Hamilton-via-Toronto "existential disco" project Man Made Hill has announced a new release on Pleasence Records titled Fingertip. The 18 song cassette will be Randall Gagne's 20th release under the name. Gagne commented on his difficult to peg sound in the label's press release, somehow becoming (fittingly) more oblique in each successive statement:
"I think of it as some kind of Mutant Smorgasbord... I wanted these songs to feel physical in every way, and to show how music unfolds from the fingertip into all sensual centres... I wanted my songs to function as links to raw, concrete experience that can be held and kept, and integrated into your own personal history. Plus Total Attitude!”
The first track unveiled from Fingertip is the smooth weirdo funk of "My Accoutrements." You can stream it below. The cover art's fantastic too. Fingertip will be available on March 2.
This was a busy week for the Toronto label. Coming off their first festival last weekend Pleasence also announced a new cassette release from Lethbridge, Alberta garage rock act J Blissette. Jackson Tiefenbach is a self-described "tropical-glam eccentric" who pairs early 70s punk influences from Buzzcocks and Television with that nervous new-wave energy that made Elvis Costello famous. That's all expressed through a post-war Vegas/Honolulu/Havana aesthetic and performed with a 12-string guitar. It's a fair bit sunnier than than you'd expect out of Lethbridge, with pineapples and floral print shirts abound.
You can see that look on display in J Blissette's new video for "A Series of Observations," which I premiered on Punknews last Monday. The video finds Tiefenbach and his drummer Matthew Rederburg in an intense fruit-centric interrogation. You'd best just watch it. The tape comes out on March 9.
Fake Love Songs has always been a bit of a local legend in Niagara. Originally a cassette release in 2008, the collection contained six songs from Welland's Attack In Black. I'm not certain if these were recorded before or after the band tracked their last album (2009's Years (By One Thousand Fingertips)), regardless but they were passed around like contraband in the local scene. These were illicit MP3s that people a degree or two separated from the band would sneak you on the sly if you asked nicely.
Given how aggressively the members of Attack In Black have moved on and fostered their solo careers, nobody expected to see this material reconsidered and put back in print. Surprise, surprise, on Valentine's Day last week Dine Alone announced a vinyl pressing. The 100 clear variants sold out more or less instantly, but the black (limited to 400) are still available at the store.
Attack In Black were of course not the only act to hitch a romantically named release to Valentine's Day. Belleville native Caylie Runciman, better known as the indie-pop act Boyhood, unveiled a new song titled "Luvbomb" that day as well. It's another track due to appear on Bad Mantras whenever it comes out.
I was just listening to Boyhood's 2012 LP When I'm Hungry, and the amount of growth between those early low-fi recordings and Runciman's new material is pretty amazing.
Keeping with the theme, Toronto punks PKEW PKEW PKEW dug up an old recording for Valentine's Day, and one with a geek twist. "Mon Cherie Marie" is a love song about Rogue and Gambit of the X-Men. It appeared originally on Glory Days, the band's 2013 LP from back when they were "PKEW PKEW PKEW (Gunshots)." For reasons I'm not privy to, that record's been (lightly) erased from history, so this is quite likely new to you.
The eclectic multi-instrumental Guelph and London-based rock group WHOOP-Szo have announced a new 7" single for April. Edmonton's The Grizzlar will handle the release, which will feature the song "The Dive" backed with "Untitled Travelogue."
The release will coincide with the band's upcoming tour of Mexico with the Guadalajara-based band Canibales. While down south, WHOOP-Szo will record in Canibales' Rockweiler Studio. The group will collaborate with local musicians and make use of unearthed pre-colonial instruments at the sessions. WHOOP-Szo will be joined on tour by filmmaker (and Grizzlar owner) Drew McIntosh. He'll be filming for a documentary.
You can find the band's Mexican tour dates at Exclaim and check out a promotional video for the tour, which features the new track "Organlude."
WHOOP-Szo was also recently confirmed as one of the bands slated to play the Flourish Festival in Fredericton, NB. That event will run from April 19 to 22 and features bands like the Lonely Parade, Motherhood, the Famines, Yess Woah, and B.A. Johnston among many others. You can find the full lineup at the event's website.
Halifax indie-rock act Nap Eyes have released another song from their upcoming LP I'm Bad Now, titled "Dull Me Line." It's one of 10 songs you'll find on the March 9 release, a joint effort between You've Changed Records, Paradise of Bachelors, and Jagjaguwar in different territories.
I'm Bad Now is the follow-up to Nap Eyes' acclaimed 2016 LP Through Rock Fish Scale. The new record was recorded and mixed by Howard Bilerman with Mike Wright at Hotel2Tango in Montreal.
While their crowdfunding campaign hasn't quite reached the half-way mark, Vancouver punk legends D.O.A. are nonetheless hard at work on their 40th anniversary LP. Joey Shithead recently posted a photo from the studio where he revealed that Ron Reyes (famously Black Flag's second vocalist) will appear on the album. Reyes, who's lived in Vancouver for decades, sang on five of the new D.O.A. songs, including one titled "Fight Back."
D.O.A.'s previous record was 2015's Hard Rain Falling. The new set will be out in May on Sudden Death Records.
Ron Reyes and I working on vocals for the new DOA album. Great session, Ron sang on five songs including "Fight Back". Still need people's help on our Go Fund Me drive, get cool DOA swag. https://www.gofundme.com/help-doa-record-40th-anniversary-album #doapunk #vancouverpunk #vancouverisawesome #vancouver #georgiastraight #paddyduddy #mikehodsall #canadianpunk #cecilenglish #fightback #ronreyes
Toronto's The Holy Gasp have released another new track, titled "What I Gotta Know." In a statement vocalist Benjamin Hackman and guitar player Sebastian Shinwell describe it as:
"a poppy little ditty that examines the many uncertain doors through which lovers walk on their quest toward togetherness, and tries to understand how polyamory is sometimes used as a lubricant for divorce."
As with their "Beat Wave" single from November, this song finds Hackman and Shinwell pulling in a number of studio players and backing vocalists to create a multi-layered "big band punk" spectacle. There are a few fewer players here than on that earlier track, but still a ton of moving parts (and a sitar in the mix at one point). One gets the sense that these songs are anything but quick to produce.
Burlington, Ontario melodic punk act Shift-D have premiered a new single titled "Recovery." The track comes from their forthcoming full length This Message Will Self-Destruct, due later this year on Montreal's Thousand Islands Records. The new record follows up the band's 2015 release Battle On Your Own.
Ottawa singer-songwriter Cory Levesque recently took part in the Parking Lot Sessions, a project of the CHRW radio show Incorrect Thoughts. Show host Chris Forrest filmed, edited, mixed, and mastered the performance, which features Levesque playing "Broken Chords and Melodies" and "Filling in the Void" live in a parking lot in downtown Sarnia.
Last week I shared a song from Levesque's hometown contemporary Jon Creeden, who has a new record titled Stall with his punk rock band The Flying Hellfish. Despite whatever I wrote about the release date, that record is available right now as a pay-what-you-want download at Bandcamp. Jon's band this time out features drummer Jason Adair, guitarist Steve McCrimmon, and bassist Ryan Cox. Ryan also recorded and mixed the record, which was mastered by Dave Williams of Crusades. The band co-produced the album with Brutal Youth's Patty O'Lantern.
The album is a co-release between Map and Continents Records, Dead Broke Records, and My Fingers! My Brain! Records. Creeden has also launched a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo to help fund the vinyl.
Halifax garage rock band Gun Jr. has released a new single from their gritty October-released LP The Shakes. The track is titled "This Hole," and you can check it out below. Gun Jr. will support Winnipeg's Hearing Trees when they roll into Halifax on April 13 with locals The State of Alaska and Shuteye.
Hamilton, Ontario's The Crowleys have released a new EP titled Colours Change Their Tone. The six-song set finds the band, who've been making music together since high school, continuing to turn out delicate rock songs with psyche flourishes. The EP was recorded, mixed, and produced by Michael Keire and Cohen Wylie at Threshold recording studio.
Alberta's post-punk act Preoccupations continue to garner a ton of press in the lead up to their third studio album, New Material. The band just released a stylish video for the song "Antidote," a percussion-driven number with (in my humble opinion) a pretty damn compelling hook in the chorus. Michael Wallace and Evan Pearce directed the video.