Sunday August 1, 2021

Magiciens Hardcore

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.

FRVITS: "Magiciens Hardcore"

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New Montreal agitators FRVITS recently emerged from the ranks of We Are Wolves, American Lips, Blurry Eyes, and Power Nap. The quartet's first release lands September 3 through the Reno garage tastemakers at Slovenly - a fine familial fit given that the space junk DNA FRVITS shares with new labelmates Duchess Says and PRIORS. Stupid Era arrives as a six-song 7", with one track ("Abortion Hoops") featuring a vocal appearance from Blag Dahlia of the boundary-pissing Chicago punk legends The Dwarves. You can preview the thrillingly overblown first single "Magiciens Hardcore" now at Bandcamp.

Having come together during the pandemic, FRVITS' have yet to test their racket before a live audience. The group finally takes that plunge at the upcoming Pouzza 9½ - a half-step mini version of the twice-COVID-delayed Montreal punk festival slated for September 24 and 25 of this year. They've also lined up a gig supporting The Spits and Dark Thoughts in Montreal next February.

Slovenly's frenetic write-up declares FRVITS "Montreal's first and only Dot Matrix Rock'n'Roll Band," which is a gloriously nonsensical descriptor if there ever was one. On an equally spurious note - the band sports a lineup featuring one Shit Vicious on vocals, backed by Wind of Change, Krispy Karl, and Alexander Ortiz. Shrug emoji.

Slow Down Molasses: "Some Fine Action"

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Saskatoon post-punk outfit Slow Down Molasses has a third new single online from their forthcoming LP Minor Deaths. "Some Fine Action" follows the recent "Street Haunting" and "Son of Titanic" in previewing the 8-song album, due October 8. In a statement, frontman Tyson McShane commented on the shoegaze-styled track, stating:

"Some Fine Action was my attempt at writing a love song, but in typical fashion, instead I couldn't help but focus on the self-doubt, self-loathing, and struggle to be better that often accompanies even the best relationships. I've often thought that the best thing you can ask for in a partner is someone who will hold you to account and keep you striving to better, while equally being able drag you out of the worst depths when you need. I guess commiserating on those ideas is my version of a love song."

"Some Fine Action" features a few guests as well. The interdisciplinary Prairie artist respectfulchild appears on violin, while Kacy Lee Anderson of the Glentworth, SK folk group Kacy & Clayton contributes backing vocals.

The band's partnered with Halifax-based Noyes Records and Oxford's Divine Schism on the release. Yamantaka // Sonic Titan's Alaska B mixed the record, with Ryan Morey (Wares, Chad VanGaalen) mastering. The group recorded with engineer Mike LeFebvre at Saskatoon's Sweat Shoppe.

Slow Down Molasses features Tyson McShane on guitar and vocals, Aaron Scholz on guitar and synth, bass from Chris Morix, and Jordan Kurtz on drums.

Motorists: "Vainglorious"

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Toronto's jangly power-pop trio Motorists recently shared the second preview of their upcoming LP Surrounded. You can stream "Vainglorious" now at Bandcamp or see it on YouTube (through another retro-styled video patterned after the 80s German music show Beat-Club). In a press release, vocalist/guitarist Craig Fahner unpacked the track's political message, which tackles two-faced political posturing:

"We have seen the work that is actually done from the front lines to make things better for vulnerable people while our representatives do absolutely nothing, and yet they continue to congratulate themselves as progressive leaders. We have seen this with our prime minister's smiling embrace of environmental justice causes, while actively campaigning for and benefiting from the Canadian petrostate off camera. Or locally, with our mayor presenting himself as a man of the people, as someone providing solutions for people living in poverty, while, in actuality, operating as surrogate for the real estate industry that would actively like to obliterate poor people from the landscape."

Surrounded arrives on September 3, backed by three labels - Bobo Integral in Spain, We Are Time in the US, and Debt Offensive here in Canada. The band self-produced the twelve-song set, with Eddy Current Suppression Ring's Mikey Young (Dumb, Itchy Self, TV Freaks) mastering.

Motorists bring together the Calgarian expats Craig Fahner (Feel Alright, Leather Jacuzzi), Jesse Locke (Tough Age, Chandra, Simply Saucer), and Matt Learoyd (Lab Coast, Mount Analogue).

Book Buddies: "Dream Girl"

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Dartmouth indie rock unit Book Buddies recently shared their second single, with the newly unveiled "Dream Girl" following the band's February debut "Neon." You can stream it now at Bandcamp. The group bills themselves as a combination of the Nova Scotian rockers Designosaur and the metalcore act Pale Ache - with members also having appeared in Outtacontroller and Cluttered, among others.

A recent feature in The East delves into the song's criticism of social media and online culture. Vocalist Rebecca Dalley commented in the piece:

"I wrote it a few years ago and it has had so many different meanings for me since then. I really just wrote 'Dream Girl' as a way to just vent about the fakeness of the internet and the way that social media allows people into your life in a way that they feel they know you just from what they see online when in reality half of the shit we see isn't even really authentic or real at all..."

You can find the full discussion over at The East. Book Buddies features Dalley backed by Anna Cannings on bass, Andrew O'Toole on guitar, and AJ Boutilier on drums.

Safeword: "This Machine"

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The Nova Scotian indie-pop group Safeword has a similar origin story, describing themselves as "basement music therapy for four friends from Dartmouth and Halifax." The band has a new video online for "This Machine," a track from May's 9-song debut Things We Never Could Afford.

Bassist Greg Baller shot the footage in from a cellphone, following vocalist Karen Foster "smashing and lassoing things" in the streets of Halifax. I challenge you to find a more devastatingly efficient condemnation of our ever-online rut than this song's opening line: "this machine kills intimacy."

Safeword brings together members of Shoulder Season, Darts, Skullocybin, and Blackout 77. The band recorded at Ocean Floor throughout the pandemic with Charles Austin (Outtacontroller, Future Girls, Souvenir) and Franc Lopes (Walrus, Century Egg) engineering. Joel Plaskett and Thomas Stajcer mixed at New Scotland Yard.

The band features Karen Foster on vocals and keys, guitarist Dan Watt, bassist Greg Baller, and drummer Brian Foster.

Special Delivery: Maximalism

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Toronto-based post-punk/no wave act Special Delivery has a new EP out dubbed Maximalism. The five-song set, available now at Bandcamp, follows the group's March debut, Who Is Special Delivery?. The project's spearheaded by multi-instrumentalist David MacDonald, a transplant from Scotland where he played in groups like Buffet Lunch and False Bliss. Here he's working solo and tackling every role (guitar, bass, keys, percussion, vocals, etc. - while also working a skronky wooden sax into the mix).

Rick White: "Whatever It Is"

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Rick White has a second video online promoting his new solo record Where It's Fine. "Whatever It Is" relishes in Byrds-inspired psychedelia, and while White's home-shot clip relies solely on a low-budget mirror effect, it's enough to give the tune a suitably surreal visual accompaniment. You can find the video on YouTube now.

Where It's Fine collects solo recordings tracked at the influential indie rocker's home studio during the last year or so. A limited vinyl run is available now through Blue Fog Recordings.

The new set follows White's 2019 "psych fairytale" record The Opening with Elyn Sof and his front-to-back digital cover of Sloan's Peppermint. White's label has shared several archival releases from his past bands over the course of the pandemic - including vinyl reissues of Eric's Trip's debut EP Peter (expanded into an LP) and new pressings of the Elevator/Elevator to Hell records Eerieconsiliation and August.

Soul Boner: Liliana's Divorce

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Eliza Niemi's Vain Mina Records recently unveiled the debut tracks from Montreal's Soul Boner - a skewed mix of lo-fi punk and sample-heavy hyperpop from the filmmaker duo of Ryan Al-Hage and Nara Wriggs. The clip features Wriggs providing stream-of-consciousness lyrics to Al-Hage's busy instrumental backing, coming together in a frenzy that's not altogether dissimilar to the latter's work as a member of Toronto's dearly departed WLMRT. The duo has four songs available as part of an EP titled Liliana's Divorce.

A press release sheds some light on how the project came together:

"This past winter, Ryan recorded 4 instrumentals with an iPhone 6s and a Zoom H5 in a basement in Toronto. In the spring, Nara recorded vocals for 2 of the songs on a Samsung S9. The other 2 vocal takes were improvised into a Sony UX570 on a terrace somewhere on King Street. In the summer, Ryan and Nara subleased an apartment together in Montreal. Eliza Niemi visited them for a week. The 3 of them flipped through a pile of Magic: The Gathering cards, looking for an album name. Eliza misread the card 'Liliana's Devotee' as 'Liliana's Divorce.'"

Sam Coffey: "Hard Livin'"

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Anyone familiar with Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs' earlier work knows the band dabbled in country music long before they blossomed into the punky next coming of Thin Lizzy. Frontman Sam Coffey certainly hasn't forgotten and used the lockdown downtime to assemble an entire album of twangy, home-recorded solo tunes. You can hear "Hard Livin'" now, our first preview of an upcoming record titled Big Thyme.

We've been waiting anxiously for the Iron Lungs to hit the road in support of their excellent third LP Real One, released in February through Dine Alone Records. The band recently returned to the stage to play the outdoor River and Sky festival, one of the first Ontario music festivals to return to action this year.

Dooms Children: "Psyche Hospital Blues"

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Last week Wade MacNeil issued a second single from his new psych-rock project Dooms Children, premiering "Psyche Hospital Blues" along with news on the upcoming LP. In a press release, MacNeil shared that the song directly addresses his recent time in rehab. He revealed:

"This is the most personal music I have ever released. I tried to be honest (brutally at times) and not hide meaning or intent behind flowery language. It's a record about my life falling apart and then trying to pick up the pieces. This album was half written while I was messed up pre-rehab, the other half while I was in rehab. This is a record about all the people I've met along the way. This is a record about hope. This is me at my most vulnerable."

The song arrived alongside a video from director Mitch Barns that leans into hippie tropes, providing a humorous counterpoint to all that vulnerability. You can check it out on YouTube now.

The self-titled Dooms Children LP arrives on October 20 from Dine Alone Records. MacNeil recorded live-off-the-floor in Welland, Ontario, with Daniel Romano co-producing. The record features percussion from Ian Romano (Daniel Romano's Outfit, Career Suicide) and additional guitars from Patrick Bennett (Mountain Dust).

As a member of the reunited post-hardcore heroes Alexisonfire, Wade took part in several recent one-off singles ("Season of the Flood," "Familiar Drugs," and "Complicit"). In the years since Alexis' first run, MacNeil's notably fronted the UK hardcore group Gallows, while performing on occasion as his other solo outfit, Black Lungs. He's also worked on scores for a handful of feature films, often collaborating with filmmaker Jay Baruchel.

Mr. Joy: !sey !sey !sey

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Toronto psych-pop quartet Mr. Joy recently shared a set of remixes that turns their recent Yes! Yes! Yes! EP on its head. The new set, carrying the mirrored title of !sey !sey !sey, sees the band's latest reworked by Toronto psych producer ZONES, Windsor-based dream pop act Moon King, and LordAUK of the alt-dance group DOOMSQUAD. You can find the three-song set at Bandcamp now.

Yes! Yes! Yes! arrived last month, marking the band's first release since Mr. Joy's early 2020 record The Dreamer's Workbook. Mr. Joy features singer-songwriter Blob, Steven McPhail on sampler, Asher Gould-Murtagh on drums, and Harrison Forman on guitar, bass, and synth. This September, the band teams up with Matthew "Doc" Dunn of The Cosmic Range for a collaborative record as Dr. Joy.

SATE: "When I Let You Go"

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Toronto's hard-hitting blues-rocker SATE has a new single in the wild titled "When I Let You Go." The artist commented on the heavy track, stating:

"I wrote this about trusting my intuition to leave a toxic codependent relationship. I was visualizing myself on the other side of fear, insecurity and doubt; reassuring myself that even in my darkest moments, I was gonna make it out and I would be alright."

The song's expected to appear on SATE's long-in-the-works new record The Fool, the follow-up to 2016's RedBlack&Blue. The track features SATE (the daughter of Canadian soul/jazz pioneer Salome Bey) backed by guitarists Darren Glover and Adrian X, Tom McKay on bass, Joel Joseph on keys, and Tony Rabalao drumming. The band recorded Toronto's Lincoln County Social Club.

Russian Tim and Pavel Bures: "Golos"

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Russian Tim and Pavel Bures is a Russian-language punk group fronted by the colourful proprietor of Vancouver's Rocket From Russia Fest. The group has a nine-song full-length due October 12, appropriately titled Something More In Russian. The five-piece has two songs from the record online for you to preview, "Tightest Slide" and (most recently), "Golos." You can find both raucous tracks streaming at Bandcamp now.

The band recorded the LP with producer Jesse Gander (Wares, Woolworm, Necking) at Rain City Recorders. Stuart McKillop of Daggermouth mastered.

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