The Long Ride
Hamilton's David O'Connor, better known as Sweet Dave, recently shared the first single from his upcoming sophomore LP Pink Dreams. You can watch a video featuring the buzzing goth-pop tune "The Long Ride" on YouTube now. Nathan Belgrave shot and edited the clip.
Pink Dreams follows O'Connor's first solo effort, 2017's psych-heavy Mental Jails. Dave credited that record to his then-touring gothic cabaret ensemble Sweet Dave and The Shallow Graves. The latter seems to be absent from this outing, at least in the title. London's Yeah Right Records will issue the 8-song set on vinyl on March 13.
You may recognize O'Connor as the frontman of the garage-punk group TV Freaks. The band's been working on their follow-up to 2015's Deranged-released Bad Luck Charms, and I wouldn't be surprised to see it this year. Over the past few years, O'Connor, who works as a tattoo artist at Trophy Tattoo, contributed album art to bands like PRIORS and performed with Freaks-adjacent musical projects like Pneumatic Tube and Uncontrollable Urge.
Weakerthans frontman John K. Samson resurfaced this week with a protest song in support of Winnipeg's Millennium Library. Last winter, the library installed "airport-style" security screeners and reportedly began physical searches of guests. Patrons assert that these policies, which arrived amidst funding cuts, have drastically and negatively changed the character of the space. The community group Millennium For All was formed in the wake of these changes, sharing the particular concern that the increased scrutiny has deterred access for marginalized and vulnerable people.
Both Samson and his partner Christine Fellows were co-writers-in-residence at the Winnipeg Public Library in 2016 and 17. He commented:
"I wanted to write a song about the Millennium Library, which I visited and worked at weekly for most of my life until the security was installed a year ago. I wanted to demonstrate how the Millennium is so much more than a building full of books. It's the heart of my community and I miss it."
The track, named for the community organization, features Samson backed by Fellows, Ashley Au, Scott Nolan, and Weakerthans drummer Jason Tait. Fellows created the song's accompanying stop-motion video, which features illustrations by Winnipeg artist Jonathan Dyck.
A rally at the library, scheduled for February 25, will mark a year since the installation of the security screeners. Samson continued in a statement to Exclaim:
"I want to help promote the upcoming week of events being organized by Millennium for All and Budget for All Winnipeg. We need to make it clear to the city and library management that we don't accept exclusionary security in our library, and also remind politicians that libraries require committed investment. All Winnipeg's libraries are underfunded and understaffed, yet the mayor and councillors are threatening to cut funding even further to these and other essential services in their proposed city budget next month. We can't let that happen.
I've been really inspired by people acting on behalf of libraries, from community resistance to transphobia at the Toronto Public Library to Winnipeggers' protests against the racist and exclusionary security at the Millennium. We need our libraries to be truly welcoming and fully funded."
Samson last released the full-length Winter Wheat in 2016 on the Epitaph imprint ANTI-. Christine Fellows released Roses on the Vine in 2018 on the couple's Vivat Virtute label.
I'm thrilled to debut a new song this week from the introspective Toronto slowcore group Chris. The band returns on March 5 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. You can stream the grungy and dour "Foolish" below. Here's what guitarist/vocalist Zach Van Horne had to say about it:
"This song is about deeply ingrained habits or coping mechanisms catching up to you. It's about allowing yourself to get in your own way and having a lack of motivation to change."
Chris features Zach Van Horne and Ryan Nara from the now-defunct Toronto post-hardcore group Animal Faces. Van Horne plays guitar and sings while Naray's credited on drums, keys, and clarinet. The group wrote and recorded as a duo, but will tour live as a three-piece with bassist Miranda Armstrong (So Tired, Humanities, Lilim). Low Sun's Robert Johnson engineered and mixed the brunt of the new material, with mastering by Collin Young. Baby Band's Madison Stoner sang backing vocals on several of the new tracks.
Nap Eyes recently shared the second single from their upcoming LP Snapshot of a Beginner. "So Tired" is the record's opening track, one which strikingly finds vocalist/guitarist Nigel Chapman commencing this new chapter by addressing himself in the second person. He elaborates on this, and the song's goals, in a press release:
"The 'So Tired' refrain marks a slight shift in perspective and its meaning is twofold. For one, I get frustrated sometimes by what the world seems to require for success at a given task (for example, polished songwriting, coherent and understandable communication), so part of this is just me venting on this subject. Sometimes I would rather flow with free writing than try to box songs into rehearsed, many-times-repeated containers.
Second, at times I find myself wishing people would not hold so many preconceptions about the things in this world a given person might try to communicate. Most of us, myself included, usually assume we already know a lot - even about things we've spent very little time thinking about - and because of this attitude, people are often predisposed to misunderstand new ideas, even when they're communicated in straightforward and coherent ways. But there's no doubt, an idea won't ever get through until there's someone around to listen to it."
Snapshot of a Beginner will be the Halifax quartet's fourth record, following-up on 2018's I'm Bad Now. It arrives March 27 with Royal Mountain, Jagjaguwar, and Paradise of Bachelors. Nap Eyes features Chapman alongside drummer Seamus Dalton, bassist Josh Salter, and guitarist Brad Loughead. The group recorded at The National's Long Pond Studio in upstate New York with producers Jonathan Low and James Elkington.
Neon Taste is issuing a live album from Kamloops hardcore band Bootlicker, titled Live In The Swamp. The 11 song set was recorded on the group's recent American tour, captured live at Studio 239B in Norfolk, Virginia on October 22, 2019. Among their originals, you'll find covers of classics from the Shitlickers and Discharge in the set. Along with the digital release, Neon Taste has 150 professionally dubbed tapes on the way for March 1.
Bootlicker last released the Nuclear Family EP in April of last year. You can stream the new live set now at Bandcamp.
Ottawa post-rock/shoegaze/drone trio Southpacific has returned after nearly two decades off the grid. The group released a new instrumental single titled "Depths" last week while hinting that further new music was on deck for 2020.
Southpacific's original lineup are all present for this second chapter. That includes lead guitarist Joachim Toelke, bassist Phil Stewart-Bowes, and drummer/guitarist/vocalist Graeme Fleming. The band released Constance, their only full-length, back in 2000 on the now-defunct New York City label Turnbuckle Records. They ceased activity that same year.
Toronto avant-pop artist Scott Hardware has another new single online, previewing his upcoming Telephone Explosion full-length Engel. You can stream "Blu Again" below now. It's one of eight tracks to appear on the lushly orchestrated set when it arrives on April 3.
Hardware recorded Engel at the label's "pay what you can" recording space, Studio Z. It's his first new release since the 2016 LP Mutate Repeat Infinity.
Hardware has roots in the Toronto psych group Ostrich Tuning. He relocated to Berlin following his time in that group. There, his solo efforts first emerged under the name Ken Park. Look for him on stage backed by a three-piece band on February 26 at The Boat in Kensington Market. That group will include Ice Cream bassist Carlyn Bezic and percussionist Nathan Doucet (Aquakultre, Heaven For Real).
London's WHOOP-Szo recently revisited "Amaruq," the first single from their 2019 full-length Warrior Down. The grunge/folk/psych group debuted a video for the track last week on the CBC, crafting a thought-provoking sci-fi narrative with detailed toys and miniatures. In an email to the CBC, frontman Adam Sturgeon commented on the approach and how the visuals tie into the record's themes:
"It presents a vision of an Indigenous future, one that defies being molded into the usual narrative of Indigenous identity... The 'Noble Indian' looks into the mirror of his past and/or present."
Sturgeon's experience as an Anishinaabe-Canadian, in particular his struggles with identity while growing up in an urban environment, play heavily into *Warrior Down *'s lyrical content.
You've Changed Records released Warrior Down last November. Kyle Ashbourne recorded and mixed the 10-song set at the Sugar Shack in London, ON, with additional drum tracking by Sturgeon and Nathan Lamb at the Out of Sound House. 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 drummer Eric Lourenco.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his 2010 full-length A Date With A Smoke Machine, Chris Page shared an acoustic reworking of the track "Keep Me On Your Radar." The singer/songwriter reminisced:
"I remember being incredibly sick just before I wrote this song. The 'on the ceiling' line comes from me literally being ill on the couch, staring at the ceiling.
I also wrote the song on mandolin which is not something I normally do. I decided to give a little spotlight to that very Harmony mandolin during the solo of this version. It's a sad song, but a hopeful song. I'm happy to see it turn 10."
Page plays these days as part of the Ottawa-area duo Expanda Fuzz, who last released Cotton Candy Jet Engine in 2018. He's 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. A new solo effort in the works for the near future, an album that'll follow up his 2015 LP Volume Vs. Voice.
The Judges are a four-piece punk group from Maple Ridge, BC that churns out raucous, lightning-quick tunes in the style of FEAR and the Circle Jerks. They also happen to do so while dressed, theatrically, as judges. Likewise, the group's songs are singularly focused on exaggerated aspects of the law and the comedic minutiae of court proceedings. The band features several veterans of the Vancouver-area punk and metal scenes, including Jay Raymond of the Likely Rads, Tom Graham (Functor), Braden Wear, and Andrew Hansen.
The Judges recently released a live record titled Live! Sentence, recorded at the Rickshaw Theater in Vancouver in March of 2019. You can stream it below.
Punknews recently shared a new track from the Calgary pop-punk group The Fizzgigs. "Destiny" arrived alongside a video directed by Patryk Terelak and Rockwell White of Dirty Sloth. The song's one of 10 due to appear on the full-length Weeeeeeeeeeeee are the Fizzgigs, due March 20 from Meter Records. Scott Griffin produced the set.
The Fizzgigs are a four-piece heavily inspired by early 90s power-pop and the mid-90s punk revival (their bio professes their love for the catalogues of Lookout and Asian Man Records). The band features vocalist/guitarist Jason Sinclair, bassist Dean Rud (Belvedere, The Evidence), lead-guitarist Scott Marshall (Belvedere), and drummer Cody Coates (Lions, Tigers and Bears).
Hamilton, Ontario's Zoon is a psych and shoegaze inspired project from Ojibwe musician Daniel Monkman. Paper Bag Records will issue the band's first full-length this summer, titled Bleached Wavves. The first single from the 10-song set is "Vibrant Colours," a song that arrived alongside a video directed by Christopher Mills (FRIGS, Tallies, Mimico). Monkman commented on the song:
"I started to improvise melodies but they kept slipping away and that's where the lyrics in the song come from, and that reference of memories slipping away comes from my experience with my grandmother who suffered from dementia."
The set, described by Monkman as "moccasin-gaze," arrives June 19. Zoon will play several festivals in the spring, including New York's New Colossus Festival and Guelph's final Kazoo! fest.
Dine Alone Records recently shared another new song from the upcoming NOBRO EP. "Don't Wanna Talk About It" is, in the words of the band, "as close to a love song as we're going to get." The group co-wrote the tough, buzzing track with METZ's Alex Edkins.
Based out of Montreal, NOBRO will release Sick Hustle on April 3. The band features vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, Lisandre Bourdages on keys and percussion, and drummer Sarah Dion.
New Brunswick singer/songwriter Julie Doiron recently wrapped up work on a new full-length. While there's been no official press release, the personnel involved have all been sharing clips and photos from the studio, revealing some familiar collaborators.
Julie's working this time out with Daniel Romano, Ian Romano, and Dany Placard. Doiron's link to the Romano brothers goes back to the Attack In Black days when the two acts were often tourmates. Danny, Doiron and Shotgun & Jaybird's Fred Squire also collaborated on the laid back folk record Daniel, Fred & Julie. Chicoutimi singer-songwriter Dany Placard recently released the Simone Records full-length J'connais rien à l'astronomie, on which Doiron provides backing vocals. Doiron and Placard will tour France and Belgium together this April.
Julie Doiron's been playing music since 1990, where she emerged as a member of the legendary east coast indie rock group Eric's Trip. Her latest solo LP in English was 2012's So Many Days, with several French and Spanish language recordings following in the years since. In 2017 she released an album of rock songs as Julie & The Wrong Guys with members of Cancer Bats and Eamon McGrath. Late in 2019, Doiron partnered again with Phil Elverum's Mount Eerie to issue a follow-up to their 2008 collaboration, Lost Wisdom.
Come For a Ride, the Toronto-based interview show co-hosted by Tough Age's Jesse Locke and Lavender Bruisers' and Kritty Uranowski has a new pair of episodes online. They feature chats with Canadian alt-rock icon Bif Naked and the Toronto electronic musician Gabe Knox. You can find both on the show's feed below.
A recent episode of the Canadaland podcast featured an oral history of the iconic Canadian music personality Nardwuar the Human Serviette. The news organization chose the format, in part, because Nardwuar's not one to navel-gaze publically on his career or cultural impact. In the introduction, writer Kevin Sexton states:
"Nardwuar has long declined invitations to appear on CANADALAND to discuss all of this and more. So we decided to Nardwuar Nardwuar — conducting a deep dive into his past and present by doing our research, speaking to those who've known and worked with him over the course of decades.