Sunday September 6, 2020

God Bless The Ego

In a recent letter to fans, Protruders' Joe Chamandy confirmed that his Toronto's proto-punk outfit is "more or less defunct." With the band's members splintered across the country, and the ongoing pandemic likely to keep them that way, it was time to call it. Based now in Montreal, Joe announced the launch of Celluloid Lunch Records, an extension of his year-old fanzine of the same name. As the label's first release, Joe's debuted a new musical project dubbed Itchy Self, with an EP titled Here's The Rub due on October 2. Citing The Saints, the Rats, and Neon Boys as inspiration, the fledgling label commented:

"Drawing influence from the looser end of the Ork records catalogue, the sensitive side of Ohio's proto-punk scene and the grittiest and most sluggish tangent of 70's power pop, Itchy Self's debut 12" is an exploration of fully formed songs treated with spontaneous delivery. The group got together in early 2020 for 3 practices and a recording session and here are the results, laid out in their raw form. This is cross-generational racket n roll music that wears its heart on its loosey goosey sleeve."

The group features Chamandy on guitar and vocals, Scott Brown on bass, Chris Burns on guitar, and Zak Slax on drums. Moss Lime's Hélène Barbier sings backup, along with Kay Moon (Dead Beat Poet Society) and Preoccupations' Scott Munro. Munro recorded the five-song set, with mastering performed by Mikey Young of the Eddy Current Suppression Ring and Total Control.

The single "God Bless The Ego" is streaming now at Bandcamp, with a video directed by Équivoc's Olivia Faye Lathuillière now playing at YouTube.

Protruders last released Poison Future in 2019 on Feel It Records. That group served as the successor project to the similarly-spirited, Sackville-based Kappa Chow.

Listen: Itchy Self - "God Bless The Ego" @ Bandcamp

Before we get any further this week, just a note that I've my remaining copies of Under The Circumstances, the first Some Party mixtape, up for sale Bandcamp, with 100% of the proceeds to due for the 1492 Land Back Lane Legal Fund. Snag one now and help me support the Six Nations land defenders fighting the latest housing development to encroach on their territory.

That tape release featured Tough Age, Psychic Void, New Vogue, Partner, and Wares, along with a few not-so-secret guests. Wares' Cassia Hardy coincidently just shared her band's contribution online for the first time. It's a mesmerizing shoegaze take on their early standard "City Kids." You can check it out below, with all online sales from the track supporting the Pekiwewin camp.

Listen: Wares - "City Kids (alt)" @ Bandcamp

Maximilian 'Twig' Turnbull's Badge Époque Ensemble returns November 20 with Self Help, a new seven-song full-length. The psych-influenced jazz-funk septet shared "Sing a Silent Gospel" last week, the record's lead track and a showcase for guest vocalists Meg Remy (U.S. Girls) and Dorothea Paas. The single arrived alongside a Super 8 shot video compiled by Remy, which you can see below.

Vocalists Jennifer Castle and James Baley also appear on the record. The Ensemble recorded the set live at Toronto's Palace Sound between October of 2019 and this past March, wrapping just before the lockdown edict. The collection marks the group's third release over the past year, with their self-titled debut arriving last June and the Nature, Man & Woman EP surfacing in December. You'll find the Telephone Explosion label again adorning the 12".

A celebrated multi-instrumentalist, 'Twig' Turnbull's long list of credits include stints as a songwriter and producer for both the aforementioned U.S. Girls and Darlene Shrugg. He also appears regularly as a member of the psych-jazz group The Cosmic Range. His Ensemble features Jay Anderson on drums, Chris Bezant on guitar, Alia O'Brien on the Flute, percussionist Ed Squires, and Giosuè Rosati on bass. This record finds the lineup expanded to include saxophonist Karen Ng. The liner notes credit Turnbull with all manner of keys and synthesizers.

Watch: Badge Époque Ensemble - "Sing A Silent Gospel" feat. Meg Remy & Dorothea Paas @ YouTube

Toronto's Friend Ship Committee continues to tick away the pandemic weeks by rolling out new editions of their Friend Ship From Home compilation series. The fourth recently arrived, with 21 tracks available from an array of functional and one-off bands, including Toronto's Merc & The Montclairs, Dart Mouth, and Sarnia's Jacob Barber. One of the new names on the tracklist is Jogging, who contributes the new wave-inspired "False Dmitry." Jogging is the latest work from Adam Bernhardt, former guitarist for the dearly departed Toronto snark-punks WLMRT. This comp marks the project's public debut.

As with past editions of the compilation, all proceeds raised from the set are due for the family of Regis Korchinski Paquet and Black Lives Matter Toronto.

Listen: Jogging - "False Dmitry" @ Bandcamp

Fiery Vancouver punk quartet SBDC has a new full-length set for an October 2 release on Kingfisher Bluez. The Feeling of Winning features ten songs, the band's first new material to arrive since 2017's Too Bad. You can preview the set now with the lead single "Sick of You."

SBDC features Brutal Poodle's Karmin Poirier on guitar and vocals, bassist/vocalist Alicia, guitarist Cheryl (Love Cuts, Ruffle), and lié's Kati J on drums. The band recorded with Jesse Gander (Wares, Woolworm, Necking) at Rain City Recorders. SBDC stands for "Stupid Bitch & the Dumb Cunts," which you probably don't want your kid wearing to school on a t-shirt.

Listen: SBDC - "Sick of You" @ Bandcamp

Speaking of Kingfisher Bluez, the Vancouver label recently issued Short Songs 2, a 12-song 7" collecting succinct works from an assortment of artists. Among the acts taking part, you'll find contributions from Victoria garage rockers The This, Edmonton singer-songwriter Marleana Moore, Abbotsford's eclectic David Ivan Neil, and Vancouver queer pop act Non La. Lethbridge 'tropical glam' enthusiast J Blissette takes part as well, contributing the lightning-quick "Left Outside." You can check it out below, and dig into the full set at Bandcamp.

Listen: J Blissette - "Left Outside" @ Bandcamp

Daniel Romano's Outfit shared a second video preview of their upcoming How Ill Thy World Is Ordered last week with the new single "Green Eye Shade." The Welland artist commented on the equine-focused clip in a florid statement:

"From a lightning bolt. From the sea. In the end of eternity, The white horse Carries no saint, no world saviour, The white horse roams free in its spectacular Human-less liberty as the aspiration of its destiny. Empty chariots, hidden in green vines, hill-like and indistinguishable from the world's eye — the rotting fossil of the gods. There is a white horse, roaming in the green eye-shade, In a new dawning hour, through a mad reverie, bore the eyes of the kingdom, green eye-shade, In the fall of all power, rose a clear alchemy of green eye-shade."

The track will be part of the 11-song LP when it arrives from You've Changed Records on September 18. The Outfit features Romano backed by vocalist Julianna Riolino, guitarist/vocalist David Nardi, bassist Roddy Rossetti, and drummer Ian Romano, with guest contributions from pianist Mark Lalama, vocalist Briana Salmena, sax player Victor Belcastro, and Aaron Hutchinson on trumpet. The new single follows "A Rat Without a Tale" in previewing the set.

How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is the 9th fully-realized release from Romano this calendar year, but only the second you can hold in your hands (following the pre-pandemic live record, "Okay Wow"). Over the isolation era, and for a stint on a near-weekly basis, Danny somehow churned out more music than most bands release in their entire careers. You can explore that whole collection (which, come to think of it, would make a meaningful boxed set to commemorate this otherwise lost year) over at Bandcamp.

Watch: Daniel Romano's Outfit - "Green Eye Shade" @ YouTube

Cerebral and angsty, the Whitehorse rock band Cryptozoologists has returned with a dynamic new full-length out titled Pond Life. Project lead Zach McCann-Armitage commented on the roots of the 11-song work:

"While writing the bulk of these songs, I was doing a lot of collaging. At first it was just a goofy pastime, but then, inspired by my growing collection of Home Hardware paint swatches, I decided to make a collage Tarot deck.

I got really excited about clashing Tarot's seriousness and mysticism with collage's beautiful, fragmenting irreverence. My songs try to do that too - the clash of the absolute sincerity and intensity of poetry with the humour and absurdity of believing that what you're doing is so important even though no one is listening that deeply."

McCann-Armitage crafted these songs at Old Crow Recording with engineer Patrick Hamilton (Soda Pony, The Sweeties). The vocalist builds these tracks around his distinctively vulnerable, half-spoken storytelling, mixing live instrumentation with a smattering of electronics. The press release lists bookish, poetical artists like Destroyer and Wolf Parade among this project's influences, which seems entirely appropriate.

Cryptozoologists last released Songs for Losers in 2017, although they took part in the Beneath The Broadcast audio-visual series highlighting Yukon artists last year. A video for the single "White Silk" is running now at YouTube.

Listen: Cryptozoologists - "Pond Life" @ Bandcamp

He's not said much about it yet, but Ottawa's Chris Page has a lovely new track online titled "Parting Words the Artist Curates." It surfaced alongside the deluge of new material that floods Bandcamp whenever they wave their fees, so perhaps no explanation's needed. The musician recorded the tune at his Vanier home this past August.

Page is currently promoting his new solo record Decide To Stay and Swim Again, a full re-recording of his 2004 solo record Decide To Stay and Swim. Chris plays these days as part of the duo Expanda Fuzz, having earlier served in Camp Radio and the 90s pop-punk group The Stand GT.

Listen: Chris Page - "The Parting Words the Artist Curates" @ Bandcamp

Hamilton alt-country trio Elliott BROOD has a second single online from Keeper, the band's fast approaching new full-length. You can check out "Bird Dog" now through a visualizer by director Stephen Dutcheshen. This song's unique among the record's material in that it features mixing by producer Sylvia Massy, whose vast discography includes records by Tool, Prince, Johnny Cash, and Tom Petty. The band commented on working with her on this track:

"Her track record speaks for itself and her name is on the credits for a ton of albums we listen to. She understood the essence of the song from the first note and then took that version and ran it through a wash of countrified psychedelic haze."

Keeper is due September 18 from Six Shooter Records. The 10-song full-length features studio engineering by Daryl Neudorf (Neko Case) with Ryan Hadlock (The Gossip, The Lumineers) mixing. Elliott BROOD last released Ghost Gardens in 2017 on Paper Bag Records.

Watch: Elliott BROOD - "Bird Dog" @ YouTube

This October, Yeah Right Records is offering up a live LP showcasing Vancouver hard rock institution The Spitfires. The set captures the band, who channel AC/DC as much as they do the Sex Pistols, playing in 2003 at the Piccadilly Pub. At this gig, their lineup included vocalist Jason Solyom, bassist CC Voltage (currently of part of Autogramm), guitarists Jay Millette (The Black Halos) and Mr. Dean-O, with drummer Marty Peters. The band's set features 13 songs, closing appropriately with a cover of Alice Cooper's "Muscle of Love."

Watch: The Spitfires - Live At The Pic @ Bandcamp

Toronto synthpop group Sahara has a new video online for "Indoor Pool," a track from their recent debut LP for Hand Drawn Dracula. That record, dubbed Pure Glass, featured nine songs that tied together 90s shoegaze noise with dream-pop notes the early Cure's influence.

Sahara recorded Pure Glass with Dylan Frankland of Tallies in the studio. The group features vocalist/guitarist Andrew Wilson, guitarist Joseph Elaschuk, bassist Julie MacKinnon, and drummer Edan Scime Stokell.

Watch: Sahara - "Indoor Pool" @ YouTube

Bandcamp's endeavoured to throw a little more cash into artists' pockets throughout the pandemic by waving their revenue share for a day each month. This past go-around saw Toronto hardcore luminaries Fucked Up unearth a live recording from the legendary New York punk venue CBGB. The matinee show, recorded from the soundboard on May 29, 2006, took place in the final year of the space (it closed in October of that year). The time capsule finds the band amid a US tour before the release of Hidden World, their debut full-length. The band wrote about the experience:

"We've all got to believe in '2006' at some point or another in our lives. I thought it might have simply come and gone, but it turns out the bottomless vaults of our archive have provided a brief wormhole into its existence. In this version you could find remarkable feats of analogue musical participation flowing freely through space in the big wide cities of the big wide world. It was the land before guitar tuners, tempo checks, backing vocals, or monitor mixes. It was the time in which we all etched one phrase into our minds as young impressionable musicians finding their way on this earth: 'Nice set dude, can we borrow your amps.'

We were on 'tour' -- whatever that is -- and had a few gigs under our belt on the East Coast before we met up with what was THE tour to meet up with that spring: The Forward/Warhead/Tragedy 'Burning Against Spirits' Tour. Titans of hardcore punk in 2006 collided across the US and for one last waltz, with us as well.

We waited patiently as Mind Eraser tore a hole through the fabric of the universe; while Kill your Idols created a brickwall of human bodies; while Forward tantalized and impressed with otherworldly precision; while Warhead left a scorch mark where the stage at CBGBs was; while Tragedy provided their indelible mark on that moment... and somewhere in the evening there was Fucked Up. That's what you're listening to. That's what you get. This is what we were capable of in the flesh in 2006, our 2006. That moment in time with its open doors and new pathways, all its ear piercing hearing loss perfection, all its potential, and it's absurd amount of nacho chips."

Fucked Up last released Dose Your Dreams on Arts & Crafts in Canada and Merge elsewhere.

Listen: Fucked Up - Live at CBGB's @ Bandcamp

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Under The Circumstances

Some Party's new Under The Circumstances compilation features new and rare songs from Tough Age, Partner, Wares, Psychic Void, and New Vogue!