Sunday August 8, 2021

See You There

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.

Sled Island: The Sled Island Rock Lotto

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Last Friday, the Calgary music and arts festival Sled Island unveiled an ambitious new compilation - one that randomly selected 45 musicians from across Canada to form one-off bands (we'll assume they consented to this process first). The festival tasked each group with remotely writing and recording a new song in a month, collecting nine completed tracks on Bandcamp as The Sled Island Rock Lotto.

The project carries the torch of a similarly named live event that regularly took place as part of the festival (pre-pandemic, of course). It saw members of Calgary's underground rock scene form similarly short-lived groups for a one-night live showcase. This year's effort casts the net wider, with artists spanning Victoria to Fredericton. These players hail from more than a few Some Party regulars, with members of Wares, Pale Lips, The Garrys, Tough Age, Motherhood, No More Moments, and Energy Slime all making appearances. As for the newly minted bands - and what style they each fell into, Sled provided this annotated tracklist:

  1. Lollipop - "Don't Go" (summery indie pop)
  2. Sender - "See You There" (indie rock with sax)
  3. Russian Bots - "Nothing Comes To Mind" (psychedelic post-punk)
  4. Casual Fridays - "Sure Thing" (indie pop ala Angel Olsen)
  5. Snail Slime - "U Kno" (fast-paced futuristic punk)
  6. Quick Citrus - "They Won't Win" (post-punk)
  7. Heartbeat City - "Phases" (80s tinged synth pop)
  8. Samurai Loco - "Theme From Samurai Loco" (heavy post-rock and psych)
  9. Hurly And The Havoc - "Marsquakes" (experimental post-punk)

You can find the full membership of each group in the digital liner notes at Bandcamp. The festival further commented:

"The album is a tip of the hat to the relationships formed and creative inspirations sparked during Summer festival & touring season, at a time when many of those connections have been sidelined for well over a year... the Sled Island Rock Lotto is a fascinating glimpse at Canadian music making in a time of fairly unprecedented limitations."

Like most live events, Sled Island's been stuck in a liminal state since the COVID-19 crisis reached our shores. Organizers cancelled a previously booked 2020 edition, with a proper return likely in 2022 unless we get hit by an asteroid or something. Next week, however, will see Camp Sled Island take place, an outdoor presentation of unique video programming commissioned from local and international artists. The three-day event kicks off on Thursday, August 19.

Marlaena Moore: Pay Attention, Be Amazed! (stripped sessions)

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The above-mentioned Casual Fridays features Edmonton singer-songwriter Marlaena Moore in their ranks. Simultaneous to the release of Rock Lotto, last week Moore shared the Stripped Sessions - an intimate performance of the entirety of her celebrated 2020 full-length Pay Attention, Be Amazed!. The new set features the complete nine-song set performed chiefly solo (with the occasional assist from Preoccupations' Scott Munro). Each track is accompanied by video footage of the live-off-the-couch session.

The original album, Moore's third LP, arrived in March of last year, recorded by Chad VanGaalen as his Yoko Eno Studios. The full-band edition featured Moore on guitar and vocals, with Munro on guitar, keyboard, and other instrumentation, Ryan Bourne on bass, and Lab Coast's Chris Dadge drumming. Dadge and VanGaalen served as co-producers. You can snag either version of Pay Attention, Be Amazed! at Bandcamp now.

The Garrys: "It's Over"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Lenore Maier of Sakadoon trio The Garrys meanwhile plays in the one-off Rock Lotto act Russian Boys. Last week, her main gig released their third preview of Get Thee To a Nunnery. The Saskatoon psych-surf trio commented on the vintage sounds of "It's Over":

"'It's Over' is a breakup track taking its cues from late-1950s teenage heartbreak anthems and classic Girl Group melodrama. Oozing vintage style, with pensive guitars and misty-eyed vocal harmonies, The Garrys sway and bounce on an emotional high-wire between the failed-relationship extremes of 'it's fine' and 'I wanna die', and invite the listener to join them in a moment of indulging every messy feeling that can bubble up in the aftermath of a breakup."

Dallas Good of The Sadies produced the track remotely, with Barrett Ross recording and mixing at Rec Hall Studios in Saskatoon. Get Thee To a Nunnery's due September 24 through Grey Records.

The Garrys are sisters Erica, Julie, and Lenore Maier (performing guitar, bass, and drums, respectively, with all three sharing vocal duties). In 2020 the trio released a retroactive score for the 1922 film Häxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages. Their last proper full-length, Surf Manitou, arrived in 2017.

Mutated Void: "Afraid to Make Change" / "Roses Forever"

Watch at YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The prolific Cody Googoo (of Booji Boys, Alienation, Gemstones, Fragment, and half a dozen others) recently shared a classically styled skate video dubbed Concrete Flower Vol. 1. The 12-minute piece, shot by Googoo, Josh Gallant, and Steve Corkum, features new music from Mutated Void, yet another caustic punk outlet from the Halifax artist. Even by Cody's usually low-fi standards, these songs are absolutely grimy! The Mutated Void tracks featured on the soundtrack are destined for an upcoming LP, titled Roses Forever, arriving through Seattle's Iron Lung Records. You can hear "Afraid to Make Change" along with the title track at Bandcamp now. While the LPs are due later this year, you can now watch the full Concrete Flower film on YouTube.

Concrete Flower, released in concert with the Haligonian shop Pro Skates, features the skaters David Wambolt, Kenny Williamson, Malcom Goodman, Nick Chapman, Steve Corkum, Ryan Macarther, Nate Oliver, Johnny Purcell, Jon Trenaman, Brandon Borland, Allen Finley, Alex Keaveny, Jarret Bremen, and Josh Gallant.

Piper Maru: "Enough"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Last year, as a fundraising effort, the activist Toronto hardcore group Piper Maru shared an unreleased track with fans who showed proof of their charitable donations. The song's sat on the shelf since, but this past Bandcamp Friday the group put it to work again, finally unveiled the raging "Enough" to the public. The song served as a fundraiser for the Toronto's South Riverdale Community Health Centre this time out.

A four-piece, Piper Maru last released the four-song EP Most of My Friends Died in Space in the summer of 2018.

Tunic: "Fake Interest"

Watch at YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Winnipeg noise-punks Tunic have a new single out titled "Fake Interest," perhaps the closest the breakneck group's come to a writing a slow burn. It arrived alongside news on their next LP. Quitter is an 11-song album due October 15 through Artoffact Records (we heard the title track just a week ago). In a press release, vocalist/guitarist David Schellenberg commented:

"Over the course of writing our new album I battled with depression, anxiety, alcoholism and a crippling nicotine addiction. These addictions were to help me cope with my mental health, but of course they didn't help.

So, I quit everything.

I had to. It was the only way that I could see tunic continuing. My addictions and poor mental health was getting in the way of the thing I wanted to do the most, this band. So I knew it was time for a change."

In the statement, Schellenberg also revealed that the band's now operating as a duo. While drummer Dan Unger remains in the fold, founding bassist Rory Ellis recently left the group (amicably) to return to school. It's expected that when Tunic returns to the road, they'll continue to perform as a three-piece with another bassist joining their ranks.

Tunic released a record titled Exhaling arrived in April. It clocked in with 23 songs, pairing the group's latest material with the entirety of 2019's Complexion LP.

Labour: "Parasite"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and Purchase at Bandcamp

Meditative Nova Scotian synth-duo Labour recently announced their debut full-length. Titled Articulations, the 12-song record arrives September 1 as a crowdfunded 12" LP - with 100% of the proceeds earmarked for Indigenous Climate Action. You can contribute to the album campaign and preview the track "Parasite" right now at Bandcamp.

Labour features Kate O'Neill (of the folk/shoegaze group Diamondtown) with Andrew Glencross. The pair recently shared the Movements EP, featuring three extended, improvised instrumentals performed with analog synthesizers and drum machines.

Basement Revolver: "Skin"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and Purchase at Bandcamp

Hamilton dream pop group Basement Revolver recently returned with "Skin," the first single from their forthcoming sophomore LP Embody. The band describes the track in a press release as:

"...a self-aware slow burn. Desperate to feel like her body was okay or good enough, Chrisy was perched on the edge of a dock when this song began tumbling out. The first time she has ever explicitly written about the struggles she feels with her body, 'Skin' has helped Chrisy love the parts of her body that have often been scrutinized in the mirror."

The record, due later this year from Sonic Unyon, finds the band grappling with issues of "identity, faith, mental illness, and sexuality." The record follows the band's 2019 EP Wax and Digital, featuring a lineup of vocalist/guitarist Chrisy Hurn-Morrison, bassist Nim Agalawatte, guitarist Jonathan Malström, and drummer Levi Kertesz. The band recorded with producer Ian Gomes (Greys, Frigs, Odonis Odonis).

Peter Landi: "Heirlooms"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto's Peter Landi has a new single online titled "Heirlooms," recorded with producer Dan Hosh at Toronto's Double Car Recording. It's the artist's first track since September's "Drive" and continues their string of hooky rockers with a 90s alternative feel.

Landi plays as a guitarist for the southern Ontario punks Single Mothers. He also drums in that band's pop-rock counterparts The Drew Thomson Foundation.

Sister Suzie: What's Your Deal

Preview at Range - Purchase at Bandcamp

Edmonton garage-glam rockers Sister Suzie have a new vinyl single on the way through Montreal's Reta Records and Italy's Surfin' Ki - presenting, for the first time in physical form, a selection of songs from their 2020 album Don't Want To. The group recorded "Don't Want To," "Claws," and "Are You Gonna (Give Me a Kiss)" in 2019 and 2020 with Real Sickies drummer Rob Lawless engineering.

You can preview the songs in its new packaging through a premiere at Range, or hear the originals through Bandcamp. In the premiere, vocalist Andrea Martineau commented on the band's progression:

"The more we figure out our sound and write together, the more fluid the songwriting process gets, and that was definitely the case with these three... A fun riff, a good beat, and jamming out the rest."

A five-piece, Sister Suzie features veterans from several Western Canadian punk groups, with at least three members serving in the Edmonton street punk outfit Hard Pressed. The group features Martineau backed by Mark Arsenault, Alex Bernard, James GD, and Alfredo Martinez.

Paragon Cause: Autopilot

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The lush Ottawa synthpop duo Paragon Cause has a new LP out this week titled Autopilot. Following up on their 2020 album What We Started, the 14 song set features the band's core duo of vocalist/keyboardist Michelle Opthof and guitarist/bassist Jay Bonaparte again tightly collaborating with longtime producer Sune Rose Wagner. Well known from the Danish rock group The Raveonettes, Wagner's role with Paragon Cause has continued to deepen over the years. Bonaparte commented on the working relationship, which has now spanned three albums:

"We were less intimidated and starstruck this time. I knew we would be able to work more comfortably and more adventurously with him, and it says a lot that he trusts us enough now to let us take the lead in the process and still putting his brand into our music. That's a big deal. We weren't hesitant to be spontaneous and let the creativity kind of flow because of Sune wanting to be more involved in the songwriting process as opposed to sort of directing us from behind the board...

He's kind of a third member. He's incredibly engaged and really encourages and challenges us. He performs and sings on the new album as well as being responsible for co-writing much of the music. During the making of this album, he gave us these little tasks—homework. He'd say, 'I want you guys to go listen to Bananarama, The Ramones and Richie Valens and use that as inspiration.' Not to copy them, but to get motivated by the feel of the music."

Wagner's not the only rock veteran to find themselves working with the Ottawa duo. Autopilot also features contributions from Sneaker Pimps' Liam Howe and Eric Avery of Jane's Addiction and Garbage. Both individuals serve multiple roles, performing and co-producing the record (all from afar, under the circumstances).

Four songs from the album can be streamed at Bandcamp today, with the complete set arriving digitally this Friday (vinyl to follow, pending the industry-wide bottleneck at pressing plants).

Die Sci Fi: Mentis Imperium

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Tarantula Tapes recently issued a discography release from Barrie, Ontario punks Die Sci Fi. The Mentis Imperium cassette comes packed with 17 songs, compiling material from two digital-only EPs with an unreleased set recorded in 2018. The album starts from 2013's Plan13, then a self-titled EP before the group took on their current name, followed by 2016's Cigarettes at Midnight. The band recorded the third and most recent set, Postcards from Nowhere, in 2018 with Heavy Petter's Core Bee engineering. It's sat unheard until now.

Die Sci Fi features Jonathan Blake on bass and vocals with Josh Oxford on guitar and vocals. The Plan13 era band featured Tim Oxford on drums, with Jason Wardrope taking over behind the kit for the latter sessions.

Wrecker: Some Favorites... For Annie

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Wrecker, the solo songwriting project of Winnipeg's Jory Strachan, recently shared a set of cover songs. Originally recorded as a gift for a friend's birthday, the collection features lovingly rootsy takes on classics from David Bowie, New Order, Heart, and Graham Nash. You can pick up Some Favorites... For Annie at Bandcamp now, if for no other reason than to experience "Age of Consent" with a banjo. Strachan recorded these takes at Lone Butte in the BC interior.

Jory Strachan is a former member of the Winnipeg post-punk band 1971 and later played in the indie rock outfit Rust Owl. He most recently released the homewrecker collaboration with Bailee Woods' of the indie-pop act Housepanther.

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