Sunday July 16, 2017

Cellophane

Royal Mountain Records, Canuck home of PUP, Pkew Pkew Pkew, and Alvvays, put a big notch in their belt this week with the announcement that they'd be handling the Canadian release of Strange Peace, the third full length from Toronto noise-punk standard bearers METZ. Sub Pop will continue to be the band's international home. The trio recorded their new record live off the floor of Chicago's Electrical Audio with the legendary Steve Albini. That's pretty fitting considering how often Big Black, Shellac and Albini's distinctive raw recording style have been frequently cited as a METZ influence. In the press release guitarist / vocalist Alex Edkins commented on the sessions:

"Recording in Chicago was a blast. We tracked fourteen songs in four days. It was the first time we felt confident enough to just play live and roll tape... Strange Peace is much more diverse and varied than anything we’ve done before, which was exhilarating, but terrifying, too. We took the tapes home to Toronto feeling like we’d made the record we wanted to make."

The material from their Electrical Audio sessions was paired with additional home recordings and work with longtime studio collaborator Graham Walsh to produce the 11 song Strange Peace. The first single is "Cellophane" and the record comes out September 22nd.

Sub Pop's listed some an extensive tour schedule supporting the release, including a pair of Toronto shows on September 29th and 30th with Montreal's SUUNS supporting. Following those METZ will play the US with Uniform and then head to Europe for shows with both Protomartyr and Drahla.

Of Note

The new full length from Toronto's Teenanger, titled Teenager, was released this past Friday by Telephone Explosion. It's never entirely predictable what Teenanger's going to produce from one release to the next (or even one song to another), and that's always been part of what makes them interesting. This outing has a laid back indie-pop vibe that's not entirely out of step with what bands like the Courtneys or Tough Age (on their new EP in particular) are up to. A video for "Fun Forgot" accompanied the release:

With the July 28th release date of their self-titled Dine Alone debut fast approaching, Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs continue to share clips from the new record. Just wait for the soaring chorus in "Ragnarok" to hit for a perfect example of the big 80s pop influence that's taken hold on this outing from the denim-vested punk band.

The lineup of the Steve Lambke-curated SappyFest 12 was finalized this week with a number of additions, including Guelph three-piece Shopkeeper, Dan Romano's power-pop sideproject Ancient Shapes, Peterbourgh electronic/drone act Joyful Joyful, and more. The festival takes place from August 4th to the 6th in Sackville, New Brunswick. A mix-tape featuring of all the performers is also now online to download and explore.

Quebec's Festival de Musique Émergente also finalized their lineup, with an international group of artists from a number of genres set to descend on the mining town of Rouyn-Noranda. An earlier announcement saw a number of critically lauded Canadian acts at the top of the bill, including A Tribe Called Red and Andy Shauf. Digging through the unveiled list of performers you'll find the likes of Montreal synthpunks Duchess Says, Saint Lambert rock band Zen Bamboo, theatrical electro-pop act Blood and Glass, and prolific garage rocker Paul Jacobs. That's just scratching the surface. The event runs from August 31st to September 3rd.

I talked extensively about Toronto party-punk Pkew Pkew Pkew a few weeks back on the event of their singing to LA punk label SideOneDummy. The label's just re-released their last record for the US market, titled + One to indicate the addition of the new song "Cold Dead Hands." Here it is in a new video:

Everyone seems to be in love with the sunny new song from Halifax indie-pop act Century Egg. "Ki Swui Kya" premiered at The Fader recently in support of the band's appearance at this this weekend's just-wrapped Hillside festival. Like much of the band's past material this new track is sung entirely in Mandarin. That and the animated video from Chris and Susie Shapones make the whole thing pretty surreal and memorable.

To completely juxtapose the mood of that song, check out the dark, cinematic video for "The Written Rules of Choking" from Toronto four piece post-hardcore act Sparrows. The song's from their 2016 New Damage release Let The Silence Stay Where It Was.

Thanks to St. Catharines, Ontario's Warehouse concert hall for sponsoring this month of Some Party. I saw New Swears play the venue last week with Strange Shakes and it was a great time. This coming week will see shows from local acts KASE and Limestone Chorus along with an upcoming 90s hip-hop night and more.

The shortlist for the 2017 Polaris Music Prize was announced this past week, with a mix of new and familiar acts on the list. This year the grand jury will deliberate between records from A Tribe Called Red, BADBADNOTGOOD, Feist, Gord Downie, Lief Vollebekk, Lido Pimienta, Lisa Leblanc, Tanya Tagaq, Weaves, and the late Leonard Cohen. There's a number of angles you can take when looking at the set, from the fact that there's a number of indigenous artists and issues represented, to a complete lack of francophone representation, to the number of returning winners, or even the possibility of a posthumous win. The winner will be decided on September 18th at a gala event Toronto.

Speaking of awards, past Polaris short listers PUP picked up the fan-voted SOCAN Songwriting Prize this year for their The Dream is Over track "DVP." The band's delightfully nostalgic Nintendo-collage video for the song is always worth revisiting.

Details on a new full length from Montreal post-rock legends (and 2013 Polaris winners) Godspeed You! Black Emperor have apparently been leaked on Reddit. Exclaim covered the situation quite well, although the official announcement of the new album Luciferian Towers has not yet been made. Expect it on September 22nd if it all plays out.

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