Have Not Been the Same
This week it was announced that the recently reunited 80s Vancouver punk act Slow will play a show in Toronto as part of Canadian Music Week. They'll appear at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on May 9, supported by Hamilton's The Dirty Nil and London's Single Mothers.
Slow was formed by Thomas Anselmi, Christian Thorvaldson, Stephen Hamm, and Terry Russell in Vancouver, with Ziggy Sigmund joining the band not long after. The group had two releases for Zulu Records, the I Broke the Circle 7" in 85 and the Against the Glass full-length in the subsequent year. Slow was infamous for a performance at Expo 86 in Vancouver which devolved into chaos and controversy. If you want to get up speed on Slow (pause to appreciate dumb turn of phrase), Adrian Mack wrote an extensive piece for the Georgia Straight last fall that's absolutely worth your time. Artoffact Records remastered, repackaged, and reissued all of the band's collective recordings late last year.
Speaking of reunions, the Toronto low-fi post-punk act Anagram have announced one of their own. The band will get back together for one night only at the Owls Club in their hometown for a May 25 performance.
Anagram formed in the late 90s and played together until a final gig at the Silver Dollar in 2012. The band put out a number of releases in their decade together, including a self-titled EP in 2003, the After Dark LP in 2005, a split 12" with The Creeping Nobodies in 2006, another self-titled 7" release in 2007, and a final full length titled Majewski in 2010. For the May show, the band will feature their Majewski lineup of vocalist Matt Mason, guitarist Willy Mason, drummer Clayton Churcher, and bassist Jeff Peers.
Ottawa's Jon Creeden has unveiled "Anxious," the first song from his new LP with The Flying Hellfish. That record, titled Stall, will be Creeden's first recorded with the full band. It comes out on April 6 via My Fingers! My Brain! Records.
You may recall that back in the fall Creeden released a tour EP to promote his band's appearance at The Fest in Gainesville. It featured a few originals alongside covers of both Hot Water Music and Propagandhi, gruff melodic punk influences that should be readily apparent on "Anxious." Creeden's band this time out features drummer Jason Adair, guitarist Steve McCrimmon, and bassist Ryan Cox, with everyone sharing credit for backing vocals.
Speaking of Ottawa, punk group The Creeps have announced their return. The band has a new 11-song LP in the works titled Beneath the Pines. It'll see a spring release via Orange, California pop-punk label It's Alive Records.
There's no new Creeps music to share just yet, so go check out a few songs from their 2015 split The No Marks.
Brent Fulop, who played drums in the now-defunct Welland, Ontario punk rock act The Snips, has a new pair of songs online from his solo endeavour Maybe Kinda Sorta. The project's first two tracks, titled "Like Before" and "Make a Move," find the now Toronto-based artist churning 90s-style alt-rock that sounds utterly massive.
Montreal art-punk / indie rock quartet Ought have released another song from their upcoming full-length Room Inside the World, titled "Desire." In the press release, bassist Ben Stidworthy is quoted describing the new track as "Sade meets Springsteen," noting that it includes a 70-piece vocal choir.
Toronto indie-pop act Josh Mover & The Shakers have released a new track titled "When I Steal Your Heart." It's from the band's forthcoming EP Into a Ghost.
The new music was recorded last September at Union Sound Company by Ian Gomes (Teenanger, Odonis Odonis) and features Mover backed by Dilly Dally's Benjamin Reinhartz, Will Hunter of Nutrients, Joseph Landau of Formalists, Mat Wronski of The Sulks, and Clara Klein. The band's planning to celebrate the release with a February 23 show at Toronto’s Monarch Tavern.
We're nearing the February 23 release of FRIGS Basic Behaviour, and Arts & Crafts have released another preview track from the post-punk band's LP, a song titled "Solid State." Frontwoman Bria Salmena commented on the track in the press release:
"Lyrically, 'Solid State' is a stream-of-consciousness/subconscious conversation with myself, effectively more a confessional than a diary entry... the spoken vocals are stark and unfiltered, as their delivery is meant to be intimate and familiar. The song became a representation of the conversations that occur in your head when you are alone."
Mint Records has premiered a new track from Vancouver synth-pop act Kellarissa (Larissa Loyva) titled "Black Sea." It'll be part of the Loyva's upcoming third record under the stage name, titled Ocean Electro. Mint will release it on March 23.
Kellarissa will celebrate the release with a hometown show in Vancouver at the Red Gate Revue Stage on March 22. That event will feature a gathering of experimental pop acts from the city, including Devours, Mourning Coup, and a solo set from Hello, Blue Roses.
The inaugural Pleasence Fest took place this past weekend in Toronto, a celebration thrown by Pleasence Records featuring the bands from the label's roster past and present. The event also served to launch the Pleasence Podcast, which label-heads James Lindsay and Paul Lawton intend to serve as a forum on how to survive as an independent label today. In an interview with NOW Toronto, Lawton says "We want to have an honest conversation with people in gatekeeper positions and figure out what it takes to have them open the gate."
The first episode is now online at iTunes:
Season 01: Paul and James Get Rich! Paul Lawton & James Lindsay meet with former adversary, Canadian Indie Music celebrity and Madic Records head honcho Dan Mangan to discuss what is working (and not working) in the Canadian music industry. Plus, Dan reveals his startup plans that might open up an entirely new revenue source for emerging musicians.
A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of chatting with Ben Andress, frontman of Tillsonburg rock band The Smile Case and owner of the Blacktop Records label. Ben's embarking on a solo tour this month, dubbed the Sad Bastard Rust Belt Tour, which will see him playing shows in Michigan, Pennslyvania, and New York state before hopping back over the border for a show in Niagara Falls.
His sets will include material from 2014’s full-length Angel Beach, but also from his band’s next release. Ben's full three-piece, including bassist Shane McElhone and drummer Jackson Cronmiller, are planning record a new album titled Murder Weather with producer Kyle Winkworth later this year. You can read my piece, which digs into Ben's history with the Niagara scene, at The Sound. The latest tour dates can be found at Facebook.
Speaking of refugees of the Niagara music scene, Alexisonfire's Wade MacNeil recently announced that a film he helped score will premiere at SXSW this year. The Ranger is a horror flick directed by Jenn Wexler. The score, put together by MacNeil and Toronto's Andrew Gordon Macpherson, includes "lots of evil drones and new black lungs music on the soundtrack." Black Lungs is Wade's usually-but-not-always punk rock side-project that's gone through several incarnations over the years.
Here's how they describe The Ranger:
When Chelsea and her friends get in trouble with the cops, they flee the city and go on the run. Fueled by a hallucinogenic drug called Echo, they hope to lay low—and get high—in an old family hideout in the woods. But Chelsea’s got reservations about going back to nature and secrets she’s not sharing with her friends. When a shot rings out, her past comes crashing back, and the punks find themselves pitted against the local authority— an unhinged park ranger with an axe to grind.