Sunday March 5, 2023

Do Not Worry

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.

Vivat Virtute: Hold Music

Watch "Do Not Worry" on Vimeo - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Given the stubbornly narrow scope of this publication and my limited time for anything else, I'll be the first to concede I exist in a bubble within a bubble. My blinders notwithstanding, I'm still regularly baffled that certain news resonates less than others. I suppose it's thematically fitting, given that we're talking about the increasingly insular world of John K. Samson, but in my pantheon, there are few songwriters of greater impact. One suspects the artist, now billed as John Samson Fellows, is quite content eschewing the spotlight, but I remain perturbed by the relative media silence in our Weakerthans-starved nation.

Last month the beloved Winnipeg artist paired with partner Christine Fellows to issue an 18-song digital full-length. As Vivat Virtute, the pair shared a predominantly instrumental Hold Music on Bandcamp. Quirky and compelling despite the lack of vocals, the set hops through delicate home-recorded soundscapes - which, given the personnel and timing, very likely spun out from the sessions resulting in Christine's masterful November studio album Stuff We All Get.

John's instantly recognizable vocals make a sole appearance, taking the lead in the album-closing "Do Not Worry." That track, accompanied by a stop-motion animated video, brings in Weakerthans members Greg Smith on bass and Jason Tait on drums and guitar. Given how rare it is to hear these players back together, I'm happy to embarrass myself by making a big damn deal about it. Let's treasure these fleeting moments when they arise.

The album finds Christine in various instrumental roles, recording keys, synths, ukelele, percussion, and more. John plays guitar (electric, tenor, and acoustic) and the mandolin. The couple's longtime studio collaborator Cam Loeppky mixed and mastered the set (as he did SWAG last fall). You can pick up Hold Music now at Bandcamp.

Dilly Dally: "Morning Light" / "Colour of Joy"

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Toronto grunge/punk quartet Dilly Dally is calling it quits. The band confirmed their final show for May 27 at Lee's Palace, quickly expanding those plans to a second night when the first sold out. They shared:

"Thank you to anyone who's ever come to see us perform, the artists who've inspired us, and everyone in the extended DD family. It's time for us to move forward and continue our journeys separately.

We wanted to say goodbye on a positive note. That's why we are self-releasing two new songs today. Recorded close to home in Toronto, they came about naturally over the last year or so."

Those two tunes, "Morning Light" and "Colour of Joy," are now available to stream everywhere. The group recorded with Jesse Turnbull producing and mixing from Taurus Recording, with Dan Weston mastering. The songs are the band's first new material shared since their 2018 sophomore full-length Heaven (Dine Alone/Partisan). I still remember hearing "Green" and "Candy Mountain" for the first time and finding myself floored by Katie Monks' attitude-dripping vocal slur. The band surfaced with those songs on a 7" issued through Fat Possum in 2014.

Support for the first of the two May performances comes from Toronto punk quartet Bad Waitress and Josh Korody's solo effort Breeze (the latter's particularly fitting given the engineer's role on both Green and Dilly Dally's 2018 debut Sore). Details on the second and final Dilly Dally set on May 28 are forthcoming.

Hood Rats: Rockefeller Funeral

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With its lo-fi production and reckless approach, the brash new EP from Montreal's Hood Rats sounds like an unearthed gem from punk's early days. I can't get enough of it. The six-song Rockefeller Funeral comes hot on the heels of December's Drop In Burn Out EP. Pick it up now at Bandcamp with my highest recommendation.

Hoot Rats is a project by Montreal skateboarder Tony Salador (Tainted Youth, Road Bones). While earlier performances often found him anchoring the group as the joint drummer/singer, the modern incarnation of Hood Rats features Tony on guitar and vocals backed by bassist Andy McAdam (The Planet Smashers, Boids) and drummer Guillaume Tremblay (Durs Coeurs, Mode Alarme). The recent EPs follow up on the band's 2019 album 40oz Of Fury.

Noble Rot: "Casting No Light"

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Toronto veterans Alex Edkins' (METZ, Weird Nightmare) and Graham Walsh (Holy Fuck) have paired to form a new studio collaboration under the guise of Noble Rot. The act seeks unexplored territory in the intersection of the former's blown-out noise-punk and the latter's mastery of dancefloor thump - claiming inspiration from "film soundtracks, experimental noise, kosmiche muzik, ambient, psychedelia, and more." Their eight-song debut LP, Heavenly Bodies, Repetition, Control, lands March 24 through Joyful Noise.

You can preview the duo's sound now with the single "Casting No Light," available with a video from John Smith (Zoon, Ducks Ltd). The director's comments on the visuals appeared in Exclaim last week:

"As a long-standing admirer of synesthesia and its explorations by artists such as Kandinsky and experimental filmmakers such as Oskar Fischinger, Norman McLaren, and Walter Ruttman, I have been consistently inspired by the concept and its connection between sound and visual. For over two decades, I have been constantly exploring ways to express these connections, and upon first hearing the trance-like and multi-layered composition of 'Casting No Light', I saw a great opportunity to apply these concepts. With the assistance of Aaron Campbell - an interactive designer friend, we developed a system that translates every layer of sound into a corresponding visual component. Enjoying this experience with headphones will provide a much richer experience since you can better hear all of the nuances and textures in the song."

The track also features Colin Newman on guitar and synth, and Malka Spigel playing bass and synth.

The new album comes on the heels of Edkins' Sub Pop-released self-titled debut as Weird Nightmare and a handful of subsequent singles. Holy Fuck last issued the "Ninety Five" single in April of 2022, following their early 2020 LP Deleter. Notably, this is Edkins' second side project with the members of Holy Fuck, as he and Brian Borcherdt (along with the Constantines' Doug MacGregor) record from time to time as the supergroup LIDS.

Outtacontroller: "Less Is More"

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Halifax power-pop act Outtacontroller has a crunchy new single online, the first follow-up to last fall's barnstorming Come Alive full-length. That album remains in regular rotation on my end, so I relish any addition to the band's steadily growing catalogue of fuzz anthems. The track's also slated to appear on an upcoming 7" pressed by Madrid's Jarama 45RPM Recs, featuring another new single and two Come Alive cuts.

Outtacontroller features vocalist/guitarists Terry A'hearn and James O'Toole, bassist AJ Boutilier, and drummer Sean Parsons. Look for them on stage on March 25 at the 2 Crows Brewing Co. in Halifax, a free show with Shoulder Season and Crossed Wires.

TEKE::TEKE: "Garakuta"

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Montreal's TEKE::TEKE presents a post-modern take on eleki (60s Japanese surf rock) ratcheted to cinematic extremes with post-rock, shoegaze, and psych elements. The group turned many a head with their striking 2021 debut Shirushi, and they're bound to keep the cult growing with Hagata this summer. The band's new ten-song LP arrives June 9 through Kill Rock Stars, featuring songs recorded in Mountain Dale, NY, with producer Daniel Schlett (The War on Drugs, DIIV, CHAI, Nick Hakim).

In a press release, vocalist Maya Kuroki revealed:

"'Hagata' is a very deep word, something present but also something leftover from someone or something no longer there. It's like waking up from a dream, or being connected to the other side of something."

You can preview the set now through the bombastic lead single "Garakuta," named for a Japanese term describing goods no longer deemed useful. On it, Kuroki comments:

"Indeed, it's a sort of anthemic song for the rebellion of wastes... I imagined a world where everything we throw out came back to protest... And I'm not necessarily only thinking from an environmental perspective, it is rather an analogy for anything or anybody that is cast out of society because they are considered useless by the norm."

The song lands with an animated video directed by Kuroki and guitarist Sei Nakauchi Pelletier. TEKE::TEKE also features guitarist Hidetaka Yoneyama, bassist Mishka Stein, drummer Ian Lettre, flutist Yuki Isami, and trombone player Etienne Lebel.

Tunic: "Whispering"

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Winnipeg's acerbic Tunic recently unveiled their next full-length, a nine-song set dubbed Wrong Dream. It arrives April 28 through Artoffact Records, preceded by the new single "Whispering." Guitarist/vocalist David Schellenberg hyped the release in the band's recent newsletter:

"We worked really hard on this record, like the hardest we've ever worked on any record, tbh, I winged a lot of stuff before in the studio, like vocal takes, and guitar parts, tone etc etc not this time, and big reason for that is that our friend Drew Riekman of the band Blessed co-wrote these songs with us and helped make them a reality. This was right before Tomas joined the band and made us whole again.

We drove down to Pawtucket, Rhode Island (30 hours one way lol) to make this thing with Seth Manchester whose made records for folks like The Body, METZ, Big Brave, Lighting Bolt, etc. We tracked and mixed the whole thing in 6 days. It was a whirlwind. These songs are heavy, dissonant, and bleak, but sometimes bits of light shine through. It's a major development in songwriting for us and I can't wait for you to hear the whole thing. It's fuckin' 32 minutes long, our first EP was 4 songs and 7 minutes, we have one song on this new record that's just shy of 7 minutes. Anyways, I'll stop rambling."

The album follows up on the recent one-off single "Dull Ache" and the group's 2021 LP Quitter. The Blessed/Tunic fellowship first became apparent with a split single the bands toured behind back in 2018. Tunic's current lineup finds Schellenberg backed by bassist Tomas Ingham and drummer Dan Unger.

Mudie: Bad Vibrations

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Montreal mainstay Hugo Mudie has a playful new solo album dubbed Bad Vibrations. The ten-song set finds the Sainte Catherines frontman delivering a stylistically varied collection of slickly produced pop tunes with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humour (the song titles alone are rife with little winks and references).

The new set follows "Liquid T," a Terminator-themed left turn into metal recorded in collaboration with Adrian Popovich, and 2020's hockey-themed punk single "Kucherov." Last year also saw Mudie and collaborators from The Sainte Catharines resurrect their rootsy Yesterday's Ring side-project with the album Goodbye Nightlife.

Mudie issued his sophomore full-length Concerta Fantasio earlier in 2020.

Kali Horse: "Wigs"

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Toronto art-rock duo Kali Horse has a new single out dubbed "Wigs." The track arrived with a note warning:

"The daydreams of psychedelia were once a safe haven, but the reality of flaws and courage are something we are all faced with at some point."

The song landed alongside a video that again finds the band working with director Adam Stewart. It features footage shot on 16mm and then boiled in salt water (a vintage effect Stewart previously lent to singles from Preoccupations and Young Guv). The song finds the band's core duo of Sam Maloney and Desiree Das Gupta supported on percussion by Kyle McDonnell (drums) and Cassandra Ellen (tongue drum). Mr. Joy's Asher Gould-Murtagh mixed the song with Kristian Montano mastering.

"Wigs" follows the band's November single "In The Water," the band's first new material since 2020's "ANIMA." In their earlier form as Kaleidoscope Horse, the band last issued Slow, Slow in 2018.

Debt Cemetary: "Let's Murderlize 'Em!"

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Toronto skatepunk group Debt Cemetary recently shared the muscular single "Let's Murderlize 'Em!" through Thousand Islands Records. The track follows up on 2021's "Daved And Confused" and their early 2020 EP Dig It Yourself, again pairing the band with engineer Matt Gauthier.

Currently touring as a quartet, the group features Davey Knight (Gnarly Horse, Winning Streak), Eddie Knowlton (Fast Eddie), Bill Morton (Your Pal Bill, Reminder, Wordplay), and Nick MacDougall (Hotel Murder). Look for the group on stage in Montreal this Victoria Day weekend as part of Pouzza Fest.

Dead Alright: "Parasites"

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Speaking of Davey Knight, the Debt Cemetary vocalist also appears on the recent single from Drummondville's Dead Alright. That band, a solo project spearheaded by Louis-Charles Berthiaume (Never Hit Again/Brand New Lungs) is in the thick of a slow rollout of new material from a yet-to-be-announced album.

"Parasites," the latest of these singles, is described in a press release as:

"a fast and aggressive skatepunk take on the great state our elders left the planet for us, and how great we are doing as a species."

Keep an eye on Thousand Islands Records for word on that eventual LP.

Roach: "Bad GF (Demo)"

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Toronto indie/emo quartet Roach has another new demo online, and while "Bad GF" may be lacking in polish (they admit it's "horrendously mixed"), it provides a great insight into the evocative sound promised on the band's forthcoming album. It's the latest in a string of digital demos shared in the years since the group's 2020 single "R.I.P. Soft Serve." This one comes with an added charitable angle, as any sales of the track before the end of March benefit the CEE Centre for Young Black Professionals, a Toronto organization "dedicated to addressing economic and social barriers affecting black youth ages 14 and over."

Roach features vocalist/guitarist Violet DeRege Braga, drummer Carly Harris, guitarist Jackson Seaward, and bassist Tyler Twigger.

Grimelda: "Freedom" (ft. TELGATE)

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Sakatoon's eclectic Grimelda (the duo formerly known as The Faps) give their avant-punk sound a bare-knuckle spin with the aggressive "Freedom." The new single, a preview of the upcoming It's So Feeling When You Rock EP, features guest vocals from Casper James of the Welsh aggro-glam group TELGATE.

In a statement, Blair Colwell revealed:

"Angry, satirical, and celebratory of authentic people all at once... we're so lucky to have support from such a wide array of communities everywhere we go, and that's real 'Freedom''s about how crummy attitudes around gender hurts all of us, and our way of trying to show up for people who always show up for us."

As The Faps, Grimelda last issued their New Daft Punk EP in 2021 via Transistor 66. It followed an LP titled Grimelda from 2018. The project's a long-running collaboration between Blair Colwell and Skyler Cafferata.

Botfly: Live At Yeah Yeah's Pizza

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Haligonian post-hardcore group Botfly has a new live EP out through No Funeral Records. Live At Yeah Yeah's Pizza captures four songs from the band and, perhaps more importantly, inextricably ties their brand to that most East Coast of foods: pizza-joint garlic fingers (with donair sauce, of course). The recordings arrive in anticipation of Botfly's March tour dates in Ontario, many of which support Single Mothers and Chastity. Hit up their Instagram profile for the latest routing.

Botfly issued the Lower Than Love LP in 2021 through No Funeral, followed last year by a split 7" with Montreal skramz act dianacrawls. The band features guitarist/vocalists Keegan Goodspeed and Alex Babineau, bassist Sean Mcinnis, and drummer Dewayne Shanks.

Moore Ave: "Second Best"

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Aylmer, Ontario's pop-punk quartet Moore Ave (formerly the Moore Ave Underground) has a new single out dubbed "Second Best." It's our first insight into the band's forthcoming studio album, the result of sessions helmed by Alexisonfire's Wade MacNeil. The band recorded at Daniel Romano's Camera Varda studio in Welland, ON, with Ian Romano engineering and Kenneth Roy Meehan mixing. Kristian Montano mastered the track.

In a press release, Josh Gaudette commented:

"Joe and I wrote 'Second Best' while we were jamming during the first COVID lockdown. We were just riffing together one day, and the chords fell out in a jam and I started humming the melody and it came together really quickly and organically. For us, the track is about sticking up for yourself and raising the standard of the people you give your time to. As cliché as it may sound, I think that one's time is very valuable, and most people will get to a point in their life where free time is sparse, and you need to guard what time you do get."

The track arrived alongside a video directed by drummer Shawn MacDonald.

Moore Ave's record is due in the spring, so check back soon for further details. The band features vocalist Josh Gaudette, lead guitarist Joe Gaudette, bassist Jack Gaudette (all brothers), and drummer Shawn MacDonald.

Nat: "Someday (Maybe)"

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Dead Soft vocalist/guitarist Nathaniel Epp recently shared a second preview of his lush acoustic solo project Nat. You can hear "Someday (Maybe)" on Bandcamp or see it visualized in a suitably nocturnal video co-directed by Epp and Kyle Schick. The song's due as part of Psychopathesque Mixtape Vol. I, due in the spring.

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.

The Dreadnoughts: "Hej Sokoły (Żal za Ukraina)"

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Vancouver's mariner-themed Celtic-punk act The Dreadnoughts returns March 14 with a new digital-only album. The 10-song Green Willow promises "shanties, war songs, farming songs, and more!" You can preview the set with the band's hard-hitting rendition of "Hej Sokoły (Żal za Ukraina)," a popular Polish and Ukrainian folk song. You can also hear the group's rendition of the Irish nationalist ballad "The Foggy Dew."

The new album follows last summer's Roll and Go LP. A five-piece, Dreadnoughts features Nicholas Smyth on lead vocals, accordion, and guitar, Andrew Hay on bass, Kyle Taylor on piano and violin, Aled Jenkins on mandolin and bouzouki (a long-necked Greek lute), and drums from Marco Bieri.

Kingfisher: "The World Won't Fall Apart"

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Ottawa punks Kingfisher continue to roll out new material at an impressive clip. "The World Won't Fall Apart" lands as the band's latest single and our second preview of their next collection. The track finds the band in an emotionally raw yet resilient mood, as featured in a new video available on YouTube.

In 2022 Kingfisher issued three EPs of solid melodic skatepunk, indebted to 90s greats like Face To Face and No Use For a Name. That included their self-titled debut in January, Generation Zero in April, and Hidden Enemy in August. The band features vocalist/guitarist Brent Walker, vocalist/guitarist Joe Brownrigg, bassist Casey Conner, and drummer Dave Dorval.

Bonnie Trash: Hail, Hale!

Watch "Shades of You" on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Guelph drone-rock duo Bonnie Trash has a new EP in the wild titled Hail, Hale!, a three-song supplement to their fall LP, Malocchio. The songs appear on the deluxe CD edition of that album, newly available through the French dark wave label Unknown Pleasures. You can find the audio streaming everywhere now, with a new video for "Shades of You" running on YouTube. The song channels 80s goth classics and finds the band at perhaps their poppiest extreme. On the track, they commented:

"This song is about the bumps on your skin when you're scared and the jolt in your legs just before you fall asleep. Who or what is causing this? Something or someone is haunting you and it lingers. Never doubt the ghosts who follow you."

Malocchio, an album shrouded in Italian mysticism, landed in October through Hand Drawn Dracula. Bonnie Trash features guitarist Emmalia and drummer/vocalist Sarafina Bortolon-Vettor. The sisters recorded with Josh Korody co-producing at Candle Recording Studio in Toronto.

PACKS: "Brown Eyes"

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With the sophomore LP from Madeline Link's slack-rock quartet PACKS arriving in a few short weeks, the band's served up another preview of Crispy Crunchy Nothing. The brisk "Brown Eyes" bounces along atop squelching guitars, offering a counterpoint to the group's love of languid, lo-fi wanderings. Link commented:

"I had lots of fun writing this song because it's a simple rock song about falling in love disorientatingly hard and fast. Disorientationally? Disorientably? Love disorients me."

The 14-song album arrives March 31 through Royal Mountain and Fire Talk Records, following up on 2021's Take The Cake and the recent WOAH EP.

PACKS features Madeline Link backed by lead guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper.

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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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