Sunday November 25, 2018

Expanding Universe

Guelph's Out Of Sound Records revealed a new EP last week titled Revolution C, a collaboration between Nova Scotian duo Construction & Destruction and Steven Lambke of the Constantines. The 3-song set includes "Failed Alchemy," a haunting track with vocals by Colleen Collins, Lambke's "At The Start of The Song" (which references the Romano brothers), and "Expanding Universe," an ode to existential dread with Dave Trenaman taking the lead. The trio recorded at Toronto's Revolution Recording Studio C (hence the title), with Phil Hotz and Andrew Doidge engineering.

In an interview with The East, Lambke commented:

"We do plan to continue it as a series. No exact plans, but the idea is we’ll get together in front of a recording device every so often and make another EP."

Hailing from Port Greville, Nova Scotia, Construction & Destruction are veterans of SappyFest, the Sackville, New Brunswick summer music festival where Lambke serves as creative director. The duo also runs The Quarantine, a home studio that keeps popping up in this newsletter (Innes Wilson and B.A. Johnston both recently recorded with them).

Lambke and Construction & Destruction have a week of tour dates scheduled in Ontario this December, with appearances planned for Hamilton, London, Guelph, St. Catharines, and Toronto. That Guelph show will be part of the annual Stay Out Of The Mall fundraiser, hosted by Vish Khanna. It'll also feature Toronto electro-pop artist I Am Robot and Proud and the uncategorizable WHOOP-Szo.

Listen: Construction & Destruction / Steven Lambke - Revolution C @ Bandcamp

Daniel Romano's new record Finally Free arrives this Friday. In the lead-up, the Niagara-based singer/songwriter released the song "The Long Mirror Of Time," accompanied by a retro sci-fi video (the source of which I've just spent far too much time trying and failing to identify - the early 70s British series UFO perhaps?). Speaking to Exclaim, Romano waxed on the high concept behind the song:

"'The Long Mirror of Time' is a song celebrating the unconformities of the natural and supernatural worlds. The tangible world can often suppress our inherent instincts to shift our shape and transcend our surroundings. The long mirror of time is in-fact not a mirror but a passage of prisms. This song is for those who do not see themselves in these monotonous rays of light and instead remain unseen or further yet, push on into a realm imperceptible to those trapped in the mirror. The long mirror of time reveals the prism faces, but not mine."

Finally Free will stand as Romano's eighth LP from the past eight years. It'll carry the You've Changed mark in Canada (the label run by Danny and the above mentioned Steven Lambke) and that of the Nashville alt-country label New West Records elsewhere. The album features nine-songs that Romano wrote, recorded, performed, engineered, produced, and mixed entirety on his own (and with a pretty unique studio setup, which I wrote about this back in September).

Watch: Daniel Romano - "The Long Wheel of Time" @ YouTube

Last week Toronto punk quartet Pkew Pkew Pkew shared a catchy new single titled "65 Nickels." It's the latest track to emerge from the band's new collaboration with Dine Alone Records, following the "Passed Out" 7" that kicked things off in September. There's no word yet on what physical format this song will end up on. The band's most recent full-length, a Royal Moutain release in Canada, was reissued for the US market by SideOneDummy last fall.

Back when the band started their Dine Alone chapter, they shared that they were running song ideas past Craig Finn of the much revered Brooklyn rock band The Hold Steady. I can't say that little piece of trivia is necessarily related to this track, but it's worth remembering as this new material rolls out.

Here's a video for "65 Nickels" from Mike Bridges.

Watch: Pkew Pkew Pkew - "65 Nickels" @ Vimeo

Victoria's Supreme Echo continues to unearth and reissue these coolest forgotten artifacts from Canada's punk rock past. On December 1 they'll release I Ain't No Robot, a 7" EP from Calgary's Plan Nine featuring material from the early 80s. Here's the write-up:

"Canadian prairie punk by the three King brothers who moved out from Toronto in the fall of 1980 to become one of Calgary’s earliest on the scene! The late Bob King’s witty and thought-provoking socio-political lyrics transformed from bedroom acoustic songs into a flurry of wild wah-wah fuzz and shredding guitars with overtones of power-pop and hard rock. Canada’s 'prairies' are the equivalent to the USA’s 'mid-west' and the sound of this EP is exactly that! Imagine Devo & The Gizmos as Canadian punk rockers."

This set collects the band's rare four-song 7" from 1981 with two unreleased tracks from the next year. The release comes with a booklet compiling flyers, photographs, and a write-up on the band's history. Plan Nine guitarist/vocalist Chris Czech spoke about the reissue with 50ThirdAn3rd back in August.

Listen: Plan Nine - I Ain't No Robot @ Bandcamp

Burner's a gritty new punk quartet that recently emerged in Toronto from Casper Skulls, The Knees Up, and Dead Broke. The band has an EP on the way in December, a collection that will feature the song "PSA." It was recorded and mixed at a home studio by Marshall Lawr, with John Hoffman mastering. You can check it out below.

Listen: Burner - "PSA" @ YouTube

Intermittently active Vancouver indie-pop act Energy Slime has a new collection at Bandcamp titled Singles 2015-2017. The set collects the songs "It's Cold," "After Tonight (It Will Never Be Night)," and "Pumpin' Up The Dream." Energy Slime emerged a few years ago as a side-project from members of Jay Arner's band. These recordings feature Arner, lead vocalist Jessica Delisle, Adrienne LaBelle (Movieland, Supermoon), Kurt Dahle (Limblifter, Age of Electric, The New Pornographers), Robert Ondzik, and Tom Whalen in various capacities.

Listen: Energy Slime - Singles 2015-2017 @ Bandcamp

Toronto rock band The High Loves have a new 5-song EP out titled Serotonin, a bright, clean set of retro pop-rock. The quartet features singer/songwriter Noah Monckton, guitarist Marko Stojanovic, bassist Matt Bawtinheimer, and drummer Mathieu Landry. The band commented on "You Already Knew That," the lead single from the set:

"[It] has a lot of emotional weight behind it. This song is about an inner conflict Noah Monckton was having when he decided to break up with his girlfriend who he was still in love with to further pursue his music. He was wondering if it was really the right thing to do. He knew that he'd really miss her. Writing this song allowed Monckton to reconnect with that experience in a way that enabled him to move on."

Listen: The High Loves - Serotonin @ Bandcamp

In case you missed it, a few weeks ago I spoke with Shelby Wilson and Kat McGouran of the Toronto art-punks WLMRT about their recent Pleasence Records EP Lube 2. As I loathe transcription, the conversation ran as a special episode of the Punknews Podcast with music from the band and a few of their contemporaries. On it, we chat about the release, the band's recent gig playing before an SLC Punk screening (of all things), and their escape plan when the Waltons come calling.

Listen: WLMRT are serious, maybe @ Punknews.org

If you're on the west coast and want to sneak into some upcoming shows for free, I've got a few draws running through my friends at MRG Concerts. First up, veteran Californian ska-punks the Mad Caddies are headed north to tour in support of their recent covers album Punk Rocksteady (the only place you'll find a ska cover of Propagandhi's "...And We Thought Nation States Were A Bad Idea"). Follow any of these links to enter:

Next up, Burlington emo heroes Silverstein are on the road celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut When Broken is Easily Fixed. I've got passes to their upcoming gigs in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver available as well:

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