Don't Touch My Stuff
2016's excellent Pictures, Movies & Apartments seemed like it had ushered in a new era for Montreal's Paul Jacobs. The garage-psych noisemaker was coming off a wildly prolific period three-year span that saw him digitally release (something like) six full-lengths plus a smattering of EPs. His sound had grown from chaotic one-man bedroom-sessions to a lush, fully orchestrated wall of sound. Pictures not only saw a real physical release on Stolen Body Records but a proper supporting tour from Jacobs and his band the Big City Babies.
That almost sounds normal. Say it ain't so!
Fear not, because this week the weirdo low-fi Paul Jacobs came roaring back. The Windsor-native and bandmate Meagan Callen released two playful EPs of strange little tunes under the name Garbage Truck. The first, Excellent Shopping, burns through 11 songs in 12 minutes. The second, Save For Food, manages 15 tracks in the same span. Paul didn't make much of an announcement regarding the material, other than including a comment that this is their "home recording of what they think the band should do."
Because that's not enough for a given week, Jacobs also animated a video for the Save For Food song "Craig's Here," a song about the Nintendo 64 game Goldeneye (or at least the guy playing it).
Jacobs and his band (the real one, not Garbage Truck) are slated to play the Distortion psychFest in Montreal this May.
Mint Records has signed the Vancouver-based four-piece slacker-punk group Dumb and will release an LP from the band on June 22, titled Seeing Green. The 14 song set was recorded and mixed by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor and mastered by Greg Mindorff at Suite Sound Labs.
Dumb singer and guitarist Franco Rossino premiered their new song "Mint" at Paste, commenting:
"The song is about a person asking their wealthy friend for money because they like money and want to spend it on stuff they enjoy... This is part of the overall theme of the album which has to do with money, envy, growth, and frustration. It’s called ‘Mint’ because the speaker is envious of the listener for having made a mint, but also because the band Dumb has just signed to Mint Records."
Aaron Goldstein has a hell of a resume, having played pedal steel guitar on records I love from Daniel Romano, Bry Webb, Weaves, and the Weather Station among others. He's also worked behind the scenes for years producing bands at his Baldwin Street Sound studio in Toronto. Last week Goldstein, under the guide Espanola, released a pair of solo recordings. These include a new original titled "Outside Saskatoon" and a cover of the Hip's "It’s A Good Life If You Don’t Weaken." The latter features Ian Blurton on lead guitar.
Here's what Aaron had to say about the tracks (and a future album) in the press release:
Back in 2013, I spent two weeks writing at The Dunk in Prince Edward Island. The place was run by this fellow named Hal Mills – a great friend to artists, a real music lover and an encourager of cool things. He must have been over 70, and had built this bandstand on the property where he threw these big shows that people would come from all around to see. I got a lot of songs written down there. The following year, I recorded some of those songs way out on the plain in Saskatchewan, on a grid road near the town of Delisle. I loved everything about Sinewave Studios – from Chad Mason who ran the place, to the tape machine he was using, to the sheer isolation. You’d walk out the front door and, aside from Chad’s house, there really wasn’t much to see 360° around except for snowy prairies, some wooden fence, and the odd silo. Perfect solitude.
To be honest with you, today’s release was supposed to be two jams from this album I mention, that I’ve been working on for nearly five years. But then I got to thinking about that trip to Saskatchewan, Hal Mills out in PEI, the people I spent time with in both of those provinces, and this new song, “Outside Saskatoon,” just sorta wrote itself.
I get such a Marriage-era Attack In Black vibe from this track. Check it out.
Zak Tatham directed this one. I shouldn't even attempt to describe this, you need to experience it on your own. Let it wash over you.
Calgary indie pop-rock act Pre Nup, the husband-and-wife duo of Josiah and Sara Hughes, has shared "The Grudge," another new song from their upcoming full length Oh Well.
Oh Well features the Hughes backed by Chris Dadge and Darrell Hartsook of the Calgary band Lab Coast. They also helped produce. Vancouver's Jay Arner mastered the record, which arrives on May 4 via Debt Offensive and Jigsaw Records.
Vancouver punk trio Sore Points were in a recent episode of the revived X-Files, performing on stage during the opening of the third episode of the ongoing eleventh season, titled "Plus One." In it, the band appears on stage performing a song titled "Unsaid Undone," which is particularly notable as it's a cover of a tune lead actor David Duchovny wrote and released on a 2015 solo album. The band also performs a cover of the Jimmie Rodgers classic "Mule Skinner Blues" in the show. You can find a clip, at least until the copyright police come down on it, at YouTube.
Sore Points released a killer 7" on Hosehead Records last summer titled "Don't Want To" that is required listening. I don't think it featured anything by Duchovny though, so your mileage may vary if that's all your in for.
Last year the New Constellations tour brought together musicians from various genres and backgrounds for a unique, intimate set of shows across Canada and within several First Nations communities. The project was the brainchild of the Basement Revue variety show and the music platform Revolutions Per Minute, with curation by the Revue's Jason Collett, Cree/Dene media maker Jarrett Martineau, and poet Damian Rogers. Along with a 13 stop tour, New Constellations featured a mentorship program and workshop series for Indigenous youth. The artists who took part (a roster that included Lido Pimienta, Jasmyn Burke, and Ian Campeau) helped young Indigenous talent build skills in songwriting, composition, and production.
The results of that process are now available to hear. The New Constellations Mixtape features 14 tracks from young artists who took part in the mentorship program.
Two weeks ago I wrote about a pair of new releases on the way from Fashionism, the Vancouver-based glam-punk group featuring the voice of New Town Animals and Fashionism frontman Jeffrey McCloy. Last week New Noise premiered the band's new single "Come On Baby," which is due on a 7" to be co-released by Vancouver's Neon Taste and the UK's Drunken Sailor label. You can check it out below.
Fashionism also has an LP release coming up on Drunken Sailor titled Smash Singles, which will collect the band's prior singles. It'll be available as the band takes to Europe in the spring.
Finally, last week the Ottawa Explosion Weekend made a significant lineup announcement. After earlier teasing that the event will feature the UK punk group Martha, recent LA-based Mint signees Peach Kelli Pop, and hometown heroes the White Wires, the organizers have confirmed 29 additional bands. The slate now includes visiting Alberta acts like Wares, J Blissette, Leather Jacuzzi, and Feel Alright. Toronto's WLMRT and Tough Age return after making waves at last year's event. Hometown punk groups like the Steve Adamyk Band, Deathsticks, and Doxx are also slated to appear. You can dig into the while list and find presale tickets now at ottawaexplosion.com.
The 2018 edition of the garage and punk music festival will take place from June 14 to 17 at a number of venues across the capital. I'll be there and probably won't stop talking about it until then. Sorry.