Saturday April 30, 2022

Cut Up High and Dry

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 Sadies: "Cut Up High and Dry"

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Early promotion of The Sadies' next record was well underway before the sudden loss of Dallas Good. We had two teasers in hand before tragedy struck, with the band revealing little on the eventual home of "Stop and Start" and "Message to Belial." The pieces have now fallen into place, as the beloved Toronto group's confirmed that Colder Streams, their 11th studio album, is due on July 22 through Dine Alone and Yep Roc Records.

The quartet recorded the 11-song album between 2019 and 2021 at Montreal's Skybarn with Arcade Fire's Richard Reed Parry producing. Pietro Amato engineered and mixed the brunt of the record, with Hilotrons' Michael Dubue and Cowboy Junkies producer Peter J. Moore working on the song "You Should Be Worried." The LP promises a return appearance from longtime collaborator Jon Spencer. The Goods' parents also make appearances, with Margaret singing backup on "So Far for So Few" and Bruce playing autoharp on "All the Good."

Dallas penned a cheeky "anti-bio" for the record last October, a relaxed piece full of levity that (understandably) feels so detached in light of the current reality. While mocking the hyperbolic trappings of your typical press release, he hints at how proud the band is of this work:

"'Colder Streams' is a record made with love by loved ones. The Sadies have released a lot of records. This is one of them.

Do any bands make their best work this far along in their career? I can think of artists who still make great music after all these years, but their best? Yet, here we are and that's what I'm accusing us of. I think it's our best but I've been wrong before. All I ask is that you listen to a few songs and decide for yourself what it sounds like. If you like it, you'll know what to do. But my description of the music would just be punishing for the both of us."

The record's actual press release answers a few lingering questions regarding the band's future. Their plans involve supporting tours in North America and Europe (billed explicitly as the trio of guitarist/vocalist Travis Good, bassist Sean Dean, and drummer Mike Belitsky). The piece also carefully refers to the record as the band's "final studio recording with founding member Dallas Good." So while it's hard to envision a Sadies without him - there most certainly will be.

You can hear the single "Cut Up High and Dry" everywhere now, or see it visualized on YouTube in a video compiled by Mike Dubue. Colder Steams follows up on 2017's Northern Passages.

Nouveaux: "Illusions"

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Vancouver synth-pop act Nouveaux recently shared "Illusions," the first pulsing neon-washed preview of their forthcoming self-titled LP. The track arrived with a video, premiering through post-punk.com, directed by Wayne Moreheart. There, the band reveals:

"Illusions is a dark and dreamy dance song that reflects on the distorted lens through which we remember our first love and heartbreak... The video was recorded in an empty nightclub at a time when we all felt starved for connection, and is a visual tribute to the dreamy 1980s pop videos that filled our youth and left us yearning for memories that had not yet been experienced."

Nouveaux plays as a trio featuring Spectres principle Brian Gustavson, former Spectre Nathan Szilagyi, and ;lead vocalist Michelle Smolnicki. Last winter, they recorded with Jason Corbett of ACTORS at Jacknife Sound. Look for the record in June through the Doomed to Extinction imprint Castra Records in North America and Sabotage Records in Europe.

Safeword: "Don't Think"

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This week Nova Scotian indie-pop group Safeword shared the third preview of their upcoming album, Currents. You can hear the midtempo lo-fi earworm "Don't Think" at Bandcamp. The band commented:

"It's a song about the frustration of trying to fall asleep and running, without effect, through all the banal, useless advice given to insomniacs—including "don't think." It's about the irony of insomnia when your life is boring—something we might all relate to after the last 2 years. It's a dark song, but somehow it also sounds like a song for the beach, with its layered acoustic and electric guitar, handclaps and guiro."

The accompanying video likewise riffs on the questionably-useful relaxation and mindfulness clips that litter YouTube.

Currents arrives in full on May 28. The band recorded at Ocean Floor with Charles Austin (Outtacontroller, Future Girls, Souvenir) and Franc Lopes. Joel Plaskett and Thomas Stajcer mixed at Fang, with Alex Burris mastering.

Safeword brings together members of Shoulder Season, Darts, Skullocybin, and Blackout 77. The band features Karen Foster on vocals and keys, guitarist Dan Watt, bassist Greg Baller, and drummer Brian Foster.

Simon Provencher: Nouvelles

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When not performing with the dance-punk trio VICTIME or the glitch-groove duo Album, Simon Provencher's shown an increasing interest in ambient, effects-driven pieces that plunge the outer limits of guitar noise. Last week, his latest experiments arrived online as Nouvelles. The lengthy pair of discordant mood pieces gives some insight into the off-the-cuff nature of Provencher's current live performances, as he explains en Francais:

"Improvisations électroacoustiques faites avec un ensemble plutôt élaboré de pédales de guitare modifiées et de circuits faits-maison. Cette sortie se veut un peu un état des choses, une mise à jour sur ce qui m'anime ces temps-ci et une représentation de ce que je présente lors de mes spectacles."

Last summer, Telephone Explosion issued the debut full-length from Album, featuring Provencher paired with FET.NAT's Olivier Fairfield. Simon's solo EP Mesures, arrived in early 2021, as well, via Michel Records. VICTIME last released the Mi-tronc, mi-jambe EP in 2019.

Among Legends: "Come Up Swinging"

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After losing some steam due to that pesky pandemic, Waterloo pop-punk act Among Legends are readying their debut full-length for a summer release. This week they issued "Come Up Swinging" as the record's first single, a massively hooky slice of posi-punk that does its darndest to shake off the doom and gloom of the past few years. You can hear it at Bandcamp or check the kinetic boxing-themed video on YouTube. That clip premiered at That's Good Enough For Me, where the band revealed:

"'Come Up Swinging' is all about pushing through internal adversity, overcoming that voice in your head that says 'you can't do this,' I wrote the lyrics as an exercise in trying to create something tangible that could counteract that voice in my own head - some sort of evidence that I could turn to when I was feeling overwhelmed or directionless. Over the past few years it's become a personal pump-up song, and I hope it helps someone else hold onto the drive they have to achieve what they want to achieve. We've all got the capability to do amazing things, and Come Up Swinging is a song that's meant to encourage folks to keep going, even when it's really hard, to actualize the amazing things we can all do."

The five-piece recorded with Siegfried Meier (Face to Face, Stuck Out Here) at Beach Road Studios and The Cat Box. The new record arrives through Rad Girlfriend Records domestically, with Little Rocket Records carrying it in the UK and Sounds of Subterrania handling Europe. Among Legends last released the Some Days EP in 2017.

Marian: Hit Record

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Fresh from their appearance on season two of the Greville Tapes Music Club, Fredericton rock group Marian's issued their first LP, a heartfelt 10-song set aspirationally dubbed Hit Record. You can hear the complete work at Bandcamp today, but make sure to check the soaring alt-rock single "Astral Plane" through the recent performance video from director Ariana Marquis.

Lead vocalist/guitarist Dylan Ward commented on the album in a press release:

"Hit Record is a love letter to all my favorite albums that grew from a listen, to interest, to obsession, and are now fundamentally a part of me. This LP is a sonic mixture, a full course listen, and a push to the fading ripple called rock n' roll.

'Astral Plane' really encapsulates a lot of themes that can be found throughout the album. It's a rocking, yet melodic number; equal parts blustering energy and carefully crafted songsmenship. It's a perfect first glimpse into our debut effort."

The band recorded at Shiftwork Recording, with East Coast mainstay Joel Plaskett mixing at Dartmouth's Fang. Marian features Ward backed by vocalist/bassist Jerry-Faye Flatt, Tim Everett on lead guitar, and Stefan Westner drumming.

Blunt Chunks: "BWFW"

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This week, Caitlin Woelfle-O'Brien's Blunt Chunks issued the second single from their self-titled EP. "BWFW" unveils a heavier side of the project, a distinct contrast to the airy, intimate first single, "Natural Actors." Speaking on the track, Woelfle-O'Brien revealed:

"I wrote this one while in Berlin in 2019. I was visiting a lover and he really made me feel unwanted. I ended up leaving his place and staying at a friend's warehouse art studio where I was much freer to create. I had gone out to Berghain and ran into his friends and ended up joining them at a concert... and I was secretly doing drugs in the bathroom alone because I felt so out-of-place and insecure. That was a 'teetering on the edge of mental-breakdown' kind of night.

I wrote the song the next day in the warehouse with all that anger and sadness. Originally the song was much more grungy and Nirvana-esque on a de-tuned open tuning, but as we produced it we drew on the Avril Lavigne vibes. This was a really fun, epic recording process. It's an obvious SMASH lol, so we were all really excited to get our pop-punk dreams fulfilled and just go all out. Vocals are from the studio demo because I happened to have a strong vocal day so we just kept those. I wrote the second verse on the spot the day we recorded the demo, as originally it was just one verse."

The five-song EP features contributions from several prominent Toronto players from bands like The Weather Station, Broken Social Scene, Scott Hardware, Luna Li, and Hooded Fang. The new Blunt Chunks EP arrives May 6 through Telephone Explosion.

The Fake Friends: "Flower Crowns"

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Montreal melodic punk group The Fake Friends recently unveiled details on their debut EP. Good Enough arrives May 20, promising four songs from a group that describes themselves as "a bunch of old hardcore guys trying to make pop songs." You can hear the single "Flower Crowns" streaming at Bandcamp now and decide that for yourself.

The Fake Friends emerged over the pandemic from members of Trigger Effect, Mundy's Bay, Watch for Wolves, and Kennedy. This set features vocalist Matthew Savage backed by guitarists John Donnelly and Luca Santilli, bassist Sergio Da Silva and drummer Joel Hoelscher. The group recorded at Goldlion studio with engineer Max Lajoie.

Night Court: "Brighten the Corner"

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My pals in the frenetic Vancouver indie/punk trio Night Court recently shared a video for "Brighten the Corner," their latest preview of Nervous Birds! Too, the fast-approaching second volume of their two-part debut. The quirky animated clip premiered through Big Takeover, where the band's Dave Patterson commented:

"The song reflects on the idea that individuals can make the world at large a better place by improving their own small corner of it."

Nervous Birds! Too arrives May 6 through Debt Offensive Records and Snappy Little Numbers. The first volume in the set landed back in December.

Night Court features bassist/vocalist Jiffy Marx (of the BC new wavers Autogramm), guitarist Dave Patterson (Jiffy Marker, Blood Meridian), and drummer Emilor Jane (Synchromantics, Pet Blessings).

Julie & Dany: "Dégèle"

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The 11-song self-titled debut from Julie & Dany should be in your hands now. The record arrived his week on Simone Records alongside a stylish video for the opening track "Dégèle." The duo, comprised of Quebec singer-songwriter Dany Placard and New Brunswick indie legend Julie Doiron, revealed:

"When it was time to make the video for our third single we needed to get a little bit creative with our time and resources. We both live in separate cities and we have not been as flexible to travel back and forth, but we we're heading on tour in Spain and Portugal together.

So, with Sylvain Dumais the director, we decided to film on our phones during the tour, and every day we would we send him the footage. Sylvain then edited this while we were on tour."

The joint effort arrives on the heels of Doiron's recent solo LP I Thought Of You, issued last fall through You've Changed Records. Doiron and Placard, a couple outside of the studio, worked on I Thought Of You together in early 2020 with Ian and Daniel Romano. Last summer, Placard released Astronomie(suite), a companion piece to his early-2020 psych-rock opus J'connais rien à l'astronomie (both on Simone and both featuring Doiron on backing vocals).

Weird Nightmare: "Wrecked"

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Alex Edkins recently shared "Wrecked," the third single from his solo debut as Weird Nightmare. The charging tune notably features Alicia Bognanno of Nashville's Bully as a co-vocalist. The song arrived alongside a video from director Ryan Thompson that makes surprisingly hypnotic use of slow-motion dogs at play.

Edkins, well-known as the guitarist/vocalist of Toronto noise-punk originators METZ, has a May 20 release date lined up for Weird Nightmare's LP on Sub Pop. A record release show, supported by Toronto's Sham Family, is scheduled for May 21 at The Baby G, followed by a tour with Kiwi Jr. that crisscrosses the border.

METZ released Atlas Vending, their fourth proper full-length, on Royal Mountain Records and Sub Pop in October of 2020.

Basketball Knees: "Dog"/"Lavatories of Hell"

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This weekend the Toronto lo-fi power-trio Basketball Knees drop their new album Garden. If you've yet had a chance to dig into the complete set, spare a few moments for "Dog" and "Lavatories of Hell," two endearingly raw preview singles issued over the past week. The former features drummer Stefan Dos Santos taking lead vocals for the first time, while the latter passes the mic to bassist Amye Sagar.

Basketball Knees features Dos Santos, Sagar, and guitarist/vocalist Joel Wheeler. Garden, the band's third LP, follows up on 2018's Tank.

Dislexic: 4 Track Demo

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Halifax lo-fi craftsman Cody Googoo seemingly invents new bands monthly.While he occasionally throws a curveball (like the recent acoustic set from Ugly Sons), these projects often find the artist plunging for further depths of gnarly fuzz. Dislexic certainly fits that bill, with guitar and vocals so deep in the murk they're almost entirely unintelligible. The project's four-song demo, which falls well short of three minutes, is available now on Bandcamp or as a super limited run of 20 tapes on Don't Wanna Talk Records.

Cody Googoo's played in a swarth of punk, hardcore, and garage rock bands over the years, including the Booji Boys, Alienation, Gemstones, Fragment, Heavenly Blue, and Mutated Void.

Deathmarch: Demonstration 2022

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On a similar note, Steve Earle of the Booji Boys and Fragment has a dark set of lo-fi post-punk songs online as Deathmarch. You can hear the entirety of the dour Demonstration 2022 cassette streaming at Bandcamp. Earle recorded these tunes in the winter of 2022.

The Deathmarch debut marks the second release from Earle's gritty little corner of Halifax this month. Earlier in April, he took part in a 5-song demo cassette from the d-beat group Black Dog. They issued their bruising tape through the Sore Mind and Fuzzed Atrocities labels.

Death Waits: "Scum"

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The grungy Toronto noise-punks Death Waits (the band formerly known as Champion Lover) have a new single out dubbed "Scum." The sneering track's the latest recording shared from sessions helmed by former Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton.

Whenever Death Waits' first record under the new name arrives, it'll follow Champion Lover's final EP, Russian Prince, issued way back in 2017. The group features Edward Masuda, Erik Tokar, James Cain, and William Masuda.

Man Crush: "Don't Be Trippin'"

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Toronto trio Man Crush celebrated 4/20 with "Don't Be Trippin'," a muscular slab of crunch rock that serves as their first single since 2019's "Like Me." The stomping track comes courtesy of vocalist/guitarist Tim Shilson, bassist Antony East, and drummer Declan O'Donnell. The band recorded with producers Chris Sampson and Jimmy Cain back in February.

The Johnnys: "Butterfly (Salas/Gutierrez Remix)"

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Last week Toronto hard rock duo The Johnnys issued the single "Butterfly," a song inspired by a talk given by Indigenous Elder Joanne Dallaire (the senior advisor for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation at the newly renamed Toronto Metropolitan University). Lead vocalist Veronica Johnny recapped the lesson in a press release:

"When ready for its own transformation, a caterpillar will find a tree on a sunny day to choose a spot in the sun to create a chrysalis. While changing into a butterfly, the caterpillar must completely transform itself. This is a painful and messy process, much like true healing. When the butterfly is ready to emerge, it again chooses a sunny day as it must dry its wings before making flight. This is a very dangerous part of the transformation as the butterfly is at its most vulnerable. It cannot fly until its wings are dry, and its full colour is shown to its predators. It must also change its own idea of itself in order to believe it can now fly. The caterpillar brain says it can't fly and it must switch its thinking to a butterfly brain to know it can fly. This requires courage.

'You cannot hide from what's inside' is an excellent analogy for the butterfly transformation and the pandemic induced self-isolation. If you weren't distracting yourself with streaming film/TV and you took the time to do some self-reflection, chances are you emerged a different being."

This version of the song's a remix and remaster of the band's original, reworked by engineers Stevie Salas (Seeing Red Productions) and Kevin Gutierrez (Assembly Line Studios).

The Johnnys operate as a duo led by spouses Veronica Johnny (vocals) and Dave Johnny (drums).

Bad Waitress: "Spit It Out"

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Toronto punk quartet Bad Waitress has a new single out, a b-side from their recent full-length No Taste. The track arrived alongside a video comprised of footage from the band's recent SXSW appearance. The group calls it "A classic tongue in cheek banger advocating a brattish yet genuine world for all" and promises "one dose of this vicious serum will keep your veins pumping all summer long." The song lands as the group gears up for a May UK tour with their Brooklyn-based labelmates Gustaf.

Bad Waitress issued No Taste last fall through Royal Mountain Records, a 10-song set that saw the band working with producer Dave Schiffman (PUP, The OBGMs). The band features vocalist/guitarist Kali-Ann Butala, guitarist Katelyn Molgard, bassist Jessica Maxwell, and drummer Eva Moon.

Sauna: "Dose Yourself"

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Toronto synth-pop trio Sauna recently shared "Dose Yourself," the immersive slow-burning title track to their forthcoming LP. Like earlier previews, the song alongside a collaged found-footage video from director Justis Krar of IMMV Productions. Badge Époque Ensemble saxophonist Karen Ng appears on the recording to add some wild skronk at the song's climax.

The 9-song Dose Yourself arrives May 20 through the band's namesake Sauna Records. The group features Michael le Riche of Fake Palms on vocals and synths, performing with ex-Weaves bassist Zach Bines and Greys drummer Braeden Craig. Sauna recorded at Palace Sound with Christopher Sandes producing.

She Came to Quit: Pils Sessions

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Five-piece Montreal post-punk group She Came to Quit made a recent appearance at the Pils Sessions. In early April, the group performed four synth-heavy tracks for the Gatineau session series at their NOMANSLAND Studio, delivering a mix of goth influence and high-energy punk that brings The Damned to mind. She Came To Quit features Pascal on vocals and guitar, Wax on guitar, Pat on bass, Richer on synths, and Hendrou drumming.

Chany Pilote engineered the band's Pils performance, with Dizz Hupé documenting the visit. She Came To Quit follows a growing host of Quebec punk bands to take part in the sessions, with recent appearances logged by Peroxide, Unwanted Noise, Solitüde, Fractured, Dysruptive, Ad Vitam, and Collapsed, among others.

King Pong Productions: presents... NO LOVE RECORDS

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Etobicoke-based producer Jakob Rehlinger has a new EP out, and one with a bit of self-referential history behind it. No Love Records was a cassette label Rehlinger ran in the late 80s, later resurrected as an imprint of Arachnidiscs. This four-song EP, produced under Rehlinger's King Pong persona, hearkens back to the sounds of No Love with a set of newly crafted songs in a variety of styles. It features a lo-fi rap/punk/blues hybrid from Reverend Moon, synth-pop from the virtual act Jonnie Microwave, EBM from Tranzmit, and some guitar-driven electroclash from Semen Priest. That last track mashes up Suicide's "Ghost Rider" and with "1969" by The Stooges.

You can check out a video for Reverend Moon's "Burn Down the Casino" on YouTube.

Jenny Berkel: "Lavender City"

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Evocative Singer-songwriter Jenny Berkel recently unveiled "Lavender City," the third single from her forthcoming LP These are the Sounds Left From Leaving. In a press release, the artist revealed:

"'Lavender City' was written about a summer relationship that took place in a city with little gardens everywhere. It's an intimate look at the lies told in a bad relationship, and gaining the capacity to see clearly again - but with the painful entailment of anatomizing the lies that drew you in. It's a breakup song with crescendoing strings, insistent percussion and hopeful harmonies."

These are the Sounds Left From Leaving arrives May 13 through Outside Music, following up last year's Pale Moon Kid. 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.

Russian Tim and Pavel Bures: "Little Corey"

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Russian Tim and Pavel Bures is the primarily Russian-language punk group fronted by the colourful proprietor of Vancouver's Rocket From Russia Fest. The band has a new EP out anchored around "Little Corey," a biting single chock full of enough gritty upstroke guitar that it would fit seamlessly among your late-90s Hellcat collection. The band recorded with Jesse Gander at Rain City Recorders.

"Little Corey" arrives in two forms. You can hear the band's original take on the 2-song EP of the same name, then check out the version enhanced by some brassy contributions from the Eastern European themed party orchestra Balkan Shmalkan. The latter arrived last week as part of Split Shmlit, a new three-song split EP pairing the groups.

Russian Tim and Pavel Bures issued the Something More in Russian full-length last November.

B.A. Johnston: "Above Ground Pools"

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B.A. Johnston recently issued the second single from Werewolves of London, Ontario. "Above Ground Pools" follows "Thrift Store Jesus" in previewing the Hamilton skid-songman's new record, due June 3 through Transistor 66. The track tackles such burning issues as "plastic pools, chlorine irritation, and the California Raisins." It arrives alongside a video by Windom Earle's Stephan MacLeod.

The new album, produced by Mathias Kom of The Burning Hell, follows up on 2019's The Skid Is Hot Tonight.

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