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.
SappyFest: "Infinite Variety"
Stream on YouTube this Friday
While it doesn't take much to delay this newsletter from its (chiefly fictional) Sunday deadline, this week's excuse felt a little less contrived than usual. I just returned home from a few days of over-prepped car camping, having taken the kids up to Turkey Point for a brief diversion from their otherwise monotonous summer. For a few fleeting moments in Norfolk County we could pretend the pandemic was over. My son and daughter spent no less than six straight hours on the beach; I suspect happy to be anywhere other than our house after these long months (and soaking in the novelty of being among a crowd of people again). So I assert that I was, quite justifiably, elsewhere when this week's edition would otherwise have come together. If I do say so, these were top-shelf Dad efforts and perfect justification for a rare Some Party skip week.
On our drive home, it occurred to me that even in more innocent times this would have been a travel week - only rather than meandering on the shores of Lake Erie, we'd be eagerly trekking eastward. The end of July was, and remains, SappyFest's hallowed ground. I'd be remiss to slack off this week without giving their making-the-best-of-it online extravaganza a proper push.
The beloved New Brunswick festival's again gone virtual as it waits out the pandemic. This year that effort takes the form of a 26-hour variety show - to be live-streamed from 8:00 PM AST this Friday, July 30, through 10:00 PM AST the next night. Broadcasting from Struts Gallery in the event's home of Sackville, the event promises "music, art, film, poetry, storytelling, workshopping, cooking, pets, puppets, plant care, yoga, costumes, and much much more." The press release describes it as:
"Part music and art festival, part online party, part amateur television studio, part community celebration, part love letter, part postcard from home, part sleep deprivation experiment."
The release further revealed a selection of the performers (although playfully avoided any mention of the nature of their performances). That list includes a few familiar Some Party faces like the Coastal mandopop-rockers Century Egg, the hot new punk outfit Cluttered, Sappy lodestar Julie Doiron, the clever wordsmiths of both The Burning Hell and Nap Eyes, Toronto psych-rock upstarts Mother Tongues, and more:
"SAPPYFEST: INFINITE VARIETY features live performances from Century Egg, Wolf Castle, Cluttered, Julie Doiron, Amy Siegel, G.L.A.M. Bats, Jon Mckiel, Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom, Black Dimes, Caged Animals, Marilyn Lerch & Geordie Miller, Rebecca Blankert, and Wandarian; new works from Sarah Wendt & Pascal Dufaux, Theo Crocker, Marissa Sean Cruz, Brandon Hicks, Bucky Buckler, Laura Watson, Izzy Francolini, and Rachel M Thornton; plus special (remote) guests Nyssa, Tica Holiday, Mother Tongues, and Nigel Chapman."
If you're aching for a little more context, Sappy's Instagram account's been profiling some of the performers and teasing the more esoteric art pieces expected to debut this weekend.
Keep in mind is that the event will only be broadcast live and only once - with no piecemeal archive intended for later consumption. While it'll again prove challenging to emit the communal vibe of Sappy's legendary Swamp Magic from afar, the ephemeral nature of Infinite Variety telethon should go a long way towards at least fostering the event's sense of whimsy.
SappyFest's Infinite Variety broadcasts live on YouTube starting this Friday.
Bad Buzz: For a Good Time, Call...
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Toronto pop-punk outfit Bad Buzz recently returned with a new 9-song full-length titled For a Good Time, Call.... The release, which follows 2019's Try Harder EP, marks the group's first recorded work as a trio. There's a nostalgic East Bay pop-punk vibe to this one, with the uncomplicated sound of early-90s Green Day referenced lovingly throughout. As a child of that era, I'm enjoying this immensely, and if you too owned a copy of Dookie on cassette, the new Bad Buzz record should very much feel like home.
This year's incarnation of Bad Buzz features bassist/vocalist Joe Iacobelli, guitarist/backing vocalist Troy Fullerton, and drummer Tristan Loria. The group recorded and mixed the record themselves, with Harley Tamblin mastering at Acrylic Recording.
The Sunshiny Daze: Clouds Melt Away
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Christopher Sleightholm of Regina's rootsy storytellers Snake River recently unveiled a new side project - performing bright psych-pop as The Sunshiny Daze. Last week the artist shared an 11-song full-length under the pseudonym titled Clouds Melt Away, collecting material recorded from Sleightholm's home studio earlier this year. The project's write-up at Bandcamp reveals:
"With no shows to play Christopher used the time to make a straight up, true-to-life 60s psych pop record. Having forever been inspired by the relatively forgotten works of sunshine/60s psych pop this project became the perfect vehicle to write songs that are tip of the hat, and a kiss on the cheek of the blissed-out music of the flower children that fried their minds in the 1967-1968 California sun. The spirit of this era in music has always loomed large in Christopher's work, and this record provided the chance to pay tribute to the kaleidoscopic evergreen music of that time."
A video featuring the jangly single "Joanie & Eno" casts aside the weight of the world to pay loving tribute to Sleightholm's cats. The artist commented, "Everyone loves their pets, but those who write songs about their pets love them the most." You can find the clip at YouTube.
In February of this year, Snake River unveiled their sixth LP, the ten song Lost Album. Befitting its title, the record had been in the works since October of 2019 and stuck in limbo as the pandemic crawled on. As with past outings, Lost Album continued the story of Reginald McKruski and the fictional Snake River Mountain residents. The record followed 2018's Tread On To The Unknown You.
Odonis Odonis: "Shadow Play"
Toronto industrial mainstays Odonis Odonis continue to unveil material from the upcoming Spectrums, with more than half of the 10-song LP now available for preview. The dance-punk-styled "Shadow Play" recently premiered via Post-Punk. While the song's no less propulsive than the preceding singles, the band feels a little more playful here. One would never describe Odonis Odonis as light, but it seems there's some fun to be had even with the techno-dystopia looming. The track arrived alongside another new visualizer featuring footage by Adam Seward and Julianna Carlevaris.
Odonis Odonis emerges from the pandemic as a duo, paired back to founding players Dean Tzenos and Denholm Whale. Spectrums arrives as the band's fifth full-length, due October 15 through the Felte. It follows the genre-shifting band's 2019 EP Reaction and their 2017 full-length No Pop. The band also recently announced their return to the road, kicking off their post-lockdown phase with a high-profile appearance at Chicago's Cold Waves IX in September.
The Effens: "Punishment"
Last week Toronto's grungy glam rockers The Effens shared a final preview of their Eventually EP. In a press release, vocalist Austin Nops revealed:
"[It's] is a sweet yet sinister love song. It's about all the ways that someone can control another by 'caring' or 'helping' them. You can put yourself in the role of caregiver and have it become such a deep rooted part of your identity that you actually don't want the person you 'care' for to get better. This song is written from the point of someone who is sabotaging an individual just enough so that they are unable to become independent and will continue to rely on their 'caregiver.'"
The track arrived alongside a low-budget sci-fi-styled video that I shouldn't over-explain. You can experience it now on YouTube.
Eventually arrives this Friday, July 30, through Hidden Pony Records, following up on the quartet's 2019 EP Unsafe. The Effens features vocalist Austin Nops, guitarist Paul Theo, bassist Hannah Edgerton, and drummer Fabian Oblivion.
Badge Epoch: "Fruit Cocktail In Heavy Syrup"
Telephone Explosion recently shared a third preview of Scroll, the forthcoming "journal album" from renowned Toronto multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Max 'Twig' Turnbull. "Fruit Cocktail In Heavy Syrup" features psych-jazz group The Cosmic Range, a track captured during warm-up sessions before the assembly entered the studio to back U.S. Girls on 2018's In a Poem Unlimited. Michael Rault plays bass on the track as well. A video by Ross Turnbull provides the song with a busy visual accompaniment, described by the label as:
"A found-footage montage paying homage to kineticism, animals, filmmaking, and the electric guitar, set to a tersely epic, guitarmonized funk workout by the one-and-only Badge Epoch."
Scroll draws from nearly a decade of session archives, cut up and remixed by Toronto sound artist Andrew Zukerman (aka Fleshtone Aura). Turnbull began compiling material for the record in 2017, drawing upon sessions with the jazz/funk flavoured Badge Époque Ensemble, the aforementioned Cosmic Range, that band's frontman Matthew "Doc" Dunn, and more. The 19-song, 90-minute omnibus arrives under the stage name Badge Epoch on August 20 as a double LP.
Scroll follows the Badge Époque Ensemble's recent Future, Past & Present record, a companion piece to their 2020 LP Self Help.
Huron Lines: "Lonely Lover"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Muscular Windsor rock unit Huron Lines recently shared "Lonely Lover," the gritty fourth preview of their upcoming debut full-length Lost at the Border. Vocalist Dave Mueller revealed:
"Lonely Lover is crafted around that moment when two people connect but never see each other again. Then the moment vanishes and you wonder if it ever happened in the first place. But the feeling carries on..."
Huron Lines recorded with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser engineering. Bill Skibbe (Fucked Up, Jack White, The Kills) mastered their new material at Third Man Mastering in Detroit. The band features guitarist/vocalist David Mueller, guitarist Grainger Harris, bassist/vocalist RJ Brando, and drummer Nick Mitchell (all past members of Club Thunderbolt). Lost at the Border arrives October 15 through Chieftown Music.
ACTORS: "Only Lonely"
Vancouver's cinematic post-punk quartet ACTORS recently shared "Only Lonely," the fourth taste of the group's upcoming LP Acts of Worship. As with the album's earlier singles, this track finds a dark, synth-driven groove among the neon glow of some impressively authentic new wave revivalism.
A video showcasing the track stars the real-life couple of model Rachel Rampage and musician Justin Hagberg (3 Inches of Blood, Ritual Dictates). The pair embark on what's described as a "bloody, Natural Born Killers-style romance" in the clip. You can find it now on YouTube.
ACTORS new record follows up on 2018's It Will Come To You LP. The band features Jason Corbett on lead vocals and guitar, Shannon Hemmett on synth, Kendall Wooding on bass, and drummer Adam Fink. Corbett produced, mixed, and mastered the group's new material at his Jacknife Sound Studio. Acts of Worship arrives October 1 through Artoffact Records.