Sunday February 24, 2019

Trou Noir

Montreal's post-punk group Bleu Nuit have another new single up, a polished track titled "Trou Noir" that arrives alongside an animated video by Liam Hamilton. The track follows "Le même discours" from last October, with both songs set for the band's upcoming full-length Le jardin des mémoires, due on April 12 from Michel Records. Speaking to Exclaim, the director of the "Trou Noir" video commented:

"I tried to echo the single sentence of the tune with various evolving animation loops. The environments are always mutating between familiar and unknown structures, and nothing repeats. Like if your subconscious knocks at the backdoor."

This recording features vocals, guitar, bass, and synths by Yan Skene, additional guitar by Nicolas Gaudreault, and drums by Laurent Saint-Pierre. Producer Julien Mineau (of Malajube and Fontarabie) plays various instruments on the track as well. The band recorded at the Bottle Garden Studio in Montreal with Peter Woodford.

Bleu Nuit will launch the new record with an April 20 release show at Montreal's Casa del Popolo. Their supporting spring tour includes appearances at both Guelph's Kazoo! Fest and Fredericton's Flourish Festival.

Watch: Bleu Nuit - "Trou Noir" @ YouTube

Plastic Heads rocketed out of nowhere last week with a whip-fast punk rock debut titled Nowhere to Run. The Toronto quartet features some familiar faces, with vocals and guitar from Flesh Rag's Matthew Ellis and Jon Sharron of Career Suicide/Brutal Knights. Bassist Erik plays with FLQ, and formerly served in Hassler and the School Jerks, while drummer Curtis Tone is one-third of School Damage. The band recorded their 10-song debut with Jimmy Vapid producing. Look for Nowhere to Run to arrive on LP at some point soon via Ugly Pop Records, but in the meantime fire it up online. It's the perfect antidote for this shitty February slog.

Listen: Plastic Heads - Nowhere To Run @ Bandcamp

Recent Mint Records signees Kiwi Jr. have another satisfying new track online. You can check the jangly indie rock band's catchy new tune "Salary Man" below. It'll appear on Football Money, the group's new 10-song full-length set to arrive on March 29.

Now located in Toronto, Kiwi Jr. originally came together in Charlottetown. The band features vocalist Jeremy Gaudet, guitarist Brian Murphy, bassist Mike Walker, and drummer Brohan Moore. The record was engineered by Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano, Bry Webb) and mixed by Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh (Preoccupations, METZ), with additional instrumentation and production help from Alec O'Hanley (who plays with Murphy in Alvvays).

Listen: Kiwi Jr. - "Salary Man" @ Bandcamp

I first wrote about Steven Lambke's "Fireworks" back in October of 2017 when it showed up online as a live recording. The song's returned now as the lead single heralding Dark Blue, Lambke's new LP and follow-up to 2015's Days of Heaven. This album finds Steve working closely with his You've Changed Records partner Daniel Romano, with Danny contributing percussion, guitar, keys, and vocals to the collection. The record's core performing trio also features Dave Nardi, former bassist of Dirty Nil and now a fixture of Romano's live ensembles. The album also features contributions from Welland multi-instrumentalist Mark Lalama and Ian Romano (Attack In Black, Career Suicide).

The single arrived alongside a video collage by Paul Henderson, featuring photography by Colin Medley. You can check it out below. f you're familiar with the earlier recording of this track, you'll find the studio version a pleasantly lush evolution. Expect the same for the album cut of "At The Start of the Song," an evolution of the track which appeared late last year on Steve's Revolution C split with Construction & Destruction.

Lambke's Days of Heaven was his first major work under his own name, having prior recorded as Baby Eagle and as a member of the Constantines. In recent years he's served as the creative director of the Sackville, New Brunswick music festival SappyFest.

You've Changed will release Dark Blue on March 29 on LP, with a limited edition hand-bound chapbook of lyrics available.

Watch: Steven Lambke - "Fireworks" @ YouTube

Speaking of Danny, an in-studio VHS recording of his live band (currently dubbed "The Outfit") performing the song "Empty Husk" went online last week from Standard Electric. The clip features Kenneth Roy Meehan on percussion, Matthew Rodderick on guitar, and the aforementioned Ian Romano and Dave Nardi on bass and organ respectively. Daniel drums and sings in the clip.

"Empty Husk" originally appeared on Finally Free, Romano's most recent full-length from this past November. Given the esoteric and intimate studio setup used to track that record, you'll find the full-band version here to be quite a departure.

Watch: Daniel Romano & The Outfit - "Empty Husk" @ YouTube

Niagara country/folk artist Spencer Burton recently released an acoustic demo version of his 2017 full-length Songs Of. The new set, which mirrors the track listing of the original, was put out to help promote his upcoming Canadian tour supporting The White Buffalo. The above mentioned Kenneth Roy Meehan made these recordings. Spencer, of course, has roots in Attack In Black alongside the aforementioned Romano brothers and the unmentioned (so far, but I'm only half-way through) Ian Daniel Kehoe.

Listen: Spencer Burton - "Songs Of (Acoustic)" @ Bandcamp

With the March release of Dear Bongo, on the horizon, Fredericton art-punk trio Motherhood continues to share bits and pieces of the new full-length. Last week they released "Costanza," a track a few shades heavier than its bouncy predecessors "Bird Chirp" and "Pick of the Pugs." It's a song with a strange liniage as well. The band commented:

"In case you were wondering our new single 'Costanza' is based off a sample of The Cramp's cover of Charlie Feathers' 'Can't Hardly Stand It.' Soooo a single from a sample of a cover of a song! Easy."

Dear Bongo, the band's new nine-song LP, is due March 1 via the Forward Music Group. Motherhood features lead-vocalist/guitarist Brydon Crain, keyboardist Penelope Stevens, and drummer Adam Sipkema.

Listen: Motherhood - "Costanza" @ Bandcamp

Vancouver grunge/punk quartet Dead Soft has a new single out on Arts & Crafts titled "Porch." It's the first new track to follow up their recent New Emotion EP. The band commented:

"This song is a hurricane of feeling and is very near and dear to our hearts. It has always had a life of its own and now you are a part of that life. We hope you dig it!"

At some other time and place, this could have been an enormous alt-rock hit.

Listen: Dead Soft - "Porch" @ Bandcamp

Last week U.S. Girls released a video for the song "Time" from their acclaimed 2018 record In a Poem Unlimited. The clip uses footage of the band playing last year's SappyFest, with Meg Remy backed by members of Toronto's Cosmic Range and Halifax sax-man Nick Dourado. "Time" is a cover of a 2013 song by Maine-based singer/songwriter Micah Blue Smaldone.

I should note that a certain Canadian newsletter author of minor import is somewhere in that crowd, but alas not captured on camera. Perhaps that's for the best.

Watch: U.S. Girls - "Time" @ YouTube

Hull, Quebec's daring punk-jazz group FET.NAT has a new record out now titled Le Mal. This one comes with a high-concept I best not attempt to paraphrase:

"FET.NAT turns concept on its head and delves into its own upside-down world on the new full-length. Le Mal is comprised of two sides, one containing MIDI reinterpretations of the other. The result is a full-player of discernible variety, with JFNO's warped poetry telling familiar but differing tales, underscored by instrumentals of menacing restraint, with hushed electronics, and flashes of shattered polyrhythms. Le Mal captures a fleeting moment of dire elation: a snapshot of a band nesting on a bomb of potential energy."

Le Mal is the band's second LP and seventh release overall, following the 2017 EP Goaler. You can hear "Patio Monday" below, then go compare it with its flip-side "Patio Tuesday" over at Bandcamp.

Listen: FET.NAT - "Patio Monday" @ Bandcamp

Hamilton's Billy Moon has a new video online for the track "Big Black Hole," a song from his 2018 full-length Punk Songs. You can check the clip, directed by Moon, below. The song arrives just as Moon embarks on a US tour (with a few lead-up Canadian dates) in support of the record.

Punk Songs came out last September on Missed Connection and Old Flame Records. Dave Minehan, touring guitarist for the Replacements, recorded the brunt of the album, which also features with production by Asher Gould (Beliefs), and mastering by Phil Bova (Bahamas, Zeus).

Watch: Billy Moon - "Big Black Hole" @ YouTube

London's Jake Jackman, of the surf-rock act Shoobies and the power-pop group Isölation Party, has a new solo project online under the name Digital PAL. Here's Jackman's self-deprecating read on the work:

"Hello internet, in my relentless pursuit to just release as much bullshit into the soundsphere as possible; I give you Digital PAL... It's only 4 short tracks and they're all pretty nonsensical. Just some guitar riffs I've had kickin around for the better part of 8 years, and a bit of poetry I've had for roughly the same time. As always it's free, and you can share it with whatever dingus likes this kind of drivel. It was recorded on a two track tape deck for all y'all analog geeks."

Listen: Digital PAL - Please Don't Smoke, I Love You So @ Bandcamp

Back in January, the Kamloops punk group Outpatient released a self-titled 5 track EP. It's a wonderfully raw-throated effort, with shades of grunge and some of that magical shambling quality you can hear in early-Replacements. The band shares members with the Oi-influenced hardcore group Bootlicker, but approach the genre from an entirely different angle. That's all I know about them so far, but check this out it speaks for itself.

Listen: Outpatient - 5 Track EP @ Bandcamp

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