Sunday August 12, 2018

Hegemony​

Toronto four-piece Dilly Dally has released the second preview of their upcoming record Heaven. "Sober Motel" follows up their earlier single "I Feel Free." Both of which are part of the nine-songs the band recorded for their sophomore effort in Los Angeles with producer Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck). Dilly Dally's flavour of punk continues to pull in sludgy influence from early 90s grunge, but it's perhaps never felt as defiantly hopeful as it does here.

In the preview at Uproxx vocalist/guitarist Katie Monks commented:

"[It’s] a celebration of sobriety, in the midst of an industry that is anything but. I wrote it in a motel bathroom after taking a mystical shower alone... The song spawned from a sadness I had for my friend Tony [Dilly Dally's bassist] who was struggling with addiction. We all were realizing that being on the road had turned into volatile place for some of us, and it was heartbreaking."

Heaven will arrive on September 14 via Dine Alone Records here in the Dominion and on Partisan Records down south. The album follows up the group's 2015 debut Sore.

Listen: Dilly Dally - "Sober Motel" @ YouTube

Toronto's The Holy Gasp seemed to vanish earlier in the year. The band was planning a spring release of their dramatic collaborative effort The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex, but seemingly pulled the release and went dark for the past few months. The album's back on track now, with a September 7 release date confirmed and their ambitious release show rescheduled. More on that in a bit

The Holy Gasp released the single "Simple Pleasures" last week, and like the band's most evocative material it feels like it could be part of some sweeping piece of musical theatre (there's a melancholy Eastern European quality to this one, in particular, that's akin to Ben Caplan's latest projects). Singer Benjamin Hackman spoke to Aesthetic Magazine about the song:

"I wrote "Simple Pleasures" drunk as a goddamn sailor in the back of a cab after my brother’s wedding... It was in the wee hours of the morning, and my suit was sweat-stuck to my body from the dancing I’d done. As the car picked up speed I opened the window and surrendered to the breeze, which poured over my face and neck and cooled me. It just felt so good after all that dancing. I started singing. I couldn’t help it. And the driver... he was loving it, so I kept at it, the ham that I am... and my ex-wife, God bless her, had the foresight to record it all on her phone. In the morning, she played it for me over coffee, and I spent the next few days crystallizing the narrative, building its subtext. I was looking at the moral responsibility of the mentally ill, how hurt people hurt people, and how our loved ones suffer as a result of our own suffering."

The Holy Gasp will launch The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex with a 27-person orchestral performance on October 27 at 918 Bathurst Centre in Toronto. The show, billed as the wedding of Oedipus Rex and his mother, will be filmed and attendees are encouraged to dress for a formal reception. You can find tickets now.

Listen: The Holy Gasp - "Simple Pleasures" @ SoundCloud

Experimental, rhythmic Saint John, New Brunswick group Usse have returned with a new single featuring the songs "Hegemony" and "The Obfuscator." The former will appear on the band's upcoming full-length Flowers For S.

Usse features vocalist/guitarist Jud Crandall, percussionist Emily Saab, and bassist Stephanie Tierney, but that's an over-simplification of their roles as there are a dozen other instruments credited to the trio. Usse is following up their 2017 record 231 along with an appearance on both volumes 3 and 4 of the recent Pentagon Black compilation series.

Listen: Usse - "Hegemony" / "The Obfuscator" @ Bandcamp

Edmonton's psych-pop five-piece Jesse and the Dandelions have released the single "Give Up The Gold," the fuzzed-out, dreamlike title track from their upcoming full-length. Frontman Jesse Northey commented:

"Give Up The Gold" may be the simplest song that I’ve ever written. I usually get into a trap of trying to include too many chords in a song, for the sake of melodic adventuring. "Give Up The Gold" was an active restraint, and I think it’s stronger for it.

I feel like I was still able to adventure with the production – the two opposing forces of distorted breakbeat drums/buzzy guitars paired with dreamy open chords, waterfall delay guitar hooks, and simple wurlitzer arpeggios, creates a landscape that I’m personally very excited about.

The band's new record arrives in September. Nik Kozub (Shout Out Out Out Out) and Northey jointly recorded and produced the album. The Dandelions features Northey with Conner Ellinger, Daniel Sedmark, Travis Sargent, and Dean Kheroufi (Kheroufi is also a member of like-minded Edmonton indie rock act The Velveteins).

Watch: Jesse and the Dandelions - "Give Up The Gold" @ YouTube

Calgary's jangly indie pop-rock act Pre Nup have a video up for their single "The Grudge." In the premiere at Post Trash, drummer (and video director) Sara Jean Hughes commented:

I wanted to showcase the nostalgia of an amusement park, but with a sense of foreboding dread. As a result, the video is a combination of familiar lights and dizzying paranoia. Marsden spends the video trying to make the most of his surroundings, but he’s constantly looking over his shoulder. In the end we find out why."

"The Grudge" appears on the band's recent full-length Oh Well. That record features the husband-and-wife duo of Josiah and Sara Hughes, backed by (and produced by) Chris Dadge and Darrell Hartsook of the Calgary's Lab Coast. The record, which was mastered by Vancouver's Jay Arner came out this past May on Debt Offensive and Jigsaw Records. Josiah also has some podcast of note that's somehow, infuriatingly, the only thing that my crowd on Twitter talks about anymore. I forget what it's called.

Watch: Pre Nup - "The Grudge" @ YouTube

Ottawa's Chris Cook is a former member of a number of capital city punk and power-pop bands like finderskeepers, No Fuss, Mnemonics, and The Allrights. He recently released an EP worth of material titled 39 364/365, all songs he recorded and mixed in a single workday on August 2. Cook posted (in a couple of Tweets I'm concatenating here):

I had the day off today so in honour of the last day of my 30s I recorded some songs. All recorded, mixed and mastered while the kids were at daycare... it's a bit of a mess but I had fun doing it...

[commenting later...] it was a fun project to bang out a couple songs quickly without overthinking things and leaving all the warts and hiccups and with a couple days distance it's one of my favorite things I've done.

Listen: Chris Cook - 39 364/365 @ Bandcamp

Montreal-via-Peterborough garage-pop trio Prime Junk have shared a radio session they recently recorded live at Montreal's CJLO (Concordia's community station). The low-fi band performed on the feminist talk radio show Femme AM. Among the set you'll find the "ripper version" of the "Gone," the lead track from the band's 2016 EP Sunnyvale. I'll leave it to you to figure out what that means.

Listen: Prime Junk - Live @ CJLO @ Bandcamp

Amiable Montreal pop-punks Lost Love have a new single online from their new LP Good Luck Rassco. The band recently unveiled a video for the track "Are You Still Alive, You Dumb Phoque?" and it's a classic band-on-a-roof romp. Every band needs one. Marc-André Pichette directed and edited the clip.

Good Luck Rassco came out on May 25 via Stomp Records and the French label Guerilla Asso. It followed up the band's 2016 album Comfortable Scars.

Watch: Lost Love - "Are You Still Alive, You Dumb Phoque?" @ YouTube

On October 5 Telephone Explosion is set to reissue Migration of Snails, an "outsider classic" from late-70s BC space rock combo Melodic Energy Commission. The label laid out the history behind the release:

Melodic Energy Commission is a Canadian gem and an interesting branch of the Hawkwind family tree (featuring Del Dettmar on electronics.) Hailing from British Columbia, they first emerged in 1977 as a recording-only project titled The Melodic Energy Commission of Collected Artists. Their sound was a compelling mix of space rock, progressive and hippie psychedelia.

They quickly released two albums: 1979's Stranger in Mystery & 1980's Migration of the Snails. The music on both records is raw and heavily exploratory, often shifting styles radically within a single track. Quiet chamber orchestras give way to dissonant guitar freak outs while analog electronics fill in gaps along the way.

The Energy Discs label was behind the first issue of Migration of Snails, which would set you back at least 75 bucks on Discogs these days. You can check out the song "Escargot" below.

Listen: Melodic Energy Commission - "Escargot" @ SoundCloud

If you're looking to explore new Canadian rock music (and you're here, so it's a safe bet) there's a couple of new digital compilations out for you to dig through.

First, the Rocket From Russia Fest is coming up this week in Vancouver. It'll feature bands like Jesse LeBourdais and the Long Winter, Jock Tears, Cambridge, and the Hextalls. You can check out a comp assembled by fest-founder Russian Tim now that feature a batch of new and unreleased songs from the festival's lineup:

Listen: Rocket From Russia - Punkouver vol. 2 @ Bandcamp

There's also a new Casbah Records compilation out titled Mixtape Le Montréal Underground. It features CHOCOLAT, Corridor, Anemone, Paul Jacobs and a dozen other cool acts making noise in and around Montreal.

Listen: Casbah Records - Mixtape Le Montréal Underground @ SoundCloud

Black Forest

Beau's annual Oktoberfest music festival and charitable fundraiser will take place on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22 in Vankleek Hill, Ontario. The event features a fully Canadian lineup on both on the main stage and their punk-focused Black Forest Stage, with Black Forest raising funds for For Pivots Sake. For Pivots Sake is a nonprofit organization founded by the Ottawa-area Antique Skate Shop (now Birling) to engage and mentor youth in the Ottawa community. I'll be digging through the Black Forest lineup band-by-band each week at Some Party in the lead-up to the event.

Originally hailing from the farmlands of Glengarry, Ontario, veteran punk/garage-rock act The Stand GT are well deserving of modern-day re-evaluation. Peers of bands like The Smugglers, the Stand GT was was prolific in the 90s, both in the studio and on tour, crafting a bright, propulsive guitar-rock sound that's aged surprisingly well. Their storied career found the band churning out 45s for Paul Gott's En Guard Records, recording with Kurt Bloch of the legendary Fastbacks, and releasing killer pop-rock singles like "Away From Your Sway" off of 1996's Apocalypse Cow. The Stand GT's frontman Chris Page has remained the most visible of the quartet's lineup, fronting Ottawa bands like Camp Radio and Expanda Fuzz (not to mention his solo career).

The Stand GT doesn't play much these days, so this isn't a set to miss. (and unless it's out of date, the band's bio on Chris' website pegs October of 2001 as their previous show - crazy!).

Listen: The Stand GT - "Away From Your Sway" @ Bandcamp

By contrast, Toronto's Teenage X only has a pair of releases to their name, a full-length and an EP from 2013. That hasn't stopped the band's infectious, swaggering pop-punk from gaining them an enthusiastic following regardless. Recently reunited after a 5-year hiatus and fresh off a Pouzza appearance, Teenage X, fronted by charismatic vocalist Sarah Holland, will cap the Saturday night Black Forrest lineup.

Listen: Teenage X - R.I.V.A.L. @ Bandcamp

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