Sunday June 13, 2021

Half Twin

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.

LIDS: "Furniture" / "Half Twin"

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I'm predisposed to love Toronto supergroup LIDS, given the personnel involved, but the band's 2015 single certainly accrued some added symbolic weight last spring. One benefit of my COVID-era remote work arrangement is that my impromptu home office happens to be saddled right up against my turntable. Given that I'm an arm's reach of the platter, it's got more regular daytime use than ever before. Furthermore, I'm a sucker for spooky coincidence. I pull meaning from chaos against my better instincts. For those reasons, the appropriately named "Sarsfest" from LIDS' first EP became something of a regular spin - a gallows humour anthem for my indefinite stay in this cold basement.

"Sarsfest" (named, of course, for the massive benefit concert following the 2003 SARS epidemic in Toronto) served as the B-side to "Blank Flag," with the pair comprising the post-punk trio's entire discography to date. The follow-up, never expected but absolutely welcome, arrived this week from Sub Pop as part of the sixth volume of their storied Singles Club. Similar in form to their debut, this release features a second pair of songs: the propulsive "Furniture" on the A-side backed with the sinister stomp of "Half Twin." You can acquire the physical record if you happen to be a member of Sub Pop's subscription service (which is both limited and nearly sold out, so let's assume you can't), but you can do the next best thing and snag the digital versions at Bandcamp.

LIDS features Alex Edkins, guitarist of the Toronto noise-punks METZ, Doug MacGregor, bassist for my beloved Constantines, and Brian Borcherdt of the celebrated alt-electronica group Holy Fuck. This release arrives (almost) concurrently with Borcherdt's new record in his slow-burning solo guise Dusted. His new LP, III, arrives June 30.

Hopefully, we don't need to wait for the end of another viral cataclysm to get more from LIDS, but it's become something of a motif.

Chain Whip: "Two Step to Hell"

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Chain Whip's maintained a constant state of agitation throughout their short career. With the Vancouver band's next record on the horizon, there's little evidence that their time in isolation's cooled anyone down. The opposite may be true. The classically-minded hardcore act recently announced the EP Two Step To Hell, a six-song set dropping July 15. The news arrived alongside a stream of the title track and a bold declaration of intent at Bandcamp. It snarled:

"For me it started in December 2019 when a developer unveiled a 5 million dollar chandelier to hang from the Granville Street Bridge - a testament to wealth and the city's cluelessness. A smug fuck you on display for the world to ogle while people froze in sleeping bags underneath. That insult grew into something more tangible.

2020 was the year that an ever-worsening overdose epidemic was too boring for most news cycles. We watched citizens of North America get murdered in real time by pigs. White supremacists marched in the streets, encouraged by their revered grifters. Major news corporations backed both on primetime while demonizing people for just wanting to stay alive.

We sat back, depressed and tuned into the images. We wished that we could just pull the plug on the nightmare around us. We attended some demonstrations, organized some benefits. Stayed home and we drank and drugged. We tried to sleep away the reality. Just like pollution makes the sunsets richer, we danced that good beat; a dependable, monotonous, continuous death

It hasn't quite come for us yet but we're still dancing to that tune ever closer to the edge."

Damn.

Two Step to Hell arrives later this year as a 12" EP, landing in Canada through Neon Taste, with Drunken Sailor handling the UK and Europe. Of these six tracks, three are re-recorded versions of material from Chain Whip's 2020 Demo, two are brand new, and the closer's a cover of Subhumans' "Death Was Too Kind" (written by the late, great, Brian "Wimpy Roy" Goble). The band recorded with Braden Decorby.

Chain Whip features Josh Nickel of Fashionism on vocals, Joel Butler of Nervous Talk, The Moby Dicks, and Corner Boys on guitar, Brett Thompson of Stress Eating on bass, and Patrick Bertrand of Corner Boys on drums. The band last released 14 Lashes in 2019. The aforementioned 2020 Demo, which surfaced online last July, will also soon see a limited vinyl release from No Spirit Records in Germany.

Diamondtown: "Hide"

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Dartmouth folk-rock/shoegaze group Diamondtown recently unveiled a new two-song single featuring the tracks "Hide" and "Wake." The band describes the A-side as:

"...a sad yet uplifting dreamscape for you to find solace in. The world can be so messed up and overwhelming sometimes, which has led to escapism being a common topic in our writing.

The band recorded the new set live in a weekend between Nova Scotia's first and second waves of COVID, build in "Hide" atop a looping twelve-string arpeggio from Evan Cardwell. The set's available on a sure-to-be-rare 7", limited to 50 and lathe cut by Red Spade Records. It's arriving as the band's physical debut through Label Obscrua (the label's first new release in three years).

Diamondtown grew as an extension of Husband & Knife, a duo featuring KC Spidle (of the beloved Halifax gloom-pop group Dog Day) and Evan Cardwell. The group also features Chris Thompson (of Moonsocket and the legendary Eric's Trip), Kate O'Neill, and Meg Yoshida (Dog Day, Century Egg).

Mr. Joy: "Temptation"

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The pandemic left Toronto psych-pop quartet Mr. Joy a geographically scattered band, but proximity isn't the constraint it used to be. Despite three of the band's members leaving the city, the group remained in touch to assemble a new EP at a distance, with the four-song Yes! Yes! Yes! slated for a July 9 release. Mononymous singer-songwriter Blob commented on the new sounds in a press release, contrasting the work with the group's early 2020 record The Dreamer's Workbook:

"As a pseudo concept album, The Dreamer's Workbook allowed us to indulge ourselves musically without worrying too much about a singular sound... These [new] songs were written for a live performance first, over the course of a few rehearsals. It's definitely mellower and gets deeper into soundscape territory. On this album we got into the idea of dub mixes, resampling ourselves a lot more and making grooves out of the pieces."

Alongside Blob, Mr. Joy features Steven McPhail on sampler, Asher Gould-Murtagh on drums, and Harrison Forman on guitar, bass, and synth (the latter recording from a newfound nomadic life - residing in a trailer roaming the American desert). Gould-Murtagh produced the record and helped cat-herd the distributed recording process. Mr. Joy recorded bed tracks for the project in Toronto with ROY's Patrick Lefler.

The record's first single, a shimmering, laid-back tune dubbed "Temptation," is streaming online now at Bandcamp.

Hélène Barbier: "Get a Grip"

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Montreal's Hélène Barbier recently shared the final preview of the fast-approaching Regulus, sharing the off-kilter minimalism of "Get a Grip" in a new video. The clip finds the art-pop songwriter working with director Rafael Sommerhalder. The filmmaker commented on the piece:

"I wanted to create still lifes of a cruel nightmare. Drowning, stabbing, burning, almost breaking. Circling fantasies enacted by objects. I hope that in combination with the music, the voice, the lyrics, these lifeless things will start to resonate and provoke an emotion and an odd smile despite the darkness."

Regulus arrives this Friday, June 18, with Michel Records handling the digital and CD release and Celluloid Lunch issuing vinyl. Among the 12-song playlist, which alternates between English and French, you'll find a cover of "You Little Nothing" by Detroit garage legends The Gories. Regulus features several notable collaborators, with Joe Chamandy (Itchy Self/Protruders) on guitar, Thomas Molander and Samuel Gougoux (VICTIME/TDA) on percussion, Diana Gerasimov on backing vocals, and both Ben Lalonde and Olivier Demeaux on keys. Freelove Fenner's Peter Woodford recorded the group at the Bottle Garden in Montreal. Faith Healer's Renny Wilson mixed at Value Sound.

Regulus follows Barbier's 2019 LP Have You Met Elliott?. Earlier in her career, she fronted the post-punk groups Moss Lime and Phern.

Body Breaks: "Break The Icons Down"

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Microtonal rock duo Body Breaks are showcasing their new single "Break The Icons Down" with a new video by Jordan 'Dr. Cool' Minkoff (you'll recognize his distinctive animated work for bands like Kristian North, Teenanger, and Suuns). "Break The Icons Down" is distinct among the 8-songs comprising Bad Trouble in that it features Matt LeGroulx taking lead vocals.

Speaking to Post-Trash, LeGroulx revealed:

"'Break The Icons Down' was written while I was out on tour with my friend's band Chairs. I had been working with quarter tones and didn't want to stop for two weeks so I brought a classical guitar that I had strung up with two sets of G, B, and E strings tuned a quarter tone apart. If I remember correctly I wrote that song in Hamilton but somehow managed to remember it until I got home. It's the only song on the album that uses one guitar tuned in quarter tones rather than two guitars tuned a quarter tone apart. The lyrics aren't about anything in particular so feel free to construct your own meaning."

Body Breaks features instrumentation from LeGroulx (Expwy, Galaxius Mons), with lyrics and vocals from Julie Reich (Bile Sister, Chandra). The pair's split between Montreal and Toronto.

Bad Trouble arrives on vinyl this Friday, June 18, 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: "Trust" / "In The Fire"

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Toronto industrial mainstays Odonis Odonis have another pair of preview songs online, continuing the gradual unveiling of October's Spectrums LP. You can stream the rapid-fire "Trust" and the hushed grooves of "In The Fire" at Bandcamp now, with both featured in new visualizers at YouTube. Adam Seward and Julianna Carlevaris assembled the videos, which embrace the colour wheel motif that's cycled with each single (we've reached the yellow level if it wasn't obvious).

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.

Dart Mouth: "Sweet Sangria"

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Toronto psych-folk group Dart Mouth recently shared a video for "Sweet Sangria," the lead single from their imminent seven-song collection Dart Mouth's Sangria Special. You can find the rootsy kaleidoscopic clip, directed by the band's Sam Maloney, over at YouTube.

Dart Mouth's Sangria Special features lead vocals, acoustic guitar (and a half dozen other instruments) by songwriter Cameron Kirk (Dirt Green). Evan Chladny (of his namesake Chladny) plays lead electric on the record. Sam Maloney tackles an array of percussion, while William O'Neill contributes bass to several tracks. Each player recorded themselves solo (a sign of the times) and chipped in on backing vocals. ROY's Patrick Lefler (his second mention this week) mixed the record, with Brent O'Toole mastering. Brampton's Glue Gun Records is offering the Sangria Special as a double cassette release, packaged with the band's last EP, Dweller. The tapes ship in July, with the digital available this Friday, June 18.

Ripper and the Jesses: "Masks"

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Saskatoon pop-punk group Ripper and the Jesses recently shared a video for "Masks," the band's melodic new single and their contribution to the recent Fixed Frequency label sampler. The clip finds guitarist/vocalist Aaron on a bike ride through an expanding suburban neighbourhood. While they're off-camera here, Aaron's joined in the trio by bassist Kraleb and drummer Russ.

Ripper and the Jesses released their debut EP, Velociraptor Of Love, in 2019. In the time between that record and "Masks," Russ issued a playfully aggressive, Ramones-inspired single as The Blood Of Keith Richards, also on Fixed Frequency.

Supermegatonne: Supermegaland

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Rowdy low-fi Charlottetown three-piece Supermegatonne recently shared Supermegaland, an eight-song collection of messy, erratic punk songs. The set features seven originals packaged with a cover of The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog." You can name your price for the album over at Bandcamp.

Supermegaland follows the SUPERMEGAFUN! set from last Septmeber. Supermegatonne features guitarist/vocalist Charlotte Lloyd, bassist Spencer Swaine, and drummer Jenn Lewis (with both Lloyd and Lewis also playing in the local noise group DIBS). Brett Sanderson of Antibodies and Warsh recorded and mixed the new material.

Hippie Hourrah: Hippie Hourrah!

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Simone Records recently released the self-titled debut from the Montreal psych trio Hippie Hourrah. The project brings together Cédric Marinelli of Les Marinellis, Elephant Stone's Miles Dupire-Gagnon, and Gabriel Lambert (of Elephant Stone, Anemone, The Besnard Lakes). Named after the hippie-baiting 1967 classic from Jacques Dutronc (notably later covered by the Black Lips), the group assembled a 13 track throwback to that era. You can feel that DNA in authentically trippy singles like "Fantôme" and "La guerre."

A video for "Fantôme" arrived earlier in the spring, showcased in an occult-themed video by Joey Desjardins and animator Gabriel Favreau. You can find it on YouTube now. The entire record's now streaming at Bandcamp, with LPs shipping out in early July.

Huron Lines: "The Company I Keep"

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Windsor's Huron Lines impressed with a recent pair of moody rockers, heralding their upcoming debut Lost at the Border. The third track from the band's now arrived, and it takes a bit of a swerve. "The Company I Keep" has a distinctive roots-electric sound, built around an antique baritone ukulele fed through three fuzz pedals and a 1972 Traynor amp. Here's what David Mueller had to say about the swampy tune:

"Sometimes you are your own worst enemy. Drinking too much doesn't usually end well and it's even more detrimental as a solo undertaking.. especially the older you get and the more life throws at you. Sonically this one was written on an old baritone ukulele that was given to me when I was a kid - I have never written a song on it before but had it fixed up in anticipation of passing it on to the next generation in my family when the song fell out of the sky after a late night lost in the darkness... like most of the good ones tend to do..."

Lost at the Border is due October 15 through Chieftown Music. Huron Lines recorded with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser engineering. Bill Skibbe (Fucked Up, Jack White, and The Kills) mastered at Third Man Mastering across the river in Detroit.

Huron Lines features guitarist/vocalist David Mueller with guitarist Grainger Harris, bassist/vocalist RJ Brando, and drummer Nick Mitchell. All four members previously performed in Club Thunderbolt.

Death Waits: "Empty Me"

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The grungy Toronto noise-punks Champion Lover are now known as Death Waits, and with the dark new identity comes a huge new single. "Empty Me" is the group's first audio of the new era, following the recent tracks "My Body Is Ready" and "Burn Everything." The new tunes showcase material recorded with Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton producing, so you'd be safe to assume they'll all end up on the band's next record later this year.

Whenever it arrives, the forthcoming album follows Champion Lover's final EP, Russian Prince, from way back in 2017. Death Waits lives on as a four-piece featuring Edward Masuda, Erik Tokar, James Cain, and William Masuda.

Debt Cemetary: "Daved and Confused"

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Toronto skatepunk group Debt Cemetary has a new single in the wild, with "Daved and Confused" arriving last week through Thousand Islands Records. It's the band's first follow-up to the three-song Dig It Yourself EP from the early pandemic days of 2020.

In the months since, Debt Cemetary's grown from the solo studio project of Davey Knight into a five-piece, with Eddie Knowlton (Fast Eddie) and Bill Morton (Your Pal Bill, Reminder, Wordplay) on guitar, Alex Guimond (Bussieres) on bass, and Nick MacDougall (Hotel Murder) drumming. Knight's played in the Toronto group Gnarly Horse and the Texan skatepunk group Winning Streak.

Mononegatives: Facsimile

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London synth-punk upstarts Mononegatives are fresh off the release of their debut LP, and they've already unveiled a follow-up EP. The band shared a new cassette dubbed Fascimile last week through Shit Squirt, the colourfully-named label imprint of Italy's Mimetics Zine. It arrives digitally and in a scant run of just ten tapes, featuring three new songs of buzzing cyborg punk jams.

Mononegatives recently released Apparatus Division via Big Neck Records in the US and No Front Teeth in the UK. The group recorded that set over two days in July of 2020 at London, Ontario studio The Watershed with Preston Lobzun and Eric Altomonte engineering. It followed a handful of short-form 2019 releases, including the Cheap Heat Tour Tape, the Sure Shock 7", and the 5 Second Future digital EP.

Mononegatives is one of several ongoing projects from the enviably prolific Robbie Brake (Isölation Party, Obsoletism, Klazo, among others).

Prettyboy: Darlene

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Last week the bratty Toronto punk quartet Prettyboy promised a pair of new EPs, sharing the Becky set alongside a video for the single "OICA". Look no further for the second, as Darlene is now live at Bandcamp with seven new songs.

Prettyboy recorded both sets at Hamilton's Boxcar Sound with Sean Pearson. The EPs arrive in partnership with Must Be Nice Records, with artist Megan Stanton producing a zine of song lyrics to accompany both. There's no word yet on when anything physical's due to arrive.

Prettyboy's current lineup finds founding drummer Izzy Dean (Found Objects) and guitarist Joni Cassidy now joined by vocalist Kirsten White (LILIM) and bassist Kat McGouran (WLMRT).

Dany Placard: "Carrousel"

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At the start of the year, Saguenay singer-songwriter Dany Placard shared Astronomie(suite), a companion piece to his early-2020 psych-rock opus J'connais rien à l'astronomie. A new video just surfaced featuring "Carrousel," with the song providing the soundtrack to a dirt bike excursion and raucous camping trip that goes slightly awry. Jean-Martin Gagnon directed the piece.

Astronomie(suite) features several multi-instrumentalists backing Placard, with Nicolas Beaudoin, Benoit Bouchard, Jonathan Bigras, and Dave Chose appearing in various roles. In addition, Robin Boislard-Gauthier and Julie Doiron both perform as backing vocalists. The LP arrived via Simone Records in January.

Neos: Three Teens Hellbent On Speed

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Supreme Echo's finally unveiled from their Neos discography collection. Three Teens Hellbent On Speed provides a comprehensive look at the Victoria hardcore pioneers, clocking in with a whopping 51 songs in just 48 minutes, all remastered from their original sources. The LP comes packaged with a 24-page booklet featuring a lengthy biography by guitarist/vocalist Steve Bailey, plus an archive of lyrics, posters, and photos.

The whip-fast Neos recorded and infrequently toured between 1980 and 1983, sharing the stage during their brief run with legends like the Subhumans, Black Flag, and the Dead Kennedys. Neos' only official releases during their original run were the 1982 EPs End All Discrimination and Hassibah Gets The Martian Brain Squeeze. Fight With Donald, an EP collecting rehearsal material, appeared in 1995 (it also recently saw a Supreme Echo revival).

In the very first issue of Maximumrocknroll, Jeff Bale called Neos "Possibly the fastest thrash garage punk ever recorded." You can see if that still holds up through seven remastered songs streaming now at Bandcamp. The LPs ship on July 26.

React to it at your leisure

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