Sunday April 25, 2021

Grow Up

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.

Wasting Time: "Grow Up"

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Everyone loves a good three-minute pop-punk tune, and I was thrilled this week to debut a new classic from Wasting Time that hits the nail on the head. While the Toronto quartet claims influence from the Alkaline Trio, No Use For A Name, and the Smoking Popes, to my ear, this single truly evokes the youthful charge of the early Lookout Records roster. You can check out the energetic "Grow Up" below and decide for yourself. The track's due to be part of the band's upcoming sophomore full-length Once More Without Feeling, due later this year. Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, Junior Battles) recorded the track at Drive Studios.

Wasting Time revealed that the coming of age song grapples with some of the life lessons they had to learn on the road. I don't know about you, but at this point in the prolonged lockdown, I'm yearning for any and all tales of travel - even the rough ones. "Grow Up" follows November's "Runaways" and July's "My Limited French" in previewing Wasting Time's next record. The new material follows up the band's 2019 EP Separation From Your Senses and their 2018 full-length Tales from the Morgue.

Wasting Time features guitarist/vocalist Mad Vlad, bassist Mike, lead guitarist Mark, and drummer Mikey.

Body Breaks: "Between the Heart and the Mind"

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Toronto's Julie Reich (Bile Sister, Chandra) and Montreal's Matt LeGroulx (Expwy, Galaxius Mons) recently debuted their new band Body Breaks - a project focused on microtonal rock songs. If your music theory's a little rusty (or, like my own, exclusively cribbed from Wikipedia), here's a primer: microtonality refers to music composed using intervals that fall outside the usual twelve-per-octave that's the standard in Western music. A rock song written to this standard can feel fascinatingly unfamiliar, if not uncomfortably askew.

LeGroulx commented on how he approached composing Body Breaks' 8-song debut:

"Initially, I was trying to tune my guitar to Balinese gamelan scales. I quickly came to realize those tunings sounded very normal and beautiful to me. I finally settled on quarter tone - a subset of microtonal music - because it seemed to me that no matter how much I heard, it never sounded in tune."

You can experience the less travelled tonal road now through "Between the Heart and Mind," the first single from the upcoming Bad Trouble. Reich, who serves as the duo's lyricist, spoke of the personal trials that inspired the track:

"I wrote that song after I caught someone cheating on me and eventually came to forgiveness. When you're trying to make sense of something hard, you've got your feelings and your rationale. You need to use both, and somewhere in the middle you find peace."

The song debuted alongside a video by Natalie Logan. You can see it now at YouTube.

Bad Trouble arrives on vinyl this June through We Are Time, the label recently launched by members of the Chandra band. The record comes packaged with a booklet that delves deeper into the concepts behind microtonality, including guitar tunings so that you can follow along at home.

Odonis Odonis: "Impossible"

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Toronto industrial outfit Odonis Odonis continue the slow march towards October's Spectrums. You may recall the duo's plans to colour-code each batch of previews to reflect the album's varied emotional focus. The first round, featuring "Get Out" and "Salesmen," was set against red - aggressive, passionate, but perhaps not unfamiliar if you've dug the band's past forays into thumping EBM. This new cut, titled "Impossible," comes cloaked in blue - presenting a softer, poppier version of Odonis Odonis that dives deep into New Order-styled new wave.

Denholm Whale commented on the track in a feature at FLOOD, revealing:

"'Impossible' was actually an old abandoned demo that Dean had deep in his hard drive. We completely restructured it and re-did most of the instrumentation but kept the original vocal lines. It's the first of the tracks to be released from the new record that showcases a different direction than what we have been accustomed to on the last few releases."

Odonis Odonis emerges from the pandemic as a duo, paired back to founding players Dean Tzenos and Denholm Whale. Spectrums arrives as the band's fifth full-length, due October 15 through the Felte. It follows the genre-shifting band's 2019 EP Reaction and their 2017 full-length No Pop.

Pillea: "The Weight"

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Montreal's Micah Brown recently shared the second preview of Swell, the first LP from his new solo project Pillea "The Weight" serves as the record's opening track. It's a downtempo counterpart to "Great Success," the upbeat and memorable single which debuted the band's emo-flavoured power-pop just a few weeks ago. Speaking to Under The Radar, Brown commented:

"'The Weight' was the first song I wrote for the record. It's about trying not to give into self-destructive behavior so that I can be there for myself and the people in my life. There is reference to depression, but more literally I have an arthritic hip, and the weight of my body along with neglecting care routines can exasperate inflammation and affect my mood. The song seems somber but it's honestly more of a pep talk to myself, to remember that there is potential for relief from whatever I'm experiencing physically and emotionally at that time."

The eight-song Swell drops May 7 from Tennessee's Sun Eater Records. Brown recorded at the Sanctuary Theatre in Saint John and Scrapi in Montreal, with Billy Mannino (producer for Oso Oso) mixing.

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

Category 514: No Love For Fakes

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Category 514 in a punishing new Montreal hardcore duo from members of GAZM - with Seb ("Brutal Seb") up front on vocals, guitar, and bass with Joshua ("Joe Rage") on drums and backing and backing shouts. The group's new demo, No Love For Fakes, presents a wild pastiche of hardcore tropes, delivered with absurd conviction yet wholly self-aware. Speaking to No Echo, the duo commented on their approach:

"Initially we wanted to do a pure '90s death/doom revival record but we realized that that pool of bands is too saturated right now, As history has shown again and again, it's OK to be 3 years late to a metal trend if you claim it's a hardcore band and talk shit on the mic...

Musically speaking, the whole idea was kind of like, what if every kind of heavy evil music from the mid-'90s was put together. Imagine Bulldoze and Carcass with a touch of Evil Pimp thrown into a blender to make some real potent dumb idiot juice."

The 5-song set arrived last week, bookended by a chest-pounding diss track and a slick digital outro. You can snag a limited cassette through Ice Island Hardcore while they last. A video featuring "Read The Room" also recently surfaced at YouTube.

Micah Brown (of the above-mentioned Pillea, but before that, a frequent GAZM collaborator) recorded and mixed the release. GAZM-proper last released Heavy Vibe Music in 2019.

Faiyaz And The Wasted Chances: "Glow"

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Toronto garage-punks Faiyaz And The Wasted Chances recently shared their second new single of the year, with "Glow" following quickly on the heels of "Dead Animals." Principle Faiyaz Shah commented on the swaggering track in a recent press mailing:

"I wrote 'Glow' at a time when I was working a full time job while touring in multiple bands and sleeping on the floor. It's the song you hear at 5:30am, half dead waiting alone for a street car.

...'Glow' is the song you hear on your 8 hour shift break to remind you that there's worth in all of this. There are still moments worth experiencing and taking in, as small as taking a bath or as beautiful as the night sky."

Along with February's "Dead Animals," the new track marks the band's first new material in nearly two years. Shah sings, plays guitar and bass on the track, with Dylan Guiliano drumming. The Wasted Chances' latest material arrives via the LootBag Records label.

TJ Felix: BIGPOETRYASS

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Industrial Priest Overcoats are no more. Vancouver-based Secwépemc artist TJ Felix recently retired the name after more than a decade of use. Nonetheless, the weird-punk solo project continues undeterred - with past works either now reattributed to TJ Felix or archived. In a Facebook post, Felix shared a bit on their rationale behind the shift:

"I started recording songs in 2009 by myself in the backrooms & basements of punk houses, hourly studios when I was homeless, & once, even a professional recording studio (kinda)... from 2012-2014, IPO was a band that played a bunch of shows, went on a couple chaotic tours, made some friends/enemies, slept on ppls floors, etc etc (you know.. typical band shit)

I have some fond memories from these times.. but it was mostly a fucking nightmare... I don't regret any of it tho... except for the name maybe... IPO, as a name, carries a lot of soggy, gross baggage for me... none of which I feel like unpacking here.. I'm happy to be finally changing it"

The first new recording since the change arrived last week as BIGPOETRYASS, a high-strung two-song EP featuring "Unlerning" and "Sacred Criminal." You can pick it up now at Bandcamp. It follows January's I Used to Pick Berries - the now-final release of the IPO era. What the change means for the full-length Felix has teased over the past year remains to be seen.

Barrasso: "Panacée" / "Contre la montre"

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Montreal punk group Barrasso returns this spring with a new self-titled EP. You can preview the set by streaming the dark and fuzzy album cuts "Panacée" and "Contre la montre" over at Bandcamp. The record arrives as a 7" from Music Mansion Records on May 14.

Barrasso features guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Beauregard, bassist/vocalist Louis-Simon Bastien, guitarists Philip Goyette and Thierry Bourgault-D'Amico, and drummer Francis Paquette. The new EP follows the group's 2018 LP COLADA.

Thick Glasses: "MVP"

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Montreal skate-punk trio Thick Glasses have an anthemic new single online titled "MVP." It lands as the follow-up to their summer 2020 EP Courir après sa queue. A write-up on the group's Bandcamp profile explains that the new track "brings back confused and shameful memories after a night of celebration where lots of questionable decisions were made." Importantly, Those same notes also reveal that the family sports comedy MVP: Most Valuable Primate (about a hockey-playing chimp) was retitled Mon Vaillant Primate in Francophone markets for the sake of maintaining the acronym. The incredible things you learn assembling this newsletter — song's cool, too.

Thick Glasses features guitarist/vocalist Charles-Étienne de Villers, bassist David Roy, and drummer Gabriel Guimond-Mercille.

Edmund Stay: Posterboy

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The latest issue of Toronto's high-concept scene-document Ultra premiered a new single from the synth-backed alt-pop artist Edmund Stay. Unlike the hazy, neon-washed moods of his recent output, "Posterboy" finds the artist trading in sinister goth with a thumping industrial backing. The track features harmonies by Carlyn Bezic (Jane Inc, Ice Cream) with production by Beliefs' Josh Korody (Weaves, Dilly Dally).

A claustrophobic video for the track comes courtesy of Johan Arthurs and the Acid River Org. "Posterboy" is the latest esoteric recording project to arrive via Toronto's Rare Drugs collective (BEDS, Pink Acid Wash). The track follows Stay's 2020 single "Lotus Step" and the 2019 EP Hot Nights In Cat Town.

Me The Guts: Spilt Guts Over Rough Cuts

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Last week the technical Saskatoon punk act Me The Guts shared Spilt Guts Over Rough Cuts, a new 8-song full-length that's awash in the influence of Propagandhi and A Wilhelm Scream. The record arrives on vinyl through Wasted Wax and Fixed Frequency. The group recorded at their local Sweat Shoppe studio, with John Harcus of the Scottish punk band Pmx mixing and mastering.

Me The Guts currently operates as a duo pairing vocalist/drummer Derek Kuchirka and guitarist Josh Collins (A New Rhetoric). The new record follows their 2018 LP Lost Faith In Our Guts and an recent EP of SNFU covers paying tribute to the late Mr. Chi Pig.

Gemstones: "Count On Me"

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Dartmouth garage-rock trio Gemstones recently premiered a video for "Count On Me" through our friends at Neon Waste. The track's one of four from Novel of Nothing, the lo-fi group's new four-song 7" for Celluloid Lunch Records. You can find the split-screen clip playing on YouTube now.

Gemstones brings together a roster of veteran players, lead by guitarist/vocalist KC Spidle (Diamondtown, Dog Day) with bassist Cody Googoo (Booji Boys Misanthropic Minds) and drummer Chris Thompson (Eric's Trip, Diamondtown). Novel of Nothing followed the band's February cassette release, Nevermind.

Les Mains Sales: "Poudre Aux Yeux"

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Melodic Montreal punk quartet Les Mains Sales has a new video online showcasing "Poudre Aux Yeux," a track from the group's 2020 LP Fêlures. Sébastien Froment directed the clip, pairing the song with a low-budget 90s aesthetic that could have fit right in on a late-night airing of The Wedge.

Les Mains Sales features Fred Jacques of The Sainte Catherines and Yesterday's Ring on lead vocals and guitar, with Ryan Battistuzzi (Colin Moore, Fontarabie, Yesterday's Ring, Miracles, The Bottle) on guitar, Oakhearts' Dan Cesare on bass, and Rich Bouthillier (The Sainte Catherines, Yesterday's Ring, Rudy Caya) drumming.

Fêlures arrived via Stomp Records last May.

Jawsh & The Drowned Livers: "July 12th" / "Harm"

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Red Deer's High End Denim Records continues to trickle out previews of releases delayed due to the pandemic. The latest is a pair of songs from Eloquent Trash, an acoustic set from Jawsh & The Drowned Livers. The set features Josh (Jawsh) Hauta and Jason (Ozone) Ezeard revisiting material from Trashed Ambulance and Chimp Change in a more rootsy context. The latest preview showcases "July 12th" and "Harm," which appeared in their original form on Chimp Change's 2013 record Type Zero Civilization and their 2011 set Bruises. You can check the new versions out now at Bandcamp.

In case you missed it last week, Hauta and Ezeard are also now playing in a new punk trio fronted by Joel of the Cambridge, Ontario pop-punk group Frank Dux. Dubbed Boltergeist, the group has an EP titled Maybe Another Year set for a June 4 release. A lyric video featuring "Glory Daze," their debut single, just went live at YouTube.

Kristian North: "Halfway To Heaven"

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Passion Play, the new LP from Montreal crooner Kristian North, arrives this Friday on Mothland. This week brings one final preview with a playful video for "Halfway to Heaven," a partially-animated affair from the warped mind of Jordan 'Dr. Cool' Minkoff.

Speaking on the track, one of the record's few love songs, North commented:

"It's romance, it's realism. Just as close as I can. Ya dig? I wrote it in Portugal at the end of this tour in Europe last year, so I hear castles all over the thing. Even troubadours are singing. This song sounds so warm to me like we're sitting in Renny's living room in the wintertime (it's freezing in there though)."

Passion Play finds North working with producer Renny Wilson (Faith Healer) with mastering provided by Harris Newman (PRIORS, Lungbutter, Orville Peck). The record follows the artist's 2018 solo debut, The Last Rock N Roll Record, and a past life fronting the garage-punk group Babysitter.

Robbie Morön: "Girl Can't Help It"

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Robbie Morön, vocalist of Calgary punk act The Moröns, recently announced a forthcoming collection of Every Brothers covers. Our first taste arrived last week with Robbie's version of "Girl Can't Help It" - a Bobby Troup song first performed by Little Richard in 1956 (the Everlys cut their version in `65). You can preview it now at Bandcamp. Morön's Everly Collection doesn't yet have a release date, but we'll keep an eye on High End Denim for details.

The cover follows Robbie's recent solo single "Get Off My Lawn," and The Moröns' 2020 LP Today's Special. Over the past few months, Robbie's appeared on bass as a member of Burning Nickels. That group, a Trashed Ambulance offshoot (of which there are legion), released the Bernie Goes to College EP late last year.

Freelove Fenner: "Tied Up"

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Montreal analog enthusiasts Freelove Fenner have a new video online featuring "Tied Up," a track from the art-pop group's lovely recent outing The Punishment Zone. Filmmaker Ohara Hale shot the kaleidoscopic piece in El Hierro, a volcanic island off the west coast of Africa (one of the Canary Islands). You can find the clip now on YouTube.

The Punishment Zone arrived in February through Arizona's Moone Records. It's the band's first new LP since 2013's Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner.

Freelove Fenner features Caitlin Loney and Peter Woodford, recording from their entirely analogue Bottle Garden Studio in Montreal. Woodford's a frequent mention on Some Party, having produced recent favourites from bands like Tough Age, Deliluh, Night Lunch, and Bleu Nuit.

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