Wednesday November 10, 2021

Circus of Wolves

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.

Night Court: "Circus of Wolves"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

After a few teases last month, we now have word on the debut full-length from the emerging Vancouver punk trio Night Court. The group's issuing the 13-song Nervous Birds! One on cassette through Calgary's Debt Offensive Records and Denver's Snappy Little Numbers. Look for it on December 3. The announcement arrived alongside a video for the brisk album-opening single "Circus of Wolves."

A press release reveals that the track's a love letter to the early 90s DC post-hardcore group Circus Lupus - an early inspiration for Night Court's Jiffy Marx and Dave Soul (and perhaps the only Dischord act named for an SCTV skit). The pair played together in numerous bands over the years, including Jiffy Marker and Blood Meridian. They're joined in Night Court by Emilor Jayne, current bassist for Jeffrey McCloy's Synchromantics and lead vocalist for the acerbic Pet Blessings.

The "Circus of Wolves" video builds a collage atop footage of the band's first live show, recorded at Leeside Skatepark in Vancouver this past August. Marx commented on the frenetic piece and how it reflects the band's deliberately uncomplicated working style:

"I tried to treat the video like we treated the recording. We wrote and recorded 30 songs in 4 months during the pandemic lockdown in 2020 and made a conscious decision to not be too 'precious' with anything so it was easier to pump out the jams! Dave and I have been in like 6 bands together and honestly not sure why we'd never thought of this before?"

As an attentive Some Party reader, you likely know Jiffy Marx as one-third of the Vancouver new wave/power pop group Autogramm. They released their No Rules LP this past April.

Chairs for Giants: Chairs for Giants

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There's been no word from the gruff Saint John punk act Right Shitty since the world went awry, but the band's core members recently resurfaced with a new project. Chairs for Giants ventures into lo-fi indie rock, and while the players dialled back the tempo - the guitar crunch remains. The new band recorded as a duo, with Peter Ellefsen on vocals and guitar and Levi Ellingwood tackling drums, bass, and guitar. You can hear Chairs for Giants' five-song self-titled EP at Bandcamp now.

Right Shitty issued their debut LP Bachelor Of Arts in 2016, followed in 2017 by a split with the noise-duo Deathsticks. The group's sophomore LP, Worry Circle, arrived digitally in the fall of 2019.

The Filthy Radicals: "Scavenger"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Stomp Records recently inked six-piece ska-punk group The Filthy Radicals. The Radicals' first release for the longstanding Montreal label's due this month, with the EP The Fine Line Between Real and Insane slated for November 26. You can preview the high-energy single "Scavenger" now. Stomp compares the Toronto group with some of the scrappiest of the 3rd wave:

"Think if Mischief Brew, Op Ivy and Choking Victim spawned a horny, ADHD demon seed raised on a steady diet of early internet and the 90s revival scene"

Andrew DeNure recorded and engineered the new EP with Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton mastering. The set's a quick follow-up to Freedom 45, a 7" EP the band released through Cursed Blessings Records just last month.

Ciggie Tarbox: Super Pretentious Solo EP

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Ciggie Tarbox, vocalist and guitarist for the Ottawa garage trio Ciggie & The Darts, has a four-song solo EP out. Carrying a self-deprecating title (the Super Pretentious Solo EP), the set clocks in with four new songs that grapple with the frontman's relationship with drugs and alcohol.

Tarbox recorded the set at Gatineau's NOMANSLAND studio, with Chany Pilote of the Pils Sessions producing. The Darts recently appeared as one of the inaugural acts in Pils' ongoing session series, recording a performance in August that saw a release this past September. Ciggie's solo EP serves as the first release for the fledgling Pils Records outside of the sessions series.

Ciggie Tarbox originally hails from Saint John, New Brunswick. He plays in the Darts with bassist Aaron "Double Double" Steinman and drummer Rolls "Sugarlumps" Royce (with members previously playing in Chloroform, Slumlord, and Alcohol Fueled). Before their Pils work, The Darts released the early 2020 demo set Liquor, Leather, Denim & Darts.

PUP: "Waiting" / "Kill Something"

Listen at YouTube - Purchase at Bandcamp

Vanguard Toronto punk quartet PUP shared two new songs this week. "Waiting" and "Kill Something" arrived this week as the band's first new material since their pandemic-era EP This Place Sucks Ass. Vocalist/guitarist Stefan Babcock broke the new material down in an absolutely manic email to the band's mailing list. He commented, in part:

"'Kill Something' is about my puppy Moose destroying everything that he loves and then being sad that it is destroyed DOGS TRULY ARE A REFLECTION OF THEIR OWNERS.

'Waiting' is a v silly ripper. I did the vocals lying on the floor of a living room while my bandmates cooked dinner in the next room THANKS GUYS THE PASTA WAS GOOD. Also, Nestor didn't help making dinner because he was 'too busy' operating the protools machine. PULL YOUR WEIGHT NESTOR. Oh and one more thing, in verse 2, that's our pal Kathryn [McCaughey] singing. She plays in the Montreal shit ripping band NOBRO they are so good holy shit. Thank you for being on this track Kathryn!!!"

The songs arrived alongside news of the band's first major US tour since the virus. They'll play throughout the spring with support from Pinkshift, Cloud Nothings, and Sheer Mag on various dates (they've got a few stops in major Canadian markets, as well). You can find the full routing on their website. Keep in mind that a dollar from every presale sold via their website goes to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.

This Place Sucks Ass arrived last October from Little Dipper in Canada and Rise Records in the US. The EP followed the band's critically lauded 2019 LP Morbid Stuff.

Wasting Time: "Game Night"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto's Wasting Time returned last week with another pop-punk banger. The propulsive "Game Night" shows a clear lineage to heart-on-their-sleeve 90s punk groups like the Alkaline Trio, No Use For a Name, and the Smoking Popes. The track's slated for Once More Without Feeling, the band's sophomore full-length due in the spring of 2022. In a statement to Punknews.org, the group described "Game Night" as:

"...an uptempo melodic punk tune inspired by the uncertainties, apprehensions and moves that one considers on a first date."

The track follows "Grow Up," "Runaways," and "My Limited French" in previewing the new record. Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, Junior Battles) recorded the group at Drive Studios. This new material follows Wasting Time's 2019 EP Separation From Your Senses and their 2018 full-length Tales from the Morgue.

Chris Page: "A Vacuum Void of Fun"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Ottawa garage troubadour Chris Page issued two distinct flavours of his latest single. "A Vacuum Void of Fun" arrived last week as both a fully electric rocker and a more subtle, stripped-down version. The artist commented:

"This time around I recorded two versions of a new song, one for Saturday evenings (cranked up electric) and the other for Sunday mornings (dead-string acoustic chill, accompanied by a Roland Funny Cat).

As the preacher apparently said to Sam Cooke: 'You can only sing on Saturday night or Sunday morning. You can't do both.'

I think of this song as comfort food for coping with self doubt. If you're a lyrics person, you can do with that what you will."

Page regularly releases new material to coincide with Bandcamp's monthly artist-friendly Friday events. Outside of his solo ventures, he plays these days in the duo Expanda Fuzz with Leila Younis. His past work includes stints fronting Camp Radio and the 90s-era Glengarry, Ontario pop-punk group The Stand GT. Last year he released Decide To Stay and Swim Again, an LP revisiting the songs originally recorded for his 2004 solo record Decide To Stay and Swim.

Tallies: "No Dreams of Fayres"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto dream-pop quartet Tallies recently shared "No Dreams of Fayres," a shimmering single and the first material to surface from their follow-up to their self-titled 2019 LP. In a statement, singer/guitarist Sarah Cogan commented on the mental health struggles addressed in the song:

"'No Dreams of Fayres' is a reflection of thoughts that I remember going through my mind when I stayed still in bed. Feeling as though staying still in bed was the only thing that would help the sadness - basically, disconnecting myself from family, friends, and having a life. Finding the way out of depression was hard but possible. 'No Dreams of Fayres' is also about the realization of letting yourself feel real feelings but not mistaking them for emotions. I had to learn to get a grip of what I wanted out of life and go for it with no self-sabotage - which was music, as cliché as it sounds. It pulled me out of bed, physically and mentally."

Tallies recorded with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh and the band's own Dylan Frankland producing at Palace Sound, Baskitball 4 Life, and Candle Recording in Toronto. The group's new material arrives via Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada, with Kanine Records handling the US and Bella Union looking after Europe.

Tallies are currently billed as a trio, featuring Cogan backed by Dylan Frankland on guitar and Cian O'Neill drumming.

Sunnyside Uppers: "Anything Could Happen"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Since this is turning out to be a are Saint John-heavy edition of Some Party, we can't miss the chance to check in with Ryan Brown's pop-rock project Sunnyside Uppers. The artist recently shared a home-recorded demo titled "Anything Could Happen." Brown describes it as:

"...a ballad about things you (or a more compassionate friend) might say to yourself when the outside world doesn't match the one in your head."

The new track arrives on the heels of August's earworm "Mary" - one of my favourite songs of the year. That track saw Brown recording with his former Glory Glory bandmates Gavin Maclean and Adam Warren (Waants). Brown's expected to hit the studio soon with Warren to put more material to tape - "Anything Could Happen" included.

Chad VanGaalen: Lost Harmonies 2

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Calgarian weird-folk hero Chad VanGaalen has a new collection of oddities online. The 10-song Lost Harmonies 2 arrived last week, showcasing a sonically diverse set of whimsical experiments - the artist recorded the primarily instrumental set at home in his garage. It's both the titular sequel to last October's synth-focused Lost Harmonies and the immediate follow-up to last month's sombre Full Moon Bummer.

VanGaalen released a wealth of archival material throughout the pandemic and nestled among those digital releases the World's Most Stressed Out Gardener LP. It arrived last March through Flemish Eye and Sub Pop Records.

The Punching Nuns: Ain't Gettin' Nun

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Scene-veteran, habit-donning Toronto punk group The Punching Nuns returned on Halloween with Ain't Getting' Nun, a new 10-song full-length. You can hear the whole sordid affair on streaming services now.

Together for over 25 years with an oft-shifting lineup, the Nuns currently feature Dave Walsh (aka Sister Effing Four Eyes), Jim Rocket (aka Sister Incontinence), and Greg Cahill (aka Hoppy the Special Penguin), and Rick Giroux. The group's collective family tree (which reads like a punk history textbook) touches on Afhakken, Nomind, Bronto Crushrock, Bunchofuckingoofs, Direct Action, UK Subs, The Dead Bunnies, One Free Fall, Bad Punk, G Men, Armed and Hammered, Son of Bronto, and Problem Children.

Ain't Gettin' Nun follows The Punching Nuns' 2017 EP Disabled.

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