Thursday October 7, 2021

The Opposite Heart

Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated weekly by Adam White. Each edition explores punk, garage, psych, and otherwise uncategorizable indie rock, drawing lines from proto to post and taking some weird diversions along the way.

Papal Visit: "The Opposite Heart"

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Whatever happened to Papal Visit? The Saint John indie rockers released a string of stylistically varied singles through the spring and summer of 2020. Almost 30 candidate tracks were in play, with some selection destined for a fall full-length. These efforts stalled, though. The 2020 grind had a nasty habit of swallowing projects whole, and the band went quiet before anything materialized. It's been a whole year since the release of their last preview (September 2020's "Inaudible"), and there's now finally news on that long-awaited LP. Five Fathom Hole arrives on November 12 through Monopolized Records. The announcement came alongside a studio version of live favourite "The Opposite Heart."

Speaking to Grid City Magazine, Papal Visit principle Adam Mowery commented on the upcoming release:

"Five Fathom Hole is the kind of album I've wanted to do for years, and Papal Visit's never ending assembly line approach makes it possible. The easiest comparison regarding the format is obviously - The White Album by the Beatles - a big unwieldy collection of recordings from different nights, sessions and recording spaces. Some are fully realized indie rock and punk songs, while others are scraps and weird experiments. The end result is hopefully a type of sonic collage, where the listener doesn't have time to process what they've heard before moving onto the next recording."

You may recognize "The Opposite Heart" as the album-opening track from the band's 2019 live record Prepare For Your Reversal. It's also a great example of the short-and-scrappy lo-fi songwriting Papal Visit relishes in - a sound very much in the tradition of Guided By Voices' Alien Lanes. You can see it performed in a new music video shot at the Saint John rehearsal space - known quite plainly to locals as "The Space" (thanks to Dan at The East Mag for identifying that).

Adam Mowery formed Papal Visit after moving to Halifax, working remotely with Pierre Cormier to stay connected with the Saint John scene (remote-assembling songs long before COVID made that fashionable). The new record's the band's first proper LP since 2017's Garden Grove and follows Mowery's 2020 solo effort Horseshoe Canyon. Papal Visit's current lineup features Mowery on vocals, Cormier on bass, Jason Ogden and Chris Braydon on guitars, and Geoffrey Smith drumming.

Chad VanGaalen: Full Moon Bummer

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Just a week after his last release, Calgary's prolific weird-folk figurehead Chad VanGaalen has another collection of new music online. While much of the artist's pandemic-era catalogue explores ambient side-roads and instrumental valleys, Full Moon Bummer arrives as a more traditional collection of songs. The 11-track set features music written and recorded in the run-up to World's Most Stressed Out Gardener, but ultimately cut from the full-length - material that "didn't make sense for right now," as VanGaalen revealed to Soft Sounds.

Consider Full Moon Bummer, therefore, an oft-sombre companion piece to the Gardener. That record arrived on vinyl in March through Flemish Eye and the legendary Sub Pop Records. For now, at least, Full Moon Bummer lives exclusively in the digital realm.

Last month VanGaalen shared Broken Harp, featuring six instrumentals written for the titular instrument (plucked from the local classifieds). That set followed a string of digitally issued experiments, including a collection of "off-gassing instrumentals" titled NTH and a group of synth compositions dubbed Lost Harmonies.

Sunglaciers: "Draw Me In"

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This week Mothland announced the signing of Calgarian post-punk/psych group Sunglaciers, kicking off the relationship with the buoyant new single "Draw Me In." The danceable song's our first taste of the band's forthcoming sophomore full-length, Subterranea, produced (coincidentally) by the above-mentioned Chad VanGaalen. The tune arrived alongside a kaleidoscopic video from director Anthony Lucero. The filmmaker commented on the visuals:

"I went with the direction I did because the sound and spatial structure of the song was very fluid and encompassing. I found that when messing around with machine learning that flowers and daisies really fit the nature and energy of the song better than anything else could."

The new songs result from an extensive pandemic-era songwriting effort from multi-instrumentalist Mathieu Blanchard and vocalist Evan Resnik. This song, in particular, features Jennifer Crighton (Hermitess) guesting on harp. The new material arrives following the band's 2019 full-length Foreign Bodies and a string of preceding EPs. On the road, Sunglaciers play as a quartet featuring synth player Helen Young and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Crough (Dri Hiev).

NOBRO: "Better Each Day"

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Montreal's NOBRO has yet to release a song that one couldn't conservatively describe as "fucking gigantic," and the new one-off "Better Each Day" somehow tops even the earworms of 2020's Sick Hustle. The track arrived this week along with the band's post-pandemic tour schedule (look for them opening for some big names through next April, sharing the stage with the likes of Tokyo Police Club, Billy Talent, PUP, and Rise Against). In a statement, vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey commented:

"I was experiencing some kind of crisis at the time of writing 'Better Each Day' and if I remember correctly, it was a 'writing music' one. There are times when songs come streaming out of you as though they wrote themselves into existence, and other times it can be as challenging as getting two purebred Persian cats to mate. I was sitting in our producer's studio when he suggested I might like a little jingle he wrote for a commercial that never got used. I thought it was dope and voila, this song was born. One day you're punk as fuck and then next you're playing old unused car commercial jingles."

The single arrives mixed by Dave Schiffman (PUP, The OBGMs, Bad Waitress) via Dine Alone Records. NOBRO features vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, Lisandre Bourdages on keys and percussion, and drummer Sarah Dion.

Night Court: "Fuck Art School" (demo)

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In August, Vancouver punk act Night Court played their first show supporting the mighty Chain Whip. The trio's now teasing a future album with a lo-fi demo titled "Fuck Art School." The band features Jiffy Marx and Dave Soul, longtime bandmates from Jiffy Marker and Blood Meridian, performing with Emilor Jayne (bassist for Jeffrey McCloy's Synchromantics and lead screamer in Pet Blessings). Night Court's demo arrived as part of the 10th-anniversary compilation issued by Denver's Snappy Little Numbers label (a release that Marx is all over, also appearing solo and with his new wave trio Autogramm).

Running solo, Jiffy Marx issued the "She's My Witch" single last year. Autogramm's No Rules LP has been out in the wild since April. Synchromantics and Pet Blessings also debuted cool new singles amidst the 2020 fog (material I missed entirely at the time, I'll see about correcting that in the coming weeks).

Matty Grace: Dysphoria City Limits

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With Cluttered on fire and Century Egg resurgent, you'd think that Matty Grace would have enough plates to spin. Ever restless, the Halifax vet recently issued a new set of downtrodden folk-punk recordings, dubbed Dysphoria City Limits. The intensely personal EP arrives following several COVID-era solo releases, including a split EP with Garbage Disposal Unit and last summer's three-song Frayed. That's not even counting Grace's output as the frustrated Ramonescore act Modern Cynics. This material all follows in the wake of March 2020's Rumination Year, Grace's long-in-the-works solo record and her last "proper" solo release before everything went sideways.

Last week Matty's new punk act Cluttered announced their vinyl debut, a ten-song collection titled The First Pandemic (just in case you thought you could forget). It collects the material from January's self-titled effort and June's Accidents together as a 12", shipping out near the end of November. You can snag one from the group's Bandcamp page.

Punitive Damage: "Legacy"

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Vancouver hardcore group Punitive Damage are marking their return to the live stage with the release of a punishing new single dubbed "Legacy." The blistering 52-second track is the first we've heard from the quintet's next record, following up their 2020 EP We Don't Forget. Look for the band on the west coast this fall with Colorado's Faim and the Seattle-based Change, kicking off the season with a performance at Convulse Records' third-anniversary celebration in Denver this weekend. Keep an eye on Rhode Island's Atomic Action Records for word on the group's next release soon.

This new track finds Punitive Damage recording with Cameron Heck at Whalehouse Studio, with vocals captured by John Comstock at No Frills. Daggermouth's Stu McKillop mastered the song at Raincity Recorders.

Indian Giver: "Blood On The Cross" (ft. Karla Gonzalez)

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Indigenous hardcore act Indian Giver has a new single out as well. The tough-as-nails "Blood on the Cross" arrived as a fundraiser for the intergenerational survivors of the residential school system, featuring a guest appearance from vocalist Karla Gonzalez. Look for it now on Bandcamp via the Big Voice Recordings label.

The new recording follows "Bleeding Out" and "Seventh Fire," digital singles issued by the Toronto group in late 2019.

Wine Lips: "Tension"

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Toronto garage rockers Wine Lips dramatically dial up the rock heroism on "Tension," the bombastic second preview of their forthcoming LP. The anthemic track appears on Mushroom Death Sex Bummer Party, the group's 11-song debut for Stomp Records, due October 29.

Wine Lips features vocalist/guitarist Cam Hilborn, drummer Aurora Evans, guitarist Jordan Sosensky, and bassist Charlie Weare. The group recorded at London's Sugar Shack studio with Simon Larochette producing. The new LP, their third, follows up on 2019's Stressor.

Tunic: "You're a Bug"

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Last week Winnipeg noise-punks Tunic shared a final preview of Quitter, their fast-approaching new LP. You can now stream "You're a Bug" or see it visualized in an assaulting new video. Tunic's penchant for extreme, unsettling close-ups this year has been aggressively effective. I'll give them that. In a statement, guitarist/vocalist David Schellenberg commented:

"We tracked this thing back in January of 2020 with our pal Jace and we've sat on it for a long time and here we are, finally sharing the fourth and final single from it. The single is called "You're A Bug" and it's really the first track we wrote for this album. Personally, I love the ending of the track, it's something i'm really proud of musically, and i'm rather self conscious about voicing that, but it's true, I think it rocks and it's stupid fun to play live."

The 11-song Quitter arrives on October 15 through Artoffact Records. The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek (Godspeed You! Black Emperor) recorded and mixed the album, with Carl Saff (Mitski, Guided By Voices, Speedy Ortiz) mastering. This new material follows April's Exhaling collection, a 23 song set that included the entirety of Tunic's 2019 LP Complexion amidst a selection of new songs.

Spectres: "To The Victor"

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Vancouver deathrock quintet Spectres recently issued a second preview of their upcoming odds-and-sods collection Hindsight. The 12-song record, due November 5 from Artoffact, ropes in out-of-print singles, unreleased cuts, and new material recorded in the wake of 2019's Nostalgia. The set features nine studio tracks paired with three live performances recorded for the Los Angeles radio show Part Time Punks.

Originally from Coombs, British Columbia, and heavily indebted to new wave titans like New Order, Spectres features vocalist Brian Gustavson backed by drummer Mitch Allen, bassist Jason Renix, and guitarists Zach Batalden and Adam Mitchell.

Our Darkest Days: "These Fast Times"

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Quebec City skatepunk group Our Darkest Days has a 13-song full-length due November 19 from Thousand Islands Records, titled Snakes & Ladders. You can preview the set through the album-opening "These Fast Times," a track featuring a guest vocal appearance from Belvedere's Steve Rawles. We had our first taste of this record at the tail end of 2019 with the single "When Dust Settles" (it's a safe bet to assume the pandemic scuttled the group's original timeline). Lockjaw Records is handling the European release. If you're a fan of the technical skate punk championed by bands like Strung Out and Ignite, this should be right up your alley.

Vincent Côté (L'Affaire Pélican, Bussieres, Down Memory Lane) engineered, mixed, and mastered the new record. Snakes & Ladders follows Our Darkest Days' 2016 Bird Attack release A Common Agony.

SATE: "Nobody"

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Toronto blues-rocker SATE has a punky new single out titled "Nobody," another preview of the artist's long-in-the-works full-length The Fool. On the propulsive yet succinct track, SATE commented:

"We all desire to feel important, taken seriously and especially honoured for who we are, uniquely. There have been so many times in my life where I've felt passed over, worthless or invisible. So here's my answer to that with NOBODY. Dance and reclaim your space in the world, you Divinely designed integral majickal being. Only YOU determine your worth. Period."

While they're not playing on the recording, Toronto punk champions The OBGMs appear in the "Nobody" video as SATE's backing band. The Fool arrives November 4, following up on the artist's 2016 record RedBlack&Blue.

VICTIME: "Faire la matière"

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Last week I shared a rarity that Corridor released in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Université de Montréal's campus radio station CISM, but I completely glossed over the fact that it's available as part of a limited LP. Les chants du 30e features nine songs from a selection of Quebec artists, available from the station for free with the purchase of any merchandise. This week the dance-punk trio VICTIMEshared their contribution to the project, a cacophonous new live-recording titled "Faire la matière." The track features Laurence Gauthier-Brown on vocals and synth, Simon Provencher on guitar, and Samuel Gougoux drumming.

This song's the first new material from VICTIME to arrive since their 2019 EP Mi-tronc, mi-jambe. While the trio's been quiet as an ensemble since then, it's been a busy year for related projects. Provencher appeared as one half of Album, a "glitch-groove" duo with FET.NAT's Olivier Fairfield. He also issued an experimental solo EP dubbed Mesures. Gougoux also recorded solo as TDA and appears on the recent full-length from Hélène Barbier.

React to it at your leisure

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