This is Some Party. Welcome back for year three.
By the time I noticed the late-November announcement of a new album from Winnipeg's Tunic, I was well into my self-imposed holiday exile. I've been itching to get this news out though, as the caustic noise-punk trio made a huge impression on me with just a single song last year (the paint-peeling "Teeth Showing"). The band's debut LP will be titled Complexion, and it's due on February 8 through Texan label Self Sabotage Records. There's a translucent pink vinyl pressing available for pre-order at their Bandcamp page if that's your thing.
The new record features 11 songs, recorded in just six days in the band's hometown. They worked with The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek in the studio. This record features guitarist/vocalist David Schellenberg, bassist Rory Ellis, and drummer Sam Neal. Self Sabotage shared an origin story for Tunic's feedback-drenched sound in their press release:
"Tunic is born of spite. After years of touring someone else’s bass lines across the globe, David Schellenberg was told he wasn’t good enough. So he did the only logical thing: buy a guitar, quit your long-time band, and abandon everything you think you know about music. Armed with no skill and a blissfully ignorant embrace of discordant noise, Schellenberg started crafting songs... This is unconventional hardcore. This is broken indie rock. This is naïve art."
You can check out "Nothing Nothing," the album's chaotic lead track, below. Fans of METZ, HSY, or the Toronto noise scene in general will find a lot to love here.
Tunic last appeared as one half of a Buzz Records released split 7" back in April, which paired them with the Abbotsford, BC post-punk band Blessed. The bands seem to be on similar tracks, as Blessed also recently previewed their follow-up recording with a song titled "Thought." Lasek produced it, as well, and I'd expect a new record will be announced from their camp soon.
Spastic punk quartet Prom Nite are calling it quits. The band's set to play a final show on Saturday, January 26 at the Toronto comic and graphic novel store The Beguiling. They'll call it a day with support from the similarly quirky Rotten Column and Hugh Man, as well as the first appearance of the new punk/metal group Oxalis. The show's free, with pay-what-you-can donations accepted at the door benefitting Supporting Our Youth, a community development program from the Sherbourne Health Centre that provides support and services to queer, trans, and questioning youth.
Prom Nite released a series of cassette EPs from 2015 through 2017, cumulating in their sole LP, the Barfbag Records released "Dancing To This Beat..." in July of that year. If you slept on it at the time, it's a wonderfully frantic set of low-fi punk tunes and was held up at the time as one of the city's more vital recent contributions to the genre.
Mechanical Forest Sound has shared three recordings from indie-rock troubadour Shotgun Jimmie's November 21 show at Toronto's Tranzac. This was a gig thrown to celebrate the end of Jimmie's recording sessions for his forthcoming Transistor Sister II album, and it previews some of the songs expected on that release. At the blog you can find a 7-minute medley of tunes from the original Transistor Sister LP, along with the new tracks "Blues Riffs" and "Sorry, We're Closed." Those song titles may change whenever the actual record comes about, mind you.
Transistor Sister was Jim Kilpatrick's well-received 2011 full-length, a You've Changed release. The sequel features Jimmie along with Ryan Peters of the great Ladyhawk, Jay Baird of Do Make Say Think, and José Miguel Contreras of Toronto indie vets By Divine Right. This album follows up both 2016's Field of Trampolines record and last year's debut from The Heat Death, Jimmie and Contreras' reverb-washed side-band.
Transistor Sister II will likely be out this year.
In the lead-up to their appearance this week at the Seattle Pop Punk Festival, Glengarry, Ontario punk/garage-rock vets The Stand GT unearthed a previously unseen 25-year-old video for their song "The Wait," a standout from their 1991 cassette-release Blur Your Cool. I premiered the video at Punknews last week along with a note from Chris Page on the quarter-century delay on getting this thing out:
"Friends (Vali Fugulin and Paul Godawa) filmed the footage at Concordia University in early '93 and it was supposed to become a video for 'The Wait' used to promote our Blur Your Cool record. The footage was pretty cool and shot on 16mm B&W, on a hand-held Bolex. Unfortunately, the editing costs back then were astronomical, so we weren't able to ever get the shots put together. I had the rushes transferred to VHS years ago so we could have a copy of the footage in case we were ever able to edit it. Anyway, since making videos is pretty easy now as we all know, I was able to digitize the VHS and finally get this thing edited, all these years later."
The Seattle Pop Punk Festival goes down on January 10, 11, and 12 at venues in that city. The Stand GT will perform on January 12 at El Corazon, reuniting the group with some early touring companions like the Young Fresh Fellows and Vancouver's The Smugglers. The latter alluded that their performance may be their last, commenting "the reunion circuit has been a blast!"
In addition the Festival will features performances from Lisa Marr of Cub with the Tranzmitors, Kamloops pop-punk group The Hextalls, The Wanna-Bes, Waffle Stomper, Who Is She, The Subjectives, Skates!, Ol Doris, Hilltop Rats, Shaolin Hunks, Kids on Fire, Tunebugs, The Disorderlies, Heck Yes, Amsterdam, The Cheap Cassettes, and Dreadful Children. Marr and the Tranzmitors previously announced that they teamed up to record an EP for the event.
Toronto multi-instrumentalist Matthew "Doc" Dunn, bandleader of Toronto psych-jazz collective The Cosmic Range, released a solo folk-rock LP late last year titled Lightbourn. He celebrated that release on December 20 with a show at The Baby G by... releasing another entirely different full length, out of the blue. This second one's titled Some Horses Run, and you can stream the full 8-track effort at Bandcamp now. In the words of local music writer Michael Rancic "celebrating the release of one LP with another is the definition of prolific."
All this comes alongside news that the second full-length from The Cosmic Range is due on Idée Fixe Records next month. The Gratitude Principle will arrive on February 2, following up the band's 2016 debut New Latitudes, as well as with their prominent role backing Meg Remy on the latest U.S. Girls record.
St. Catharines fuzz-pop act Strange Shakes have a new split 7” single out with the Kitchener power-pop/dream-pop group Hyness. It features the new Shakes tune dubbed "Turn Down Feeling," with the latter contributing a track titled "Payola." It’s the second new song to surface from the Strange Shakes camp in the past few months, following a cassette single featuring "Lazy Dog" at the end of November.
Over the holidays the gritty new Toronto's punk act Burner released their self-titled debut EP, a 7-song set (well, 6 songs plus a 52-second interlude helpfully labelled "extra noise"). The band features vocalist Deshaun Molloy (from The Knees Up), guitarist Fraser McClean of Casper Skulls fame, bassist Amy Praught, and drummer Evan Saunders (from Oakville's Dead Broke). The record was recorded and mixed by Marshall Lawr and McClean, with mastering from John Hoffman.
These guys played a gig recently with Single Mothers and Dboy. Were you to draw a line between the attitude-drenched sound of the former and the diesel-chugging excess of the latter, you could drop Burner somewhere right in the middle.
Ottawa alternative soul group Subtle Curves released a new four-song EP at the end of December dubbed Sanitary Clapping. Fronted by vocalist Megan Francoeur, this recording features guitarist Gent Zaplluzha, bassist Stephen Adu, keyboardist Jaden Allaire, and drummer Devon Swords. Cory Bergeron produced the set, and these songs sound downright lush.
Finally, I suppose I should share a link to my Best of 2018 list, given that it's the season. I'm torn on the necessity of these things, to be honest. It feels like we've lost the plot if we can't appreciate art, in all its nuance, without reducing it to some cold, quantitatively ranked competition. I'm not the type of nerd who relishes in that. Music's too personal. So as a Some Party effort, I'd probably avoid this format. Anything that smacks of clickbait makes my skin crawl. But this is a Punknews.org list, and a tradition I've been taking part in for well over a decade now, so when in Rome...
My favourite EPs of the year included works by Rotten Column, Construction & Destruction, Steven Lambke, Blessed, Tunic, Paul Jacobs, Chain Whip, New Vogue, Booji Boys, WLMRT, Wares, and Alienation.
My LP list featured PRIORS, Peach Kelli Pop, Golden Drag, Sore Points, Luge, Young Guv, Dilly Dally, S.H.I.T., Feel Alright, Nap Eyes, Tommy and the Commies, FRIGS, Hot Snakes, Daniel Romano, Paul Jacobs (again!), U.S. Girls, Jennifer Castle, The Dirty Nil, Hubert Lenoir, and Fucked Up.
There's an American band in there, somewhere.