Tuesday October 25, 2022

Fourth Line

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.

The Nils: "Fourth Line"

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Montreal punk legends The Nils recently returned with a scrappy hockey-themed single. "Fourth Line" dropped just in time for the launch of the NHL season, also providing the first taste of the veteran group's new EP. Titled Five Roses, the forthcoming five-song set finds the group recording with producer Peter Edwards (Indica Records) at Studio Plateau. Look for it on November 18.

While it's been seven years since The Nils issued anything new - a wealth of cool archival material surfaced in the interregnum. In 2020, Label Obscura lavishly reissued the band's 1987 album (the self-titled set featuring the classic "River of Sadness"), making it officially available for the first time in decades. A 1988 radio session from CBC's Brave New Waves landed on vinyl a few years ago, further documenting the band's early heights. In April of this year, a 1992 performance at Montreal's Foufounes Electriques also surfaced as a digital release.

Alex and Carlos Soria formed The Nils in 1978 when the former was only 12 years old. Considered among the country's earliest punk groups, the group issued the Sell Out Young! EP in 1985 and the Paisley set shortly thereafter. Their first LP arrived two years later through Rock Hotel Records (an imprint of NYC hip-hop label Profile) - only for the band to wind up mired in contractual limbo following Profile's bankruptcy. The group played on and off in the years since their bumpy start, seemingly ending in tragedy when Alex took his own life in 2004. Carlos would reform the band a decade after his brother's death, taking over vocal duties and issuing the Shadows and Ghosts album in 2015.

The brothers share a writing credit on "Fourth Line."

The band plans to celebrate the new release with a November 18 show in Toronto, playing with The Lemonheads' when their It's a Shame About Ray tour hits the Phoenix.

Losers: "It's What You Do"

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Toronto punk trio Losers are back in action, picking up the pieces of their interrupted career with "It's What You Do," the bruising first single from their forthcoming sophomore full-length. There's no detail on that record to share yet, but it follows up on the band's 2019 debut, Welcome to Hell. While a split EP with the TO hardcore group Wrot followed that same year - it's been quiet since (for all the usual world health crisis reasons).

This track features Marcin Zach on guitar and vocals, Jesse Turnbull on bass, and Kurt Thornley drumming. Turnbull recorded and mixed at Taurus Recording with Dan Weston mastering. You can pick it up now at Bandcamp.

TJ Cabot: Pissin Ammo EP

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This week Moncton's TJ Cabot issued his third EP of the year, a wild garage rocker dubbed Pissin Ammo. It clocks in with four new songs plus a cover of "Spin Out," an early 80s tune by the St. John's comedy group The Wonderful Grand Band. Cabot self-produced the recordings from the basement of his hideout in September and October of this year, with Outtacontroller's James O'Toole mastering.

TJ Cabot's otherwise known as Tyler Boutilier - a member of numerous Maritime punk exports like the Phone Jerks and Nerve Button. Cabot's recent material includes July's King Grove EP and February's SD Action. Boutilier issued the full-length vinyl debut from TJ Cabot & Thee Artificial Rejects in December 2020 through Germany's Alien Snatch.

Self-Cut Bangs: "Shivers"

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Calgary power-pop group Self-Cut Bangs returns next month with their sophomore full-length, and based on the infectious preview material, Circle Around The Free could cause quite the stir. You can preview the twelve-song set now with the tracks "Shivers," "Ludo," add "Stargazer" - all available at Bandcamp. Boasting shades of Blondie and the New Pornographers, the album arrives November 18. Lorrie Matheson (Art Bergmann, Ghostkeeper) produced and mixed the record.

Self-Cut Bands emerged during the pandemic from songwriting couple Cayley O'Neill (Dark Time) and Shawn Petsche (Napalmpom). This record, like their self-titled 2020 debut, found the pair recording from home, but the project's since expanded into a full live band featuring drummer Joel Nye (Hot Little Rocket, Night Committee), guitarist Dillon Whitfield (Astral Swans, Reuben & The Dark), and bassist Nicola Cavanagh (Cardiograms, Night Committee).

In a press release, the band commented on their approach this time out:

"Following the surprise success of their debut self-titled album's release in late 2020, the band set to work on the follow-up with a new approach. Eschewing the escapist themes and time limited recording process of the first, the pair instead hunkered down during the pandemic and amassed a collection of over 200 musical ideas on their voice memos. Circle Around The Free represents the realization of the best of those ideas; a rock & roll record with a broader palette of influences (Flashing Lights, Sloan, ABBA, The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, Sweeping Promises, The Breeders, Guerilla Toss, etc.) and a more personal and reflective reaction to the strangest of times and much personal change. A retro future rock & roll statement powered by a cotton candy jet engine."

A "Shivers" video directed by Shawn Petsche casts the group as the protagonists in a Japanese-styled RPG. If you've ever yearned to see the streets of Calgary reimagined in the style of Final Fantasy, now's your chance. Make sure to stay around for the stinger.

Golden Shitters: Golden Shitters

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Billed as "moronic three-piece punk rock from the City of Doom," Golden Shitters assembles a team of Hamilton punk lifers. The trio brings together Anxious Pleasers' Matt Ellis, Dark Trip's Dave Tyson, and The Dirty Nil's Kyle Fisher. Matt and Dave trade off vocals, guitar, and bass on the band's raucous four-song debut, with Fisher behind the kit. As their name implies, Golden Shitters revels in brash, gooney rock'n'roll with one foot firmly planted on a stack of Ramones LPs.

Ellis is most active these days as part of Anxious Pleasers with TV Freaks members TJ Charlton and Nathan Burger. They're soon celebrating the release of their first LP with a November 11 show in Hamilton alongside Private Lives and Bad Crush, later hitting the road for a slate of shows supporting Daniel Romano's Ancient Shapes. Ellis performed before the pandemic with Flesh Rag and PlasticHeads, also serving as a modern-day member of Burlington vets The Vapids. Aside from Dark Trip, Tyson's a proud denim-clad member of Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs. With Dundas' bombastic The Dirty Nil, Fisher last issued Fuck Art in 2021.

Grimelda: "George Thorogood"

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Grimelda is the new name for Saskatoon's aggressively eclectic avant-punk duo The Faps. That's probably for the best. The group, a long-running collaboration between Blair Colwell and Skyler Cafferata, kicked off their new era with an aggressively bonkers new single dubbed "George Thorogood." They comment:

"After 10 years in the making, we've set our sights on global expansion, innovative musical collabs, and a live show that is even more refined and unhinged. Expect to be pleasantly annoyed and excited by a louder, weirder, and wilder duo that forever lurks in plain sight.

We're back with our new single, "George Thorogood." Why's it called "George Thorogood?" Cause we're all George Thorogood... George is a good old rocker dude who wrote songs about rocking out so we figured he's a fitting subject. It's about embracing your inner George and saying to yourself 'heck ya, I rock!'"

A video for the track, directed by Colwell and Dylan Evans of EYECATCHER, indeed features a great many George Thorogoods. Georges Thorogood? Not sure how to pluralize that one.

As The Faps, Grimelda last issued their New Daft Punk EP in 2021 via Transistor 66. It followed an LP titled Grimelda from 2018.

Peanut Butter Sunday: "Howard"

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Acadian pop-punk act Peanut Butter Sunday recently detailed their debut EP Quoi-c'ya pour souper?, a four-song set due later this week. The collection features the earlier-shared (and charmingly Franglais) "Soleil" single and this week's new preview, "Howard." That latest tune arrives alongside a playful new video directed by the band.

Hailing from La Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia, Peanut Butter Sunday features guitarist/vocalist Michael Saulnier, drummer Andre LeBlanc, guitarist Normand Pothier, and bassist Jacques Blinn. Pothier and Blinn are members of P'tit Belliveau's backing band and played previously with Cy. PBS has roots in Saulnier's participation in Stella 2020, an artist development program offered through FéCANE (the Fédération culturelle acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse).

Quoi-c'ya pour souper? lands October 28 through Acadian Embassy, and Peanut Butter Sunday's queued up several supporting shows over the next few months. These include an album release party at Coup de Coeur Francophone in Montreal (November 8 at L'Escogriffe) and an industry showcase as part of Nova Scotia Music Week (November 3 at Daniel's Ale House in Sydney). They'll later embark on a short Maritime tour alongside labelmates Sluice, playing shows in Halifax, Moncton, and Clare, NS, before the end of the year.

Tearing Up: Billy Is Dead

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In a past life, Toronto's Graham Caldwell issued a robust catalogue of punk and power-pop tunes as Billy Moon, cumulating in the 2018 LP Punk Songs. The artist emerges from the pandemic with the old guise retired and a new, introspective outlook retooled as Tearing Up. The new entity punctuated that change with Billy Is Dead, a new three-song EP led by the anthemic new single "Running." The artist describes that track as a "wholesome, earnest, cringe-as-fuck song about feeling joyful, powerful, and strong."

Speaking to Dusty Organ, Caldwell commented on his new stage name:

"Growing up, I loved punk bands that sneered in the face of authority, demanding their voice be heard. They made me feel like I was stronger than I was. I was the kind of person who avoided conflict since I'd lose every fight I'd end up in, but there's still a part of me that itches to get its hands dirty, hence the name: Tearing Up."

You can see "Running" celebrated in an animated video directed by Andrew Strachan. Billy Is Dead is available in full at Bandcamp.

Cursed Arrows: "Matter Is An Illusion"

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Founded in Barrie, Ontario but now based on the south shore of Nova Scotia, garage duo Cursed Arrows are readying a next full-length for a November 11 release. Crone features nine new songs, three of which you can check out at Bandcamp now. The latest preview arrived last week as "Matter is an Illusion," a gritty, intense rocker. The band comments:

"Our incendiary, Ryan-penned brand new song "Matter Is An Illusion" is streamable and downloadable right now! A weird time signature and even stranger drumming make this track as true to our genre roots (whatever they may be) as anything we've done in years."

Crone lands as the seventh overall full-length from the duo of Jackie and Ryan Stanley, following 2021's Mage EP. The album's due through Tarantula Tapes, with a release celebration booked for Halifax DIY art space Radstorm on November 12.

Michael C. Duguay: "Saint Maybe"

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Kingston singer-songwriter Michael C. Duguay recently issued an affecting new single dubbed "Saint Maybe." Recorded in Whitehorse with Jordy Walker, the lushly orchestrated track's the first to be revealed from the forthcoming follow-up to 2020's The Winter of Our Discotheque. In a post on Instagram, Duguay disclosed:

"I wrote Saint Maybe on a borrowed guitar in the rehab centre where I got clean from drugs and alcohol. The song was inspired by a moment shared between my mom and I in the parking lot of the centre as she delivered me for my intake, both of us desperately hoping that this time something would stick and I might become well (I did). At that same moment, my twin sister was eloping on Canada's east coast and I was left considering how different our lives looked in that instance; not comparing or taking tally, but in awe of the disparate and circuitous routes emanating from our identical upbringing. Saint Maybe is about the ways in which we can be canonized and villainized within our families of origin, about mine and my dear sister's unbreakable bond and sworn pact to end cycles of harm and neglect, and is a testament to my family's unconditional love and support. It's about desiring to make change, not knowing how, and finding examples."

The track arrived alongside a video directed by Josh Lyon.

You can find Duguay on stage next in St. John's, Newfoundland. He'll appear with Jake Nicoll of The Burning Hell at The Battery Cafe on Saturday, November 5. Also, look for him on tour in Ontario this fall accompanying Constantine Steven Lambke on accordion. They're opening for Carson McHone's Canadian release tour supporting her recent record Still Life.

PONY: "French Class"

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Sam Bielanski's bubblegum-punk outfit PONY shows off some slick new electric flourishes in "French Class." The track, inspired by the HBO comedy-drama The Sex Lives Of College Girls, features Sam on vocals and synth backed by Pretty Matty's Matty Morand on guitar and bass, with drums from Trout's Josh Cassidy. If you're into the chilled-out new wave vibes of Toronto's Rapport, you'll find a lot to love here. Josh Korody (Breeze, Beliefs) produced the tune.

The track follows the recent singles "Peach" and "Did It Again," both of which followed up on PONY's 2021 full-length TV Baby. That LP landed last spring through Massachusetts' Take This To Heart Records.

Matty Grace: Winter Trash

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It must be a nightmare for Matty Grace to schedule her releases. It feels like an understatement to call the Halifax punk artist prolific in 2022. The latest arrival, her 10th this year by my count, is a solo-billed EP dubbed Winter Trash; a three-song EP touted as "a reflection of a bleak headspace." The digital set, available at Bandcamp, is further described as "waiting for the sun to break through the clouds even though it never comes." Eek.

These songs feature Grace on guitar, bass, and vocals, with drums from Botfly's Dewayne Shanks and additional vocals by Becca Dalley of Designosaur and Book Buddies. It arrived in the wake of the recent EP from Cluttered, the quartet featuring both Grace and Dalley. They issued the Transgender Dystopia Blues EP in early October.

Union Thugs: Pils Session

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Working class Montreal folk-punkers the Union Thugs recently hooked up with the Gatineau scene-documentarians Pils Records to record a three-song set for the Pils Sessions. The performance, captured over two days in September, follows up on the band's 2020 covers collection Folklore Ouvrier and last year's "Travallier" single. Here, Union Thugs are vocalist Éric Sédition, lead guitarist Mathieu UT, Jennifer Bobette on accordion, SanSan on rhythm guitar, Mathieu Stakh on bass, and drummer Derek. I can't stress how integral that accordion is to the band's sound. The Eastern European-flavoured "Bella Ciao" also features Aalya in violin.

As expected, Pils principal Chany Pilote engineered the performance, with Dizz Hupé documenting the event. Union Thugs follow a parade of Quebec punk acts gracing the label's NOMANSLAND studio, including La Gachette, Peroxide, Unwanted Noise, Fractured, Dysruptive, Ad Vitam, and Collapsed, among others.

Phane vs Fractured: Split LP

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Speaking of Fractured, the speedy UK82-styled Montreal punk act recently appeared on a split LP with the likeminded Vancouver hardcore group Phane. You can now find six songs on digital channels now, distributed through the Czech label Phobia Records.

Phane issued a self-titled record on Phobia in 2021, followed by a remix/remaster of their 2017 LP 10 Charged Trax. Fractured recently appeared on the aforementioned Pils Sessions, both as the full band and later as their spooky deathrock offshoot Solitüde.

Stoby: Playing in Cement

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Ottawa four-piece Stoby returned earlier this month with a new seven-song collection dubbed Playing in Cement. The EP, which ranges in influence from 90s alternative to punky power-pop, arrived alongside a video for the single "Living in Automobiles." You can catch that on YouTube and pick up the entire set on Bandcamp now.

The new EP follows up on 2020's Shark Girl Shark Shark, featuring the lineup of vocalist Maryse Betournay, guitarist Kevin Schiemann, bassist/vocalist Rick Vaughan, and new drummer Devon Gouveia. In 2021 the band issued the single Pacemaker, presenting a pair of new songs in both English and French variants.

Beauts: "Cave"

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Atmospheric Halifax indie rock act Beauts have a new single out titled "Cave." It's the second atmospheric track to arrive in the wake of their 2020 LP Dalliance. In a press release, vocalist Jeff Lawton revealed:

"To some extent, everyone's been going through something recently. And so when putting lyrics to this song I wanted to say something encouraging to the people in my life. I was also thinking about how Michael Stipe writes lyrics, which can often be obscure in one moment and then suddenly earnest and direct. In my mind this song is about a composite character and scenario - flashes of different memories I have - but by the song's end I just wanted to say something simple and supportive."

The song follows "Paragon," issued in the summer through LMH Records. An accompanying video's also running on YouTube, set against vintage footage compiled by the band's Palmer Jamieson.

Beauts features Jeff Lawton, Darryl Smith, Palmer Jamieson, Joel Waddell and Erik Van Lunen. Backing vocalist Mel Stone joins them on this track, with Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes mixing.

Ace of Wands: "Desiring You"

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Toronto's Ace of Wands recently issued the compelling alt-rock single "Desiring You," their first collaboration with Fortune Stellar Records (By Divine Right, HotKid). The band's Lee Rose gave some background on the track:

"'Desiring You' was written while I was staying alone in a cabin in northern Ontario for 2 weeks. It was my first time taking a completely solo trip. Having no one for company but my dog and my instruments, I recorded the demo, staying up late into the night writing and re-writing the lyrics and harmonies, and playing the bridge riff over and over again until it felt like a second skin. I always know when a song is going to become bigger than me when I feel it in my body.

The song was inspired by a toxic relationship and the addictive and sometimes destructive nature of desiring what is not good for me. I was trying to put music to the feeling of being completely un-seen by the person I most desired being with. The song explores the tension, the anger and my ultimate refusal to be strung along."

The band worked with Ian Blurton on the recording. Ace of Wants finds Rose on guitar, violin, and synth-bass foot pedals, backed by guitarist Anna Mernieks and drummer Jody Brumell. Both Rose and Brumell play with Ron Hawkins as members of the Do Good Assassins.

TJ Felix: The Things an Injun's Gotta Do to Survive on Stolen Land

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It's been a busy month for Vancouver-based Secwépemc punk artist TJ Felix. October saw not only the arrival of a massive 18-song full-length (The Things an Injun's Gotta Do to Survive on Stolen Land) but also a pair of curious short-form releases. Mung (not to be confused with the Winnipeg Mung) is an impromptu three-piece featuring the experimental folk artist Juniper.Lee. They recorded a short EP dubbed Kinda Live before performing at a recent show celebrating the 8th anniversary of the Black Lab venue. On top of all that, Felix dipped their toe into outlaw country with the single "Previous Live (Last Stand of the Dive Bar Hoodrats)." You can pick everything up at Bandcamp.

It's been a rather prolific year for Felix, who formerly played under the name Industrial Priest Overcoats. They issued True Love is Impossible (For a Parasite Like Me) in August, preceded by Honest Injun in June. Between those collections (often carrying the weird-punk hallmarks of bands like the Urinals and Devo), this year also saw the debut of the hardcore group Nasdaq. Further, Felix continues to perform from time to time with the off-kilter punk act Bedwetters Anonymous.

The Black Halos: "Tenement Kids"

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Vancouver glam-punk survivors The Black Halos return this fall with How The Darkness Doubled, a new LP due November 25 through Stomp Records. The album features the lineup that debuted on 2021's Uncommonwealth EP, featuring vocalist Billy Hopeless reunited with guitarists Rich Jones and Jay Millette - now joined by bassist Josh Kerns (The Age Of Electric) and drummer Danni Action (Midnight Towers).

In a statement, Jones commented:

"Reuniting with Billy and Jay for this new album brought my focus back to writing with a mindset that was pure, uncompromising Halos - as far as I'm concerned we've really achieved it. Having our friends John and Danni on board makes this feel like the strongest lineup that we've ever had and you can really hear it on this record. Additionally, Billy and I had always planned to call the third album How The Darkness Doubled. So it seemed natural to use that title now, 20 years later, for what I consider to be a spiritual follow-up to The Violent Years."

Issued in 2001 on Sub Pop, the Jack Endino-produced The Violent Years earned the band something of a minor radio hit in Canada with the single "Some Things Never Fall." It was followed in 2005 by Alive Without Control, an album without Jones' participation (likely why the Television-referencing title stayed on the shelf).

Jones produced the new album alongside Dave Draper (The Wildhearts, The Professionals), with the band recording at various locations in Vancouver, Hamilton, and Brampton, Ontario. You can see a video for the lead single "Tenement Kids" on YouTube now, directed by Michael Crusty.

Uncommonwealth arrived in 2021 through Cursed Blessings Records. It served as the band's first collection of new music since 2008's We Are Not Alone. A couple of singles surfaced on Yeah Right in the years between), notably the ...Ain't No Good Time To Say Goodbye tribute to the late Mr. Chi Pig of SNFU.

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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