Sunday June 21, 2020

Done With Drugs

While isolation's undoubtedly thrown a wrench into most bands' recording plans, Dundas power trio The Dirty Nil just happen to all reside in the same house. Guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham, bassist Ross Miller, and drummer Kyle Fisher have thus been able to continue work on the band's third full-length without having to worry about sketchy video conferencing or restrictive social distancing rules. The first evidence of their currently unannounced record recently arrived as the single "Done With Drugs." Bentham broke down the song's message, which is less an anthem for responsible abstinence and more of an observation on performative declarations of self-care:

"At this time in my life, I see a lot of people who are trying to stop doing cocaine or stop drinking rivers of liquor, or stop eating lots of shitty fast food. On Facebook, I see these posts from people declaring, "I'm done with this!" - they'll have a six-paragraph post about how they're changing their lives. I'm definitely not against self-betterment, and I'm not trying to make light of anyone's struggle; I'm just kind of amused and fascinated by that whole aspect of social media. Like someone will post, "I'm done drinking coffee!" Okay, well then just stop drinking coffee - you don't have to try to stop the internet for the day to tell everybody that you're done with Maxwell House! I find that funny, and somewhat narcissistic. But that's just my opinion, and I'm kind of an asshole!"

In a press release Bentham further commented on the song's unabashed power-pop bones:

"We were on tour with [Louisville garage band] White Reaper and I don't think I would've written that riff if I wasn't hanging out with [their guitarists] Tony [Esposito] and Hunter [Thompson]. They had just played with The Killers, so everyday we were always playing the 'Mr. Brightside' riff together. I think that opened my mind to stadium-rock cheese, even more so than before. There are songs on this new album that are much heavier than this song, and then there are songs that are a bit more vulnerable than this one - so 'Done With Drugs' is kind of an outlier in the fact that it's in the middle of the spectrum."

"Done With Drugs" is available as a 7" single from Dine Alone Records, with a cover of Tom Petty's "Even The Losers" on the b-side. The band's eventual new record will serve as the follow-up to The Dirty Nil's Juno-nominated 2018 full-length Master Volume. The single arrived online simultaneously with a live video of the band performing the track in Toronto's Phoneix Concert Theatre (an empty Phoenix, given that it was shot just last week).

Also, if case you missed it, make sure you check out Ross Miller's new posi-hardcore outing When I Move. That project debuted with a three-song benefit EP earlier in the month.

Listen: The Dirty Nil - "Done With Drugs" @ Bandcamp

Toronto psych-rock combo Mother Tongues have a new single in the wild, shared alongside details on their upcoming Buzz Records EP, Everything You Wanted. The band recently premiered a bright and dynamic dream-pop number titled "Let You Down," one of six tracks slated for on the record.

In a statement published by Exclaim, founding guitarist Lukas Cheung laid out a few goals for the EP:

"We're music lovers and that's who we made this record for. It's our compass and the catalyst for everyone and everything near and dear to us... More than anything, I hope the record expresses a sense of wonder to the listener. I think we downplay that aspect, you're rippin' it through a fuzz pedal, vibrating frequencies in the air and affecting people's emotions, changing their brain chemistry. That's magic."

Mother Tongues features Cheung with guitarist Konrad Karczewski, bassist/vocalist Charise Aragoza (Maylee Todd), drummer Nick Kervin (Mimico), and keyboardist/vocalist Hannah Bussiere Kim (Luna Li). The band recorded this material at Braden Sauder at Toronto's Marquee Sound. Everything You Wanted is due July 31.

Listen: Mother Tongues - "Let You Down" @ Bandcamp

Cult Toronto No Wave act New Fries recently shared a second preview of their upcoming LP Is The Idea Of Us. "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley" is the penultimate track on the 13-song record. The song exemplifies the band's genre-defying tendencies, with the group hypnotically swirling unpredictable instrumentals over a groovy bassline and some fantastically infectious percussion. In a press release the band offered an oblique statement on the song:

"Something about the women obscuring their gender and traditional roles (intentionally or otherwise) to do their work without interruption or expectation. Being contrarians, shrill. Seeking truth without taking care of emotions. Often their work is forensic, razor-sharp, and bright with clarity."

Is The Idea Of Us finds New Fries reconfigured as an economic three-piece, with vocalist Anni Spadafora now handling bass duties, Tim Fagan moving to guitar, and drummer Jenny Gitman's working off a pared-down three-piece kit. The group recorded with Carl Didur of the Toronto psych duo Zacht Automaat producing. Look for the new record on August 7 from Telephone Explosion.

Listen: New Fries - "Arendt / Adler / Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley Pulley" @ Bandcamp

Edmonton's upbeat, Motown-inspired surf-punks Bad Buddy have a new single online titled "Simultaneously." Guitarist/vocalist Emily Bachynski shared a lengthy blog post in the lead-up to the release, reflecting on the conflicting emotions that come with releasing music (especially unabashedly happy music) during times as fraught as these. It reads, in part:

"I had a conversation with Geoff [O'Brien] this afternoon after he walked into the room to find me face down on my keyboard. I explained that I have been trying to put my thoughts into words for nearly two months and that I'm finding it impossible to address all of the issues that I feel need addressing. Weeks and weeks of failed attempts had only resulted in a long, point-form list of things I hate. He asked me, 'well forget what you think you need to say, what do you want to say?'

I said that I really just wanted to let everyone know that Bad Buddy has a single coming out tomorrow and how excited I am about it, but it is accompanied by an overwhelming heaviness, and feels selfish and wrong to do so amidst the collective hardships of humanity. Who gives a single fuck about our album, considering the state of the world?

This has been my mental state: Every time I have felt a little spark of excitement, the anger and depression that lives in the pit of my stomach reminds me that that there are people dying in the streets for basic human rights, the beautiful province I love is being destroyed by a racist, woman-hating, walking dumpster-fire, who thinks oil is more precious than water, the constitution is being amended to secure systemic racism, there is still (don't forget) a global pandemic killing thousands, dissolving many careers, including my own, and decimating the livelihoods of people I care about. There is nothing to be happy about while people continue to suffer. Don't forget the suffering. Don't forget to suffer. SUFFER. It is then that Geoff reminded me that I've actually already written about this feeling.

'So you saying you're feeling great and awful, simultaneously.' Hah! Fuck, Geoff. Yeah, that's pretty much hitting the nail on the head."

Check the blog post to read her thoughts in full. If you pick the new single up from Bandcamp sometime soon, the band's pledging proceeds towards the NAACP legal defence fund.

Bad Buddy features Emily Bachynski (guitar, vocals), Alex Vissia (bass, vocals), Andi Vissia (guitar, vocals), and Geoff O'Brien (drums). The band's eventual full-length will follow up their 2017 EP, The Sneakie Peakie.

Listen: Bad Buddy - "Simultaneously" @ Bandcamp

The new single from Sudbury's 77-styled punk trio Tommy and the Commies is now online to preview. "Hurtin' 4 Certain" is the title track to a new four-song EP, due July 17 from Slovenly Recordings. The 7" follows the self-described "hooligan pop" group's nigh-perfect 2018 debut Here Come....

Tommy and the Commies feature the titular Tommy backed by Jeff Houle (Strange Attractor) and his brother Mitch. Jeff and Mitch were also 2/3s of the P.Trash power-pop legends Statues.

Listen: Tommy and the Commies - "Hurtin' 4 Certain" @ Bandcamp

Montreal's grungy post-punk trio Dishpit has a new single online titled "Plaza People." It's the first preview of their upcoming Steve Albini-recorded full-length. The band recorded with the legendary recording engineer in 2019, and the resulting record's due this year (it was originally slated for the spring, but, you know...). You can find the band's video for "Plaza People," awash in tongue-in-cheek goth imagery, over at YouTube.

Dishpit (or "Dish Pit" - the word break, or lack thereof, in their name is inconsistent) features vocalist/guitarist Nora Kelly, bassist/vocalist Jed Stein, and drummer Ethan Soil (also of Fleece). The band's attached to the UK label Mainline Records, but no specifics regarding their full-length have been announced by the label yet.

Watch: Dishpit - "Plaza People" @ YouTube

Mississauga's JONCRO shared a pair of low-fi isolation-recorded singles last Friday, a crunchy hardcore tune titled "Degenerates" and a ska-punk number titled "Wheel An Tun." The former features guitarist/vocalist Daniel G. Wilson playing all parts, with Maryam Said (Toronto's Poolblood) making a guest appearance to shout along in the chorus. The bouncy latter track features the trio's regular bassist Kieran Christie on bass and keys.

Out of lockdown, the noise-pop three-piece features Wilson and Christie with drummer Matthew Mikuljan. These new tunes follow "Violet Hair" and "Wise River" in the group's pandemic catalogue. The full group last released the EP Twa in February. Earlier in June, JONCRO committed their next month's worth of Bandcamp earnings to the NAACP and the ACLU.

Listen: JONCRO - "Degenerates"/"Wheel An Tun" @ Bandcamp

JONCRO's one of eight artists to appear on a recent compilation titled Black And Loud, a release from the group Ontario Artists Against Injustice with the goal of showcasing "Ontario's finest Black and Brown Punk, Rock and Indie Music." That set features contributions from Toronto groups Elmer Flood, Roach, weatherboy, Spirit Desire, Doctor's Hate Her, and Burner, along with Hamilton's Sea Of Troubles and the aforementioned JONCRO out of Mississauga.

You can find the release, with some vintage MuchMusic style cover art, at Bandcamp. Proceeds from the release are due for the Black Visions Collective, The Okra Project and the UNCF.

Listen: Ontario Artists Against Injustice - Black and Loud Vol. 1 @ Bandcamp

Halifax post-punk project Flesh & Blood returned last week with a new single titled Cast A Shadow. It's the enigmatic unit's second outing, following May's Inner Exile, and arrived to raise funds for Nova Scotia's Black Lives Matter Solidarity Fund. Along with the download, the atmospheric track's now available on a small run of one-of-a-kind hand-dubbed cassettes, limited to just 10.

The Flesh & Blood name's attached to Steve Earle of the low-fi, high-energy Haligonian punk group Booji Boys. That band last released the LP Tube Reducer in 2019. Both Flesh & Blood recordings can be found via the Abattoir label.

Listen: Flesh & Blood - "Cast a Shadow" @ Bandcamp

There's a pair of new songs online from Montreal's dark and grungy Heathers, titled "Janus" and "The Chariot." Through August 20, all proceeds from the singles will be collected for Hoodstock, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting social justice and fighting systemic inequalities in Montreal North. The three-piece recorded the heavy and haunting new songs with Patrick McDowall.

Heathers last released the full-length Midnight is a Place in 2018.

Listen: Heathers - "Janus" / "The Chariot" @ Bandcamp

Calgary punk five-piece No Brainer recently emerged from members of PMMA, Paradise, The Special Edisons, X-Ray Cat, and The Pissoffs. Last week the band shared "Painkiller," the debut single and the first preview of their new EP Everything is Fine. Guitarist Bill Kerr spoke about what motivated the track in a statement carried in Exclaim:

"A few years back, my father was given a couple of months to live. I quit my job and moved back in with my parents. I spent those months taking care of my dad, giving him medicine, keeping him company. One rainy September morning, he passed away. It was a bittersweet moment; on the one hand, he was gone, but, on the other, he didn't have to suffer anymore. That final moment had a profound impact on me, and I'll live with that for the rest of my life."

Vocalist Mike Grant reflected on the song in light of the ongoing protests:

"There are a lot of sons and daughters growing up without their parents, at the hands of an inherently flawed system. As a social worker, I see firsthand the mechanics of these flaws. The protests are just the beginning, and I'm ecstatic to see these conversations are occurring on this level. We want to contribute and participate in any way we can."

"Painkiller" arrived alongside a video by Ryan Kostel, with proceeds from the song's Bandcamp downloads due for the Calgary Black Empowerment Fund. Everything is Fine is due August 7.

Watch: No Brainer - "Painkiller" @ YouTube

After teasing the set a few weeks back with the benefit single "Don't Be a Cop," the new live record from London post-hardcore group MVLL CRIMES is now available. The band captured the 8-song performance on March 15 at the business space that (at the time) housed Odyssey Records and Juicy Tings in London's Old East Village. The show served as the release party for the band's recent EP Roadside Attractions, and was their last gig before going into lockdown.

MVLL CRIMES features vocalist Jill Clair, guitarist Patrick Briggs, drummer Nathan Patrick, and bassist Laurie.

Listen: MVLL CRIMES - Live @ Bandcamp

On a similar note, Toronto's Stuck Out Here recently shot a London live set of their own. The wistful punk quartet performed at Rum Runners on December 5, 2019, with the full recording now available on both YouTube and Bandcamp. Proceeds raised by the 8-song collection are due for Canada Helps' Black Solidarity Fund.

Stuck Out Here last released Until We're Each Someone Else in May of 2019 on Get Party! and Must Be Nice Records.

Listen: Stuck Out Here - Live At Rum Runners @ Bandcamp

Saskatoon indie rock group Shirley & The Pyramids has a new digital release online, sharing some limited availability ambient and instrumental recordings to raise money for the Black Legal Action Centre. The five-song Teleroboxer isn't expected to remain online for long, so snag a copy while you can.

Last November, Shirley & The Pyramids released an EP titled A New American Classic. It followed the Aron Zacharias-lead band's 2018 full-length Pure Pain.

Listen: Shirley & The Pyramids - Teleroboxer @ Bandcamp

Heavy Peterborough act Cross Dog recently shared a complete re-recording of their self-titled 2013 debut. The band stresses that this isn't a remixed or a remastered version, but a full studio re-do by the group's modern incarnation, recorded in June of 2020. The band's pledging 100% of the proceeds from the set to the NAACP.

Cross Dog last released Hollow, their third LP, on Uncle D Records in July of 2019. The trio followed up their original self-titled effort with the album Vigilante in 2015. Cross Dog features vocalist Tracy A, drummer Mikey Reid, and bassist Mark Rand.

Listen: Cross Dog - Cross Dog (2020 Redux) @ Bandcamp

Hamilton, Ontario's acerbic metalcore veterans Counterparts have a newly available pair of b-sides online. You can check out "Purer Form of Pain" and "Strings of Separation" now, both of which were cut from 2019's Pure Noise full-length Nothing Left To Love.

Listen: Counterparts - "Purer Forms of Pain" @ Bandcamp

Finally, and seemingly out of nowhere, here's Cancon alt-rock vets Sloan playing a couple of delightful little hardcore tunes. "Jenny" and "It's In You, It's In Me" were recorded in 2013 for a limited (and now quite rare) 7" release. They've never been released to purchase in an official capacity, but the long-running band shared the set last Friday to raise money for Black Lives Matter Toronto.

The band commented on the tracks and their roots in college radio:

"When we were growing up in the mid-80s in Halifax, we were lucky to be exposed to different styles and political ideas in the music we heard on college radio. CKDU FM at Dalhousie was our introduction to so much great music: punk, American hardcore, and rap were the angry voices that mainstream radio wasn't playing. This music drew our attention to recognize the challenges, frustration, and sheer injustice that so many faced then, and still face to this day.

In 2013, we released a 7" single with two songs inspired by the hardcore punk that spoke to us growing up. While these songs are not necessarily lyrically topical at the moment, we want to contribute to the movement that's happening today."

You can find the pair at Bandcamp.

Listen: Sloan - "Jenny" / "It's In You, It's In Me" @ Bandcamp

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