Sunday April 4, 2021

Blinds Drawn

Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated 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.

Teenanger: "Blinds Drawn"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto's Teenanger dropped a surprise one-off single for Bandcamp's monthly rush - and it's a stunner. "Blinds Drawn" takes the increasingly prominent new wave influence in the group's sound to a new extreme - wrapping subtle, danceable hooks in an extended, cool-and-it-knows-it jam that runs past the six-minute mark. It feels like the groovy, unhurried b-side from the era of 12" singles, and I'm sure that's by design. The band described the track in a press release:

"Blinds Drawn started as a live four-on-the-floor drum beat anchored by an infectious bass line that inspired the song's original title Spooky Boogers. Next came vocals; a whispery almost-rapped verse coupled with a cautiously triumphant chorus. All other elements were created to waft in and out like an ethereal blanket, wrapping around the listener, only to be lifted when the moment is right.

Lyrically, Blinds Drawn is both hopeful and hopeless, evoking a barren landscape that feels positively post-apocalyptic. 'Try to keep our eyes on the horizon, with blinds drawn' echoes the chorus. A dusty slice of daylight shines through a dark room and you sneeze euphorically, reminded of that kid in middle school who said a sneeze is one quarter of an orgasm."

Speaking from recent experience, I should caution that you may find yourself completely enveloped by this track if you're of a particular state of mind. Indulge responsibly.

"Blinds Drawn" arrives via Telephone Explosion a half-year after the 2020 release of Good Time, Teenanger's sixth full-length. They've yet to tour behind that record, of course, but if their pandemic frustrations continue to manifest in ambitious curveballs like this, maybe that's a silver lining.

Together for more than a decade, the band still boasts their original lineup of drummer Steve Sidoli, bassist Melissa Bell, guitarist Jon Schouten, and vocalist Chris Swimmings.

Century Egg: "Do You Want To Dance?"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Halifax mandopop rockers Century Egg are back with a new lineup and a harder-hitting sound. The group, notable for their mix of English and Chinese vocals, is set to return on May 7 with Little Piece of Hair, a new EP and the band's first with the Forward Music Group. The band's lineup now finds vocalist Shane Keyu Song and guitarist Robert Drisdelle backed by bassist Matty Grace (Future Girls, Cluttered) and drummer Meg Yoshida (Not You, Dog Day). You can hear the new rhythm section at play in "Do You Want To Dance?", the record's first single and a strong redeclaration of intent.

Shane Keyu Song commented on the band's rebirth in a press release:

"The year is 2025 and Century Egg is the most popular band in the world. After the defeat of capitalism at the hands of the people just one year ago, the great virus has been wiped out completely. Music is accessible to all. This did not come without great loss. The physical infrastructure all over the earth is being redesigned and rebuilt, with a mix of very old and very current technology, due to what was destroyed and what was left behind."

Dialling back the speculative fiction a tad, the band clarified:

"These are songs about finding yourself, understanding your value in the present and celebrating the changes life delivers. This is a collection of songs about dancing and being free and rediscovering the joy in music and our lives, despite the shells around us. Century Egg makes music to remind you to be free."

Century Egg recorded at Ocean Floor in Halifax with Franc Lopes. Robert Drisdelle mixed the set with Crusades' Dave Williams mastering at Eight Floors Above. Century Egg last released the We Can Play EP in April of 2020.

MIMICO: "Heavy Earth"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto space-motorik trio MIMICO has a new EP on the way this spring. Look for Heavy Earth on May 7 as a digital release. You can preview the record now through the engrossing 11-minute title track, a shimmering opus of instrumental psych. The band's notes regarding the album delve, rather fittingly, into spacey mysticism:

"...we held our triangle seance session on the full moon that month. Setting our intention, we placed the object in the center. During the session, a collectively visualized image appeared to us simultaneously. The connected triple globe form that had previously been completely unknown and unseen to us appeared in the centre of the circle. Each globe encased in transparent crystal glass was a distinct landscape. A metallic-looking city, sparkling bright in one globe. A green mountainous terrain in another, and a tumultuous sea-scape contained in the last clear globe. The floating spheres in the triangle formation, bound by darkened bars. Separate, self-contained worlds, floating in unison somewhere in a distant galaxy. We hear their eternal song:

'We grow lighter, So as to not overburden An already Heavy Earth.'"

The new set follows the Hand Drawn Dracula-issued Hi-Action, with much of the group's new material recorded during the same sessions that produced the 2019 album. A feature running in the latest issue of the Toronto scene zine Ultra delves further into the record, and is well worth a read.

MIMICO features Ben Oginz (synths, mellotron, organs, piano), Jeremiah Knight (vocals, bass, guitar), and Nick Kervin (vocals, drums, percussion, bass, piano). Heavy Earth again finds the band working with Do Make Say Think's Justin Small in the producer's chair, with Alex Gamble mixing and mastering.

Gemstones: Novel of Nothing

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Hot on the heels of February's Nevermind cassette, Dartmouth garage-rock trio Gemstones have yet another collection of new tunes queued up. The group's teamed up with Joe Chamandy's Celluloid Lunch Records to release Novel of Nothing, a gloriously noisy four-song 7" and their vinyl debut. You can preview the closer "No End in Sight" at Bandcamp now. The record ships on April 23.

Some Party's been tracking Gemstones pretty much since the beginning. The group spun out of an early-isolation solo project from KC Spidle (Diamondtown, Dog Day), solidifying as an actual functioning band earlier this year. Gemstones, a bonified maritime supergroup as far as I'm concerned, features Chris Thompson (Eric's Trip, Diamondtown) on drums and Cody Googoo (Booji Boys Misanthropic Minds) on bass.

Possum: "Gala at the Universe City"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto psych group Possum returns this summer with Lunar Gardens, the follow-up to their 2019 debut Space Grade Assembly. The record arrives July 2 through Idée Fixe Records. In a statement, the band compared their new album to its predecessor, with the attached press release claiming only a "passing resemblance" between the two works:

"While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens' approach is more 'space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms,' a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D. If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain."

You can catch a sliver of this new sound with "Gala at the Universe City," thea album's succinct but densely packed lead single (one that, despite its svelte run time, comes stuffed with more wah pedal than anything else you'll hear this week).

Possum plays as a quintet featuring Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon, and Bradley Thibodeau. Once again, this record finds them in tight collaboration with visual arts collective The Oscillitarium (sisters Sarah and Sophia Bassakyros with Possum's Tobin Hopwood). That outfit's behind a slate of album-related artwork - including the record's cover and inner sleeve. A limited version of the LP (done in a colour combination "never previously attempted by the pressing plant") will include Transmissions from the Lunar Gardens by The Oscillitarium, a 12-page booklet of photos.

Patrick Lefler's psych-pop group ROY has an album out on Idée Fixe just a few months prior to Lunar Gardens, with Roy's Garage set to arrive May 14.

Daniel Romano: Kissing The Foe

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

You'd be reasonably mistaken to assume that after his astonishing 11-record year, Daniel Romano may be taking a well-deserved rest. It seems that the time out of the spotlight was merely a working period, as the Welland singer-songwriter's at it again: Danny's first full-length of 2021 has landed with Kissing The Foe, a 12-song set. Romano performs everything here aside from the appearance of a few guests (usual collaborators Mark Lalama on piano and Aaron Hutchinson on trumpet, with Texan singer Carson McHone lending some vocals).

The new collection's one of two significant projects to launch in the past week, with Romano also kicking off Varianza, an ambient music venture. The first track from the project arrived as the 25-minute The Abstract Expanse, with further missives promised weekly.

Romano looks to be treating the project as a supplemental income stream while stuck off the road. He commented on Instagram:

"In an attempt to remunerate I am offering a weekly series of 25 minute (ish) meditations. Composed with the intent to reverberate, harmonize and reconstitute the spirit. They will be very easy on the pocket (but not free because music is a mysticism WORTH valuing) and I hope that they can offer a space for mirth and repose."

That Danny feels compelled to defend charging for these tracks is a little disappointing. The first Varizana track's a cool $2.00 - or just shy of 8 cents per minute. You can afford that, moochers.

You can find a breakdown of Danny's attention-grabbing 2020 output in my yer end recap. Kissing The Foe comes on the heels of November's digital set White Flag and the September You've Changed LP How Ill Thy World Is Ordered.

Talk Show Host: "Blood in the Sand"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp - Watch on YouTube

The long-awaited debut full-length from Toronto pop-punk trio Talk Show Host finally has a release date. The 10-song Mid-Century Modern is due July 4 from LA punk label Wiretap Records and Disconnect/Disconnect in the UK. The announcement came alongside a new video for the hooky lead single "Blood in the Sand."

Vocalist/guitarist Chris Veinot commented on the clip in a statement:

"The video has nothing to do with the song and everything to do with the fact that we are still under lockdown and all we have footage of is cats. Sincere apologies to all the dog persons.

It started life as a surf-inspired track but we couldn't resist the ever-present urge to turn it into a power-pop singalong. The lyrics recount the plot of a non-existent delinquent teen movie I dreamed about during a full moon, something from the mid-to-late 60s that could've been directed by Al Adamson or Ray Dennis Steckler. The title doesn't sound like what the song sounds like, but it was the name of the picture in the dream. We might have destroyed the fabric of space & time if we'd changed it, y'know?"

Be thankful they didn't. We have enough problems these days.

The new record finds Talk Show Host once again working with NQ Arbuckle's John Dinsmore (PUP, Great Lake Swimmers) at his Lincoln County Social Club studio. Dinsmore previously engineered the band's Not Here To Make Friends EP, along with their one-off 2020 single "This Monologue."

Talk Show Host features guitarist/vocalist Chris Veinot, drummer Sean Woolven, and bassist Fabien Rivenet.

Nyssa: "It's a Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In)"

Listen at YouTube - Streaming links

Last year Nyssa's incredible multi-year run of show-stopping singles finally came together as a cohesive album, but that material remained exclusive to the digital realm - until now. The glam-pop artist's Girls Like Me is finally getting the vinyl treatment, arriving later this month through the Fuzzed and Buzzed label.

The announcement came along with the release of a new cover song, slated as a bonus for the record when it arrives. "It's a Nice World To Visit (But Not To Live In)" dates back to 1968, appearing as a b-side to Ann-Margret's "You Turned My Head Around" (and notably produced by Lee Hazlewood). Nyssa's version features production from U.S. Girls' Meg Remy and mixing by Badge Époque Ensemble's Max Turnbull. Matthew Aldred (Modern Superstitions, Michael Rault) appears on guitar, Matt McClaren (Maylee Todd, Biblical) on synths, Badge Époque's Jay Anderson appears on drums.

TJ Cabot & Sonic Hz: Out Of Touch

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Maritime garage-punk revolutionary TJ Cabot is back with a new collaboration with Moncton synthwave artist Sonic Hz. Out Of Touch is the second recent EP linking the two, following last summer's "Overcompensation" single. The new three-song set features Cabot on vocals, drums, guitar, and bass, with Sonic adding synth, organ, and keys to the mix. You can snag it on Bandcamp.

TJ Cabot's otherwise known as Tyler Boutilier - member of the Phone Jerks, The Beaten Hearts, and Nerve Button. Late last year, he released an essential home-recorded LP on Alien Snatch as TJ Cabot & Thee Artificial Rejects.

In his civilian life, Sonic Hz goes by the name of Nicholas Karl McNally. He last released the EP Paradigm in December. His high-octane rock band The Atlantix also recently issued a self-titled EP just this past January.

Young Guv & James Matthew VII: "Til I Find Love Again"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Ben Cook's Young Guv has a new collaborative single out with his frequent collaborator James Matthew VII. You can stream "Til I Find Love Again" at Bandcamp now.

Sometimes billed as Matt Delong, JMVII's played in several bands with Cook over the years, from the earliest days of No Warning through the Marvelous Darlings to the present-day Young Guv records. He last released the psych-country solo effort Stoned When I Pray on Idée Fixe and regularly appears as a session guitarist on Matthew 'Doc' Dunn's albums. Cook, a regular member of Fucked Up, last released the twin LPs GUV I and GUV II for Run For Cover Records.

SUV: Night Blond

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp - Watch on YouTube

SUV is a new electronic music project from Nick Grottick, one-half of Toronto's Bad Channels. His new venture made its debut last week with the four-song Night Blond EP, available now at Bandcamp. Derek McKeon of ZONES helped assemble the artwork for this one.

Grottick shared a video previewing the title track late last month. You can check it out on YouTube.

Bad Waitress: "Too Many Bad Habits"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto punk group Bad Waitress has another new single online, following February's "Pre Post-Period Blues." You can check out snarling "Too Many Bad Habits" via a new home-shot video that juxtaposes our current mind-numbing confinement with footage of the group's pre-pandemic live shows. The band commented:

"Bad Habits. We all have them and the guilt surrounding them eats us up. This song is a cathartic expression of the frustration that emerges from constantly teetering on the edge. It's screaming into the faces of the devil and angel whispering in your ear. 'Too Many Bad Habits to be this broke' is a working-class battle cry."

Bad Waitress has been working with Dave Schiffman (PUP, The OBGMs) on their forthcoming album. The recent singles follow up on the band's 2018 Royal Mountain EP Party Bangers: Volume 1,

Moore Ave Underground: 6 Feet

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp - Watch on YouTube

Aylmer, Ontario's pop-punk quartet Moore Ave Underground recently a new single titled "6 Feet." You can find it at Bandcamp or through a newly unveiled self-shot video. In a press release, guitarist/vocalist Josh Gaudette linked the song to an unsettling dream of his father dying. He commented:

"Essentially, he was giving me his last words, and pieces of advice to take with me into the future... But with my dad still being alive and well, it was even weirder for me being at his bedside as he was ailing within the dream. Even more disturbing was receiving the call that he was gone...

In the dream, it all seemed so real. It made me feel super creeped out, and the whole experience of writing the song had this super creepy vibe to it, as well. I think that comes through in the track."

The track follows the band's recent singles "Beanies & Plaid Jackets," "How You've Grown," and "What's Done," along with their debut 2019 EP, It's All In My Head.

Moore Ave Underground features guitarist/vocalist Josh Gaudette, lead guitarist Joe Gaudette, bassist Jack Gaudette (all brothers), and drummer Shawn MacDonald.

MVLL Crimes: Bootlicker's Delight

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Last week the London post-hardcore group MVLL CRIMES released Bootlicker's Delight, a five-song EP that includes their recent "Witch Walk" single. The set's available as a limited cassette (packaged with a handmade zine) through Weepy Eye Tapes.

MVLL CRIMES features vocalist Jillian Clair, guitarist Pat Briggs, 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.

The new material follows up the Roadside Attractions EP from March of 2020.

Fucked Up: "Year of the Horse - Act Three"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Another month's behind us, and with its passage we've got our hands on another quarter of Year of the Horse, the new zodiac entry from Toronto's Fucked Up. "Act Three" clocks in at 22 minutes, kicking off with a haunting vocal chorus from Maegan Brooks Mills and Tuka Mohammed.

Like the preceding acts, this track goes through several distinct movements over its runtime, bringing in a host of guest players along the way. A lovely illustrated libretto has all those details available as a download while we await the eventual liner notes. On that note, there's still no word on how and when Year of the Horse will arrive in the physical realm. I suspect we'll learn next month.

Fucked Up's last proper full length was 2018's Dose Your Dreams, with the zodiac entry Year of the Snake arriving the year prior. Last year Falco and Haliechuk released their debut as the synthpop group Jade Hairpins along with an industrial EP as Masterpiece Machine (the latter featuring the late Riley Gale of the Dallas thrash act Power Trip on vocals).

Matt Ellis: "DMT Is Good For Me"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

This is an excerpt from the recent Some Party premiere. You can find the full feature on the web.

I'll admit I'm envious of Matt Ellis' descent into lockdown madness. Binging Ramones records while you're stuck in isolation seems like a perfectly reasonable way to pass the time - but what to do when you've worn that vinyl thin, and there's no new normal on the horizon? How do you cope when the virus takes the coolest local record store and kills the lights forever at the dive you've played a hundred times? Do you callously break quarantine like some boomer on Facebook? Do you bust out the Dee Dee King album? Hell no. When there are no more Ramones, you become the Ramones. When there's no safe way to get the band together, you are the band. And when there's no way to get to the studio, you make one in your goddamn bathroom while sincerely hoping that your family understands that you're going through some shit.

Over the 2020 isolation era, Matt Ellis crafted four EPs of snotty, low-fi Ramones worship from his Hamilton home. The series began in April with High Risk Assurance, followed in May by Stays Home. Halfway to Insanity arrived in June, with the series wrapping that July with Never Was, Is And Never Shall Be. Those demos provided the stir-crazy bedrock for what would become Full Moon Fever, an 18-song cry for help that's since escaped the digital realm - out now on vinyl from Italy's Surfin' Ki Records. I'm thrilled to share with you Matt's video for the record's lead track: "DMT is Good for Me." Befitting the record's pragmatic origins, the clip finds Matt back where it all started. Ellis tells me:

"Forget your job, forget this awful world, pack that pipe and blast off to outer space. The video was filmed on a cell phone camera in a bathroom, with beer and $10 worth of tinfoil. It's never too late to decide that you don't want to grow up."

The inescapable gravity of da brudders notwithstanding, Ellis' devotional love his southern Ontario forebearers is on full display here: from Teenage Head to The Vapids. Full Moon Fever suitably features Jimmy Vapid drumming on most tracks, with Curtis Tone of Toronto punks School Damage lending a helping hand on several others. Percussion aside - everything else is Ellis - bouncing off the walls between the shower and the toilet.

You can snag a copy of Full Moon Fever now through Bandcamp or Surfin' Ki.

React to it at your leisure

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