One of the highlights of the Ottawa Explosion Weekend last year was a packed in-store performance at Vertigo Records that featured Halifax punks the Booji Boys along with a pair of Sudbury groups, the Ape-Ettes and Tommy and the Commies. The latter tore through a short set of bright, upbeat 77-style punk rock with a significant Buzzcocks vibe. That influence just radiates from "Devices," a track from the band's new four-song cassette release Tommy and the Commies... Again. The band recorded the tracks live with Mick Futures (Strange Attractor drummer Mitch Houle) at Piss Factory Studios on January 6.
The new set carries an April 7 release date, but you can likely grab physical copies at the band's upcoming shows. Tommy and the Commies will play this Wednesday at Sudbury's Townhouse Tavern with Ancient Shapes, then on Friday in North Bay at Raven and Republic with the aforementioned Ape-Ettes.
This is so much fun:
Medicine Hat bred post-punk group Freak Heat Waves (who have now relocated to Montreal after a time in Victoria) are set to return with their ambitious third full length on April 6. Telephone Explosion will release the record, titled Beyond XXXL. It follows up 2015's Bonnie's State of Mind. In a statement, multi-instrumentalist and singer Steven Lind described the band's trippy new sound:
In the past we were happy to use identifiable instruments, but this time we were set on creating our own sounds... We processed everything, blended drum machines with real drums, and re-amped our synths and guitars to get into a mutant futuristic zone. New territory was the goal.
The band's core of Lind and Thomas DiNinno self-produced this new effort, which was under construction for over nine months. They recorded bass, guitar, and drum machine tracks at Portland Community College's studio with electronic percussion expert Shawn Trail. The first of the eleven new tracks to be unveiled is "Self Vortex," which you can find below.
Freak Heat Waves have a batch of tour dates scheduled following the album's release, many with Preoccupations. You can find those at Exclaim. Before those the band's scheduled to appear at the Wavelength winter festival in Toronto on Saturday, February 17 at the Garrison. They're playing a show that also features Odonis Odonis, Tough Age, Kurt Marble, and Luge.
Windsor's Psychic Void has released a new full length titled Terminal Vacation, which finds a menacing middle ground between psych-rock and early hardcore. There's just something so compelling about spacey reverb atop Black Flag riffs. You can, and should, stream the 8-song record over Bandcamp now. The four-piece features vocalist Jesse Knight, guitarist Josh Kaiser, bassist Matty Menard, and drummer Pete Garant. They recorded at Kaiser Sound Productions back in October.
Artoffact Records will release It Will Come To You, the debut full-length from Vancouver four-piece ACTORS on March 9. The band's made the songs "L'appel Du Vide" and "Slaves" available to stream. They're two of ten. The songs demonstrate a slickly produced repurposing of elements from early 80s post-punk and new wave. The press release isn't really reaching when it names Bauhaus and pre-excess U2 as comparisons. Frontman Jason Corbett wrote, produced, mixed, and mastered the band's material at his studio Jacknife Sound. ACTORS finds Corbett backed by Shannon Hemmett on synth, bassist Jahmeel Russell (formerly of Winnipeg noise-rock act KEN mode), and drummer Adam Fink.
Royal Mountain Records will release People Person, the debut album from Montreal indie-rock band Everett Bird on February 22. The group recorded with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes. The song "Bucket of Dark Meat" has been released to preview the record. Here's what the group had to say about it:
“Bucket of Dark Meat” was the first song we wrote for the album. The song is about the feeling of anxiety a person gets when it seems like everyone is being more productive than you. On the other end, the song is about suppressing that feeling with things that make you happy.
Exclaim recently ran a piece on the upcoming releases from Victoria's Supreme Echo. The label has a number of archival collections and reissues forthcoming from a host of Canadian rock bands from the 70s and 80s. They include:
- Mission of Christ, a thrash metal band that featured a teenage Stephen McBean, who would later form Black Mountain. Kurt Ballou of Converge has remixed the band's late 80s demos at GodCity Studio. They'll be collected as an LP titled Silence In Grave.
- The Stiffs' self-titled debut 7" from 1978, which would have been among the city's first punk releases (if not the first), were it actually released.
- An obscure 1978 single from Ottawa's Vendetta titled "Modern Rockers"
- The 1979 self-titled EP from Vancouver's Wasted Lives, whose members went on to play in U-JERK5, the Modernettes, AKA, and Corsage. Ron Obvious, who recorded many early Vancouver punk acts in `77, has remastered the set.
- A vinyl pressing of the 1972 release Tatsi Sound Acetate by the band Triton Warrior, recorded prior to vocalist Joel Cohen joining the group.
All of these records are to feature speciality packaging and limited runs. You can find more at Supreme Echo website. All are expected by April 1st.
Mint Records posted a live video of Vancouver punk trio Needles//Pins performing live at the label's Ridiculously Early Xmas Party on December 2 at the Astoria Hotel. In the clip, which was filmed and edited by comedian Abdul Aziz, the band performs "Sleep" from their recent record Good Night, Tomorrow.
Vancouver's caustic "dyke punk stoner skater" duo Spike Girls have posted a video for the song "Bowl Burner" from their five-song EP Emerald Swarm. This is pretty far out in the crust punk realm, so fair warning as it's quite a few notches more abrasive than what I typically share. The video features a live performance filmed by Teo Robinson and skate footage in and around Vancouver filmed by the band last summer.
Toronto punk group The Flatliners recently took part in an Audiotree live session in support of their 2017 Dine Alone full-length Inviting Light. In it, the band performs six songs from the record. The set was recorded on January 12 in Chicago.
This past week the long list of 20 Canadian music videos vying for the Prism Prize was announced. The list will be voted on by a jury of 120 individuals from the film, arts, and music realms, with the shortlist to be revealed on March 27 and the winner awarded on May 13 at a gala at the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. The winning directory will net $15,000.
The list features A Tribe Called Red's 360 degree "Indian City" video, PUP's interactive choose-your-own-adventure video for "Old Wounds," the Expo '67 throwback of Alvvays' "Dreams Tonight," and Grimes' lavish sci-fi pop piece for "Venus Fly." You can find the full list and watch all the nominated video at the prize's website.
St. Catharines psych-rock group Fourth Way has released the song "Gumball 4200," which will appear on their forthcoming debut full-length Croak. The band will open for Weaves when they visit Niagara on March 5 for an IndoorShoes / Some Party co-presentation at the Warehouse Concert Hall. You can get tickets now at TicketFly and RSVP for the show at Facebook.