Sunday January 27, 2019

In Death

Before the arbitrary decision to laser-focus my available time on Canadian music, a few bands from this scene still found their way into my life regardless of geography (this is, I'm told, how normal humans find and consume music). The Steve Adamyk Band out of Ottawa was one of those, so the fact that they've been mostly absent for the entire lifetime of this publication has been a frustration. That's all in the past, as the power-pop/punk outfit is back in the press with news of Paradise, their upcoming sixth full-length.

The 12-track LP was recorded with producer Mike Bond at Wolf Lake Studios in Lac-des-Loups, Québec and mixed out on the west coast by Jesse Gander (Needles//Pins, Japandroids). Steve's band this time out features Pat Johnson of The Acorn and Telecomo drumming with Johnny O of Uranium Comeback on bass. The record also features vocals from Dave Williams of Crusades, himself an early member of the Adamyk Band (not to mention one of Steve's old bandmates from the Sedatives).

Exclaim recently shared the first track from the record, titled "In Death." There Steve commented:

"'In Death' is giving it your all, even if it kills you. Going full speed ahead, regardless of your own well being. Forward and fuck it."

Paradise arrives in the wake of 2016's Graceland, and once again on the Pacific Northwest garage-punk label Dirtnap Records. Along with 11 new originals, the album also features a cover of the song "Telephone," by late-70s British power-pop act The Incredible Kidda Band. Look for Paradise on March 15.

Listen: Steve Adamyk Band - "In Death" @ SoundCloud

On the heels of a pair of recent singles, Toronto punk quartet Pkew Pkew Pkew have formally announced their new LP. Titled Optimal Lifestyles, the band's 15-song new record will arrive on March 1 via Dine Alone. With the announcement, the group unveiled the new track "I Don't Matter At All," which follows the previously shared "65 Nickels" and "Passed Out."

Pkew Pkew Pkew notably wrote this record with guidance from Craig Finn of beloved Brooklyn rock band The Hold Steady. These guys are always best when they hint at the self-doubt and frustration that underscores their self-destructive party punk, and Finn's influence will surely amplify that. Frontman Mike Warne commented on the band's lyrical preoccupations in the press release:

"Is this good or is this bad? It’s fun to live like an idiot, but it’s probably bad, also. We’re all constantly wondering if we’ve ruined our lives forever or not, being in a band...

Warne delves deeper into the pizza, beer, and anxiety fueling the band in an in-depth interview over at Uproxx.

Listen: Pkew Pkew Pkew - "I Don't Matter At All" @ Bandcamp

The first track from B.A. Johnston's new record is now online. The first cut shared from The Skid Is Hot Tonight is titled "Geddy Lee" and be streamed through Toronto radio station Indie 88. The record, packed with 21 songs, arrives on February 22 via Winnipeg's Transistor 66.

Johnston's become infamous in the Canadian indie world for his raucous one-man live performances and his hilarious (though sometimes weirdly affecting) lyricism, informed equally by 80s pop-culture and the working-class life of Hamilton, Ontario. This new record, like its 2017 predecessor Gremlins 3, was produced by Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell and recorded at The Quarantine in Port Greville, Nova Scotia with Colleen Collins and Dave Trenaman of Construction & Destruction. In the studio, B.A. was joined by Joel Tong on guitar and Jon McKiel on drums. Expect them to be replaced by a half-working thrift-store Discman at live shows.

Johnston will support the new record with an extensive tour, playing Canadians gigs from February through April, followed by a run of UK dates in May. While details are forthcoming, he'll visit Germany in late May followed by a stint in the Canadian Maritimes this June. The tour will feature appearances from bands like Beef Boys, Flesh Rag, J Blissette, and Deathsticks on various dates. You can scope out dates for the first leg at Punknews.

Listen: B.A. Johnston - "Geddy Lee" @ Indie 88

Last October Toronto's theatric, emotionally-fraught indie-rock act The Holy Gasp launched their new divorce-themed record with a wedding, of sorts. The band's release show for The Love Songs of Oedipus Rex featured a 27-person orchestral performance at 918 Bathurst Centre in Toronto, with attendees dressed for a formal ceremony. If you missed the event, the first footage is now online. You can witness the ensemble's performance of "She Broke My Heart" at YouTube.

Watch: The Holy Gasp - "She Broke My Heart" @ YouTube

Toronto's raw-throated, distortion-washed noise-punk group Losers recently released their first single, titled "Feedback." It's backed by the track "Will," however I'm not sure the phrase backed has any meaning in this context, as the single's coming out on a floppy disk, I assume a 3 1⁄2. Granted it's served up in an attractive green jewel case and packaged with an insert dup'd on a Risograph... but still. The three-piece recorded with producer Jesse Turnbull.

Listen: Losers - "Feedback" @ Bandcamp

You may have heard Cam Fraser as the bassist for Toronto art-punks Luge as a member of the low-fi alt-country act Hobby. Last week he unveiled a new EP's worth of songs under his own name. Appropriately All The World's A Dream, the new set features 6 affecting new songs featuring Fraser in a meditative singer/songwriter mode.

Listen: Cam Fraser - All The World's A Dream @ Bandcamp

Kitchener's Hyness have a new single online titled "Shame," and it feels like a massive power-pop hit. While much of the band's material to date has featured elements of shoegaze and dream-pop, this new tune leaves all subtlety aside and packs as many hooks into a minute and seen seconds as it can. The new track was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Joe Shugan and the band at the Starlight Social Club in Waterloo, Ontario last April.

Back in January Hyness took part in a split 7" with St. Catharines fuzz-pop act Strange Shakes.

Listen: Hyness - "Shame" @ Bandcamp

Whimsical Montreal art-punk duo CRABE recently released the song "Livre compliqué," the first taste of the band's next record. That album, the band's 7th, is due in the spring from Pantoum Records. I'm unsure of its title at the moment, as my French is embarrassingly bad. Originally hailing from the southwestern Quebec town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, CRABE features Gabriel Lapierre and Mertin Höek. Guillaume Chiasson of the Quebec City garage rock duo Ponctuation produced the new track.

Later this week the band will play the Taverne Tour in Montreal, opening for LA's Big Business on the final night of the event.

Listen: CRABE - "Livre compliqué" @ Bandcamp

Speaking of bands playing Taverne this weekend, dynamic Montreal trio Lemongrab will make an appearance this Friday to help launch their new album It Doesn’t Sound Good But It Feels Awesome. The band plays a mix of slacker rock and frenetic pop-punk, of which the with the below-linked video for the energetic "Keep Door Open" should make readily apparent. The band recorded the full-length with Faith Healer's Renny Wilson.

Lemongrab features vocalist Gaëlle Cordeau, guitarist Léonie Dishaw, and drummer Marilou Turgeon. Their new music's following up their 2016 EP The Ones With The Brooms. Alongside their Taverne appearance, the group has a flurry of shows coming up this week celebrate the record, including the official kickoff on Thursday night at Quebec City's Scanner Bistro and a Toronto show at the Baby G this Saturday. Check your favourite omnipresent social network for details.

Watch: Lemongrab - "Keep Door Open" @ YouTube

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