Sunday October 14, 2018

Pointing Fingers

London's Isölation Party sound like so many of the bands I obsessed over in my early 20s. I spent a few years voraciously consuming garage-punk and power-pop from the Pacific Northwest: Dirtnap Records bands like The Briefs and the Exploding Hearts (who in turn owed everything to British first wavers like the Buzzcocks and the Undertones). From that perspective, this four-piece isn't doing anything particularly novel, but that's kind of like criticizing a delicious slice of your favourite pie for so closely resembling past pies you've had. Good pie is good pie. Don't overthink it.

Isölation Party features Rob Brake, Jake Jackman, Preston Lobzun, and Josh McQuaid. The band's readying the release of their debut 10-song full-length on No Front Teeth Records, titled Fiberoptic Holiday. It's due on wax this November. The band recorded at London's Watershed Studios with Eric Altomonte engineering. The new record follows up the band's 2016 single "Mr. Telephone."

The band premiered the bright, high-strung single "Pointing Fingers" at IndiePulse Music last week with a frenetic video by Thomas Vickers.

Watch: Isölation Party - "Pointing Fingers" @ YouTube

We've finally heard the first music from Sauna, the new project from Michael le Riche of Fake Palms, Weaves bassist Zach Bines, and drummer Braeden Craig of Greys. The Toronto-based trio released the single "Over" last week, at the same time announcing that they'd signed with Idée Fixe Records (home of Jennifer Castle, Fiver, and Bry Webb).

Sauna leaves the guitars in Fake Palms' garage, with le Riche performing swirling arrangements on custom built synths. The press release floridly describes "Over" as a "syncopated rhythmic splatter" with a "synthetic kosmische disko chorus," and I'm not even going to attempt to reword that. Brian Borcherdt of Holy Fuck and Dusted produced this first salvo from Sauna back in the spring of 2018.

Listen: Sauna - "Over" @ Bandcamp

Toronto's Luge previewed their upcoming full-length Tall Is Just A Feeling with a video for the single "Head Boy." The song perfectly captures what's made Luge such a fascinating live act these past few years, contrasting abrasive, off-kilter art-punk with a genuinely catchy pop chorus. The song's tuneful midsection sticks around just long enough to lull you into a false sense of security before the noise comes crashing back in at the end. Look for Tall Is Just A Feeling on November 3.

The appropriately weird "Head Boy" video was directed by vocalist Kaiva Gotham and Isaac Roberts.

Watch: Luge - "Head Boy" @ YouTube

Toronto's Twist recently announced their sophomore album and follow-up to 2016's Spectral. The group plans to release Distancing on December 7 through Buzz Records. This record will once again feature the core duo of BB Guns' Laura Hermiston and the aforementioned Brian Borcherdt, this time out backed by members of Zeus, Biblical, and Michael Rault's backing band in the studio.

The new album will feature 10 tracks recorded at Toronto's Palace and Union Sound studios. Twist has again worked with Michael Butler (Beta Frontiers) to mix the record. You can preview the song "Venus" in a video directed by Shawn Kosmo below.

Hermiston commented on the record in a press release, stating:

"I don't think this record is making any big statements on the complex world we're living in right now. I write about my experiences with sexism and people who act entitled to take advantage of you because that's what I feel like I can comment on honestly. In the past I've felt like my voice isn't heard and had to bite my tongue to avoid stirring up drama. I wanted to speak up about my personal experiences while still saying something universal."

Watch: Twist - "Venus" @ YouTube

Vicious Hamilton psych-punks Flesh Rag have a video online for their single "In Another Dimension." The song appears on Inside Your Mind, the trio's recent LP on Schizophrenic and Loose Lips Records. The clip was directed by Connor Wilkes, who previously worked with the band on their "I'm Sick" video.

Flesh Rag features vocalist/guitarist Matthew Ellis, drummer Nathan Burger, and bassist Eric Felgner. Members of the band have played with TV Freaks, Rocket Reducers, Sweet Dave and the Shallow Graves, and Uncontrollable Urge among others.

Watch: Flesh Rag - "In Another Dimension" @ YouTube

Dundas, Ontario rock maximalists The Dirty Nil have a new video online for "That's What Heaven Feels Like," the lead track from their recent sophomore LP Master Volume. You can check out the clip, directed by Mitch Barnes and Victor Malang, below. This is probably only of interest to me, but the video was shot at a campground and RV park outside of St. Catharines. And yes, that's Single Mothers' Drew Thomson drowning the band at the start of the clip.

Master Volume is the band's second LP of new material for Dine Alone Records following 2016's Higher Power and the early singles collection Minimum R&B.

Watch: The Dirty Nil - " That's What Heaven Feels Like" @ YouTube

Ahead of their upcoming European tour dates and a late-fall Canadian tour supporting Daniel Romano, the haunting Toronto's post-punk act FRIGS have released a new song titled "Crop Circles." The track is the first new material the band's released in the wake of their Arts & Crafts LP Basic Behaviour.

Vocalist Bria Salmena commented on the track:

"I wrote the lyrics when I was moving away from someone who only put me down and didn't support my creative pursuits. The song lives solely in this recording. It was never intended to be performed."

Listen: FRIGS - "Crop Circles" @ YouTube

The Weather Station has made a new live session available online for a limited time. Titled Live at Union, the set will be available at Bandcamp until October 27, after which it'll only exist as a cassette tape that ships in early November.

The set captures the live band that's performed in support of the band's 2017 self-titled full-length, featuring Tamara Lindeman backed by Ian Kehoe (Attack In Black/Marine Dreams), Will Kidman (Constantines/Woolly Leaves), and Ben Whiteley. The set was engineered and mixed by Leon Taheny and Ian Gomes, with mastering by Jeff Elliot. The band recorded live at Union on October 1 to tape with no overdubs or edits.

The Weather Station was released last October by will be self-titled and is set for an October 6th release on Paradise of Bachelors and Outside Music. It's as good as you remember it, maybe better.

Listen: The Weather Station - Live At Union @ Bandcamp

Lethbridge, Alberta garage rock act J Blissette has returned with a new track titled "Only Used to Do a Little," it's the first new tune he's released following the Pleasence-released Until I Go Blind from earlier this year. Cory Fischer engineered and recorded the new tune.

The song arrives as the band, fronted by Jackson Tiefenbach, gears up for an October tour of western Canada.

Listen: J Blissette - "Only Used To Do A Little" @ Bandcamp

Vancouver pop-punk band Swear Jar will release a 7-song self-titled album on November 24. The four-piece recently revealed a video for the track "Break Hearts," directed by Connor McGuire.

The band's new material was recorded throughout 2018 at Rain City Recorders and Flash Recording. They'll celebrate the release with a December 1 hometown show with Your Problem, Chain Whip, and Prescriptions.

Watch: Swear Jar - "Break Hearts" @ YouTube

Toronto low-fi alt-country act Hobby (I stress the "alt" here) are streaming their new record, titled The Fastest Car Yet. The set features eight new songs and follows 2017's EP 4 Songs in G. If you listen carefully you'll hear WLMRT's Claire Wilkins and Shelby Wilson make a brief guest appearance on the track "Will's Song" as well. Hobby's expecting to put the new set out on cassette "eventually."

Listen: Hobby - The Fastest Car Yet @ Bandcamp

Theatric Toronto ensemble The Holy Gasp has a new video online for "What I Gotta Know," a tune from their recently released divorce opus The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex (which is a total blast). The inventive clip features direction and choreography by Becca Pearl.

The band will soon formally launch the new LP with a 27-person orchestral performance on October 27 at the 918 Bathurst Centre in Toronto. The show, billed as the nuptials of Oedipus Rex and his mother, will be filmed for some future project. Attendees are encouraged to dress for a formal wedding. You can find tickets here.

Watch: The Holy Gasp - "What I Gotta Know" @ YouTube

Toronto hardcore four-piece Tashme have a scathing new self-titled EP online at Bandcamp, with a 7" release to follow soon on Chicago's High Fashion Industries. The band recorded the set with Sean Pearson at Boxcar in Hamilton. Tashme was among the performers at It's Not Dead this year.

Listen: Tashme - Tashme @ Bandcamp

If you want a sneak preview of the upcoming debut EP from Vanity Phase, tune into this recent episode of the CJLO show Middle Age Wasteland. On it host Christian Durand interviews Andrew Payne, playing four songs from the project throughout the show.

Vanity Phase is the synth-driven solo project from the former Century Palm and Zebrassieres frontman.

Listen: Vanity Phase on Middle Age Wasteland @ SoundCloud

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