Sunday June 10, 2018

Bathed In Light

Dundas, Ontario's three-piece rock combo The Dirty Nil have announced their sophomore full length. Master Volume will arrive on September 14 through Dine Alone Records. It follows up 2016's Higher Power, not to mention a whirlwind of touring (including extended runs with Florida punk heroes Against Me!), a "Breakthrough Group of the Year" JUNO, and a major personnel change.

The band's first single from the new set is "Bathed In Light," a huge power-pop track that resulted from sessions with veteran alt-rock producer John Goodmanson (Sleater-Kinney, Bikini Kill). It establishes a theme of car crashes that's said to recur throughout the album. Guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham commented on that, and the track's origins, in the press release:

"What can I say, most of the rock ‘n' roll I've consumed in my lifetime has something to do with fast cars, as Van Halen as that sounds... On a tour of England, I kept napping in the back seat of the sprinter. One dream, involving a fiery roundabout death, shocked me to consciousness and put me in a jittery mood. I wrote down some nonsense on the back of a guitar string package and put a stomper of a riff to it at soundcheck. Roundabouts are terrifying."

On this record The Dirty Nil are Bentham and longtime drummer Kyle Fisher, with Niagara music scene fixture Ross Miller marking his first full-length with the band on bass.

Higher Power arrived after the Nil had gigged independently across Ontario for more than half a decade on the strength of a prolific string of 7" singles, EPs, and other short-form releases. A proper full-length, promoted traditionally and issued with the full support of a label, felt like uncharted territory at the time. We're well into in the career cycle now (shit, the Dirty Nil have opened for The freakin' Who), but I like to remember that this was all once pretty surreal.

The Nil will debut new music on the road this summer with upcoming residencies in New York City and LA. They were also one of the bands confirmed for the Hamilton Supercrawl this September. They'll appear there alongside Bonjay, Ben Caplan, Duchess Says, The Pack A.D., Partner, and Weaves among others.

Listen: The Dirty Nil - "Bathed In Light" @ YouTube

The Flatliners, who toured alongside the Nil last summer, have announced new material of their own. The band is planning to release a new 7" vinyl EP next week titled Mass Candescence, a three-song set that carries forward with the sound of last year's Inviting Light LP. I hate to qualify it as the "more mature sound" as that's often said dripping with punk contempt, but for a band that made its name by writing upstroke skacore ragers 16 years ago, it's a little apt.

The EP will feature the new single "The Arousal of Repair," which you can stream below. Dine Alone will be selling a white variant of the record online, limited to 300 copies, with 200 pink slabs available at the band's upcoming shows.

Listen: The Flatliners - "The Arousal of Repair" @ YouTube

Windsor's Psychic Void released a killer 8-song tape earlier this year titled Terminal Vacation. It delivered a menacing mix of psyche-rock weirdness and 80s hardcore grit. The four-piece, which features vocalist Jesse Knight, guitarist Josh Kaiser, bassist Matty Menard, and drummer Pete Garant, has a new track to follow up that set online titled, "Gutter Butter."

The song's available as Psychic Readings Vol. 3, the third release in the cassette series from local label Psychic Readings Records. The tape, which has the song dubbed on both sides for good measure, comes with a download of both the track as well as the full Vol. 1 compilation. Josh Kaiser recorded "Gutter Butter," and the packaging features artwork and layout by Roye Trout.

Listen: Psychic Void - "Gutter Butter" @ Bandcamp

Buzz Records has detailed the upcoming full-length from the Montreal-via-Peterborough art-punk three-piece Lonely Parade. The band's new record will be titled The Pits, and will be available on September 14. The trio worked at Toronto's Candle Recording Studio with Josh Korody of Beliefs and Greys' Shehzaad Jiwani producing. The record will feature the song "Night Cruise," which you can preview through a new video below.

Augusta Veno spoke about the album, which was written in the wake of their Peterborough, Ontario scene dissolving.

“I don't think there's any way we could write another album like this now. It's charged with a very specific negative energy. We were friends with almost everyone in our tiny scene, and now no one talks to each other and nothing feels as penultimate as how it did in Peterborough then. It's so tiny there that if you fuck one thing up with someone and then go downtown, everybody knows. It just started feeling really small."

Watch: Lonely Parade - "Night Cruise" @ YouTube

Pleasence Records has released a new song from Toronto singer-songwriter Isla Craig, titled "Love Song." It's set to appear on her upcoming LP The Becoming, due on June 22. In a statement, Craig commented that the track explores "the womb of love, where we are held and offered refuge from the outside world... the dance between the interior and exterior worlds" and "the movement from idealized love towards one of reciprocity."

In recent times Craig's performed and recorded with Jennifer Castle, the Cosmic Range, and U.S. Girls. In the past, she's worked with the likes of Owen Pallett and Fucked Up among others.

Listen: Isla Craig - "Love Song" @ SoundCloud

I missed this when it was originally announced, but Halifax's Booji Boys (one of the best punk bands in Canada) are set to release a 7" EP sometime this year on Sewercide Records titled Unknown Pleathers. This will be a one-time pressing of 300 copies whenever it comes out. It follows up the band's two 2017 Drunken Sailor full-lengths (the latest, Weekend Rocker, arrived on Christmas day) as well as the Sweet Boy EP that Cruel Noise Records released in-between those.

Booji Boys were peddling a cassette a little while ago which previews a pair of songs from the EP. The Sackville Tape features the new track "I Wanna Be So Good" and a cover of "This is Rock 'n' Roll" originally by first-wave Belgian punk band The Kids.

Listen: Booji Boys - Sackville Tape @ YouTube

I'm a massive fan of "Cool Water," the first single that Calgary guitar-pop act Feel Alright shared in the lead-up to their recent Pleasance full-length In Bad Faith.

Last week the band issued a video for the song, animated by Mat Lindenberg. Frontman Craig Fahner commented on it in the premiere at Big Takeover:

"I made the “Cool Water” video with the brilliant and talented artist Mat Lindenberg using a video game development software called Unity3D. The idea started as a throwback to my childhood encounters with technology – I would spend a lot more time figuring out how to break things than how to use them as intended. I remember playing a skateboarding video game and finding a glitch that would let you float into a white void racking up infinite points, all while generating a beautiful feedback-like image. We attempted to reconstruct that kind of surreal passage into various strange environments, playing off of the song's weightless ambience.”

Watch: Feel Alright - "Cool Water" @ YouTube

Vancouver's slacker-punk act Dumb recently premiered a new song via Seattle's KEXP titled "Romeo." It's the album-opening track from Seeing Green, the band's new 14-song LP, which is due from Mint Records on June 22. You can find it streaming below.

Listen: Dumb - "Romeo" @ SoundCloud

Fresh off their successful crowdfunding campaign to replace virtually all of their stolen gear, Alberta's Preoccupations have released a new video for the song "Decompose." The Evan Henderson directed clip was shot live by Adam Stewart on the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. The video's visual style comes from film which had been boiled in salt water brine for weeks.

"Decompose" comes from the band's March-released album New Material, the third from the post-punk act. It was released via Flemish Eye in Canada and Jagjaguwar elsewhere.

Watch: Preoccupations - "Decompose" @ YouTube

Welland, Ontario three-piece Turbonegro-inspired scuzz-punk act Dboy, which features members of The Snips and Northern Primitive, has a new video out for the track "Born With a Hard On," which was shot by Brent Kore.

The song appears on the band's recent full-length, the mock-live record Prove Your Love - Live in Belem, which was recorded by Daniel Romano.

Watch: DBoy - "Born With a Hard On" @ YouTube

Vancouver punk outfit NEEDS will release a new record on June 22 titled Limitations through the File Under: Music label. The five-piece recorded at Rain City Studios with Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung)​.

Last week NEEDS released a video for the song "Everybody Makes Me Steaks." Here's what they had to say about it:

"Steaks" started off as a poem. We wanted to make a different sounding song in the vein of TV Freaks. There's a reference to Agate Beach which is in northern California where we stopped on the way down the first time. The title is a reference to my first ever solo exhibition where I presented London Drugs contact sheets blown up and encased in lucite. on the opposite wall I wrote "Everybody Makes me Steaks." it was meant to defy the dominant narrative of Vancouver school photography that looks for the ‘perfect photograph.' By showing the contact prints you could see all of my mistakes as well as the process. The song is rich in visual narrative and I wanted to complement that with an homage to 90s shoegaze videos, but, as with everything we do, we wanted to keep it light, event though it's basically a song about how much my body hurts all the time.

The band's prepared a series of essays that expand on the meanings behind songs of Limitations. It'll run at needslimitations.com.

Watch: NEEDS - "Everybody Makes Me Steaks"

Telephone Explosion has been the modern day champion of the late Canadian electronic music pioneer Bruce Haack, having previously reissued his records Haackula and Electric Lucifer Book II. They're now set to issue a set of previously unreleased music from the Alberta artist as Preservation Tapes. The LP will arrive on August 10.

The label detailed the collection's origins in their press release:

In 2016... Telephone Explosion began speaking with Ted Pandel (Bruce's lifelong friend and business partner) about working on the 1970 masterpiece The Electric Lucifer. It turned out there was another matter that he wanted to discuss: finding a final resting place for the Bruce Haack archive.

We were shown test-pressings of The Electric Lucifer board mixes from his Columbia studio sessions, countless pieces of written music, a large number of personal photos, an invitation from Raymond Scott inviting Bruce to play his newly created Electronium instrument (now owned by Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh), poems, press clippings, and, most importantly, a shelf containing 213 reel-to-reel tapes.

All of the chosen material on Preservation Tapes is unreleased and has only been heard by a handful of people. It showcases a relatively unknown period in Bruce's musical career where Bruce was recording for Sparrow Records (who billed themselves as "America's best Christian music record label.”) Bruce's signature Farad vocoder continues to feature prominently, but the lyrical content is decidedly more religious.

Listen: Bruce Haack - "When Mothers of Salem" @ SoundCloud

Toronto psyche/folk act The Highest Order has announced an upcoming live record. Live at the Silver Dollar will arrive in the fall on Idée Fixe Records, and as it says in the title it'll feature recordings of the band's performances in the now-shuttered Silver Dollar Room, which closed in the spring of 2017. The live set follows up the group's 2016 studio LP Still Holding.

The Highest Order released a video featuring one of their captured live performances, a cover of the Allman Brothers Band's iconic "Midnight Rider." You can check it out below.

Watch: The Highest Order - "Midnight Rider" @ YouTube

As someone who worshipped at the altar of Three Gut Records, I spent a few years very in-tune with the comings and goings of Oshawa alt-country act Cuff The Duke. The band recently announced the vinyl reissue of their 2015 self-titled album, their sophomore full-length that was their first release on Hayden's Hardwood Records. The limited edition pressing is set for an August 24 release. Cuff The Duke's lineup at the time featured Wayne Petti, Matt Faris, Paul Lowman, and Jeff Peers.

Petti spoke to Exclaim about the record, stating:

"I have fond memories of all the years I spent playing in Cuff the Duke, but in working on the vinyl release of our self-titled album, it really brought me back to how fun those years were... Everything was new, everything was a first: the first time we sold out a show in advance, the first time we played in a hockey arena, the first time we were on TV, and the first time we made a real music video."

Coming from an era before YouTube, you may only have seen the band's video for "Take My Money and Run" on the enhanced CD version of the record (remember those?). It's now online for the first time.

Watch: Cuff The Duke - "Take My Money and Run" @ YouTube

Burlington, Ontario melodic punk act Shift-D are gearing up for the release of their new EP This Message Will Self​-​Destruct. That 8-song set arrives on June 21 via Montreal's Thousand Islands Records. The band unveilved another song from the collection, titled "Vicious Memory." You can check it out below.

Listen: Shift-D - "Vicious Memory" @ Bandcamp

Long-running Montreal post-punk band The American Devices are set to play Toronto this summer (their first time in the Big Smoke since the 80s). The band will play the Owls Club on July 20, accompanied by Toronto's Prom Nite and Protruders. Robert Dayton will both DJ and MC the event. You can find details and ticket info on Facebook.

If you're unfamiliar with the band, the promoter sums up The American Devices succinctly:

Montreal's longest running post punk band the American Devices have long evaded easy classification. Counting 2 first wave punkers (members of the Electric Vomit and the Normals) in their lineup and a band of seasoned vets, they have made consistently challenging music that opens up the rock spectrum. The Devices were formed in 1979 and changed into the American Devices in 1980. They occupy a similar plane to MX80 sound in my mind and could maybe count UJ3RK5 as a Canadian contemporary. They have not played Toronto since the 80s! Not to be missed.

Listen: The American Devices - The American Devices @ Bandcamp

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