Monday January 24, 2022

Show Your Children

Some Party is a newsletter sharing the latest in independent Canadian rock'n'roll, curated more-or-less 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.

Schedule 1: "Show Your Children"

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Dirt Cult Records has a history of boosting cool new sounds from the Pacific Northwest, and that tradition continues with the upcoming debut from the tightly wound Vancouver punk act Schedule 1. The group's six-song, self-titled EP ships before the end of the month, with the label filing the group's dark garage sound among such classics as The Estranged, Red Dons, and Wipers. You can preview the album-opening "Show Your Children" now. It arrives as our second taste of the band following last fall's opening salvo "Paint it Red."

The four-piece features members of the similarly goth-influenced Dead Cells, with members also having appeared in bands like Candy, Bishops Green, and Systematik. Speaking to No Echo, vocalist Grant Minor revealed:

"'Show Your Children's a song about our increasingly prevalent digital dystopia, loss of the human element in our discourse, and the effect this may have on generations to come."

You may also recognize Minor's vocals from the new wavers Girlfriends and Boyfriends - that group issued the Fallacy of Fairness LP just a little under a year ago. Schedule 1 also features Rob on guitar, Alex on bass, and Mitch drumming. Last September, the band played their first show in Vancouver during that all-too-brief pandemic reprieve. They've, of course, had to bump their next gig far to the other side of the omicron wave. Look for them in their hometown on March 26 with Alien Boys, Nouveaux, and Gadfly at the Eastside Boxing Club.

Teenanger: "Good, You?"

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Whatever force once restrained Teenanger's new wave tendencies appears to have perished in the pandemic. "Good, You?" lands as the Toronto band's second one-off single since the 2020 release of Good Time, and like its predecessor (the blissfully cool "Blinds Drawn"), it gleefully tosses any semblance of their garage-punk past to spectacular results. This era drips with synth flourishes, floating hushed vocals on infectious, unhurried bass lines. It's a sound the band's dabbled in for years, but as much as I love songs like "Emoji Kush" this feels like a new level of commitment. It's also entirely fitting from a group that shares a label with Lee Paradise, Tony Price, and other purveyors of slick, late-night funk. While I have no idea where Teenanger's ultimately headed, I wouldn't complain if they delivered a full record of burnt-out, neon-washed bummer jams. You shouldn't either.

Teenanger issued Good Time in 2020 through their Telephone Explosion label. Together for more than a decade, the band still boasts their original lineup of drummer Steve Sidoli, bassist Melissa Bell, guitarist Jon Schouten, and vocalist Chris Swimmings. Sidoli recorded and mixed this track at their Studio Z studio.

Partner: "Time is a Car"

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Last week our post-classic-rock heroes Partner shared "Time is a Car," the first single revealed from their 2020 recording sessions with Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor. Before the band entered the studio, they quarantined for 14 days in a cabin on Gabriola Island, writing and rehearsing as they counted down the days to their release. It's important to note that the vehicle referenced in the title is hardly some poetic abstract but is, in fact, a disturbingly anthropomorphized Car in the Disney/Pixar sense. This is, therefore, a rare piece of art that appeals to both me (as a fan of quirky Canadian slack rock) and my son, who fucking loves Cars with a zeal that's downright exhausting.

The band commented:

"This is a song that we wrote while reflecting on the years that have passed and the way that the passing of time offers fresh perspectives. Fittingly enough it's ready just in time for us to present it to you on Josée's 30th birthday. Time sure does fly!"

Production of the accompanying video was a challenge due to COVID travel restrictions, but the band prevailed. They reveal:

"We had a distinct idea for the visual accompaniment to this track and we knew there was one person who could bring it to light; our beloved and frequent collaborator Lesley Marshall. However, when we were informed that the time to make a video was upon us, it seemed close to impossible that we would be able to make the trip to meet with her. While she is close to our hearts, we were separated by 4580km (2845 miles for our USA/UK friends). However, Lesley and the team at MAVN thankfully remained undaunted by such concerns. The result is one of our very favourite videos to date."

The forthcoming songs from Partner's BC sessions arrive in the wake of Never Give Up, the band's 2020 full-length for You've Changed Records. Founded in Sackville, New Brunswick, Partner features vocalist/guitarist Josée Caron, vocalist/bassist Lucy Niles, and drummer Simone TB.

Sauna: "Only Luck" / "Modernization"

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Toronto synthpop trio Sauna returned this week with a new double A-side single, featuring the tracks "Only Luck" and "Modernization." They're our first preview of the group's forthcoming LP, Dose Yourself, due in the spring of this year. The set dropped alongside a video for the propulsive "Only Luck," directed by our pal Justis Krar of IMMV Productions. The band commented:

"Only Luck is an experiment in blending the influences of Giorgio Moroder, the landscape of gritty 80's New York, and Elvis Presley's inclination towards classic heartbreak crooning. Is everything a conscious decision or is it all really just luck and chance?"

Sauna features Michael le Riche of Fake Palms on vocals and various electronics, performing with Weaves bassist Zach Bines and Greys drummer Braeden Craig. The band recorded at Palace Sound with Christopher Sandes producing. Carlyn Bezic (Jane Inc, Ice Cream) and Born Ruffians' Luke Lalonde both appear on backing vocals. Sauna's following up their early 2019 debut, a self-titled EP issued through Idée Fixe Records.

Sunglaciers: "Avoidance"

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Mothland recently detailed Sunglaciers' upcoming 13-song debut for the label. The Calgarian post-punk group's issuing Subterranea on March 25 through the Montreal psych label, a record produced in close collaboration with weird-folk hero Chad VanGaalen. Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire, Yves Jarvis) mixed the set. The announcement arrived alongside the urgent and paranoid "Avoidance," the second single from the record. You can hear rapper Louis Cza (The Black Greek God, Roman66) screaming in the background on this one. Vocalist Evan Resnik spoke about the track and its frantic accompanying video, stating:

"The video depicts a nightmare scenario with the protagonist in a panic as he is tormented by figures he thought were his friends, ultimately coming face-to-face with himself. The fogged-out rooms, varied lighting, and overlaid shots pull the viewer inside this dreamscape and accentuate the anxiety and trepidation we explore in the song."

Co-director Ryan Kostel broke down his approach to the visuals:

"When filming 'Avoidance' I really wanted to mimic the anxious, unsettled mind. Constantly shifting angles, I used long fluid shots and shifts in time to create an unbalanced sensation. Rapid fluctuations of light and color layered over kinetic and sometimes violent imagery help to convey the subject's mental unease."

The new Sunglaciers record results from an extensive pandemic-era songwriting exercise between multi-instrumentalist Mathieu Blanchard and vocalist Evan Resnik. On the road, Sunglaciers play as a quartet featuring synth player Helen Young and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Crough (Dri Hiev). The new material arrives following the band's 2019 full-length Foreign Bodies and a string of preceding EPs.

Scott Hardware: "Watersnake"

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Avant-pop act Scott Hardware recently issued the second single from the upcoming Ballad of a Tryhard. "Watersnake" provides our second preview of the 10-song LP, which arrives on March 4 through Telephone Explosion. The track features singer-songwriter Scott Harwood backed by Dan Lee (Lee Paradise) on bass, Jonathan Pappo of WHIMM drumming, Caitlyn Woelfle-O'Brien (Blunt Chunks) on backing vocals, and Deanna H. Choi on strings. You can hear it now at Bandcamp. In a statement, Harwood commented:

"My mom lived near this lake for a while, and whenever I'd go to visit her, I'd want to walk along the shore and have a moment. She'd always tell me before heading out to watch out for the water snakes. In fact, this lake's little beach was covered in them. My brother who lived nearby would have little snake babies falling in clusters from the roof of his garage. I mean no disrespect to snakes, but it's ghastly to see them slither over top of the water. It all must have left a mark because when I sat down to write a song about a villain, an exploiter, the first thing I thought of was "Watersnake!"

The new record follows up on Scott Hardware's 2020's LP Engel. Harwood wrote this new cycle during a residency in Spain, co-producing the work with Matt Smith (Prince Nifty, Owen Pallett).

OMBIIGIZI: "Cherry Coke"

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Anishinaabe songwriters Daniel Monkman and Adam Sturgeon recently shared the second single from their collaborative project OMBIIGIZI. "Cherry Coke" is our second taste of the nine-song Sewn Back Together, arriving February 10 through Arts & Crafts. Monkman commented on the melancholic track in a press release:

"I used to get into a lot of fights at school when I was younger. One of the schools was called 'Happy Thought' which ironically was filled with racist rural farmer type folk. I think as a type of punishment my Mom sent me to live with my Dad on the Rez so he could show me how to be a 'man'. Although my Dad was a very complex human he was very compassionate towards me, especially when I explained how the kids would tease me for being Ojibway. He'd always let me stay home with him and oftentimes we'd go to the Rez store for chips and pop; I'd get Cherry Coke. The lyrics and song title are inspired by these memories of my childhood and of my father."

The new song arrives alongside a video from filmmakers Richard Briant and Drew McCleod. OMBIIGIZI recorded their debut with Nyles Spencer and Kevin Drew producing at The Tragically Hip's Bathouse Recording Studio.

As Zoon, Daniel Monkman released the "moccasin-gaze" full-length Bleached Wavves in 2020 on Paper Bag Records. The record landed on last year's Polaris Music Price shortlist. In 2021 Sturgeon pivoted his lauded sludge-folk outlet WHOOP-Szo into Status/Non-Status, releasing the 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP last May through You've Changed and The Grizzlar.

Julianna Riolino: "Sacred Heart"

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Welland singer-songwriter Julianna Riolino's inked a new deal with Wavy Haze, the label run by long-running Toronto indie rock group Born Ruffians. They're kicking off the new era with a reissue of J.R.., the artist's five-song 2019 debut. Riolino tracked those songs in 2018 at Hamilton's Fort Rose studio, with Daniel Edmonds, Ross Miller (Weepy Eye, ex-Dirty Nil), and Jason Bhattacharya (Granny Smith) backing her. A video for "Sacred Heart" went live alongside the announcement, filmed by Kenneth Roy Meehan last year in Niagara. You can find it over at YouTube.

These days Riolino's become an integral part of Daniel Romano's Outfit, singing lead on a pair of tracks from the group's recent LP Cobra Poems, including the single "The Motions." That album arrived last fall from You've Changed Records.

Sham Family: "Plaque Protection"

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Speaking of Wavy Haze, the label recently issued the self-titled debut EP from the Toronto punk quartet Sham Family. The four-song set includes October's "This Blue Mob" single along with the newly unveiled "Plaque Protection." While "Mob" took on police brutality, written in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, the latter takes on cynical corporate allyship. Frontman Kory Ross commented on how Sham Family's material came together, growing from a restless solo project:

"This project has always kind of been my baby that I was always working on because I always needed to be working on some sort of music when I wasn't working in other bands, and it's gone through so many stages of its life. It started as just a four-track cassette-recorder wall-of-noise shoegaze project. Then it was gonna be this industrial-noise side-project thing that I just could not wait to unleash upon the world.

But I've never wanted to be a frontman. I've always been a kind of anxious dude and being a guitar player was fine. I could just turn my back to the crowd and be the hired gun - and even then I remember playing a show in Ottawa where I had to lay down onstage because I was having a panic attack - but finally after I had 300 or 400 demos backed up I was, like, 'I have to do something with this stuff. I have to.' I've created so much music. So it's nice being out in front and being able to convey what I've had pent up for so many years."

A video for "Plaque Protection" went live with the album drop, filmed and edited by Connory Ballantyne. The band self-produced the new record, with Philip Shaw Bova (Kiwi Jr., Lido Pimienta) mastering. Sham Family features Ross backed by drummer Zachary Cockburn, bassist Jason Brum, and guitarist Cole Sefton (Glass Face).

The Sadies: "Message to Belial"

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Toronto alt-country wizards The Sadies recently shared "Message to Belial," a new single and the band's second reveal from sessions recorded with Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry. While I'd wager both this track and the preceding "Stop and Start" are destined for the follow-up to Northern Passages, there's been no announcement on that front yet. The track arrived alongside a wonderfully psychedelic lyric video directed by Mike Dubue, with visual effects by Arturo Brisindi.

Northern Passages arrived in 2017 through Dine Alone and Yep Roc Records. The Sadies' long-running lineup remains rock solid with drummer Mike Belitsky, bassist Sean Dean, and sibling vocalists/guitar heroes Dallas and Travis Good.

Chris Page: "The Hymnals On A Clear Day"

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Ottawa garage vet Chris Page continues to roll out singles in "Saturday night/Sunday morning" combos - presenting the same song in two distinct lights. "The Hymnals On A Clear Day" arrives as the third in the series, landing in an energetic Saturday variety backed by its far more sedate Sunday counterpart. Whichever you choose, you'll come out a winner, particularly as both contain the first usage of the fantastic new word "subdueditude." Start using it before your kids pick it up. Page commented:

"Fuzzy memories of Montreal are at the core of this song I've been writing and enjoying playing to myself for a couple of years now. But it's time to put it out there and hope it gets a job. If it's cool, I'll be here to duck down with you."

Outside of his solo ventures, Chris Page plays 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.

Boy's Life: Boy's Life

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The sneering Toronto punk act Boy's Life recently debuted their self-titled EP, a four-song set of rough and tumble rockers in the proudly glib Screeching Weasel tradition. You can stream the entire record, all six minutes worth, on YouTube today. Songwriter Nick Agueci's clearly delighted in referencing a few local punk hangouts in these flippant little numbers.

Fucked Up: David Comes to LIVE

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The resurgent pandemic's certainly thrown a wrench into Fucked Up's hotly-anticipated run of shows celebrating a decade of David Comes to Life. With many dates already shifted to later in the year, omicron's continuing to dangle a sword over those that remain (see you in Toronto next week, I guess?). The hardcore legends are nothing if not considerate, though, and sought to soften the blow for fans with the release of a live set from their archives. David Comes to LIVE features the band on stage in November 2011, captured at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. You can snag the 21 song performance now at Bandcamp.

It's the second recent release from the band, following a one-sided Flexi-disc titled Getting Slightly. That record, limited to 400 copies, features a song recorded over five years during the sessions that resulted in the recently released Year of the Horse zodiac single and 2018's Dose Your Dreams. The band leaned into the perishability of the physical product, which isn't getting a digital release:

"Flexi disc grooves tend to wear down over time, a reality that is made a key component to the song, so enjoy yours while it lasts, because nothing ever does."

The single's available through the band's store and ships out during the first week of March.

All this activity comes amidst an already busy period for the group. The massively ambitious Year of the Horse recently received its long-awaited vinyl treatment through Tankcrimes. David Comes To Life, of course, has a deluxe reissue on the way through Matador Records, arriving alongside a separate B-sides collection of David-era songs titled Do All Words Can Do. The band's earliest singles collection, the circa-2004 Epics in Minutes, recently received its first vinyl treatment as well.

PUP: "Robot Writes A Love Song"

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All that, and we finally get to PUP, the most unnecessary part of this newsletter (but for the best of reasons).

I tend to avoid covering bands that achieve a certain escape velocity from the Canadian indie world. It's not a perfectly applied rule, but given the chance I'm fundamentally lazier than I am comprehensive. I don't further the conversation by repeating whatever the world's Broken Social Scenes and the Arcade Fires are up to. Given the 100,000 views logged in the week since the video for "Robot Writes A Love Song" dropped, PUP certainly doesn't need my shit either - but like Fucked Up above, they're one of those bands whose very existence, at least in part, motivated me to start writing this thing. PUP's continued popularity brings me nothing but joy - and I'm not at all conflicted about how tragically unpunk that is.

So to the zero humans that remain unaware: There's a new PUP record on the way! Look for THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND on April 1 through the group's Little Dipper imprint. The band revealed this in their own, decidedly more entertaining newsletter:

"THE UNRAVELING OF PUPTHEBAND is our favourite record we've ever made. We recorded it holed up in this big old American Horror Story mansion in Connecticut owned by our friend / producer Peter Katis. We were there for 5 weeks, living together, making the record at all hours, not really leaving the house except to get groceries. As the weeks passed, we seemed less and less rational, objective, and sane. You can hear the band start to fall off the cliff, and because of that, I think this record is our truest and most genuine to date. There is nothing more PUP than a slow and inevitable descent into self-destruction. We can't wait for you to hear it. It's a complete disaster in the best way."

Katis has many well-known records on his production resume, having worked with bands like Japandroids and The National. PUP's new record features the "Waiting" single we first heard back in October, along with the newly unveiled "Robot Writes A Love Song." On the latter, vocalist/guitarist Stefan Babcock revealed:

"For a long time we've been trying to write a song that nails this balance between truly sincere heartfelt emotion and complete idiocy. And I think we've finally done it. I have really fond memories of recording this song. I made this really bare bones / shitty demo, and then everyone else started adding these crazy layers and turned it into something really special. I remember Steve playing the guitar riff and Nestor kept saying 'make it sound shittier' which is pretty incredible because usually we don't need any help sounding like shit. We ended up with this pretty awesome but kinda janky sounding demo. Peter, who produced our record, had this idea to use big chunks of the demo in the final studio version to keep that lo-fi trash-magic alive. A bunch of the vocals you hear on the song (including the backups) were recorded in 10 minutes in the backseat of my car, using a shitty mic plugged directly into my laptop. Had I known they would make the album version, I probably would've tried a little harder."

The track arrived alongside a video from director Whitey McConnaughy, whose past credits include clips for OFF! and The Menzingers.

The new record follows the Toronto band's pandemic-era EP This Place Sucks Ass and their critically lauded 2019 album Morbid Stuff. PUP features vocalist/guitarist Stefan Babcock, guitarist Steve Sladkowski, bassist Nestor Chumak, and drummer Zack Mykula.

React to it at your leisure

Some Party is Adam White's misguided quest to share the latest in Canadian garage rock, punk, psych, and more. Subscribe and get it in your inbox more-or-less weekly. Your information's always kept private, and unsubscribing is easy.

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