Last week the Vancouver-bred, Toronto-based garage rock trio Tough Age announced their new LP. Which Way Am I? will be the band's fourth outing, following 2017's Shame. The 11-song set will arrive, like its predecessors, on Mint Records. It's due August 7. The band offered a preview of their new work with the mellow jam "Repose," featuring Penny Clark on vocals. The five-minute track opens into an extended instrumental segment that lays bare pervasive influence the Flying Nun roster's had on the band. The group's infatuation with the Dunedin sound has been a recurring theme these past few records (it's amusingly lampshaded early in the runtime of Which Way Am I? as well).
Tough Age features guitarist bassist/vocalist Penny Clark, drummer Jesse Locke, and guitarist/vocalist Jarrett Evan Samson. The band recorded at Montreal's Bottle Garden Studio, once again working with producer Peter Woodford (Moss Lime, Deliluh, Bleu Nuit). Vancouver indie-pop artist Jay Arner mastered the set. The record also carries forth the band's tradition of working with an impressive slate of underground comic artists, with Montreal's Connor Willumsen providing the album art. Speaking to FLOOD Magazine, Clark commented on "Repose":
"'Repose' is me trying to write a song about peaceful things after all of my misery songs on the previous record and 7"... I had mixed success in achieving my goal. I always write the melody first and then I decide what I want the song to be about, and then I write the words (sometimes words slip in during the melody part and then I have to write around them). To me, 'Repose' sounded like a calm and solitary night, so everything in that song happens at night."
In a press release, Samson reflected on the band's trajectory from scrappy bubblegum pop-punk through to their current sound:
"Maybe the biggest musical inspiration over the last few albums has been The Feelies... Not necessarily in terms of songwriting or feel but in how they evolved and changed during the course of their career. Tracing the move from the Ork single to, say, The Good Earth really showed me how you could soften and expand your music without changing the meaning or intent of your art. I'm not going to cover The Beatles though."
The band's offering a digital pre-order of Which Way Am I? for just a dollar, acknowledging that "times are tough for a lot of people right now," with the label additionally donating a dollar for each pre-order to Supporting Our Youth Toronto and the Black in BC Community Support Fund. A limited-edition "Xerox black + white splatter" LP edition of the record is available, with the black vinyl sourced from recycled copies of cub's 1995 split 7" with The Potatomen (a joint release between Mint and the legendary East Bay pop-punk label Lookout Records). In addition, that version of the record comes packaged with a book of lyrics and poems from Jarrett Samson titled Wrap Me Around Me.
To coincide with (or more accurately "in defiance of") Canada Day, the Charlottetown punk outfit Antibodies released a vicious new single titled "Petrostate." Proceeds raised by this seething, minute-long gem are due for the Unist'ot'en Legal Fund. Get on this. It's great.
The song follows another recent fundraiser from the socially engaged four-piece. In May, the band released an EP to raise money for the Cooper Institute, which helps to provide relief for migrant farmworkers affected by the pandemic.
Antibodies recently saw their 2018 and 2019 material collected onto a single 20-song LP by the UK label Drunken Sailor Records. It's to be followed soon by a new 7" EP in the works at Sewercide Records, due later this year.
From his base in Berlin, the garage-rock impresario King Khan observed Canada Day with the release of a song dedicated to missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. The tune "She is the Keeper of My Soul," features a performance by Khan's daughter Saba Lou. It's due as part of an animated film from the Khans due in the fall titled Rat-Tribution Now. You can stream the song at Bandcamp now.
Rat-Tribution Now, which recounts the "nefarious origins" of the Hindu goddess Kali, will premiere as part of the Pop-Kultur festival in late August. It's one of several recent animated projects to feature Khan's music, following the recent short The Tandoori Knights vs. The Desaturators, which features Khan's duo with Montreal rockabilly act Bloodshot Bill cast in a 60s-style superhero show.
Trevor McEachran's Vancouver-based punk outfit Industrial Priest Overcoats have a new single online titled "The Covenant House Kidz Reunion," the first track shared from the upcoming record Transformer Story.
That set, due later this year, will follow 2019's full-length The Years Barely Left a Trace. If this track's any indication, expect the new material to carry on the unpredictable weirdo-pop vibes of that those earlier releases (not to forget the fantastically off-kilter Bedwetters Anonymous, which also features McEachran).
Post-punk duo Freak Heat Waves have a second single online to preview their upcoming Zap The Planet LP. The restrained and hypnotic "Nothing Lasts Forever" sits as the record's closing track, and casts Steven Lind and Thomas DiNinno's ever-evolving project in an entirely different (and decidedly more chill) light than the decidedly heavier first single, "Dripping Visions."
Zap The Planet arrives on September 7 from Toronto's Telephone Explosion.
Jeremy Haywood's Winnipeg-based art-pop project JayWood has a new video out for "It's Okay, You're Fine," one of the more reflective tracks from 2019's dynamic and varied LP Time. It's the first in a planned series of videos plan highlighting music from the record, with a roll-out planned over the next few months. Director Eric Peterson and cinematographer Jesse de Rocquigny put the clip together.
Time, if you haven't heard it, dramatically swings from bedroom indie-pop to funk, jazz, and psych, interspersed with a wild set of mashed-up radio skits. The original set, which features appearances from Housepanther's Bailee Woods, arrived in June of 2019. In June of 2020, JayWood shared an 18-song collection of demos from the record as a free download via Bandcamp.
Windsor indie-rock group Trout has a new single streaming titled "New Space," a memorable alt-rock number that hinges on the line "I don't fear the reaper, I just want him off my back." Has any lyric better captured the dull, grinding anxiety of the past few months? The song will appear on the band's upcoming LP, due later this year from Must Be Nice Records.
On this recording, Trout featured vocalist/guitarist Roye Trout backed by guitarist Brent Cusmanic, bassist Colin Wysman, Jeremy Coulter on piano and organ, and drummer Josh Cassidy. The new material follows the group's five-song 2019 EP Nectar.
Toronto four-piece Choices Made have a new single out titled "Irrational Reality." The hard-driving track follows the hardcore punk group's recent 5-song EP Convince, which arrived at the end of February.
Choices Made features vocalist Josh Marostega, guitarist Steve Medeiros, bassist Andrew Wright, and drummer Mike Krasnonos.
Montreal alt-pop crooner Kristian North is putting out a limited-edition lathe-cut 7" single featuring the songs "So Called John" and "Circle Of Life." The set's limited to just 20, with North backed on the record by a band dubbed The Interpretation (James Player on guitar, Joe Chamandy on bass, and Thomas Molander on drums). The artist commented on the release:
"'So Called John' and 'Circle Of Life' are two songs I've been playing live with my band the last year or so. We played them every night on a European tour last summer. This is where the cover photo was taken, specifically Florence, I'm bringing plastic cups and a bottle of wine back from the dep. I was walking with a cane from a late night tumble.
Recorded by Peter Woodford, mixed with Renny Wilson, both are kind of outlaw songs about losers. When the lockdown began I thought I could do a small release of these two songs. I decided to do a small lathe pressing just to have something physical, but the format lends itself to the bright, AM mix in some way."
Kristian North released his solo debut, The Last Rock N Roll Record, in 2018. You may remember his killer old garage-punk group Babysitter from the early 2010s. Expect North's sophomore full-length sometime next year.
Montreal's enigmatic Yves Jarvis is back with a beautiful new single titled "Victim." The song marks the home-recording savant's first new material since 2019's celebrated Flemish Eye/ANTI- release The Same but by Different Means. In a press release, Jarvis commented that the breezy track reflects negotiating "a tightrope walk between victor and victim."
The song arrived alongside a lyric video that you can find below.
Yves Jarvis is the latest stage name for Jean-Sebastian Audet. He previously recorded as Un Blonde, releasing the critically-lauded Good Will Come to You back in 2017.
Sara Jean Hughes of the jangly Calgary indie-pop act Pre Nup has a new solo synthpop EP on the way under the name Gawdie. The four-song set's out digitally and arrives as a small cassette run on August 14. Sara mixed the set with her Pre Nup partner Josiah Hughes, with Vancouver's Jay Arner mastering. You can check out Gawdie's EP1 now at Bandcamp.
Pre Nup last released Oh Well in 2018.
Toronto pop-punk combo Knifey has a new single online titled "Savage." The surfy track follows "Ask You" in previewing their upcoming LP Sleepwalker. The band recorded material for that record with Nixon Boyd (Hollerado, Anyway Gang, Little Junior) at Banquet Sound.
Like "Ask You" before it, this track dropped alongside a video from director Shawn Kosmo (PONY, Twist, Tommy and the Commies). Whenever Sleepwalker arrives, it'll serve as the follow up to the quartet's 2017 debut Bleached.
Last week the Toronto synthpop group Sahara released their debut full-length on Hand Drawn Dracula. Pure Glass features nine songs that call back to the Cure's early sound, by way of 90s shoegaze. You can stream it everywhere now.
Sahara recorded Pure Glass with Dylan Frankland of Tallies recording. The group features vocalist/guitarist Andrew Wilson, guitarist Joseph Elaschuk, bassist Julie MacKinnon, and drummer Edan Scime Stokell.
Limehouse, Ontario indie-rock group The Soviet Influence has a pair of new releases out in the wild. Early June saw the Peter Snow-lead band release "The Riot," described by the group as:
"a battle call type of song that decries the complacency of my generation (early millennial) and Gen X, as well as the cynical about-face of the hippies and punks in the '80s and '90s."
They followed that up last week with a new three-song EP titled This Band is So God. The set features the single "Take My Fire," a preview of the group's next LP, due later in the year. The set also features the song "Two Weeks," written on stage as an unexpected encore during one of the release shows for The Price of Vigilence, and "Watch Out," which debuts the group's new guitar player Ty Mackenzie.
Telephone Explosion recently shared a new video for "V V V (They Lie)," one of the standouts from Pantayo's self-titled debut. The clip features visuals by the multidisciplinary Toronto artist Diana Lynn Vandermeulen. The band commented in a press release:
"'V V V (They Lie)' comes from a place of growth, pride, and defiance. In this karaoke music video, we imagine an uplifting New Earth where there is abundance and liberation. A hopeful world created as a result of dismantling white supremacy, fighting the lies of colonialism, and ending fascism and the oppression of marginalized peoples. A world that symbolizes positive change and is possible with our collective willingness to evolve, grow, and do better.
We're so excited to work with Diana Lynn VanderMeulen as she draws from her experience of world-building to render an environment that reflects our vision: a summery world filled with flora endemic to the tropics (jasmine, bouganvillea, hibiscus), all connected by bodies of water."
Pantayo's debut arrived in May and instantly gained attention by uniquely combining the kulintang (a percussive Southern Filipino instrument) with contemporary synths and songwriting. The five-piece worked in the studio with Yamantaka // Sonic Titan's Alaska B producing.
Vancouver post-punk quartet Rat Silo recently released The World Is Going To End Tomorrow, an appropriately named 10-song full-length and the band's fourth record overall. This incarnation of the band features guitarist/vocalist Jim Newton and bassist Don Binns, both from the late-80s/early-90s rock band Sons Of Freedom. They're backed here by drummer Sean Stubbs and "loops and noises" from Erkan Gencol. You can stream the work in full at Bandcamp.
Rat Silo last released The Great Northern Way in 2011. It was their final release before a hiatus that ran through their 2016 reformation.