Wednesday January 18, 2023

Falling Forward

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.

Pillea: "Falling Forward"

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Micah Brown's issued the first new recording from his Pillea project since relocating from Montreal to Toronto. The melancholic "Falling Forward" arrives as the first follow-up to the band's 2021 debut Swell, expanding that on that album's classicly-minded emo roots with brief bursts of shoegaze noise. On the track, the artist revealed:

"The song comes from a place of trying to be comfortable with acknowledging when you fall into familiar patterns. I started to realize how many of my traits and habits I inherited from other people, some tendencies I liked and others I didn't. In 'Falling Forward,' I try to acknowledge that even if I want to change some of these tendencies, others have ultimately made benefitted me. It's about trying to confront the ways you've been reactionary, and acknowledging when that may or may not have served me."

Brown recorded the song in his new home studio and Matt Tomasi's Concrete Smile in Toronto's east end. Harris Newman mastered in Montreal at Grey Market Mastering. This looks to be the first reveal of a half-dozen new demos, so look for those as the year progresses.

Pillea's accomplished eight-song Swell arrived in May 2021 from Tennessee's Sun Eater Records. Before that milestone we perhaps knew him best as a frequent engineering credit on Some Party-showcased bands like BBQT and Conditioner. As a musician, he previously fronted the St. John's group MAANS, toured as a guitarist with Fog Lake, and most recently played bass with the melodic hardcore combo Instep.

Teleporters: Undone in Otherspace

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I'm pretty sure sci-fi punks Teleporters hail from Sudbury, but it's probably better for their carefully constructed shtick that their origins remain shrouded in mystery. In December, the high-concept group issued Undone in Otherspace, a nine-song album featuring a slate of classic punk songs with pulp adventure trappings and a peppering of psychedelia. On paper, that may imply a strong Misfits lineage -- but the band's embrace of cool surf licks and their vocalist's oft-frantic, warbling delivery make a stronger case for the Dead Kennedys.

The band sold out of their initial run of records and tapes, and it's easy to see why. Rarely do you see a debut project so meticulously designed. Undone in Otherspace comes wrapped in absolutely eye-catching artwork, perfectly replicating the distressed look of a thoroughly thrashed 50s sci-fi novel. The album arrived both as a cassette (in a wonderfully vintage clamshell reminiscent of a VHS rental) and as a limited lathe cut LP. Like many of the lathes I've featured here, this is a small batch crafted by Robyn Raymond at Red Spade Records. Your only play, at this point, is to snag the audio from Bandcamp - but here's hoping that changes. The album arrived through DevilHouse Publishing, quite likely a label the band made up, but one that fits their pulp style perfectly.

In November of 2022, Teleporters shared a video for the single "Forgetterman." Directed by Chien Moyen of Bad Taste Cinema, it plays out like a fever dream of some low-budget X-Files knockoff. You can find it on YouTube.

Cell Deth: Demo

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It's been too long since we've heard from our friends at Sewercide Records, but the purveyors of only the scuzziest Maritime rackets came roaring back with the new demo from Cell Deth. The six-song collection's available in a one-time cassette run of 100 copies, showcasing the latest from Charlottetown's surprisingly fruitful punk and hardcore scene. You can hear the complete set digitally or pick up a tape at Bandcamp - either way, you'll be spoiled with nearly four entire minutes of breakneck, lo-fi chaos.

The group features Antibodies members Brett Sanderson and Ryan Kirkpatrick paired with Matt and Story Sheidow. The latter pair earlier played as the powerviolence duo Uncle, and Matt's known as a member of the defunct PEI hardcore favourites Acousma.

Cell Deth is the second contemporary project from Story Sheidow we've discussed recently. In December, we finally heard the debut EP from Coy, her indie rock/pop-punk trio. That band recorded their Bury Me EP in 2019, only to see it temporarily swallowed in the early-pandemic black hole.

Antibodies last issued their plainly named LP 2021 in (you guessed it) 2021.

Apollo Ghosts: "Gave Up The Dream"

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Vancouver veterans Apollo Ghosts have a new single out in concert with a newly announced slate of European tour dates. "Gave Up The Dream" is a gorgeous track, delivered with a lush mix by The New Pornographers' John Collins and mastered by Josh Stevenson. The song arrives in the wake of Pink Tiger, the band's comeback double LP issued last spring through You've Changed Records.

Apollo Ghosts performs as a four-piece, with vocalist/guitarist/pianist Adrian Teacher backed by guitarist Amanda P, bassist Robbie N, and drummer Dustin B. The recent album arrived following 2019's slow-burning instrumental Living Memory and marked the Ghosts' first proper outing as a full band since 2012's Landmark.

The group's trip overseas kicks off on March 14, with two weeks of shows booked in France and the UK (the latter alongside Leeds' Living Body).

The New Pornographers: "Really Really Light"

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Speaking of The New Pornographers, the Vancouver indie-pop titans announced their ninth full-length last week. Continue as a Guest arrives March 31 through Merge Records, the long-running band's first outing with the storied label. In a press release, the band commented:

"While working on the album, the idea of continuing as a guest felt very apropos to the times. Feeling out of place in culture, in society, being in a band that has been around for so long—not feeling like a part of any zeitgeist, but happy to be separate and living your simple life, your long fade-out. Living in a secluded place in an isolated time, it felt like a positive form of acceptance: find your own little nowhere, find some space to fall apart, continue as a guest."

The 10-song set, produced by A.C. Newman, kicks off with the single "Really Really Light." The track's an evolution of material scrapped from the Brill Bruisers sessions, and as such carries a co-writing credit for sometimes-member Dan Bejar (2014-era Dan Bejar, to be precise). You can find it visualized on YouTube in a playful video from director Christian Cerezo.

This album finds most of the band's entire modern lineup returning, with Newman again joined by John Collins, Neko Case, Todd Fancey, Kathryn Calder, and Joe Seiders in various capacities. The record adds Zach Djanikian to the core group in several roles (notably saxophone), with Paul Rigby appearing on pedal steel. The new album follows up on 2019's In the Morse Code of Brake Lights and an extensive tour celebrating the concurrent anniversaries of 2005's Twin Cinema and the band's 2000 debut Mass Romantic.

Heraclitus Akimbo meets Psychic Surfer: Sons of Stargoon EP

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Members of Toronto's "spontaneous kosmische" band Stargoon recently issued an immersive four-song EP through Bandcamp. The Stargoon rhythm section of bassist Matthew Fava and drummer Luca Capone anchor the groovy instrumental set. The pair's performed in recent times under the name Psychic Surfer. Joe Strutt joins them on an array of synths and pedals, crafting a satisfyingly distinct yet lovingly krautrock-adjacent sound. Strutt should be instantly familiar to followers of the Toronto underground as chief "citizen archivist" of the long-running Mechanical Forest Sound blog. He's also built a decades-deep catalogue of lo-fi ambient sounds as Heraclitus Akimbo. Strutt's toybox on these recordings includes a Bastl Kastle 1.5 modular synthesizer, an EWI (electronic wind instrument), a Concertmate-500 keyboard, and an Empress ZOIA pedal/synth hybrid. The trio recorded in December of last year at Toronto's 918 Bathurst.

You can see a video for "We're ghosts now, it's true" on YouTube. It's particularly recommended if you've never experienced a sensory overload from glitch-footage of hundreds of tiny squid.

The group notes that they've specifically attributed the project to Heraclitus Akimbo meets Psychic Surfer rather than Stargoon-proper due to "internal by-laws" and "guild rules." Canonical Stargoon releases, like 2019's Second Array and SKY RANCH: The World Beyond The World, oft-feature Jakob Rehlinger - no stranger to this publication as the producer behind the King Pong dub project and bands like Void Fill.

Fucked Up: "I Think I Might Be Weird"

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Toronto hardcore titans Fucked Up recently shared a third preview of their fast-approaching One Day LP, debuting the hooky "I Think I Might Be Weird" with a video directed by (and starring) none other than Maxwell McCabe-Lokos. I spend more time on Discogs than IMDB, so in that spirit, this newsletter celebrates him not as a thespian but instead as the mighty Age of Danger from Toronto garage legends The Deadly Snakes!

The new visuals line up with Max's appearance on Damian Abraham's Turned Out a Punk podcast, where the pair discuss the Snakes' legacy and reveal all sorts of fascinating details on an era of the Toronto punk scene that's woefully under-documented. The show hypes their conversation thusly:

"How does one retire from music? Damian sits down with one-time Deadly Snake, Max McCabe-Lokos to find out just that. Listen in as one of the greatest front-people Toronto ever produced talks about punk, why Toronto sucks/rules and knowing it was time to walk away... forever? From the classic Classics Studios, to the world changing legacy of 5 Arlington, to the legendary Dan Burke, to the endless beefs of The Deadly Snakes: THIS IS NOT TO BE MISSED!"

You can hear Turned Out a Punk wherever you get your podcasts, with links to every possible listening vector available at Audioboom. The "I Think I Might Be Weird" video also again finds the band working with Colin Medley, who serves as a producer and editor. Abraham and Mike Haliechuk split the new album's lyrical duties down the middle. This track, in particular, is one of Haliechuk's.

The ten-track One Day arrives on January 27 through Merge, capping a fruitful few years of activity in the wake of 2018's Dose Your Dreams. Recently, the band shared the sludgy Oberon EP, the massive Year of the Horse Zodiac single, and a series of reissues celebrating the anniversary of David Comes to Life.

Pami and Jake: End Daze

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In the past year, we've heard quite a bit from the multi-faceted Jake Nicoll, primarily as an increasingly vital member of PEI's The Burning Hell. In the studio, Nicholl's made waves recently as producer of Kelly McMichael's Polaris shortlisted LP Waves LP. On a smaller scale, last summer saw the launch of his studio-in-a-camper, The Phonoautomat, which debuted at Sackville's annual Sappyfest.

Jake's latest solo outing is a far more intimate affair: a split album with his partner Pam Mackenzie. Pami and Jake's End Daze features four indie folk tunes credited to Pami, three to Jake, and an album closer billed to the pair. The duo recorded to a four-track cassette in St. John's Battery neighbourhood. You can hear the results now at Bandcamp, with tapes due soon.

Confusionaires: "I Have Been A Cowboy"

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Edmonton's high-energy, rockabilly-rooted Confusionaires are readying their third full-length for the spring. You can preview the 12-song Westernization with the rollicking first single, "I Have Been A Cowboy." streaming now at Bandcamp. As someone who got into Canadian independent music via a teenage obsession with the similarly-whip-fast cowfolk of Calgary's Huevos Rancheros, I'm all in on this.

Confusionaires features guitarist/vocalist Fat Dave Johnston, Jayson Aschenmeier on upright bass and vocals, and drummer Adam Stark. The new album's self-produced, with Stark engineering at Edmontone Studio. Lorrie Matheson mixed at Arch Audio with Clay Francis mastering. The new album follows up on the band's lockdown-era Jerk Reaction series. Their sophomore full-length From The Headache To The Heartache arrived in 2020.

Strange Attractor: "I Always Get What I Want"

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By now, you should be wearing out the grooves on the LP from Strange Attractor. If you're slacking, though, let the new video for "I Always Get What I Want" serve as a 47-second slap in the face. Jeff Houle's Sudbury-based solo project endures as one of the country's best-loved garage-punk exports, and the newly released Good Boy Bad Boy gives you 18 reasons why in just short of 20 minutes.

The new record's a joint release between Montreal's Celluloid Lunch Records, the UK's Drunken Sailor, and Mexico's Discos de Muerte. It's the first we've heard from the band since 2014's Barely Doin' Crime EP and the preceding year's Back To The Cruel World album.

In recent years Jeff's performed with his bother Mitch Houle in the Sudbury power trio Tommy and the Commies. I, of course, can't mention them without tacking on a reminder that they were 2/3s of the P.Trash power-pop legends Statues.

Audio Visceral: Sleeping Off Me

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Based out of the rural Ontario town of Vankleek Hill, the snotty punk three-piece Audio Visceral is back with a new EP. The four-track Sleeping Off Me arrives on cassette through Tarantula Tapes with a digital release on Cursed Blessings. The set lands as their fourth short-form effort, following up on 2020's Gnu Two Ewe EP. The trio recorded with none other than Jim Bryson at Fixed Hinge.

Audio Visceral features guitarist/vocalist Steve Beauchesne, bassist Kevin James, and drummer Gary Doherty. Beauchesne's best-known outside music circles as the co-founder and CEO of the Beau's brewery (I remember him kicking around in the band Constable Brennan way back in the 90s). James played in both the early-90s Toronto trio Bender and served in one of the many incarnations of The Almighty Trigger Happy. Gary Doherty similarly served time in Trigger Happy, and has roots in the Thunder Bay punk/metal act Headcramp.

Miss Emvy: Miss Emvy's Invisible Friends

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I missed it in the fall, but Toronto-born, Fredericton-based Miss Emvy has her first full-length of original material out titled Miss Emvy's Invisible Fiends. Among them, you'll find Ian Bennett of Halifax psych-pop group Shadow Folk and Roxy + The Underground Soul Sound), saxophonist Dan Bull, and vocalist Scout (Emvy's co-conspirator in the punk covers act Kitten Spitt). You can pick up the entire 10-song set at Bandcamp, a collection described as "spooky DIY graveyard rock."

If you're on the east coast, you'll likely recognize Miss Emvy from her tiny (in a physical sense, not in impact) punk zine Post-Cheese and the associated Post-Cheese Radio program on Fredericton campus station CHSR.

Dead Alright: "Smoke & Mirrors" ft. Miguel Sarazin

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Montreal skate punk act Dead Alright recently surfaced as the solo project of Brand New Lungs' Louis-Charles Berthiaume. The new band debuted with the single "Smoke & Mirrors," showcased in an Alex Bergeron-directed lyric video (with a period-appropriate fixation on 90s video games).

The new single should play well with fans of high-energy EpiFat-era titans like Millencolin or A Wilhelm Scream. The track also reunites Berthiaume with Miguel Sarazin, his old bandmate from Never Hit Again. "Smoke & Mirrors" arrives as the first of a series of songs Berthiaume intends to roll out this year, and while there's no album confirmed yet, I'd keep an eye on Thousand Islands Records for news.

Brand New Lungs last issued Like Wildfire in 2019. They followed it up recently with the single "Stand Alone" but have warned that their next collection may still be ways off.

Leonids: Everybody Knew

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Four-piece Toronto rock band Leonids have a new full-length in the wild dubbed Everybody Knew, a solid 11-song set that finds them playing confidently in the tradition of beloved power-pop acts like Sloan. The band started recording in late 2019, following up on their then-recent EP Panel of Experts, only to stall out with the onset of the pandemic. The now-complete project captures the band at Left Side Studios, where they self-produced.

Leonids features guitarists Angelo Colussi and Jeremy Kay, backed by drummer Jordan Bruce and bassist Brent Hough (everyone gets a keyboard and vocal credit this time around). Everybody Knew lands as the band's first long player since 2016's Your Reign Is Over.

Sunnyside Uppers: "Who You Are (Live at the Art Warehouse)"

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Ryan Brown's Saint John power-pop project Sunnyside Uppers kicked off a series of live recordings last year, only for the effort to crash up against Bandcamp's newly tightened rules regarding cover songs. So while we wait for Teagan and/or Sara to grant him a license, a small portion of the Official Bootleg Series Vol 2 is now available to stream. You can now check out the gloomy "Who You Are," recorded live at the Art Warehouse in Saint John on May 21 of last year. The performance wraps with a few candid and amusing stories on the song's background and history.

"Who You Are" originates from last May's Ruminations EP. The first volume in the Bootleg Series landed in January of 2022.

B.A. Johnston: "Don't Smoke No Government Weed (Buying from Steve)"

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On his recent LP, Hamilton skid troubadour B.A. Johnston took a stand on the aftermath of legalization. The centrepiece from Werewolves of London, Ontario now finally has a spectacular visual accompaniment to match its auditory impact. The video for "Don't Smoke No Government Weed (Buying from Steve)" is now available on YouTube, directed by Stephan MacLeod and starring Neil Cavalier as the titular dealer. The song, at times over the top even by Johnston's standards, finds the artist performing over a beat by Marty Topps.

The 19-song Werewolves arrived in June of 2022 through Transistor 66. The album, produced by Mathias Kom of the above-mentioned Burning Hell, followed up on 2019's The Skid Is Hot Tonight.

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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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