Sunday September 27, 2020

Thunder East

Toronto indie rock trio Outer Rooms recently unveiled "Thunder East," a compelling new single that unambiguously tackles the economic and cultural challenges of maintaining a lower-income existence in Toronto. The slow-burning track firmly roots itself in an image of the city that seems to decay further with each verse. The band's Sean Fitzpatrick commented:

"Thunder East came out of the last days my partner and I spent living in a shithole apartment in a house in Toronto's East End. In the same week, the ceiling of our apartment collapsed in a shower of millipedes and black mold. A day later, lightning struck the tree in front of the house, causing it to jump out of the ground and crash in the street.

After a couple of years of floods, rodent infestations, and constantly fighting with a landlord who drove a Lexus and kept his dad in the shed behind our home, I obsessed over John Tory's Toronto. This gleaming façade on its lakefront: a glass wall of condos and office buildings for endless investment in a city best viewed from a descending airplane. We wanted to move here to make music, and then struggled to just pay rent while bars and performance spaces closed year after year.

I kept thinking of Rob Ford's rotting mouth bragging about the number of 'cranes in the air.' Toronto has become a failed construction project built on rock and roll, so we made a pillowy, angsty song that came out of an improvisation in one of our early writing sessions."

"Thunder East" anchors the band's upcoming record All Will Be Well and All Will Be Well, etc., etc., due November 6. Outer Rooms features Andrew Fitzpatrick, Sean Fitzpatrick, and Owen Buckland. The new record follows up 2017's Even in the Cannon's Mouth LP.

Listen: Outer Rooms - "Thunder East" @ Bandcamp

Calgary's grungy punk group Paradise has a fall release set for Pariah, their debut LP. The eight-song set arrives via Debt Offensive Records on October 2. You can preview the album through the single "Flickering" in a new video below, or stream the whole record for a limited time at CVLT Nation.

Paradise features members from several current and defunct Alberta punk groups: PMMA, Empty Heads, and No Brainer among them. The band recorded their new set with Brandon Kam. Will Killingsworth (who recently worked with Bootlicker, Antibodies, and Dogma) mastered the record. The blown-out four-piece last released the I Wanna Behave EP in 2019.

Watch: Paradise - "Flickering" @ YouTube

Toronto's high strung punk group Bike Thiefs has signed with the long-running Stomp Records to release their upcoming LP Leaking. The venerable Montreal label will release the band's new set on October 30. You can find the single "You're Allowed Your Feelings" streaming online now. The band's wry and well-received 2019 single "Hockey Dad" serves as the opening salvo on the 10-song album.

Bike Thiefs features bassist Kris Pandierada, drummer Andrew Fasken, and guitarist/vocalist Marko Woloshyn. The band recorded with Beliefs' Josh Korody (Dirty Nil, Weaves, Dilly Dally) at Candle Recordings in Toronto. The new set follows their Lean Into It EP from 2017.

Listen: Bike Thiefs - "You're Allowed Your Feelings" @ Bandcamp

After what seems like a long time off the grid, Toronto's Peeling returns this November with a new record. The group's first full-length release, titled Worshopper, arrives on the 27th from their newly formed Labyrinth Records. You can stream "Suck," the record's the first single, now at Bandcamp.

Spearheaded by Annabelle Lee (Anna Timoshenko - formerly of Mexican Slang), Peeling last released the EPs Rats In Paradise and 7 Years of Blood in 2016 and 2017. Then working with Buzz Records, the band's early lineup featured members of Dilly Dally, Odonis Odonis, and The Golden Dogs. These new songs find Lee on all instruments, with Preoccupations' drummer Michael Wallace appearing on six of the album's nine tracks.

Listen: Peeling - "Suck" @ Bandcamp

Toronto power-pop act Pretty Matty recently shared two versions of the single "You're Not There." Released on Bandcamp, the one-off features a cut from the same recording sessions that produced the band's debut, along with an earlier demo intended for a split release that never materialized. The recording marks the final outing from the band's 2019-era lineup, with guitarist/vocalist Matty Morand backed by PONY's Sam Bielanski on bass and vocals, with drummer Lucas Horne and guitarist Steve Sloane.

Over the quarantine period, Morand unveiled a hardcore offshoot of Pretty Matty as the abbreviated PM. Their demo set featured Matty with drummer Mat Stewart (of Windsor's Nefidovs and Reliever). Prior to that, Prety Matty took part in a split with Nashville's Sad Baxter on Head 2 Wall Records. The group's full-length debut arrived through Get Better Records in 2019.

Throughout the pandemic, Morand and Bielanski produced episodes of a podcast titled 2 Much TV. On it, they're burning through a list of the top 100 television episodes, writing songs about each one and featuring a rotating cast of guests from the Toronto music world and beyond.

Listen: Pretty Matty - "You're Not There" @ Bandcamp

Toronto's Kiwi Jr. have signed to the legendary Seattle label Sub Pop, with their sophomore LP due sometime in 2021. The label announced the pairing with the release of a new single and video titled "Undecided Voters." The band commented on the track:

"We all know UNDECIDED VOTERS: democracy's driftwood, the third planks in the flotsam that purple the pie chart, always on sight and never a part of the scene. Placing imminent demise neatly to one side, KIWI JR. concentrate on the real Issues: the terrible alliance between King Crab and the timezones; 3D printing causing mass sculptor redundancies; and the playlist at the Duane Reade. After all, who is it we're really voting for: Spartacus or the dead?"

Kiwi Jr. last released Football Money in 2018 on Vancouver's Mint Records. The band features vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Gaudet, guitarist Brian Murphy (who you may know from Alvvays), bassist Mike Walker, and drummer Brohan Moore.

Watch: Kiwi Jr. - "Undecided Voters" @ YouTube

Toronto hard rock institution Danko Jones recently released a challenging new solo project under the name Throat Funeral. The experimental ten -song "vocal noise" set, collectively titled OU812112, primarily features Jones producing an array of guttural sounds, grunts, and screams - free of the usual song structures and guitar heroism of his main gig. He commented:

"As a singer, getting nodes is my worst nightmare. Screaming pushes you towards it. This album represents walking to the edge of the precipice and looking down. There really isn't too much thinking when one screams. There really wasn't too much thought put into this. I simply wanted to get everything inside outside... Aside from a few cymbal hits here and a few keys pushed there, this is work via mouth."

The record features Norwegian artist Jørgen Munkeby on saxophone, with avant-garde Nunavut vocalist Tanya Tagaq and Seattle grunge vet Tad Doyle making appearances as well. Jones recorded the Throat Funeral material between 2014 and 2016.

Danko Jones last released A Rock Supreme in 2019.

Listen: Throat Funeral - OU812112 @ Bandcamp

Peter Connelly's Tang recently shared a new collection of home-recorded material titled The Quiet Earth. The Toronto low-fi rock artist recorded the 7-song full length on the quick during the quarantine summer, commenting:

"Written and recorded in 6 days, The Quiet Earth is a crude/messy confluence of digital and analog signals, shitty guitar pedals, and some nice guitar pedals. It was whatever I had within reach around my apartment and brain."

The set follows last year's Finding Peace, Isn't The Point and arrives from both Toronto's Art of the Uncarved Block and the Parisian label Influenza Records.

Listen: Tang - The Quiet Earth @ Bandcamp

The Canadian music world spent much of the past week celebrating the 10th anniversary of Public Strain, the sophomore record from Calgary indie legends Women. Notably, CJLO station manager Francella Fiallos profiled the album in a five-part series on their Superconnected program.

The anniversary coincided with a five-song rarity set from the now-defunct band. Rarities 2007 - 2010 arrives on October 2 as a limited edition vinyl release. You can preview the track "Everyone Is So In Love With You" at Bandcamp now.

Women featured vocalist/guitarist Patrick Flegel, bassist Matt Flegel, guitarist Chris Reimer, and drummer Michael Wallace, with Chad VanGaalen serving as the band's producer and studio collaborator. In the years following the 2012 death of Chris Reimer, Patrick Flegel's performed as the acclaimed Cindy Lee, with Matt and Michael landing as a part of Preoccupations.

Listen: Women - "Everyone Is So In Love With You" @ Bandcamp

London's ever-productive Robbie Brake has a new duo, a "really evil rock n roll band" with Hamilton's Dave Gourlay dubbed HEXOFFENDER. The group, who cite Venom, Darkthrone, and Motörhead as influences, recently unveiled a seasonally appropriate demo of their a song titled "Undead Smut." You can find it, along with some earlier demo material, on Bandcamp.

Brake plays in, I assume, something like 30 or 40 garage-punk bands these days. That list includes Mononegatives, Isölation Party, Klazo, Dong Vegan, Disleksick, and The Syndrome, among others.

Listen: HEXOFFENDER - "Undead Smut" @ Bandcamp

Winnipeg's Americana-flavoured indie rock unit Rust Owl has a new EP online, plainly titled EP 2. The set's serving as a fundraiser for bassist Robert Reimer, as the band explained in a statement:

"We're releasing 5 songs we recorded in summer of 2017 with David Van den Bossche, freshly after forming this band. We dug up the songs during the lockdown last spring. Recently our beloved bass player Robert has had to invest a lot of money into an insulin injector, and with the help of friends and loved ones from far and wide, was able to raise the funds. He however has been on long-term disability since 2017 and hasn't been able to work. We thought we'd release these songs and help him and Melody out some more with whatever profits we may make. We're very proud of this work and what we did with this band and we're excited to share with you."

Rust Owl (stylized previously as "R U S T O W L") formed in the wake of a tragedy, with guitarist Garrett Iverson and drummer Jory Strachan picking up the pieces from their post-punk act 1971 after the 2017 death of founding bassist Cameron Glen Cranston. After road-testing the group as a two-piece, they filled out their lineup with Robert Reimer and organist/fiddle player Jensen Fridfinnson. The band's self-titled debut EP arrived in 2018. Jory Strachan's kept active in recent years, touring solo as Wrecker.

Listen: Rust Owl - EP 2 @ Bandcamp

Allie Hanlon's bubblegum-punk quartet Peach Kelli Pop has another new preview online of their upcoming EP, Lucky Star. You can stream the record-opening "Stupid Girl" on Bandcamp now.

Lucky Star arrives on October 9 through Lauren Records. The set features three originals and a cover of "Sing and Pretty" by Japanese group The Pats Pats (previously released as a split digital single last year). Lucky Star follows Peach Kelli Pop's 2018 LP Gentle Leader, a Mint release.

While based California these days, Allie Hanlon made her name drumming for the beloved Ottawa garage-punk trio The White Wires throughout their career.

Listen: Peach Kelli Pop - "Stupid Girl" @ Bandcamp

Toronto's Peter Landi has a new single online titled "Drive." The alt-rock styled track, which features Ross Miller of The Dirty Nil on bass, is the second recent arrival from the solo artist, following "IOU" in the summer. You've likely seen Landi over the years playing guitar in Single Mothers and drums in The Drew Thomson Foundation.

Listen: Peter Landi - "Drive" @ Bandcamp

BC punk legends D.O.A. recently spoke with Punknews on "All the President's Men," their recent video highlighting a song from this year's Treason full-length. You can check the clip out below.

Speaking to Punknews editor John Gentile, Keithley commented on how effective punk music's been as a force for achieving social change:

"From day one, regular people always ridiculed punk rock for being merely nihilistic and ineffective, but the punk credos: of DIY, thinking for yourself, questioning authority and taking action when no one else would, has been really successful and influential in our society. Many times punk have been ahead of the times and stood up against: racism, war and worked to promote women's rights and environmental issues to name a few."

Treason arrived in March from Sudden Death Records as the follow-up to the veteran band's 40th-anniversary full-length Fight Back. The record finds Joey Shithead backed by the drummer Paddy Duddy and bassist Mike "Corkscrew" Hodsall.

Watch: D.O.A. - "All The President's Men" @ YouTube

The Cups N Cakes podcast recently premiered a new video from Ottawa's Chris Page. "The Disaster Drop" comes from Decide To Stay and Swim Again, Page's new acoustic solo record and a full re-recording of his 2004 solo outing 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.

You can also find a crunchy new garage rock tune from Page on the latest edition of Itty Bitty Little Ditty. The new collection is the fourth in the series of isolation-era home recordings from a rotating cast of Ottawa-area artists.

Watch: Chris Page - "The Disaster Drop" @ YouTube

A second set from the mysterious weird-punk act Chronicles of Chaos arrived last week via the Upsy Daisy project. You can stream the five-song Chapter Two EP on Bandcamp now.

In case you've forgotten, Upsy Daisy collects oddball tunes from anonymous Canadian musicians that are so strange, off-brand, or just plain embarrassing that the creators dare not release them under their real names. Chronicles of Chaos first appeared on the second Upsy Daisy cassette compilation.

I have no inside knowledge pertaining to the mastermind behind Chronicles of Chaos. All I know is that Kevin Drew has never explicitly denied involvement.

Listen: Chronicles of Chaos - Chapter Two @ Bandcamp

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