Sunday March 3, 2019

Dark Days

Early last week, and after a sustained few months of serious buzz but little news, Montreal garage rock act Pottery finally announced their 2019 plans. The group signed with Royal Mountain Records in Canada and Partisan elsewhere for the release of their debut EP, No. 1. It arrives May 10. The set will include the band's first single "Hank Williams," along with seven other tunes. One of those, "Lady Solinas," debuted last week alongside a video by animated by drummer Paul Jacobs (Jacobs' solo garage-psych recordings have been a frequent topic in this newsletter). The song references SCUM Manifesto author Valerie Solanas, who infamously shot Andy Warhol in 1968. The band commented that "The story is used to consider the power of passion in artists and its effect on their mental condition," noting that "although the lyrics hold a serious message, the approach to convey it is ultimately comedic."

Pottery features vocalist Austin Boylan, guitarist Jacob Shepansky, keyboardist Peter Baylis, bassist Tom Gould, and the above-mentioned Paul Jacobs on drums. The band recorded No 1. over two nights, cut live to tape and some songs in a single take.

The band has a North American tour lined up supporting the Swedish post-punk group Viagra Boys in the immediate future. They'll also make appearances at SXSW, with a busy string of European festival dates lined up for the spring.

Watch: Pottery - "Lady Solinas" @ YouTube

Elsewhere in Montreal you'll find Red Mass, the art collective lead by Roy Vucino and his partner Hannah Lewis. Vucino's a musician, actor, and filmmaker with deep roots in the city’s garage punk scene. Sometimes under the stage name Choyce he served in seminal groups like CPC Gangbangs, Les Sexareenos, and PyPy. He's written music for the likes of Duchess Says and King Khan, and has purportedly self-produced over a hundred solo releases in various forms. Red Mass is billed as a "Free Creative Enterprise," with the lofty self-appointed mission of creating "punk music and art, in various mediums, while incorporating techniques of automatic creation, chaos magic and liberation through art." I premiered the haunting pop tune "Dark Days" at Punknews last week.

"Dark Days" will appear on the next Red Mass full-length, Kilrush Drive. It arrives March 22 through No Coast Records and Label Étiquette. The group recorded the 11-song LP with Mingo L'indien (of Les Georges Leningrad), Jace Lasek (of The Bernard Lakes), Sebastien Perry, and producer/engineer Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Iggy Pop, Herbie Hancock). "Dark Days" is the second recently unveiled Red Mass song, with the single "God's House" appearing earlier at Brooklyn Vegan.

The band's supporting tour will include a release show in Montreal on March 22 backed by the Hull punk-jazz group FET.NAT and Toronto prog-pop act Absolutely Free. A second release show is set for New York City on the 30th, teeing up a monthly residency at Brooklyn's Gold Sounds that continues into the summer.

Listen: Red Mass - "Dark Days" @ Punknews.org

Mathias Kom and Ariel Sharratt of the hyperliterate folk-rock storytellers The Burning Hell are working on a new record of duets. Their previous release in this format was 2015's Don't Believe The Hyperreal, a set of iterations on the love song. The theme of the new collection will be organized labour. The band commented:

"What should labour songs do and mean now in a world of fiverr tasks, sidehustles, gig economies, automation, suicidal robots, self-serve checkout machines, and tech feudalism? We don't know! But we're going to write a bunch of songs about all of those things!"

The album will include a few songs to be recorded live at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club in West Yorkshire, England on Tuesday, April 9.

The Burning Hell's last full length was 2017's Revival Beach, which followed 2016's Public Library. Mathias has been premiering new material through Patreon to supporters, including songs from an upcoming four-song lathe-cut 10" EP titled Birdwatching on Garbage Island. That release is entirely sold out and won't be made available digitally, so you're likely out of luck, faithful reader. Then again so am I, so here's a Revival Beach song:

Listen: The Burning Hell - "The River (Never Freezes Anymore)" @ Bandcamp

Windsor slacker rock heroes Partner previewed another song from their upcoming EP last week. The goofy country tune "Tell You Off" will appear on Saturday the 14th when it arrives on April 5 from You’ve Changed and Father/Daughter Records. As far as Partner songs go, this one leans pretty heavily into the band's comedic side.

The Sackville-bred group's new record will arrive in a few forms, notably a four-song 45 RPM 12" record limited to 500 copies. Along with "Tell You Off" and the previously shared "Long & McQuade" the set will include the songs "Fun or Everyone (Minions)" and "Stoned Thought" (The CD version of will feature a fifth track, "Les Alles d'un Ange").

Saturday the 14th, which follows up 2017's In Search of Lost Time, 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).

Listen: Partner - "Tell You Off" @ YouTube

After a string of incredible, bar-setting music videos the latest from Toronto punks PUP may seem their most restrained, but the story behind it is no less smart and ambitious than their showstoppers. The band shared the chords and lyrics to "Free At Last" a few weeks ago, challenging fans to cover a song they'd not yet heard with no additional clues as to how the real song would come together. The band, expecting a few dozen submissions, were inundated with 253 versions of the track.

If you're so inclined you can stream the individual submissions in a 13-hour sitting, or take the short cut and check the band's new video, which features a collage of a few of the highlights.

Speaking to NME, vocalist Stefan Babcock commented on the contributions:

"We received hip hop versions, ska versions, grindcore, EDM, Mariachi, Ukulele, Polka, and piano ballad versions. Incredibly enough, none of the 253 covers sounded like ours. And even more astounding, no two of the covers sounded the same either. The amount of creativity and love put into these things absolutely blew us away.”

"Free At Last" is one of 11 new songs to appear on Morbid Stuff, the band's upcoming 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 and the band's Little Dipper label up here.

Watch: PUP - "Free At Last" @ YouTube

Montreal garage punks PRIORS shared a video last week for "Got In Me," the A-side lead from their recent Slovenly full-length New Pleasure. It arrives just as the band hits the road in Ontario and Quebec for a few shows supporting it and the already-released follow-up EP Call For You.

PRIORS features the unyielding volume of Chance Hutchison, Drew Demers, Seb Godin, Alan Hildebrandt, and Stuart Buckley, a cast who you may know from Sonic Avenues, New Vogue, the Steve Adamyk Band, and The Famines.

Watch: PRIORS - "Got In Me" @ YouTube

Alexisonfire may be active again, but George Pettit's post-Alexis hardcore group Dead Tired is still going strong. The Hamilton-based group is set to release a new full length titled Full Vol. on March 22 through New Damage. The set collects the songs from the band's three previous EPs (remixed and remastered) along with a trio of new songs. One of those, "Get On Me," arrived last week alongside a video directed by Andrew Friesen (Single Mothers, Cancer Bats).

Dead Tired features Pettit backed by Franz Stefanik, Chris Whetstone, Nick Ball, and Marco "Sparky" Bressette.

Watch: Dead Tired - "Get On Me" @ YouTube

Aside from a single song we've not yet heard much from Sauna, the synth-heavy Toronto group featuring Michael le Riche of Fake Palms with Weaves bassist Zach Bines and Greys drummer Braeden Craig. The trio recently performed at one of the monthly Long Winter shows at the Gladstone Hotel, where an unnamed track was captured by TO live music documentarian Mechanical Forest Sound. You can hear his field recording below.

When Sauna next emerges from the studio, expect the results on Idée Fixe Records (Jennifer Castle, Fiver, and Bry Webb).

Listen: Sauna live at the Gladstone Hotel @ Mechanical Forest Sound

Buzz Records has signed Vancouver bedroom-pop artist Kim Gray, releasing his spacey new single "Eugene Vampire." In the premiere at Earmilk project principal Trevor Gray commented:

"'Eugene Vampire' is about existential dread and questioning the things we choose to do every day... Beneath the bitter sentiments, I feel like it’s a hopeful song. It’s a kind of luxury to be able to contemplate things like meaningful work and how to spend the next pay cheque. It’s pretty easy to forget that. Today I’m breathing and my dog didn’t pee on the carpet – things are okay."

The song will appear on the upcoming full-length album Plastic Material, due later this year on Buzz.

Watch: Kim Gray - "Eugene Vampire" @ YouTube

Ex-Torontonian dream pop act Moon King has announced their second full-length for Arbutus Records, a 12-track record titled Voice of Lovers. It follows up the group's Hamtramck '16 record. It's due on April 2.

Moon King principal Daniel Benjamin commented on the record in a feature at Exclaim:

"there are a lot of quick cuts and transitions and the songs are pretty short, it's meant to feel a bit breathless or disorienting, like driving around and dropping in at a few different clubs in a night."

Benjamin lists a number of factors that influenced the new record, including:

"...trying to live in the U.S. as a non-citizen, listening to records at the apartment in Hamtramck, late nights out at parties like Freakish Pleasures and Macho City, trips with the crew to Montreal, being on tour during the 2016 U.S. election, spending the holidays alone in Detroit, the deaths of George Michael & Prince and the unfinished Moon King record from 2015."

The single "Neon Lights" arrived last week alongside the album announcement. It features an appearance from the Detroit synth-pop vocalist Vespre. Stacie Ant created the video.

Watch: Moon King - "Neon Lights (vr Vespre)" @ YouTube

Montreal indie rock project Navet Confit is set to return on April 12 with a new full-length titled Engagement, lutte, clan et respect, it'll be his 8th. Lazy At Work (home of Galaxie, FUUDGE, Zouz) will handle the release. You can check the first single, titled "Tu as vraiment changé" online now.

Navet Confit is the brainchild of Jean-Philippe Fréchette.

Listen: Navet Confit - "Tu as vraiment changé" @ Bandcamp

Back in January Toronto punk/hardcore group The New Enemy released Illusion of Choice, a set of songs that includes five originals along with covers of Leonard Cohen, Snapcase, and Gob. The band self-produced the record, with Will Killingsworth mixing (Full of Hell, Incendiary) and Arthur Rizk performing the master (Code Orange, Power Trip).

Since forming The New Enemy has donated all of their Bandcamp streaming revenue to charity, in the past benefitting youth shelters and cancer research causes. This new record raises money for YMCA Sprott House, billed as "the first LGBTQ2S transitional housing program for youth in Canada." You can check it out below.

Listen: The New Enemy - Illusion of Choice @ Bandcamp

Also back in January Toronto rock band The Effens released a new single titled "Human," with an accompanying video. The four-piece, proudly self-labelled as "hyper-strange," boasts glam and grunge influences on the track. They commented on the clip:

"The video features scenes of Nicolas Cage and Laura Dern from David Lynch's Wild at Heart. They represent true love. The video is black and white while depicting all the things you can do to fill the void of human contact, but is in colour the moment they are dancing to rock and roll."

Watch: The Effens - "Human" @ YouTube

Vancouver surf-punk group The Wivez have a new video together for their recent single "Let's Get Serious," a cool bit of garage-pop that clocks in at under a minute and a half. The band features vocalist/guitarist Jordy Birch (ex-Pure), drummer Slam T. Hide (formerly from The KLF/Zodiac Mindwarp) and bassist Rob Edmonds (a designer and poster artist who's done work for The Cure and Tom Waits).

"Let's Get Serious" was recorded at Boutique Empire in 2018 and mixed at VanCity Records.

Watch: The Wivez - "Let's Get Serious" @ YouTube

Subscribe today and find the Some Party newsletter waiting in your inbox once a week. React to it at your leisure.