Sunday January 8, 2023

Imminent Destruction

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.

S.H.I.T.: Demo 2023

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto's irreproachable S.H.I.T. has a habit of launching new material to coincide with the holidays (regularly celebrated at their annual Shitmas concert - which returned this year at the city's Velvet Underground club). The long-running hardcore act celebrated this season with a new set of demos. Available now at Bandcamp, these include two acerbic originals ("Haunted" and "Imminent Destruction") coupled with a pair of classic covers. There you'll find the band's rendition of "Annihilation," the opening salvo from Dehumanization, the 1983 album by the Berkeley anarcho legends Crucifix. The set ends with S.H.I.T.'s version of "Never Surrender," a 1982 single by the English street punks Blitz. The band recorded in December of 2022 with Matt Tomasi engineering.

In May of last year, the group collected their pandemic-era "Hidden In Eternity" and "Eraser III" singles together on a 7", available in North America on Iron Lung Records and in Europe through La Vida Es En Mus. During the 2020 lockdowns, S.H.I.T. issued the Συναυλία στο ίδρυμα 2.14 tape for the latter label, capturing their March 4, 2020 performance in Athens for the Greek DIY collective Idryma 2.14. The band's most recent full-length was 2018's What Do You Stand For?.

Ichi-Bons: "The Dust of Life" / "Can't Stop Moanin'"

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In December, Toronto greasers the Ichi-Bons issued their second single, showcasing their vintage mix of rockabilly, surf, and garage through "The Dust of Life" and "Can't Stop Moanin'." The raucous pair arrived on a jukebox-ready 45 through Trophy Records, the short-run label operated out of Hamilton's Trophy Tattoo.

Ichi-Bons features guitarist/vocalist Mamo Banzai backed by bassist Hideki Saito and drummer Paddy Burn. You may recognize Saito as the manager of the city's 50s-themed Japanese rockabilly bar, the Black Dice Cafe. The new 7" follows up on the revivalist band's debut single, "Show Me the Ropes," issued in March of last year to coincide with the iconic Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend.

Béton Armé: "L'union fait la force"

Listen on YouTube

Montreal Oi! outfit Béton Armé has a new EP due this year through the French label Primator Crew and Brooklyn's Roachleg Records. Details are few at the moment, but the YouTube channel No Punks In K-Town shared a sneak peek of the album with the song "L'union fait la force." You can stream it now.

Béton Armé's following up on 2020's Au bord du gouffre EP. In 2021 the band paired with their fellow francophone street punks in Ultra Razzia to issue Demo 2018/Demo 2017, a split full-length collecting early tracks from each group that were previously only available on cassette.

Big Thyme: "Home Away From Home"

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Sam Coffey's Big Thyme returned this week with "Home Away From Home," the second single from the Iron Lungs principle's trad-country side gig. Here the frontman drapes his authentic vocal twang in reverb, giving the tune something of a lo-fi garage edge. It's a satisfying counterpoint to the honky tonk keys and Sam's gleefully throwback genre affectations. Coffey's joined on the recording by Altameda drummer Erik Grice and pedal steel player Morgan Husty, with backing vocals from Toronto glam-pop titan Nyssa. They're the same personnel from Big Thyme's namesake debut single, a group Coffee's now calling the Magic Big Thyme Band.

Sam's country-fried material lands in the wake of Sam Coffey and The Iron Lungs' epic Real One album. The rock outfits' third LP, it arrived through Dine Alone Records in 2021. If you want to catch "Home Away From Home" live, your next chance is at Toronto's Bar Orwell on January 14.

Trashed Ambulance: "Cyntax Error"

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Red Deer's Trashed Ambulance is back with a new stand-alone single. "Cyntax Error" is an ode to Thousand Islands Records co-runner Cynthia Charpentier (referred to by the band as "our Quebecois caretaker"). They comment:

"When a great friend/mom-ager turns 40, you have to make sure she feels the love. This song is an ode to Cynthia for always kicking ass and taking names while being the best gal East of the Saskatchewan River!"

Charpentier co-owns the Montreal skate-punk label with Bruno Beaulieu. In July of last year, they issued Trashed Ambulance's latest LP, Future Considerations. Like that entire album, this song captures the trio at Calgary's Echo Base Studio with Belvedere's Casey Lewis recording. Lewis lends his vocals to this track as well.

Trashed Ambulance features guitarist/vocalist Josh Hauta, bassist/vocalist Jason (Ozone) Ezeard, and drummer/vocalist Riley Bourne.

Mark Sultan: "Killing Time"

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Montreal garage legend Mark Sultan shared a new instrumental trifle to end the year. You can pick up "Killing Time" at Bandcamp now. The track arrived with little additional context, so the world still waits for word of a proper follow-up to 2018's Let Me Out.

Last year news broke that Mark's long-running collaboration with his former Spaceshits bandmate King Khan was poised to return. The King Khan & BBQ Show hasn't had a new record out since 2015's Bad News Boys, but in April, the doo-wop-styled "Going Down" surfaced from what will eventually be their fifth full-length. You can still find that lewd little number kicking around on YouTube.

Nat: "Middleman"

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Dead Soft vocalist/guitarist Nathaniel Epp recently announced a new solo project, with a full-length dubbed Psychopathesque Mixtape Vol. I due in the spring. "Middleman," the album's first single, presents Epp in a lush acoustic light and one far removed from the grungy power-pop band we're familiar with. That his vocals share some of the vulnerable qualities with (and bear more than a passing sonic resemblance to) the late, great Elliott Smith certainly helps.

Speaking to Under The Radar, Epp revealed:

"The core of 'Middleman' was written a few years ago during some dreary winter times. As I worked on it periodically I would add little pieces and sounds here and there until it slowly came to life. I find it interesting working on a song over a prolonged period of time. It seems to imbue deeper meaning into a song when it is approached from different perspectives and can come to reflect the experiences and lessons learned along the way."

Over the past year, Dead Soft (Epp with bassist/vocalist Keeley Rochon and drummer Alex Smith) shared a series of songs recorded from their home studio on BC's Gabriola Island. That batch of songs followed up on their 2020 EP Baby Blue, a reworking of material from their 2019 Arts & Crafts debut, Big Blue.

Maxstone: "Brink Of Collapse"

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Regina's hard rocking Maxstone roared into 2023 with "Brink of Collapse," a riffy new single that follows up on their 2017 LP The Wake. The track finds the quartet reunited with veteran thrash/metal engineer Justin Bender (Third Ion, Untimely Demise). It's the second recent preview of the group's forthcoming album we've heard recently, following their appearance on the Fall Sampler compilation from Assiniboia, Saskatchewan's Fixed Frequency label. The band kicked off that collection with the powerful "Miles of Burning."

Hobby: "Buck 75" +2

Watch on YouTube

Toronto's weird-Americana quartet Hobby is on a roll, following up on December's charming Dog Don't Mind EP with a batch of three new songs. You can preview "Buck 75," "Early Riser," and "Take a Hit" through a series of videos recorded from the floor of Dining Room Sound. You'll find the clips on YouTube, filmed by Eli Speigel and Shelby Wilson. There's no word yet where the studio versions of these tracks will end up.

Hobby features guitarists Stephen Pitman (Only God Forgives) and Cameron Fraser (Luge), with bassist Duncan Wardlaw and drummer Foster Medeiros. The recent slate of material follows up on the group's 2021 LP Weed and a split with the folk-punkers Westelaken.

Empty Nesters: "Going Bye"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Eric Liao's bedroom indie project Empty Nesters recently issued "Going Bye," an ethereal new single that drifts through dream pop and shoegaze elements. The tune finds Liao backed by drummer Matthew Galamaga, with Everett Bird mastering the home recording. The track arrived alongside a video shot in the popular mukbang style (for the uninitiated, that's a Korean-bred online video trend in which the host consumes food while interacting with the audience).

"Going Bye" follows a few recent digital singles from Empty Nesters, including 2021's "Dulls" and the holiday tune "Brokeboi Christmas." In 2020 the artist issued the Sweer II set as part of the online Demo Fest event and shared a moody collection of lockdown-era home recordings dubbed Homebody.

Chris Page: N.Y.E.P.

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Ottawa garage vet and Some Party regular Chris Page concluded 2022 with another entry in their Saturday night/Sunday morning singles series. The N.Y.E.P. likewise delivers two different versions of the same song, with the speedier "New Year's Eve On The Couch" paired with the downtempo (and lightly retitled) "New Year's Day On The Couch." The artist commented:

"Here are two versions of 'New Year's Eve On The Couch', good for both ringing in the new year and that slow descent into your couch with the realization that it is, in fact, Sunday morning, Jan 1, 2023.

The reflective lyrics hang in the air nicely this time of year referencing regrets, playing guitar, cleaning up and out, optimism, rock stars, fleeting time, cheesy movies and Shane MacGowan."

Both tracks are available at Bandcamp. This fruitful run of home-recorded singles follows Those Aren't Stars Above Your Head, an acoustic reworking of the self-titled 2016 Camp Radio album. That collection arrived last May.

With Leila Younis, Chris plays these days in the duo Expanda Fuzz. Before forming Camp Radio in the early 2000s, he played in the 90s-era Glengarry, Ontario pop-punk group The Stand GT.

Eamon McGrath: Seven (7) new full-lengths

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

We've followed prolific spurts of activity from several artists in recent years, with pandemic restrictions often serving as the common denominator for frustrated artists who were kept off the road and stuck in their home studios. Edmonton-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Eamon McGrath entered 2023 with perhaps one of the boldest expressions of that trend: issuing seven entirely new and conceptually distinct full-lengths on a single day. Each album tackles a different subgenre and pulls from a vast array of influences. Take, for example, the eight-song Liar's Paradise, described as "finding a continuum between Lucinda Williams, the Stooges, and R.E.M." Contrast that with Death & Taxes, which touts "a deep obsession with Sun Ra, Hawkwind, Richard Buckner, and Getatchew Mekurya's work with The Ex."

In total, the collection includes Ghosts of the 401, Fireworks & Roses, Liar's Paradise, *Trout River Conspiracy, March 22, 2022, In the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and Death & Taxes. McGrath recorded most of these albums in collaboration with July Talk drummer Danny Miles, with a notable exception of March 22, 2022. That set features a live-off-the-floor session from the artist's three-piece Electric Band, with Tavo Diez de Bonilla on bass and Connor Ellinger drumming.

There's so much to explore here that I've yet to scratch the surface of. This wealth of material arrives following McGrath's 2021 Saved By Vinyl LP, Bells of Hope.

The new albums saw an initial physical release through the artist's recently revived Cassettes Records imprint as a (now sold-out) CD set. A tour supporting the material's currently underway, with McGrath supporting Canadian Celtic punk veterans The Mahones. If you can't get to a show to snag any remaining physical copies, you can take the plunge and hear everything in full at Bandcamp.

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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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