Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated more-or-less weekly by Adam White. Each edition explores punk, garage, psych, and otherwise uncategorizable indie rock, drawing lines from proto to post and taking some weird diversions along the way.
Hello again, and welcome back to Some Party. This letter's always assembled in a bit of a mad rush, scribbled out in the increasingly fleeting moments between when we get the kids to bed and when exhaustion takes hold. Dancing between raindrops, if you will. Last week, though, the downpour proved a bit too heavy. I'm sure you made do.
Were you to have seen an October 18 edition of the newsletter, however, it would have absolutely still lead with "Robber," the defiant new single from Tamara Lindeman's solemn songwriting vehicle The Weather Station. Nothing in the week since has challenged that placement.
"Robber" marks the first collaboration between The Weather Station and the storied Mississippi label Fat Possum, showcasing the increasingly assertive activist bent in Lindeman's writing. She commented on the track, contextualizing the titular thief as a malignant force operating on a societal level:
"I think in my life I've been pretty naive, always tried to see the good in everyone (still do), always tried to make do with what is and not think of what can't be (still do). But those attitudes are dangerous when applied at a societal level, especially at this moment in time. I think we're all in denial a bit, about where we are, and what is happening, because it's easier on some level, easier to try and make do with what's missing than to see what's missing. I think it's hard to believe in the robber, hard to even see the robber; it's easier to try and make love to or glamourize the robber. It hurts too much otherwise. To put it straight; there are real human people who are literally robbing us and all future generations of all of everything that matters, right now. But we literally can't see that as a society, because for one thing because we've been taught not to value what is taken, and for another because we've been taught to glamourize and love the taker. We love to love the taker. We don't know how to see the victim of the taking."
The single arrived alongside a video directed by Lindeman and shot by Jared Raab. She explained the symbolism in the clip:
"Throughout the video is a thread of denial, of people performing their roles even when nothing seems to make sense, and nothing is quite right, and we are quite literally lost in the woods; which feels like a pretty perfect summation of our year so far. From an emotional and mood standpoint, I wanted the video to feel like how 2020 does to me; steeped in a sort of omnipresent unease and a threat of distant violence, even as life goes on, performers perform, dancers dance, food couriers seek addresses. The threat is felt only by some characters, while others are curiously unaffected, seeming not even to notice. I wanted to capture the disorientation of participating in capitalism and performance in general, where it can feel like power and co-option, self actualization and violation, sometimes all at once."
"Robber" is the first new music to emerge from The Weather Station since their self-titled effort (co-released in 2017 by Paradise of Bachelors and Outside Music). The band recorded "Robber" with Marcus Paquin (Tim Baker, Stars, The National) at Toronto's Canterbury Studios. While the next full-length remains unannounced, "Robber" is available now as a limited edition 7" single backed by "Better Now" (a song exclusive to the physical release).
TV Freaks' new record People arrives at the end of this week, and if you can't wait until then, you now find the `77-styled single "Capital Eye" streaming on Bandcamp. It's the second preview of the record after the wild space rocker "Heart Of Gold," which kicked off this cycle a few weeks ago.
The Hamilton garage-punk mainstays have had this record in the works for a while. The group tracked the instrumentals live-off-the-floor over a weekend in May of 2018, recording vocals and additional overdubs throughout 2019 at Boxcar Sound with Sean Pearson.
Earlier this year, TV Freaks released Scraps Vol. 1, a collection of rarities, b-sides, and demo recordings. Frontman Sweet Dave O'Connor also released a new solo LP in March, titled Pink Dreams.
TV Freaks features O'Connor backed by guitarist TJ Charlton, bassist Vee Bell, and drummer Nathan Burger. People slots in as the band's fourth LP after 2015's Deranged-released Bad Luck Charms.
Dartmouth indie rock quartet Shoulder Season has a moving new single online titled "This Town." The band recorded in isolation, assembling the fuzz-washed final product piece-by-piece while sheltering from the pandemic. They commented:
"Despite not really being able to practice or record or see humans in person for many of the past 7 months, we somehow self-recorded this sweet little track, one instrument at a time, and mushed it all together for you. It's called 'This Town,' and it's about living in a small town through the winter, when everything empties out, feeling like you want to run away but also like you never wanna leave. Some day we hope to record this guy for real in a studio and maybe even play it for you LIVE in some small town bar. Enjoy!"
Shoulder Season features Karen Foster, Mel Sturk, Kristina Parlee, and Erica Butler. The quartet's collective resume includes stints with Halifax acts The Stolen Minks, The Maynards, and Smaller Hearts, as well as Ottawa rockers The Johnnies.
Sackville-bred slack-rock luminaries Partner have another single online from their upcoming sophomore LP. The band unveiled "Honey" last week with a video that riffs lovingly on the cable access aesthetic of Wayne's World, a film that connects perfectly with the classic rock revivalism that permeates Never Give Up. Partner again worked with Bonnie Doon's Lesley Marshall on the visuals.
The group commented on the track, which has been a live favourite for the past year:
"'Honey' is the origin story of Josée's golden axe. In this track we recall how she first found her way to our house and joined the band. It came with a note (from Josée's dad) 'This guitar sounds like honey going down.' Get ready for some straight up rock n roll."
The 10-song Never Give Up arrives from You've Changed Records on November 20, following up 2017's Polaris shortlisted In Search of Lost Time and 2019's Saturday the 14th EP. This record finds vocalist/guitarist Josée Caron and vocalist/bassist Lucy Niles backed by drummer Simone TB (Darlene Shrugg, Fake Palms). Partner recorded this material in July of last year, working with engineer Steve Chahley (Ice Cream, U.S. Girls) at Palace Sounds.
Partner are among the bands from the Sappyfest orbit that get a shout out on the new full-length from Daveband, a rock'n'roll songwriting vehicle from Halifax-based Dave Archibald. While none of us got the opportunity to spend time at the Bridge St. stage this year, the track "Sackville" on Daveband's 10-song This Was Your Dad at 28 makes a valiant effort at capturing that spirit.
This Was Your Dad at 28 at 28 arrived in late-September, and it's wonderfully charismatic. The power-pop record follows the quirky indie rock trail blazed by Shotgun Jimmie, with a healthy dose of guitar-oomph in its DNA from inspired by the likes of Sloan and Thrush Hermit.
Daveband recorded the brunt of this material with Thomas Stajcer at New Scotland Yard in Dartmouth (outside of a pair of songs tracked with Harley Alexander in a Montreal apartment). During these sessions, Daveband featured Archibald on guitar and vocals, backed by Stajcer on bass and drummer Kevin MacIsaac (nearly a dozen others appear in various capacities).
This Was Your Dad at 28 is a great time and never self-serious, but in the current climate, it certainly makes me sentimental for what I've missed this year. If you're a reader of this newsletter, there's a good chance it's going to land that way for you, too.
London post-hardcore group MVLL CRIMES recently shared "Witch Walk," the debut single from their forthcoming record. The track arrived alongside a seasonally appropriate video, directed in spooky black and white by guitarist Patrick Briggs. You can see it below.
MVLL CRIMES features Briggs with vocalist Jillian Clair, bassist Laurie McColeman, and drummer Evan Martin. The band recorded with producer Kyle Ashbourne (WHOOP-Szo, Red Arms, Wasted Potential) at the Sugar Shack in London this past August.
MVLL CRIMES' upcoming release will follow their Roadside Attractions EP from March. Over the isolation period, the band shared an 8-song live set captured at London's Odyssey Records.
Maximilian 'Twig' Turnbull's Badge Époque Ensemble has a wild new video online showcasing their single "Unity (It's Up To You)." The track, featuring vocals from Toronto R&B artist James Baley, sees itself realized in claymation from director Alex Kingsmill. You can check it out below.
"Unity" appears on the band's new record Self Help, a 7-song effort due November 20. To be released through Telephone Explosion, the set features several other high profile guests, including Meg Remy of U.S. Girls, Dorothea Paas, and Jennifer Castle.
The Ensemble recorded live-off-the-floor at Toronto's Palace Sound between October of 2019 and March of this year, wrapping just before the lockdown kicked in. 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.
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, as well. The liner notes credit Turnbull with all manner of keys and synthesizers this time out.
Compelling Halifax singer-songwriter Gianna Lauren has a new EP on the way dubbed Vanity Metrics. The set arrives on November 6 from the Forward Music Group. You can stream the reflective, mid-tempo first single, "Spark," at Bandcamp now. In a statement, the artist commented on the track, which she referred to as "possibly my angstiest song ever":
"'Spark' was written and recorded in the depths of night in rural Nova Scotia with a tired but electric band of friends. The song may resonate with anyone experiencing feelings of unrest about what is happening versus what needs to be happening."
The record features several members of Ottawa's Pony Girl serving in Lauren's backing band. The group recorded Vanity Metrics over four days at the Old Confidence Lodge in Riverport, Nova Scotia. Andy Magoffin (Constantines, Two Minute Miracles) mixed and mastered the material at The House of Miracles in Cambridge, Ontario.
Vanity Metrics is Gianna Lauren's fourth release, following 2017's Moving Parts.
Baby Blue started as the recording equivalent of a doodle back in the winter when we had some down time after the first Big Blue tour. I had decided that I wanted to start self recording again and started messing around with microphones, getting sounds and tracking this and that. After a while we could start to see this potential alternate version EP forming but we didn't make it a priority because we had a lot going on at that point - and then covid hit! Like everyone else, we ended up cancelling tons of shows and began trying to form an idea of what being in a band will look like for the foreseeable future. One thing was certain, we had a hell of a lot more time on our hands so we leaned a little harder into Baby Blue for some much needed solace during the gnarliest stretch of lockdown and ended up really getting a kick out of how it was coming together. What could be a more perfect time to share them with the world than on the first anniversary of Big Blue! The timing was right.
Dead Soft features vocalist/guitarist Nathaniel Epp with bassist/vocalist Keeley Rochon and drummer Alex Smith.
Toronto indie rock trio Outer Rooms has a new single online. "Green Zenith" is our second preview of the band's upcoming record All Will Be Well & All Will Be Well, etc., etc. Sean Fitzpatrick commented on the tune, which delves into some family history:
"'Green Zenith' is itself a reference to our late grandfather. He was legally blind, and when we visited his home, he'd always be sitting in front of a broken Zenith TV, watching either hockey or Kung Fu reruns. Our family would often sit and watch TV with him. No one ever commented on how the malfunctioning screen coloured everything in the picture a sickly shade of green.
Our grandfather was sick for my entire life, with health problems that resulted from his lifestyle prior to his grandchildren being born. He had several heart attacks, diabetes, and debilitating arthritis, and eventually passed away due to a severe stroke. The song is about how, out of a desire to preserve our relationships with the people we love, we often ignore or don't mention worrying and longstanding behaviour patterns that will make our lives worse in the long run. It's a fatalistic story about alcoholism and a recurring dream I had throughout 2018."
"Green Zenith" follows "Thunder East" in previewing the band's upcoming record, due November 6. Outer Rooms features Andrew Fitzpatrick, Sean Fitzpatrick, and Owen Buckland. All Will Be Well... follows up 2017's Even in the Cannon's Mouth LP.
Ottawa's prolific cosmic psych outfit The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol has yet another new record out. Berserkir II features five tracks (most pushing the 10-minute mark), recorded in October of 2019 at Raven Street Studios in the nation's capital. The entire instrumental session was captured live as a single improvised take by producer David Sarazin. As the title indicates, this is the second set of music released from this session, with the first volume appearing in January of this year.
On this recording, TBWNIS featured Nathaniel Hurlow, Bill Guerrero, John Westhaver, Jason Vaughan, Dave Reford, and Scott Thompson.
Vinyl pressings of the work are set to arrive through Cardinal Fuzz and Feeding Tube. The set follows June's Unsemble album of isolation recordings and May's archival collection Basement Blowouts 3. The group's year, busy despite the pandemic, also included a split LP with the experimental Nanaimo group Anunnaki.
Windsor garage rockers The Hypnotics have a new single out titled "Soul at Seven," a rediscovered recording from the sessions that produced their 2011 debut, Static Fuzz Radio. The band initially tracked the song at Toronto's Chemical Sound Studios, although it never made the resulting record. The resurrected track features a new mix by original co-producer Dean Marino, with mastering by Noah Mintz.
Vocalist/guitarist Mike Konstantino commented on the song:
"Soul at Seven was one of the first songs that was written for the band and it was recorded quickly at the end of the sessions for Static Fuzz Radio. It was influenced by The Rolling Stones, The Stooges circa Fun House and Motown. It never really fit in with the other songs on the album, so we didn't include it at the time."
The Hypnotics current lineup includes vocalist/guitarist Mike Konstantino, bassist Dave Konstantino, and drummer Nate Gelinas. They're at work now on their third LP. When it arrives, that set will serve as the proper follow-up to 2015's Modern Art Entertainment.
The Toronto trio Laurie continues to roll out a new single monthly. The most recent installment arrives as a slow-burning slice of post-punk fuzz dubbed "Immunized." The track's the ninth entry in the series, which kicked off in February.
Laurie features Trent Bristow on guitar and synth, bassist Fabian Kearns, and drummer Jessica Maxwell. Before embarking on this year-long cycle, the group released a 5-song EP titled Group Dynamics in 2019.
Stomp Records has announced a November 20 release for The Harder They Fall, the new full-length from Toronto's rockabilly-tinged punk quartet Doghouse Rose. You can check out the group's bombastic new single "Run 666" now at Bandcamp.
Doghouse Rose recorded with Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, Junior Battles) at Drive Studios. The new material follows up their 2019 EP The Blurst of Times.
Montreal art-rock group Suuns recently shared a video showcasing the title track to their new EP Fiction. The psychedelic clip comes courtesy of Jordan Minkoff, also known as Dr. Cool. You'll recognize his animation from recent work for Teenanger and Freak Heat Waves. The Dr. had this to say about the piece:
"Considering the limited time and ability to film anything in the Montreal red zone I got the band to send me some videos of them playing. I tried very hard to make webcam footage look watchable by rotoscoping it and turning it into some glowie sci-fi thing. My animation style is usually more colourful and wacky so it was fun to try and change it up for the SUUNS darkness."
Gruff Montreal punks The Speakeasy recently resurfaced with a new EP, the second volume in their Tales from the Moonshiner series that kicked off in 2018. The inaugural EP, subtitled Part One: Death Sentence, has been followed up with Part Two: Requiem, a five-song set recently released through Thousand Islands Records.
The five-piece recorded with producer Vincent Côté (L'Affaire Pélican, Bussieres). You can preview the tunes now at Bandcamp.
There's just no damn way I'll get to see the Booji Boys play this calendar year, and I suspect most of you are in the same boat. You can scratch that itch, or at least attempt to, by checking out a live set the overblown Halifax group recorded for Gobblefest, the long-running Sydney, Nova Scotia fall music festival that (like most others) pulled together a slate of virtual programming this year. You can see the clip below, in all its ramshackle lo-fi glory.
Booji Boys last released Tube Reducer, their third LP, in 2019. They're probably still the best punk band in Canada, wherever that is.