Sunday July 7, 2019

Moody Stables

You may recall Bedwetters Anonymous, the high-strung BC punk band behind the excellent (and strangely titled) February release R.U. EXPERIENCING DISCOMFORT (?). I found Bedwetters through a write-up from the Vancouver scene report Neon Waste. In Josh Nickel's piece, he rattled off a half dozen related groups, bands local enough that I didn't recognize any of them but a treasure trove of threads to follow. I took the names down and socked them into one of the messy research documents I keep to feed future newsletters. The most enigmatic entry on that list of those was, by far "Industrial Priest Overcoats," a name that either shallowly betrayed the band's genre or a swerve setting up further mysteries. It's the latter, and their new record came to light last week.

Industrial Priest Overcoats is the solo recording project of Trevor McEachran, who sings and plays bass in Bedwetters. A member of the Splatsin Nation, McEachran describes his new record as "10 tracks of intergenerational trauma, identity crises, and recovery." Titled The Years Barely Left a Trace, the set expresses those themes through heavily Wire-influenced post-punk, punctuated by that same warbling, urgent vocals that made the DISCOMFORT tape feel so immediate. Home-recorded, weirdo-pop records like these always carry a ton of personality, but they can suffer from a lack of direction, jumping wildly from idea to idea before any can really settle in. As a whole, IPO's lengthy catalogue isn't immune from that, but Trevor's choice of subject matter (touching on his history of mental illness and homelessness from an indigenous perspective) grounds these songs with some needed emotional weight.

A cassette release of The Years Barely Left a Trace, along with an accompanying comic are due later this year. This album follows a four-song EP of covers released back in May and the 2018-released full-length Self Esteem Junction.

Listen: Industrial Priest Overcoats - The Years Barely Left a Trace @ Bandcamp

A new piece up at Ottawa Showbox profiles Compassion Fatigue, the recent 6-song EP from the Ottawa three-piece Ornaments. The band trades in muscular garage rock with some melodic punk influences, crafting slow-building anthems that, when paired with David Pierce's growling vocals, are going to stir up more than a few Constantines comparisons. As Showbox points out, the ear-worm intro to the album-opening single "Like Men" is rather memorable. Don't let this one slip by.

Released in mid-June, Compassion Fatigue features guitarist/vocalist Pierce with drummer Kevin Kozachanko and bassist Andrew Grosvenor. The new EP was recorded, mixed, and mastered by Mike Bond at Wolf Lake Studios and The Bond Cave (Mike recorded the latest Steve Adamyk Band LP). Outside of the two-song "Comearound" single from 2017, this EP serves as Ornaments' first new material since their full-length Blood Vessels from all the way back in 2011.

Listen: Ornaments - Compassion Fatigue @ Bandcamp

Ottawa peace-punk four-piece Dogma has a new song online as well. Titled "Zealot," it's the first preview of the band's next release (whatever that may be) and their first studio material to follow the 2018 demo EP that served as their debut. It should be evident from their cover art (not to mention their sound) that Dogma's working directly and faithfully from the Crass-inspired anarcho playbook. Dogma sounds so vital and almost joyfully punk here that the hero worship doesn't bother me one bit.

Listen: Dogma - "Zealot" @ Bandcamp

The Dartmouth folk-rock/shoegaze group Diamondtown has a new EP online, combining their recent digital singles with unreleased new material as The Voice. The group's an extension of Husband & Knife, a duo featuring KC Spidle of the beloved Halifax indie-rock group Dog Day and Evan Cardwell. Diamondtown builds on that foundation with the addition of Kate O'Neill and Eric's Trip member / Moonsocket soloist Chris Thompson.

Speaking to The East about the new collection, Spidle commented:

"I think everything I write stems back to my Christian upbringing, lots of spiritual conflict, and existential confusion that comes out. It's a subconscious creative journey I go on when writing lines... I believe the conflict is a bit more personal, just a certain traditional mindset that I always try to shake and I do it pretty successfully, I think."

The Voice follows the band's late-2018 debut, Life Goes On.

Diamondtown will be among the performers at 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, and Apollo Ghosts. Tying all these threads together, I should note that last year's festival saw a reunion set from Dog Day, while this year will see a solo performance from Julie Doiron (who, of course, also got her start as a member of Eric's Trip).

Listen: Diamondtown - The Voice @ Bandcamp

Speaking of Sappy performers, Montreal's soulful home-recording savant Yves Jarvis has a new video online for the song "360." The track appears on The Same but by Different Means, which arrived this past March on Flemish Eye in Canada and ANTI- elsewhere.

Yves Jarvis is the latest stage name for Jean-Sebastian Audet. He previously recorded as Un Blonde, releasing the critically-lauded Good Will Come to You back in 2017.

Watch: Yves Jarvis - "360" @ YouTube

Windsor, Ontario's three-piece noise rock band Cellos is set to appear on a split 7" with the Toronto noise-punk duo Not Of. That record's due on July 19 from No List Records and Harbour House. Each band is contributing three new songs to the project, and you can take a listen to Cellos' scathing "Blight" below.

In support of the new record the bands will pair up for a couple release shows, first in Toronto on July 19 at the Baby G (with Lilim) and then the following day in Montreal at Turbo Haus with Look Sacré and Like Swamps. On July 27 Cellos will play an album release party for the Kitchener space-rock group Hawkeyes at the Starlight in Waterloo.

Listen: Cellos - "Blight" @ Bandcamp

Lethbridge, Alberta garage rock / "tropical glam" act J Blissette has a new song online titled "Burn It To The Ground (All These People Have Families)." It's the second single of the year from the group, following "Relax" back in February. It's part of a series of digital singles released in the wake of the band's 2018 Pleasence Records full-length Until I Go Blind.

The new track features frontman Jackson Tiefenbach on all instruments save the percussion, with drums provided by Clayton Smith. The band also notes "that one really hard guitar part" in the tune was played by Jon Martin. Martin recorded and mixed the song.

Listen: J Blissette - "Burn It To The Ground (All These People Have Families)" @ Bandcamp

After fronting the post-punk/low-fi pop bands Moss Lime and Phern, Montreal's Hélène Barbier is striking out solo. Her first LP under her own name, Have You Met Elliott?, is due this Friday from Michel Records (VICTIME, Bleu Nuit). The first single from that set was "The Good Thing," which arrived alongside a video in May by director Katayoon Yousefbigloo.

Speaking to Exclaim, where you can now stream the record in its entirety, Barbier commented on her recording process:

​"I got a soundcard from my friends and started recording songs at home alone, thinking about the childish behaviours we sometimes hold onto as adults. The songs started turning into an album, and I got the opportunity to record with Peter Woodford again. Have you met Elliott? is a reminder that, as my friend's sister once told them when they were a child, 'You can't just cry to have candies.'"

Have you met Elliott? was recorded to tape at the Bottle Garden (Tough Age, Bleu Nuit) and mixed at Value Sound. The album features Barbier on guitar, bass, organ, and vocals, with Christian Simmons on drums. In the studio they brought in guitarists Joe Chamandy, Emma Coldwell, and Matt Robidoux, with Elise Paradis appearing on violin. While Michel's handling the Canadian release, the new album will arrive on Emotional Response in the U.S. and Caballito Records in Europe.

Watch: Hélène Barbier - "The Good Thing" @ YouTube

Cam Fraser shows up in this newsletter quite a bit, being both the bassist for Toronto art-punks Luge and the guitarist/vocalist for the low-fi alt-country act Hobby. He recently recorded and released a new solo set, a six-song collection titled Sew. You can find it at Bandcamp now.

This is the second recent EP from Fraser, with the singer/songwriter's contemplative All The World's A Dream surfacing back in January of this year.

Listen: Cam Fraser - Sew @ Bandcamp

Low-fi Ottawa indie rock act Empty Nesters, the solo studio project of Eric Liao, has another new track online following the May-released "Hippie Drip." The new song, titled "Duster 2," can be streamed at Bandcamp. This new material follows Liao's Tired and Bored EP from this past February.

Listen: Empty Nesters - "Duster 2" @ Bandcamp

Guelph's Bullshit Hardcore Band announced a hiatus a few weeks ago, described by the enigmatic duo as a "redirection of our subversive efforts to other outlets." In the wind-down, the group's been making an effort to share their previously unreleased recordings. The first of these was a punk record titled Marksism, which arrived a few weeks ago. The latest release in this series is the second EP from the group's dub alter-ego, the Bullshit Dub Soundsystem. Titled No Gods. No Masters. No Treble, the new set comes with a warning:

"GB and LS made this in Dec '18 with 4-track tape, a reverb pedal, and a rigged up tape delay. CAUTION - the amount of low end on these recordings may shred your speakers - you've been warned."

This is the second Dub Soundsystem set following that side project's debut in April of 2018.

Listen: Bullshit Dub Soundsytem - No Gods. No Masters. No Treble @ Bandcamp

ANAMAI's the atmospheric, minimalist folk project from Anna Mayberry (formerly of Toronto sludge punks HSY) and David Psutka (of Egyptrixx). The duo recently released "The Holder," their first new track in a few years, at Bandcamp. You can check it out below.

ANAMAI last released the full-length What Mountain in 2017. There's been no word yet on where "The Holder" will land or when a new album may arrive. Stay tuned.

Listen: ANAMAI - "The Holder" @ Bandcamp

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