Way back in April Buzz Records released a split pairing the Winnipeg noise-punk group Tunic and the Abbotsford, BC post-punk band Blessed. The 7", assembled for the bands' co-headling tour at the time, featured Blessed's first new music since their critically lauded 2017 EP II. The track, titled "Sound," was a lush 7-minute trip that found the band leaning into their Talking Heads influence.
After a few months of downtime Blessed is back with another new single and yet another with a single-word title. "Thought" is propulsive and tightly wound, clocking in at a trim two and a half minutes, unlike its sprawling predecessor. The group recorded at Montreal's Break Glass Studios with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes recording and mixing. There's no word yet where this song will end up, but the band hints that next year will be a busy one.
Blessed features the talents of Mitchell Trainor, Drew Riekman, Reuben Houweling, Jake Holmes, and Matt Mckeen.
Last week Hand Drawn Dracula released the debut full-length album from Praises, the solo project of Jesse Crowe from the atmospheric Toronto post-punk duo Beliefs. In This Year: Ten of Swords finds Crowe expanding her project's focus, moving away from past guitar-centred efforts to prominently feature the piano and a number of electronic elements, including hardware synths. Josh Korody, Crowe's partner in Beliefs, co-produced and mixed the record.
Speaking to Exclaim, Crowe commented:
"I was in a year of turmoil, between questioning my powerlessness in my femme body and the loneliness of depression. I would say my only hope in 2017 was creating this record. It came about after being locked in a studio space a few friends and I had rented that happened to have a piano, and was set to be demolished.
With the time limit, one mic, and a computer, I challenged myself to make something more personal than I could do in a studio with others. With the mixing skills and rhythmic editions added by Josh Korody, my body feels now like it's been wholly dissected and left open for everyone to touch, taste and hear."
Praises are currently touring as a two-piece, with live performances oriented around a string synth, guitar, and piano.
Windsor, Ontario's Trout are gearing up to release their second EP on December 29, titled Figures. That record will feature the tune "Mt.Eremos," a song that throws back to the moody sound of early 90s alt-rock. You can check the video, directed by Jono Hunter, below. Figures features music from Roye Trout (Lychi, No Hands), and Jesse Fellows (Blurt, Shared Arms), and Shane Gelinas. It was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Fellows at The Wonderful Alley in Toronto.
Figures will arrive on vinyl from Psychic Readings Records and on cassette by a joint release with Must Be Nice Records (the label run by Toronto punk duo Found Objects). The vinyl release will be a one-sided LP with a screen printed b-side, limited to 200 copies.
On December 29 Trout will celebrate the release with a show at the Phog Lounge in Windsor supported by Of The Pack and a solo set by Jesse Fellows.
Psychedelic Vancouver electro-pop act Old Man Canyon has a video online for the song "Run Away," a track from their recently released full-length A Grand Facade. The clip, directed by Geordie Starr, features lead vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jett Pace travelling through an artificial New York City, as realized through Vancouver movie sets used in films like Deadpool and Watchmen. Shot on 16mm, the clip also features cinematography by Jeremy Cox.
Pace spoke to Indie 88 about the clip, commenting:
"Playing with the themes on the song and album everything seen in the video, from the streets to the movie theatre, is a facade. Sometimes we need to take a peek behind the walls to see what’s really going on."
A Grand Facade is a 7-song set that will serve as Pace's second release under the Old Man Canyon name. He recorded the bulk of the album in his home studio before heading to California alongside members of the band Wake Owl to wrap it up. It was self-released in November.
PCT Musique has begun working with the 90s-styled melodic punk band Same As You. The Montreal group has a split planned on the label in 2019, but to kick the relationship off PCT is offering up both the band's prior EPs, The Lies We Told and Coffee and Pills as free downloads at Bandcamp. Those sets, four-songs apiece, were originally released in April and November of this year.
Same As You features vocalist Charles-Édouard Carrier backed by guitarist Pierre-Luc Chassé, bassist Marc-Olivier Champagne-Thomas, and drummer Mathieu Harton.
Speaking of Montreal punks, the four-piece ska-punk group The SkudFux have a new EP out, a 3-song effort titled FERN. There's upstroke guitar straight out of the summer of `98 on this one. FERN arrived just a week before the band announced that they'd signed with their prolific hometown skatepunk label Thousand Islands Records. The group's first work for Thousand Islands should arrive in early 2019.
The SkudFux, clearly not fans of subtlety, feature drummer Dewey Tremblay, guitarist Will De Francesco, bassist Gringo Starr, and vocalist EJ Lang.
Last week A.Side premiered a new video from Montreal-via-Toronto art-punk/electropop artist Petra Glynt. Mohammad Rezaei and Michelle Homonylo (Dilly Dally, Lido Pimienta) directed the "Flavour of the Week" video, which thrust Glynt into some unexplored collaborative territory. She spoke to A-Side about the work:
" I am usually the director of the visual aesthetic for my project so for me, making this video was an instance where I decided I felt okay with giving up that control. It became a way for [me] to explore movement in an improvised way in front of a camera. There was something freeing as well as uneasy about this approach because it was new territory for me."
"It is interesting for me to see what sort of performance the video can arrive at based on communication, especially when there are no rehearsals. There is something cold about this video as well as a sense of loneliness and isolation that the internet often facilitates."
The song appears on Glynt's recent Pleasence Records debut My Flag Is A Burning Rag Of Love. The record featured 13 songs written, performed, and self-produced by Glynt. Alice Wilder (M.I.A., Austra) mixed the album.
Early last month the frenetic Calgary five-piece rock band 36? released an upbeat new single titled "So What?," a preview of the band's upcoming fifth full-length. The group's since signed with Vancouver's File Under: Music label (home of NEEDS and Kathryn Calder). In the premiere at New Noise the curiously named band commented on the track:
"[It's] about when being out with all of your friends can’t stop you from feeling alone. When you’re so down on yourself that it feels disingenuous to even engage with the people who are close with you...
I think the natural reaction when you are feeling super depressed is to overcompensate with faux-positive energy and pretend everything is super happy which is what we did with the arrangement. ‘so what?’ is like when someone tells a funny joke about how they hate themselves. You laugh, but you also know they are serious."
36? features guitarist and lead vocalist Taylor Cochrane, guitarist Scott White, bassist Mike Malkin, keyboarding/guitarist Justin Van Gronigen, and drummer Ryan Kusz. The band last released the full-length Tiger Tail in 2015.