Sunday August 22, 2021

Two Sides of Your Heart

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.

Pack Rat: "Two Sides of Your Heart"

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Given his place behind the kit in Vancouver's thrilling Chain Whip, along with his recent stint fronting the punk traditionalists Corner Boys, Patrick McEachnie's something of a Some Party regular. While stuck in lockdown, Pat not only taught himself guitar but the front-to-back process of home recording. From that forced idle time, he's crafted a new solo identity as Pack Rat. The one-member band's first record arrives this fall as the full-length Glad To Be Forgotten, a 10-song collection from Drunken Sailor Records.

You can preview the album through "Two Sides of Your Heart," a high-strung minute-and-a-half of manic synth-punk - cut from a similar cloth as Montreal's PRIORS and London's Mononegatives. An accompanying video by director Megan Magdalena clones an entire band of McEachnies to crash through the song together.

The now-defunct Corner Boys released the Waiting for 2020 album in 2019 (an unintentionally portentous title, given how that year turned out). Chain Whip is currently shipping out vinyl copies of Two Step to Hell, their new 12" EP through Drunken Sailor and Neon Taste Records. In what feels like a lifetime ago, Pat McEachnie ran the BC label Hosehead Records.

LeDrew, Luke & Crowe: Come & Go As You Please

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Last week LeDrew, Luke & Crowe quietly released their debut full-length. While it's a world away from the trio's noisy roots in the Nova Scotian low-fi scene, the album's matter-of-fact, almost indifferent launch feels quite fittingly punk. Come & Go As You Please plays like a 60s garage record, though, clocking in with 12 satisfyingly traditional rock'n'roll songs over 42 minutes. If you dug the throwback vibes of Heavenly Blue, you'll find a kindred spirit (and indeed half of that band's lineup) at play here.

The Halifax group features Adam LeDrew and Justin Crowe, both of the Booji Boys), and their frequent studio collaborator Luke Mumford (Negative Rage, Genetic Angry, The Mark Vodka Group). All three members provide vocals and trade off on instrumentation from song to song. They recorded in both Halifax and Wentworth, Nova Scotia.

Come & Go As You Please arrives following the band's Left Undone EP. While the trio set those songs to tape in 2017, they didn't see the light of day until last year amid the collective flood of isolation-era archival releases. LeDrew, Luke & Crowe have been kicking around in one form or another since at least 2013.

Ducks Ltd.: "How Lonely Are You?"

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Whenever I stumble across a music video set in Niagara Falls, I feel strangely exposed. It's like some idealized version of the city requires my spiritual protection from the bizarre kitsch of the tourist district. I've got skin in the game whenever someone points a camera at that goddamn hamburger Frankenstein - as if acknowledging this weird town for its infamous weirdness is somehow rude. None of my hang-ups should matter to Toronto's Ducks Ltd., in any case. The jangle-pop act employs a dizzying collage of Niagara oddity to showcase their latest single, "How Lonely Are You?".

The video, directed by John Smith, finds Tom McGreevy (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) with Evan Lewis (guitar, bass, drum programming) on either side of the border. McGreevy revealed in a press release:

"Me and Evan had not been in the same country for about 5 months when this video was shot. He'd been in Australia and I was stuck in Canada owing to the COVID border rules. Those rules made it complicated for him to return to Canada for a minute so he was in the US and Niagara Falls was the closest we could get to each other. Making something that involved us being separated by a border (and a million billion gallons of water), and experiencing two parallel weird tourist towns felt like a good fit with what the song is about. It didn't make the final cut, but we waved to each other over the falls through binoculars at one point. First time we'd seen each other since February!"

On the song itself, the vocalist commented:

"This song is about personal connection in an environment that is hostile to it, and about friendships with people who are physically distant... Me and Evan have both moved around a lot, and have friends in far-off places we don't see as often as we'd like. In fact, we partly made this record while Evan was living in Australia and I was in Toronto. Some of those friendships are extremely important to me, and the song is kind of about grasping for those lifelines when it's particularly difficult to believe that things are going to work out, or if there's even any point in trying."

The new single follows "18 Cigarettes" in previewing the record, which arrives October 1 through Royal Mountain and Carpark. It's one of several songs on the project to feature backing harmonies from New Zealand indie-pop group The Beths.

Modern Fiction serves as Ducks Ltd.'s full-length debut, following their recently reissued and expanded Get Bleak EP. James Cecil (The Goon Sax, Architecture in Helsinki) produced the new record from Australia.

Daniel Romano's Outfit: "The Motions"

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The second single from September's Cobra Poems finds Daniel Romano's Outfit trying something new - with the band's namesake songwriter stepping back to let Julianna Riolino take lead vocals. I've written before about how Danny's bandmates have become more satisfyingly assertive over time, and "The Motions" is perhaps the clearest example of that trend. The new single follows "Nocturne Child" in previewing the group's new LP, due September 10 from You've Changed Records.

The song arrived alongside a video that co-stars Texas musician Carson McHone. You can find it on YouTube now.

Cobra Poems features ten new songs recorded in December 2020 at the band's newly constructed Welland, Ontario studio, Camera Varda. The album follows The Outfit's recent live record Fully Plugged In, an 11-song set captured in Atlanta before the pandemic grounded all touring. Both albums feature Romano backed by vocalist Julianna Riolino, bassist Roddy Rosetti, guitarist Dave Nardi, and Ian Romano (Danny's brother and fellow Attack In Black alumni) on drums.

Motorists: "Surrounded"

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Toronto's jangly power-pop trio Motorists recently shared the third and final advance single from their upcoming LP Surrounded. You can stream the title track now at Bandcamp or see it on YouTube through the latest in a series of retro-styled videos patterned after the 80s German music show Beat-Club. In a press release, vocalist/guitarist Craig Fahner commented on the song's trapped narrator, mirroring sentiments we've all surely felt while unable to escape the past year:

"It's about the impossibility of being alone with one's self since we ultimately construct ourselves within a phenomenological bubble full of some stuff we have chosen and some stuff we have no control over."

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 is the latest project from frequent collaborators (and Calgarian ex-pats) Craig Fahner (Feel Alright, Leather Jacuzzi), Jesse Locke (Tough Age, Chandra, Simply Saucer), and Matt Learoyd (Lab Coast, Mount Analogue).

Westelaken: Shout Out Alex!

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Eclectic Toronto folk-punkers Westelaken are marking the first anniversary of The Golden Days are Hard with a new live recording. Available now on Bandcamp, Shout Out Alex! arrives as a fundraiser for the band's next studio effort. The set features the band's Jordan Seccareccia playing solo (at times accompanied by multiple pre-tracked instrumentals and cassette-recorded found sounds). In a curious mix of old and new, the recordings come from a live-streamed performance on Twitch, captured simultaneously to a broken down 70s-era reel-to-reel. The artist revealed in the record's Bandcamp liner notes:

"So the sound quality here is a little rough. I didn't think to, for instance, wipe the reel for the first half of the performance, which was recorded over a 1976 new year's eve radio broadcast counting down the top 20 charting country songs of the year, and which can still be heard faintly behind the first eight tracks. There are some little hiccups of silence and crackling pops that aren't too intrusive but are definitely there and I just want you to know that.

The whole performance lasted two hours. I chose eight songs for this release and Rob [McLay] did some mastering and we edited down some of the banter to try to preserve the feel of the performance, even though it does make me a little embarrassed to listen to. Skip the banter if you want."

You can find more detail, including the origins of the set's title, at Bandcamp. I'm apparently ageing at such an alarming rate that I understood very little of that story without additional research.

Seccareccia recorded this material on February 24, 2021, from Markham, Ontario. Westelaken released their thrillingly erratic full-length, The Golden Days are Hard, in 2020.

Hubert Lenoir: "DIMANCHE SOIR"

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Quebec firebrand Hubert Lenoir recently unveiled more about his upcoming record, which now carries the title PICTURA DE IPSE : Musique directe. The album arrives on September 15 through Worse/Terrible and Simone Records, featuring 20 songs sprawled across a 54-minute runtime with individual tracks nestled among an array of field recordings and audio interludes. The tracklist reveals a collaboration with the Parisian R&B singer Bonnie Banane and no less than three songs featuring the erratic Montreal art-punk duo CRABE.

The announcement came alongside the R&B vibes of "DIMANCHE SOIR," the record's second single. In a statement, Lenoir commented:

"Coming from a conservative background and going to school in the countryside of Quebec, a lot of my parents' friends or partners thought I was this weirdo queer artsy no good loser, and once I achieved success with my art in the last two-three years, the whole vibe started to change. I remember being so confused by it. The song talks about social pressure coming from your family circle and materialism. How weirdly your social status and wealth can switch the opinion people have on you."

PICTURA DE IPSE : Musique directe follows the artist's glam-rock inspired 2018 record Darlène.

Karloff: "Ocean or Other"

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There's a palpable sense of dread to "Ocean or Other," the first single from Karloff's self-titled full-length. The Cambridge, Ontario group draws from some heavy (and heady) influences on their upcoming debut, from the cerebral post-rockers Slint to screamo pioneers like Orchid and City of Caterpillar. Playing as a five-piece, Karloff recorded with Marcelle Rusu (Block Parent) producing and Jack Shirley (Jeff Rosenstock, Deafheaven) mastering. You can find the track streaming at Bandcamp or showcased in a visualizer on YouTube now.

The 10-song Karloff arrives on October 8 from No Funeral and Nanaimo's Zegena Beach, with international editions due from Germany's I.Corrupt.Records and Japan's LongLegsLongArms.

The Slime: Death Champs

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Grimy Toronto hardcore/punk quartet The Slime has a new single out in the wild featuring "Death Champs" and the b-side "We Shine." The band recorded with Hellbent's Nick Ginn at Dundas, Ontario's School House Studios with Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton mixing. The Slime plans to follow the single, which arrived earlier this month on Cursed Blessings Records, with an EP in the fall.

SATE: "Howler"

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Hard-hitting Toronto's blues-rocker SATE has a stomping new single out titled "Howler." It's the attitude-driven second preview of the artist's long-in-the-works next full-length, The Fool. That record, now arriving November 4, follows up 2016's RedBlack&Blue.

In a statement, SATE, the daughter of Canadian soul/jazz pioneer Salome Bey, commented on the song's origin and its message:

"I wrote this while showcasing at The Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany (a festival in the infamous red light district where The Beatles honed their craft). I made an instant connection with singer/songwriter Adaline, after a night of — well, I can't remember much. What started as a riff that I had in my voice notes from my guitarist, Kirt, became my gritty hard rock ode to the Women Who Run With the Wolves (shout out to Clarissa Pinkola Estes' book — on the Wild Woman archetype). HOWLER is a celebration and activation of righteous rage, sensuality and protecting the sovereignty of the Divine Feminine through The Empress card in the tarot. With a massive dose of no fucks given, it's a call to action to take no shit from anyone attempting to rule over our bodies and our souls."

You can find the track featured in a new video by director Andrew Hamilton.

Real Sickies: "Destructive Nights"

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Edmonton's Real Sickies has a new video online celebrating "Destructive Nights," a track from their recent Love is for Lovers LP. The clip follows an adorable older couple as they kick up to all manner of mischief before arriving at a private performance by the punk group. You can check it out on YouTube now.

Love is for Lovers arrived earlier this year through Stomp Records. It's the group's first full-length since their home-recorded 2020 LP Quarantined, featuring 14 new tracks with guest appearances from Dave Bacon (The Real McKenzies/SNFU) and dream pop singer Lucette. It's the band's first proper studio effort since 2019's Out of Space.

Rough Cuts: "Knockout Saturday"

Stream at Idioteq

I missed the first round of press earlier in the summer, but it still bears mentioning that the Toronto Oi! bruisers Rough Cuts have a new split EP out with the 80s-era Sunderland veterans Red Alert. The Double Aye/Eh Side EP marks Rough Cuts' return to action following their 2020 debut LP Nobody's Fool. That album arrived mid-pandemic through Insurgence and Contra Records, with the new EP landing via Cursed Blessings. In a statement, the Toronto group commented on their contributions to the split:

"These songs are from a snapshot of where we are as a band in the current global picture. 'Knockout Saturday' is about our local reggae/ska/soul DJ night here in Toronto that was a staple every month, prior to the pandemic, and what it meant to meet up with friends, listen to great music, and have a good time. 'We Won't Back Down' is a song about how fascist groups like the Proud Boys have suddenly lost their nerve and started retreating underground. Rough Cuts is about the Oi! scene in general and how our focus is to write music that we enjoy and tells a story that is important to us..."

Rough Cuts recorded with Byron Pickles at The Farmhouse in Toronto, with Graham Riddle mastering at Calgary's Wayfarer Sound. Following a sold-out September performance at the Bovine Sex Club supporting The Prowlers, the band's next set to hit the stage in Hamilton on November 6, playing with Montreal Oi! groups Béton Armé and Ad Vitam, along with TO punks Damagers.

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