Thursday September 2, 2021

Sometimes I Go Down

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.

Hot Garbage: "Sometimes I Go Down"

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Toronto quartet Hot Garbage has teamed up with the burgeoning Montreal label Mothland to issue their debut LP, RIDE. The 9-song set lands October 29, promising a dense mix that builds upon a psych-rock foundation with post-punk, krautrock, and surf elements. You can start your journey down the road with the fuzz-washed single "Sometimes I Go Down," which arrived alongside a video from director William Suarez. In a press release, Mothland lauded the new single:

"Starting off with a Sonic Youth-esque guitar barrage, opening track and first single off of RIDE, 'Sometimes I Go Down', sets the tone with a motorik rhythm section, en route to a valley where one can simply vanish. Deep organ drones and dual vocals act as a map as we follow fuzzy guitars all the way down to that place where it's okay to feel low, and where one can have their shitty day, without having to endure the oh-so annoying: 'You seem fine'."

Hot Garbage worked with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh on the album, recorded primarily live off the floor at Palace Sound and Baskitball 4 Life. Walsh previously produced the band's 2020 one-off single, "Easy Believer." James Plotkin mastered the new material, with Derek McKeon of ZONES crafting the cover art. The record also features contributions from Sam Maloney of the like-minded Toronto outfit Kali Horse, who serves as an auxiliary percussionist. Hot Garbage features guitarist/vocalist Alessandro Carlevaris, bassist/vocalist Juliana Carlevaris, Dylan Gamble on keys and synch, and Mark Henein drumming. The group last released the Cocos's Paradise EP in 2019.

Lost Love: "Portuguese Knives"

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Montreal pop-punk group Lost Love recently shared the third advance single from their fall full-length, Empathy. "Portuguese Knives" finds the usually amiable band looking for a fight, although the all-encompassing anxieties of the day leave them without a specific target. That's expressed wonderfully in the group's new video, which finds drummer Vinny in full sprint down a city street with a broken bottle at the ready. The clip ends without ever unveiling his foe but with a sense of exhaustion that should feel pretty familiar. Vocalist/guitarist Guilhem Benard elaborated on the track in a press release, stating:

"The song is about the frustration of seeing a lot of problems, but no solutions. Portuguese Knives is a reflection of the state of the world right now. Sadly, we may have to break bottles of porto in the near future. We hope not, but we may not have a choice."

The new song follows "Hell" And "Petty" in previewing the upcoming LP, due October 15 through Fantasio Club.

Empathy arrives as the band's fourth album, following 2019's Stomp-backed Good Luck Rassco and the subsequent Glenn Spaghetti Legs EP (Uncle M Records). Lost Love recorded the new set in Montreal with producer Marc-André Beaudet (The Sainte Catherines, The Frenetics, Blurry Eyes).

Over the past year, Lost Love lead Guilhem's issued two solo albums. Bored & Bored arrived just in time for the pandemic to dash any hope of touring behind it, with the French-language follow-up La Peur Au Ventre surfacing this past April.

Surveillance: Planet Serum

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Low-fi Halifax indie rockers Surveillance recently resurfaced with Planet Serum, the enigmatic group's lost album. In a statement, Glen Davis of the Various label unveiled the 11-song full-length's place in the band's history:

"Well whaddaya know, the "lost" Surveillance album at last lands on our terrestrial plain. And it sounds pretty damn good too. Charting the intergalactic map that took em through the last of their trio days, the material contained herein captures "studio" versions of the set they flexed in what was probably all five shows played between the years of 2016 and 2018. Fabled and fanged years that they were, the songs are immoderately aggro, shamelessly confessional, and consistently memorable. Although DG does his best to bury his feelings in a haze of psychotropic imagery, you still get R. Fry's instinctive no-BS pop finesse to help make sense of it all. Energy levels remain constant thanks to the prodigious drum thuddery of Tri Le. Glad to see they're still sipping the Rick White kool-aid prescribed by their North Atlantic regionality, with enough nods to flying nuns and psychedelic speed freaks to keep even the most dull-eared listener attentive throughout. Could that be you? Only one way to find out: INJECT THE SERUM."

Various have the set out on cassette now. On this record, Surveillance featured Tri Le on drums, Rachel Fry on bass and David Burns on guitar, with the latter two sharing vocal duties. Jeremy Costello (Special Costello) plays bass on the title track as well, with E. Benjamin Brennan mixing and mastering. While they're relatively inactive these days (although that could describe most bands, come to think of it), Surveillance last released the Area C-51 demos in the fall of 2015.

Beach Body: "Alex"

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Regina's self-described "post-death surf choir" Beach Body recently premiered their new single "Alex" through Cups N Cakes. In the feature, the band comments that the song broaches "dead friends and the struggle to remain optimistic in a time when all the news seems to be overwhelmingly bad." An accompanying video presents a collage of camcorder footage, shot during the 2020 sessions for the band's upcoming LP, Walking Holiday. The group convened in the spring of 2020 at a cabin in northern Saskatchewan, finishing the record at Regina's repurposed funeral home studio, SoulSound.

The 8-song Walking Holiday's due September 24 through We Are Busy Bodies. Beach Body's latest incarnation plays as an expanded version of their original lineup, with keyboardist Jon Neher and guitarist Jesse Bryksa joining founding vocalist/guitarist Rory Copithorn, bassist Ian Patterson, and drummer Gaelan Malloy. The new record follows up on the band's 2019 single The Southside Coyote Boys and a pair of earlier EPs.

Casper Skulls: "Thesis"

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Cerebral Toronto indie rock group Casper Skulls returns in November with Knows No Kindness, a new LP from Next Door Records. With the announcement, the group unveiled "Thesis," their first single from the project. It's visualized in a new music video, partly animated by Gaia Alari and directed by Paul Los, Nora Burns, and the band's own Melanie St-Pierre. In a statement, St-Pierre commented on the personal story behind the song, recounting her youth and education in Sudbury and Massey, Ontario:

"In high school, I used to write really chaotic essays for my classes. I didn't really follow the structure well because I had too many thoughts about whatever topic was handed to us. The only teacher that got a kick out of this was one of my English teachers, Mr. Dodds. One time he jokingly asked if he was going to receive the abridged thesis. That always stayed with me. Finally, I found myself feeling much more suited to poetry and creative paragraph writing when I was 18, which ultimately bred my songwriting. My introduction into this world was an accidental reading of a Robert Frost poem about 7 years earlier. A recurring theme I latched onto was his depictions of a rural winter. I grew up in similar surroundings which really inspires a lot of my creative work, and for that reason, I thrive artistically in the winter.

I owe a lot to Mr. Dodds for allowing me to do my thing and find my own creative voice. This song is dedicated to the structurally incapable but artistically driven, and is the album's abridged thesis."

The record represents something of a reset for the band, who've traded the more overtly aggressive facets of their sound for, as the press release states, "more expansive, dreamlike notions cut alongside hints of folk inspired by Neko Case, Neil Young and Gillian Welch." The album finds St-Pierre fully embracing the lead vocal role, with guitarist Neil Bednis and bassist Fraser McClean now joined by drummer Aurora Bangarth.

Casper Skulls last released the full-length Mercy Works on Buzz Records in 2018. They followed it with the one-off digital single "O My Enemy" a year later, with St-Pierre experimenting as the solo act l'loop in the meantime.

Chastity: "Dying to Live"

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Suburban Whitby alt-rockers Chastity recently resurfaced with another standalone single. "Dying to Live" arrived last week through Dine Alone Records and the band's new US home of Deathwish Inc. Singer/songwriter Brandon Williams commented:

"The song is about the feeling of not being able to live without someone, as though life won't start again until they're back again. The title 'Dying to Live' was inspired by an old 'Zero' skate video from 2002. The video had the best soundtrack. Nirvana, Slayer, Neil Young - it definitely helped inform my taste growing up."

The song kicks off a new album cycle for Chastity, with an LP due for Deathwish and Dine Alone in 2022. The group last released Home Made Satan in 2019, following their 2018 debut Death Lust.

Sunnyside Uppers: "Mary"

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I mean no disrespect to the brunt of what I cover here, but it's relatively rare that any single song remains stuck in my head long after I write about it. My heavy diet of decidedly unlistenable noise-rock notwithstanding, I'm simply too scattered to give most songs the time they need to settle in for the long haul. Sunnyside Uppers' "Mary" is proving to be one of those rare exceptions, as it's been unrelentingly looping in my subconscious since I first heard it. Whatever alchemy Ryan Brown has at play here, it's worked. I featured the power-pop tune a few weeks back, but it now comes packaged alongside a video from director Gavin Maclean. Brown broke down the concept and production in a feature at The East, further revealing to Some Party:

"Though I appear to be an active participant, I actually had no idea what it would look like. Gavin came over to Saint John (he lives in Nova Scotia) with a green screen, camera and smoke machine. He directed me through it with zero context. I'd honestly forgotten half of what I did by the time I got the final cut. Was surprised and amused to watch myself pal around with dinosaurs.

also- my friend Naomi was hanging out with us that night. She took a look at our setup and said 'you should turn the smoke machine on and overhead lights off. Then point the other lights at those mirrors.' We did. Gavin filmed us dancing to Mac Miller and Lizzo. The resulting footage became the [November released] 'If All Is Lost' video. Hence the same t-shirt (and Moosehead can)."

"Mary" features Brown playing alongside Maclean on bass, with the pair's longtime friend and former bandmate Adam Warren (Waants) producing. Taken together, the trio represents the original lineup of the now-defunct Halifax indie group Glory Glory.

Lightmares: NÜ TOYZ

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Sudbury garage-punk trio Lightmares took a huge left turn on their recent EP. The band recorded NÜ TOYZ on a lark, crafting six curious tracks of playful electronic music with tongue-in-cheek vocals. The group offered something of a disclaimer for anyone thrown by the new direction:

"...a little something we cooked up to keep from going completely nuts this year. Hope can find something to dig on here. If not, don't worry. We still like to brutalize drums and guitars, and have a proper record inching its way toward completion as we speak."

If you enjoyed Drew Thomson's similarly-spirited home recording project No Idea Head, you'll find a lot to love here. The defiant stream-of-consciousness rant on the album-opening "Aquaduct" captures the zeitgeist of 2021 as well as anything.

Lightmares recently released a split EP with Barrie punk act Heavy Petter through Tarantula Tapes. The band last issued the digital full-length Sing a Prayer in March of 2020. Lightmares (as a rock'n'roll band, at least) features vocalist/guitarist Jamie Millard, bassist Nicholas Millard, and drummer Zack Tymchuk.

Dogo Suicide: "Ostrava"

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Quebec City's stoner metal-influenced punk group Dogo Suicide has a new EP on the way, with Sexe pour les yeux slated for a September 17 release. You can preview the five-song set through the single "Ostrava," which packs as much propulsion into an economical 61 seconds as possible. The EP, recorded in Quebec this past May with David Lizotte (Hillward/Southern Cross), features guitarist/vocalist Nicolas Côté, bassist/vocalist Emmanuel Canadian, and drummer Richard William-Turcotte.

The new tunes arrive on the heels of January's "Négationnistes" single. Last year, Dogo Suicide issued a self-titled LP, compiling material from their earlier EPs Direction Nord-Sud and Dover.

Gulfer: "Neighbours"

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Montreal's mathy emo-revivalists Gulfer have a new one-off single out titled "Neighbours." It arrives alongside a playful, mini-putt-celebrating video from director Sacha Cohen. A press release unpacks the song's lyrics, revealing the mental health messaging behind the technically-deft tune:

"[Guitarist/vocalist Vincent] Ford says that the song was written specifically about processing his experiences with a loved one diagnosed with schizophrenia, but that he only realized when the song was done. Between its noodly, punchy transitions - a signature staple of the band's songwriting - Ford explores what it must have been like to live with schizophrenia and not know it. Musically, 'Neighbours' speaks to this mentally debilitating experience with tact and precision: frantic, stop-on-a-dime passages set a punkish, animated backdrop for Ford's ruminations, giving him an appropriate setting to unpack his and his loved one's experiences.

Gulfer released a self-titled 13-song full-length last October through Royal Mountain and Topshelf, chasing it earlier this year with a split EP backed by the Marquette, MI quartet Charmer. Gulfer features guitarist/vocalists Vincent Ford and Joe Therriault, bassist David Mitchell, and drummer Julien Daoust.

Cluttered: "Ativan Love Letter"

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Fresh off some of their first live appearances (taking part in Newfoundland's Lawnya Vawnya and this telethon edition of SappyFest) Halifax punk quartet Cluttered recently shared a new video for "Ativan Love Letter," the standout track from their debut EP. The clip arrived from director Kay Slauenwhite.

Cluttered's self-titled set arrived in January (with roots in December's Demo Fest event). The follow-up Accidents EP landed in June. The band's catalogue-to-date find singer-songwriter Matty Grace (of Future Girls, Weekend Dads, Outtacontroller, etc.) backed by Becca Dalley (Designosaur, Book Buddies), Danny Bailey (Jabber), and Dylan Mombourquete (Alright Already).

Cancer Bats: "Hail the Acoustic Destroyer" (ft. Lindsay Schoolcraft)

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Big league Toronto hardcore unit Cancer Bats has a second volume of their pandemic-era Separation Sessions acoustic series on the way. You'll Never Break Us: Separation Sessions Vol. 2 arrives September 14 through Bat Skull Records in collaboration with New Damage. Like its 2020 predecessor, the set features five rootsy takes on the band's usually amped-up hits, including a version of their anthem "Hail Destroyer" featuring Lindsay Schoolcraft (former Cradle of Filth keyboardist and backing vocalist). In a press release, vocalist Liam Cormier commented:

"For 'Hail The Acoustic Destroyer' we all really wanted to capture the same energy and tension of the song but using a completely different approach from the original. Looking more at it being sparse and looming to convey the 'heaviness'. Once that ground work was laid, having Lindsay Schoolcraft's amazing goth tinged vocals on the track really pushes the song into a new melodic dimension, making the listener forget what the original 'Hail Destroyer' even was.

The set also features new versions of "Bricks and Mortar," "Pneumonia Hawk," "RATS," and "Winterpeg," with Eamon McGrath appearing in "Bricks" on mandolin. McGrath, of course, previously teamed up with Cancer Bats' rhythm section of Mike Peters and Jaye Schwarzer to serve as Julie Doiron's backing band, The Wrong Guys. The band plans to donate all proceeds from the EP's Bandcamp release to Water First, an NGO which empowers Indigenous youth to provide safe drinking water.

Cancer Bats released The Spark That Moves, their 6th full-length, in 2018.

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