Tuesday December 14, 2021

Next Time Hit Me

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: Glad To Be Forgotten

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I have some bewildering habits from my Punknews days. While we had no training and only the thinnest understanding of the responsibilities involved, we liked to fancy ourselves actual journalists. In practice, we'd ruminate behind the scenes about coverage standards that could set us apart from the gossipy LiveJournals of the world. One of those guidelines was to only talk about upcoming media in our main news feed. A newly unveiled song or video was newsworthy. A readily available record was not. I'm not sure what this rule accomplished in reality, but in principle, it kept us from editorializing on behalf of our favourites without some narrative thrust justifying the story. Please don't overthink this, as it's full of holes - but the habit remains. To this day, I reflexively delete press releases proclaiming Record X is out now!, because that's not news by the Punknews standard - and that's likely a problem.

Now Patrick McEachnie's hardly sending out dorky press releases, but he did shoot me a nice personal reminder that Pack Rat's debut LP Glad To Be Forgotten was finally available. Falling immediately into 20 years of Punknews ritual, I found myself scratching for the story. I do this despite designing Some Party to intentionally short circuit the daily news grind. If anything, fewer people care about my bullshit objectivity these days than at any point in my adult life. So why do I still need two paragraphs of rambling navel-gazing to feel comfortable saying...

Hey everyone! Pack Rat's Glad To Be Forgotten is out, and it's fucking killer! Get on it!

Pat McEachnie drums in Vancouver's relentless Chain Whip and fronted the punk traditionalists Corner Boys before the pandemic. The latter released their sole full-length in early 2019, innocent at the time as to how sickly ironic Waiting For 2020's title would later seem. During the COVID doldrums, Pat taught himself guitar, home production, and (perhaps most importantly) tapped into a well of manic, frustrated energy. Corner Boys were too nice to ever write a song as frantic as "Next Time Hit Me." You don't arrive at that point without suffering first. With Hosehead Records on his resume, Pat'll probably never shed his reputation as an endearingly nerdy punk rock historian, but Pack Rat's anything but academic. It's the sound of an artist bouncing wildly off the walls because the world truly and thoroughly sucks in a way we've never imagined. You can't fake that.

Glad To Be Forgotten arrived with ten stir-crazy songs via the UK label Drunken Sailor Records. McEachnie wrote, performed, and recorded everything you hear, perhaps by necessity, with Braden DeCorby stepping in at the end to mix and master. I do suggest giving it a spin before the year's out. Paired with Chain Whip's Two Step to Hell the two records make one hell of a statement.

Mr. Power: "Fix It"

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Mikey Power of Ottawa surf-punks The Thrill has a new video out spotlighting "Fix It," a track from the askew-pop solo EP he released this summer as Mr. Power. The song appears on Romance, a five-song digital set issued through the Clubhouse Recording Club. The video arrived amidst the hype for the label's New Year's Eve bash at the storied Dominion Tavern.

The New Year's show at the ByWard mecca promises a mixed-genre lineup with several notable new acts performing. Scorpion King's a country duo featuring Sammy J. Scorpion of New Swears supporting lead vocalist Melanie King. They released a three-song EP a few weeks ago via Clubhouse, lead off by the gorgeous slow-burn single "Only One." Banezean comes packing an entirely different energy. The project's a solo garage effort from Zane Bean from the Oshawa pop-punk group Letdown. In the fall, he issued the snotty single "Bombay" in collaboration with Ottawa rapper Newagehip. The latter, paired with Dashype, share the stage on NYE as Das & Hyp, performing material from their late-2020 EP.

You can snag tickets to the show at EventBrite - but if you're not in Ottawa (or perhaps still in hibernation), now's the time to get familiar with the Clubhouse roster.

Ristrikt: "Die on the Hill"

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Edmonton hardcore quartet Ristrikt has a bruising new single out via Medicine Hat's Wasted Wax Records, with "Die On The Hill" previewing the group's forthcoming LP We Are All Just Human. The song appears in a stark new video from Kitrina Brodhecker, paired with footage of the RCMP clashing with land defenders at the Fairy Creek Blockades at Ada'itsx. The new track follows the band's "Ingrate" single from earlier in the fall.

Ristrikt would be fully justified billing itself as a Canuck punk supergroup. The four-piece features Real Sickies/Torcher drummer Rob Lawless on vocals, backed by Dayglo Abortions' Mike Jak on guitar, SNFU's Dave Bacon on bass, and Garrett Kruger (The Allovers, Fire Next Time, The Famines) on drums. Preorders for Ristrikt's debut go live this week on Wasted Wax, with the record due early in the new year.

Dayglo Abortions: "World of Hate"

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Speaking of Dayglo Abortions, over the past few months the Canadian punk/thrash legends have had new material on a slow drip, trickling out the entirety of a new record titled Hate Speech. The latest arrived this week, and here's what frontman Murray (The Cretin) Action had to say regarding "World of Hate":

"You might not realize it listening to this album, but I have learned how to process my anger as it happens. I don't hold on to it. I am not interested in revenge when I've been wronged because You need to keep the anger alive for that. I just want to let it go. Because when it's gone there is no residual poison lurking in my subconscious waiting to transform into real hatred. Hatred can also be spawned by fear and sure, there's lot's of things I'm afraid of but again, as long as I process it, I can get beyond it. What's my secret you ask? I write music. I make songs that ridicule the things I am afraid of, and the things that fuck me around. It works really good, I have a pile of self therapy songs, and I write new ones all the time. You should try it. It's really important if you want to be healthy and happy, you gotta loose the hatred. Don't even say the word."

This track features Murray on vocals and guitar, backed by guitarist/bassist Matt Fiorito and drummer Blind Marc. Terry Palohek and the aforementioned Rob Lawless engineered at The Physics Lab, with Terry Palohek mastering. The new record follows up on 2016's full-length Armageddon Survival Guide and a wide swash of material shared online during the pandemic. It also comes on the heels of Wake Up It's Time To Die, a previously unreleased 1982 session issued in 2019 on the Victoria archival label Supreme Echo.

If you're down for a few sordid stories from the Dayglo trenches, Action appeared on the Punk Till I Die podcast earlier this year. You can find that episode here. If anything, it's far more interesting than the episode I appeared on.

New Vogue: "Reptile"

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Montreal DEVO-core maniacs New Vogue have a new video online spotlighting "Reptile," a track from the band's latest LP. After kicking around online (and cassette) for the better part of a year, those songs, retitled Volume II, finally saw a vinyl release this fall through Casbah Records. Lara Band directed the "Reptile" clip, building some unsettling b-movie atmosphere from archival footage of snakes and lizards. Both the band and filmmaker spoke about the project with the French publication Rock&Folk.

New Vogue's the brainchild of Max Desharnais from the Montreal garage-punks Sonic Avenues and PRIORS. The group's performed in several forms, both as a duo and a full quartet, drawing on PRIORS' ranks to fill the roster as needed.

Night Court: "Together Apart"

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Vancouver punk trio Night Court continues to roll out videos at an impressive rate. "Together Apart" premiered last week via Range along with a chat with drummer/filmmaker Emilor Jane. The clip offers a commentary on our socially distanced, screen-driven lives, contrasted with vintage computer graphics that significantly predate the Zoom era.

"Together Apart" appears on Nervous Birds! One, the band's debut cassette (recently available through Debt Offensive and Snappy Little Numbers). Night Court features bassist/vocalist Jiffy Marx (Autogramm), guitarist Dave Soul (Marx's longtime bandmate from Jiffy Marker, Blood Meridian, and others), and above-mentioned drummer Emilor Jane (Synchromantics, Pet Blessings).

Wolfrik: "All Tongues"

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Edmonton melodic hardcore group Wolfrik recently detailed their upcoming debut for Thousand Islands and Lockjaw Records, a 10-song LP titled Clones. You can hear the riffy singles "Bashem" and "All Tongues" streaming now at Bandcamp, with the LP due on February 25. Perhaps to a fault, Thousand Islands churns out 90s-vibing skatepunk at an astonishing pace, but Wolfrik stands out for me with an Epitaph-era Hot Water Music gruffness that I'm entirely on board with.

The new record arrives as the quintet's follow-up to the band's 2017 EP Skeleton City. Wolfrik features vocalist Dylan Toews, guitarists Nathaniel Court and Mark Seifeddine, bassist Luca Properzi and drummer Nathan Troock.

Fucked Up: "Year of the Horse"

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Fucked Up's treated their massive zodiac single Year of the Horse to a new video that's somehow both epic in scope but rather charmingly homespun. The clip arrives from director Trevor Blumas of PORCH (who you may recognize as 1/3rd of the psych-dance trio DOOMSQUAD) with Alexandra Milne and M.I. Blue in the starring roles. The Open Fortress group contributes some unique choreography to the work. Given the narrative structures intrinsic to this particular piece of music (Horse came packaged with an actual libretto), there are perhaps few songs better suited for a lavish companion video, punk or otherwise.

Year of the Horse recently received its long-awaited vinyl treatment through Tankcrimes, arriving in the physical realm just as the band gears up to start celebrating the 10th anniversary of their David Comes To Life LP. Next year, that record will see a reissue from Matador Records (paired, of course, with full-album shows). The band also has a b-sides collection of David-era songs on the way, titled Do All Words Can Do. That set lands on March 25.

Hellbent: "GUNUNDRUM"

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Hamilton hardcore group Hellbent has another new song online from their forthcoming Scott Middleton-produced LP. "GUNUNDRUM" lands as our second recent preview of Primitive Hits following the single "Buckley" in October. The track arrived with a nerve-wracking archival footage video directed by our pal Justis Krar from IMMV Productions.

When the new LP arrives, it follows up on the band's 2019 EP Dead Off The Floor and a split 7" with the Spanish punk act G.A.S. Drummers.

The Fake Friends: "Mile End"

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Montreal melodic punk group The Fake Friends emerged over the pandemic from members of Trigger Effect, Mundy's Bay, Watch for Wolves, and Kennedy. Over the past year, the group's issued several digital singles, with the anthem "Mile End" kicking off the run in March. A new video showcases the song through a performance at the Turbo HaĆ¼s in the band's hometown. Ryan Stick and Marco Vaccaro of Mind Blender Media directed the clip.

Nothing Special: Nothing Special

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Oshawa pop-punk quartet Nothing Special issued their self-titled debut at the end of November. The youthful five-song EP follows a string of singles released earlier in the year. The band commented:

"over two years ago, we started working on a collection of songs that we grew very attached to. each song holds something very special about it to us. each one had its own story and its own writing process. we couldn't be more happy to have this released for our friends to hear what we have been working on."

In case you missed it, a video for the standout "Tweaker" debuted in October. Nothing Special features vocalist/guitarists Dan Bell and Gabriel Higazi, with bassist James Carr and drummer Spencer Holmes.

HEXOFFENDER: "Fever Dream"

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Hamilton punks HEXOFFENDER are back at it with another dark and grimy new single. You can pick up "Fever Dream" at Bandcamp now. The thrashy song landed in early December as the follow-up to their debut Undead Smut demo. This recording features Dave Gourlay on vocals, bass, and percussion, with JP of Bad Logics playing leads.

The Soviet Influence: "It's Like, I Don't Know (Fuck You Elon Musk)"

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The Soviet Influence toast Time's dubious Person of the Year on their new single. "It's Like, I Don't Know (Fuck You Elon Musk)" minces few words, as evident from its title. The Limehouse, Ontario indie rock troop commented:

"This is our riff on the latest drama between Grimes and Elon Musk. What it really is, is a small critique of billionaires and their "legacies." Special thanks to Percy Bysshe Shelley for his legendary "Ozymandias," a fitting elegy for our modern rich."

The song comes on the heels of a November-released 7" single from the band, featuring "Astronomical Wonders" backed by "Secret Space." Those tracks followed up on Socialism: An introduction, the group's revolution-minded full-length from earlier in the year.

React to it at your leisure

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