Sunday February 14, 2021

Out of Step

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.

The Pink Noise: "Out of Step"

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The emergence of Celluloid Lunch Records continues to fascinate. The Montreal print zine launched its label offshoot with the premiere of Itchy Self, Joe Chamandy's post-Protruders proto-punk revival act, followed quickly by an LP from the retro-futurist synth-pop quartet Night Lunch. While those two records couldn't be more sonically dissimilar, together they feel like a perfect lead-in to the label's third release: CLR03 marks a return of Mark Sauner's The Pink Noise, with Economy of Love due March 12. While this, the band's eighth LP, seems to continue the project's trajectory of nihilistic new-wave, it also shows a marked step up in fidelity. The lead single "Out of Step" gives Sauner's acerbic deadpan more space than usual, positioning The Pink Noise as the talent in some oily dystopian dance club. While the band's tension remains (Mark's nothing if not agitated), there's perhaps a newfound sense of cool here.

The group's past work drew frequent comparisons to Suicide, Chrome, Pere Ubu, and The Fall. While those qualities remain, guitarist/keyboardist Graeme Langdon suggested adding Television Personalities and Happy Mondays to the list in a recent Aquarium Drunkard feature. That article premiered the irradiated neon video for "Out of Step," directed by Montreal's Emily Pelstring. You can check it out below.

This version of The Pink Noise features the group's core duo of Sauner and Langdon, with the latter handling most of the studio instrumentation. The record features contributions from Tara Desmond of The Submissives on violin, Brooklyn's Gabby Smith on an assortment of horns, and Simone TB (Partner, U.S. Girls) on drums. Babysitter's Garrett Johnson produced, mixed, mastered the record, while playing on a few of the tracks himself.

Celluloid Lunch is pressing a limited vinyl run of the LP, available as a bundle with the band's 2018 record House of Cards.

Rick White: Peppermint

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Rick White of Moncton indie rock legends Eric's Trip recently surprised with a front-to-back cover of Sloan's 1992 debut Peppermint. White commented on how the project came together at his Bandcamp site:

"In December 2020 i came across a rough demo of Sloan's 'Lucky for me' i recorded in 1995. I was just doing it for fun at the time, but hearing it again caused me to pull out their 1992 Peppermint ep for a fresh listen. It had been a long time and brought back a lot of nice memories.

That sent me into a month of going through all the Sloan albums again, watching youtube vids and live footage, catching up with them and thinking about those youthful days in the early 90's which were a very exciting time for both of our bands.

I woke up one day in the midst of all this with the riff to 'Marcus Said' going around my head and had an urge to try recording a cover of it in a late 90's Elevator style. It turned out being quite enjoyable and i liked the results. Now here we are two weeks later and i've got the whole Peppermint ep recorded. Ha. It's quite a different kinda guitar sound and drumming style from the original, but i kept the song structures, melodies and tempos faithful. I really like these tunes and wanted to retain that energy. To finish off the project i even spent a few hours remaking a version of the album cover photo with my face. Which i must say turned out pretty good."

Both bands ran in the same circles in their early days, with the Sloan's Murderecords label releasing the debut Eric's Trip EP Peter in April of 1993 as their second release. You can hear Rick's version of the Peppermint EP at his treasure trove of a Bandcamp page.

Murderecords: Singles 1993-1998

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Speaking of Sloan's Murderecords, the label recently joined Bandcamp and is expected to make a wealth of rare material available. They kicked off their new online presence with a 28 song collection compiling the label's 7" singles spanning 1993 through 1998. The download includes rarities from Sloan, Eric's Trip, Thrush Hermit, The Super Friendz, The Local Rabbits, The Imbreds, Zumpano, Hardship Post, Stinkin' Rich, and Jale. The set also features the only recorded material by The Certain Someones, a one-off supergroup featuring Sloan's Chris Murphy, Matt Murphy of The Super Friendz, and Jale's Jennifer Pierce.

The singles collection first surfaced as a digital package in 2013, accompanying a book chronicling the run.

Paul Jacobs: "Underneath the Roses"

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Montreal's Paul Jacobs recently shared the second single from his upcoming Pink Dogs on the Green Grass LP. You can preview the laid-back "Underneath the Roses" now through a surreal new, hand-animated video, further showcasing how the artists' visual style's evolved along with his sound.

The new single follows "Half Rich Loner" in previewing the record, due April 30 from Blow The Fuse. Like that track, "Roses" finds the prolific artist kicking back with a satisfyingly relaxed counterpart to the oft-chaotic psych-noise racket of his earlier work.

Oliver Ackermann of A Place to Bury Strangers mastered the new set. It follows Jacob's early odds and sods collection Portrait Of George, and 2018's full-length Easy. In recent years Jacob's drummed for the buzzy Montreal garage rockers Pottery, playing on their Welcome To Bobby's Motel full-length. He also recently contributed music and cover art to Mothland's recent Sounds From Mothland mixtape.

No Frills: "Ice Cream Cone"

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Toronto bummer-pop outfit No Frills has a new track online. "Ice Cream Cone" is the band's first preview of their upcoming full-length, due later this year.

The new song follows No Frills' 2018 debut, the five-track digital EP Nice To Meet You. That record saw Daniel Busheikin (of Toronto's Grounders) establish the band with backing from Kelvin Grove (also of Grounders), Jon Pappo (Hooded Fang, WHIMM) and Matt 'Bucky' Buckberrough (Twist, Beds). It looks like all are present for this second go-around, with Maddy Wilde of Toronto's Rapport also appearing as a backing vocalist.

The Peelers: "Prizefight"

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Stomp Records recently shared the first single from The Peelers' upcoming full-length Down & Out In The City Of Saints. "Prizefight" is one of 10 songs to appear on the Celtic punk group's new record. The label commented:

"In keeping with their more recent material, Dave Barton's songs reflect the North American experience of the diaspora with a tip of the newsboy cap to the Quebecois narrative and the lure of Boston and New York; blending truth and fiction, glory and sport, love and loss, darkness and despair, while introducing composites of individuals, companions, friends and foes met along the punk rock journey."

The group recorded Down and Out in Montreal, Vancouver, and Dundee, Scotland, between December 2019 and June 2020. It's the band's second full-length since their 2017 reunion record Palace of the Fiend (marking a return from a 13-year absence). The Peelers originally surfaced in the eastern Ontario township of North Glengarry in 1999. They now operate out of Montreal. Look for their new record on March 12.

PACKS: "Hangman"

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Madeline Link's lo-fi rock band PAX seems poised to climb the ladder, picking up a pair of new labels and a slight name change along the way. Now billed as PACKS, the group retains their phonetic identity for the new era, one that will see them recording for Royal Mountain in Canada and Fire Talk in the States.

PACKS christened the name with a remastered version of "Hangman," a track that initially surfaced on the Songs from a (social) distance compilation from Toronto's Art of the Uncarved Block. The press release notes:

"The newly remastered studio version sharpens the roaring electric guitars and Link's drawling vocals, while adding a softness to the drums to create more space in the mix, recalling Alex G and Mac DeMarco at their breeziest."

The revamped track arrived alongside a new video, filmed by Madeline's sister (and Triples bandmate) Eva Link. You can check it out below.

With roots as a bedroom recording project, PACKS grew over the past year or so into a full band. Recent recordings featured Madeline backed by guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper. That group released the full-length Ouch tape in 2019, followed by the recent digital EPs Melt It Down and Sucked Up.

DISHPIT: "This Time"

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Grungy Montreal post-punk trio Dishpit has a new single in the wild, arriving alongside a frostbitten new video. "This Time" alternates between scenes of guitarist/vocalist Nora Kelly and bassist Jed Stein disrobing in the snowy woods, with footage of the group, backed by drummer Ethan Soil, performing in an open field. It's a perfectly timed clip, given the season we're in (to say nothing of the winter chaos currently unfolding down south).

Kelly commented on the single in a press release:

"'This Time' is the most honest and personal song on the album. 'How did you know I'd stay silent, stay weak?' is screamed amidst an ordered mayhem of abrasive guitars and drums. The 'Me Too' movement has given widespread attention and support to survivors of sexual assault, who had previously been silenced by fears of being challenged or disbelieved if they revealed their trauma. For me, the writing of this song marked the first public expression of my own experiences; they were no longer suppressed or muted but yelled in rage for the world to hear."

The song's one of 11 slated to appear on the band's upcoming debut DIPSHIT, which finally lands next month after a long series of mishaps (COVID, of course, but also the unexpected closure of the UK label slated to release the record). Legendary engineer Steve Albini recorded the full-length way back in 2018, so it's been a long time coming.

Daniel Romano's Outfit: "First Yoke"

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Welland's Daniel Romano has a new video online featuring his band The Outfit performing "First Yoke," a track from 2020's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered. The clip, directed by Carson McHone and Kenneth Roy Meehan, features the band playing amidst a retro 70s office space. The version of The Outfit appearing here includes vocalist Julianna Riolino, bassist Roddy Rosetti, guitarist Dave Nardi, and drummer Ian Romano.

How Ill Thy World Is Ordered arrived last fall from You've Changed Records, a tentpole release in a year that saw Romano do the impossible and share 11 fully realized albums at an astonishing clip. You can find a full accounting of that run in my 2020 recap.

Hobby: "(We Can) Tough It Out (We Can Try)"

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Toronto's weird-Americana quartet Hobby has a new record on the way, a 9-song set perhaps too revealingly titled Weed. You can check out the record's mantra-like new single, "(We Can) Tough It Out (We Can Try)," streaming at Bandcamp or through a new video by directors Eli Speigel and Shelby Wilson. They've declared the jangling lo-fi track their "pandemic anthem," and frankly, it's as good as any.

Hobby features guitarists Stephen Pitman (Only God Forgives, Tallies) and Cameron Fraser (Luge), with bassist Duncan Wardlaw and drummer Foster Medeiros (with vocal credits all around). Weed follows the band's 2018 record The Fastest Car Yet and a recent split with folk-punkers Westelaken.

Sook-Yin Lee & Adam Litovitz: "Run Away with Her"

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Mint Records recently revealed jooj two, the new full-length from celebrated Canadian media personality Sook-Yin Lee and the late Adam Litovitz. In a press release, the label detailed the creative history and tragic circumstances surrounding this release:

"An iconic Canadian media figure, Sook-Yin Lee is an award-winning filmmaker, musician, actor and broadcaster who has immersed herself in myriad creative collaborations. Many of them were made with her life partner and frequent co-creator Adam Litovitz, including their 2015 ethereal electroacoustic album jooj. Though Adam passed away in 2019, his work with Sook-Yin lives on with jooj two, an unapologetic dive into playful art-pop and a document of a lost language between lovers...

While financial difficulties and external pressures contributed to the end of their romantic relationship, Sook-Yin and Adam remained best friends and creative partners. As he was busy with a soundtrack for Netflix, Adam gave Sook-Yin his blessing to continue working on their second album without him. Increasingly, Adam struggled with anxiety and depression, compounded by a prescription drug dependency that exacerbated insomnia and pain. Tragically, he died by suicide on June 16, 2019."

Lee eventually completed the record with assistance from engineer Steve Chahley (Partner, Ice Cream, U.S. Girls). You can preview it now through the slick synth-pop single "Run Away With Her." The song also appears in a new video co-directed by Lee and Hot Garbage member Dylan Gamble. Notably, Lee and Gamble also recently teamed up to produce the feature-length film Death and Sickness. The movie, crafted entirely in isolation, was dedicated to Litovitz and featuring passages from his writing.

The eleven-song jooj two arrives April 9 through Mint.

Hot Garbage: "Soft as Gold"

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Speaking of Hot Garbage, the Toronto psych quartet has a new live video online featuring a performance of "Soft As Gold" from the 2020 virtual edition of the Northern Ontario camping and music festival, River & Sky. The clip features the band performing among a psychedelic light show from The Oscillitarium (a psych-arts collective from members of Toronto's Possum). Here Kitty Kitty Productions filmed the set.

Hot Garbage last released the "Easy Believer" single in the spring of 2020, following their 2019 EP Cocos's Paradise. The group features guitarist/vocalist Alessandro Carlevaris, bassist Juliana Carlevaris, the above-mentioned Dylan Gamble on keys, and drummer Mark Henein.

Brad Manners: Atomic Wrong

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School Damage guitarist/vocalist Brad Manners has a new EP online, a three-song set of nasty punk tunes titled Atomic Wrong. It's the second collection of isolation-era recordings from the Toronto artist following the Bored to be Alive EP from June of 2020. Manners hasn't yet said much about these songs, but they sneer out their message just fine without a bunch of exposition.

School Damage last released the Fuckin' Rights EP in 2019, following up their 2018 LP, Hello, Cruel World.

Rest Easy: "Bad Idea"

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Vancouver skate-punk quartet Rest Easy recently premiered a video for "Bad Idea" through Consequence of Sound, showcasing a track from their debut EP Sick Day. The clip, directed by Kyle Pigeau, intercuts performance footage with scenes of the band members engaging in all sorts of questionable behaviour (befitting the song's title).

Rest Easy is a new project from members of Daggermouth and Seattle's Shook Ones. Sick Day arrived earlier this month as a four-song EP through Mutant League Records. The band recorded with producer Tim Creviston (Misery Signals, Seer).

Cursed Arrows: Mage

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Barrie, Ontario garage-pop-punk duo Cursed Arrows have a new five-track EP out through Tarantula Tapes. Titled Mage, the release arrived on Valentine's Day alongside a live video performance of the single "Anthem." The band commented on the track in particular:

"Anthem is one of our pop-punkiest, most autobiographical and most meta offerings to date. It is the story of our meeting one another in Mississauga in 2003, immediately falling in love, and evolving into the musical duo (and family trio) you know and love today. It's a love letter to one another, to our friends who were instrumental in helping us meet and get to know each other and have fun over the last two decades, and to all of you. We're so touched that you care what we have to say, play, sing and offer. Thank you for your years of service!"

Cursed Arrows features Jackie Stanley and Ryan Stanley, with both players trading off on vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. Nick Johannes (The Kettle Black) also appears on the record playing bass and organ.

Witch Island: "Red Flag"

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What is it about Valentine's Day in Barrie? The holiday also saw a new single arrive from the local pop-punk group Witch Island. You can stream "Red Flag" at Bandcamp now, a song most assuredly due as a part of the band's debut full-length, slated for a March 8 release.

The group features guitarist/vocalist Bex Quinn, guitarist Sophie Gentle, bassist Natalie Mason, and drummer SJ. Tarantula Tapes is expected to carry the new album when it arrives next month.

ACTORS: "Strangers"

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Vancouver's cinematic post-punk quartet ACTORS has a new single online dubbed "Strangers." The track follows the similarly slick "Love U More" single from late last year, with both songs destined to appear on Acts of Worship, the band's upcoming full-length on Artoffact Records.

Frontman Jason Corbett commented on the track in a short statement:

"The new single reflects some of the weight and uncertainty we felt coming off the road to deal with everything that's been going on. Making music as ACTORS has been cathartic for us. We hope that resonates."

ACTORS used the COVID lockdown to finish their new record, the follow-up to 2018's full-length It Will Come To You. The band features Jason Corbett on lead vocals and guitar, Shannon Hemmett on synth, Kendall Wooding on bass, and drummer Adam Fink. Corbett produced, mixed, and mastered the group's new material at his Jacknife Sound Studio.

The Fly Downs: "Crashing Down"

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Montreal's Thousand Islands Records recently signed Ottawa melodic punk trio The Fly Downs, lining up the group's 13-song debut for a spring release. You'll be able to get your hands on At This Point In Time on vinyl come April 16, but before that, check out "Crashing Down," the record's first single, at Bandcamp.

The Fly Downs last released the Pockets Out EP in 2017. The band recorded At This Point In Time at Apartment 2.

Sunnyside Uppers: "Nobody Gets Me"

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Saint John, New Brunswick's Sunnyside Uppers recently shared a reworking of "Nobody Gets Me," a midtempo rocker that first appeared on the song-a-day project Psychic Debris (back when Sunnyside Uppers were known as Beach Chair). singer-songwriter Ryan Brown reflected on the track in a statement to Some Party:

"valentine's day seemed an appropriate time to release; it's definitely for those who are feeling despondent rather than cheery. i'd had a depressing week, just general pandemic blues. being a musician has felt particularly hopeless as a 'career' lately. it's easy to lose sight of why we do this in the first place, and put the actual creative thing on the backburner in order to focus on 'growth hacking' online or whatever. this is how we spiral. so this track is a correction of sorts. while the specifics of the tale do not describe my present life, the mood was right."

Brown plays every instrument on the recording, one of just a few Sunnyside Uppers-billed tracks to be released so far. Ryan formerly played drums in the band Glory Glory.

Miesha & The Spanks: "I Want Fire"

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The hard-rocking Calgarian duo Miesha & The Spanks has a new song online dubbed "I Want Fire," the third single from the band's forthcoming Singles EP. The band commented:

"Written during the early stages of the pandemic, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to burn down, but something needed to go. My maternity leave should have ended, so I could go on tour and play rad festivals with my husband on parental leave. But suddenly we were two stay at home parents with two six month old babies, unable to perform or socialize, confined to the same routine, getting in each other's space and driving each other crazy. As I wrote, it became less about burning down what was pissing me off and more about lighting up my own fire and getting back to our normal.

Nearly a year from when this whole mess started, a lot of pent-up frustration remains, and if people haven't already, they are ready to explode. When I practice this song, I still feel that. But yelling the anthem helps get it out. I hope it works for you, too."

The song's featured in a new video from director Hans Grossmann. It's the second clip in this very newsletter that finds its subjects performing on a frozen lake (Alberta's Lower Kananaskis Lake, in this instance). You can check it out below.

Miesha & The Spanks features Miesha Louie on guitar and vocals with Sean Hamilton on drums. The band's Singles EP, the follow-up to 2018' s Girls Girls Girls album, is due April 16.

METZ: "Sugar Pill"

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Toronto noise-punk institution METZ seem hell-bent on capturing each and every track from last year's Atlas Vending in a video. The latest, directed by Shayne Ehman of Thunder Bay's Cricket Cave, showcases the song "Sugar Pill." The filmmaker commented on the skate-themed clip:

"Skateboarding feels great. We love to skate. The birds need to sing, we need to skate. I hope the winter skateboarding footage carries with it some of the love we have for skateboarding. I hope it contains a spirit of perseverance and the will to make it happen. Come wind, ice, or stormy weather, we shovel snow, we torch frost, we skate."

The piece follows a run of visuals for "Pulse," "No Ceiling," "A Boat to Drown In," "Hail Taxi," "Blind Youth Industrial Park," and "Framed By The Comet's Tail." Three songs to go...

Atlas Vending, the band's fourth proper full-length, arrived on Royal Mountain Records and Sub Pop in October. Ben Greenberg (Uniform) co-produced the album with the trio.

Chris Page: "This Heart Knows Something We Don't"

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Ottawa's Chris Page shared his self-described Valentine's Day hangover song last week, revisiting "This Heart Knows Something We Don't" in his ongoing Isolation Sessions video series. The tune first appeared on a 2018 cassette compilation from Edmonton's Cups N Cakes Network. It's one of several home recordings to arrive from Page in the wake of his recent Decide To Stay and Swim Again LP. That record, which surfaced last year, found the artist revisiting material from his 2004 solo record Decide To Stay and Swim.

Last week also saw Page appear on a new cover song from Careful, the new power-pop side-project from Crusades' Dave Williams. Careful's followed up their recent Drunk Dial EP with a cover of The Pursuit Of Happiness's 1988 single "She's So Young." You can stream the track now at Spotify or Apple.

Chris Page plays these days as part of the duo Expanda Fuzz, earlier making waves in Camp Radio and the 90s pop-punk favourites The Stand GT.

Dave Williams recently released an 8-song full-length as part of the synth-pop duo Surrender, paired with fellow Crusades' alum Scott McCash.

React to it at your leisure

Some Party is Adam White's misguided quest to share the latest in Canadian garage rock, punk, psych, and more. Subscribe and get it in your inbox more-or-less weekly. Your information's always kept private, and unsubscribing is easy.

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