Monday October 18, 2021

In the Time of Queens

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.

Dermabrasion: "In the Time of Queens"

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Kat McGouran and Adam Bernhardt, former bassist and guitarist of the Toronto snark-punks WLMRT, have another new project together - a seasonally appropriate goth rock act dubbed Dermabrasion. The duo deftly channels Siouxsie and the Banshees on Lunate, their newly unveiled 5-song debut. The EP features the single "In The Time of Queens," a moody-yet-danceable new wave song that highlights McGouran's haunting vocal delivery with skittering guitars. The track landed alongside a suitably spooky, monochromatic video that you can find now on YouTube. Unlike some of the synth-heavy, slickly produced deathrock coming out of the west coast (ACTORS, Spectres, and the like), Dermabrasion draws from influences that orbit a little closer to the punk nexus, giving their sound a scrappier edge and some welcome grit.

Bernhardt recorded the instrumentals from home between the fall of 2020 and this past summer, with the duo later convening at Dining Room Sound with Tallies' Stephen Pitman to track vocals. Pitman mixed the set with Orchid's Will Killingsworth mastering. Kat tells me:

"To us, it's a natural evolution from what we were doing on the last WLMRT record to something more in line with the music we like to spend our time dancing to (or used to, pre-pandemic). It was my first time doing lyrics or vocals (other than some backups), and it was a fun exercise exploring different corners of my brain and seeing what themes I could play with there."

You can find the group's debut for purchase at Bandcamp now, with any funds raised destined for Toronto Indigenous Harm Reduction.

The lightning-in-a-bottle WLMRT dissolved following the release of 2019's Forever, with most of their former roster now active in successor projects. Adam Bernhardt earlier debuted a set of laid-back new wave tunes under the name Jogging. Kat McGouran appears on the recent Becky and Darlene EPs as a member of the bratty punk quartet Prettyboy. Vocalist Shelby Wilson's hard at work readying the live debut of her twitchy electronic act Only God Forgives (they're playing as a four-piece with Dishpit and Luge at the Monarch on October 29). Ryan Al-Hage, meanwhile, has a new Montreal-based hyperpop project with Nara Wrigg dubbed Soul Boner.

Faiyaz And The Wasted Chances: "Antisocial"

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Toronto garage-punks Faiyaz And The Wasted Chances recently unveiled "Antisocial," the group's third new single of the year. Principle Faiyaz Shah commented on the track in a press release, stating:

"'Antisocial' is a grinding trashy garage punk song that really has to do with stress and overexertion. The song was written after a particularly bad out of town gig we had years back. We had no money, didn't get paid , and almost faced eviction that night (couple of members). The song is kinda painting of what's its like to be in the back of that van at the time. We call the breakdown 'a bad trip, spoken word ritual solo.'"

The new song features Shah on vocals, guitar, and bass backed by drummer Dylan Guiliano. The Wasted Chances recorded the bed tracks for these new songs (including the previously previewed "Dead Animals" and "Glow") with Austin Nops of The Effens engineering. Keep an eye on LootBag Records for more from the group as the rollout continues.

Zouz: Vertiges

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Montreal post-punk unit Zouz recently returned with Vertiges, a dynamic 10-song full-length that finds the group confidently crafting complex-yet-accessible songs from the bones of alt-rock, psych, and funky art-punk. The band recorded with producer Jean-Bruno Pinard (Bleu Nuit, Rich Aucoin) at Studio Green Room, tracking vocals in the home studio of drummer Francis Ledoux.

Zouz' new material follows the band's 2018 EP2. The three-piece features vocalist/guitarist David Marchand, bass/synth player Étienne Dupré, and percussionist Francis Ledoux. The new set arrives via Lazy at Work (Galaxie, FUUDGE, Les Dales Hawerchuk).

Punitive Damage: Strike Back

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Last week I shared "Legacy," a new track from the punishing Vancouver hardcore group Punitive Damage. That song now has a home - a new three-song EP titled Strike Back. It arrives via Rhode Island's Atomic Action Records as a 7", also featuring the tracks "Red Serge" and "Strike Back." In its entirety, the record clocks in at just under three minutes, so you know there's no room for bullshit. If you're in Canada and want a copy, hit the group up on Bandcamp.

Punitive Damage recorded the new material with Cameron Heck at Whalehouse Studio, with vocals captured by John Comstock at No Frills. Daggermouth's Stu McKillop mastered at Raincity Recorders. Look for Punitive Damage on the west coast this fall touring with Colorado's Faim and the Seattle-based Change. The band last released the We Don't Forget EP in March of 2020.

Daniel Romano's Outfit: "Animals Above Our Town"

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Daniel Romano's Outfit has a new video online showcasing "Animals Above Our Town," a harmony-packed track from their recent psych-pop LP, Cobra Poems. The piece features the group adorned as members of a mystic cult, performing a ritual on the roof of the Niagara Artists Centre in downtown St. Catharines. The clip appeared alongside an interview with Aquarium Drunkard that delves into the Welland artist's famously productive work ethic.

Cobra Poems arrived on vinyl in September through You've Changed Records, closely following the live record Fully Plugged In. Both albums feature Romano backed by vocalist Julianna Riolino, bassist Roddy Rosetti, guitarist Dave Nardi, and drummer Ian Romano.

Les Trimpes: Enterrer la bête

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Quebec City five-piece Les Trimpes returned last week with the new five-song EP Enterrer la bête. Billed as a new start for the band, the set showcases an energetic yet polished blues-rock sound. It's the group's first new material in nearly five years, arriving via the Folivora label. The band commented, en français:

"Chaque album à sa p'tite histoire, celui-ci est pour nous celui de la transition, autant pour la musique que pour les textes qui s'y retrouvent. On avait la chienne au début, mais on est plus qu'heureux de le laisser aller aujourd'hui et qu'il puisse vivre bien fort dans vos oreilles!"

Videos for the songs "Ton Feu" and "Le Sentier Des Amours Cassés" are running now at YouTube.

The band recorded with producers Dominic Pelletier (Caravane) and Luc Bourgeois (Bodh'aktan, Sandveiss, Suroît). The new music follows Les Trimpes' 2016 LP Donne du gaz. Les Trimpes' features vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Rémi Cyr, guitarist Patrick Cyr, bassist Maxime Moisan, guitarist Maxime Boulanger, and drummer Pierre Dubé.

Calling All Captains: "Laurel Canyon"

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With Slowly Getting Better nearly here, Edmonton's Calling All Captains have one final pre-release single to share. The group revealed that "Laurel Canyon" was the first song written for the album, representing a bridge between their approach on 2019's Nothing Grows Here and the present-day. They elaborated:

"The opening riff was actually written during one of our big US tours. We had stopped in a local guitar shop in Rochester, NY to kill some time and Connor picked up a Laurel Canyon acoustic, and out came that opening guitar part. We took a quick video to remember it, and then later when we returned home we paired it up with some lyrics inspired by real events in our lives. There are a lot of new flavors on this album, and 'Laurel Canyon' encapsulates a large portion of them all in one song. Feast your ears."

The group's new record arrives on October 29 through New Damage and Equal Vision Records. Quinn Cyrankiewicz of Royal Tusk produced the album, his second outing with the band. Calling All Captains features vocalist Luc Gauthier, guitarist/vocalists Brad Bremner and Connor Dawkins, bassist Nick Malychuk, and drummer Tim Wilson.

High End Denim Records: Ween-O-Rama

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Red Deer's High End Denim Records are rolling out Ween-O-Rama, a seasonal sampler featuring original Halloween music from their rowdy roster of punk miscreants. The label's posting a song daily, with the full set bound to be in your hands well before the big night. The album, available through Bandcamp, features cuts from Alberta miscreants like The Offsailors, Robbie Morön, Burning Nickels, Boo Radley, The Current State, and Boltergeist.

Hate It Too: "Harrison Ford"

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Following their "Abilene" single last month, the Quebec City prog-punk act Hate It Too has a new tune out titled "Harrison Ford" - inspired by a quip the actor made to director George Lucas concerning the script for Star Wars ("George, you can type this shit, but you sure can't say it"). The band commented:

"Based on the famous actor's quote on George Lucas' bad dialogues when filming Star Wars, this high-energy rock banger deals with writer's block, self-indulgence, and other pitfalls a writer can run into."

The speedy tune will appear soon on an EP titled Gaslighting, the follow-up to the band's 2020 Hell For Breakfast LP Lampshading. This song again finds the quartet working with producer David Lizotte.

Hate It Too formed in 2008 in Trois-Pistoles, relocating to the capital in 2012. The band features guitarist/vocalists Marc-Antoine Dionne and Cédric Michaud, bassist Stéphane Simard, and drummer Jean-Philippe Gagnon.

Hellbent: "Buckley"

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Hamilton hardcore group Hellbent recently shared "Buckley," a new single and a preview of their forthcoming full-length Primitive Hits. The track arrives alongside a canine-themed lyric video by our pal Justis Krar of IMMV Productions. Head screamer Phill Paxton commented in the premiere at No Echo:

"You'd think one song about a dog is enough for Hellbent. Well, think again. This track is aggressive and adorable, and was written from the perspective of Buckley, my legendary rescue pup straight from West Virginia."

Hellbent recorded Primitive Hits with Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton producing. A pair of songs from those sessions surfaced last summer, with more expected in the coming weeks. When the new LP arrives, it follows up on their 2019 EP Dead Off The Floor and a split 7" with the Spanish punk act G.A.S. Drummers.

NOBRO: "Better Each Day"

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In case you missed it last week, Montreal punks NOBRO unveiled a massively hooky new single titled "Better Each Day." You can now take it in through a new music video running where music videos run. Go check it out.

"Better Each Day" arrives through Dine Alone Records as the first follow-up to 2020's Sick Hustle EP. Dave Schiffman (PUP, The OBGMs, Bad Waitress) mixed the track. NOBRO features vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey, guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, Lisandre Bourdages on keys and percussion, and drummer Sarah Dion.

The Dirty Nil: "Ride or Die" (Live at the Killroom)

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Dundas power-trio The Dirty Nil recently shared a live video featuring the Fuck Art album cut "Ride or Die." Directed by Mitch Barnes, the clip finds the group performing at Hamilton skate facility The Killroom and serves as kick-off for their post-COVID return to the road. You can find it on YouTube now.

The video also arrives on the heels of a lineup shuffle, with bassist Ross Miller stepping aside from the boisterous group. Instead, the Nil's upcoming tours will feature Sam Tomlinson of Captain Wildchild filling in on the low end. Miller was the band's second bassist, taking over for Dave Nardi in the wake of 2016's Higher Power. He's currently running the tape label Weepy Eye.

Fuck Art arrived on January 1 from Dine Alone Records, following up 2018's Master Volume.

Huron Lines: "Ready Fire Aim"

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Gritty Windsor rockers Huron Lines recently shared "Ready Fire Aim," the latest preview of their fast-approaching LP Lost at the Border. Frontman Dave Mueller commented on the track at Bandcamp:

"This song is kind of about that moment when you are staring down the barrel of a bad relationship and wishing the words would slow down and the listening would start back up. Listening more and talking less usually end up bringing you closer together whether it's your partner, your neighbour or someone halfway around the world. The song exists in that moment when blurting something out is probably not the wisest thing one could do if there are any plans of resolving things between yourselves."

The grungy quartet recorded in their hometown with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser. Bill Skibbe (Fucked Up, Jack White, The Kills) mastered their new material at Third Man Mastering in Detroit. Huron Lines 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 next month through Chieftown Music.

The Hypnotics: Static Fuzz Radio single mixes

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Speaking of Windsor, local garage rockers The Hypnotics celebrated the 10th anniversary of 2011's Static Fuzz Radio by sharing three previously unreleased single mixes. The collection puts a new sonic spin on "Here She Comes Now," "Holiday In The City," and "Paradise Beach." The group recorded these tracks in the summer of 2011 at Toronto's Chemical Sound Studios, working with producers Dean Marino (Papermaps) and Jay Sadlowski (Jay Sad). Unreleased until now, these tracks bring the guitar noticeably forward in the mix, with "Paradise Beach" in particular showing off instrumentation unique to its album counterpart.

Now hard at work on their third full length, The Hypnotics' current lineup includes vocalist/guitarist Mike Konstantino, bassist Dave Konstantino, and drummer Nate Gelinas. The new LP will be the group's first since 2015's Modern Art Entertainment.

The Spitfires: "Down On It" (Live at the Pic)

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The notorious Vancouver rock act The Spitfires has a new live record available. Live At The Pic captures a high-octane 2003 show from Vancouver's Piccadilly Pub, recorded by notable BC producer Howard Redekop (New Pornographers, Tegan and Sara). The set arrives digitally and on vinyl through Yeah Right! Records.

News of the release landed alongside a live video for "Down On It," filmed by Danny Nowack (Hard Core Logo) and Doug Donut (Death Sentence). You can check it out on YouTube.

Circa 2003, the Spitfires were vocalist Jason Solyom, bassist CC Voltage, guitarists Mr. Dean-O and Jay Millette, and drummer Marty Peters. In the years since Solyom went on to join the stoner rock act La Chinga, with Voltage active these days in the new wavers Autogramm. Now Toronto-based, Millette continues to play with Vancouver glam-punk heroes The Black Halos while appearing as part of Midnight Towers and solo as Silver Receiver.

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