Sunday June 17, 2018

Pulverizer

Fountain, the Montreal post-punk band with origins in Vancouver Island, dropped a single last week with the foreboding title "Pulverizer." That's probably the most inappropriately metal name you could give to a song built around a flute riff. The band had few words to share about the new work other than teasing that it was leading to a future album.

The Matthew Powell-directed video for "Pulervizer" can be found below and, of course, you can snag the song at Bandcamp.

Whenever the new record arrives, it will follow up Fountain's recent collection Two Tapes 2013-2015. That set collected material from the band's 2014-released self-titled cassette and the follow-up 2015 tape Fountain 2. The Tough Age affiliated label VF/FN (very fine/fine) released it on vinyl last year.

Watch: Fountain - "Pulverizer" @ YouTube

It's been a quiet year for Vallens but the atmospheric Toronto act has returned with a new EP For Hand Drawn Dracula titled Dimmed in my Display. The four-song set features guitarist/vocalist Robyn Phillips backed by Marta Cikojevic of Montreal's TOPS on keys, drummer Colin J. Morgan (Cellphone), and bassist Devon Henderson (Valery Gore). Henderson also served as producer for the EP.

If you've never run into Vallens, the band last released a widely acclaimed LP in 2016 titled Consent that saw them drawing from shoegaze and goth to craft a dark, cinematic record that was both sonically dense and thematically heavy. A David Lynch-inspired video for the record's title track has, rightly or wrongly, tied the band's image to the filmmaker's unsettling aesthetic since it was released.

Dimmed in my Display arrives on July 6, with a sophomore LP in the works for later in the year.

Listen: Vallens - "If I Didn't Know You" @ YouTube

Saint John, New Brunswick noise-rock act Stegosaurus have returned with a new 7-song album titled Essential Tremors. The album features guitarist/vocalist Stuart Buckley backed by a number of collaborators from the Montreal and Saint John scenes (11 or so individuals). You can find the full list of players in the credits at Bandcamp, but a few names are jumping out to me, including Drew Demers of The Famines and Right Shitty members Pat Bonner and Levi Ellingwood. The new record was recorded and mixed by Josef McGuigan of Montreal's Mono No Aware (he also plays lead guitar on a few tracks).

Stegosaurus, now based in Montreal, plays as a four-piece featuring Buckley and McGuigan along with Scott Cuzner and Aidan O'Reilly.

Listen: Stegosaurus - "Essential Tremors" @ Bandcamp

The St. John's, Newfoundland power-pop band BBQT, now based in Montreal, played a charming set this weekend at the Ottawa Explosion Weekend. It featured tracks from the band's new 6 song EP, All For Show, which was released last week in the lead-up to their appearance.

BBQT features guitarist/vocalist Amery Sandford, guitarist Jack Bielli, bassist Mikey Melikey, and drummer Allison Graves (everyone gets a backing vocal credit here too). They recorded the new set in Montreal with Micah Brown.

Listen: BBQT - All For Show @ Bandcamp

Pleasence Records has released another new song from The Becoming, the new LP from Toronto singer-songwriter Isla Craig. This track, titled "There is a Hole," is described by the artist as "a song about the devouring aspects of desire, sex, and the internet." The track features synth player Johnny Spence and percussionist Evan Cartwright (both of Tasseomancy), and bassist Bram Gielen (Weaves, DIANA).

You can check it "There is a Hole" below. The Becoming arrives on June 22.

Listen: Isla Craig - "There is a Hole" @ SoundCloud

Last week Toronto's Massey Hall celebrated its 124th anniversary before closing for two years of renovations. In their lead-up to the celebration the venue released a twenty-minute live video featuring Jennifer Castle's November 2017 performance at the space. This was a time when the singer/songwriter was supporting her Polaris shortlisted album Pink City. The set also featured the debut of a song that would land on her recent Idée Fixe LP Angels of Death.

This comes as part of the ongoing Live at Massey Hall series of videos, which are all very well produced. If you've not watched the Constantines one at least half-a-dozen times you're clearly not me.

Watch: Jennifer Castle - Live at Massey Hall @ YouTube

Ontario craft brewery Beau's has announced the lineup for their annual Oktoberfest music festival and charitable fundraiser. The event, which will place on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22 in Vankleek Hill, will once again feature a 100% Canadian lineup, both on the main stage and the punk-focused Black Forest Stage. The main stage will feature headlining sets from the East Coast mainstay the Joel Plaskett Emergency and Cancon power-pop institutions Sloan, along with sets from long-running Toronto punk act The Flatliners, Toronto art-punks Weaves, and Montreal ska mainstays The Kingpins among others. The Black Forest stage will be headlined by Cancer Bats and feature sets from Lost Love and Talk Show Host among others. You can find tickets online now.

Some Party will be doing some coverage of the Oktoberfest this year, particularly looking at what the organizers are trying to achieve with Black Forest. Here's how they describe that stage:

What Oktoberfest event has a whole area dedicated to punk rock and skateboarding? Beau’s Oktoberfest. We’ve built the Black Forest with help from our friends at Birling, House of TARG, and Vans, with the goal of paying homage to the music and counterculture that brought so many of us at Beau’s together in the first place. A tip of the hat to early editions of Beau’s Oktoberfest when the stage was more intimate, the Black Forest is an energetic and exuberant music experience.

Black Forest this year will raise funds for For Pivots Sake, a nonprofit organization founded by the Ottawa-area Antique Skate Shop (now Birling) to engage and mentor youth in the Ottawa community:

Engaged with the community since its inception in 2012, For Pivots Sake has made great strides with the refurbished decks program, which asks skaters in the community to donate their used skateboard parts (trucks, wheels, boards, bearings, hardware). The crew at Antique Skate Shop create new boards from donated hardware to give back to youth in need of them within the community.

I'll have more on Oktoberfest and Black Forest soon. In the meantime, here's a track from Montreal punk act Brutal Chérie, who'll be part of that lineup:

Listen: Brutal Chérie - "Brisé" @ Bandcamp

Toronto punk/post-hardcore trio Life In Vacuum recently released a new video for their song "Quitting." The track appears on their recent New Damage Records LP All You Can Quit. Shayne Ehman directed the animated video.

Watch: Live in Vacuum - "Quitting" @ YouTube

Live In Vacuum's labelmates Mobina Galore recently appeared on Live From The Rock Room, a studio performance video series run by Mike Felumlee of Chicago's Smoking Popes. The Winnipeg duo appeared in the Westmont, IL studio to perform the song "Spend My Day," which appeared on their 2017 record Feeling Disconnected.

Watch: Mobina Galore - "Spend My Day" @ YouTube

Did you hear that the Polaris Music Prize Long List is out? From my informal survey of people standing around between sets at the Ottawa Explosion this weekend reactions fell somewhere between "reasonably satisfied with reservations" and "smash the Cancon hegemony." I'm mixed, but mostly positive. In my opinion, there's a couple of glaringly safe albums here and you'll likely know them on sight. There are also, of course, a few tragic absentees that I'd have loved to see included (and I suppose, as a juror, I bear some responsibility for not waging a more persuasive campaign on their behalf). That all said there's still a lot of cool stuff to explore here (particularly if you've not run into the Francophone acts otherwise). Among the Some Party regulars who made the cut, you'll find Winnipeg punk vets Propagandhi, my Halifax obsession the Booji Boys, Windsor slackers Partner, the grungy Toronto-based FRIGS, the literate folk of The Weather Station and more. You can find the whole list on the prize's website.

Voting is underway now for the 10 album Short List, which will be announced on July 17. A grand jury will decide the eventual $50,000 prize winner, to be announced at a gala in Toronto on September 17.

Watch: Propagandhi - "Failed Imagineer" @ YouTube

While we await news on the forthcoming third album from Toronto's popular punk group PUP, the band's thrown fans a cool piece of merch to hold them over. The band is producing a zine, appropriately titled Pup the Zine Vol. 1 – The Zine Is Over, a 24-page publication that includes photos, comics, and guitar tabs. Here's what the band had to say about it:

This high-end, single-ply toilet paper doubles as a limited-edition, 24-page zine / comic / photo journal. A veritable "slice of life" detailing the makings, musings and trappings of your favourite band of extremely boring morons.

Featuring photos / artwork by band favourites Amanda Fotes & Marie Enger, some of Stefan's patented misty-eyed nostalgia, some juicy 'real talk' from your favourite rhythm section, and WAY more (than is necessary).

The zine will come packaged with a green flexi disc featuring a live recording of the song "My Life Is Over and I Couldn't Be Happier" from the band's 2016 record The Dream Is Over. It was recorded at the band's recent New Year's Eve show at Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia.

You can snag one of these here.

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