Provinces (Half-Empty or Half-Full)
Last week Must Be Nice Records shared a long in the works solo record from Nathan Richards. Smalltowns is an eight-song set featuring a mix of heartfelt folk-punk and rootsy indie rock, sitting in the same pocket of the Venn diagram where you'd place The Weakerthans and Attack In Black. While he currently lists Boularderie Centre, Nova Scotia as home, you may recognize Richards as the guitarist of Toronto pop-punk band !ATTENTION! or from performing with the East Coast rock bands Horses and Atlas.
This material came together over a decade, with portions written and recorded in Vancouver, Toronto, London, Sackville, and Cape Breton. Richards commented on the record with modesty, crediting bandmates for making it a reality:
"I guess I would just say it's a collection of songs that were written while we were doing stuff in other bands. Horses, atlas, attention. And everything was recorded in familiar places, by friends. It wouldn't exist otherwise."
!ATTENTION! vocalist and Must Be Nice co-runner Glenn Barrington commented proudly on the work:
"Everyone should check out this amazing record from my best friend Nathan Richards that comes out today on a record label that I "do" with my best friend Jono Hunter. It's truly a collection of music from one of my favourite songwriters with a cast of literally all of my best friends on the planet. It's an honour to be a part of this record, to play drums with Nathan in any musical project we've been a part of has truly been a highlight of my life, getting to play these songs in particular means even more to me."
The record's available as a pay-what-you-can release on Bandcamp, with all proceeds committed to the Ally Centre of Cape Breton, an organization aiding vulnerable populations in industrial Cape Breton through care, mental health services, and direct assistance.
In addition to the above-mentioned bands, Richards' long stage history includes stints with I Was A Spy, One Day Late, Harbinger, Go Kid Go!, We've Gone Feral, and Come Clean.
Hamilton alt-country trio Elliott BROOD are back this year with a new full-length. Keeper is due September 18, with the group making a return to their early home of Six Shooter Records (they last worked with the label on 2008's Mountain Meadows, having since released three albums with Paper Bag). The 10-song full-length features studio engineering by Daryl Neudorf (Neko Case) with Ryan Hadlock (The Gossip, The Lumineers) mixing.
The announcement came alongside the new single "Stay Out," which arrived alongside a video from director Tatjana Green and animator Jason Kan. You can check it out below.
Elliott BROOD last released Ghost Gardens in 2017 on Paper Bag Records.
Saint John rock group Papal Visit have another single online, showcasing the song "Destroy the Hive." It follows a similar set from May ("Where To They Swim?"), part of an effort to pair down the nearly 30 candidate songs for the band's upcoming LP into a manageable tracklist. The group's previewing their forthcoming work by pairing locked-in album tracks with songs that didn't quite make the cut. This edition's B-side, "Quite a Lot," features a guest solo from guitarist Jason Vautour (Rebekah Higgs, Jesse Brown).
Vocalist Adam Mowery formed Papal Visit after moving to Halifax as a way to stay connected with the Saint John music scene he came up in. Working remotely with Pierre Cormier and a revolving group of New Brunswick musicians, he's put out a wealth of material over the past few years, most recently the 2019 live album Prepare For Your Reversal. Their new record, expected in the fall on Monopolized Records, will be the band's first proper LP since 2017's Garden Grove. Papal Visit's current lineup features Mowery on vocals and Cormier playing bass. Guitarists Jason Ogden and Chris Braydon, round out the group with drummer Geoffrey Smith.
Dundas trio The Dirty Nil has a new video online to accompany their power-pop anthem "Done With Drugs." You can check out the clip, directed by Mitch Barnes and Victor Malang, on YouTube now. Guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham had this to say about the shoot:
"I don't think I've ever laughed harder on the set of a video. From Kyle's karate moves, to the drone camera crashing through the warehouse and nearly killing us, this video captures the mayhem and spirit of our band in a special way."
The song's the first new work from the group to arrive in the wake of their sophomore full-length Master Volume. Bentham, bassist Ross Miller, and drummer Kyle Fisher benefited from living together under the same roof together during the isolation period, so they've been able to put the work into their forthcoming record without tripping on the hurdles of remote collaboration.
"Done With Drugs" is available now as a 7" single from Dine Alone Records, with a cover of Tom Petty's "Even The Losers" on the b-side.
The new-wave inspired Vancouver power-pop trio Autogramm killed some time during their pandemic isolation by crafting a mainly electronic cover of the RUSH classic "Working Man," albeit one skewed with some quirky DEVO sensibilities. Autogramm assembled the playful track while sequestered in BC and separated from drummer Joshua Wells ("The Silo"), who found themselves locked across the border in their new home of Chicago. The single serves as Autogramm's first new release since 2019's What R U Waiting 4? LP. Proceeds from the track are due to the RAVEN trust.
Along with Wells, Autogramm features Jiffy Marx (of Hard Drugs and Blood Meridian) on vocals, guitar and synth, and CC Voltage (of Berlin's Dysnea Boys, London's Loyalties, and BC acts Spitfires and The Black Halos) on bass. The Silo's served in various incarnations of Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, and Destroyer. The group has a sophomore LP on the way next year from Nevado Music.
Calgarian rock duo Miesha & The Spanks recently shared "Unstoppable," their new single and the first preview of an EP due out in March of 2021. The material comes from recent sessions with singer-songwriter Leeroy Stagger at his Lethbridge, AB studio, the Rebeltone Ranch. Vocalist/guitarist Miesha Louie commented in a statement:
"Last year I decided to procreate, and we had to modify a lot of our routine. We played Great Escape and Focus Wales in the UK five months into the pregnancy, and left the summer for writing/recording - which was a bad idea, because I was having twins, and my brain pretty much turned itself off. Slowing down felt crazy! I wrote 'Unstoppable' while talking myself back into that hussle, getting back on my feet, and reminding myself of what I do every day."
The band features Louie backed by drummer Sean Hamilton. The new material follows the group's 2019 single "The Girls Are O.K." and the 2018 full-length Girls Girls Girls.
The enigmatic Sepsis Record Club, an Ontario based "record label and subscription scam service" credited to mononymous artist Olga, has a second compilation online. 100 Yacht Rock Classics is steeped in sarcasm and treats its source material with impressive abandon. The album also features more than a few names familiar to the Some Party reader, including London's Robbie Brake (of Isölation Party and Mononegatives), Montreal post-punk act Jyraph, Toronto synthpunks The Fuckin Astronauts, and a few impromptu groups featuring members of Hot Garbage and Gloin, among others.
Olga had this to say about the set and the genre it sends up:
"Yacht rock is perhaps one of the most insidious artistic bodies of the 20th century. Fundamentally depraved, brazenly capitalistic, cartoonishly lame, it's just awful, awful music. That's why we at Sepsis decided we needed to dig yacht rock up from it's Bermuda Triangle grave, polish it up and market it back to you, our faithful consumer! In all seriousness though, we've completely decimated these songs... This is an act of resistance, it was never hip to be square, and Jimmy Buffett can suck my dick. Enjoy!"
All proceeds from sales of the compilation are due for the Black Legal Action Centre.
The Toronto punk group shrts recently released a new EP on Half-a-Dozen Records. The set, titled shrt-chngd, features six songs in five minutes and is the band's first release since 2018's life is shrt.
Half-a-Dozen is carving out a niche with "six-pack" style releases, showcasing succinct six-song sets from bands like Shotpounder, OG Lawn Darts, and Flaming Tiger.
Montreal punk label Hell For Breakfast recently released the new full-length from Quebec City's Hate It Too. The 11-song Lampshading arrived in May, serving as the band's sophomore LP after 2015's Purple Mountains. The release finds the group trading some of their skate-punk tendencies for a more melodic direction, producing a muscular set of songs with 90s alt-rock vibes.
Hate It Too formed in 2008 in Trois-Pistoles, relocating to the capital in 2012. The group recorded Lampshading with David Lizotte engineering, mixing, and mastering. The band features guitarist/vocalists Marc-Antoine Dionne and Cédric Michaud, bassist Stéphane Simard, and drummer Jean-Philippe Gagnon.
Toronto punk quartet Sweet and Lowdown recently shared a pair of unreleased songs from their archives. You can find a demo titled "The Clones" and an acoustic rendition of "Simple Song" on Bandcamp now. The tracks are raising funds for the Afri-Can FoodBasket.
Sweet and Lowdown last released the So Down LP in 2018 on Get Party!.
St. Louis, Missouri's Gutter Pop Records has a new compilation out featuring some of the label's favourite Canadian punk bands. Along with deep-cut tracks from bands like The Vapids, The Hextalls, and The Riptides, you'll find a brand new tune from Toronto melodic-hardcore trio School Damage. You can check out "No Love" and the rest of the set now as part of the EH OH LET'S GO! set at Bandcamp.
School Damage last released the Fuckin' Rights EP in 2019, following up their 2018 LP Hello, Cruel World.
Sackville, New Brunswick's beloved SappyFest recently announced the online programming that will serve as a substitute for their pandemic-shuttered summer gathering. Between July 29 and August 1, the event will present a collection of online performances, publications, radio broadcasts, and virtual art installations. Sappy Near and Far's musical lineup features a mix of festival newcomers and familiar faces, including Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell, the Egyptian Cotton Arkestra, Hélène Barbier (of Moss Lime), Jennah Barry, Jon Mckiel, Julie Doiron, Klarkam Weinwurm, Kwento, Lavender Bruisers, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Lido Pimienta, and Wares.
Saint John's experimental agit-noise trio Usse will participate by curating the creation of a piece titled Capitalist Brain Party no 3. The group's offered up source audio and instructions for interested participants on Bandcamp. They've made available a series of instrumental bed tracks to be remixed, reassembled, and later incorporated into the band's Sappy performance. You can find the audio, and full details on how to submit your contribution, at Bandcamp now.