Sunday February 3, 2019

Kids

Slacker rock heroes Partner have a new EP on the way for the spring. Saturday the 14th will arrive on April 5 from You’ve Changed Records in Canada. It'll be the It'll be the Windsor-via-Sackville band's first release for Father/Daughter Records in other markets. The record will arrive in a few forms, notably a four-song 45 RPM 12" record limited to 500 copies. The vinyl will feature the songs "Fun or Everyone (Minions)," "Stoned Thought," "Tell You Off" and the single "Long & McQuade" (an ode/jingle for the ubiquitous Ontario guitar store). The CD version of Saturday the 14th will feature a fifth track, "Les Alles d'un Ange." I'm so out of it when it comes to the continued existence of CDs that the notion of a CD-exclusive bonus track feels more anachronistic than half the cassettes I talk about here. What year is it?

Everything on the new record was written, arranged, and performed by the band's core songwriting duo of Lucy Niles and Josée Caron, with Caron producing. The release was mixed by Chris Shaw (Weezer, Sloan, Ted Leo) and mastered by João Carvalho (Alexisonfire, Silverstein).

Saturday the 14th follows up 2017's LP In Search of Lost Time, a record that won Partner a SOCAN Songwriting Prize and a Polaris shortlist spot. It should go without saying that it also stole our hearts.

Watch: Partner - "Long & McQuade" @ YouTube

PUP's track record for high-concept, must-see music videos remains untarnished with their new clip for "Kids," the first single from Morbid Stuff. The punk band again worked with director Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, the mastermind behind the group's attention-grabbing videos for "DVP," "Dark Days," "Guilt Trip," and "Old Wounds." This time out, we visit an age-ravaged future version of the band, set in a techno-dystopian Toronto that, for better or worse, still has Pizza Pizza. Speaking to Exclaim, vocalist Stefan Babcock commented:

"Jeremy cooked up this hilarious concept of what all of our lives would be like 40 years in the future. Our goal was to sorta set viewers up for this happy feelgood ending, and then at the last minute, crush them with darkness. Just like life in the present, most things in the future will probably turn out shit, or, if we're really lucky, fine at best."

The 11-song Morbid Stuff will be the band's third full-length. It was recorded at the Union Sound Company last spring with producers Dave Schiffman (Thrice, The Bronx) and Darren McGill. PUP last released The Dream Is Over in 2016 on Royal Mountain Records and SideOneDummy. This record will arrive on Rise Records in the States, with the band's newly formed imprint Little Dipper carrying it at home, licensed through Universal.

Watch: PUP - "Kids" @ YouTube

This past week Vancouver five-piece punk group Alien Boys released Night Danger. It's the group's second collection of songs, following 2016's Self-Critical Theory. The group recorded the 10-song full-length with Jesse Gander at Rain City (Needles//Pins, Japandroids). Stuart McKillop of Daggermouth and Youth Decay mastered the record. Look for the LP version of Night Danger via Minneapolis' Desolate Records.

Alien Boys will celebrate the release with a show on February 9 at the Wise Hall in Vancouver with support from Fashionism, Dead Cells, and Starvation. The group counts among their ranks Erin of The Rebel Spell.

Watch: Alien Boys - "Bender" @ YouTube

This week Winnipeg noise-punk trio Tunic releases Complexion, their debut full-length. In the lead-up to that album the band shared a video for the single "Dry Heave," shot and directed by Eric Robers. You can check it out below.

Complexion arrives on Friday through Texan label Self Sabotage Records. It features 11 songs recorded with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes producing.

Watch: Tunic - "Dry Heave" @ YouTube

Florence, MA's Feeding Tube Records has announced a new archival series under the umbrella Unknown Province, which seeks to uncover and re-press Canadian underground classics. Montreal musician Alex Moskos is curating the series, which launched with a reissue of 1968's Awake in th red desert, a "zoner masterpiece" by Bill Bissett & Th Mandan Massacre. Here's how the label's Byron Coley described the record:

"We have always been shocked this LP was not included on the NWW list, but Canadian releases often seem to exist in their own universe, so we suppose that's the 'explanation.' Because, in a list of any free-form freakouts, Awake in th' Red Desert would surely have a high place. bissett was a sound/concrete poet of high repute when this was recorded, and he was also something akin to the king of the Vancouver underground scene. The original album was issued by Jim Brown's See/Hear label, which Brown founded as an adjunct to his Talon Books imprint. Backed by a band of interesting musicians (a few of whom went on to straighter afterlives), bissett created an insane mass of sound, comparable to what Mayo Thompson's Red Crayola was doing in Texas around the same time, laced with heavy Fugs overtones. Pure freaked sonics, created while stoned, for an audience that was similarly blasted, and was willing to decode what was going on using the very best acid logic available."

Hard for me to describe how much I love this album. And I will attest that this version sounds better than any other available version ever has or could. It is jacked. Nice detailed liner notes by Alex Moskos set the scene as well as anyone ever will, and if you don't feel your teeth wiggling while this plays, I suggest you may never feel that particular feeling. In your life. bill bissett is still going today, and we heartily suggest that anyone who digs this album runs out and tries to nail down one or another of his wonderful books before the sun sets."

Listen: Bill Bissett & Th Mandan Massacre - Awake in th red desert @ YouTube

The Mechanical Forest Sound blog captures a wealth of cool Toronto live performances. The publication recently published a few clips from the December 20 release show for Matthew "Doc" Dunn's Lightbourn LP. Among the songs captured is a funk cover of Jennifer Castle's ethereal "Crying Shame" single (from her recent record Angels of Death). You can check it out below.

Dunn's band at the show featured Simone TB on drums (Darlene Shrugg, Fake Palms, Partner), percussion from Derek 'Grasshopper' Madison, James Matthew VII (of No Warning, formerly known as Blind Matty) on guitar, Andrew Scott on bass, Jonathan Adjemian on keyboards, and backing vocals from both Isla Craig and U.S. Girls' Meg Remy. It should be noted that Dunn released a whole other surprise full-length at that show, titled Some Horses Run, because why be merely prolific when you can be ridiculously prolific? On that note, Dunn's psych-jazz combo The Cosmic Range are also set to release a new full-length later this week, titled The Gratitude Principle.

Listen: Matthew "Doc" Dunn - "Crying Shame" live at the Baby G @ Mechanical Forest Sound

Winnipeg punk institution Propagandhi have released a remaster of their 2012 full-length Failed States on Epitaph Records. Jason Livermore helmed the redux at Colorado's Blasting Room studios. Guitarist/vocalist Chris Hannah fielded questions regarding the project on Twitter, commenting:

"not usually big on this kinda thing -- tinkering with old recordings -- but this remaster of the Failed States LP by Jason Livermore is fuckin deadly..."

"I was disappointed with the original mastering of Failed States from the get go. We had simply run out of time/patience to do anything about it back then. To my ears I don’t think Supporting Caste [the band's 5th album from 2009] would benefit from a remaster. It was done right the first time."

The new version of Failed States is now available digitally and has been pressed to vinyl by Epitaph. Livermore earlier worked with the group on 2017's Victory Lap, their most recent record.

Listen: Propagandhi - Failed States Remaster @ YouTube

In January the London, Ontario hardcore group Jock unveiled a five-song EP titled Bust It. While the band hails from the Forest City, their aggressive sound would fit right in with the NYHC crowd. Walk A Mile Records issued the release on a super limited cassette, which you can find at Bandcamp. Drew Longrigg recorded, mixed, and mastered the EP at The Doam in London.

Listen: Jock - Bust It @ Bandcamp

Montreal's Thousand Islands Records have picked up Edmonton's melodic hardcore group Wolfrik. The label recently reissued the band's late-2017 EP Skeleton City on vinyl, with Lockjaw Records carrying the release in the UK and Europe. Wolfrik will celebrate the release with a show at The Buckingham in their hometown on February 17, with support from Nicolas Rage and Liandra.

Skeleton City was recorded and mixed at Edmonton's Velveteen Audio. James Banks engineered the record there, with mastering completed by Alan Douches at West West Side Music in New York State. Wolfrik features vocalist Dylan Toews, guitarists Kevin Perry and Mark Seifeddine, bassist Luca Properzi and drummer Nathan Troock.

Listen: Wolfrik - Skeleton City @ Bandcamp

Finally, if you're in the mood to parse something cryptic, last week the St. Catharines-rooted post-hardcore group Alexisonfire shared a six-second teaser for something. The clip shows a storefront with the sign "Familiar Drugs," awash in green light. Whether this heralds some upcoming new music remains to be seen, but one makes teasers for a reason.

Alexisonfire's last full-length was 2009's Old Crows / Young Cardinals, which was followed by the hard-hitting Dog's Blood EP in 2010. An acoustic reworking of material from across the band's catalogue surfaced in 2012, titled Death Letter. Since their 2015 reunion, Alexisonfire's played sporadic club shows and festivals, but have yet to release any new music.

Watch: Alexisonfire - "Familiar Drugs" spooky teaser thing @ Twitter

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