Sunday October 7, 2018

Ghosts and Flowers

Last week Ottawa duo Expanda Fuzz announced their first full-length, a nine-song set titled Cotton Candy Jet Engine. The record's set for an October 22 release, limited in the physical realm to 212 pink, hand-numbered LPs. You can preview the slow-burning tune "Ghosts and Flowers" over at Bandcamp now. The band's taking pre-orders for their LP as well, with pick-up available at any of their upcoming fall shows in Ottawa, Halifax, Toronto or Barrie.

Expanda Fuzz features Leila Younis and Chris Page, the latter known for his tenure in 90s garage-punk act The Stand GT and later Camp Radio (I interviewed Chris about a recent Stand GT reunion at Beau's Oktoberfest last month. Expands Fuzz finds the pair experimenting with droney fuzzed-out guitar-pop, pulling influence from everyone from the Velvet Underground to Suicide to the Breeders.

A record release show is set for Saturday, October 27 in Ottawa backed by local noise act Deathsticks and Toronto indie-rock act Pacer.

Listen: Expanda Fuzz - "Ghosts and Flowers" @ Bandcamp

Let's stick with Pacer for a minute. The Toronto three-piece rock band's fronted by Shawn Kosmo, who's shown up in this newsletter numerous times as the videographer for bands like PONY and Billy Moon. He's on lead vocals and guitar here, joined by bassist Dan Pearce and drummer Evan Matthews. The trio released a single in September for the song "Piledriver" backed by "Lose," tracks they recorded with Matthew Wiewel at Deadpan Studios. "Piledriver" in particular has a pretty fucking muscular hook in the chorus. You can just picture a room shouting along with every syllable.

Listen: Pacer: "Piledriver" / "Lose" @ Bandcamp

The aforementioned Deathsticks are part of the new Killed By Meth compilation from London's It's Trash Records, along with a bunch of US rust belt garage-punk bands, Hamilton's Sweet Milk, and the sardonic Toronto punk group WLMRT. It's the third volume of the series. WLMRT's contribution is titled "Deathsticks Ruined My Life," which I'm told is a loving tribute, not a condemnation. That's all a matter of perspective if you ask me. This is one of the first new WLMRT songs released since the four-way split 7" they took part in last December.

The 15-song LP can be found at Bandcamp, and it's brimming with cool garage-junk weirdness

Listen: WLMRT - "Deathsticks Ruined My Life" @ Bandcamp

Nearly a year after their last demo, Toronto's low-fi punk act Moul D. have released Demo 2, a five-song set recorded earlier this month. The new material coincides with the band's appearance at Not Dead Yet later this week. The group is set to open a Saturday hardcore matinee at the Owl's Club as part of the annual festival (a gig with Montreal's excellent Faze, Mil-Spec, Q, Impotentie, Khiss, and TØRSØ topping the bill).

Moul D is a four-piece that features indie cartoonists Michael DeForge and Patrick Kyle among its ranks. DeForge is known for the Instagram webcomic Leaving Richard's Valley along with his print work, while Kyle's been behind books like Black Mass, Distance Mover, Don't Come In Here, and Everywhere Disappeared.

Listen: Moul D. - Demo 2 @ Bandcamp

Winnipeg singer-songwriter Christine Fellows has announced her seventh studio album, Roses on the Vine. The record, which arrives on November 16, was previewed last week with the delightfully upbeat folk anthem "Unleashed."

The new set was produced by Fellows and her partner John K. Samson. Players on the record include some longtime collaborators (with various Weakerthans connections), including Jason Tait (drums and electronics), Keith McLeod (mandolin), Greg Smith (bass), and Leanne Zacharias (cello) with Cam Loeppky engineering and mixing. The set also features guest appearances from Christine Bougie (lap steel guitar), Keri Latimer (theremin), and Shotgun Jimmie (electric guitar).

The label Vivat Virtute (named after the heartbreaking feline from the beloved Weakerthans song cycle) will handle the release.

Listen: Christine Fellows - "Unleashed" @ SoundCloud

Later this month Belgian synth-punk duo Le Prince Harry will cross the Atlantic for their first Canadian tour, with dates scheduled in Ontario and Quebec. They'll be supported at various shows by bands like New Vogue (members of Sonic Avenues), Perverted Justice, Flesh Rag, and Man Made Hill.

The tour kicks off on October 19 in Montreal, which serves as a launch party of sorts for the North American release of Le Prince Harry's split with the like-minded Montreal-based synth punks Duchess Says. The set was first issued by the French label Teenage Menopause back in 2015 but never saw a domestic release. Montreal garage/psych label Mothland (the folks behind the Distortion Psych Fest) is reissuing the tape in Canada. It doesn't look like Duchess Says will play the gig at Quai des Brumes, but Perverted Justice and New Vogue will join Le Prince Harry to melt the place down without them.

Listen: Duchess Says - "Pink Coffin (I give a fuck)" @ Bandcamp

It's a little hard to decode who's part of the new release from Negative Rage, but the Halifax-based punk act tends to regularly feature Cody Googoo (Booji Boys / Alienation / Washing Machine), along with Luke Mumford (Genetic Angry). At the very least, they're involved. You can now check out a compilation tape of the band's material from the past year, titled 2017 - 2018 Suckin. The five-song set follows up the group's 2015 full-length If You're A Punk I Don't Wanna Be One.

Mumford and Googoo are also both members of The Mark Vodka Group, a band that has a full-length on the way at some point soon titled Mark's Blues. I wrote a bit about them in early September.

Listen: Negative Rage - 2017-2018 Suckin @ Bandcamp

Ross Miller of The Dirty Nil and SIDEMAN shared a surprise EP last week under his hardcore guise of Blue. The five-song release, titled Positive Attitude, was recorded this past August by Nick Giammarco (of Welland's Canyon Carvers) and Justis Krar (sometimes-Single Mothers member and the other glorious half of SIDEMAN). Miller plays every instrument on the lightning-quick record, with Giammarco throwing in some backing shouts on the track "Feelin' Blue."

The Nil are, of course, supporting the high-profile recent release of Master Volume, their massive sophomore LP and Miller's first with the band.

Listen: Blue - Positive Attitude @ Bandcamp

Old Man Canyon, the Vancouver electro-pop act lead by multi-instrumentalist Jett Pace, announced a new full-length last week titled A Grand Facade. The 7-song set, which will be Pace's sophomore release under the name, is due on November 16. Pace previewed the new material last week by unveiling the psychedelic single "Good While It Lasted," which arrived alongside a video by director Geordie Starr.

Pace recorded the brunt of the album in his home studio, completing it in California alongside members of the band Wake Owl. In the press release Pace commented:

"This album could be described as a satirical commentary on the state of the world. Sometimes it feels like everyone is on vacation in their mind, sipping on a mai tai while the world burns behind them. We all turn a blind eye to the nature of things happening around us so I’m trying to bring attention to our inclination to run away from problems and to trust we have the ability to change it. The boat needs to get rocked a bit for people to wake up."

Watch: Old Man Canyon - "Good While It Lasted" @ YouTube

Vancouver grunge/punk act Dead Soft will release their latest EP, New Emotion, later this week on Arts & Crafts. The final push before the record came with the premiere of the song "Bones." Bassist/vocalist Keeley Rochon commented on the upcoming set:

"This EP truly showcases us approaching the recording experience for the first time as a four piece and seeing what opportunities that afforded us sound-wise. “Bones" is us really flexing those new muscles in a big way - duelling guitars, heavy-hitting drums, and a wild crescendoing outro of cascading vocal harmonies that came together in the studio like a miracle."

Prior to this record Rochon and Nathaniel Epp, both founding members of the band, brought in Kyle Schick and Alex Smith to fill out Dead Soft's roster. Schick and Smith previously played together in the Abbotsford band MALK.

Listen: Dead Soft - "Bones" @ YouTube

Toronto indie-rock act Casper Skulls recently premiered their first new single to follow Mercy Works, the band's debut Buzz Records LP from last year. You can check out the song "O My Enemy" streaming on YouTube along with an animated video by the band's Melanie Gail St Pierre. A feature at Brooklyn Vegan that premiered the track revealed that St Pierre has become the band's main singer/songwriter, with Neil Bednis taking a supporting role (the pair split vocal duties on Mercy Works). The new song, sparse and atmospheric, is a demonstration of the Casper Skulls' new focus, which takes them further afield from their post-punk roots.

St Pierre spoke with Brooklyn Vegan about the track, commenting:

"The song is a kind of transition song between our first album Mercy Works and what’s to come. I find a lot of the things I’m writing about right now happened to me when I was a child. Now that I’m this older person and I have all these anxieties, I feel like they are all a product of the loss of childhood. The focus of my songwriting is more internal instead of external. Before we were looking at things on the outside, observing society, observing situations. Now we’re looking on the inside."

Beliefs' Josh Korody produced the new track, which was mastered by Andy Magoffin at House of Miracles.

Watch: Casper Skulls - "O My Enemy" @ YouTube

Peterborough folk-rocker Nick Ferrio is continuing a streak of recent videos featuring songs from his new record Have a Nice Day. The latest is "Quit the Band," a Kurtis Watson directed clip that was shot on location in Sackville, New Brunswick at this past summer's SappyFest. Ferrio is in the midst of a tour supporting the new album, with shows coming up in Hamilton, Toronto, and Sudbury. God willing, I'll be at the Toronto gig this coming Saturday while my kids and heroic wife go see the Wiggles across town.

Watch: Nick Ferrio - "Quit The Band" @ YouTube

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