Sunday May 12, 2019

Love's Going to Get You Again

Last week Vancouver's Robert Ondzik announced his second full length as his suave lounge-pop alter-ego, Mr. Merlot. The record features several collaborators from Vancouver's heavily cross-pollinated indie-pop and punk worlds, principally Jay Arner, who serves as a producer and co-writer on the record. The album also features appearances by Destroyer guitarist Nicolas Bragg, Jessica Delisle of Energy Slime (and the Retail Nightmares podcast), Adrienne Labelle from Garbage Dreams and Supermoon, Role Mach's Rich Sexton, Thom Lougheed of Milk/Watermelon, and Mr. Tommy Tone himself, Tom Whalen. Titled City Sex Vol. 2, the LP is due on June 14. It was tracked at Arner's Tonehenge studio.

In a statement, Ondzik commented on the six-song record, which follows up on 2017's Vol. 1:

"City Sex is a term I came up with to describe the sexuality of the city dweller, which tends to be more progressive than the rural and often has less barriers. Sadly, men are still afraid of love because it demands they show weakness, vulnerability, and tenderness, all things they're terrified of. Women are afraid of love because men can kill them, refuse to reveal their compassion, or deal with their ego. Love is treated like a transaction, and with that, it loses its real power to change and influence."

With the announcement came the new track "Love's Going to Get You Again." It features guest solos by both Lougheed and Bragg. In a further comment Ondzik addressed the song's apparent Joy Division callback head-on:

"'Love's Going to Get You Again' is sort of a response to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart.' Love is more powerful than we give it credit for and its important to remember that if you close your heart off, you'll never be nourished nor will love find you as the song goes. Love is a risk that only rewards bravery and stupidity, it doesn't wait, it demands you risk yourself in order to fully experience its pleasures and joys. I don't believe it tears you apart, pain is a necessary component of love and loving and provides the difference that ultimately defines the goodness of love. I wrote this song specifically for those who maybe need a reminder. Maybe it'll take your whole life to find what you are looking for in someone, maybe it happened yesterday, but it will find you if you are searching. Maybe that's too cosmic for most people but I feel like you have to suspend your disbelief and power through your doubts in order to reach a greater truth."

Listen: Mr. Merlot - "Love's Going to Get You Again" @ Bandcamp

Petra Glynt has a new video online for the track "New Growth," one of the highlights the art-punk/electropop artist's LP. The Montreal-based musician spoke to Exclaim about how she found inspiration for the song through the #MeToo movement:

"While there is still no real protocol for how to address instances of sexual harassment and assault, there is so much victory in how fellow non-men strengthened their support systems as a result of #metoo. It's monumental. I was able to take a closer look at my past experiences with men and identify how many had been unacceptable; starting with my first kiss, right up until very recently in my life... Awakening to that knowledge really moved something inside of me. It made me sick to my stomach, but it also made me feel alive and ready to dismantle the patriarchy."

The Paz Ramirez-directed video reinterprets a scene from David Lynch's 1990 film Wild at Heart with that sentiment brought to the fore. You can check it out below.

"New Growth" appears on the Pleasence Records released 2018 album My Flag Is A Burning Rag Of Love. It features 13 songs written, performed, and self-produced by Glynt. Alice Wilder (M.I.A., Austra) mixed the album.

Watch: Petra Glynt - "New Growth" @ YouTube

Red Deer, Alberta skate-punk act Trashed Ambulance has a new EP on the way this June. Titled Shorthanded, it's set to arrive on the 7th via Thousand Islands Records as both a digital download and limited run of 100 tapes. The label announced the release while sharing the speedy rocker "Buy In." You can check it out below.

Trashed Ambulance last released the LP Flashes of Competence in 2018.

Thousand Islands also recently announced the signing of Montreal's Brand New Lungs. That melodic punk band's debut LP, Like Wildfire, will arrive on the label on June 14. Expect music from it to preview some time soon.

Listen: Trashed Ambulance - "Buy In" @ Bandcamp

Vancouver's synth-happy power-pop trio Autogramm has a new Justin Gradin-directed video online for their single "Cool Kids Radio." It pairs the wistful track with a retro slasher horror theme (and, critically, BBQ tong handclaps). The song appears on the band's recent full-length What R U Waiting 4?, which arrived last fall on Nevado Music.

Autogramm features Jiffy Marx of Hard Drugs and Blood Meridian on vocals, guitar, and synth, CC Voltage of Dysnea Boys, Loyalties, Spitfires, and The Black Halos on bass, and The Silo, previously of Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, and Destroyer, on drums.

Speaking to Pure Grain Audio, Voltage commented:

" [Cool Kids Radio was] originally written in Berlin with Rich Jones (Michael Monroe, Loyalties, YoYo's, Ginger Wildheart etc.). It's kind of tongue in cheek, being well aware that we are neither kids nor cool. We took the song and changed it to sound more '80s and part of the Autogramm sound, adding keys and harmonies. The video is about a secret murderer loose in the forest around a camp site. It's supposed to be a throwback to those cheesy '80s campsite horror movies."

Watch: Autogramm - "Cool Kids Radio" @ YouTube

Speaking of Black Mountain, the popular Vancouver psych-rock group recently posted a third track from their upcoming album Destroyer. In a statement bandleader Stephen McBean shared a few observations on "Licensed To Drive," stating:

"A riff in A flat and some Neu / Nugent / Newman Motorik hustle. Was the vacation better than the journey or did the drive etch itself into your soul? I'd like to thank the DMV for the inspiration."

The new song follows the previously shared album cuts "Boogie Lover" and "Future Shade." All three will be part of the band's upcoming 8-song LP, which arrives on May 24 from Dine Alone and Jagjaguwar. It follows their 2016 full-length IV.

Destroyer features McBean and longtime player Jeremy Schmidt with new collaborators Rachel Fannan (Sleepy Sun) and Adam Bulgasem (Dommengang, Soft Kill). Returning guests this time out include Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips), Kid Millions (Oneida), and John Congleton (producer for St. Vincent, Cloud Nothings).

Listen: Black Mountain - "Licensed to Drive" @ YouTube

The Paris, Ontario music and arts festival Strangewaves recently announced the first slate of their 2019 lineup. Now in its fifth year and carrying the subtitle "Mother Nature," this year's event will once again bring together a wildly eclectic international slate of artists from a host of underground genres. Look for Chicago sound experimentalist Matana Roberts, Detroit's Wolf Eyes, footwork pioneer RP Boo, Chicago DJ Jana Rush, Turkish psych act Altın Gün, and the duo of Bill Nace and Samara Lubelski to make the trip from their respective corners of the world. Canadian acts joining the fray include Toronto psych-dance trio DOOMSQUAD, singer/songwriter Isla Craig, Montreal electronic act Pascale Project, and more. Strangewaves runs from July 19 through the 21st at the Paris Fairgrounds.

Watch: DOOMSQUAD - "Dorian's Closet" @ YouTube

In the lead-up to Dark Blue, the new record from Constantines guitarist Steven Lambke, the singer/songwriter played a few songs live at the office of Toronto PR firm Pigeon Row. Here's another clip from those January sessions, with Lambke performing the song "Fireworks" backed by Daniel Romano on guitar and Roddy Carlyle on bass.

Lambke's latest record follows 2015's Days of Heaven, his first work under his name following several years recording as Baby Eagle. Late last year he appeared on the Revolution C split EP with Construction & Destruction. Dark Blue was released through You've Changed Records.

Watch: Steven Lambke - "Fireworks" @ YouTube

The first bands have been announced for this year's SappyFest, the annual Sackville, New Brunswick music festival that's become something of a pilgrimage for the Canadian indie music world. This year's event takes place from August 2 to 4, and like recent years was curated by the above-mentioned Steven Lambke. The first announcement confirms appearances by Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Tamara Lindeman's singer/songwriter vehicle The Weather Station, and rising Brampton rapper Haviah Mighty. They'll be joined by the likes of the reunited Vancouver indie-rock heroes Apollo Ghosts, the wild Hull punk-jazz group FET. NAT, Fredericton's ebullient art rock group Motherhood, low-fi Toronto art-punk group Deliluh, Halifax synth duo JOYFULTALK, Quebec psych-rocker Julie Aubé, and the cerebral Halifax indie-rock act Mauno. Experimental Toronto pop group Tryal will play, with vocalist Alex Samaras also organizing a group singing workshop. On the visual side of things, attendees can look forward to Short&Sweet, a collection of under-three-minute performances a number of artists, curated by the contemporary dancer Katie Ewald.

Not to overtly play favourites, but I suspect I'll be talking about Sappy a fair bit in the coming weeks. We were so taken last year that we booked our travel for this year's event months ago, long before we had an idea who'd be playing. All the beautiful things you've heard about the communal, celebratory nature of this little festival and the town that hosts it are pretty much accurate.

Watch: Haviah Mighty - "Blame" @ YouTube

Speaking of the Rez Kids, the Vancouver-based duo just released their landmark new album Trapline. On the day the record dropped they shared a new video for the track "Boujee Natives." The band had this to say about the song in a statement:

"When you think of boujee, you think of an elite class of people with an appetite for luxury and high-end materials. When we say 'Boujee Natives' we are letting you know our wealth lies in our culture, traditions, and everything Mother Earth provides for us. Boujee Natives stems from our belief that everyone is an artist in one way shape or form and that we were all created to create but it's up to us as individuals to find out what that is for ourselves. We wanted to showcase all the badass First Nations artists that have welcomed us into their worlds as we were coming into ourselves and developing our artistry into what it is today. We are the creators, we are inspired natives, not native inspired, and we like to rock our shit, we dem Boujee Natives."

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are a hip-hop duo featuring Darren' Young D' Metz and Quinton' Yung Trybez' Nyce. Trapline follows up on the band's Polaris-shortlisted LP The Average Savage.

Watch: Snotty Nose Rez Kids - "Boujee Natives" @ YouTube

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