Friday February 18, 2022

Every Lover Knows

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.

Steven Lambke: "Every Lover Knows"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

My apologies for the erratic mailing schedule this year. Whatever groove I settled into has clearly been shaken, either by the shifting effects of the pandemic or just your typical winter morass. Perhaps it's a combination of the two. My anxiety levels tend to swing quite dramatically based on how late I am with the newsletter, which surely can't be healthy given that there'd be no tangible consequence if I just up and vanished. Not that anyone's complaining, but that you for your patience.

Wait, why aren't you complaining?

Of course, it's easy to fall prey to fatigue and distraction when the material I'm sifting through feels so hollow. There's no shortage of new music flowing through, but I'm obviously not the audience for most of it. There are so few regular Canadian music blogs that I felt obliged to give everything vying for my ear a fair shake, but that doesn't scale. If this isn't fun, then why am I doing it? Why would anyone?

These were just a few of the paralyzing thoughts that utterly vanished yesterday morning when I saw the subject line in my inbox: "new release from Steven Lambke." Instant focus. Instant purpose. Whatever cloud obscured my motivation to get this edition out the door vanished.

The ever-esoteric solo artist has a new LP set for an April 29 release through You've Changed Records. Discounting a handful of recent collaborations, the 11-song Volcano Volcano lands as the proper follow-up to 2019's Dark Blue. Judging from the single "Every Lover Knows," it perhaps finds the artist revisiting the louder full-band approach of his later Baby Eagle records. Lambke recorded in part at Camera Varda, the Welland studio established recently by Daniel Romano. Danny drums on this album, contributing organ and vocals as well. He's brought along Dave Nardi from The Outfit to play bass and their recent Texan collaborator Carson McHone on backing vocals (both Romano and Nardi performed on Dark Blue, as well). Cons guitarist/keyboardist Will Kidman also appears, lending a solo to the track "Sorrow and Doubt." With so many of my favourite players involved, every detail of this record is positively energizing.

The triumphant Crazy Horse vibes of "Every Lover Knows" arrived as a two-song single at Bandcamp, paired with the non-album B-side "Deep Water." On the former, Steve reveals:

"The songs on Volcano Volcano were written as affirmations of a shared world. The world as it is. To affirm the reality and the great mutuality of the world, to experience the world through listening and breathing; to experience connections with different parts of the world, and relationships that feel like identification or understanding or participation or collaboration. And so it was written against the liars and politicians and corporations and police who say that life, your life, can be lived individually, on individually enclosed land, can be raised or punished individually, and outside the reckoning of history. Against the billionaires and their spaceships who imagine environmentally controlled existences on distant planets. As if no storms on Mars! Every Lover Knows is a song of celebration of experience as a teacher. The most profound moments in a life are often experiences of love, of connection, to another, to the world, to a shared moment. It is love that teaches the full scale of what can be experienced and of what can be lost."

There's a lovely write-up attached to the full-length by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. While it curiously references Ed Shereen more than you'd assume, it makes an eloquent case for the appeal of Lambke's solo work.

Since the hushed notes of Dark Blue, Lambke's issued a series of pandemic-era curios. These included the instrumental dub.tape EP - composed for that dreaded grade school terror - the soprano recorder. He sang lead on the hardcore-styled Spider Bite LP, taking part in Romano's astonishing run of 2020 full-lengths. Last year he issued Former Firsts, the second in a series of collaborative tapes with Colleen Collins and Dave Trenaman of Nova Scotias' now-defunct Construction & Destruction. This period also saw him pass the baton of Sappyfest's creative directorship to Dawson City Music Fest veteran Andrea Vincent.

I still remember sitting in my University of Guelph dorm room, headphones on, pondering over Lambke's scratchy, whispered vocals on that first Constantines record. That his work's been such a rewarding companion in the years since has been an absolute blessing.

Peanut Butter Sunday: "Soleil"

Watch at YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Acadian Embassy recently debuted Peanut Butter Sunday, a loudly Acadian pop-punk band hailing from La Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia. The quartet's infectious first single, "Soleil," landed alongside an irreverent new video.

The group features guitarist/vocalist Michael Saulnier, drummer Andre LeBlanc, guitarist Normand Pothier, and bassist Jacques Blinn. Pothier and Blinn are both members of P'tit Belliveau's backing band and played previously with Cy. The project has roots in Saulnier's participation in Stella 2020, an artist development program offered through FéCANE (the Fédération culturelle acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse).

Saulnier commented:

"This band is all about having fun. It's really exciting to write tunes knowing you're going to scream them in a mic on stage with your friends, and to do it without sacrificing who we are and what we love. It's just a hell of a good time for us and it's alright if you don't understand."

Peanut Butter Sunday has their first Halifax show queued up for March 18 at The Seahorse Tavern with labelmates Sluice and Denzel Subban.

School Damage: Critical Excess

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

At long last, my old haunt at Punknews premiered Critical Excess, the third full-length from Toronto punks School Damage. After snagging on the global vinyl backlog, the new record's finally available through Pennsylvania's Moms Basement and Italy's I Buy Records, with a cassette version out through Cats Claw Records in the UK. The 13-song set lands as the melodic hardcore trio's first long-player since 2018's Hello, Cruel World.

First assembled in 2010, the modern-day School Damage lineup features guitarist/vocalist Brad Manners, bassist/vocalist Jon Cabatan, and drummer Den Den Lee (formerly of Montreal's Boids and The Planet Smashers). Cabatan engineered the record alongside Greg Hounsell of fellow Toronto punks Brutal Youth. Hounsell also mixed, with Josh Roman mastering.

The members of School Damage waited out the pandemic with several side projects. Brad Manners and his Issues issued the isolation-era Bored to be Alive EP in the summer of 2020, recording remotely with members of The Vapids and Brutal Youth. A scathing three-song EP billed as Atomic Wrong followed in February of 2021.

Dboy: "Post Modern Trash"

Watch at YouTube

The gimp-masked, Soviet-Welland punk trio Dboy returned this week with Post Modern Trash, a four-song EP issued digitally through Dine Alone. The set's aggressive title track landed alongside a video by director Corduroy Paco. The band hyped the EP with their usual aplomb:

"From the band that stole the 'here and now' from the blind claws of regression, Dboy presents four new plays for the pace age. A rapid, sonic test; an unploughed field. Three beads of sweat no cloth can arrest. Self-reflexive songs for self reflexive people -- the boy is the brick, the book, and the steeple."

The new songs, recorded at Hamilton's Deadquarters (the studio of Dead Tired guitarist Marco Bressette), follow New Records In Human Power. That album arrived in early 2020, just before it became apparent what a shitty few years we were all in for.

Dboy features the gravelly pipes of guitarist/vocalist Matt Sajn (Northern Primitive), backed by bassist Tony Ventresca and drummer Ricky Pridmore (both played in the sometimes-Ceremonial ska-punk act The Snips).

Jenny Berkel: "You Think You're Like the Rain"

Watch at YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

On the subject of musicians in Daniel Romano's orbit - the singer-songwriter and poet Jenny Berkel returns this May with These are the Sounds Left From Leaving, a new 10-song full-length and the follow-up to last year's Pale Moon Kid. You can preview the record now with the slyly propulsive "You Think You're Like the Rain." In a press release, Berkel commented:

"I don't typically write songs that feel a bit hopeful, but I think this track is meant to recognize the multitudes that a person contains: 'I know you're not the rain, though maybe you're everything.'"

The single arrived alongside a video from director Meg Hubley and Phyllis Rising Productions. The piece, shot in Nova Scotia, adorns Berkel in a striking costume from designer Dakota Burpee.

These are the Sounds Left From Leaving arrives May 13 through Outside Music. The record features contributions from Glentworth, SK folk duo Kacy & Clayton and string arrangements from Colin Nealis (Andy Shauf). Berkel co-produced the record with Dan Edmonds and Ryan Boldt (The Deep Dark Woods), recording live off the floor at London, Ontario's Sugar Shack with engineer Simon Larochette.

Hockey Moms: Warming up the Van

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Coaldale, Alberta's Hockey Moms just unveiled a riotous new LP dubbed Warming up the Van. The set finds the quartet slamming through 13 tracks of 80s-styled hardcore and endearingly goony punk rock. If Jared Keeso's hunting for soundtrack fodder for the upcoming Shorsey show, look no further.

Hockey Moms features vocalist Mac Dahl, guitarist Cole Parkinson, bassist MacAulay Carefoot, and drummer Greg Lait. The new record lands as the band's first long-player, following a 2021 split EP with Chilliwack bruisers The Spewers.

The Prowlers: "You"

Listen on YouTube

Longstanding Montreal Oi! group The Prowlers recently released Prowl Around, their first proper full-length in nearly 20 years (which isn't to say they've been inactive - the band's issued a long string of EPs and splits in the years since 2001's Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow...). You can preview the track "You" over on YouTube and pick up the LP from a host of labels, including Skinhead Revolt, Germany's Contra Records, LSM Vinyl, and Insurgence here in Canada. The album features guest appearances from Joe Evil of Montreal's GrimSkunk and Charlie of the Parisian ska band 8°6 Crew.

The band's launching the record at Punk Weekend, a two-day mini-festival slated for April 8 and 9 at Montreal's Foufounes Électriques. The show on Friday the 8th finds The Prowlers playing alongside Vancouver's Bishops Green, Montreal groups Béton Armé and Mortier, and Toronto's Rough Cuts. Saturday the 9th throws a second record launch party, this one celebrating Dayglo Abortions' Hate Speech LP, with sets from them and veteran punk acts The Ripcordz and Random Killing. Longueuil's Unwanted Noise and modern noisemakers Faze play that night as well.

Sunnyside Uppers: "Runaway"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

My late newsletter's repeatedly held up the premiere of "Runaway," a brand new track from Saint John power-pop outfit Sunnyside Uppers. While Ryan Brown hasn't yet given the song a shot in the studio, he recently debuted it in the first volume of the band's Official Bootleg Series. You can find the newly unveiled footage on YouTube.

The Bootleg set featured two new originals and a cover of Katrina and the Waves' "Walking on Sunshine." Brown and his former Glory Glory bandmate Gavin Maclean shot the set at local Lebanese restaurant Let's Hummus on August 14, 2022.

Hippie Hourrah: "Gibraltar"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Montreal psych trio Hippie Hourrah recently issued "Gibraltar" as a single, trimming a track from their self-titled full-length down to a radio edit and crafting a wonderfully nostalgic video to go with it. The clip, directed by Samuel Wilde and Jérémie Brochu-Dufour, finds the group cast as characters in a vintage arcade game.

Hippie Hourrah features Cédric Marinelli of Les Marinellis, Elephant Stone's Miles Dupire-Gagnon, and Gabriel Lambert (of Elephant Stone, Anemone, and The Besnard Lakes). The group's 13-song self-titled LP arrived last summer through Simone Records.

BEDS: "Manowar Beach"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The Toronto garage-soul combo BEDS recently issued "Manowar Beach" via the Rare Drugs collective. The track features Kuba Pie on vocals and lead guitar, Matt Buckberrough (No Frills, Twist) on bass, and Happy Jade on drums, with backing vocals and additional instrumentation from both Edmund Stay and Marci.s

The track follows up on the single "Colour Blue," issued in March of 2021, and before that, 2020's "Dictate." As typical, BEDS reveals very little on their process and trickles out material at an unhurried pace, so don't hold your breath waiting for their next.

Lee Paradise: "Dreamin'"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Dan Lee's "cyborg-funk" project Lee Paradise resurfaced last week with another one-off single. "Dreamin'" follows up last summer's sensation (in my house, at least) "Tripping Over Daisies." Telephone Explosion detailed the new track:

"'Dreamin" starts with a flowery harpsichord riff and gradually stirs in tasteful instrumentation alongside a perfectly sedate vocal melody. Clocking in at just over two minutes, the song reaches an alternately melancholic and majestic peak before disappearing in a puff of reverberated smoke. Listeners will wonder if things will kick back in, waiting in confusion like woozy beachgoers after a sun-drenched nap."

"Dreamin'" is the second new song to arrive in the wake of The Fink, Dan Lee's 12-song full-length issued in December 2020. Outside of his solo endeavours, Lee's played in the Toronto art-rock group Hooded Fang and the electronic psych-pop group Phèdre.

Ghostkeeper: "The Trees"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Calgary indie rock group Ghostkeeper recently announced Multidimensional Culture, a new full-length due May 27 through Victory Pool. They unveiled the slow-burning tune "The Trees" as their latest preview, following the psych-tinged "Grassy Plains" earlier this year. The band reflected on the aspects of Indigenous spirituality present in the song:

" [The Trees is about] escaping this colonial, political climate with its greed that abuses the Earth and its many religions that vie to conquer and chain the soul. It's about yearning to return to that powerful spot: that piece of land where I have played in wonderment with the Creator as it engaged as Mother Earth and Grandmother Sun; that place in time when spirituality was simple, concise and magical... and I felt safe, inspired, and grateful."

This album again finds Ghostkeeper's core duo of Shane Ghostkeeper and Sarah Houle backed by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Bourne (of Chad VanGaalen's Bleach Wipes) and drummer Eric Hamelin. Founded in the Metis settlement of Paddle Prairie, Alberta, the band's following up their 2017 LP Sheer Blouse Buffalo Knocks. The group worked with Lorrie Matheson in the studio.

Tallies: "Wound Up Tight"

Watch at YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto dream-pop quartet Tallies recently unveiled "Wound Up Tight" and "Heavens Touch," two new songs from their forthcoming record. The tracks follow up "No Dream of Fayres," which kicked off this cycle in November. "Wound Up Tight" arrived alongside a video directed by Christopher Mills (FRIGS, Zoon).

All this material comes from studio sessions produced by Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh and the band's own Dylan Frankland. The group's new material arrives via Hand Drawn Dracula in Canada, with Kanine Records handling the US and Bella Union looking after Europe. A release date is pending.

Tallies are currently billed as a trio, featuring singer/guitarist Sarah Cogan backed by Dylan Frankland on guitar and Cian O'Neill drumming. The group last released a self-titled LP in 2019.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: all lights fucked on the hairy amp drooling

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

If you're a fan of Montreal post-rock legends Godspeed You! Black Emperor then this update's certainly redundant - but in case you missed it: at long last, the band's officially issued a digital copy of all lights fucked on the hairy amp drooling. This limited-run 1994 demo's spent years wrapped in rumour, elevated by fans and collectors to become one of the greatest lost legends of Canadian music. The band, a trio at the time, only dubbed 33 copies of the original cassette. While they never denied its existence, they've also felt no urgency to shine a spotlight on their nascent form (Godspeed's first full length, featuring a radically expanded lineup and a refocused sound, arrived years later as 1997's F♯ A♯ ∞).

With a bootleg of the audio finally surfacing online earlier this year, Efrim Menuck made it official - posting the set on Bandcamp broken into four tracks collecting 27 short songs. All proceeds from the official sale of the audio are due for CJPME's campaign to provide medical oxygen to the Gaza Strip.

Menuck appeared on Vish Khanna's Kreative Kontrol podcast to discuss the release, commenting (as transcribed by the fine folks at Exclaim):

"This was 30 years ago, and I guess for the last 20 years, I've been answering questions about this fucking cassette... Whenever it would come up, I would get sort of agitated. I would notice I would get... a little anxious, and I don't know why that is. And then, I was listening to it a couple of nights ago and I realize it's because it was rough times for me then. I think we all have this in our lives, rough times that have never really been resolved. There's some things you just never get closure on, whether it's other people's actions or circumstances, or your own actions. So I think, because of what the gesture was of making this cassette, it resides right on that spot, it presses on that wound, which is, I think, part of the reason why, whenever the thought came up, 'Well, maybe we should put this out,' my reaction was always, 'No, I don't want to do that.'"

Godspeed last issued G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! through Constellation Records in 2021.

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.

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license

Enjoying the newsletter? You can now also support Some Party by buying me a coffee!