Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated weekly by Adam White. Each edition explores punk, garage, psych, and otherwise uncategorizable indie rock, drawing lines from proto to post and taking some weird diversions along the way.
Montreal aqua-punks Barnacle recently played an Out Of Earshot-sponsored POP Montreal showcase, promoting the event with a video for their song "Evolve." The band commented "we built the biggest water slide in the world" and the clip does nothing to dispute that claim.
I've had Barnacle's February demo in near-constant rotation since I stumbled across them in this year's SappyFest lineup. The band last released a 6-song live set in April (not to mention a super-limited Sappy-exclusive cassette that, no, I won't sell you). With sea levels rising and us, as a species, pretty much incapable of unmaking our mess, I'm pretty sure Barnacle is the future. The smart money's in snorkels.
While Toronto's Luge toy with the familiar, what they create is anything but. The four-piece deconstructs rock songs. They peel apart tired and true structures, recombining them into something that's just fascinatingly off. 2018's Tall Is Just a Feeling jerked from moments of abrasive punk to angular No Wave, flipping at random from fleeting moments of perfectly hooky pop to oblique, bass-driven art-funk. There's a moment on that record where Luge serves up a riff that's, bewildering, a little bit country. The second your recognition kicks in though, the band careens off in the opposite direction. The results were often weird, and intentionally so, but all that misdirection was incredibly compelling.
It's been nearly a year since that LP, and the group's now returned with "Up & Up," a new single that picks up where Tall left off. Some Party's honoured to premiere the video for the track, a clip that takes its cue from your dusty old Nintendo. The setup should feel familiar, and indeed bands have been drawing from the well of millennial nostalgia with increased frequency. However, this being Luge, the rhythm you expect is never what you get.
When PUP played this card to viral success, they went for the thrill of recognition, throwing as many clever references at the viewer as possible. New Cancon supergroup the Anyway Gang went saccharine with their recent take, the entire affair dripping with 90s-kid sentimentality. Luge lulls you in with the familiar but quickly goes askew. Staged like a classic fighting game, the "Up & Up" clip spends the brunt of its running time on the character selection screen. The viewer waits while the unseen player methodically wanders through characters and costumes. The action's almost an afterthought. It's the choosing that's important. The mock gameplay only really commences in the video's final third, and even that can't be what you were expecting. The pacing almost hypnotically tosses your expectations, which is very fittingly Luge.
The band commented on the clip:
"'Up & Up' is our latest single that combines all the spices on the rack. It is a narrowing tunnel that fills with illness and textiles. The song manifested from the digital realm and, consequently, inspired the video. Our ambitious idea of an old school video game aesthetic was brought to fruition by our close collaborator Isaac Roberts. His visual prowess helped us make the best of a makeshift green screen and second rate actors."
"Up & Up" was recorded by Stephen Pitman (Tallies, Chladny) at Dining Room Studios. Jackson Willows mixed and mastered the track. You can pick a digital copy of the song up Bandcamp. Luge is Cam Fraser, Kaiva Gotham, Tobias Hart, and Stu Mein.
Toronto glam-pop sensation Nyssa has a new single and video online, following the pattern set by her recent tracks "I Don't Wanna Live On The Moon (Without U)" and "Hey Jackie." This one's titled "#1Girl," and like its siblings comes with a video by director Ron Hollywood.
Nyssa's string of new singles follows the artist's 2018' EP Champion of Love. This track's a little closer to the electro-pop of that record than the 70s rock vibes explored on "Hey Jackie," but Nyssa's astonishing vocal range remains the star attraction regardless of genre.
There's a quiet reverence in the Canadian indie rock universe for Lost Wisdom, a 2008 collaboration between New Brunswick singer-songwriter Julie Doiron, Shotgun & Jaybird's Fred Squire, and Phil Elverum's Washinton-based Mount Eerie. Just over a decade later, Elverum and Doiron have again joined forces for Lost Wisdom pt. 2, a full-length set for a November 8 release on the P.W. Elverum & Sun label. You can hear the first single, titled "Love Without Possession," below.
In a statement, Elverum reflects on how the new works address the personal tragedies he's endured over the past few years. With the death of his wife, Quebec cartoonist Geneviève Castrée, profoundly affecting his last two records and his recent separation from actress Michelle Williams a more recent wound. Elverum commented:
"I tried to make songs that did not rely at all on who I am or who I am singing about. Knowing that anyone with internet access might have questions about my specifics, I don't want to say anything personal that isn't already in the songs. My fingers are crossed that when I push them out to sea they will be met with calm humane understanding. That's what they're about after all."
You can read his full statement at Pitchfork. While you're there, you can find the dates for the short tour Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron have scheduled for December. That trek, which includes lone Canadian stops in Vancouver and Toronto, will "likely be the only performance of this album's material for the foreseeable future."
Toronto low-fi post-punk trio Fond premiered a hypnotic new track last week at Post-Trash. Titled "Smothered," it's slated to appear for the trio's upcoming five-song EP Vern, due October 24 from Art of the Uncarved Block. It follows up on last year's self-titled debut. The label references Pile and the Meat Puppets when describing this one, or more perhaps more generally: "another five tunes for future dirt-eating humanoids that survive the meteor." Bands flippantly referencing the end of the world is something of a running theme in this edition of Some Party, as you'll see.
The day of the release Fond will perform a release show at the Owls Club, supported by locals Dart Mouth and Nigel Nigel. The band features Ryan Naray (Animal Faces, Soft Floors), Zach Van Horne (Creeper), and Rob Johnson (Low Sun, Shahman).
Toronto melodic-hardcore trio School Damage has a new video online for the song "I Don't Like What I've Become," a track from their 2018 full-length Hello, Cruel World. The clip finds the band (and friends) loitering about in the back alleys of the Big Smoke, partaking in some now-legal substances and ignoring all manner of signage that's meant to deter such activities. Jesse Marshall was behind the camera on this clip.
The band's sophomore record, Hello, Cruel World followed up on 2016's Battered Lives. The LP arrived last fall from Rad Girlfriend Records in the States, I Buy Records in Europe, and Brain Candy at home. On Cruel World School Damage featured guitarist/vocalist Brad Manners, bassist/vocalist Jon Cabatan, and drummer Curtis Tone. Tone's since left the band (although he's in this video), with Dennis Lee, formerly of Montreal's Boids, now behind the kit.
School Damage is in the midst of a mini-tour of Ontario and Quebec Italy's Ratbones. They'll play this Thursday at Montreal's Escogriffe Bar Spectacle with NECK and Bambies supporting, then on Friday at the Dominion Tavern in Ottawa, again with NECK.
Speaking of NECK, the Ottawa "pop-punk gang" and their Italian tourmates recently released a four-song split 7" on Moms Basement Records. NECK contributes the songs "Ha Ha Hertz" and "Morrisey's a Creep" to the set, with the Genoa-based Ratbones providing a pair of their own. I'm going to assume that the latter song's title is misspelt in the liner notes and we're talking about Morrissey, who's also a creep.
NECK last released the 10-song LP You Don't Think It's Evil... on Uncle D Records. It followed up their 2015 LP Hate To Read with a new slate of irreverent and snarky buzzsaw punk.
Speaking of splits, the Toronto-via-St. John's hardcore act Brutal Youth is back with new material. The group's following up their 2016 Stomp Records LP Sanguine with a split 7" with Albany, New York's After The Fall. The set arrives on October 8 from Paper + Plastick. You can preview the new track "Thick Skinned" below.
Kiwi Jr.'s another east coast act now slugging it out in Hogtown. The Charlottetown-bred indie rock group's set to reissue their recent Mint full-length Football Money worldwide on Persona Non Grata Records. That's expected in January, but if you're reading this newsletter you can probably go grab a copy in stores now. The band announced the new arrangement with a video for their jangle-pop anthem "Salary Man." Director Ben Rayner commented on the clip, stating:
"...putting together a perspective for this video, I wanted it to be fast paced, low budget, tongue-in-cheek, and highly personable."
The 10-song Football Money arrived this past March from Mint Records. Kiwi Jr. features vocalist Jeremy Gaudet, guitarist Brian Murphy, bassist Mike Walker, and drummer Brohan Moore. Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano, Bry Webb) engineered the record, with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh mixing. Alec O'Hanley (who plays with Murphy in Alvvays) is credited with additional instrumentation and production.
High octane Toronto garage-rock act Teen Archer has a new single out titled "Demon Queen." It's the first new track to arrive in a few years from the James McKeever-lead group and should slide in perfectly amongst their catalogue of muscular riff-rock. You could easily picture Teen Archer slotted in among the early 2000s Gearhead Records roster, somewhere between the Hellacopters and Lords of Altamont.
We're not too far out from the release of Big Blue, the new full-length from BC power-pop act Dead Soft. In the lead-up to the October 18 Arts & Crafts drop the group's unveiled a new video for the single "Step Out," a clip that embraces a low-budget horror aesthetic. Speaking to Kerrang, vocalist/guitarist Nathaniel Epp commented on the track:
"This song is about looking in on your life from the outside and the idea of stepping out of your day to day world into another one... It also makes reference to a reoccurring dream I had for a while where the earth got sucked into a black hole. It's like that dream mixed with the fantasy of running away from home."
Dead Soft features Epp with bassist/vocalist Keeley Rochon and drummer Alex Smith. With the release of their prior single, "I Believe You," the band revealed that they'd recently relocated from Vancouver to take up residency on Gabriola Island near Nanaimo.
With the October 25 release of GUV II on the horizon, new media supporting Young Guv's new LP seems to be arriving weekly. This time out we've got the single "Caught Lookin'," featuring guest vocals from Aurora Shields. It landed alongside a video by Danielle Nemet. Speaking on the song, Ben Cook revealed:
"Although this one may sound like an accusatory duet between two lovers, it's actually about how corporations control and own our attention through the mining of our data via smart phones."
GUV II is the second installment in a series of power-pop records, with the first salvo (GUV I) arriving in August from Run For Cover. This bright new material follows 2018's eclectic 2 Sad 2 Funk, not to mention some decidedly louder recent work from Cook as a member of the Toronto hardcore groups No Warning and Fucked Up.
Chris Page has been teasing a new collection of music, the follow-up to his 2015 LP Volume Vs. Voice. During the sessions for this currently undisclosed new record, he tracked a few covers, of which the first is now online. You can check out Page's cover of the 1982 INXS single "Don't Change" below.
The Ottawa-area artist has played in recent years as half of the duo Expanda Fuzz. He's known for his time recording as part of Camp Radio and before that in the 90s pop-punk group The Stand GT. Over the last year Page has been revisiting his early solo record Decide To Stay And Swim with a series of acoustic re-recordings under the name Decide to Stay and Swim Again. Expanda Fuzz last released Cotton Candy Jet Engine in 2018.
The acerbic Kitchener punk act Bad Egg has a new EP available. Titled Serotonin Flush #10301985, the set features six original songs along with a cover of Black Flag's "Depression." The full run, which can't be more than 8 minutes long, follows a similarly brisk 10-song demo from this past February.
"Clarice is about an uncertainty within yourself when struggling with mental health issues, as well as the lingering feelings of loneliness and sorrow that come with those experiences. Though the song is not about a specific person or event, it pulls from real emotions and a motivation to delve deeper into oneself."
Michael Keire and Cohen Wylie produced the new track at the Threshold Recording Studio. The Crowleys, who have roots as high school band, feature Cohen Wylie (guitar/vocals), Stuart Downie (drums/vocals), and Giulianna Frontini (vocals), with the brothers Justyn and Collin Horlick (synth/guitar and bass). "Clarice" follows up the group's 2018 EP Colours Change Their Tone.
Toronto garage-rock act Brenda has a new 5-song EP out titled Megalith. The heavy collection, which pulls influence from psych rock and stoner metal, follows the band's 2017 EP Creeper. The group previously commented that the riffy EP "focuses on the impending failure of mankind and the uncertainty of what comes after" (so, you know, prog stuff). Dylan Frankland of Tallies produced the EP.
Brenda will support the Megalith with an upcoming gig on November 2 at Toronto's Handlebar, supporting LA's Frankie & The Witch Fingers. Members of Brenda recently appeared as part of the darkwave group Gloin. That band released their Soft Monster EP this past summer.
The amiable Guelph pop-rock outfit Drunk at the Library has a new 6-song EP out. It carries the unwieldy title you can see linked below, but the group's mercifully shortening it to 60YRS in conversation. Dan Loughrin produced, mixed, and mastered the new set Big Rig Studios, and tapes are available from the band at upcoming shows. Drunk at the Library features Will Wellington, Caitlin Digby, Laura Rutty, Sarah Becker, and Trevor Cooke.