Thursday August 11, 2022

Sleep Like a Baby

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.

I'm back - in body, to be certain, but perhaps not in spirit. Despite numerous near-misses with COVID, my trip to the east coast for Sappyfest went off without a hitch. I feel adequately centred for the first time since the world fell apart - but the journey created just enough inertia that I'm now nearly a month out from the last regular edition of Some Party. I'll follow up on Sappy in a future mailing (The Burning Hell made me cry, and I'm not sure how best to contextualize that), so here's an incomplete smattering of updates haphazardly plucked from my overgrown disaster of an inbox.

Dumb: "Dropout" / "Sleep Like a Baby"

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Sometimes you just want to climb on your roof and excitedly shout "Dumb went ska!" at passersby. Heights aside, the main risk is that people would misinterpret your proclamation as a grammatically clumsy affirmation of the popular notion that "ska is dumb." We've enough disinformation in this world, so I'd suggest staying on solid ground while you appreciate "Dropout" and "Sleep Like a Baby." The new double A-side single from the Vancouver quartet delivers a delightfully unexpected 2-tone backing for Franco Rossino's distinctively dispassionate vocals, replete with horns and upstroke guitars. The band, better known for wry slack-rock, professed their love for the much-maligned genre in a press release, stating:

"We love ska. We break out into ska in practice or even at live shows between songs - we love The Specials, Madness, Skatalites, Desmond Dekker, Vital Disorders, The Upsetters, and much more."

A video featuring both tracks takes that adoration further, mimicking the look and feel of The Specials' video for their 1981 single "Ghost Town."

Currently on the road in the US, Dumb features guitarist/vocalist Franco Rossino backed by drummer Pipe Morelli, guitarist Nick Short, and bassist Shelby Vredik. They last issued Club Nites, their second LP for Mint Records, in 2019. Last year, the band paired with labelmates Tough Age on the Pizza Punks split 7", a celebration of Cole Pauls' comic collection of the same name.

Tin-Ear: "Tin-Life"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

While Charlottetown factors into this publication primarily as a wellspring of surprisingly caustic lo-fi hardcore - the upcoming mini-LP from Tin-Ear looks ready to break that pattern. Despite boasting members of the punk acts Warsh and Antibodies, Tin-Ear instead plays with the toybox of midwestern emo. You can hear echos of the 90s Jade Tree roster loud and clear on "Tin-Life," the first preview of Cadastral Maps, due on cassette on September 9 through Gentle Reminder.

Tin-Ear tracked nine songs for the album, written by guitarist Rosanna Kressin (Warsh) and vocalist Helaina Lalande. They're supported by Sacha Luttermann on guitar, Antibodies' Ryan Kirkpatrick on bass, and Connor Nabuurs of Sisters on the drums.

Crisis Party: Welcome To The Party

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Prolific Halifax punker Matty Grace recently kicked off a residency in the nation's capital, and she took the opportunity to launch another new band with some of that scene's mainstays. Not content to just juggle Future Girls, Cluttered, and Century Egg - Grace now adds Crisis Party to the list. The new group's a trio featuring Side By Side Weekend organizer Tony Cardozo (of Precious Failures and The Flying Hellfish) and "Ska" Jeff Hurter (Doxx, Dogma, Exit Death).

The group recently issued the 5-song Welcome to the Party EP, citing the Wipers, Wire, and Marked Men as influences. You can pick up the digital audio at Bandcamp, with tapes on the way through Portland's Dirt Cult Records. Crisis Party recorded with Kevin Birger on stage at the House of TARG, with Orchid's Will Killingsworth mastering at Dead Air Studios.

MVLL CRIMES: "VRGUING WITH STRVNGERS"

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A few weeks ago, London's ever-confrontational, ever-capslocked MVLL CRIMES issued "VRGUING WITH STRVNGERS" - a song that I suspect may cut far too close to the bone for many of you. As a former Punknews editor and someone long-saddled with that comment section, it's downright traumatic. Trigger warning if you've had the misfortune of using the Internet at any time in the past 20 years.

The track's due for the band's forthcoming Cursed Blessings EP YOU EMBVRVSS ME, the follow-up to their 2021 set Bootlicker's Delight. Kyle Thomas Ashbourne (WHOOP-Szo, Red Arms, Wasted Potential) recorded the group at The Sugar Shack in August of 2021, with former Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton mastering.

MVLL CRIMES features vocalist Jillian Clair, guitarist Pat Briggs, bassist Laurie McColeman, and drummer Evan Martin.

Partner: "Fear That Closes The Heart"

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Post-classic-rock luminaries Partner have a new EP due October 7 through You've Changed Records, a five-song set collecting material the group recorded in 2020 following an artist's residency on BC's Gabriola Island. Titled Time Is a Car, the set showcases the band's increasingly mature songwriting (a Lightning McQueen reference notwithstanding). We've already heard the title track and "Not Today," and now you can dig into the soaring, 80s-soaked "Fear That Closes The Heart."

The band commented:

"The song is about fear, and how the sensation of fear can prevent someone from feeling like they're living in the moment. We drew influence from Heart and 80s pop rock. The summer after we wrote this song, we went to the Folk on the Rocks music festival in Yellowknife, and participated in a collaborative project called 'Emerging Wildly' with Celeigh Cardinal and [Calgarian hip hop duo] Cartel Madras. When Cartel Madras showed us their videos we immediately knew we wanted to work with them. We were blown away by the cinematography and their vision. We are so happy to present this video that they absolutely knocked out of the park."

Cartel Madras' visuals for "Fear That Closes The Heart" can be found on YouTube.

This latest batch of songs, recorded with Jordan Koop at The Noise Floor, follows the group's 2020 sophomore full-length Never Give Up. Founded in Sackville, New Brunswick, Partner features vocalist/guitarist Josée Caron, vocalist/bassist Lucy Niles, and drummer Simone TB.

Weary: "Trust"

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This Friday, the St. John's indie rock group Weary issues their sophomore LP Hush. LAst week, fresh from their appearance at Sappyfest, they shared the song "Trust" as the final pre-release single. On that track, vocalist Kate Lahey commented:

"'Trust' explores a moment where my past and future collided. Love asked me to take a leap of faith into the unknown, while trauma filled me with fear. Working through a claustrophobic sense of flightiness, trust explores the ways in which our past can overwhelm our desire for a better future. In my search for belonging, security and safety, I found myself scared of the very things I long for because of their unfamiliarity. 'Trust' is not about trusting someone else with your heart, but about learning to trust yourself. "

The 12-song Hush, which finds the band revelling in quiet moments, lands independently on August 12.

Swam: EP

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On the opposite end of the sonic spectrum, the Newfoundland quartet Swam has a new EP (titled, plainly, EP) out through Barely There Records, delivering four blasts of brash punk rock played at breakneck speeds. It lands somewhere on the spectrum between 90s-styled melodic hardcore and its raw-throated Californian predecessors of the early 80s — fun for everyone.

The group features drummer/vocalist Jacob Cherwick, bassist/vocalist Liam Ryan, and guitarist/vocalists Nick Hunt and Nick C. Amusingly (at least from a grammatic standpoint), Swam's ranks include the entire lineup of the St. John's emo/math rock trio Swimming. Last October, that group issued their debut LP, That's Ok.

Pretty Matty: "See You Around"

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Toronto power-pop act Pretty Matty recently shared the digital single "See You Around," our first glimpse into a batch of newly recorded songs. The track finds guitarist/vocalist Matty Morand backed by his PONY partner-in-crime Sam Bielanski on bass and vocals, with Josh Cassidy (Trout) on drums. The recording also finds PONY touring member Christian Beale (This is Hell, Iron Chic) laying down additional guitar from his home base in Brooklyn. He mixed the track, as well. Pretty Matty recorded this one with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser engineering.

The song's the first original to surface from the group since 2020's "I'm Not There." Pretty Matty's full-length debut arrived through Get Better Records in 2019. As members of the bubblegum punk group PONY, Morand and Bielanski issued the fantastic TV Baby LP in the spring of 2021.

Status/Non-Status: "Mashkiki Sunset"

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Adam Sturgeon recently announced his first full-length under the name Status/Non-Status. Surely Travel lands September 23 on You've Changed, a 10-song set led by the tranquil folk-rock single "Mashkiki Sunset." The songwriter revealed:

"Mashkiki is the Anishinaabe word for medicine and this song serves as a dedication to love, one of our 7 sacred teachings."

The track arrived alongside a video directed by Ghostkeeper's Sarah Houle, visualizing the upcoming record's loose concept of a "travel log of animals in flight." The beadwork in the clip comes courtesy of multi-disciplinary Mi'kmaq artist Mikaila Stevens (of Flourish and Grow).

The band recorded with Matthew Wiewel at Sudbury's Deadpan Studios. Harris Newman mastered the set. Surely Travel comes on the heels of Status/Non-Status' 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP, and follows up on the band's final record as WHOOP-Szo, 2019's Warrior Down. The new album's also the first from Sturgeon in the wake of Sewn Together: his Polaris shortlisted full-length team-up with Zoon's Daniel Monkman, jointly billed as OMBIIGIZI.

Fucked Up: "Strix"

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Late last month, mind-expanding Toronto hardcore act Fucked Up shared "Strix," the first single from a sludgy new four-song EP dubbed Oberon. The band shared:

"OBERON is an exploration of our primordial origins as musicians. We have this murky dank filth deep inside of and can shy away no longer. Born from 90s mixtapes filled with Noothgrush, Crossed Out, His Hero Is Gone, Corrupted, Kiss it Goodbye, Man is the Bastard, it still pounds in us like a jack hammer even after the patches have faded."

The new set features three originals alongside a rendition of "Aquarium," a movement from Camille Saint-Saëns' 1886 suite Le Carnaval des animaux (now best known for its frequent use in film trailers - you'll know it when you hear it). You can see "Strix" visualized against the backdrop of some appropriately harrowing paintings in a new lyric video on YouTube. Oberon lands on vinyl on October 7 through Tankcrimes.

This record features longtime bandmates Damian Abraham on vocals, Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker on guitar, Sandy Miranda on bass, and Jonah Falco drumming. The band recorded pandemic-style, working mostly apart in separate sessions between December 2020 and the summer of 2021, spread between studios in Toronto and England with various engineers.

Fucked Up, who just played their 1,000th show, released the Dose Your Dreams double-LP in 2018, followed by the Year of the Horse entry in their Zodiac single series. The past few months have seen a flurry of activity celebrating the 10th anniversary of the acclaimed David Comes to Life album, including a deluxe reissue of that record and the related b-sides collection Do All Words Can Do.

Julianna Riolino: "You"

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Julianna Riolino recently shared the second single from her upcoming debut LP All Blue. You can hear the 60s girl group vibes of "You" streaming at Bandcamp (or wherever you get your digital audio). The track follows "Lone Ranger" in previewing the alt-country singer's 11-song album, due October 14.

Riolino recorded with a full band in August 2020 at Aaron Goldstein's now-defunct Baldwin Street Sound studio, with the producer adding his signature pedal steel to the instrumental mix. The album features nearly the full present-day lineup of Daniel Romano's Outfit in their usual roles, augmented by bassist Ryan Gavel (Young Guv), keyboardist Thomas Hammerton (Nathan Lawr), percussionist Jason Bhattachary (Dan Edmonds), and Anthony Ronaldi on baritone sax.

All Blue follows up Riolino's 2019 EP J.R. With The Outfit, she stepped into the lead vocal spotlight on 2021's Cobra Poems. She'll surely be a prominent part of that band's upcoming psychedelic rock opera La Luna, due September 9.

Captain WildChild: "Fantasy"

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Hamilton power-trio Captain WildChild recently shared "Fantasy," a high-octane new single that provides our first glimpse into the band's debut LP, Infinite Pleasure. The track arrived alongside a DIY video shot by the group. In a press release, they comment::

"'Fantasy,' focuses on the distractions we're constantly surrounded with and how we need to overcome them. With the verses, we wanted the lyrics to drop the listener into a fictional world of extravagance and splendor to contrast that with the choruses, where we wanted to tease the listener with the reality sitting right in front of their eyes."

Infinite Pleasure, recorded with producer Mickey Ellsworth (Walk Off The Earth), arrives August 20. Captain WildChild came together in 2018, founded by guitarist/vocalist Chad Chartrand and drummer Nigel Stewart. The trio also features bassist Sam Tomlinson, who you may recognize from as the latest occupant of The Dirty Nil's low-end. There's an undeniable sonic kinship between the Nil's rock maximalism and what Captain WildChild's accomplishing here, so check this out if you're a fan of the former.

Smelters: "Dance All Night"

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With roots in Hinton, Alberta, the Smelters have been kicking around the west coast of Canada for nearly 20 years. This week the Ramonescore pop-punk group issues Burnin' Dirt, a new full-length LP through Mom's Basement Records and This Is Pop. The quartet recorded at Edmonton studio The Shed with producer Chrispy Workun (of The Blame Its). Cody Blakely of The Nielsens mixed the album and contributed a couple of guitar solos to the project. Stuard McKillop mastered at Railtown.

The new record follows the Smelters' 2021 EP It's All Over but the Tryin' and a self-titled album issued in 2019. You can check the record's first single, "Dance All Night," in a video posted earlier this summer on YouTube.

Ryan Bourne: "Anemone Sound"

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Calgary singer-songwriter Ryan Bourne recently shared "Anemone Sound," the latest slice of infectious psych-pop from his upcoming LP Plant City. The artist commented on the sonically busy track:

"I wanted to play with this metaphor of a lover being a siren or a sea god, a mythical psychedelic creature whose love took you through a kind of ego death. In this sense it could refer to spiritual love, spiritual transformation, the death of the old, rebirth of the new, illuminated self."

The song arrived alongside a video co-directed by Rebecca Reid, featuring footage of the Architects of Air's travelling art installation "Luminarium."

Bourne plays with the Calgary indie rock troop Ghostkeeper and serves with Chris Dadge as a member of Chad VanGaalen's backing band, The Bleach Wipes. This song features Dadge on guitar and synth, with VanGaalen providing sound effects. David Laing appears here on sax, with Marie Sulkowski performing on the flute (a recording Bourne captured on tape and played backwards on the track).

Heaven For Real: "Energy Bar"

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Halifax-bred, Toronto-based art-rock project Heaven For Real recently shared a video showcasing the (paradoxically) skittering-yet-breezy title track to their upcoming LP Energy Bar. Mark Grundy commented:

"'Can You Believe It?' is one of the great intangible/rhetorical questions - the asker could be talking about a world-ending climate disaster or a BOGO sale - it is the title track as we felt like it encapsulated a lot of the asking and the feelings associated with this record."

The new ten-song LP arrives September 16 through Mint Records, following the March-issued (deep breath) Sweet Rose Green Winter Desk Top Tell This Side Autumn Of The Fighter Hot In A Cool Way EP. The group's prior LP, Kill Your Memory, arrived back in 2016. Heaven For Real features twin brother songwriters Mark and J. Scott Grundy, drummer Nathan Doucet, and Cher Hann on synth. They recorded with Jonas Bonetta (Evening Hymns) at Port William Sound, with Faith Healer's René Wilson mixing.

Fake Palms: "Civil Liberties"

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This week Hand Drawn Dracula shared "Civil Liberties," a slick garage rock single that serves as the final preview of the upcoming back-to-basics Fake Palms LP, Lemons. The new record from the Michael le Riche-helmed rock group arrives September 16 through Hand Drawn Dracula. The song surfaced alongside a video from director Jordan Allen.

The new set arrives on the heels of the full-length debut from Sauna, le Riche's synth-pop trio with ex-Weaves bassist Zach Bines and Greys drummer Braeden Craig. That group issued Dose Yourself in May. This new incarnation of Fake Palms finds le Rich mainly working solo, performing the brunt of guitar, bass, and vocals on the recording with backing from Dilly Dally's Benjamin Reinhartz on percussion. Evan Lewis of Ducks Ltd. fleshed out a half-dozen of the songs (including this one) on guitar, with additional appearances logged from early Palms guitarist Patrick Marshall, percussionist Braeden Craig, and Twist vocalist Laura Hermiston. The band recorded at Candle Recording with Josh Korody (Breeze, Beliefs) co-producing and engineering.

Wares: "Complete Control"

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It's been a few years since Edmonton's Wares issued their striking sophomore LP, Survival, but a new video recently surfaced to celebrate the album track "Complete Control." Based on a script by drummer Holland Greaves, the clip finds a stop-motion animated robot running amok in the band's jam space. Edmonton artist Zsofia Opra Szabo directed and animated the piece. The band commented that "Complete Control" is "a song about executive dysfunction, wishing a beautiful person would bust down your walls and whip your life into shape."

Survival landed in early 2020 through Mint Records. Wares features vocalist/guitarist Cassia J. Hardy backed by keyboardist Jamie Mclean, bassist Matthew Gooding, and drummer Holland Greaves.

Kiwi Jr.: "The Sound of Music" / "The Extra Sees The Film"

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Of all the album campaigns I ignored during my unannounced summer sabbatical, Kiwi Jr.'s had the worst timing. The Toronto jangle-pop act issues their new LP Chopper this week on Sub Pop, and I'm sitting on a pile of unshared pre-release video announcements and other PR ephemera. If you haven't caught them yet, you can now see clips highlighting "The Extra Sees The Film" and "The Sound of Music" on YouTube.

The latter arrived this week with a video from director Laura-Lynn Petrick (Anemone, Matthew "Doc" Dunn). On that song, singer/guitarist Jeremy Gaudet commented:

"Some names are so loaded that I can't resist inserting them into a song, and Julie Andrews is one. Her name brings up a certain feeling. I didn't rewatch the movie before writing the song, so it's from memory, but I knew So Long Farewell and I Have Confidence. There's this idea of her marriage falling apart after the success of the movie - she was married young to a production designer. I don't really know how it all went down, but my version makes for good drama. This is Kiwi Jr at our most melodramatic. The song borders on fan-fiction, which is something I usually try to avoid, however this started to get juicy and I had to follow it through."

"The Extra Sees The Film" arrived a few weeks prior, paired with a lyric video. On that track, Gaudet revealed:

"This song is quite literally a change of pace for us. It's more chill and a bit darker than previous Kiwi Jr. recordings. It's a song about whether or not you're the hero of your own story, or a smaller part of something bigger. It's bragging that you're in a movie and inviting all your friends and family, but when it screens, you're barely an extra in it. A lot of our songs deal with reckoning, this one in particular. It's what happens after you've told your story and the truth comes out later, and everything unravels."

Both tracks showcase the group's newly retooled, synth-backed sound crafted with producer Dan Boeckner (Operators, Wolf Parade). The new record, the band's third, follows 2021's Cooler Returns. Kiwi Jr. features vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Gaudet, guitarist Brian Murphy, bassist Mike Walker, and drummer Brohan Moore. Look for Chopper via their Kiwi Club imprint in Canada.

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