Sunday April 11, 2021

Great Success

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.

Pillea: "Great Success"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Micah Brown's new Montreal-based solo project Pillea recently debuted with the single "Great Success," the first preview of his upcoming full-length Swell. The track shows off an emo-influenced power-pop sound that's earnest, vulnerable, and just wonderfully hooky - with aspects of the Weakerthans, Jimmy Eat World, and Motion City Soundtrack all shining through. You can stream the tune, one of eight due for Swell, at Bandcamp now. Look for the record on May 7 from Tennessee's Sun Eater Records.

Speaking to Brooklyn Vegan, Brown commented:

"In my early 20s I built an image of 'success' that was based more on how I felt I was being perceived, instead living a fulfilling, balanced life. It resulted in mental hardship, and bubbled up to physical symptoms. 'Great Success' is about abandoning that type of 'success,' and accepting that community, health, and just finding time to pursue what you love, is plenty. It's an important mantra throughout Swell, which also sees me coming to terms with accepting love, recognizing self-sabotage, chronic pain, and pressure to have a 'career.'"

Micah's appeared numerous times in the Some Party archives, primarily in an engineering role for bands like BBQT, Conditioner, GAZM, and NYON. As a musician, he's fronted the St. John's group MAANS and toured as a guitarist with Fog Lake.

Brown recorded Swell at the Sanctuary Theatre in Saint John and Scrapi in Montreal. Billy Mannino (producer for Oso Oso) mixed the record. Eric Hudson, guitarist of the St. Louis indie rockers Foxing, contributes guitar and synth to a handful of Pillea songs as well.

Block Parent: "SUBAR"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Cambridge, Ontario's snotty pop-punk outfit Block Parent recently announced Sick Year, Bro!, a pandemic-informed 10-song full-length due in the spring. Look for the set on May 7, both as a cassette on Brampton's Glue Gun Records and as a limited CD run (perhaps the most spiritually appropriate format given the Nimrod homage gracing the cover).

You can preview the track "SUBAR" at Bandcamp now, where the typically bratty band seems almost reflective in their write-up:

"Growing up is a painful and beautiful experience. It mutates and morphs ya into the chud loving critter you never thought you'd see reflecting back at ya in a pool of your own vomit.

We hold onto the pains of nostalgia with our beer-soaked fists while we anxiously hide our disdain and discomfort for a scary and confusing world... but we have each other.

We'll grow old together and we'll absolutely get weirder. In the end, all we can do is embrace our flaws, accept our self destruction, face our anxieties and hold on to what we love... past present and future."

Block Parent features guitarist/vocalist Jacob Verkerke, bassist/vocalist Jake Dodge, and drummer Zack Dodge. The group recorded with Marcelle Rusu as Bloom Studios. The new album follows the trio's 2020 EP Take Off Your Pants and Jack Off, their half of the Grand River Transplit collaboration with Frank Dux.

Ship of Fools: "Status Quo"

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Social-minded Newmarket punks Ship of Fools have a new EP due this Friday. Status Quo arrives April 16 through Montreal's Hell For Breakfast. You can stream the record's title track, a fast-moving, tempo-shifting blast of technical punk, at Bandcamp and YouTube now. The band commented:

"We wrote 'Status Quo' to challenge the listener, in particular men in our society, to question their own morals and ethics, whilst also advocating for positive mental health. It is with hope that Status Quo will help influence listeners to be the best version of themselves."

The new set follows the group's 2018 full-length debut A Perfect Place for Harmony. Ship of Fools features vocalist/guitarist Andrew Yeo, guitarist Niall Gunovski, bassist Chris Seymour, and drummer Greg Nathaniel.

Burgundy Boys: Burgundy Boys

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David O'Connor and Nathan Burger of Hamilton's TV Freaks have a new six-song EP of "unthunk punk" out as the Burgundy Boys. The pair recorded the snarling set during one of the COVID lockdowns, with Burger drumming and O'Connor playing everything else. You can snag the duo's self-titled debut at Bandcamp now.

Burgundy Boys is just the latest such side-gig from the pair. In 2017 O'Connor and Burger released a set of scuzzy weird-punk tracks as Pneumatic Tube. TV Freaks-proper last released People in 2020, a fantastic LP that put a new psych spin on their well-established garage-punk assault. It's available through Schizophrenic Records. O'Connor also released the solo record Pink Dreams in early 2020 as Sweet Dave.

ROY: "I'm Not Afraid"

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Idée Fixe recently shared the second preview of Roy's Garage, the new 13-track full-length from Patrick Lefler's psych-pop project ROY. "I'm Not Afraid" shuffles along with a vintage mix of acoustic strumming and harmonica, with Lefler's baritone vocals front and center. The tune throws off some serious Doors vibes over its two-minute runtime.

Roy's Garage arrives May 14 as the down-to-earth counterpart of 2020's lush concept record Peace Love and Outer Space. It lands just a few months prior to the new album from Toronto psych outfit Possum, also featuring Lefler. That group returns this summer with Lunar Gardens. I shared some news and a song from that record in last week's edition, so don't miss out.

PACKS: "New TV"

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There's another new single online from the buzzing Toronto low-fi rockers PACKS. "New TV" is our second taste of their forthcoming LP Take The Cake, again showcasing the sly wonder of Madeline Link's deceptively languid vocals. The artist commented on the track in a press release:

"I got the chance to witness a craigslist transaction of two bros selling a hideous pink couch to an eager young man with a U-HAUL. As they lovingly demonstrated the LA-Z-BOY function, everyone seemed pretty impressed. New TV boxes and old couches litter curbs every garbage day. This song goes out to other people's garbage."

You can check the song out now through Bandcamp or as part of a new video on YouTube. Take The Cake is due digitally on May 21, with vinyl shipping for July 9 through Royal Mountain and Fire Talk Records.

PACKS is the latest evolution of Madeline Link's bedroom recording project, which played in recent years as PAX. The four-piece features Link backed by guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper. As PAX, that group last released the full-length Ouch in 2019 through Art of the Uncarved Block, with the digital EPs Melt It Down and Sucked Up surfacing online in the time since.

Blood Ties: Blood Ties

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Slow Death Records continues in their singular mission to document the BC hardcore scene, with their latest release arriving as a 10-song 7" from the gruff Kamloops hardcore unit Blood Ties. The set debuts the group's new lineup, with vocalist Harrison Dempsey (Outpatient, Watch Dog) now backed by guitarist Damon, bassist Cam, and drummer Ian. The crew recorded with producer Braden Decorby (Chain Whip, Nightfucker, Night People).

Kristian North: "Shadow Of The Pyramids"

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Montreal crooner Kristian North recently shared the theatric third single from his fast-approaching LP Passion Play. You can find the alt-pop artist's "Shadow of the Pyramids" streaming everywhere and showcased in a new video from Beatrice Scharf-Pierzchala. While the press release lauds the track as "apocalyptic and nostalgic psych," those qualities are impossible to separate from North's strangely compelling journey into hi-fi soft rock. That this is the same artist who once fronted the chaotic garage-punk group Babysitter is pretty amazing.

Passion Play arrives on April 30 from Mothland. The record follows North's 2018 solo debut, The Last Rock N Roll Record.

Core Bee: Sit and Drink

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Barrie acoustic punk act Core Bee recently shared his second full-length, the 13-song Sit and Drink. The album's available now on cassette from local label Tarantula Tapes.

Core Bee plays bass in Barrie punk act Heavy Petter and drums in The Speed Humps. Sit and Drink features guest appearances from members of both groups, along with Scott Murray of The Highdives and friends from Newmarket's Hysterics. The new album follows Core Bee's January 2020 debut, Can't Sit Still.

Champion Lover: "My Body is Ready"

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Toronto noise-punks Champion Lover continue to re-assert themselves, sharing the grungy "My Body Is Ready" last week on Bandcamp. It's the band's second recent single, following "Burn Everything" in February. The new material marks the group's first new music since 2017's Russian Prince EP.

This new run of songs derives from recent studio sessions with Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton (who gets a writing credit here). A four-piece, Champion Lover features Edward Masuda, Erik Tokar, James Cain, and William Masuda.

Meanlife: "Smile In The Night"

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Jackson Fishauf's eclectic songwriting project Meanlife has a new single in the wild, the tensely wound "Smile In The Night." The Toronto-based artist commented:

"We all know the tune. These days however, the simple act of smiling to a passerby on the street is fraught with unease. 'Why is this person looking at me? What are their intentions?' We live in dark times of justifiable paranoia, where a park at night is more likely to be the scene of a crime than an ideal location for love at first sight.

When women fear for their safety at the hands of strangers, what are the implications of a 'smile in the night'? The song's lyrics narrate the conflicted inner monologue of a night walker who assesses the tense state of affairs in which 'people might take a smile in the night all wrong' while lamenting that 'really I wouldn't hurt a fly'.

You can preview the tune now through a surreal video featuring illustrations from Emily Stein layered atop Toronto street footage from YouTuber TheKenContinuum.

"Smile" arrives soon after the stylistically varied singles "Delete Me" and "WTF." The new material's likely due on the yet-to-be-announced follow-up to 2019's Bad Vibes in the Womb.

The Bloody Hell: "When You're Gone"

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Halifax bruisers The Bloody Hell have a new single online. "When You're Gone" lands in the wake of December's politically charged "Nobody Cares About America Anymore." The gritty horror-punk track comes packaged with a skin-crawling stop motion video from Diane Lindo (they previously worked with the band on the 2019 video for "Out of Our Minds"). You can check it out now on YouTube.

The Bloody Hell recorded their latest material at Dartmouth's New Scotland Yard Studio in June of 2020. Expect these tracks as part of No Matter How Hard I Tried, the band's sophomore full-length due later this year.

Ripcordz: "Tear It Down"

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Canadian punk lifers Ripcordz have a new video online for "Tear It Down," a track from their 2020 LP Don't Buy the First Album, Jerk-Wad, Get This One! (and one billed as a spiritual successor to their 2003 tune "The Fence"). Paul Ferguson put the clip together, working remotely with the band during the pandemic. You can check it out now at YouTube.

On the road and recording in various forms since 1980, this latest version of the Ripcordz features guitarist/vocalist Paul Gott backed by bassist Alex Gauthier and drummer Gopal D.

B.A. Johnston: "I Don't Smoke Government Weed (Still Buying from Steve)"

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Hamilton poet laureate B.A. Johnston keeps sharing new material with all the careful stagecraft and production value that these harrowing times allow. His latest is "I Don't Smoke Government Weed," delivered from what appears to be his kitchen. The artist commented, succinctly:

"Why buy weed from the government when you can get it in a 711 parking lot?"

You can view the clip on Johnston's various social channels. It follows the recent acoustic number "Why Can't Tonight Be Wing Night." Solid gold hits, one and all.

Johnston last issued The Skid Is Hot Tonight in 2019 through Transistor 66. I expect much of this recent online material to reappear as studio recordings on the follow-up to that record (the rumoured Werewolves of London, Ontario). In lieu of proper touring and with the nation's dive bars shuttered - Johnston's been booking up the summer with socially distanced driveway shows, appearing wherever the nation's health authorities allow him to roam.

React to it at your leisure

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