Thursday November 4, 2021

Bird Queen of Garbage Island

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.

The Burning Hell: "Bird Queen of Garbage Island"

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The Burning Hell returned last week with the first single from their upcoming LP. "Bird Queen of Garbage Island" finds singer-songwriter Mathias Kom once again dazzling with playful surrealism and reference-packed wordplay, backed here by an unhurried bed of sly indie-funk from Ariel Sharratt, Jake Nicoll, and Darren Browne. At its midpoint, the track wanders into an extended interlude peppered with unusual instrumentation - among it the telltale crinkling of plastic trash. "Bird Queen" arrives alongside a fittingly idiosyncratic video from New Brunswick-based multimedia artist Graeme Patterson.

The track's available now as a limited edition 7" through BB*Island, featuring a thematically-apt cover of They Might Be Giants' classic "Birdhouse in Your Soul" on the b-side. The record comes packaged with a comic by French graphic novelist Emmanuel Moynot.

A version of the single first surfaced in early 2019 on the extremely limited Birdwatching on Garbage Island EP. The form you can hear now should land on the band's next full-length, due sometime in 2022 on BB*Island in Europe and through You've Changed Records in North America.

While The Burning Hell's technically following up 2017's Revival Beach, one shouldn't overlook Ariel Sharratt and Mathias Kom's 2020 LP Never Work. That record found the PEI duo tackling the ills of late-stage capitalism and assembling a new songbook of labour anthems for the Amazon era. While the pandemic sabotaged the group's plans to tour that album, they've hardly spent their downtime idle. Between then and now, the group produced several smaller projects, including online TV specials, a benefit split with B.A. Johnston, and an album's worth of quirky holiday tunes.

Young Guv: "Lo Lo Lonely"

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Ben Cook's Young Guv returns in 2022 with a new double LP. GUV III and IV look to follow the template established by 2019's GUV I and II, capturing even more of the songwriter's seemingly endless well of timeless power-pop. Of course, these songs will again offer a stark contrast to the decidedly louder avenues Cook explores with No Warning and as a guitarist in Fucked Up). You can preview the new set now through the melodic single "Lo Lo Lonely."

Cook crafted these songs in Taos, New Mexico while riding out the pandemic amidst a community of curiously designed, off-the-grid homes known as Earthships. He encamped there for nine months, living with his five bandmates and slowly writing as the public health crisis ground on. They eventually put the songs to tape in an LA studio.

In a statement, Cook describes the emotional toll the past few years had on his songwriting:

"...a document of my two years away from the world. My healing. Through real work in therapy over a long period, as well as spending many months isolated and alone, I have started to finally access my true self little by little, and it's reflected in this music."

With the worse seemingly behind us, Young Guv's finally back on the road, kicking off a tour with the Texas rock band Narrow Head this week. Shows in the UK and Europe are lined up for next year as well.

Julie Doiron: "Darkness To Light"

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Julie Doiron recently shared the second preview of her upcoming LP, I Thought Of You. The celebrated Eric's Trip alum commented on the song "Darkness To Light" in a press release:

"I started writing this song when I was in a particular low point. I was going on lots of walks which always helps clear my head, and where I often come up with melodies and song ideas. This song is really about coming out of a dark time. My old friend and collaborator Michael Feuerstack contributed a beautiful pedal steel part to this song, and it was so great to be playing music with him again."

The New Brunswick artist recorded in early 2020, reuniting in the studio with several longtime collaborators. The record features Doiron on guitar and vocals backed by Welland workhorse Daniel Romano on guitar, keys, and percussion, Quebec's Dany Placard on bass, and Danny's brother and frequent bandmate Ian Romano drumming. Julie recorded at both Studio B-12 in Valcourt and Studio La Shed in Montreal. The record, mixed by Kenneth Roy Meehan and mastered by Harris Newman, arrives November 26 through You've Changed Records.

Setting aside her hard-rocking 2017 side-project Julie & The Wrong Guys, Doiron hasn't had a proper solo full-length out since 2012's So Many Days. She issued a series of Spanish-language EPs in the years since and took part in Mount Eerie's landmark Lost Wisdom pt 2 record last year.

Bratboy: "Blue Eyes"

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Bratboy recently emerged from former members of the Vancouver indie rock group Jo Passed. Guitar/vocalist Bella Bébê and bassist/vocalist Megan Magdalena are now playing as a trio backed by drummer Tony Dallas, and you can hear them arrive in full force on the charged pop-punk tune "Blue Eyes." The track's our first preview of an upcoming full-length due in early 2022. The band recorded with Jordan Koop (Dumb, The Courtneys) at Noise Floor Recording Studio.

Bella and Meg took their first swing at this project in early 2019, releasing a pair of songs under the abbreviation BB (that single, collectively titled X, saw a limited physical release through the UK subscription label Flying Vinyl).

Pkew Pkew Pkew: Expedition Denied

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Toronto punk quartet Pkew Pkew Pkew are so fucking bored. Even with the pandemic on the wane, the band still couldn't get out on the road ("because of some absolute bullshit," or so we're told). With little else to do, the group instead convened to record a primarily acoustic EP. You can hear the four-song Expedition Denied at Bandcamp now. Along with a decidedly COVID-era opener, the set revisits a few classics from the band's 2013 debut Glory Days. Those songs come from the group's earlier incarnation as Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots). (I'm honestly unsure if that record's still canonical at this point - bands are weird). The group recorded with Gareth Parry and Mark Robertson at Bengal Cat Sound.

Pkew Pkew Pkew last released Optimal Lifestyles in 2019 on Dine Alone Records, a record that underscored their often irreverent, hard-partying anthems with a bit of subtle pathos.

Hyness: Settle Down in the Dirt

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The recent singles from Kitchener's Hyness nailed the cool indifference of grunge and the bright potential of early 90s power pop. Those songs have finally come together as a new 10-song full-length, sounding less studiously nostalgic than it does authentically of the era. Settle Down In The Dirt's now available digitally wherever you find your stuff. The release landed alongside a new video for the single "Spill." You can catch that on YouTube now.

The new record features Marcus Addams on vocals, drums, and guitar, Adam Lee Padden on guitar, Chris Moffat on bass, Sean Whelan on bass and vocals, and Colin White drumming. The new record follows the group's 2019 EP River, but it's the first for this revised lineup.

Sea Of Troubles: "Busted"

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Hamilton noise-punk outfit Sea Of Troubles has a new single out dubbed "Busted," a song one could almost call accessible - at least relative to the band's recent work. While still abrasive and wading waist-deep in fuzz, the track lands some serious hooks through vocals delivered with a Stooges growl. You can find the tune at Bandcamp.

Last month Sea of Troubles released a decidedly more avant-guard full-length titled カンニング ("cunning" in Japanese). The experimental trio features vocalist/guitarist Denzel Gordon, drummer Jeremy Hopkins, and bassist Matt Rockingham.

Century Egg: "Moving On"

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Last week Halifax mandopop-rockers Century Egg shared "Moving On," one half of a new double a-side single titled Mirror. The song arrived to usher in a few big-market show gigs. The quartet plays Toronto's Handlebar on November 14 and Montreal's La Sala Rosa on the 19th (the latter on Mothland's M for Montreal stage).

In a brief statement, the group commented:

"This is a song about trying to detach yourself from your past and let go of the trauma that holds you back from finally feeling better."

You'll need to wait until November 23 to hear the title track.

The new songs arrive via the Forward Music Group as the first follow-ups to the band's recent EP, Little Piece of Hair. Century Egg features vocalist Shane Keyu Song, guitarist Robert Drisdelle (Lido Pimienta), bassist Matty Grace (Future Girls, Cluttered) and drummer Meg Yoshida (Not You, Dog Day). Grace and Drisdelle recorded these songs, with Will Killingsworth mixing and mastering.

The Black Void: "Digital Joy"

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Toronto garage weirdos The Black Void have been off the grid for a while now, but the group looks primed for a return to action. A video featuring the new single "Digital Joy" is now online, directed by multimedia artist Tristan Johnston. It's the first material we've heard from a new release titled Sad Songs About Sentient Sextoys and Other Terrible Tales, set to arrive late his month through Barrie cassette label Tarantula Tapes.

At some point in the murk of the 2020 quarantine, The Black Void's Spacker Dave Vestaloyne issued Thought Crimes, an EP of home recordings billed as The Spack Void. Best I can tell, you'd have to look all the way back to 2011 to find the band's prior release, a self-titled full-length.

20 Eyes: "Cold Love"/"You are a Plague"

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I may have unceremoniously stuffed my kids' jack-o-lanterns into the composter, but the Halloween spirit lives on with Charlottetown's 20 Eyes. The band's lo-fi devotion to the Misfits and The Damned doesn't hurt in that regard, either. The trio has a new single online now, featuring "Cold Love" and "You Are a Plague." The songs follow up on the group's summer debut, the Human Enough EP.

20 Eyes features guitarist/vocalist Matthew Ford, bassist/vocalist Ryan Van Winkle, and drummer Jackson Boulter. The group recorded with Sam Langille and Josh Langille of Charlottetown's Absolute Losers.

Lost Love: "Mercury"

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The heartfelt new LP from Montreal pop-punk group Lost Love is out in the wild and well worth your time. The group lined up a video for "Mercury," the record's fourth single, just in time for Halloween (pay no attention to the fact that I'm not telling you about until well after the fact). The clip, directed by Alex Bergeron, finds the quartet cavorting about, dressed as low-budget ghosts.

Lost Love released Empathy a few short weeks ago through Fantasio Club, following up their 2019's Stomp LP Good Luck Rassco. The band recorded in Montreal with producer Marc-André Beaudet (The Sainte Catherines, The Frenetics, Blurry Eyes).

Lost Love's set to celebrate Empathy's arrival with a release party on November 26 at Turbo Haus. The hometown show features support from Toronto's infectious Talk Show Host and the Halifax punk upstarts Cluttered. I'm still at the point in my pandemic inertia where show announcements like these feel utterly unreal.

Diamondtown: "Dream All Day"

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The chill new LP from Dartmouth's Diamondtown is so deceptively hooky that it's become something of a therapeutic daily spin for me. The folk/shoegaze group recently shared a video featuring a performance of the album track "Dream All Day," shot by Booji Boy Alex Mitchell. The band had this to say about the song:

"Sad yet comforting, 'Dream All Day' is an introspective song about wandering aimlessly through life in a daze... instead of facing your problems and actually getting your shit together. It's easy to stay in your comfort zone and let your world become smaller, but it's good to keep your mind open to everything that's going on."

Diamondtown features KC Spidle on vocals and guitar, Evan Cardwell on lead guitar, Kate O'Neill on keys and percussion, Chris Thompson on bass, and Meg Yoshida drumming. Cardwell, O'Neill, and Thomson all sing backing vocals as well. While this is the group's first full-length, these players share deep, tangled histories. Spidle and Cardwell previously played as the duo Husband & Knife, from which Diamondtown ultimately evolved. Spidle also plays alongside Meg Yoshida in the Halifax gloom-pop heroes Dog Day. Yoshida's always in demand, notably visible this year as a member of the above-mentioned Century Egg. Chris Thompson, of course, boasts the legendary Eric's Trip on his resume along with years of solo recordings as Moon Socket (some of them featuring Kate O'Neill). He's also recently appeared as the drummer of Spidle's pandemic-era garage trio Gemstones.

Diamondtown landed in late October through Label Obscrua on a limited run of 180-gram vinyl. The LP arrived following the band's summer 7", Hide/Wake.

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