Sunday July 28, 2019

Cut and Dry

Newfoundland-by-way-of-Montreal pop-punk/indie-pop act BBQT released a delightful new EP last week titled Nice View. The 5 songs follow the band's 2018 set All For Show and coincided with their rapturous appearance at the inaugural Side by Side Weekend in Ottawa Saturday night. The new EP arrives via Brain Gum Records, the Montreal-based label run by Chance Hutchison of PRIORS. The tape has the All For Show songs socked away on the b-side for good measure, with an LP compiling both records expected later in the year.

BBQT features guitarist/vocalist Amery Sandford, guitarist Jack Bielli, bassist Mikey Melikey, and drummer Allison Graves. They recorded their new material with Micah Brown.

Listen: BBQT - All In @ Bandcamp

Winnipeg punk duo Mobina Galore have teed up their follow-up to 2017's Feeling Disconnected. The band will return with Don't Worry on September 6, with New Damage Records handling the release in North America and Gunner Records working it overseas. The announcement came with a video for the lively new single "Escape Plan." In the premiere at New Noise the group commented:

"'Escape Plan' was never originally intended to become a full band song, nor did we ever think it would become the first single. It came together very quickly in my backyard on a hot summer day in 2018 when I was spending more time writing acoustic jams; stuff that I didn't think would get the full Mobina vibe, but when I released an acoustic video on YouTube that winter I got so much good feedback people we're requesting it at shows, so we made it a little pop-punk banger."

Now onto their third full length, Mobina Galore features guitarist/vocalist Jenna Priestner and drummer/vocalist Marcia Hanson. The pair's been playing together since 2011.

Mobina Galore's slated to headline the Black Forest stage on the Saturday night of Beau's annual Oktoberfest this September. They'll be playing alongside The Penske File, Lost Love, Jon Creeden & The Flying Hellfish, and Audio Visceral that day (to name just a few). Oktoberfest raises money for several charities every year, with the punk-focused Black Forest stage, in particular, supporting the skateboards-for-youth program For Pivots Sake. The main stage at Oktoberfest will feature headlining sets from The New Pornographers on September 20 and Shad on the 21st. Some Party's a sponsor of the Black Forest stage again this year.

Watch: Mobina Galore - "Escape Plan" @ YouTube

Edmonton punk group Real Sickies previewed their upcoming Stomp Records debut with the new single "Forgot to Let Go." A blast of unabashed Ramones worship, the song will appear on the band's upcoming sophomore LP Out of Space. That 13-song set is due August 30. Rob Lawless produced the new record at the Physics Lab in Edmonton, with Terry Paholek mixing and mastering.

The group, which features ex-members of the late-90s/early-2000s street punk group Wednesday Night Heroes, last released Get Well Soon in 2018. Real Sickies are fronted by Ben Disaster, who's done a ton of work boosting the Canadian punk scene through his This Is Pop radio show on CJSR, along with the offshoot music festival and record label.

If you've dug similar recent Ramones-as-a-genre efforts from Teenage Bottlerocket or Masked Intruder, Real Sickies should be right up your alley.

Listen: Real Sickies - "Forgot to Let Go" @ Bandcamp

Montreal's Red Mass played the '77 Montreal festival this weekend alongside some of the genre's heavyweight veterans, and they took to the stage with a new two-song single in hand. The set, released by Sympathy For The Record Industry, features a cover of the 1978 single "Bored" by Detroit anti-rock group Destroy All Monsters, backed by a new original titled "Ecstasy of the Fire Snake." The single, in fact, sports original artwork by DAM vocalist and famed punk visual artist Niagara.

Red Mass is a self-described "free creative enterprise" lead by Roy Vucino and his partner Hannah Lewis. Vucino's a musician, actor, and filmmaker with deep roots in the Montreal scene. Under the stage name Choyce he played in several seminal early-2000s garage-punk groups like CPC Gangbangs and Les Sexareenos.

Red Mass last released the full-length, Kilrush Drive this past March through No Coast Records and Label Étiquette.

Listen: Red Mass - "Bored" @ Bandcamp

Earlier this year the above-mentioned Jenna Priestner appeared on the song "Weekend Cartoons," part of the new record from Winnipeg punk/emo quartet Screaming at Traffic. The song was recently subject of a new music video that premiered last week at Punknews.org. Screaming at Traffic's new record, titled I Don't Like Sports, came out earlier this summer through Scottish label Little Rocket Records. The band will support it in August and September with a tour that crosses the country. You can find the dates at Punknews as well.

I Don't Like Sports was produced and engineered by Jordan Voth. In addition to Priestner's performance, the record also features Alex Guidry (Elder Abuse, Nice Cops) guesting on the song "Monstrosity."

Watch: Screaming at Traffic - "Weekend Cartoons" @ Punknews.org

Montreal post-punk group Corridor has signed with the legendary Seattle label Sub Pop. The label will carry the follow-up to the band's acclaimed sophomore record Supermercado, with details to be announced at a later date. That prior album came out in 2017 on Quebec's Michel Records, the present-day home of VICTIME and Bleu Nuit.

In the meantime, Corridor hitting the road for a bit of an international victory lap, with fall tour dates planned in the US and Europe. A few big-market Canadian shows scheduled as well. Look for the band to make a Toronto appearance on November 20, playing the Garrison with the prog-pop trio Absolutely Free. They'll also play the M For Montreal festival on November 22, followed by an appearance at Quebec City's l'Anti on the 28th.

Listen: Corridor - Supermercado @ Bandcamp

This week saw two prominent Vancouver punk groups call it a career.

After five years and five singles, the glam-punk group Fashionism called it quits. While there's no word where bassist Robin Schroffel or drummer Alex Angel are headed next, vocalist Jeffrey McCloy still plays with Tranzmitors on occasion, and guitarist Josh Nickel has been playing in both Chain Whip and Bootlicker. McCloy has fronted a string of acts since the days of the New Town Animals, so one doesn't expect him to remain inactive for very long.

The band commented:

"5 years of looking good / 5 very decent singles

Thanks to everyone that put out a record, bought a record, danced to some tunes, bought us a drink or lets us stay on their floor. You can't keep us down and I'm sure you'll see us all pop up in different projects from time to time. This time we're not Breakin out, we're breakin' up!"

Fashionism last released the "Come On Baby" single in 2018 on Neon Taste and Drunken Sailor Records. They also collected their earlier singles as an LP very appropriately titled Smash Singles.

Listen: Fashionism - Smash Singles @ Bandcamp

Last week also had word that the scrappy Vancouver punk act Jock Tears would play their final two shows next weekend. The band will last perform at Vancouver's Red Gate on August 1, supported by Nanami Ozone, Kamikaze Nurse, and Rag. They'll then play the Mural Amphitheatre in Seattle on August 2 at a free show featuring Dumb and Wolf Parade.

The group commented:

"it has been a wild & wonderful three years as jock tears, but it's time to call it a day. there aren't enough words to properly thank every single person who showed us support~ everything from coming to our shows, singing along, saying something nice, letting us crash at yr place, writing reviews, playing us on yr radio show or at full volume in yr bedroom, wearing our shirts & pins... we appreciate it all."

we'll miss playing to every single one of you- the rascals who got wild in the pit & the chillers in the corner. all of our recordings are forever on the internet & this band is forever in our hearts."

Jock Tears' first and only full-length was the 12-song Bad Boys, which came out last year on Inky Records. The band featured vocalist Lauren Ray, bassist Lauren Smith (ex-Tough Age), guitarist Spencer Hargreaves (Redrick Sultan), and drummer Dustin Bromley (Brutal Poodle).

Listen: Jock Tears - Bad Boys @ Bandcamp

Heavy Peterborough act Cross Dog recently released a full-length titled Hollow on Uncle D Records. It finds the atypically comprised trio making one hell of a racket with a socially conscious mix of punk, hardcore, and metal. The group features vocalist Tracy A, drummer Mikey Reid, and bassist Mark Rand (you'll note the lack of a guitarist).

Hollow was tracked by Calvin Hartwick (METZ, Cadence Weapon) at Dream House Studios, mixed by Greg Dawson (Moneen, Cunter), and mastered by Alan Douches (Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan). The record features Josh Korody of Beliefs guesting on the electronic instrumentation, with a distorted modular synthesizer now-factoring pretty heavily into the band's sound.

Listen: Cross Dog - Hollow @ Bandcamp

Cambridge, Ontario's Pink Lemonade Records has paired up with the atmospheric Halifax group Vulva Culture. Their first project together will be a two-song single collectively titled Arias, a name that hints at the new influences cropping up in the band's work. Vocalist Amy Vinnedge commented on the evolution of the group's sound, which has often been characterized as gloomy and dour:

"these songs are the biggest representation of my personal love and influence of opera. And we all turned that influence into two of our favourite vulva culture songs we've written together"

Listen: Vulva Culture - "God of Love" @ Bandcamp

Welland, Ontario singer/songwriter Julianna Riolino has a new video online for the song "PAL." It's one of several originals slated for her upcoming EP, alongside the "Be My Man" single shared earlier in the year. In a press release Riolino, who performs as J.R., contextualized the track:

"This song was inspired by the feeling of youth and naive invincibility. The emotions experienced when you are young and feeling misunderstood. Stagnant and searching for a reason to keep feeling like the past wont catch up to you.

'PAL' is a rollercoaster of thoughts, trying to make sense of multiple personalities and your own insanity. This song always brings me back to multiple places and experiences throughout my youth/young adulthood. Falling in and out of love. The transition of realizing my parents are flawed people just like you. Driving down a beautiful tree-lined road with my friends, looking for something fun to do and searching for a way to sustain that feeling of invincibility.

Justis Krar's IMMV Productions put together the video for "PAL." The song comes from sessions produced by Hamilton singer/songwriter Dan Edmonds at Fort Rose Studio. Those sessions featured contributions from drummer Jason Bhattacharya and Ross Miller of The Dirty Nil.

Watch: J.R. - "PAL" @ YouTube

Speaking of...

Dundas power-trio The Dirty Nil recently released the third chapter in their ongoing summer covers series, You're Welcome. Volume three finds the band fearlessly tackling the classics, with new takes on David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" and The Who's "The Kids are Alright." The prior installments of the series featured charged up takes on Van Halen, April Wine, Culture Abuse, and The Jesus and Mary Chain. Frontman Luke Bentham boasted with typical aplomb:

"It gives us great pleasure to reintroduce these songs to the world, at the volume they were meant to be heard."

The "Queen Bitch" cover originally appeared as the b-side to the "Bathed in Light" 7" (all of the You're Welcome tracks actually first surfaced on a 2018 8-track of which 15 were ever made... but I assume you're not rocking one of those). 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.

Listen: The Dirty Nil - "Queen Bitch" @ YouTube

In last week's newsletter, I shared "Rapture," the new single from Toronto three-piece rock band Pacer. The group's since followed up with a self-produced music video for the track. Frontman Shawn Kosmo told NOW Toronto:

"This song makes me wanna freak out. I tried my best to make the video feel the same."

Pacer features the Sudbury-native Kosmo on vocals and guitar, backed by bassist Dan Pearce and drummer Evan Matthews. Hop back to last week's edition for more on this song, including some commentary from the band on how it tackles a heavy topic like mental health stigma in a uniquely exuberant way.

Watch: Pacer - "Rapture" @ YouTube

The Polaris Music Prize has assembled the fifth iteration in its Cover Sessions series, with a three-song 12-inch record to be available for free at select record stores this summer and fall (with the purchase of a Polaris-nominated record). The album features the Afro-Canadian singer/songwriter Pierre Kwenders taking on Jean-Pierre Ferland's "It Ain't Fair," Edmonton indie-rock group Faith Healer updating The Band's "When You Awake," and slacker-rock heroes Partner taking on the Moving Pictures single "Limelight" Honestly it's a marvel it's taken this long for a Partner/Rush intersection to manifest.

The Cover Sessions series pairs contemporary Polaris nominees with material from classic albums that were recognized as part of the Slaight Family Polaris Heritage Prize, which serves as something of a Cancon hall of fame for the decades before Polaris was a going concern. You can find the list of participating stores charged with distributing the record at the Polaris blog.

The Prize recently posted a video of Faith Healer's take on The Band, filmed by Justin Taylor at Montreal's Value Sound studio. You can check it out below.

Watch: Faith Healer - "When You Awake" @ YouTube

A few months ago Vancouver new wave revivalists ACTORS shared a cover of "Mining for Heart," a song originally recorded by English post-punk band The Sound. The group now has a video online showcasing their interpretation. "Mining for Heart" originally appeared on The Sound's 1985 album Heads and Hearts. You can check out ACTORS' take below.

The quartet, Jason Corbett, Shannon Hemmett, Jahmeel Russell, and Adam Fink, have been on the road recently supporting their 2018 Artoffact Records full-length It Will Come To You.

Watch: ACTORS - "Mining For Heart" @ YouTube

Ottawa party-punk outfit New Swears brought the alt-country leanings of their early work back to the fore on their recently released long-player Night Mirror, crafting a series of long-haul road songs like "Wheels." The group now has a video online featuring that very track. You can find it below.

Night Mirror arrived in June from Dine Alone Records, following up 2017's and the Magic of Horses. The group's set to play the Toronto release show for that record on August 16 at the Monarch Tavern, featuring appearances from Teen Archer, The Thrill, and Man Crush.

Watch: New Swears - "Wheels" @ YouTube

KINGS is the stage name of alt-blues musician and songwriter Mike Mackey. Hailing from Renfrew County in the Ottawa Valley, Mackey's been churning out some striking, boozy takes on a classic sound with tracks like "The Mississippi Flood Song." A florid Facebook post breaks down the song's musical lineage and geographic inspirations:

"The initial groove of The Mississippi Flood Song by KINGS is based on a blues rhythm used most notably by John Lee Hooker in "Boogie Chillen', Slim Harpo in "Shake Your Hips" and the blessed ZZ Top in "La Grange".

The Ontario Mississippi River flows through KINGS mythic Highway 17 and Ottawa Valley landscape much like the 90 proof white whiskey of its Ottawa Valley boozy music haunts making it plush source material and a store of deep musical inspiration.

Our rueful Anthropocene era has altered the "1 in a 100 year" Mississippi flood into an event that is now reckoned with many times inside a living soul's lifespan. And with that shared experience in mind, it was a privilege building this hallowed song, hitting the mark and adding a new tone colour to the sacred blues pallet. Bless and thanks to all involved.

Simple, vivid lyrics wedded with a damn expressive early electric blues rhythm. Unbeatable."

I'll be honest, I didn't know Ontario even had it's own Mississippi River, and learning that fact made the above quote far easier to parse.

KINGS has been releasing material through Old Highway 17 Productions.

Listen: KINGS - "The Mississippi Flood Song" @ Bandcamp

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