next record Victory Lap.

In case you did miss it: Victory Lap will run 12 songs and will see a September 29th release on Epitaph Records. The band's seventh full length since forming in 1986, it follows up 2012's Failed States and marks the studio debut of guitarist Sulynn Hago (imported from Florida to succeed David Guillas a few years back). It should also go without saying that this is the band's first record of the Trump era. The riffy title track can be streamed below. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Hanna also shared the lyrics on Twitter.

There's going to be a lot to unpack about this record in the coming months, so I'll keep my powder (mostly) dry for now. I am deeply curious about how an overtly political punk band engages with the US political reality this year. In normal times, a band like Propagandhi would serve to highlight injustices that us in the middle were comfortably ignoring. With so many norms upended and US politics in a near-constant state of crisis, this is not a normal time. How does a band like Propagandhi position itself in 2017?

Of Note

Pittsburgh's Cruel Noise Records has set a release date for the six-song 7" Sweet Boy from the Booji Boys. The record, which compiles material the Halifax band originally made available on a limited run of tapes, now has an August 18th date attached. There are five originals in the set along with a cover of The Undertones' "Family Entertainment."

Also from Halifax, experimental indie-pop act Heaven For Real are set to tour both Canada and Japan this September in support of their 2016 Mint Records release Kill Your Memory. Following an appearance at SappyFest on August 7th they'll play Montreal, Ottawa, Guelph, and Toronto before taking the long flight to Tokyo. You can find the dates at Exclaim.

Niagara-on-the-Lake post-hardcore act Heavy Hearts premiered a video for their new song "Unravel (Your Love)" at New Noise. The New Damage-released single comes amidst their ongoing US tour and gives some hint at the direction they'll follow on their eventual follow up to 2016's Bliss.

Stranded Fest is back for a second year on Saturday, August 5th in Toronto. The event will bring together seven GTA bands to play cover sets, with Pkew Pkew Pkew performing as The Clash, Good Kid as The Strokes, Romancer doing Jimmy Eat World, The Implications as Arctic Monkeys, Cleopatrick as The Black Keys, Glass Cactus as The Story So Far, and Minority 905 as Simple Plan. Canadian Beats is drawing for a pair tickets on their website.

I realize that I mention Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs a lot on here, but the world needs more of what they're up to. You can see what I mean over at CBC Music until the 28th, where the new full length is streaming in full. If you're familiar with Coffey's earlier work the leap they've taken on this record is enormous. Working with producer Alex Bonenfant (METZ, Crystal Castles) the band embraced an arena-ready 70s power-pop vibe in a way that never seems retro. It's enormously more confident and celebratory than anything they've put to tape before (and there's nary a sign of the country influences of that earlier work either). The 9 song full-length is due on July 28th via Dine Alone in Canada and Burger Records down south.

The new full length from The Weather Station will be self-titled and is set for an October 6th release on Paradise of Bachelors / Outside Music. Singer / songwriter Tamara Lindeman's put together eleven songs for the album, including "Thirty" which you can stream below. Lindeman commented:

"I wanted to make a rock and roll record, but one that sounded how I wanted it to sound, which of course is nothing like rock'n'roll."

Whatever you want to call it, "Thirty" feels pretty special and is completely engrossing. I'm really looking forward to this record.

Episode 335 of Vish Khanna's Kreative Kontrol podcast features The Sadies performing songs from their Polaris long listed album Northern Passages. The prolific Toronto alt-country / garage rock band visited Khanna's TV show Long Night to perform before the studio audience and chat about their catalogue.

Chad VanGaalen has released a new music video for the song "Pine and Clover," which the celebrated Calgary musician directed and animated himself. The song appears on the upcoming Light Information LP, due September 8th on Flemish Eye in Canada and Sub Pop elsewhere. You can find comments from the artist on the video's production, along with a list of upcoming fall tour dates, at Sidewalk Hustle.

Staying with Calgary for a moment, long-running pop punk act Chixdiggit! have announced a European tour for early August. The band is travelling to and from the Tolmin, Slovenia music festival Punk Rock Holiday and have shows scheduled in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and Austria along the way. The band is supporting their 2016 release 2012 ("twenty twelve," after Rush), a 20+ minute single-song that they're claiming is the world's longest punk song. I spoke to frontman KJ Jansen about it (and more) last year on the Punknews Podcast.

Toronto duo Beliefs have announced a full length release for September titled Habitat, premiering a video for the dark, dreamy post-punk track "1994" over at Billboard. This will be Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody's third full length, following 2015’s sophomore effort Leaper. Korody, who's produced acclaimed recent albums from Dilly Dally and The Dirty Nil, served as producer on Habitat with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh mixing. Look for the album on September 22nd via Outside Music / Hand Drawn Dracula.

Clash Magazine premiered the new single "Pill" from Toronto's The OBGMs. The quartet, who are over in London playing this weekend's AfroPunk Festival, will release the song on as part of their newly remixed self-titled album, which is set for a September 8th release on Black Box.

Finally this week Stomp Records announced the next full length from the (now) Montreal-based psychobilly / punk act The Creepshow. Death At My Door will be released on September 15th on Stomp in Canada and Concrete Jungle in the EU. The band will tour this fall with labelmates Sammy Kay to promote the new release. You can find the dates over at Punknews.

Thanks to St. Catharines, Ontario's Warehouse concert hall for sponsoring this month of Some Party. This coming week will see shows from local acts No. 9, Toronto's Sparrows, and Welland's prolific Daniel Romano.

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