Let's Get Serious About Punk Rock
Last week the Montreal garage rock troupe Pottery announced Welcome To Bobby's Motel, their debut LP. The set arrives on April 10 from Royal Mountain and Partisan Records. The announcement came alongside the sprawling single "Texas Drums Pt. I & II," a jangling sing-along driven by frenetic percussion and an undeniably catchy, if mostly nonsensical, chorus. It calls to mind The Talking Heads at their grooviest as much as it seems to channel Crowbar's "Oh What a Feeling." You can take in the full six-minute cut at Bandcamp or check the paired-down video-version at YouTube. The latter's directed by guitarist Jacob Shepansky and drummer Paul Jacobs along with Meagan Callen and Montreal filmmaker Charlie Coote.
Brooklyn's Jonathan Schenke (Parquet Courts, Snail Mail) produced Welcome To Bobby's Motel, which the band recorded at Break Glass studio. The group had this to say about the record's titular character:
"Bobby is a pilot, a lumberjack, a stay at home dad, and a disco dancer that never rips his pants. He's a punching bag filled with comic relief. He laughs in the face of day-to-day ambiguity, as worrying isn't worth it to Bobby. There's a piece of him in everyone, there to remind us that things are probably going to work out, maybe. He's you. He's him. He's her. He's them. Bobby is always there, painted in the corner, urging you to relax and forget about your useless worries. And his motel? Well, the motel is life. It might not be clean, and the curtains might not shut all the way. The air conditioner might be broken, and the floors might be stained. But that's okay, because you don't go to Bobby's Motel for the glamour and a good night's sleep, the minibar, or the full-service sauna. You go to Bobby's Motel to feel, to escape, to remember, to distract. You go for the late nights and early mornings, good times and the bad. You might spend your entire life looking for Bobby's Motel and just when you think you will never find it, you realize you've been there all along. It's filthy and amazing and you dance, and you love it."
Pottery features vocalist Austin Boylan, guitarist Jacob Shepansky, keyboardist Peter Baylis, bassist Tom Gould, and drummer Paul Jacobs. The band released an EP last year titled No. 1, which was preceded by a crazy level of industry buzz that felt like something out of the Strokes-era.
Over the years, this newsletter's closely followed the busy psych-noise solo career of Pottery drummer Paul Jacobs. Earlier this winter, he released a stripped-down odds and sods collection titled Portrait Of George, Demos And Songs I Forgot. His last proper LP was the Stolen Bodyreleased Easy in 2018.
Charlottetown punk rabble Antibodies recently released a blown-out 10-song collection with the unceremonious title LP 2019. The album's due on tape soon from High Trash Media. The breakneck set flies by with at least half of the tracks falling well under a minute in length. Following closely in the footsteps of their fellow potato-punks in Warsh, Antibodies recorded these songs at Terry's Temple Studios. Check your volume before venturing in; these recordings are unyieldingly loud.
Booji Boys' Steve Earle put together the artwork for this one. Antibodies will next appear on the upcoming Sewercide Records compilation of east coast Canadian hardcore bands alongside the Booji Boys, Warsh, Misanthropic Minds, Fragment, and Cutie.
I'm a romantic, so I'm very much looking forward to spending Valentine's Day with my wife watching the gimp-masked maniacs in Dboy celebrate their new LP. In the lead up to Friday's release, the satin-clad, Soviet-style trio shared a video featuring the record's first two songs: "Why Do You Only Luv a Dboy (who's down)?" and "Thumbless." The band issued a hyperbolic statement on the matter, all in capitals:
"CITIZENS OF THE WORLD. WITH PERMISSION FROM THE PERFORMANCE AND RECREATION COUNCIL, DBOY PRESENTS 'WHY DO YOU ONLY LUV A DBOY (WHO'S DOWN)?' AND 'THUMBLESS'. AS EXPRESSIONS OF BREVITY AND AESTHETIC INGENUITY, THE TRACKS ARE CELEBRATIONS OF THE 13 POINT PROGRAM TO END SONIC AUSTERITY, AND THEREFORE OF THE THREE WOLVES THEMSELVES. SUCH SHORT PLAYS FOR THE PACE AGE CAN BE FOUND ON THE FORTHCOMING ALBUM, APTLY TITLED 'NEW RECORDS IN HUMAN POWER'. AS THE FAT HAS BEEN SO CLEARLY CUT FROM THE BONE, ALL THAT REMAINS ARE DENSE SHAPES AND SOUNDS WHICH MOVE TOWARDS A NEW LANGUAGE OF LUV. NOW, SPEAK IT WITH THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER OF DBOY SCOUTS."
The band also launched the "Dboy Powerline" at 1-800-851-9383. It's an automated phone system that champions their tongue-in-cheek manifesto, shares tour dates, and allows you to leave them a personalized message.
New Records In Human Power arrives on February 14 from Dine Alone Records in Canada and Alcopop! in the UK. This week's release shows fall on Friday at the Warehouse in St. Catharines and Saturday at the Monarch Tavern in Toronto. The new album follows a series of recent short-form releases from the group, including the ATTN SPAM digital single, the 3-song Dboy for President 7", and a split with Daniel Romano's Ancient Shapes.
Dboy features the gravelly pipes of guitarist/vocalist Matt Sajn (Northern Primitive), backed by bassist Tony Ventresca and drummer Ricky Pridmore (both of whom played in Welland, Ontario ska-punk act The Snips).
Twangy Toronto slowcore group Chris return this March with What Did I Do To Deserve This?, their debut LP for Art of the Uncarved Block. The set follows their 2017 EP I Don't Think Anything. It's due March 5. The band recently shared a slow-burning track that's, perhaps self-deprecatingly, titled "Dull." The premiere ran at Post-Trash last week.
Chris features two former members of the decidedly livelier Toronto post-hardcore noisemakers Animal Faces. Zach Van Horne plays guitar and sings with Ryan Naray's credited on drums, keys, and clarinet. The group worked in the studio as a duo, with plans to perform this material live as a three-piece with a bassist in the mix.
Naray's also been active lately in the post-punk trio Fond. That group released an EP titled Vern last year, also on Art of the Uncarved Block.
Piper Burns, the self-described "sad clown" of the Regina music scene, has a new EP of askew alt-country tunes online, titled The Regulars. Credited to Piper & The Neon Burns band, the four-songs feature some familiar Saskatchewan players. Burns drums for numerous local acts but is likely best known as the frontman of the rock group The Steves. Two of The Steves join him here, namely Andy Beisel and Ethan Anderson. The Regulars also features Chris Sleightholm, who's recorded both under his name and as Snake River.
You Want It Real, the upcoming LP from Vancouver's dark punk trio lié, arrives February 28 and preview tracks keep rolling out like clockwork. This week you can check out the appropriately buzzing "Bugs," billed as a "thrash/sludge ode to anxiety and stress." Bassist/vocalist Brittany West commented in a press release:
"Worry, anxiety, stress, dread, fear…these are the things that eat me alive. Just like bugs crawling in my mind, devouring my creativity and joy. Making this song helped get some of them out, and hopefully it will help you as well."
You Want It Real is the band's fourth LP, following up on 2018's Hounds. lié worked with the producer Jesse Gander on the record, which arrives courtesy of Mint. 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.
Flemish Eye recently released a limited-run split 7" pairing Saskatoon three-piece post-punk act The Avulsions and the recently-defunct Halifax indie-rock group Mauno. Each band contributes a previously unheard song to the release ("Mars" from Avulsions and "Waste" from Mauno). Calgary's beloved multidisciplinary space alien Chad VanGaalen contributed new illustrations to pair with each tune.
Mauno last released Really Well in August on Tin Angel Records, but announced their dissolution soon after. The Avulsions have been supporting 2019's Expanding Program LP.
A pair of Cambridge, Ontario skate-punk bands have teamed up with Montreal's Thousand Islands Records for a new split release. The Grand River Transplit will feature four songs each from the quartet Frank Dux and the trio Block Parent, with each side also available as a separately titled EP online. Block Parent pays direct homage to their bratty influences with Take Off Your Pants And Jack Off. The Frank Dux set meanwhile carries the title Concessions.
You can hear a song from each band online now, with Frank Dux sharing "Wuddup Todd" and Block Parent dredging up 90s web nostalgia on "Grade8.angelfire.tripod/geocities.cjb.net." The physical release arrives jointly from Thousand Islands, Pink Lemonade Records, and Ends Meat Label?, due on coloured vinyl May 1. A release show will take place that same day in Cambridge at Rhythm and Brews.
Psychic Debris is the song-a-day demo project from Saint John, New Brunswick's Beach Chair. The project's adhered to a (more or less) daily update schedule since December 13 of last year, currently racking up 61 tracks. The project concludes at 68, so you've got just a week left to get on board for daily updates before it wraps. The sounds explored on these tracks come from every direction, from the melancholy alt-rock of "If All Is Lost" to the snotty 20 second punk of "I Got Shingles" to a host of playful electronic experiments. It's a fascinating set to explore.
Beach Chair is the home recording project of Ryan Brown, the former drummer of the Halifax indie-pop group Glory Glory.
Lido Pimienta recently shared her second single from Miss Colombia, the Columbian-Canadian artist's upcoming sophomore full-length. The new track follows "No Pude" in previewing the record. This will be Pimienta's first full-length for the Epitaph imprint ANTI- following her independent Polaris Prize-winning debut La Papessa. You can hear the song, titled "Eso Que Tu Haces," through a new video below.
Miss Columbia arrives on April 17.
St. Catharines, Ontario melodic punk quartet The Holdouts have a new 6-song EP out titled Cause and Effect. The Niagara group recorded the new tubes with Pete Tremblay at The Orchard. The release serves as the band's formal debut, following a pair of demo recordings that surfaced last year.
Maybe Kinds Sorta is a songwriting project of Brent Fulop, the former drummer for the above-mentioned Welland 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. A live version of the group just recently started playing shows around southern Ontario.
Vancouver-based Haisla Nation hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids recently shared a new video for "Rebirth." The track, featuring guest vocals from the formidable Tanya Tagaq, appeared on the band's recent Polaris-nominated full-length Trapline. Jérôme Hof directed the new clip.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids features Darren' Young D' Metz and Quinton' Yung Trybez' Nyce. Trapline followed up on the band's LP The Average Savage, which similarly landed them on that Polaris shortlist just a year prior.
A couple of years after surfacing as a (conceivably) fictional band connected to the Dose Your Dreams narrative, the synthpop act Jade Hairpins are now formally revealed as a collaboration between Fucked Up's Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechuk. Last week the pair announced plans to tour the project around the UK, with their live band for the occasion featuring Tamsin M Leach and Jack Goldstein. Those dates start Friday, and you can find them at Merge Records.
Jade Hairpins emerged in the run-up to Dose Your Dreams as one component of Fucked Up's obfuscated worldbuilding (see: Jellicoe & Woodbury). The name first appeared in the credits of FU's High Rise 7", with the b-side "Tower of Time" purported to be a cover of a Jade Hairpins track (that, of course, nobody's heard). A two-song 12" single surfaced on Merge the same day Dose dropped, pretty much sealing the connection although it was never confirmed outright. The phrase "Her hair was pinned by jade" also appeared in the lyrics to the Dose single "Accelerate" as a clue.
Now that everything's out in the open, you can expect more live shows and new music from Jade Hairpins later this year. For his part, Fucked Up vocalist Damian Abraham seemed charmingly befuddled when this whole thing was revealed. After apparently checking the Merge single out for the first time, he jested, "it sounds like a record Mike would have made fun of me for buying at Mississauga's Rics Collectables back when we were in our 20's."
Toronto punk heroes PUP are likely at the tail end of the media rollout supporting Morbid Stuff, with the latest salvo arriving as a high-concept live video featuring the title track. The video, directed by Amanda Fotes, captures the band performing at London's Electric Ballroom last November. Before the show, the group distributed 19 digital cameras to fans to film the band, crowd, and whatever simultaneous nonsense was going on that evening. Fotes stitched that footage together to create this clip.
The 11-song Morbid Stuff, PUP's third full-length, was released last spring on the band's Little Dipper imprint. That record landed the group on this most recent Polaris shortlist.
The new episode of Come For a Ride features a chat with Jesse Crowe of the Toronto post-punk duo Beliefs and the solo project Praises. Jesse Locke (Tough Age) and Kritty Uranowski (Lavender Bruisers) co-host the Toronto-based interview show.
I can't keep up with the release schedule of Vish Khanna's now-Edmonton-based Kreative Kontrol, but among the show's recent episodes you'll surely want to tune into a featured chat with Dan Bejar on the new Destroyer record, Have We Met. You can find it, and recent conversations with Sarah Harmer, Gord Sinclair, Beth Stelling, and Matana Roberts, out on the Kreative Kontrol feed now.