Sunday December 2, 2018

Secret Republic

Pottery's been kicking around the Montreal garage/psych scene since early 2017, but a lack of recorded material's kept the band decidedly underground. With the recently revealed single "Hank Williams," expect that profile to change. The propulsive garage-rock tune, like all good things, has shades of the mighty Devo (and some early Buzzcocks for good measure). The band's lead by UK transplant Austin Boylan (The Fuzzy Undertones) and Jacob Shepansky, along with Paul Jacobs, Peter Baylis, and Tom Gould. Jacobs is, of course, prolific in the Montreal psych world and members of Pottery have shown up in iterations of his backing bands over the years. He's behind the drum kit here.

The jangling, yelped, low-fi "Hank Williams" sounds about as far from its namesake as you can get. The band described its origin in a press release:

"'Hank Williams' was one of the first songs we wrote. We were messing around with a few ideas we had and the song just fell into place naturally. Once we had the bones of the song in place a friend heard it and said it sounded like Hank Williams on speed. We liked that idea, so we ran with it for the lyrics. There ya have it, Hank was born (again)."

Pottery has a record on the way soon, apparently recorded in just two days. While further details have yet to arrive, the Royal Mountain Records copyright on the single hints where they'll show up. Expect Pottery on the road soon as well, including a set of tour dates supporting Parquet Courts.

Listen: Pottery - "Hank Williams" @ Bandcamp

Of the former members of Welland's Attack In Black, you could argue that the most enigmatic is Ian Daniel Kehoe. After a handful of AM radio-styled guitar-pop records as Marine Dreams, Kehoe's solo efforts took a backseat to his role as the stoic sideman for The Weather Station, Andy Shauf, and Julia Jacklin. His live appearances in the intern have featured a smattering of poetry readings and electronic experiments.

The new single "Secret Republic," finds Kehoe pairing that verse with bright synth-pop. It's the first of a new set of home-produced recordings, and it's wonderfully accessible in the best sense of the word. Kehoe's personal style, as evident in the accompanying Colin Medley-directed video, remains a carefully curated curiosity. For all the inherent awkward humour, Kehoe never breaks character. That sincerity's pretty interesting, as "Secret Republic" steers clear of both irony and the winking nostalgia that permeates all these 80s-influenced synthwave subgenres.

The physical form of Kehoe's next release is not yet known, but it looks like the UK label Tin Angel Records will be involved. Kehoe, as Marine Dreams, last released the Producer's Wonderland cassette in 2015.

Watch: Ian Daniel Kehoe - "Secret Republic" @ YouTube

Idée Fixe has announced a February 2 release date for The Gratitude Principle, the second full-length from Toronto psych-jazz group The Cosmic Range. The six-song record will follow the band's well-reviewed 2016 debut New Latitudes, as well as with their prominent role backing Meg Remy on the latest U.S. Girls record In A Poem Unlimited (although interestingly Gratitude was recorded before the Poem's many accolaides accolades to roll in).

The collective's lineup on this record includes bandleader Matthew "Doc" Dunn (organ, bass, vibraphone, synth) with Kieran Adams (drums, electronics), Jonathan Adjemian (keys, synth), Isla Craig (voice, flute), Andy Haas (saxophone, electronics), Mike Smith (keys, bass), Maximilian Turnbull (guitar, wah-wah, string machine) and Brandon Valdivia (congas, percussion). Jeff McMurrich produced the record, which features cover art by Portland, OR's Winston Hacking.

The label commented:

Following a similar M.O. as New Latitudes, [Dunn and McMurrich] wanted to keep the sessions moving quickly, some tunes loosely adhering to jazz forms whose melodic themes would provide a jumping off point for improvisation, other pieces eschewing tradition all together, enabling pure freedom. If The Cosmic Range takes cues from electric era Miles Davis then McMurrich whose credits extend beyond his noted work in popular music to a deep jazz catalogue including sessions with Anthony Braxton, James Blood Ulmer and Sam Rivers, took equal amounts of inspiration from Miles producer Teo Macero. Advanced editing techniques and spatial effects all complement the Range's approach and serve to create a contemporary take on electric jazz.

The album's title (and closing) track "The Gratitude Principle" is online now to stream.

Listen: The Cosmic Range - "The Gratitude Principle" @ Bandcamp

Toronto's Triples recently returned with "Hillside," a sunny new single (and accompanying video) that delivers what's possibly the most effortlessly joyful vocal hook I've heard in a whole. The jangle-pop duo, prominently influenced by early 90s indie rock, features guitarist Eva Link and drummer Madeline Link (the daughters of Pete Link from the late-90s Calgary garage rock group the Shinolas). Eva also plays bass in the TO pop-punk band PONY.

Watch: Triples - "Hillside" @ YouTube

London, Ontario pop-punk quartet Never Betters have a new single online titled "Alone." The track follows the band's spring-released split LP with Grievances (the befuddlingly titled Guns + Roses' Roses). In the premiere at Substream drummer Davita Guslits, who wrote the lyrics, commented on the song:

"'Alone' is about trying to enjoy the euphoria of new love or infatuation, without getting too bogged down by the unfortunate fact of that love being unrequited. It represents the mental gymnastics I performed after becoming intimate with my unemotional lover, to balance self indulgent daydreams with reality. But I wouldn’t have given up a second of those heart wrenching times."

Never Betters features Guslits with vocalist April Romano, bassist Patrick Briggs, and guitarist Danny Kidd. Members of the group have roots in bands like Moon Hag, All the Trendy Kids, and Stiff Wires, and currently play as members of Strange Ways, Wasted Potential, Foam, and the above-mentioned Grievances.

Listen: Never Betters - "Alone" @ SoundCloud

Lisa Marr of the legendary Vancouver indie-pop/cuddlecore group Cub recently announced a new EP backed by the Tranzmitors. The record will feature four songs, a pair of Cub covers ("Magic 8 Ball" and "Pretty Pictures"), a new take the Fastbacks' "In The Summer," and an original titled "Salvation."

The 7" will arrive in on January from Top Drawer Records to coincide with the band's appearance at the upcoming Seattle Pop Punk Festival on January 11. That three-day event, which kicks off on January 10, features a strong Canadian contingent, including sets from the Smugglers, the Stand GT, and the Hextalls among others.

If you can't make it to the west coast the records are set to ship out on January 15. All proceeds from the release will be donated to Girls Rock Camp Vancouver.

Listen: Lisa Marr with the Tranzmitors - "In The Summer" / "Magic 8 Ball" @ Bandcamp

After teasing the record earlier in the fall, Montreal's punky rock'n'roll quartet Pale Lips have unveiled the first single from After Dark, titled "You're a Doll." You can check the video for it below. The band's new record follows up their 2016 album Wana Be Bad, and the 2017 EP Should’ve Known Better. The group, who emerged in 2014, features guitarist Ilona Szabo, bassist Jamie Radu, drummer Lynn Poulin, and vocalist Jackie Blenkarn.

After Dark arrives on January 31 through God's Candy in Canada, Alien Snatch! in Europe, and Spaghetty Town in the States. Chuck Berry licks all over this thing.

Watch: Pale Lips - "You're A Doll" @ YouTube

The split between Daniel Romano's power-pop group Ancient Shapes and the Welland's Turbonegro-inspired trio Dboy is out now. You can hear the songs over at the Yeah Right Records Bandcamp page. The 7" features two new tracks from both groups.

Romano previously worked with Dboy in the studio, recording their debut mock-live record Prove Your Love - Live in Belem. Dboy features members culled from Rose City punk acts The Snips and Northern Primitive (and do they ever sound like they've been guzzling diesel on these tracks).

Listen: Ancient Shapes / Dboy 7" @ Bandcamp

Speaking of Danny (and let's face it, it's rare that I'm not), his new full-length Finally Free is now out on You've Changed and New West Records. The final push before the album dropped featured a new self-produced video for the song "Rhythmic Blood." It finds the genre-defying alt-country artist slow-motion shadowboxing with the camera.

The tour supporting Finally Free kicks off this week, with Romano's band supported by FRIGS.

Watch: Daniel Romano - "Rhythmic Blood" @ YouTube

Last week Punknews.org premiered a new video from Toronto's muscular hard rock act Quarter Tank. The clip features the band performing their namesake track from their new eight-song record Igniter. Michael Lylloff directed the video.

Quarter Tank features vocalist Billy Gregory, guitarist Johnny McNabb, bassist Jesse Mackowycz, and drummer Dean Glover. John Critchley produced the new record at Green Door Studios. The group will launch Igniter this Thursday at Toronto's Cherry Colas with support form Dragged In and The Exploders.

Watch: Quarter Tank - "Quarter Tank" @ YouTube

I don't have much in the way of context for this next one, but with Chad VanGaalen you don't need it. The beloved Calgary-based artist, animator, and purveyor of folk-rock-wrapped sci-fi strangeness has a pair of new songs online in a set titled Odds and Sods. Presumably b-sides, the set includes the songs "Friendly Aliens" and "Monopoly Arp."

VanGaalen last released the Light Information LP in September of 2017 on Flemish Eye and Sub Pop.

Listen: Chad VanGaalen - Odds and Sods @ Bandcamp

This January Partner heads out for their first tour of the west coast, co-headlining a series of shows with Seattle's Dude York. The Windsor-via-Sackville slacker rock act announced the shows alongside a succinct new tune titled "Lost My Pick, Can I Borrow One." It's a single verse, one cool guitar solo, and out by a minute thirty.

Partner's currently supporting their Polaris shortlisted debut full-length In Search of Lost Time, which came out last year on You’ve Changed Records.

Watch: Partner - "Lost My Pick, Can I Borrow One?" @ YouTube

Chris Page has released a new interpretation of his song "Whisper Astrologics." The track arrives as part of his ongoing Decide to Stay and Swim Again project. Page, who's known for Expanda Fuzz, Camp Radio, and The Stand GT, explained the endeavour earlier this year:

I had a moment this past winter looking back on a solo record I put out on Kelp Records in 2003 and realized it had been 15 years since I released Decide To Stay And Swim.

The record only ever came out on CD (which I hope to change one day) so I popped a copy in a player and had a focused listen. I'd forgotten how much I liked the songs on this record and how much of an amazing sonic stamp Dave Draves put all over it.

During those past cold and dark months, I decided to revisit these songs and will release these new, acoustic, demo-like versions over the course of 2018 and into 2019.

Page commented that the new track, the fifth so far released, "might be a good one to park alongside the Monday morning snooze button."

Listen: Chris Page - "Whisper Astrologics" @ Bandcamp

A few weeks ago Halifax-based singer/songwriter Matthew Fleming released a brooding solo track titled "Dream to Me." The song was recorded with Sean Pearson at Boxcar Sound in Fleming's hometown of Hamilton, Ontario. A video for the tune, created by Justis Krar's IMMV Productions, has been popping up repeatedly in my circles ever since. You can check it out below.

Fleming will head home to play a show at Boxcar on December 15 with Chris Bell and local dream-folk quartet CQ.

Watch: Matthew Fleming - "Dream to Me" @ YouTube

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