Saturday November 5, 2022

One Day

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.

Fucked Up: "One Day"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

It's an observation critics have beat to death, but each Fucked Up album feels like it could be the last. While I suspect group's started to enjoy the mythmaking uncertainty, it's the inevitable result of years of publicly-aired tension between the artistic visions of Mike Haliechuk and Damian Abraham. 2018's Dose Your Dreams indeed tilted towards Haliechuk's ambitions, fearlessly embracing non-hardcore genres while relying on a host of guest vocalists. In isolation, it was easy to point to that sprawling work as evidence of the band's looming entropy - or at the very least, a terminal thorn in Abraham's paw.

Recent events seem to prove the opposite. While it wasn't his baby, Abraham's presence remained firm on the Year of the Horse Zodiac single. The same is true of this year's sludgy Oberon EP. And while I'm sure there were financial benefits, I'm choosing to view the multi-pronged, year-long celebration of the landmark David Comes to Life as a further sign of unity. An unhappy band teetering on a knife's edge wouldn't remain so prolific.

...nor would they have bothered to record One Day, a new full-length due January 27 through Merge. With just ten songs and no collaboration outside of the band's core, it's hard not to see this as a "back to basics" record. From a lyrical standpoint, Haliechuk and Abraham split the writing down the middle, with each responsible for five tracks (of the 18-song Dose, by contrast, Abraham wrote none). The vocalist commented candidly:

"It almost felt like it might be the last time I'd ever get to record vocals for anything. What do I want to say to friends who aren't here anymore? What do I want to say to myself? There was a lot of inner reflection going on, and after retreating into the fantasy world with Year of the Horse, this record is like we're returning to real life."

You're not alone if you hear echoes of 2014's similarly grounded Glass Boys in that description. Of course, this being Fucked Up, there's always room for a high concept somewhere. This album seeks to answer the question, "What do you think you would do, or be able to accomplish, if you were just given one day?"

The band recorded in late 2019 and early 2020, with each player tracking their parts separately in Toronto (save ex-pat drummer Jonah Falco, who recorded from the UK). Abraham sings on all songs save one, helmed by Haliechuk. Mike plays all guitar on the recordings, joined, as always, on bass by the unflappable Sandy Miranda. While he didn't play on this particular record, Josh Zucker remains a part of the group and plays to this day in their live lineup.

You can hear the title track everywhere or see it visualized in a video by the band's frequent visual collaborator Colin Medley.

Telepathic Love: The Greatest Challenge

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Ross Miller's solo punk outlet Telepathic Love came roaring back this week with a lively four-song EP dubbed The Greatest Challenge. The set again finds the Hamilton-based artist working with Vince Soliveri, who serves as producer, drummer, and second guitarist on the recordings. A handful of past collaborators take part this time out, notably past-and-future Ancient Shapes member Justis Krar (Krar once played with Miller in the almost indescribably exuberant duo SIDEMAN). The new set also features backing vocals from Single Mothers' Riley Simpson and Welland scene veteran Nick Giammarco.

Telepathic Love last issued a cassette in December of 2021 dubbed One Thousand Flowers. This project follows several guises Miller used to share his evolving brand of posi-hardcore songs over the years ("Blue" and "When I Move" among them). Following his high-profile stint playing bass for Dirty Nil, the artist's remained busy dubbing tapes for a growing roster of Ontario bands through his label Weepy Eye.

Class of 91: "Pull Me Back Around"

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Ottawa rockers Class of 91 have a new EP on deck for the fall. The 8-song Lost Stories promises a guitar-forward mix of punk, indie rock, and (as the name implies) early 90s alternative in the Bob Mould tradition. This set's their second following their 2020 debut Eyes on Fire.

Class of 91 features vocalist/guitarist Ian Ferguson, guitarist Brock Sarault, bassist Fred Pantalone Jr, and drummer Steve Clifford. The quartet recorded in Clifford's home studio, with Ferguson serving as producer. You can preview the EP with the single "Pull Me Back Around," which arrived last week alongside a lyric video. The band shared that the track "chronicles its protagonist's struggle with anxiety and self-imposed sense of shame and failure."

Keep an eye out for a record release show at Ottawa's House of TARG on Thursday, December 8.

The Holdouts: 325

Preview on YouTube

The Holdouts hail from my neck of the woods, and while their new EP 325 demonstrates a confident leap in the band's melodic hardcore sound, it arrives on a sad note. The quartet announced early in September that bassist Derrick Gordon had passed away, a loss still reverberating through the Niagara punk scene. You can now hear the EP at your preferred streaming platform, bolstered by solid singles like "Black Widow in the Zen Garden.". Rick Lafrate's attitude-forward vocal style goes a long way here, impressively grabbing the baton from late-90s genre favourites like Kid Dynamite.

The band recorded the 5-song set with Dead Tired guitarist Marco Bressette producing from his Hamilton-based Deadquarters studio. The record lands as The Holdouts' third short-player, following their 2020 debut Cause and Effect and last year's For Reasons Unknown. Look for 325 on vinyl through Cursed Blessings Records.

Hieronymus Harry: "Radiant Planet"

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Harrison Forman recently issued the second and final pre-release single from his curiously whimsical solo debut as Hieronymus Harry. You can stream country-flavoured "Radiant Planet" at Bandcamp now, the second of ten tracks unveiled from The River of Doom, arriving November 11. The artist, better known as a member of Toronto psych-pop act Mr. Joy, revealed:

"It's about finding that bright, comfortable space within yourself where others can come and meet you. We meander in and out, but finding contentment with its absence can be the quickest way back in."

Forman co-produced the new album with Toronto psych mainstay Patrick Lefler (ROY/Possum). Jeff McMurrich (U.S. Girls, Jennifer Castle) mastered the set. The record features backing vocals from Sophia Ruby Katz (Shirley Hurt) and strings from cellist Eliza Niemi.

Mr. Joy issued their Yes! Yes! Yes! EP early in 2021. Later that fall, they teamed up with Matthew "Doc" Dunn of The Cosmic Range on a set of songs jointly billed as Dr. Joy.

Rough Cuts: Last Call

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This week the Toronto Oi! bruisers Rough Cuts issued their final release. The appropriately titled Last Call collects five new songs recorded after the group's April farewell performances supporting Bishops Green and The Prowlers. Mike Gibbons produced the new set, recorded with Byron Pickles at The Farmhouse in TO.

The EP follows the band's 2021 split with the 80s-era Sunderland veterans Red Alert. Titled Double Aye/Eh Side, that EP arrived on vinyl through Cursed Blessings Records. Rough Cuts issued their debut LP Nobody's Fool in 2020 through Insurgence and Contra Records. The group featured Mike on vocals, Zack and James on guitar, Scott on bass, and Andrew drumming.

American Lips: Waste of Crime

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Montreal post-punk act American Lips returned last week with a new maxi-single dubbed Waste of Crime. It's the trio's first new material since their 2017 LP Kiss The Void, also billed as the first of several pending sets of new material. The EP features the title track and "Labor of Hate," alongside an extended dub version of the latter titled "Labour of Dub." In a press release, the band pondered, "ever wondered what it would sound like if The Art Of Noise produced a Plastic Bertrand record?"

Popovich unpacked that notion:

"I spent a good chunk of 1988 listening to the Colors OST and the 'Kiss' cassingle by The Art Of Noise and Tom Jones. This older kid Rob on my street who was into punk rock said 'the Colors soundtrack is pretty cool but that Art Of Noise song is garbage!' As a nine-year-old, I'd yet to be called out on my questionable musical tastes. Rob made me a mixtape with songs by The Ramones, Misfits, Motorhead, The Buzzcocks and a bunch of other essentials. I'd never heard any punk music before and the impact it had on me was huge. Fast forward to 2022, when Sebastien unilaterally decided to add Fairlight sample horn arrangements to two new American Lips songs, the simultaneous feelings of glorious discovery and deep shame I felt in 1988 came flooding back."

American Lips features bassist/vocalist Jessica Bruzzese, drummer Sebastien Grainger (Death From Above 1979, and guitarist/vocalist Adrian Popovich (FRVITS, Tricky Woo). The set arrives from Grainger and Popovich's label Ancient Fashion Records.

Tarantula Tapes: Tracknaphobia Vol. 2

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Barrie, Ontario's prolific cassette label Tarantula Tapes recently celebrated their second anniversary with a mammoth Halloween show at The Queens Hotel in their hometown. The event coincided with the arrival of the second volume of their Tracknaphobia compilation series. They mused about the scene they've helped shepherd in the liner notes:

"What does 'community' mean to an underground artist? Everything.

Musicians, fans, artists, designers, photographers, writers, creators, listeners, promoters, planners, interviewers, podcasters, videographers, recorders, mixers and masterers, organizers. Those who show up and those who take a minute. Those who share and those who spread the word. Those who create a place and those who need one to exist in.

This is how we build a community, a scene, for us all to thrive in. Thank you to everyone who has made their scene a better place and kept it alive. Thank you to all our friends, near and far, for helping us keep this label going and showing us just how awesome our underground community can be."

You can now grab the digital audio or one of the remaining cassettes at Bandcamp (but move quickly on the latter, there are few left). The collection features songs from Wasted Potential, The Black Void, Future Girls (and that band's principal Matty Grace), Heavy Petter, Scott Murray, Dave Rocket And The Jobbers, Viola Swamp, AAWKS, Boring Girls, Gutser, The Holdouts, Bad Buzz, The Follow Ups, Fang Binite, and Dead Cosmetics.

Cots: "Moonlit Building"

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Montreal singer-songwriter Steph Yates has an ominous new single out under her solo moniker Cots. You can check out the sombre "Moonlit Building" through a new video directed by Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor of the Guelph drone-rockers Bonnie Trash.

This track finds Yates collaborating closely with Olivier Fairfield (FET.NAT, H. de Heutz, Album). He serves as a co-writer, performer, and producer on the recording. In a press release, Yates commented on the pairing:

"I have long admired Olivier's rhythmic sensibility and his knack for moodiness in production, and felt he might be a good match for this set of songs. Working in-studio together was collaborative and experimental: trying things out, trading off instruments, seeing what stuck."

"Moonlit Building" serves as the title track to an upcoming five-song EP, due January 25 through Boiled Records. Cots last issued the Sandro Perri-produced Disturbing Body in 2021.

Spirit Desire: No One Makes Me Laugh as Hard as You

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After a few last-minute delays, Toronto alt/emo/indie combo Spirit Desire's finally issued their long-awaited sophomore full-length. No One Makes Me Laugh as Hard as You arrives after two and a half years of prep, featuring ten songs that cover an impressive range of styles, moods, and energy levels. You can now find the audio from digital providers, with vinyl not likely to show until mid-to-late 2023 (supply chains fucked as they are). You may have better luck with cassettes and CD-Rs, which ship in December of this year through Maraming Records.

Spirit Desire features Sam Grace on vocals, Kai Lumbang on drums and vocals, Michelle Ferrer on guitar, Ken Wilson on bass, and Jon Iñaki on the omnichord. The band recorded their new material in a few sessions, working with Dean Snowball at Dexter's Blab before the pandemic and later convening with Em Damaschin at the Lincoln County Social Club in 2021. The new record follows up on 2017's Adrian.

Bad Waitress: "Racket Stimulator"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp - Watch on YouTube

Toronto punk quartet Bad Waitress recently issued their second single of the year, following April's "Spit It Out." The tightly-wound "Racket Stimulator" is the latest salvo fired in the wake of the band's 2021 LP No Taste. While "Spit It Out" was a b-side from earlier sessions, this track finds the band recording anew, working in the studio with Tallies' Stephen Pitman at Dining Room Sound. The tune arrived alongside a gleefully unrestrained video from director Danny Alexander.

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

Dot Cardigan: Assorted Sounds

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Holland Greaves of Edmonton's Wares recently debuted Assorted Sounds, a five-song EP of lo-fi new wave-influenced sounds issued as Dot Cardigan. The oft-dark set finds Greaves on guitar, drums, and vocals, with Keanan S.A. playing bass and engineering. Wares principle Cassia J. Hardy also makes an appearance, performing keyboards on the track "Perfect Seam" (she's also drumming in the live incarnation of the project). You can find the set now at Bandcamp.

Wares last issued Survival in early 2020 through Mint Records.

Asile: Pils Session

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This summer, the long-running Ottawa punk trio Asile reconvened to take part in the Pils Sessions, putting some of their first material to tape since 2014's Les Enfants Bâtards D'un Pays Maudit. The francophone hardcore act recorded four songs from Pils' NOMANSLAND studio in Gatineau this past June, with Chany Pilote engineering the performance, with Dizz Hupé documenting. Asile features guitarist/vocalist Patrick, bassist Scott, and drummer Joel.

While the Pils Sessions typically explore the Quebec punk scene, a few groups from neighbouring Ottawa have hopped the border to participate in the prolific series. Gruff Capital rockers Ciggie & The Darts and peace punks Dogma were among the first. Recent sessions have featured the likes of Union Thugs, La Gachette, Peroxide, Unwanted Noise, and Fractured.

Meanlife: "Not Today" / "Don't Be Shy"

Watch "Not Today" on YouTube - Watch "Don't Be Shy" on YouTube

Jackson Fishauf's eclectic songwriting project Meanlife recently shared two new singles, both of which preview a forthcoming record titled Up From The Dead. You can see videos for the sly and mature "Not Today," and the slow-burning "Don't Be Shy" on YouTube. The Toronto-based artist describes the latter as "a cautionary tale for the introverts." Keep an eye out for the album on January 1.

The new tunes follow April's Hard 2 Read EP and last year's "Smile in the Night" single. The new record, when it arrives, will be Fishauf's first collection since 2019's Bad Vibes in the Womb.

20 Eyes: "All Hallows' Eve"

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Charlottetown punks 20 Eyes celebrated Halloween by thoroughly embracing their Misfits fandom. While the spooky season's now behind us, their new single "All Hallows' Eve" still walks among us at Bandcamp. It arrives a year out from "Cold Love" and "You Are a Plague," songs similarly shared to coincide with last year's holiday.

20 Eyes features guitarist/vocalist Matthew Ford, bassist/vocalist Ryan Van Winkle, and drummer Jackson Boulter. The horror punk act issued the Human Enough EP in 2021.

Dumb: "Civic Duty"

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Vancouver slack-punks Dumb recently shared the final preview of their upcoming LP Pray 4 Tomorrow. The band noted, "don't let the melody fool you — what sounds like a summer pop ditty is a mediation on state-sanctioned violence." There's a line in the song that states, "These boys from out of town keep missing all the best things 'bout this place," which they reveal is a reference to the RCMP practice stationing recent graduates in remote communities.

The new record's a massive 18-song collection traversing several genres (2-tone ska among them, to my eternal delight). It lands on November 4 through Mint Records. Dumb features guitarist/vocalist Franco Rossino backed by drummer Pipe Morelli, guitarist Nick Short, and bassist Shelby Vredik. The group self-recorded at Choms, a studio co-owned by Short and Rossino.

The new record follows up on 2019's Club Nites, their sophomore LP for Mint. Between that record and this, they also partnered with labelmates Tough Age Pizza Punks - a split 7" issued in a celebration of Cole Pauls' comic of the same name.

Chris Page: "Running Down A Drain"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

You know me, I'm a sucker for Ottawa's Chris Page. Once again, the scene vet shared a new home-recorded single for Bandcamp Friday, a song presented in two contrasting interpretations. You can hear "Running Down A Drain" in both "Saturday Night" and "Sunday Morning" guises - that is to say, both as a propulsive electrified rocker and a gentler acoustic ballad. Page commented:

"Earlier this summer I was reminded of that songwriter's trick when I picked up an old instrument I don't normally play to see what might float out of the sleepy wood. Almost instantly, this thing emerged.

It introduced itself as a song about a drain (and some other stuff I'm still trying to wrap my head around). Usually when a song is presenting itself, I don't like to question and I just roll with it, capturing what I can, before the moment's gone. I equate it to a 4 year old chasing butterflies through the backyard with a toy net."

In addition to this run of split-personality singles, Page recently issued Those Aren't Stars Above Your Head, an acoustic reworking of Camp Radio's 2006 self-titled LP. That collection arrived in May.

With Leila Younis, Chris plays these days in the duo Expanda Fuzz. Before forming Camp Radio in the early 2000s (with bassist David Draves and drummer Scott Estee Terry), he played in the 90s-era Glengarry, Ontario pop-punk group The Stand GT.

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