Around two minutes after I sent last week's edition of Some Party, You've Changed Records shared "Amaruq," the first single from the upcoming WHOOP-Szo album Warrior Down. A bright, midtempo rock song with some psych flourishes, it's the lead track from the 10-track full-length. Detailed liner notes posted to the group's Bandcamp page delve into the significance of the song's title:
"Amaruq is an Inuktituk word meaning 'wolf'. It's also the name of a school in Nunavik where [Adam] Sturgeon and [Kirsten Kurvink] Palm worked during 2012. 'Amaruq' is an entry point into discussions of the Inuktituk language and multilingualism in Canada, and serves as a dedication to the community that welcomed the band."
Further elaborating to Exclaim, the band commented:
"As much as we try, we cannot always control the feelings that enter our lives. They can come in unexpectedly, like a wild animal appearing just when you thought yourself alone."
The 10-song album will be the grunge/sludge/folk collective's first for the label. It's due November 1. Kyle Ashbourne recorded and mixed the new set at the Sugar Shack in London, ON, with additional drum tracking by Sturgeon and Nathan Lamb at the Out of Sound House. A single track, "6.1/6.2," was recorded with Construction & Destruction's Dave Trenaman and Colleen Collins at their Port Greville, NS studio, The Quarantine.
WHOOP-Szo features guitarist/vocalist Adam Sturgeon, Kirsten Kurvink Palm on guitar, synth, and vocals, bassist/keyboardist Joe Thorner, Andrew Lennox on 12-string guitar and synth, and percussionist Eric Lourenco. Sturgeon's identity and experience as an Anishinaabe-Canadian factor heavily into the band's lyrical content, with his family history directly referenced in a number of the album's songs. The song "Gerry," for example, is named for a cousin killed by an RCMP officer in Saskatchewan. "6.1/6.2" is a reference to sections of the Indian Act that define status. A photo of Sturgeon's grandfather, a residential school survivor, adorns the album cover.
Based in Guelph and London, WHOOP-Szo are following up on a number of short-form releases over the past few years, including the 2016 EP Citizen's Ban(ne)d Radio, a 2017 split with Halifax psych group Walrus, and last year's 7" single The Dive. The experimental five-piece will be on tour across Canada throughout the fall in support of Warrior Down, with the current slate of shows available over at Exclaim.
Last week Toronto electronica group Holy Fuck resurfaced with their first new material since 2017's (awesome) Bird Brains EP with a six-minute single titled "Luxe." The track features vocals from Alexis Taylor of the English synthpop group Hot Chip. Notably, Taylor's vocals were recorded at Jack White's Third Man Studio in Nashville using the facility's rare, refurbished late-40s Voice-O-Graph.
In a statement, Holy Fuck commented on the song's genesis:
"Among more literal translations, 'Luxe' is the short form of Luxembourg — the city in which the nexus of the song was created. On this particular night, during soundcheck, we had a pulsing minimal synth loop we'd been tinkering around with. (We were listening to lots of TRAX Records stuff on that tour.) We decided that if the crowd demanded an encore we'd go for it. 'Luxe' was the result. Or — as it was then called on the live recorded MP3 — 'Luxembourg Encore.' Once home from tour we took all the live demos back to the drawing board. We shared everything with our friend Kieran Hedben a.k.a. Four Tet. His always-intuitive advice was that he heard a great club track in his 'very favourite thing here': 'Luxembourg Encore.'
The next moment of discovery came when Graham suggested the band scrap Brian's vocals and give it to Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip. When we presented Alexis with the concept our reference notes to him, based around Brian's temporary vocals, were 'like an old sample you'd dig up off an old folk record... and approached more like a classic house track.' He responded, 'We could try to record the vocal in a Voice O Graph booth (an obsolete 1940s coin operated phonograph booth) if we can access one...' As far as we're aware, there are only two in the world — one in Liverpool (that apparently doesn't work anymore) and the other at Jack White's Third Man studio in Nashville. And that is where Alexis sang 'I'd like to scrap all of this and start over again.' Fittingly, it was New Year's Eve."
Holy Fuck's most recent line up featured Brian Borcherdt and Graham Walsh on synthesizers, keyboards, and other assorted widgets, backed by bassist Matt McQuaid and drummer Matt Schulz.
Reunited Montreal post-rock group Fly Pan Am recently shared another track from their fast-approaching C'est ça. "Each Ether" finds the band more-or-less reinventing shoegaze through a layered sea of tape loops and electronic trickery. It's something else. C'est ça arrives this Friday, September 20 from Constellation Records.
The band has a week of tour dates scheduled in Ontario that kick off this weekend. You can find the full routing (which hits a few more intimate venues outside the usual GTA clubs) at Constellation.
Fly Pan Am last released N'écoutez pas, their fourth album, in 2005. The group first got together in 1996, then featuring guitarists Roger Tellier-Craig and Jonathan Parant, bassist J.S. Truchy, and drummer Felix Morel. Multi-instrumentalist Eric Gingras joined the group in 2002. Le Fly Pan Am's original run together lasted for about a decade.
Celebrated Indigenous electronic duo A Tribe Called Red has a new single online titled "Tanokumbia." As with their summer single "The OG," this new track finds DJs Tim "2oolman" Hill and Ehren "Bear Witness" Thomas once again collaborating with Black Bear, a group of Pow Wow singers and drummers from Manawan, Quebec. This track also finds them working with southern Texas DJ and nu-cumbia pioneer El Dusty. The group commented:
"Tanokumbia was intended for the dance floor. We dedicate this to our people who suffer because of colonial borders. In hopes that the condor will meet the eagle to the sounds of Cumbia PowWow."
Notably, the track features the TONTO synth from the National Music Centre in Calgary. Created by Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff in 1968, it was (is?) the world's largest multitimbral polyphonic analog synthesizer (one of the first synths "capable of producing many tone colours with different voices simultaneously"). It was used in the 70s and 80s by Stevie Wonder, the Isley Brothers, Quincy Jones, and the Doobie Brothers among others.
A Tribe Called Red last released the full-length We Are The Halluci Nation in 2017.
Montreal low-fi rock duo Solids are calling it quits. The band announced:
"It seems like it's our turn to pull the indefinite hiatus trick on you. Right on time for our 10th anniversary (yes, time flies). 10 years. It was quite a ride, and we truly can't be grateful enough. So many shows, so many places, so many friends. It's pretty hard to summarize this past decade in a single paragraph without falling in the generic farewell post category so I'll leave the long and emotional post to another time. I can assure you that we'll be playing 3 very emotional shows though, to celebrate and reminisce with you. These will be our last before - at least - a very very long while. Needless to say, we'll be in very good company at all 3, with old and newer pals on each bill. Hope you can make it to one of them."
These shows include a Toronto gig on November 22 with Sauna and Chris at the Garrison, a Quebec City show on December 6 with Gaspard Eden, and a Montreal gig the following day with Stoe and Anna Arrobas.
Solids featured guitarist Xavier Germain-Poitras and drummer Louis Guillemette. The band last released the Else EP in 2016 on Dine Alone, which followed the 2014 Blame Confusion LP.
Also, in commemoration of the life of Daniel Johnston, Solids recently shared their cover of his 1994 track "Silly Love." The band used to play the song live and recorded their version during the sessions for their 2010 EP Generic Dogs. Never before released, the duo posted it recently on Bandcamp. You can check it out below.
Vancouver punk trio Corner Boys are also calling it quits.
The '77 authentic band has two final shows scheduled before disbanding, one on September 21 with their sibling-act Chain Whip and punk vets D.O.A. at the Wise Hall, then on September 28 with B.A. Johnston at Pat's Pub. Alongside the announcement, Corner Boys released four previously unheard b-sides at Bandcamp. "Deadbeat Heart" and "Speed Dial Love" originated from the same era as 2017's Just Don't Care 7". The set also features "I'm Not Sorry" and a killer cover of Martha and The Muffins' classic "Echo Beach." Those two came from the sessions that resulted in the recent Waiting For 2020 LP. Fashionism's Jeffrey McCloy was behind the boards for all four songs.
Montreal's Hugo Mudie recently teamed up with the veteran LA punk group DFL for a new one-off single titled "Incompris." Mudie and DFL worked in the studio with Danny Balistocky of Rev 9 Recording on the two-minute hardcore track. You can check it out below.
After teasing new material over the summer, last week the Toronto synthpop duo Ice Cream formally announced their sophomore record Fed Up. Set to arrive on November 15, the 8-song set follows up the group's 2016 debut Love, Ice Cream. Tony Price co-produced the album with the band. The new record features the band's summer single "Peanut Butter" along with the newly unveiled "Modern Life." You can check out the Luna Kholds-directed video for that track below.
In a statement, Ice Cream's Amanda Crist commented on the song's politics:
"'Modern Life' focuses around the frustrations that come from living a metropolitan existence. How the exploitation of the capitalist system can become so consuming and restrictive, living as an authentic human, can seem like a challenge."
To commemorate their upcoming tour, Toronto hardcore/metal titans Cancer Bats and the snide London punks Single Mothers traded songs for a new covers EP. Dubbed New Damage Switcheroo Vol. 1, the set features the Bats' renditions of both "Dog Parks" and "Switchoff," with the Drew Thomson-fronted out tackling "Road Sick." The record inherits the Switcheroo title from Dine Alone Records, who back in 2005 pulled the same trick with Alexisonfire and Moneen. New Damage has plans to run with the concept and produce further collaborations among their roster going forward.
New Damage Switcheroo Vol. 1 is out now digitally and will be available as a limited-edition 7" on tour. That trek, currently underway, sees the bands gigging throughout Western Canada through the end of the month.
Kitchener, Ontario's emo/punk outfit Wayfarer have another new song online from their upcoming full-length Reckless Spring. The band joked about the new track, titled "Slipped":
"... we're releasing a song that sounds like it would have made us huge in the Pentecostal community in the 90s. Think Underoath pre-coke and no screaming."
I'm not sure about that, but you can judge for yourself. The song features guest vocals from Nabi Sue Bersche of Hamilton's Ellevator. Reckless Spring marks Wayfarer's first new material since 2016's Three Winters EP. They earlier previewed the song "February." Reckless Spring's due October 25.
Montreal power-pop group Dany Laj and the Looks have a new 6-song EP out titled Everything New Is New Again. It arrived this past weekend from Yeah Right and Transistor 66. The group recorded last year in New York City at NY Hed Studios with Rocio and Matt Verta-Ray. Matt Wiewel mixed at Sudbury's Deadpan Studios. If the album jacket looks familiar, it should. Dan Parent of Archie Comics fame pencilled the cover art.
On this record, the band features Dany Laj on guitar and vocals, Jeanette Dowling on bass and vocals, and Victor Tremblay-Desrosiers on drums. Before landing in Montreal, Laj called the northern Ontario gold mining community of Kirkland Lake home.
Vancouver-bred indie-pop supergroup The New Pornographers recently released the third track from their upcoming LP In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights. You can preview "One Kind of Solomon" below. In a statement frontman A.C. Newman commented:
"In terms of keyboards, this record has such a Kathryn Calder stamp. There was a point where she started playing this part on 'Solomon' and I feel like it just changed the record. When I heard what she did with it, I said, 'Do this on every song.'"
The New Pornographers will be headlining the Friday-night main stage of Beau's Oktoberfest. That event, sponsored in part by this humble little newsletter, runs this weekend (September 20 and 21) in Beau's All Natural's rural hometown of Vankleek Hill, Ontario. Toronto rapper Shad will headline that same stage on Saturday evening.
Every year Oktoberfest also features the punk-and-skate focused Black Forest stage, a more intimate bandshell nestled between a half-pipe on one side and a bar (so pretty much the best place in the country). Black Forest this year features the likes of Lost Love, The Flying Hellfish, Pale Lips, and Mobina Galore performing alongside a slate of Canadian punk bands. I recently profiled the brunt of the Black Forest line-up for a feature over at Punknews.org, so if you're still on the fence about the Oktoberfest experience grab your stein and follow this link.