Friday August 19, 2022

Beer for Breakfast

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.

Punk Canada Vol 1

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This summer saw the arrival of Punk Canada Vol 1, an ambitious new covers compilation spearheaded by Paul Gott of Montreal lifers the Ripcordz. Arriving through the artist's storied En Guard Records label, the 16-song set presents a cross-country cast of currently active punk groups delivering fresh renditions of their forbearers. The participants sourced a mix of some of the country's pioneering punk acts (The Modernettes and The Demics are perhaps the most prominent names here) with a scattershot collection of smaller groups better known in their local scenes. The obscurity ultimately works in the record's favour, and it's impressive how many obvious candidates were left in the toybox.

Given the punk roots of this newsletter and my baffling conceit that geography matters as listening criteria, I couldn't leave this stone unturned. In that spirit, here's a track-by-track breakdown:

I was about to write something hyperbolic to celebrate the first mention of the mighty Dunnville in this newsletter, but I let the occasion pass unremarked upon back in 2018. Oh well. Look for Punk Canada Vol 1 on vinyl soon. Online availability seems a little iffy at the moment, so one of the bands' supporting tour dates may be your best bet. Digitally you can pluck these tracks from Bandcamp now.

Julie Aubé: "Changer le mal de place"

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Julie Aubé recently shared the second single from her forthcoming LP Contentement, with " Changer le mal de place" boasting a propulsive country twang. Aubé, known as one-third of the Acadian indie-folk act Les Hay Babies, spoke to Le Canal Auditif about the track, revealing (en francais) the song's roots in memories of her father. That nostalgia's on full display in the accompanying video, directed by the artist and comprised of VHS footage from old family movies. The track follows the album's triumphant first single, "Le temps des mûres."

Aubé co-wrote and recorded with Memramcook producer-songwriter Mike Trask. The record features Mico Roy (Les Hôtesses d'Hilaire) on guitar, Papal Visit's Adam Mowery on bass, Matthew Gallant on drums, and backing vocals from Salesbarbes' Kevin McIntyre and Les Hay Babies' Katrine Noël.

As a member of Les Hay Babies, Julie Aubé last issued Boîte aux lettres in February of 2020. Contentement arrives on September 9 from Simone Records, landing nearly five years after her solo debut, Joie de Vivre.

C.ROSS: Skull Creator

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Chad Ross has had quite a trip since his days with Toronto garage legends The Deadly Snakes - performing increasingly far-out psych with Quest for Fire and later Comet Control. While he's performed solo in the past as Nordic Nomadic, last month, the artist re-emerged as C.ROSS, issuing the LP Skull Creator through Atlanta's Echodelick Records, Australia's Ramble Records, and NoiseAgonyMahem domestically. The record delivers eight tracks of slow-burning psych-folk, presenting a fully realized, mature sound nearly a decade from Nordic Nomadic's last album, Worldwide Skyline.

Joshua Wells (Lightning Dust, Destroyer, Black Mountain) produced and mixed the album from the Balloon Factory in Vancouver. He also performs drums and keys on the record. Guests include Isaiah Mitchell (Earthless, Golden Void, the Black Crowes) on guitar and Aaron Goldstein (Daniel Romano, Bry Webb) on pedal steel. Ross commented on the ensemble, stating:

"I had it in my head that I was gonna make an acoustic record, with the sole purpose of making fun of myself, reflecting on a few of my past wasted lives and just generally taking the singer/songwriter thing out with the trash. The lyrics all made me laugh at one point, but when Josh and Isaiah got involved, things got elevated... as they tend to do with musicians like that."

You can see a trippy video for the single "Wrong Side of the Sky" on YouTube, directed by the Waterloo artist/musician Olde Nightrifter.

Shearing Pinx: Splits with The Drivers and Ex-Softess

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While it's been several years since the last proper LP from Vancouver noise-punk heroes Shearing Pinx, they offer no shortage of new material through a seemingly unending stream of splits and collaborations. The Isolated Now Waves label has two new collections available digitally and on cassette this summer.

First, the group has a split out with The Drivers, the solo project of Chris Ando of the Seattle groups Talbot Tagora and Mikaela's Fiend. The Shearing Pinx side features a studio improv piece with a skronky appearance from Dry Goods' Liam Murphy on sax. The Drivers, meanwhile, offer "one 15min mind fvck jammer."

The second split finds Shearing Pinx paired with the Vancouver no-wave/noise trio Ex-Softess, who deliver a pair of instrumentals. The Pinx side of the tape's also instrumental, presenting material recorded with Jesse Taylor of the electronic/darkwave group In Mirrors.

Both sets are available in cassette runs of 50, with whatever's remaining up for sale on Bandcamp. Shearing Pinx last issued the LP People in 2014 through Psychic Handshake. That same year they appeared on at least a half-dozen splits with then-active bands like Hag Face and Soupcans. Last year the group put out When You Have No Taste, You Can Do Anything, an anthology of previously unreleased material spanning 2008 through 2019.

UWUW: "Scattered Ashes"

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This fall will see the debut full-length from the newly formed Toronto supergroup UWUW. The band brings together bassist/keyboardist Jason Haberman (Dan Mangan, Yeahsun, The Wooden Sky), percussionist Jay Anderson (Badge Époque Ensemble, Lammping, Biblical) and guitarist/keyboardist/producer Ian Blurton (Ian Blurton's Future Now, Change of Heart, C'mon). They're joined on the album's four extended tracks by two distinct songwriters - Chris A. Cummings (aka Marker Starling) and Drew Smith (Bunny, The Bicycles), each fronting a pair of songs.

You can now hear the classically cool first single, "Scattered Ashes," streaming at Bandcamp. It's one of Starling's tunes on the record. The vocalist commented on his approach to the smooth psych-funk track:

"I attempted to shoehorn every stray apocalyptic thought I had circa Summer of 2021 into the song, including readings from the screenplay of Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville (1965). The world is ending, or perhaps, as Sun Ra believed, we're already past the end of the world. You might end up dying for a cause, or even 'just because.' Who knows what tomorrow may bring, and like The Zombies, being forever Hung Up on a Dream—in this case, a lost vision of a kind of hippie or punk utopia—is the only way to live your life, the only way to maintain a healing state of mind"

In addition to the leading players, each song features infectious horn arrangements by Jay Hey. He appears here on saxophone alongside Tom Richardson on trombone and Patrick McGroarty on trumpet. The band's self-titled LP arrives October 21 through We Are Busy Bodies.

Klarka Weinwurm: "Ten Years"

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Since the lead-up to Sappyfest I've had the new Klarka Weinwurm album in near constant rotation. The 10-song Easy Days marries a restrained bed of lo-fi indie fuzz with Weinwurm's distinctively vulnerable vocals - thoroughly rooted in the tradition of New Brunswick legends like Eric's Trip and Julie Doiron. The band recently served album-opener "Ten Years" as the record's latest single, paired with a vintage-styled video. Filmmaker Winston DeGiobbi shot the foot in Cape Breton last October.

Easy Days arrived in early July, nearly seven years out from the Sackville band's Huddle EP. The group recorded with Dave Trenaman at The Quarantine in Port Greville, Nova Scotia, between the summer of 2019 and December of 2020. In the studio, Klarka Weinwurm performed with bassist Ian MacDougall (The Tom Fun Orchestra) and drummer Luke Patterson (The Mouthbreathers). On tour this summer, Weinwurm's backed by bassist Evan Matthews (The Mouthbreathers, Yellowteeth) and returning drummer Glenn Barrington (Snake Noise).

PONY: "Peach"

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Fresh from the road supporting Fucked Up, Sam Bielanski's bubblegum-punk outfit PONY shared a new single this week titled "Peach." Bielanski revealed:

"I think 'Peach' is probably the most vulnerable song I have ever written. After all, what's more vulnerable than a Peach?

Some years ago I found myself in a relationship with someone who initially treated me like I was so special. But little by little the love seemed more and more conditional. With every bit they tried to control what I wore, who I talked to, and what I did - I lost a part of myself. It took me years to realize I was completely gone and I mistook abuse and manipulation for love. Peach is about realizing that someone who wants to have control over you is not someone who loves you."

The track follows June's stand-along single "Did It Again" and arrives in the wake of their 2021 full-length TV Baby. That LP landed last spring through Massachusetts' Take This To Heart Records. The track also surfaces just a few weeks after "See You Again," the new single from the Toronto power-pop group Pretty Matty, which featured Bielanski on bass and backing vocals.

DogsnotGods: EPII

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Five-piece Moncton punk group DogsnotGods recently returned with EPII, a six-song set of too-tough-to-die Ramones worship with vocals deeply nestled in the lo-fi murk. While we've heard this style played countless times, it never feels tired when done well. DogsnotGods seem to understand whatever magic formula makes it work.

The band features Fear of Lipstick's Jerms O'Neill on vocals, backed by guitarists Justin and Dean, bassist Trev, and drummer Mike. The new set follows the band's first EP from January 2021, and the "Call Me a Failure" single of the same era.

The Ember Glows: "Silent Love"

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Montreal post-punk quartet The Ember Glows recently issued "Silent Love," a new single that somehow authentically captures the sound and spirit of 80s heroes like Echo and the Bunnymen, Simple Minds, and The Cult. The group recorded at Closet Studios with John Gurnsey and producer Daniel Karrasch. Vocalist/guitarist Martin Saint commented on the track in a press release, stating:

"This song came about when my ex-girlfriend lost her father last year. This is about how powerless one feels when a loved one mourns the loss of a close relative. The old clichés and platitudes won't help but you still want to offer the gift of silence and love. Because it came from the heart, the song wrote itself. Even the first band run-through sounded good already. We all knew then it'd be a special one."

The Ember Glows emerged in 2019, accruing members from the Montreal bands Room Control, REPO, Scene Noir, and Citylake. The group features Richard Bunze on lead guitar, bassist Kevin Hills, Martin Saint on vocals, keys, and guitar, and Dan Stefik drumming. The new single follows the band's debut 2021 EP Passerby.

Sea Of Troubles: Victor

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Hamilton noise-punk trio Sea Of Troubles recently issued "Victor," a brisk and aggressive new single. It's so lo-fi and distorted that you can't make a word out - but satisfyingly so. It comes packaged with two noise collages, each thoroughly unpredictable but never meandering. The complete set's altogether less than four minutes long.

The tracks follow Sea of Troubles' 2021 single "Busted" and their avant-guard full-length カンニング. The group performs as a trio featuring vocalist/guitarist Denzel Gordon, drummer Jeremy Hopkins, and bassist Matt Rockingham.

Heavy Bedroom: "Distorted Organs"

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The moody Ottawa indie rockers Heavy Bedroom returned earlier this month after an extended absence, delivering a two-song digital single at Bandcamp. You can preview the a-side "Distorted Organs," a quiet-yet-weighty song that scratches that Three Gut Records itch. The track features Alex Maltby on vocals and guitar, Cory Lefebvre on guitar and synths, Matthew Gilmour on bass, and Tyler Goodman drumming.

The new songs follow a 2016 split with fellow Capital locals King's Quest and the group's 2014 debut EP I Saw An End.

Spite House: "Dying Leaves"

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Montreal post-hardcore group Spite House kicked off August with "Dying Leaves," the second single from their forthcoming debut. That self-titled album arrives on August 26 through the New Morality Zine, featuring ten songs. Speaking to Brooklyn Vegan, vocalist/guitarist Maxime Lajoie revealed the personal tragedy fueling the track:

"It is a song about the morning I last saw my father. I walked to school on November 2nd. A few moments later, he left our house for the last time. He was wearing the same old clothes for a week (red clothes). I was 16 at the time and knew something was very weird and wrong, but couldn't or didn't know what to do about it. I'm not sure I'd go into more details of what happened, but we are releasing the song on what would've been his 70th birthday."

Spite House features Maxime Lajoie on guitar and vocals, Marc Tremblay on percussion, and bassist Nabil Ortega. The upcoming record marks the latest in a series of recent projects from Lajoie - including the Love Business EP from the 90s alternative-styled Seed Toss.

Kingfisher: Hidden Enemy

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Ottawa punk group Kingfisher recently issued their third EP of the year, a four-song set of politically charged, 90s-styled melodic hardcore dubbed Hidden Enemy.

The set follows the quartet's April release Generation Zero and a self-titled set from January. The group, heavily inspired by EpiFat-era bands like Face to Face and No Use For a Name, came together last November from former members of The Fully Down and In Heat (among others). The group features vocalist/guitarist Brent Walker, vocalist/guitarist Joe Brownrigg, bassist Casey Conner, and drummer Dave Dorval.

Solitüde: Split with Mode Alarme

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Montreal goth duo Solitüde has a new split album assembled with the Gatineau post-punk act Mode Alarme (members of Inespy and Droidz). Solitüde's side of the record features three songs - two new originals and a remaster of "Cold Mist" from their Pils Sessions set.

The group recorded at Pils' NOMANSLAND studio with producer Chany Pilote last December. Solitüde features Janick and Pask of the UK82 bruisers Fractured - with the former handling vocals and lyrics and the latter crafting the group's moody instrumentals.

Fortunato Durutti Marinetti: "Just Like a Singer"

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After a winding journey through several formats, Toronto singer-songwriter Fortunato Durutti Marinetti is finally bringing their evocative 2020 debut Desire to vinyl. The artist recorded in the winter and spring of 2018 and 2018, later enlisting Vancouver indie-pop mainstay Jay Arner to mix and master. The resulting work only saw a limited cassette release in the general chaos of 2020. Look for the vinyl, completed as intended, on September 8 through Second Spring, with remastered audio, extended artwork, and an included excerpt from author Asesina Hudson's novella Blob.

The news arrived with a video for the song "Just Like a Singer," directed by Ron Tran. The clip features footage recorded in Toronto, Vancouver, and Vernon, BC over the past year. You can see it now on YouTube.

Born in Turin and based in Toronto, Daniel Colussi launched the FDM stage name after performing for over twenty years with bands like The Shilohs and The Pinc Lincolns, among others. This project finds him exploring jazz-influenced folk-rock informed by legends like Lou Reed, Leonard Cohen, and Joni Mitchell.

While Desire only lands on vinyl this fall, it's already seen a follow-up. Fortunato Durutti Marinetti issued their sophomore LP, Memory's Fool in March through Bobo Integral and Soft Abuse.

36?: "Natural"

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Calgarian art-rock unit 36? recently shared "Natural," the band's second single of the summer and another dizzying display of their restlessly eclectic songwriting. The track finds the group working at a relatively relaxed pace compared to July's "Samuel" - not that the acid-trip nightmare of an accompanying music video helps offers much in the way of calm. In a feature at the Cups N Cakes Network, project principle Taylor Cochrane revealed:

"I think most artists have an internal struggle when they are creating art and for me a lot of that comes from thinking too much about how the art is going to be received when I really want to just be basking in the moment and letting things flow naturally."

You can see "Natural" on YouTube along with last month's "Samuel" clip. Both songs stem from Naturally, a new full-length due through Montana's North Pole Records. Look for that material, the result of pandemic-era home recordings by the group's then-isolated players, to be released throughout the year. The new material (including May's one-off single "Write") follows up on the group's 2019 LP, Milk Mountain.

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Bradley Davis is a Hamilton-based singer-songwriter recording rather elegant (if downbeat) indie rock under the name Affiliate Links. We Are Busy Bodies has the artist's debut solo LP Enough Light lined up for a September 9 release. It's an 11-song set you can preview now through the hooky psych-pop of "Baby's Changing Stations" and the fuzzy, propulsive "Walk on Water."

For over a decade, Davis recorded and performed as a member of the instrumental Toronto post-rock unit Fresh Snow. Much of Enough Light came together at home, tracked solo during the worst of the pandemic when collaboration was off the table (he admits "I have never been good at relaxing" in a press release). Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh picked up the recordings last summer to mix.

Carbon Memory: "The Only One"

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Last week the Toronto alt-rock quartet Carbon Memory issued their sophomore EP, a slick five-song set dubbed Tourist. The release landed alongside a hand-drawn, digitally animated video for the single "The Only One." Over the past year, the band created the visuals in-house, with lead guitarist Demian Abal giving life to images by vocalist Dennis Neves. The group commented on creating the sci-fi-themed piece:

"Everything was hand drawn, digitally coloured and animated painstakingly using Adobe After Effects. It nearly broke us. The video is as much of a representation of the song as is the final studio recording... We wanted to keep the ending open to interpretation. Is the whole experience a dream, achieved self-realization or the result of creative sabotage? ['The Only One' is] about negotiating and protecting creative energy in our lives, seeing creativity as something that needs to be nourished. The further you grow apart from it, the further you feel from yourself."

The group worked in the studio with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh producing at Candle Recording. Carbon Memory features vocalist/guitarist Dennis Neves, guitarist Demian Abal, bassist Andy Ranieri, and drummer Demian Abal.

Ducks Ltd.: "In Between Days" (ft. Jane Inc)

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Ducks Ltd.'s covers series The Sincerest Form of Flattery continues to roll out, presenting new renditions of classic songs by the Toronto jangle-pop group and a rotating cast of guests. The latest finds the band performing a bright and faithful version of The Cure's "In Between Days." The group tackles the '85 single with the help of Jane Inc (aka Ice Cream's Carlyn Bezic).

Singer/guitarist Tom McGreevy revealed:

"Robert Smith is a genius and the Cure are the best and I absolutely love this song. It's such a simple one but all of the pieces slot together so neatly. We listened to all the demos he made of it, and it's cool to hear how clearly the fundamental parts of it are realized on the very first one, even though he doesn't have any lyrics yet and is just wordlessly singing the melody (which I also do when we demo stuff!). We mostly tracked this one on a day off when we were on tour with Nation of Language, so the vocal was tracked in the front seat of a parked Mitsubishi Outlander in the middle of the night outside an Airbnb in Grand Junction, Colorado. It's also the first thing we've made that our bass player Katie plays on."

The covers series debuted in March with a version of Jesus & Mary Chain's "Head On." The new recordings follow Ducks Ltd.'s recent one-off "Shades of Grey" and their Royal Mountain/ Carpark LP, Modern Fiction. On that album, the band recorded as a duo comprised of Tom McGreevy (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards) and Evan Lewis (guitar, bass, drum programming).

Sloan: "Scratch the Surface"

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The city of Toronto plays a starring role in Sloan's new video for "Scratch the Surface," the second single from their upcoming full-length Steady. Chris Murphy commented on the filming process in a press release, stating:

"We haven't done a video per se since 'Unkind' from The Double Cross, which was over 10 years ago, and we thought it was time we came up with some new visuals because, let's face it, we look pretty good.

Sloan crew and friend that requires I pay him, Haris Cehajic, was bringing his drone to Sloan shows and taking this great footage and I insisted we could make a cool video for "Scratch the Surface" using the drone. The song talks about being alone in the city and I thought we could get some drone shots of buildings downtown and make up the rest on the spot à la the videos from our first record, Smeared. I am happy to have this visual representation of Sloan in 2022. If this video doesn't go viral, it's the last video I'm ever making. Maybe it will go fungal. That's my dad's joke. Self-producing the video presented a few challenges — the band even lost one of their soaring cameras along the way! — Hey, if you find a drone near the Eaton Centre, contact me."

The track's one of twelve slated for Steady, the indie legends' 13th studio album. It's due through Yep Roc Records on October 21, arriving 30 years to the month from Smeared. Sloan impressively still boasts their classic lineup of guitarist/vocalist Patrick Pentland, bassist/vocalist Chris Murphy, drummer/vocalist Andrew Scott, and guitarist/vocalist Jay Ferguson. The new record follows up their 2018 LP 12 and the two recent B Sides Win collections issued through the group's Murderecords.

Status/Non-Status: January 3rd

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Adam Sturgeon recently shared the second single from the new Status/Non-Status record. You can hear the folk-rocker "Mainly Crows" at Bandcamp and see it in a visually dense new video from director and animator Jordan Allen (Breeze, Fake Palms). In a statement, Sturgeon mused on the track:

"[It's an] observation on community of how flashy lights and opportunities flush vibrant people from their humble homes. It's about the death of the small town and the call to join the city mass. More than that, it is a tribute to friends and about travelling between worlds to see them along the way. It's a song about how sorely they are missed and how we can't really blame them for moving away."

The band recorded this 10-song set with Matthew Wiewel at Sudbury's Deadpan Studios. Harris Newman mastered. Surely Travel comes on the heels of Status/Non-Status' 1, 2, 3, 4, 500 Years EP, and follows up on Sturgeon's final record under the name WHOOP-Szo, 2019's Warrior Down. The new album, due September 23 from You've Changed, is also notably the first from Sturgeon in the wake of Sewn Together: his Polaris shortlisted full-length team-up with Zoon's Daniel Monkman, jointly billed by the Anishnaabe songwriters as OMBIIGIZI.

Status/Non-Status follow up the critically acclaimed Surely Travel LP with a selection of additional material drawn from the same fruitful sessions. The January 3rd EP offers 3 beautiful reflections on the search for home, those left behind when we leave, and those lost far too early, highlighted by a title track calling to a more natural way of existing but trapped within the busy people, streets and lights of a broken city. Collected together these songs document a sentimental journey that sounds just right on the cold winds of winter.

"January 3rd is a song of reflection; a call to a more natural way of existing but trapped within the busy people, streets and lights of a broken city. I wrote this while living in Flint, Michigan and it was the first song we recorded for Surely Travel, where in a song we are all just trying to be free.

Johnny's Song could be about any kid, anywhere. In this case a specific kid - Johnny, who was trying his best to persevere despite a harsh reality at home, each day bringing a new challenge but finding hope within the cold terrain of the Arctic tundra and being on the land.

Glide is a dedication to our dear mother, mentor and friend who slipped into the ice and never came home. Emotions got the better of me through tracking so I walked away from the song and left it unfinished. Still can't listen to it to this day." - Adam Sturgeon credits released January 3, 2023

Recorded, Mixed and Mastered by Matthew Wiewel, Deadpan Studios Layout/Design by Blake Stevenson

Out today is a set of rather personal tracks.... songs that for one reason or another didn't find their way onto our latest LP Surely Travel (have you heard it?!). We call it the January 3rd EP and you can listen now. these songs are yet another means to release thought and expressions (and sometimes heavy vibes) into a vast world. We yearn to find you and ourselves on the journey. So heads up and we'll see you on the way.

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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