Killer On The Loose
Montreal's Red Mass, the "free creative enterprise" lead by Roy Vucino and Hannah Lewis, returned last week with a guest-packed new full-length titled A Hopeless Noise. The 11-song set arrived via the Montreal psych label Mothland, boasting several prominent additions to the collective from the wider punk and indie rock world. You can now stream new Red Mass tunes featuring Minutemen legend Mike Watt, Evan Dando of The Lemonheads, the unmistakable Rick Froberg of Hot Snakes, the enigmatic King Khan, Canadian indie star Mac DeMarco, Hugo Mudie of The Sainte Catherines, and many others.
"Killer On The Loose," a track featuring the unlikely pairing of Rick Froberg and Mac DeMarco, serves as the album's driving first single. Vucino commented on the song in a press release:
"We took inspiration from the novels of Bret Easton Ellis, incorporating his fascination with the extreme nihilism and sometimes decadent behaviour of the elite into the song's story. The character at the centre of the song is the Diamond Girl, whose decadent world has crumbled around her. Her violent tendencies and destructive nature are meant to exhibit the first signs of her psychosis. As the Diamond Girl's mental state deteriorates, she opts to react with violence."
Red Mass last released the full-length Kilrush Drive in March of 2019, followed by the Bored single last summer. Roy Vucino's a musician, actor, and filmmaker based in Montreal. Under the stage name Choyce he played in several seminal early-2000s garage-punk groups, notably CPC Gangbangs and Les Sexareenos.
Also hailing from Montreal, the posi-punk trio Boids have returned with a new full-length on Stomp Records. The group's titled their new 11-song outing Quel Drag, with Gob frontman Tom Thacker serving as producer. The press release bills the record as "the antithesis to bummer punk," something that "Bike Thief," the massively catchy lead single, does little to dispute. This silly little slice bit of unbridled guitar-pop may just be what I needed to fight through the grey-skied morass that enveloped southern Ontario this past weekend. Listen to Boids for your health.
This will be the band's first full-length since 2015's Superbafrango. Look for it on February 21.
Vancouver punk act Bedwetters Anonymous put out one of my favourite releases of 2019. Back in February, the trio released a scrappy little tape with the typographically awkward title of R.U. EXPERIENCING DISCOMFORT (?). That effort was remastered and abridged for a 7" release on Neon Waste later in the year, carrying the slightly modified label Have U Experienced Discomfort.
With the Discomfort redux now out in the wild, the group's looking ahead to their next release, an EP titled Framed. While there's no word yet when it will see the light of day, the band has shared a single along with the cover art. You can listen to "Keep Six" now at Bandcamp. Bedwetters recorded the new material at Vancouver's Red Gate, with Jordan Koop (Dumb, The Courtneys) mastering.
Mint Records recently shared the second single from the upcoming lié record. "Drowning In Piss" will join seven other tracks on the dark punk trio's new full-length You Want It Real, their follow-up to 2018's Hounds. The album, which arrives on February 28, will be the band's fourth.
As with the preceding "Digging In The Desert," this track finds the band again collaborating with video director Justin Gradin on some unsettling visuals. Guitarist/vocalist Ash Luk likewise called the song "the embodiment of a bad trip," elaborating:
"For me this album is more about lyrical collage in an effort to create scenes in the listener's mind than it is about conveying a literal message. There is reflection on ego, but isn't there always? Drowning might just be a vacant stare into a dystopian dream. Part of the shift away from the direct lyrics of previous albums is also in part to encourage the listener to focus on the music as well, not just the lyrics. I feel that in the past we've been stuck in a bit of a cycle where we have received praise about our direct, confrontational lyrical content, but often I feel like the negative aspect of people focusing too much on the lyrics is that it overshadows the musicality which I think should speak for itself, especially on this album. That being said, this doesn't mean any less care was taken in constructing the lyrics, quite the opposite actually, more that there has just been an effort to focus more on imagery and flow."
lié worked with the producer Jesse Gander on the new LP (he's all over the Mint discography these days, having produced the recent Woolworm and Necking records). The three-piece features guitarist/vocalist Ashlee Luk, bassist/vocalist Brittany West, and drummer Kati J. Outside of lié, Luk and West respectively perform in the techno/rave projects Minimal Violence and Sigsaly.
Calgary folk-punk singer/songwriter Seth Anderson recently announced his new record. We Could Be arrives on February 25 from Denver's Snappy Little Numbers. The first single from the album, titled "Highway Lights," surfaced online last week. Anderson commented that the song "acknowledges that sometimes things get difficult, but it doesn't mean that you have to stop." He elaborated in a statement:
"I found inspiration for the song while talking with a friend whose passion is surfing and travelling the world. With my love for touring and playing music, we share a fairly transient personality type.
We discussed how burning out can be inevitable when you are stretching your capacities and living outside of your comfort zone. The two of us agreed that it is important to take a break and return to stability now and then in order to refocus and recharge before we get out and push ourselves again."
We Could Be was recorded a few years ago in Eamon McGrath's Toronto living room, with the Edmonton-born musician serving as producer. Guests on the album include Chuck Coles, Danny Miles, Clay Jones, Will Whitwham, Ben Longman, and Kate Stanton. Russell Broom mixed and Andy Magoffin mastered the record. Anderson's new set follows his 2016 set for Joey Cape's One Week Records.
East Coast indie-rock mainstay Joel Plaskett will release 44, a sprawling quadruple album, on April 17. Billed as the spiritual successor to 2018's similarly massive Three, the new set will be split into four 11-song chapters, titled 41: Carried Away, 42: Just Passing Through, 43: If There's Another Road, and 44: The Window Inn. Plaskett recorded these songs over the past four years in several studios across North America, with 33 different players collaborating on the material in total. The announcement landed alongside the single "Head over Heels into Heaven," co-written by Plaskett and his Dartmouth prodigé Mo Kenney. It features drummer Dave Marsh and bassist Chris Pennell of The Emergency, with Jeff Miller co-directing the video promoting the tune.
In a statement, the Halifax-based singer/songwriter commented:
"Making a record has always felt to me like trying to put a frame around a group of songs. In going through my songs from the last four years, it dawned on me that I'd need more than one frame to contain what I've been writing about. Hence four panes within a frame, four records in one box. Synchronicity and numbers have always been a fascination, and I saw this project as an opportunity to create something to mark my 44th year on this mystifying planet."
44 will arrive from Pheromone Recordings. It follows up 2015's The Park Avenue Sobriety Test, Joel and Bill Plaskett's 2017 father-song team-up Solidarity, and the recent reunion of Plaskett's 90s alt-rock band Thrush Hermit. Joel, backed by The Emergency, will tour in the spring with support from Mo Kenney. You can find those dates at Exclaim.
Montreal's Blooming Season left a lasting impact last year with their New Values EP. It was an angular post-punk set propelled by spoken-word vocals in the provocative tradition of Protomartyr or The Fall. The band returned this month with a new four-song EP titled Living Feeling, which is streaming everywhere now. The band recorded new the set with Faith Healer's Renny Wilson producing. Footage of the band playing the record-closing "Cruel Radiant" at a Montreal in-store also recently surfaced on YouTube.
Blooming Season features William J. Riley, Louis Cormier, Julien Guy-Béland, and Marc-Olivier Gaboury.
The February 14 arrival of Elephant Stone's Hollow fast approaches, and the Montreal psych-rock trio's keeping the pressure up with yet another pre-release video. This time out, the band's shared "We Cry For Harmonia." Director Mike Turzanski commented on the new clip in a statement:
"For the 'We Cry For Harmonia' video, I wanted to make a series of animations that would take you through the music. The song itself is like riding a smooth wave through time. I wanted to make sure the visual elements had a similar feel to bring you through to the other side. This was a really fun project to work on. A few of my favourite cell animated clips came out of this. I'm really excited to see it released."
Elephant Stone last released Ship of Fools in 2016, with Hollow due to arrive on next month from Elephants On Parade and Fuzz Club. Elephant Stone features Rishi Dhir on vocals, bass, and sitar alongside drummer Miles Dupire and guitarist Robbie MacArthur. When the group performs live, they fill out their sound with the help of guitarist/keyboardist Jason Kent.
The Soviet Influence recently released a 7-song full-length titled The Price of Vigilence. The Peter Snow-lead indie rock group, based in Halton Hills and Guelph, Ontario, recorded with Dan Konopka of OK GO and Dave Patridge of Husbands.
The Price of Vigilence is a long haul from the band's debut full-length, 2013's Boundaries, and follows up their 2018 EP Check Boxes. The band's current lineup features Snow backed by the rhythm section of Blake and Peter Morey.
Heavy Vancouver garage-rock duo Pedler has a new EP online, a three-song self-titled effort. The group pairs vocalist/guitarist Justin Stadig (who documents the local scene as 6sh0W4) and drummer Kyle Kary (of Unimpressed Screen Printing). Stadig and Kary previously played together as members of American Space Monkey.
The Pedler EP can be streamed now, with a physical release due through Jaundice Records. The band recorded the new songs during the summer of 2019 at Park Sound Studios in North Vancouver, with Dan Ponich engineering and mixing. Philip Shaw Bova mastered the set.
Last year Pedlar kicked off an annual festival dubbed Twosome Fest, which celebrates "loud two-piece bands." The 2020 edition has yet to be confirmed.
Gravelly Halifax horror-punk group The Bloody Hell has a newly revised video online for "Evil Everywhere." It's an edit after YouTube reportedly banned banned the original for graphic content. The new clip for the scathing tune still manages to compile a few decades of grim news footage, so viewer beware, There's probably still a few moments of this that you'll find upsetting.
The track comes from the band's 2018 self-titled debut album. A follow-up effort is currently in the works.
The latest episode of Come For a Ride features the legendary Don Pyle of Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, Phono-Comb, and most recently the Toronto alt-country group Long Branch. Jesse Locke (Tough Age) and Kritty Uranowski (Lavender Bruisers) co-host the Toronto-based interview show.
Episode 519 of Vish Khanna's Kreative Kontrol features the entirety of Toronto alt-electronica group Holy Fuck. The band's making the rounds to promote their excellent new Last Gang full-length Deleter.
Under The Circumstances
Just a reminder that Under The Circumstances, Some Party's first compilation is out now on glorious magnetic cassette. It features new or rare music from Toronto's Tough Age, Edmonton's Wares, Windsor's Psychic Void, Montreal's New Vogue, and the Sackville-via-Windsor group Partner. If you drive a 1986 Chevy Blazer you're all set to rock these tunes.
I'm donating whatever comes in from the tape in these next few weeks to the Unist'ot'en Camp Legal Fund, so if you want one get on board now and I'll count it towards that cause. You can find out more and order online here.