Sunday June 30, 2019

Tube Reducer

For better or worse, the Booji Boys willfully operate outside the usual PR cycle, and while we knew that Tube Reducer, their third full-length, was coming this summer, Friday's arrival still felt like a surprise. With no fanfare and little in the way of pre-release hype, the Halifax punk group quietly shared the 15-song record online at Bandcamp, with a vinyl release not due until late August (it seems like even the band's label is caught playing catch-up on this one). Booji Boys' stubborn sense of DIY is part of their charm though. They operate almost hyper-locally with a whiff of nostalgia for the mailorder days and a less incessantly online life (Bandcamp aside, don't go looking for this on your streaming platform of choice). Sonically, Tube Reducer finds the band playing true to form, once again delivering thrillingly blown-out recordings and barely intelligible vocals with subversively hooky songwriting somehow tying all that chaos together.

Tube Reducer follows up the band's 2017 Christmas release Weekend Rocker and their self-titled debut from earlier that year (both on Drunken Sailor). Along with an occasional home-dubbed cassette, the band's also issued a pair of EPs of the past year years, 2017's Sweet Boy on Cruel Noise Records and the more recent Unknown Pleathers 7" on Sewercide.

The band's lineup once again features vocalist Alex Mitchell with guitarists Cody Googoo and Steve Earle, bassist Adam LeDrew, and drummer Justin Crowe. They recorded Tube Reducer at Paul's Hall in Glen Haven, Nova Scotia back in February, with LeDrew behind the boards in the studio and spearheading the mix. Luke Mumford of Negative Rage mastered the album.

Speaking of Sewercide, the label recently announced that they were beginning work on a 7" compilation of east coast Canadian punk and hardcore. Look for it to feature new and exclusive material from the Booji Boys as well as the Charlottetown punk groups Antibodies and Warsh, Halifax D-beat hardcore acts Fragment and Cutie, Misanthropic Minds (Cody with his Alienation bandmate Dave Brown), and B.P.S. (another shuffling of many of the personnel mentioned above). Sewercide commented:

"While it's no surprise to us that the DIY punk/hardcore community here has been producing some incredible bands over the years, many haven't been getting the attention they deserve internationally and some don't even get the opportunity to release a record... this will be a small snapshot of what's been going on with punk in our corner of the world and the first time a lot of these bands will be on vinyl."

That record, limited to 300 copies, should be out later this year. Tube Reducer arrives on wax in late August from Drunken Sailor Records.

Listen: Booji Boys - Tube Reducer @ Bandcamp

Toronto art-punks WLMRT have unleashed their first full-length project, a 10-song cassette titled WLMRT Forever. You can check the audio now on Bandcamp or snag one of the physical copies at the fast-approaching release show on July 6 at the Monarch Tavern.

Tallies' Stephen Pitman produced the new record, with Telephone Explosion's Steve Sidoli mastering. WLMRT features lead vocalist Shelby Wilson, bassist/vocalist Kat Mcgouran, guitarist Adam Bernhardt, drummer Alex Wood, and Ryan Hage on synths. The album includes several guests appearances, with Eliza Niemi of Halifax indie-rock act Mauno and Matt Post of Ottawa noise duo Deathsticks among them.

This is, without doubt, the best WLMRT's sounded on record, and they've achieved that without losing the wild spontaneity that got our attention in the first place. The group's dry, sardonic lyrics, which spill out in a frenzied stream of consciousness from Wilson as the band roils along, are as thrilling as ever. The five-piece is following up their 2018 Pleasence Records EP Lube 2 with this set.

Later this month the band will headline a stage at the inaugural Side by Side Weekend in Ottawa, playing Black Squirrel Books on Thursday, July 25 with Montreal's Nüshu and locals Flaws and Bug Bites.

Listen: WLMRT - WLMRT Forever @ Bandcamp

WLMRT's sharing that July 6 release show with two bands, the similarly off-kilter punk group Hugh Man (celebrating their latest EP, Hughs Man is it Anyway?), and the return of the hardcore quartet Sigil. The latter features vocalist Bria Salmena and drummer Kris Bowering, both of the band FRIGS, along with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan's Brandon Lim and Erik Jude of Deliluh. The group's 9-song full-length, titled Slow Ulcer, will arrive on cassette for the show.

Sigil's been kicking around for a few years now, stemming from a time when Lim and Jude both played as part of the dark-as-hell sludge punk outfit HSY. The DNA of that band's pretty evident here, with Slow Ulcer sounding absolutely caustic. Salmena trades the measured and moody vibes of the recent FRIGS record for a thrashing, throat-shredding growl here.

Listen: Sigil - Slow Ulcer @ Bandcamp

Spirited Saint John rock group Papal Visit released a live EP last week. Titled Prepare for Your Reversal, the set was recorded this past March in their hometown. Founded initially as a long-distance recording project by vocalist Adam Mowery and bassist Pierre Cormier (when the former had relocated to Halifax), the band's live lineup has gone through several incarnations. This show, in particular, featured guitarists Chris Braydon and Jason Ogden with drummer Geoffrey Smith. From that group, I'm told, you can connect family tree limbs to a good majority of the city's musical output. This 6-song set features an assortment of cuts from across the band's discography, including their most recent full-length, 2017's Golden Grove.

Papal Visit's among the performers slated for this year's SappyFest in Sackville, New Brunswick. Running from August 2 to 4, the event will also feature the likes of Shotgun Jimmie, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Weather Station, Haviah Mighty, Yves Jarvis, and Apollo Ghosts.

Listen: Papal Visit - Prepare for Your Reversal @ Bandcamp

Toronto synthpop duo Ice Cream has a new single out titled "Peanut Butter" with an accompanying video by director Miss World (aka Natalie Chahal). In a statement the band's Carlyn Bezic commented:

"I wrote 'Peanut Butter' about a man I served when I was bartending, who thought that ordering an expensive scotch meant he could treat me and my coworkers like dirt. That interaction felt like a microcosm of the world at large: that those with the most power and the most money are, underneath it all, spoiled babies. Peanut butter is a stand-in for their values, getting slathered on everything from the messy hands of a child, leaving us to clean it up."

Ice Cream features Bezic and Amanda Crist. The new track was produced by Tony Price, with Steve Chahley mixing and engineering. Ice Cream's debut full-length, Love, Ice Cream, came out back in 2016. It was followed by the "Dial Tone" single a year later.

Watch: Ice Cream - "Peanut Butter" @ YouTube

Last week saw a new song surface from Organ Eyes, the Ottawa-based recording project lead by Cam Steacy. The track, a slow-burning post-punk tune titled "Once Bitten," was written and recorded in the same sessions that resulted in 2018's Chasing Paper full-length.

Listen: Organ Eyes - "Once Bitten" @ Bandcamp

Keeping with the ocular theme, Toronto's synth-heavy noise-punk outfit Eyeballs have a new two-song single online, featuring the songs "Weightlifting" and "Woke Up Like This." These tracks mark the band's first recordings since 2016's Bad Art full-length, with "Weightlifting" due for an upcoming EP titled Fun Hell. Eyeballs feature Jenn Kitagawa on vocals, synth and drums, and Britton Proulx on all of those plus the bass. "Weightlifting" also features the mononymous Koko on vocals (and a Korg Kaossilator synth, to be very specific). The group recorded their new stuff with Asher Gould-Murtagh (ZONES, Beliefs).

Listen: Eyeballs - "Weightlifting" @ Bandcamp

Canada Day saw the release of Upper Canada Blues, the third full-length in recent months from the prolific Matthew "Doc" Dunn. The new set follows two solo records the Toronto-based artist released in fast succession in late-2018, Lightburn and See Horses Run. Like those albums, Upper Canada Blues funds Dunn playing jammy psych-rock with early-70s Americana vibes. These recordings feature Dunn backed by James Matthew VII (of No Warning, fka Blind Matty) and Brian Tysoe. They were recorded last summer by Tony Price.

The album arrives alongside a Laura-Lynn Petrick-directed video for the song "Ribbons," featuring dancer Nyda Kwasowsky. The clip premiered last week at NOW.

Dunn's U.S. Girls-backing psych-jazz combo The Cosmic Range recently released The Gratitude Principle on Idée Fixe Records.

Watch: Matthew 'Doc' Dunn - "Ribbons" @ YouTube

Listen: Matthew 'Doc' Dunn - Upper Canada Blues @ Bandcamp

80s-flavoured Vancouver power-pop trio Autogramm has a new single out titled "Bad Day," available from Spain's Spain's Jarama 45RPM Recs. It's backed by the b-side "Quiero Estar Sedado," a Spanish language cover of the Ramones classic "I Wanna Be Sedated." These new tracks were recorded and mixed at the Balloon Factory by Joshua Wells and mastered at the North London Bomb Factory by Daniel Husayn.

Autogramm features Jiffy Marx of Hard Drugs and Blood Meridian on vocals, guitar and synth, the globetrotting CC Voltage (of Berlin's Dysnea Boys, London's Loyalties, and BC acts Spitfires and The Black Halos) on bass, and The Silo, previously of Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, and Destroyer, on drums. The new music follows the band's 2018 full-length What R U Waiting 4?, which arrived last fall on Nevado Music.

Listen: Autogramm - "Bad Day" / "Quiero Estar Sedado" @ Bandcamp

Popular Toronto punk quartet PUP has a new video online for the Morbid Stuff song "Sibling Rivalry." Martin MacPherson directed and animated the piece based on drawings and stories by frontman Stefan Babcock. The visuals chronical Babcock annual camping trips with his sister, along with their escalating and dysfunctional quest to "out-dumb each other."

The 11-song Morbid Stuff was recorded at the Union Sound Company last spring with producers Dave Schiffman (Thrice, The Bronx) and Darren McGill. It saw a release earlier this year on Rise Records in the States and the band's Little Dipper imprint in Canada. The album, the group's third, was recently voted onto the Polaris Music Prize long list.

Watch: PUP - "Sibling Rivalry" @ YouTube

Chance Hutchison of the Montreal garage-punks PRIORS and the Devo-core Sonic Avenues offshoot New Vogue has a new collection of demo recordings online. Released under the name Cosmic Club, the set features 8 slices of tweaked-out robot pop that should certainly satisfy if you're into any of Hutchison's main gigs.

PRIORS recently released their sophomore full-length New Pleasure (and an immediate follow-up EP titled Call For You) on Slovenly. The group's been prepping their next LP for a late 2019/early 2020 release. Tour announcements in both Canada and the US are expected soon.

Listen: Cosmic Club - Demo @ Bandcamp

Toronto three-piece punk group Losers were the subject of a new short by producer/director Slone McGowan of LEEK. The 12-minute clip serves as both a mini-documentary and live music video, chronicling the band's short career to date and the creation of their recent debut cassette Welcome to Help. Alongside interviews with the trio, the film features footage of the band playing on the floor of Toronto's Henderson Brewing Company.

The group recorded Welcome to Help with producer Jesse Turnbull at Worst In The City. The EP was released this past April.

Watch: Losers - Welcome to Help doc @ Vimeo

Whitby-based grunge-punk act Chastity recently revealed plans for the follow up to their 2018 debut Death Lust. The new record will carry the title Home Made Satan and arrives on September 13 from Dine Alone and Captured Tracks. The group released the soaring new single "Sun Poisoning" alongside the announcement, accompanied by a video directed by Justin Singer and frontman Brandon Williams. Filmed in Toronto's High Park, it stars Holden Abraham, son of Fucked Up's Damian Abraham, and Daphne Flowers. Like much of Chastity's output, the song has one foot firmly in the 90s, and you can easily imagine it topping the charts back in the alternative rock era. Williams commented on the song:

"I wrote a song called 'Sun Poisoning' in 2013, and Kacey Musgraves provoked inspiration in me to bring this back, her lyric 'happy and sad at the same time.' A classic songwriter trope, melancholy, but in my adaptation I wanted to express the feeling of trying to smile when you know your teeth are bleeding. 'Do you want to see how easily my teeth bleed?'"

The press release notes that Home Made Satan is meant to serve as the second part of a three-record trilogy. It was recorded in London, Ontario with Williams' full live band in the two-week gap between the group's recent European and North American tours. The album will feature 10 new tracks.

Chastity recently released an EP titled Death Lust Cuts, featuring four additional songs trimmed from their debut.

Watch: Chastity - "Sun Poisoning" @ YouTube

Toronto three-piece garage-rock group Wine Lips have a new video online for the song "Fly Swatter," from the band's recent sophomore full-length Stressor. It follows a similarly energetic clip for their "Shark Eyes" single from earlier this year. Vocalist/guitarist Cam Hilborn commented on the track when speaking to Exclaim, and there's no metaphor here:

"I wrote 'Fly Swatter' after we experienced a really bad fly problem in our apartment. There was literally hundreds of flies all over the house and it was driving us crazy so I spent a night exterminating them one by one until they were gone."

Wine Lips, which features Hilborn with drummer Aurora Evans and bassist Bryan Coffey, are on tour now. Following some immediate upcoming shows in the US midwest they'll take part in the Grey County psych music festival Crystal Lake later this month.

Watch: Wine Lips - "Fly Swatter" @ YouTube

Dundas, Ontario power-trio The Dirty Nil have continued with their summer covers series, releasing the second pair of You're Welcome tracks into the wild. This time out the band included covers of Van Halen's '81 single "Unchained" and April Wine's CanCon radio staple "Oowatanite." The first volume in this series, released in late April, featured the band's take on songs by contemporary San Francisco punk band Culture Abuse and Scottish alternative legends The Jesus and Mary Chain. That April Wine cover originally surfaced as the b-side to their "That's What Heaven Feels Like" 7".

The Dirty Nil's spent much of the last year on the road supporting Master Volume, their second LP of new material for Dine Alone Records following 2016's Higher Power. The 2018-released album just landed on the Polaris Music Prize long list.

Watch: The Dirty Nil - "Oowatanite" @ YouTube

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