The New Calling
I caught the final Century Palm show this past Friday at Toronto's Smiling Buddha. This was a notable gig for a few reasons, and it featured as many starts as it did endings. The show opened with the first public performance of Don't Bother, the new five-piece fronted by Paul Lawton of Century Palm and the Ketamines. There's a clip of their set online that features the band playing "Friendship," one of several tracks debuted that night. If you check the caption you'll see that "Friendship" is right in line with Lawton's somewhat infamous trolling of the Canadian indie rock establishment. In the footage you'll see keyboardist Ronnie Tee, drummer Mark Streeter, bassist Marc Holmes, and guitarists Priya Thomas and Matt Nish-Lapidus. Paul's there too.
First Don’t Bother set! This song is called “Friendship” - all the lyrics are copy/pasted from the awful Kevin Drew globe and Mail piece from the summer. “We’re a middle class band with upper class needs and a lower class bank account / I didn’t think that I could sit on the sidelines / I don’t buy neighbourhoods, I build them! / it’s my curse! / It’s my curse! / cuz it’s all about friendship! Ladies and gentleman friendship!” #dontbother
The night also served as the record release show for The New Calling. That band features a pedigree that touches more of the Ottawa garage-punk scene than it would be possible to mention here. On their collective résumé you'll find the likes of Bonnie Doon, Warp Lines, Million Dollar Marxists, Mothers Children, Voicemail, Sedatives, and The White Wires highlighted. Notably, this is the new vehicle for White Wires frontman Ian Manhire.
This show coincided with the release of the band's debut four song self-titled 12" maxi EP on Moncton's Subfiction Records (the label's first release as well). It's limited to 500 copies and I can vouch for at least one of them. The record finds Manhire and company pairing that well-established Ottawa garage rock sound with some new wave influences and a hint of darkness. Live the band's set was remarkably polished. You can get a sense of their economic pop songwriting over at Bandcamp. The chorus of their eponymous track should definitely stick with you.
I won't dwell too much on Century Palm in this mailing, as I gave them a fair amount of space when the breakup was first announced, but it was a great send-off. In the lead-up to the show the band collected and shared whatever demos they had archived away, and you can check that material out over at SoundCloud once you've worked through the rest of their short catalogue.
Toronto's Moul D. have released Demo CS: six cuts of barely held together, raw-throated 80s-style hardcore. It's great. The band features the entirety of the Creep Highway line-up. That's indie cartoonists Michael DeForge (of the Instagram webcomic Leaving Richard's Valley and tons of amazing print work) and Patrick Kyle (Black Mass, Distance Mover, Don't Come In Here, Everywhere Disappeared) in case you've forgotten. I can't place the other two members based on their pseudonyms, so feel free to fill me in and I'll pass it on.
Welland, Ontario power-pop group Big School have unveiled Mint, their first full-length album. The quartet of Mitch Courtois, Codey Thompson, Riley Simpson, and Andrew Stark recorded the 12-song set with local audio engineer Kenneth Roy Meehan. You can find the record, which is bright, loud, and fun as hell, over at Bandcamp. The band will celebrate the release this Friday at the Black Sheep Lounge in Welland with support from St. Catharines’ rock band Output and the enigmatic Welland group Northern Primitive (a welcome return of the latter, who've been off the board for at least a year).
I'm really into the first single from Vancouver's Night People, which features dark, hooky punk rock awash in religious iconography (Ottawa's Crusades are cut from the same cloth). Deranged released the four-song 7" in late October. Night People features current and former members of a number of west coast groups, including Pura Mania, Spectres, Haggatha, After The Bombs, Fashionism, New Town Animals, The Jolts, Infidel, A Rock Band Called Time, and many others. I've had "Under the Sign of Christ" stuck in my head for the entire week.
Calgary punk act Leather Jacuzzi (members of Gawker and the late Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome) have released a video for the song "Gloved Hand Holding Caviar" from their new Danger Records LP The Whole Hog. That record collects the music from two cassettes, this year's tour release Slander, Lies And Soda and the band's 2016 debut Monsters, Narcs & Idiots. The video features many hands in many gloves, performing an assortment of tasks that gloved hands could do. This is without a doubt someone's fetish.
Montreal-via-Windsor garage-psyche artist Paul Jacobs has announced plans to hit Europe with his band the Big City Babies. There is no confirmed routing to share yet, but the group will be there from January 11 through February 12. They'll be touring behind 2016's full-length Pictures, Movies & Apartments, which just recently got a vinyl release via the UK's Stolen Body Records. If you're into Paul's stuff, and you totally should be as it's remarkably compelling, there's about 250 of these in the world so it's well worth the overseas order if you ask me.
Fredericton hardcore group Deep Fryer has released a four-song EP titled Rockin' Right Hard. The New Brunswick four-piece charges through a set of 90s-style hardcore with some quirky lyrical subject matter. The lead track "Jeremy," for example, tackles the legendary Patrick Roy / Jeremy Roenick feud from the '96 NHL playoffs. Timely stuff. The EP was recorded by Scott Miller of the Saint John metal group Anthesis at Ancient Temple Recordings.
Seattle's KEXP has posted a 20-minute in-studio session from Edmonton indie rock act Faith Healer. The band performed four songs in Montreal's Breakglass Studios on September 16 during POP Montreal, including "Waiting," "Light of Loving," "Try," and "2nd Time." All four tracks are from the band's sophomore full length Try ;-), which came out on Mint Records that same month.
While you're checking out studio sessions, CBC Music has a live performance from Toronto industrial/electronic act Odonis Odonis online as part of their First Play Live series. The trio performs "Eraser," "Check My Profile," "One," "Nasty Boy" — all of which appear on the band's recent Telephone Explosion-released LP No Pop — along with "Needs" from 2016's Post Plague.
Single Mothers have announced a number of December shows in support of their Dine Alone-released 2017 full-length Our Pleasure. The band will perform in Quebec City, Hamilton, Toronto, and their hometown of London, Ontario alongside Toronto pop-punk group Little Junior. Both bands will join The Flatliners to support that band's co-headlining tour with A Wilhelm Scream when that circus hits Ottawa and Montreal. To top it off the group will support one of the sold out Alexisonfire reunion gigs in Toronto, which were rescheduled from earlier this year. All these dates can be found at Punknews.org.
What really interests me are the guests joining the band for some of these shows. The group's been touring recently with bassist Riley Simpson and guitarist Peter Landi backing frontman Drew Thomson and drummer Brandon Jagersky. The Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec City shows will feature former Dirty Nil bassist Dave Nardi performing with the group (Simpson will move to drums while Jagersky's temporarily away). Our Pleasure studio-guitarist Justis Krar, he of SIDEMAN and Ancient Shapes, will join the group for both their Toronto shows.
Montreal synth-punks Duchess Says and Windsor-via-Sackville slacker-rock heroes Partner will pair up for a small western Canadian tour in January. The bands will share the stage in Lethbridge, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton, and Calgary. A few of those shows are linked up with the Regina Folk Festival's Winterruption and the Big Winter Classic. You can find the dates and other details over at Exclaim.
Stomp Records has announced that Burlington's The Penske File will head to Europe for a month of touring in January. The band's working on a follow up to their 2015 album Burn Into The Earth for release in 2018, so they'll surely bring a lot of that material out on the road. You can find the dates over at Punknews.