Sunday October 20, 2019

Against The Pavement

I've joked in this newsletter that I can't keep track of how many bands feature Robbie Brake. Recording out of London, Ontario, Brake seems cursed to singlehandedly churn out more material than any single group could hope to contain. This year alone, he's contributed to new tunes from the power-pop group Isölation Party, the three-piece garage-punk act Mononegatives, the similarly motivated two-piece Klazo, and a surf rock side-project dubbed Hook and the Creeps. On top of that, he remains an active member of the glam-punk act Dong Vegan. Oh, and then there's solo material on top of that. Quite frankly, I'm unclear on how one individual manages that level of creative plate spinning. Hell, I can barely get this newsletter out weekly, and 80% of that's just copying and pasting links from Bandcamp.

I suppose I shouldn't feed his addiction, but I happen to be absolutely down for the 70s-indebted punk sound that's so broken the mind of Robbie Brake. I'm thus thrilled to debut the latest band in his legion: the spastic synth-punk act Telegenic Pleasure! The group's a duo, bridging London, Ontario and its' namesake over in the United Kingdom. From that side of the pond, Telegenic Pleasure features the blown-out vocals of Marco Palumbo Rodriguez. You may know him from The Gaggers and Miscalculations.

Brake tracked Telegenic Pleasure's breakneck instrumentals in a converted pantyhose factory in London (Ontario). Rodriguez recorded his cyborg yelps on his end, with engineer Preston Lobzun mixing the results somewhere in between (let's assume some third London, because why not). The results have roots in the Buzzcocks and Devo, finding common cause with the robot armies of The Spits, The Epoxies, Dutchess Says, and New Vogue.

The band's 8-track debut is due for an official release in mid-November from No Front Teeth Records. As Brake's unable to take his foot off the gas, a second 12-song sophomore full length is expected to follow in 2020.

Listen: Telegenic Pleasure - "Sealed Off" @ Bandcamp

Solem Vancouver indie-rock act Woolworm recently shared the second new single from Awe. Titled "Let Me Wear The Mask," the song will appear on upcoming 12-song full-length, the band's third LP. It arrives on November 8 from Mint Records.

In a statement frontman Giles Roy commented on the track:

"This song felt like it was about so many different things during the writing process, and it ended up being sort of abstract as a result. When we play it, I think of my own destructive tendencies, as well my attempts to curb them with what amounts to dishonesty. Sometimes I find genuine release in that escapism. That said, hopefully people will find their own meaning here. That's really what I want for all of our music."

Woolworm recorded and mixed this record with their Mint labelmate Jay Arner. The new set follows the group's 2017 LP Deserve to Die, but strikes a decidedly different tone than that hardcore-influenced sophomore effort. A record release show has been scheduled for November 15 at the Red Gate in Vancouver, with support from Juice, Outpatient, and Kamikaze Nurse.

Woolworm features Giles Roy on guitars and vocals, guitarist Alex Pomeroy, bassist Heather Black, and drummer Nick Tolliday.

Listen: Woolworm - "Let Me Wear The Mask" @ Bandcamp

Peter Johnson of the Toronto post-hardcore act Low Sun is hitting the road this week in his Tang guise for a tour of the U.S. midwest. He'll be playing alongside Milwaukee's Cairns. This will be Johnson's first solo tour as the pensive, low-fi Tang, promising a set filled with "scratchy 4 track loops" and "warm, droney experimentation[s] of songs" re-interpreted from the band's studio recordings. The tour kicks off on the 23rd and runs through the 27th with shows in Wisconsin and Michigan. Check Tang's website for the full routing.

To help promote the trek, Tang released a video featuring a new song, recorded live at The Be Droom (your guess is as good as mine for what or where that is, but it sounds suitably ominous). A full-band version of the song, titled "Blurred Landscape," is due to appear on Tang's next full-length. You can check out this version out below.

The upcoming Tang record is due in December from Art of the Uncarved Block. It will follow up 2018's Super Happy, which I can assure you was anything but.

Watch: Tang - "Blurred Landscape" @ YouTube

Madeline Link's low-fi project PAX has a new video online for the song "Clingfilm," a b-side from their recent EP Eat Me. The clip, directed by Link's sister Eva, features her band cavorting around in a park while dressed for a Renaissance fair that doesn't appear to be happening. You can check it out below.

While initially a bedroom recording project, PAX recently grew into a full band featuring Madeline backed by guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper. The group's last physical release was the full-length Ouch on Art of the Uncarved Block. The Link sisters just last week released Big Time, their first full-length as the jangle-pop duo Triples.

Watch: PAX - "Clingfilm" @ YouTube

We've got one more note from the Uncarved Block family before we move on this week.

The Toronto low-fi post-punk trio Fond recently premiered another track from their new EP Vern. You can check out the song "Against The Pavement" below.

Fond will launch the 5-song cassette release this week with a show at the Owls Club on October 24, supported by locals Dart Mouth and Nigel Nigel. The Meat Puppets-inspired group brings together Ryan Naray of Animal Faces and Soft Floors, Zach Van Horne of Creeper, and label-co-head Rob Johnson (also of Low Sun and Shahman).

Listen: Fond - "Against The Pavement" @ SoundCloud

Brigitte Bardon't, the stage name of Toronto drone-pop artist Kristel Jax, has a new full-length on the way titled Radio Songs. The twelve-track collection of sound collages is the result of a series of field recordings recorded over the past five years. Each track showcases a different town, with recordings made in Canada, the U.S., and Italy. Already Dead Tapes will release Radio Songs as a cassette on November 1. The label commented:

"Here, Bardon't's haunting vocals are absent — these twelve tracks feature only radio and field recordings, layered, collaged, sampled back, slowed, or recorded straight in one shot. Inspired by DJ Screw, Maria Chavez, Christian Marclay, and Nike7up, these noise and pop compositions dial into the radio as an emotional barometer of place and time."

You can preview "I Wonder," the track Jax crafted from the aural flotsam of Toronto, below.

Along with Brigitte Bardon't, Jax has worked on the multi-media project O / L, the radio series Infinite Poolside, and the Drone Therapy Podcast. In 2019 she released a 7" split single on No Exist with Turkey's Okay Vivian. That record found Jax performing a cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" set to a series of shortwave radio recordings.

Watch: Brigitte Bardon't - "I Wonder" @ YouTube

A new album from the experimental folk project ANAMAI has been announced. The duo will release Dream Baby on October 25 on the Halocline Trance label. It's a 9-song set that includes "The Holder" (we previewed that one in the summer) and the title track that you can hear below.

A press release from the label attempts to encapsulate the low-key group's sound, claiming:

"...soft sounds to dent skin and flesh. The music is naked and exquisitely personal, threatening banality, but mainly an embrace of the commune. Dramatic and confidential anthems of divine insignificance. Across three studio albums the project has explored the nature of intimacy with tiny confessions released into vast lakes of sound. Simple songs punctuated by clusters of detail. The project is built on contradictions: traditional yet modern; miniscule yet infinite; proud but deflated. Something for everyone and nothing to no one. A search for peace?"

ANAMAI's atmospheric, minimalist folk music comes courtesy of Anna Mayberry (formerly of Toronto sludge punks HSY) and David Psutka (of Egyptrixx and ACT!). The group last released the full-length What Mountain in 2017.

Listen: Anamai - "Dream Baby" @ Bandcamp

Simone Records recently shared a new single from the prolific singer-songwriter Dany Placard. "Pulperie" finds the Montreal musician branching further from his folk-rock roots to land in trippy late-60s psychedelia. The song arrived alongside a video from director Ariel Poupart that really drives home the artist's hallucinogenic new direction.

The new single is due for Placard's upcoming full-length J'connais rien à l'astronomie, which is due in early 2020. Dany Placard last released Full Face in 2017.

Watch: Dany Placard - "Pulperie" @ YouTube

Toronto's laid-back alt-pop quintet Nutrients recently released a video for "Hide & Seek," the second single from their upcoming self-titled debut. In a statement the band commented on the tune:

"[Hide & Seek] is all about recreating the excitement of your first taste of adolescent independence. The room was dark, and faint whispers made their way to your ears from mysterious directions. The time for silence was nigh, however. The game was about to start. We're playing hide and seek, and that feeling of the neverending night ahead was like a rare, illicit elixir. Who knows what's in store?"

Like the earlier released "Such Slime," this track features a retro-styled video from Issac Roberts. Nutrients started as a Montreal-based bedroom-pop project from vocalist Taylor Teeple. Since relocating to Toronto, Teepe's built out a full band featuring guitarist Will Hunter, drummer Turner Wigginton, bassist Sean McKee, and keyboardist Iulia Ciobanu.

Watch: Nutrients - "Hide & Seek" @ YouTube

Casper Skulls' vocalist Melanie St-Pierre recently debuted a solo act with the name of l'loop. She premiered the new bedroom recording project with the song "Valleys" and an accompanying music video. St-Pierre commented:

"I started l'loop in the spring of 2019 while I was writing the rest of the new Casper Skulls record. I wanted to get more familiar with recording myself and exploring my love for ambient. While Casper may be bold, l'loop is tender and lo-fi. Exploring these two aspects is very exciting and keeping creative is so therapeutic to me."

"Valleys" features looping instrumentals and St-Pierre's etherial folk-rock vocals, with percussion provided by Casper Skulls bassist Fraser McClean. Rivka Ravede of the Philadelphia band Spirit of the Beehive created the animated video for the track. You can check it out below.

Casper Skulls last released the full-length Mercy Works on Buzz Records. The follow-up to that LP is currently in the works.

Watch: L'loop - "Valleys" @ YouTube

Later this week Ben Cook will release GUV II, his second full-length of the year as Young Guv. A final preview of the album arrived last week in the form of "She's a Fantasy," the power-pop record's lead track. You can check it out below, and good luck getting this one out of your head.

GUV II will arrive from Run For Cover Records on Friday. It follows the GUV I installment from this past summer. Cook's last release as Young Guv was 2018's 2 Sad 2 Funk. In the year since that album, he's put out acclaimed work as part of the Toronto hardcore groups No Warning and Fucked Up.

Listen: Young Guv - "She's A Fantasy" @ YouTube

90s-era Vancouver glam-punk act The Black Halos are back in action. The newest incarnation of the memorable B.C. group brings together original vocalist Billy Hopeless, guitarist/vocalist Rich Jones and guitarist Jay Millette with a new rhythm section featuring bassist John Kern and drummer Danni Action.

The group's first new release together will be a limited edition colour 7" on London's Yeah Right Records. The set will feature the new songs "Geisterbahn II" and "Tandem Down," both of which were mixed by the legendary Seattle grunge producer Jack Endino. It drops Christmas Day.

A new full-length from the group is due in 2020. The Black Halos first got together in 1993 as the Black Market Babies, with the band's debut LP not arriving until '99. The group's original run lasted until 2008, with the band first reforming for select live performances in 2016.

Listen: The Black Halos - "Tandem Down" @ Bandcamp

It took me a while to wrap my head around Hamilton dream-pop group Basement Revolver, but the group's new single (the second from their upcoming EP) finally clicked for me. "Have I Been Deceived" comes from the shoegaze-influenced group's new Sonic Unyon release Wax and Digital. The track (which boasts some serious Cranberries vibes) reflects upon the religious upbringing of guitarist/vocalist Chrisy Hurn. She commented:

"Think about 'Have I Been Deceived' as an open letter to God. This past year, I have been feeling like I was brainwashed. I was taught to think in a particular manner, taught to love in a specific way, taught to think about my body and sexuality in a specific (ahem oppressive) way, and quite honestly at the time, I ate that shit up. I was the girl in highschool trying to convert all my friends, telling everyone to stay abstinent, listening to every Christian band that sounded almost as good as the real thing. That was my entire identity. Throughout my twenties, this identity fell apart.

I've become increasingly uncomfortable with who I was, so much that being around any type of Christian culture, makes me feel nauseous, or worse.

I want to let that go, I want to think clearly about faith, but I am afraid that I am not able to. I am afraid that I was gaslighted into loving something that is wrong or an ugly version of something that could be good. I don't know who I am without my past. I don't know who I am moving forward. I wish I had a more clear answer but I don't; I am just here."

Basement Revolver recorded with producer Ian Gomes (Greys, Frigs, Odonis Odonis). The group features Chrisy Hurn on vocals and guitar, guitarist Jonathan Malström, bassist Nimal Agalawatte, and drummer Brandon Munro.

Watch: Basement Revolver - "Have I Been Deceived" @ YouTube

Speaking of 90s vibes, there's a new single out from Toronto's Maybe Kinda Sorta, a preview of that project's forthcoming EP. "Sit Around" will appear on the matter-of-factly titled Another EP, which is due on Halloween.

Maybe Kinds Sorta is the songwriting project of Brent Fulop, the former drummer for the now-defunct Welland, Ontario punk group The Snips. As with Fulop's other recordings under this name, this track was produced by Mark Fosco (Marvelous Mark of the Marvelous Darlings) at the Fuzz Co studio.

Listen: Maybe Kinda Sorta - "Sit Around" @ Bandcamp

Chris Page of Expanda Fuzz continues to tease his next solo LP through a series of interesting covers. This time out, the Ottawa-area artist shared a laid-back rendition of PJ Harvey's "Yuri-G." It follows Page's earlier take on the INXS single "Don't Change."

Expanda Fuzz last released Cotton Candy Jet Engine in 2018. Page is perhaps best known for his time recording as part of Camp Radio and before that as a member of the 90s pop-punk group The Stand GT. This upcoming record will follow up his 2015 LP Volume Vs. Voice.

Listen: Chris Page - "Yuri-G" @ Bandcamp

Vancouver's sea shanty-themed folk-punk act The Dreadnoughts have a new record due on November 15, titled Into The North. In a statement the group commented on the recording process:

"Holed up for a week in a small wooden cabin with nothing but whiskey in our glasses, four microphones in front of us, and hordes of mosquitoes outside singing along, we belted these damn songs over and over until we had them just right, and the result is the album we've always wanted to make."

You can hear the album's first single, "Joli Rouge," below. It's a drinking song about an actual product, a cider produced by the soon-to-launch Joli Rouge producer out of Chicoutimi, Quebec. Into The North will arrive via Stomp Records.

Listen: The Dreadnoughts - "Joli Rouge" @ Bandcamp

Punknews.org recently premiered a new single from the Brantford, Ontario pop-punk band Fortune Cove. Titled "Direction," the track arrived alongside a video that you can see below. The song will appear on the band's new full-length for Four Chord Music, titled Dear Happiness. It's due on November 22.

Formerly known as Harbour, Fortune Cove will be supporting the record with a fall tour of Ontario, Quebec, and the U.S. east coast, playing with bands like The Letdown and Rival Town on select dates. You can snag that itinerary over at Punknews.org.

Watch: Fortune Cove - "Direction" @ YouTube

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