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.
Astral Swans: "Flood" (ft. Julie Doiron)
Three years out from 2018's Strange Prison, Calgary's Astral Swans return this fall with a new 12-song full-length. Singer-songwriter Matthew Swann announced the LP last week, unveiling the hooky psych-folk single "Flood" with the news. The song's one of several on the record to feature New Brunswick indie luminary Julie Doiron on backing vocals. The Eric's Trip member joins a number of notable guests, with both Jim Bryson and Wares' Cassia Hardy appearing on guitar alongside vocal contributions from Laura Leif, Laura Hickli (36?), Minami Taga (Mako Puri), Shalom Toy (SilverRing), and Carol Sweet. In various combinations, the 11 originals (and one Cat Power cover) call upon multi-instrumentalists Brock Geiger (The Dudes, Reuben and the Dark), Scott Munro (Preoccupations), Paul Chirka (Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra), and Kevin Sullivan. "Flood" in particular's given a slick, jazzy undertone from Sullivan's work on the sax.
A press release promises Swann's "most upbeat, catchy, and immediate album to date" while revealing that these songs were composed not in the studio but on foot:
"the melodies were written in my head, on long walks alone, like spontaneous flowers sprouted from the id; ecstatic downloads from the cosmos. Sometimes the lyrics appeared with the melodies, other times they were refined more consciously, after the fact."
As for the deceptively benevolent "Flood," Swann commented:
"The objective was to create an upbeat, danceable pop song, that's slightly sinister. The song has a lot of space and throwback production nods; think Scott Walker, meets Linda Ronstadt, meets Air. Julie's background vocals then take it to a higher plane. So musically we have all that going on, and then lyrically it's from the perspective of this Dostoyevskian underground man, antisocial personality type, who's literally dreaming about being the last man on earth, alone with the object of his desires. The music is all glamour, contrasted against the unglamourous lyrics about the delusions of a 4chan incel."
You can find "Flood" visualized on YouTube through a video from director Samantha Selci. Astral Swans arrives on October 8 through Victory Pool.
Sunnyside Uppers: "Mary"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Saint John, New Brunswick's Sunnyside Uppers recently shared the indie-pop earworm "Mary," another track that first surfaced in the band's first incarnation as the home-recorded song-a-day project, Beach Chair. On this second go-around, singer-songwriter Ryan Brown brought in long-time collaborator Adam Warren (Waants) to engineer, giving the pining love song a rather sizable boost in fidelity. With Gavin Maclean appearing on bass, the track's something of a quasi-reunion of the full original lineup of the Halifax indie group Glory Glory.
Speaking to The East, Brown commented:
"After Glory Glory broke up, Adam was getting into producing and we decided to collab on one. He picked it out of a folder of demos I sent. Not the one I'd have picked... I just didn't have a band, plan, or any other songs so we've been picking at it for a while."
The resulting sound's more muscular, heaping on 90s alt-rock sugar without shedding the Uppers' homespun fuzz. Brown's set to continue working on Sunnyside Uppers material with Warren at the boards. "Mary" follows April's decidedly angrier punk single "Anxiety" and the sombre "Nobody Gets Me" from February.
le vaisseau d'or: Desire Forever
Montreal shoegaze/dream pop group le vaisseau d'or recently shared Desire Forever, their fifth EP and part of a multimedia collaboration with filmmaker Farid Kassouf. The set's comprised of three tracks that evoke the cloudy atmospherics of 90s shoegaze. Two of those songs - "Desire Forever" and "Sunshine" - are featured in a video from Kassouf, paired with aerial footage shot during the director's visit to Nunavik in Quebec's far north.
The band tracked nascent versions of these songs during an improvised live session at Concordia's CJLO, recording as a duo ("Étienne [Thibeault] + Gabriel [Vallee] + two enormous tube amplifiers + analog delay + drum machine"). Kassouf was present from the get-go, joining the band that day to document their set. Months later, from their home studio, the band added Farfisa and modular synths, afterward recording vocals with engineer Patrice D'Aragon. This material then passed to Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist and Federale bandleader Collin Hegma, who mixed at Revolver Studios in Portland, with Harris Newman mastering at Greymarket. The press release emphasizes Hegma's role in shaping these songs, stating he outright "reimagined and rehashed" them in the process. The press release further delves into the project's myriad influences:
"Though musical currents from yesteryears are here revitalized, as le vaisseau d'or draws from monuments of the great psychedelic landscape such as Velvet Underground, Suicide or My Bloody Valentine, the three musicians and director Farid Kassouf are just as much permeated by the cinema of Chantal Akerman, Sofia Coppola, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wong Kar-Wai, Tsai-Ming-liang and Andrei Tarkovsky, a key catalyst to the creative process behind Desire Forever."
You can see Kassouf's meditative footage now on YouTube, with the songs available both digitally and as a limited edition 10" vinyl pressing.
Bad Waitress: "Rabbit Hole"
Toronto punk quartet Bad Waitress recently shared their cacophonous new single "Rabbit Hole," debuting the third and final preview of the forthcoming No Taste with an Alice in Wonderland-inspired video from director MichaelXCrusty. The band commented:
"'Rabbit Hole' plunges you headfirst into an airless spiral. You're unreachable, growing comfortable in the bleak nest you've found yourself in, knowing those you love will tire of trying to dig you out. The song begins with rising tension that, with a rough shove, gives way to a deep sludgy conclusion. Dissonant guitars and jarring vocals bring you to that dark place and swallow you whole."
"Rabbit Hole" follows the group's recent singles "Strawberry Milkshake" and "Delusions of Grandeur." Bad Waitress worked with producer Dave Schiffman (PUP, The OBGMs) on the new record, a ten-song LP due September 3 through Royal Mountain.
Bad Waitress features vocalist/guitarist Kali-Ann Butala, guitarist Katelyn Molgard, bassist Jessica Maxwell, and drummer Eva Moon.
Nothing Serious: "Rescue Me"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Pop punkers Nothing Serious claim to hail from the fictional town of Basement, Ontario - a narrative conceit they're committing to with their upcoming EP Welcome to Basement, Ontario. The trio has the first single from the project out in the wild now, a muscular sing-along anthem in the post-Blink-182 spirit titled "Rescue Me." The group recorded over a year ago with Mike Indovina. This track, in particular, features a guest appearance from Emile Sabga, singer/guitarist of the Barbadian punk outfit Sundown Superhero.
The new EP follows several digital singles Nothing Serious released in early 2020 - songs they collected that summer as an NAACP fundraiser titled Black Lives Matter. The group features John Ward, Edward Lee, and Connor Ricketts.
TRAITRS: "Oh, Ballerina"
Toronto's post-punk/darkwave duo TRAITRS recently announced Horses In The Abattoir, a new full-length due in the fall on Berlin's Freakwave label. The news came alongside a video for the single "Oh, Ballerina," directed by the band's Shawn Tucker. The artist commented on the propulsive goth tune in a feature at Spill:
"I approached 'Oh, Ballerina' the way I imagined Placebo challenged songs like 'Brick Shithouse' or 'The Bitter End'. Keeping it simple, minimal, but punchy and effective. That's really what motivated the passion and drive here. Lyrically the track focuses on obsession with someone else to the point of murder, based on a true story I had come across online. I felt the tone of the story perfectly mirrored what's happening in the track instrumentally, dynamically and vocally. Keep running away now because you're scared."
The duo, featuring Shawn Tucker and Sean-Patrick Nolan, recorded with producer Josh Korody (Weaves, Dilly Dally) at Candle Recording Studio. Pete Maher (U2, Pixies, Nick Cave) mastered. The new recordings follow up on the band's recent EP The Sick, Tired and Ill and their 2018 full-length Butcher's Coin.
Breeze: "Hard Boiled Wonderland"
On the subject of Josh Korody, the prolific Toronto producer (and Beliefs member) recently shared a second single from his upcoming collaborative studio record as Breeze. Our latest preview of the 10-track Only Up arrives as "Hard Boiled Wonderland," a dancefloor-ready jam featuring Dylan Frankland of Tallies on guitar and Kyle Connolly (WISH, Milk Lines, Orville Peck) on bass, with backing vocals from Michael Le Riche (Fake Palms, Sauna) and Lowell Sostomi (CIVIC TV). The song arrived alongside a frenetic video from Justis Krar of IMMV Productions.
Only Up, described by Korody as "British shiny tunes" for its raft of UK pop influences, arrives August 26 through Hand Drawn Dracula.
Century Egg: "Do You Want To Dance?"
Halifax mandopop-rockers Century Egg recently shared a video for "Do You Want To Dance?", the exuberant first single from their recent EP Little Piece of Hair. The band describes the clip, directed by T. Nicole Holland, as an "intergalactic space party of tomorrow."
The six-song record arrived in the spring through the Forward Music Group, released as a 180g 12" with an etching on the B-side. This new incarnation of Century Egg features vocalist Shane Keyu Song and guitarist Robert Drisdelle backed by bassist Matty Grace (Future Girls, Cluttered) and drummer Meg Yoshida (Not You, Dog Day). The quartet recorded at Ocean Floor in Halifax with Franc Lopes.
Me The Guts: "Get Out of My Head, There's Barely Enough Room in There for Me"
I missed the recent video from the technical Saskatoon punk act Me The Guts when it arrived earlier in the summer. The group celebrated "Get Out of My Head, There's Barely Enough Room in There for Me" in July through a clip shot by Cody Kuchirka. The piece features vocalist/drummer Derek Kuchirka and guitarist Josh Collins roaming through an abandoned town (purportedly somewhere near Outlook, SK) as they perform the track.
The track comes from Spilt Guts Over Rough Cuts, the group's recent 8-song full-length released by Wasted Wax and Fixed Frequency. Me The Guts recorded at their local Sweat Shoppe studio, with John Harcus of the Scottish punk band Pmx mixing and mastering.
The Crowleys: "Somnia"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Hamilton, Ontario psych-rock troupe The Crowleys have a new single out titled "Somnia," a cinematic and synth-heavy outing that's a bit of a departure from the band's usual approach. The group commented in a press release:
"In Roman mythology, the 'Somnia' are beings that take on other forms in people's dreams to progress them along. Our new song's lyrics revolve around dreaming as a way to push the boundaries of reality, and how we can influence, and be influenced by them.
The original working title of this track was 'Blade Runner' because it drew a lot of inspiration from the soundtrack along with similar 80's fantasy/sci-fi movies a la Carpenter, Vangelis, and Moroder. With almost all synths on 'Somnia,' it is a bit of a departure from our typical shimmering, psychedelic pop sound."
The song's due as part of The Crowleys' debut full-length, due later this year. Whether the group's recent digital singles ("Slowly," "Making Friendly," "Simple Reflection") end up on the LP remains to be seen.
Huron Lines: "Lost in Sarnia"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
I can't say I've had the best of times in Chemical Valley, but my meandering visit seems like a holiday compared to the bleak tale Huron Lines weaves in "Lost in Sarnia." The track's the latest monthly preview of the gritty Windsor rock group's upcoming LP, Lost at the Border. Vocalist Dave Mueller revealed:
"I was listening to a lot of Donovan Woods and Baroness around the time this was written so I think that was bleeding into the songwriting process somewhere. I was trying to capture that feeling of being a long way from home trying to do the right thing but having idle hands and time to kill. I know a lot of people who have gone out west for work and something changes them and you often hear of a dark side to that life... but Sarnia, a border city about a 2 hour drive away, felt like a more relatable setting to me that fit the mood for this one."
Huron Lines recorded with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser engineering. Bill Skibbe (Fucked Up, Jack White, The Kills) mastered their new material at Third Man Mastering in Detroit. The band features guitarist/vocalist David Mueller, guitarist Grainger Harris, bassist/vocalist RJ Brando, and drummer Nick Mitchell (all past members of Club Thunderbolt). Lost at the Border arrives October 15 through Chieftown Music.
Antibodies / Tin-Ear: Live at SpudFest
The shoestring PEI music festival SpudFest went down last Saturday, bringing a host of local musicians out for a day of live music in the socially distanced sun. Charlottetown hardcore outfit Antibodies played that afternoon, appearing alongside the debut of a new emo-styled group dubbed Tin-Ear. The latter performed as a five-piece with Helaina Lalande on vocals, Rosanna Kressin (Warsh) and Sacha Luttermann on guitar, Antibodies' Ryan Kirkpatrick on bass, and Connor Nabuurs of Sisters drumming. My island spies tell me the group plans to record in September, with a release expected as soon as possible in the fall.
We can thank Botfly / Crossed Wires drummer Dewayne Shanks for the footage of the band's first-ever live performance. Look for a new Antibodies 7" via Sewercide Records whenever the vinyl pressing plant blockage clears.
Botfly: "Reflect // Reject"
Preview and purchase at Bandcamp
Speaking of Botfly, earlier this month the downtuned Haligonian post-hardcore act shared "Reflect // Reject," the first single from their upcoming LP Lower Than Love. With the song out in the wild for a few weeks, the band shared this recent reflection:
"I wanted to take a minute and say a little something. as this record slowly gets released, I'd like to say that, lyrically, this is the most direct and open I've ever written. most of these songs are brutally honest looks at lived experiences, and how I was feeling during those times. I've said this before and I will say it again, I've been fortunate to have this outlet to let me work through moments of confusion and frustration and anger. art is such a powerful outlet. find your own way. do it your own way. "
The album's due in November from No Funeral Records. It's the group's second outing with the Ontario label following a well-received four-way split LP earlier this year. That untitled project saw Botfly join forces with the Quispamsis grind trio Anthesis, Montreal sludge quartet Cell Press, and Cambridge, Ontario's grim Greber (with ambient interludes between the four from Clouds Become Oceans). Botfly contributed the song "Confessions of Depression" to the project.
Lower Than Love follows the group's acoustic isolation set At Home With Alex and their self-titled 2017 full-length before that. Boyfly features guitarist/vocalists Keegan Goodspeed and Alex Babineau, bassist Sean Mcinnis, and drummer Dewayne Shanks.