Sunday September 2, 2018

Everybody's Punk Now

October will see a new full-length from prolific Montreal garage rock legend Mark Sultan. The new 13-song set will arrive on the 12th via Modern Sky in North America and Dirty Water Records in Europe. The first single from the album is "Coffin Nails," which you can preview below.

Sultan recorded the album's full instrumentation himself at his Berlin-based Imperfection Studios. It follows, among other things, the BBQ record released by In The Red in 2016.

Mark Sultan has left a massive discography in his wake, branching up from roots in Montreal garage bands like The Spaceshits and Les Sexareenos. His one-man-band, under the BBQ alias, lead to a fruitful collaboration with his former Spaceshits bandmate King Khan as The King Khan & BBQ Show. That's to say nothing of his collaborations with Atlanta's Black Lips as The Almighty Defenders or his team-up with rockabilly revivalist Bloodshot Bill as The Ding Dongs.

Sultan will kick off his tour in support of the new material with a September 29 gig at Toronto's Monarch Tavern. That show will find him sharing the stage with former Deadly Snakes frontman Andre Ethier, Toronto garage act the Pow Wows, and Sudbury's Tommy and the Commies. That's a killer lineup, folks.

Listen: Mark Sultan - "Coffin Nails" @ Bandcamp

Speaking of Marks, The Halifax-based The Mark Vodka Group released a three-song set this past week, previewing an upcoming album titled Mark's Blues. It features the tracks "Boy (I'm Allergic To You)," You've Got To Split," and "Everybody's Punk Now" (the latter of which comes with a sly Buzzcocks homage in the chorus).

So who are the Mark Vodka Group? While they've not made much of an effort to announce themselves to the world, it's a bunch of familiar names in the Maritime punk scene. The band features Cody Googoo of Booji Boys, Alienation, and Washing Machine, Jonny May of Blood Beach, Luke Mumford of Negative Rage and Genetic Angry, and Kayla Stevens of Crossed Wires. Given that list, it should come as no surprise that this is a fun listen.

Listen: The Mark Vodka Group - 3 songs from Mark's Blues @ Bandcamp

London punk group Single Mothers re-emerged last week with an (apparent) one-off single titled "Switch Off." It follows the band's 2017 Wade MacNeil-produced / Dine Alone-released LP Our Pleasure. Everyone's tight-lipped on whether this is the precursor to something more.

The past few months have seen Single Mothers frontman Drew Thomson working his decidedly more pop-oriented solo EP titled Stay. That sound doesn't seem to have migrated back into Single Mothers' toolkit, as "Switch Off" finds the band fast and angry.

Listen: Single Mothers - "Switch Off" @ YouTube

Montreal punks PRIORS have released a little more info on their upcoming debut for Reno garage label Slovenly. The band's new LP, their sophomore effort, will be titled New Pleasure and will arrive in the fall alongside a 7" single. The group revealed the album's cover at Facebook, crediting the art to Sweet Dave of TV Freaks.

PRIORS most recently the song "Grease" through their Bandcamp page. The track was the first new material the band released since their 2017 self-titled debut. PRIORS, you may recall, features members of Sonic Avenues with Drew Demers of The Famines drumming.

While the band hasn't yet released any new studio recordings from New Pleasures, they did recently play a new song titled "New Pleasure" (singular) in a radio session captured by London's Radio Western.

Listen: PRIORS - "New Pleasure" (live) @ YouTube

Speaking of The Famines, the Montreal art/noise duo is collecting the five non-album singles they released between June of 2014 and March of 2017. The Complete Collected Singles 2014-2017 will include "The State of Music," "Stay Home Club," "Mdme. Pauline," "The Second World War," and "Who Wants Disarmament?" All five tracks were recorded, mixed, and mastered at Montreal's Drones Club Recording. The songs previously saw the light of day on Psychic Handshake releases and through the band's Pentagon Black compilations.

Continuing their trend of embracing atypical mediums, the Famines will release the songs as a "paper EP." Specifically, that's a 15x23" double-sided newsprint poster that includes download codes. You can pick one up at the duo's Bandcamp store for 5 bucks, and I recommend doing so.

Listen: The Famines - The Complete Collected Singles 2014-2017 @ Bandcamp

Welland, Ontario power-pop quartet Big School released a new 10-song full-length at the end of August. Titled, It's Really Real, the album follows up the band's 2017 debut Mint. The band self-produced the new work, recording and mixing themselves.

Big School features vocalist/guitarist Mitch Courtois, bassist Codey Thompson, guitarist Riley Simpson, and drummer Drew Stark.

Listen: Big School - It's Really Real @ Bandcamp

Saint-Lambert rock band Zen Bamboo premiered a new song recently in a session recorded for the UNION podcast at the Réservoir Audio studio in Montreal. The band performed the track "Boys & Girls," which is slated to appear on their upcoming EP Volume 4: Retour aux Sources in September. You can check out the footage below.

Zen Bamboo's been slowly releasing an album's worth of material in four EP-sized chunks. The segments have, thematically and sonically, seemed to follow the career trajectory of some fictional band from an impetuous start through maturity, diverging solo efforts, and an eventual return to form. At least that's my read on it, and my French is abysmal so take it with a grain of salt. The first set, Juvénile, was released last summer and subsequently followed by Plus mature, plus assumé and Carrière solo. The band's been working with Malajube's Thomas Augustin on this project.

Listen: Zen Bamboo - "Boys and Girls" @ Facebook

Vancouver grunge/punk outfit Dead Soft have a video online showcasing the song "Down" from their upcoming New Emotion EP. That set will arrive on October 5 from Toronto indie powerhouse Arts & Crafts. In the premiere at Exclaim, the video's described as "A collection of playful VHS visuals" that finds Dead Soft founding members Nathaniel Epp and Keeley Rochon killing time with new bandmates Kyle Schick and Alex Smith (Schick and Smith played together in the Abbotsford band MALK before joining Dead Soft).

Watch: Dead Soft - "Down" @ YouTube

Montreal psych-pop group Anemone has a new single out titled Daffodils. The dreamy track follows the band's Baby Only You & I EP from earlier in the year (a Luminelle Records release). Anemone is fronted by vocalist/keyboardist Chloé Soldevila and features Zachary Irving, Miles Dupire, Gabriel Lambert, and Samuel Gemme in the band.

Listen: Anemone - "Daffodils" @ SoundCloud

Whitby, Ontario's emotionally heavy post-punk project Chastity recently took part in an Audiotree live session in support of their newly released album Death Lust. On it, the band performs the tracks "Children," "Manning Hill," "Flesh," "Chains," "Innocence," and "Scary."

Chastity's lineup for the session features vocalist/songwriter Brandon Williams backed by bassist Julia Noel, guitarist Sam McDougall, and drummer Jeremy Ramos-Foley. Death Lust is available now from Captured Tracks and Royal Mountain Records.

Listen: Chastity - Audiotree Live session @ YouTube

Guelph-based singer/songwriter Innes Wilson has unveiled his new single "From Now To Forever," the lead track from his upcoming Seaview EP. That four-song set is due on September 21 from Out of Sound Records.

Wilson worked on the track at The Quarantine, the living room studio of Port Greville, Nova Scotia's Construction & Destruction. He's backed on the recordings by members of the eclectic multi-instrumental group WHOOP-Szo. The press release describes the new EP as "reminiscent of the early years of Innes Wilson's career, but strengthened by many more years of songwriting and by a backline from touring veterans."

Listen: Innes Wilson - "From Now To Forever" @ SoundCloud

Black Forest

For the past month, I've been profiling some of the bands playing the Black Forest Stage stage at Beau's annual Oktoberfest concert this September. The music festival and fundraiser is will take place on September 21 and 22 in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, raising money to support the Ottawa skate community's youth charity For Pivots Sake.

Let's talk about The Trapt, a band that's proven notoriously difficult to do any meaningful research on. That's partly because their short career was entirely pre-internet and pretty much localized to the Ottawa scene of the time, but also because the namespace has been muddied significantly by later groups with similar names. The capital punk band was active at the end of the 80s, putting out a single 45 during that time titled A Minute Late... A Dollar Short. It came out on the Trashtone Sound Products label, which has similar discoverability problems in 2018.

The Trapt did leave something of a legacy though. The band's fondly remembered by those who had the privilege to see them play. The group toured with The Stand GT, The Ripcordz, and Random Killing in 1990. In fact, The Stand drove around with a live bootleg of The Trapt in their van's tape deck for years. While that cassette was eventually stolen, it did introduce the song "Keep Your Engine Clean" into the Stand's repertoire (they ultimately covered it in the studio for their Apocalypse Cow record). The Trapt have played a few reunion shows in recent years, but their biggest comeback performance will be on the Black Forest stage this September.

Listen: The Trapt - "Car Bomb" @ YouTube

Ship of Fools calls Newmarket, Ontario home. The band plays gruff melodic punk rock; the raw-throated drinking songs made famous by labels like No Idea down in the States. The quartet's gearing up to launch their new 11-song full length, A Perfect Place for Harmony, on September 14.

Ship of Fools features vocalist/guitarist Andrew Yeo, guitarist Niall Gunovski, bassist Chris Seymour, and drummer Greg Nathaniel. In addition to their upcoming Black Forest appearance, the band has a pair of record release shows scheduled for Friday, September 14 in Barrie and Saturday, September 15 in their hometown.

Listen: Ship of Fools - "Dead Before Noon" @ Bandcamp

If you want to get in on Oktoberfest this year, Some Party is giving away a pair of tickets in partnership with Punknews.org and the brewery. You can enter the draw here.

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