Last week Buzz Records announced a split 7" featuring the lush Abbotsford, BC post-punk act Blessed and Winnipeg noise-punk outfit Tunic. The label released both sides of the split online in full, with the physical release to be available from the bands on their upcoming North American tour. That trek kicks off in Winnipeg on the 17th of May, then hopping back and forth across the border as it heads east. You can find all the details on Facebook.
The 7" features Blessed's first new music since their critically lauded 2017 EP II. "Sound" is a sprawling 7-minute track that shows a bit of a Talking Heads vibe at times. Guitarist/vocalist Drew Reikman described the song's creation in the premiere at Stereogum, commenting:
"We tracked “Sound” during a session in Montreal with a new producer, Jace Lasek. It evolved from a scratch take we did; wherein the drums came out sounding how we wanted immediately and we were able to use the extra time to experiment sonically and build on top of the initial demo. We invited our friend, Ola Kado, into the session to track violin pizzicato, which we ended up blending into the last half of the track. The song grew into itself over an amalgamation of new ideas we all brought to it, and we’re excited with where it ended up from where it began."
By contrast Tunic's searing "Teeth Showing" clocks in at just over two minutes. The three-piece is following up their 2017 EP Boss with the new track, which was also tracked by Lasek. Tunic's guitarist/lead-shouter David Schellenberg commented:
"'Teeth Showing' was one of the last songs we wrote in 2017. It’s one of those songs that just sort of fell out of us. We had just wrapped up about half a dozen other songs, so we knew what ideas were working, so we just went with it and we created what we jokingly called our “Rock Song”. Lyrically, this song continues to explore my dissatisfaction at the time with some of my more recent life choices. I describe things about a former partner that I miss, and that use to be really important to me."
Jennifer Castle premiered another new song from her upcoming LP last week. "Texas" is one of 10 songs set to appear on Angels of Death, due on May 18 from Idée Fixe in Canada and Paradise of Bachelors elsewhere. The video was directed by Davida Nemeroff. In the permiere at Uproxx Castle's colleague Jack Levinson commented:
"The video for 'Texas' is a continuing document of the long-standing collaboration and friendship between Jennifer Castle and Davida Nemeroff, both veterans of Toronto music scene of the early oughts, as a musician and a photographer respectively. The video, set to Castle’s song of the same name, shows a scene of mutual improvisation, with Castle dancing through the desert, making her camera-friend laugh; and Nemeroff’s camera, chuckling and moving in step with her. The video captures the song’s spirited folk sound and the artist’s exuberantly mystical personality, as framed by Nemeroff. Castle, notoriously private, opens like a desert flower for Davida, and is captured unhinged and candid, a glimpse only a true pal would see. We find both artists at home in the dusty terrain that inspired the song."
Angels of Death arrives four years after Castle's last LP Pink City.
While we're on the topic of Jennifer Castle, I should, of course, take a moment mention that the well-regarded Sackville, New Brunswick music festival SappyFest has announced the first portion of its 2018 lineup. The festival will celebrate 13 years with performances by Jennifer Castle along with The Burning Hell, Jeremy Dutcher, U.S. Girls, B.A. Johnston, WHOOP-Szo, Witch Prophet, Bonjay, Emma Healey, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Special Costello, and Julie & The Wrong Guys. SappyFest is under the creative direction of the Constantines' Steve Lambke.
I'll be making my first trek out to Sappy this year, and it's a ticket I bought entirely on the reputation of this thing before any announcements. Seeing how it's shaping up, I couldn't be more excited.
Melodic Montreal pop-punk act Lost Love have announced details on their upcoming third LP. Good Luck Rassco will arrive May 25 on Stomp Records and the French label Guerilla Asso. It's an 11 song set that includes the below-linked tune "Clay Turris." There's a delightfully catchy sing-along chorus in this one, a crunchy power-pop track that would feel right at home on one of Weezer's beloved early records. The new Lost Love effort follows up the band's 2016 album Comfortable Scars.
Lost Love was also recently confirmed as one of the Canadian bands headed down to Gainesville, Florida this October to take part in the beloved punk rock gathering The Fest.
Another Canadian act taking part this year's Fest is Brutal Youth, the St. John's, Newfoundland bred hardcore punk group that now calls Toronto home. The band released a video this past week for the song "Sandpit," from their 2016 Stomp LP Sanguine. The video was shot and edited by Jody of the Montreal punk group Mansbridge.
Red Deer, Alberta skate-punk trio Trashed Ambulance have shared "Accountable," the first single from their upcoming LP Flashes of Competence. The 12-song record is the band's second full length, following 2016's Blurry Thoughts and a pair of EPs last year. Once again the group's paired up with Montreal's Thousand Island Records for the release, which is due on May 4. Trashed Ambulance will support the LP with a tour through Ontario in May as the band travels to play Pouzza Fest on the long weekend in Montreal. You can find the dates on Facebook.
Toronto indie rock quartet Casper Skulls premiered a new video for the song "Colour of the Outside" last week. The track, with vocals from both Melanie Gail St-Pierre and Neil Bednis, comes from their recent Buzz Records full-length Mercy Works. Bednis spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about the track, commenting:
Lyrically “Colour of the Outside” was a real collaborative effort between Melanie and I. We wanted to depict a dystopian future; a feeling of helplessness and anxiety. Once we actually started performing the song we realized that the song more so depicts the time we’re living in now...
The band once again worked with Shawn Kosmerly (of Sudbury's Dirty Princes) on the video. Last week also saw the premiere of an Audiotree North session from the band, in which they performed "Caught on a Wire" (from their earlier Lips & Skull EP) at Longboat Hall. You can find that video and a write-up at Noisey.
Halifax four-piece punk act Future Girls announced that their long-in-the-works LP would finally see the light of day this summer, courtesy of Portland's Dirt Cult Records. The record will be titled Motivation Problems. No exact release date has been announced yet. Matty Grace commented in a Facebook post that unveiled the cover art:
This record was written over the course of 4 years and recorded in late 2016. It has been a long time coming but we’re elated to say it will finally see the light of day.
Future Girls will take part in the Ottawa Explosion Weekend this year, playing a Saturday night show on June 16 at the Clocktower with Don't Bother, Creep Wave, and Martha among others.
Toronto's Pleasence Records premiered music from two upcoming releases this past week.
Goosebump is the latest incarnation of Germaphobes, the art-pop songwriting team of Paul Erlichman and Neil Rankin. The band's new record, Goosebump by Goosebump, is due on July 6 via Pleasence. It follows up the group's last album under the Germaphobes name, 2016's Fiji Whizz. They recorded at Toronto's Sonology Studios.
Here's what the band had to say about their first single:
Pretentiousness warning ahead: the chorus of Goosebump by Goosebump’s first single, “Heather’s Invitation,” derives from a similar line in Ishiguro’s book called When We Were Orphans. It’s an older guy turning away his adopted daughter’s invitation to come live with her, because he’s prideful and drawn to loneliness. Total pop song material, right? The verse chords are basically the same ELO’s “Do Ya,” which is possibly the dumbest song ever written. Guess our song is middle-brow. Oh well!
Pleasence also announced the third record from singer-songwriter Isla Craig, premiering her new track "The Becoming" at Pop Matters. The LP of the same name comes out June 22. Craig's a frequent collaborator in Toronto's independent music scene, recently performing with the above-mentioned Jennifer Castle, the Cosmic Range, and U.S. Girls as well as working in the past with Owen Pallett and Fucked Up (she appeared on the Year of the Hare entry in their Zodiac series).
Toronto's post-punk/darkwave duo TRAITRS are nearing the May 19 release of their new full-length Butcher's Coin. Last week they premiered a new video for the song "Thin Flesh" at Cvlt Nation, a clip directed by Cape Breton's Adam Christopher Seward. Keyboardist Sean-Patrick Nolan described the video in the premiere:
"Horror films inspired a lot of the lyrics and imagery on the record, so we wanted the video to have an arthouse horror vibe. The pink and blue lighting is a nod to Dario Argento’s Suspiria, the kid opening this weird box is an homage to Hellraiser and the weirdness that ensues in the warehouse is inspired by David Lynch. We shot the video in a giant warehouse in Toronto’s west end two days before it was torn down. The entire building was buzzing with people clearing the place out to be destroyed."
Vancouver's folk-punk singer-songwriter Jesse Lebourdais released a new video for his song "Make It Boring," a track from his recent full-length Grief Intensity Friendship. That record, his fourth, was released last summer on My Fingers! My Brain! Records. The clip, filmed by Stephanie Hansen, features LeBourdais backed by drummer Dave Leslie and bassist Luc Frost.
Whitby, Ontario's Chastity continues to gear up for the release of their debut full-length Death Lust, which is set to arrive on July 13 via Captured Tracks. The grungy punk act, the brainchild of Brandon Williams, unveiled a video for the single "Children" this past week. It's heavy, in more ways than one. Williams spoke to NPR about the video, which he wrote, cast, and produced along with director from Justin Singer. He comments "this is a close-up on the practice of institutional racism that's revealed itself in my hometown by members of the police," referring to the alleged December 2016 assault of Dafonte Miller by an off-duty police officer and the botched investigation that followed.