Lo Fi Garage Symphonette
Is there a more endearing story in Canadian rock than the rediscovery and revival of Hamilton's Simply Saucer? The proto-punk act has, largely through the efforts of a handful of enthusiasts, reclaimed their spot in the lineage of underground music in this country. Some lovingly crafted reissues and tributes continue to reaffirmed this, from Jesse Locke's Heavy Metalloid Music book to the recent LP redux of Cyborgs Revisited on the prominent US garage rock label In The Red. Local punk label Schizophrenic Records, long a champion of the band, also recently reissued the group's 1978 single She's a Dog. With a recent US tour under their belts and prominent appearances last year at festivals like Sled Island, it's a good time to be a fan.
It's about to get better.
Last week Label Obscura announced a new 7" single from Simply Saucer, featuring their first truly new material in 40 years. The 45 will feature the songs "Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette" and "Alien Cornfield," both of which were recorded and produced by Nyles Miszczyk at Toronto’s Royal Mountain Studio. The lineup for these songs includes founding singer/guitarist Edgar Breau and bassist Kevin Christoff, alongside guitarist Mike Trebilcock (The Killjoys), vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Colina Philips (who's worked with everyone from Alice Cooper to Bruce Cockburn) and keyboardist Ed Roth (a Rick James collaborator). As with recent live performances, Jesse Locke finds himself behind the drum kit as a member of the band he wrote the book on. The new single features art from Julia Dickens.
In the premiere at Paste Magazine, frontman Edgar Breau commented on the two new songs:
"'Lo-Fi Garage Symphonette' is our homage to the garage influences Simply Saucer had in the ’70s like The Seeds, ? and The Mysterians, Wally Tax & The Outsiders, and a lot more obscure psychedelia. I was thinking about the street level, everyday life I was experiencing in the East End of Hamilton while living in a storefront on a piece of foam, basically sleeping with the amps and the instruments while writing the songs that became Cyborgs Revisited.
'Alien Cornfield' is kind of a throwback, retro sci-fi thing where two children encounter teenage aliens in a cornfield. The kids tell their parents, but they don’t believe them and think it’s all made up. One of the aliens, a girl named Stella Stayhigh, gets arrested. Then the children come up with a plot to spring them free and end up going back where they came from. That’s the story of the song in a nutshell."
Simply Saucer will support the new single with a pair of release shows. They'll appear at Toronto's Baby G on June 21 and Hamilton's This Ain't Hollywood on the 30th.
Former Apollo Ghosts and COOL TV frontman Adrian Teacher digitally released a surprise new record last week from his band Adrian Teacher and the Subs. The propulsive nine song guitar-pop set, titled Anxious Love, was recorded by David Carswell (Destroyer, the New Pornographers) at JC/DC studios and mastered by Joshua Stevenson at Otic Sound. The Subs is a three-piece featuring Teacher on guitar with bassist Robbie Naal and drummer Amanda P. This outing features guests Karl Blau on sax and Nick Krgovich on piano.
Teacher commented in the press release:
"A couple of years ago, my drummer Amanda got sick, and then she got better. Then my dad got sick, and he's not really going to get better. So I wrote these songs as I was thinking about this, and a lot of other things too. "
The Subs are playing shows in the coming weeks with Japandroids and Wolf Parade. You can find those dates and other details over at Exclaim.
Prolific Lethbridge, Alberta musician Brandon Saucier recently released a new digital single under the name Print Head. While it's a moniker Saucier's taken before, he's been far more active as the high-strung post-punk outfit WINT. The new tracks, which are playfully low-fi with a bit of a Devo vibe, are titled "My Mind" and "You Remain." They follow up a 23 song WINT album Saucier released in January titled Naivety.
On the moodier end of the post-punk spectrum, Montreal's Bleu Nuit nave launched a new single titled "Féminin Masculin." It's the haunting first song released as part of the band's new collaboration with the Michel Records label (home of Corridor, Halo Maud, and VICTIME). A full length is expected on the label at some point in 2019. In the meantime, you can find Bleu Nuit playing a set at this year's Ottawa Explosion Weekend alongside Doxx and Leather Jacuzzi on the Friday night of the festival.
Mint Records has released a new karaoke-style video from Vancouver's Dumb, featuring the song "Hard Sea." The track will appear on the four-piece slacker-punk group's upcoming LP Seeing Green, a 14-song collection recorded by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor.
While we're in Vancouver let's also check in with ACTORS. The new wave inspired four-piece has another new video online featuring material from their recent Artoffact Records full-length It Will Come To You. They feature the song "Crystal" in the video, which was crafted by the husband and wife UK-based production team The Fashtons.
ACTORS features guitarist/vocalist Jason Corbett with Shannon Hemmett on synth, bassist Jahmeel Russell (ex-KEN mode), and drummer Adam Fink. Corbett recorded and produced the band's recent material at his Jacknife Sound studio.
I'm a big fan of "Clay Turris," the crunchy new power-pop single from Montreal's Lost Love. The track will appear on the band's upcoming LP Good Luck Rassco, their third record. There's now a video for the 90s-flavoured track online, shot and edited by the band's Olivier Thériault. It's chock full of pets, which adds further evidence to my theory that the majority of music videos these days are just phone footage of dogs.
Calgary's Feel Alright will release In Bad Faith next Friday on Pleasence Records. While you wait there's another new track to preview from the guitar-pop album, the lead-off track "A Lengthy End to a Bullfight." The band premiered the song at The Alternative, where Feel Alright principle Craig Fahner commented:
"The riff for this song got stuck in my head while I was at a grocery store. I came home and turned it into a song when I realized I wasn’t knocking off the lick from Sister Golden Hair by America. The song is about the way memories can seep through the texture of things – a scuff in the hardwood, some dusty scent, a song – throwing you back into moments you might have tried to forget. I was really hoping to capture the feeling of AM gold budget pop, so I buried a lot of acoustic guitars and cheap string synths under everything to get there."
Feel Alright will support the release with a performance at the Ottawa Explosion Weekend in June. An LP release show in Toronto is also scheduled for June 14 at the Owls Club and will feature sets from their TO labelmates Goosebump, Edmonton's Wares, and Nutrients.
The new video was put together by the Justis Krar to launch his new video production outfit IMMV Productions. Krar, who plays guitar on Our Pleasure, has also served in the revolving lineups of Ancient Shapes and TV Freaks, and is one half of the indomitable SIDEMAN. He commented on his video methodology:
"What I do is sort of like a video collage, but with a narrative focus. I sort through seemingly infinite databases of stock footage, looking at hours and hours of public access tv, instructional tapes and 90’s music videos. Each shot and moment has a purpose and meaning that I feel connects to the song."
Vancouver-based comic boo -themed punk group The Corps are gearing up to release a new record on May 19 titled Tales From 2814. That's 2814 as in "Sector 2814," the designation of space where Earth resides in DC Comics' Green Lantern cosmology. The four-piece features Real McKenzies members Andrew Pedersen, Dan Stenning, and Dan Garrison, along with Ronnie Ellis.
Ellis, in an on-stage incident that was caught on camera, recently broke his nose during a performance. The band subsequently appeared on the video podcast series Intergalactic Interviews where they gave a play-by-play of the injury. You can find that clip below. The Corps also premiered a new song, "Rann Thanagar Wars," as part of the recent episode of the Rocket from Russia show. You can hear it in their archives.
The Corps will launch the new record this coming Saturday with a show at Vancouver's Astoria with The Greatest Sons, Storc, and Spring Breaks supporting.
Toronto's art-rock quartet Weaves has recorded a cover of the Arcade Fire's 2004 single "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)." It's set to appear as part of a special promotional 10" to be made available in the fall from the Polaris Music Prize. It's to be given away at select retailers with the purchase of a Polaris nominated album. You can check out video of Weaves' rendition below.
Weaves last released the record Wide Open on Buzz Records in October. They were shortlisted for the Polaris prize last year for their self-titled debut record.
The second slate of performers has been confirmed for SappyFest, the early-August music festival that takes place annually in Sackville, New Brunswick.
The latest batch of bands includes Boyhood, Darlene Shrugg, Cris Derksen, Nick Ferrio, Ice Cream, Motherhood, Nap Eyes, Quaker Parents, Ansley Simpson, and a reunion of Dog Day. They'll join previously announced performers like U.S. Girls, Jennifer Castle, and B.A. Johnston.
Dog Day is a Halifax based rock act that's been on hiatus for the past five years. The band's original lineup, joined by new addition Meg Yoshida, will be making one of their first performances since since the release of their debut album Fade Out back in 2013.
The Halifax/Montreal based Nap Eyes will also take part in the August festival. They're playing in support of their recent LP I'm Bad Now. That record, the band's third, saw a joint release in March from You've Changed Records, Paradise of Bachelors, and Jagjaguwar in different territories.
Last week Nap Eyes took part in The Lagniappe Sessions, recording covers of songs by Lucinda Williams, Neil Young, and The Feelies for the LA music blog Aquarium Drunkard. The band recorded live, with the exception of some guitar overdubs, at Mike Wright's shed in Montreal. You can download MP3s of the covers, and read the band's comments on their picks, at the long-running blog.