Montreal punks PRIORS have released a blistering new track titled "Grease." It's the first new material the group's released in the wake of their self-titled 2017 record. Adrian Popovich (Solids, Tricky Woo, American Lips) recorded the new song at Mountain City Studios, with Total Control’s Mikey Young mastering. PRIORS features a good chunk of Sonic Avenues with Drew Demers of The Famines behind the drum kit.
The band's first record was put out on LP via Berlin's Twintoe Records, on cassette from Brain Gum Records, and as one of those provocative newsprint releases on Pentagon Black. This new track, for now, can only be found on Bandcamp.
That said, a recent show announcement may have leaked that PRIORS will soon be working with the American garage rock label Slovenly in the near future. We'll have to wait and see what comes of that, but the move would make PRIORS labelmates of Sudbury's Tommy and the Commies, who are currently prepping their Slovenly debut.
This is turning out to be a good year to be a Sonic Avenues fan, as Chance Hutchison and Max Desharnais of the band also put out an absolutely killer tape in May under the name New Vogue. If you've not yet jumped on that... jump.
PRIORS just played the hometown record release show for Uncontrollable Urge. The Hamilton, Ontario band has a self-titled LP set for a July 20 release on Schizophrenic Records. A video for the song "My Head," directed and edited by guitarist TJ Charlton, is now online for you to check out.
Uncontrollable Urge features vocalist/guitarist Angie Lanza backed by Charlton, Nathan Burger (bass), and David O'Connor (drums). Those three also all play in the tightly wound Steel City punk band TV Freaks.
The quartet is on the road this month supporting the record. Next up is a July 21 appearance at the Paris, Ontario Strangewaves festival, followed by a July 28 gig supporting the aforementioned Tommy and the Commies in Ottawa. On August 23 they'll be down in my neck of the woods for a gig at St. Catharines' Warehouse supporting Daniel Romano's Ancient Shapes.
Speaking of Strangewaves, the eclectic Paris, Ontario music festival underwent a pretty major lineup change last week. The veteran Bronx no wave/dance-punk act ESG had to drop out at the last minute due to a medical emergency, only to be replaced by none other than the American free-jazz legends Sun Ra Arkestra. That's quite a get for the event, which is only in its fourth year.
Strangewaves takes place this coming weekend. It features an impressively impossible to categorize lineup, including the ambient multi-instrumentalist Laraaji, the solo industrial project Pharmakon, Inga Copeland's Lolina, house music from the Pender Street Steppers and Ramzi, the minimalist folk act ANAMAI (Anna Mayberry of Toronto sludge punks HSY and David Psutka of Egyptrixx), and plunderphonics pioneer John Oswald.
In addition to the upcoming Ancient Shapes shows, Daniel Romano has announced a unique showcase at the Niagara Artists Centre in August. The singer/songwriter is taking part in the NAC's Sound+Vision Summer Festival, which features performances on the centre's rooftop terrace in St. Catharines. Romano's appearance, on Saturday, August 11, will feature a showcase of his visual art along with an intimate musical performance (this isn't a big roof). For the show itself, Romano's stated that he'll write and record a song on the rooftop in the course of an hour, and attendees will walk away with the newly born track in hand. That's pretty fucking cool, and I'm excited to be there myself.
To add a few further layers of intrigue from his camp, You've Changed Records (which Romano co-owns) shared a somewhat cryptic ad this past week. It hypes Nap Eyes' upcoming Sappyfest appearance, of course, but also lists a few upcoming titles of note. Silent Rave is the second Ancient Shapes record. It was available as a limited cassette a year or so ago, then briefly as a download that's since been pulled. It's mention here seems to imply a wider release. Ian Daniel Kehoe, Romano's former Attack In Black bandmate, has a solo record on the way titled Secret Republic. This looks to be a synth-backed alt-pop effort, of which there are songs to preview here). Those are mentioned alongside a new title from Steven Lambke, titled Eternal Hunger, and what's presumably an upcoming Romano record named Finally Free. The ad is attached below to fuel your own wild speculation.
I'm enjoying the through line of this week's stories as all the artists mentioned so far come from overlapping scenes, with many having played at other's shows or in each other's bands. The same goes for Dundas, Ontario trio The Dirty Nil.
The band has released their second single from their upcoming sophomore full-length Master Volume this week, a song that's been part of their live set for some time called "Pain of Infinity." That's perhaps a little too metal a title for the song, but it fits the record's recently revealed cover art to a T. That cover is a bit of pop-horror from designer Christopher Blackwell of the apparel brand Hungry Ghost Press. The artist said he "wanted to do something that felt a little bit gnarly for Master Volume - kind of an ode to trash and metal bands that we all grew up on."
Vancouver grunge/punk outfit Dead Soft will come along to support The Nil on that Master Volume tour. After a few years out of the spotlight (the band's last LP came out in 2014), Dead Soft has signed with Toronto indie rock titans Arts & Crafts. Look for a new EP as the first release from that partnership, titled New Emotion. And yes, it is named after "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics. Frontman Nathaniel Epp said so in the press release:
"We chose this as the name for the EP due to the mysterious duality of the meaning. New Emotion in and of itself sounds bright and new, but the lyric it stems from — Here comes the rain again / Falling on my head like a memory / Falling on my head like a new emotion — evokes a sense of sadness and longing."
Dead Soft have shared the song "Kill Me," from the new EP. You can check it out below.
Death Lust, the politically and emotionally heavy debut from Whitby, Ontario's Chastity is now out in the wild via Captured Tracks and Royal Mountain Records. On the cusp of the release, the grungy punk group released a video for the song "Heaven Hell Anywhere Else." Frontman Brandon Williams spoke to Exclaim about the song:
"'Heaven Hell Anywhere Else' is the most death-dreaming song on the record. I've been reading about how chemical our pleasure and happiness is — the feeling of pleasure just being dopamine, happiness serotonin... I'm talking about imbalance of these things and feeling caught on the other side as though a God, someone or something, may be culpable. But, maybe it's just these chemicals that hold that massive power over us."
In the song premiere at Stereogum bassist Charlotte Dempsey commented:
"I wrote “Not Nice” when I was desperately trying to get people to pay attention to me. I was under the impression I was “romantically cursed” and was desperately seeking affection. I downloaded Tinder on a whim, which was obviously not a great decision. I had a hard time with the disconnect between the online profile and reality. What seems compatible on paper does not mean a real life connection. This left me feeling lonelier than ever and frustrated. I said some harsh things to a boy I’d been talking to after he flaked on me a few times. He told me I didn’t have to be mean – so I reflected on all the times I’d been called mean/harsh/not nice after saying something blunt, but mostly true.
The band's lead single is titled "Tick-Tock (Frontrunner)." It debuted alongside a kaleidoscopic video by Rob Leickner and Ryan Sudds that plays out a track meet in reverse-time. Hamilton commented on the premise in the premiere article:
Personally I love how the video shows something so competitive but by showing it in reverse, equalizes everyone. There’s no winner, everyone ends up back at 0 all together. Watching the footage for the first time, I was stunned by how insane some of those movements are — the things humans do to be the “best” or first is ridiculously amazing. But most of all I love how what they’re doing is so strenuous and at their individual extreme limits, and we see it re-set and disappear.
Toronto five-piece garage-punk group The Killer Wails premiered the song "With Me" at Punknews.org last week. The bit anthemic rock'n'roll track was recorded, mixed, and mastered by James Paul at Rogue Tractor Shop in Mono, ON. It follows a series of singles the band's digitally released over the course of the last year, including "Shake It" and "White Van."
Vancouver slackers Dumb have released another video featuring a song from their recent Mint Records LP Seeing Green. Katayoon Yousefbigloo directed the "Party Whip" video, and spoke with Greyowl Point about the premise behind it:
"The video follows four unlucky gamblers as they lose the same game three times. They meet artists, musicians, movie stars and other very important people, whose brilliance, wit, and talent blind them into playing their hands backwards to the same result. A poker face is only effective if you trick yourself first."
Seeing Green, a 14-song collection, was recorded by Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor. It arrived in stores in late June.
Toronto hardcore act Hellbent recently premiered a video for the song "Vagabond" from their upcoming split 7" with Andalusia, Spain's G.A.S. Drummers. Alex Earl Gray shot the video on a single roll of Super8 film.
The split will be out on August 17 via Pink Lemonade Records in North America on vinyl, with a tape to be released by 3 Nines Tapes. Angry & Hungry Records and Pasidaryk Pats Records will handle European releases. Hellbent will tour this summer with Canadian thrash band Pisser.
Joe "Shithead" Keithley of the legendary first wave BC punk act D.O.A. recently appeared on Northern Transmissions' Records In My Life interview series. Along with a recap of the current D.O.A. happenings (the band recently released Fight Back on Sudden Death, their 40th-anniversary record), Joe chats about influential albums from the Ramones, the Damned, Woodie Guthrie, the Specials, and more. The interview hosted by Charles Brownstein. Mark Henning shot, edited, and directed the clip.
I missed this when it was released last month, but there's a lyric video online for the song "Anxious" by Ottawa's gruff punk combo Jon Creeden and The Flying Hellfish. The song comes from Stall, Creeden's recent full-length and his first backed by a full band. The Flying Hellfish includes drummer Jason Adair, guitarist Steve McCrimmon, and bassist Ryan Cox.
Stall was a co-release between Map and Continents Records, Dead Broke Records, and My Fingers! My Brain! Records.
Further on the subject of things I missed, Sudbury garage-pop act The Almighty Rhombus released an EP this past April titled SWISH. The band recorded live off the floor with Ian Blurton at ProGold Studios in Toronto in 2017, workshopping what they've referred to as "the four most rigorously road-tested tunes in the Rhombus arsenal." These tracks were originally written and arranged by the band's 2013-2015 lineup and were re-tooled by the current crew in concert with Blurton.
The Almighty Rhombus this time out features vocalist/guitarist Michael Kenny, bassist Laura Willett, guitarist Keegan McDonald, drummer Carter Drake, and keyboardist Clayton Drake. SWISH is the band's first batch of new recorded material since 2013's Lucid Living LP.