Wednesday April 5, 2023

I Make the Same Mistakes

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.

Periodically I put this publication on hold for a week or two. It's an arbitrary gesture performed (I suppose) to assert my independence over the unhealthy sense of obligation I feel towards my otherwise consequence-free publishing schedule. I hardly use the time off for anything fruitful, primarily to play act that I'm a regular adult in my 40s, but I require a certain measure of deadline panic to get Some Party over the finish line. These mini-sabbaticals often pass without incident, but every once in a while, the universe opts to kick me in the shins for my hubris. Here I sit with an inordinate helping of screamingly relevant content clogging my neglected inbox, with a half dozen of those updates clear fits for the top slot. That pile not only includes new singles from newsletter staples like Wares, PRIORS, and the extended Booji Boys family, but an entire surprise B.A. Johnston LP.

Big week. Big tunes. Big penance for daring to let the world turn unattended.

B.A. Johnston: Argos Suck

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The CFL allegiance of B.A. Johnston was never in question, but the skid-troubadour makes it explicit on Argos Suck, a wholly new 18-song new LP available now. It's a relatively quick turn-around from last summer's Werewolves of London, Ontario, but one that's brimming with the artist's staples: a lovingly mocking string of references to low-brow Canadiana, a deep nostalgia for nerdy 80s shlock, and heartfelt blindsides of surprisingly earnest vulnerability. You can pick the album up on cassette, CD, or LP through Transistor 66.

Johnston recorded in February of 2022 in St. John's, Newfoundland, with The Burning Hell's Mathias Kom and Jake Nicoll co-producing. They rope in a raft of island talent on the project, including Kelly McMichael, Maria Peddle, Darren Browne, Mark Wilson, Mark Bragg, and Carole Emily Bee. The surprise album dropped with no less than three videos funded by B.A.'s devoted Patreon supporters: "Watching Heavy Metal Again" (starring Mikey Microwave of Imploders), the album-opening "George Thorogood was Right," and the Hamilton Farmer's Market-set "Knee Deep in Charcuterie."

In a statement to Exclaim, Johnston jokes that the quick album cycle was a financial necessity. All those months spent sheltering from the pandemic ran up quite a tab at his Mom's Stayner, Ontario Airbnb.

Wares: Graceless/Cloudless

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As March came to a close Cassia Hardy's Wares returned with a pair of new songs. "Graceless" and "Cloudless" land as the Edmonton indie rock act's first new material since their 2020 Mint Records debut Survival, evolving the band's pensive-yet-dynamic sound to triumphant new heights while demonstrating some increasingly sharp pop instincts (I instantly zoned in on the delicious little guitar solo in the latter track). The tunes arrive alongside a charming video for "Graceless," filmed by bassist Matthew Gooding and featuring Hardy's fumbling attempts at roller skating. Gooding recorded these songs from his home studio in late 2021 and early 2022, with Ryan Morey (Daniel Romano, Chad VanGaalen) mastering.

Wares features vocalist/guitarist Cassia J. Hardy backed by keyboardist Jamie Mclean, bassist Matthew Gooding, and drummer Holland Greaves. There's no word yet on the follow-up to Survival, but I suspect we'll learn more soon.

PRIORS: "Daffodil"

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Propulsive Montreal buzz-punks PRIORS return this year with a new LP and their first in tandem with Mothland. Daffodil lands as the group's fourth long player (and their seventh release overall), as always buoyed by Chance Hutchison's unmistakable razor-sharp vocals. The new album also looks to expand on their consistently incendiary palette: just check out that chunky acoustic guitar woven into the title track. In a statement, Chance revealed:

"'Daffodil' is one of those songs that happened very quickly. All the parts just kind of wrote themselves including the vocal ideas. In the studio we opened it up a little more with the Vox Jaguar and acoustic guitar and Max added that wild 'beach sound' ending with the birds which I really feel pulls it all together."

You'll find the tune captured in a new video directed by Studio Del Scorpio (FRVITS, NOBRO).

PRIORS features Chance Hutchison backed by drummer Drew Demers (The Famines), bassist Alan Hildebrandt (Tabarnak), and guitarists Maxime Desharnais (New Vogue) and Sebastien Godin (Sonic Avenues). These recordings also feature guest saxophone from Dave Forcier (The Steve Adamyk Band and Australia's CIVIC). Desharnais recorded the band at Marsonic on des Carrières in Montreal, with Harris Newman (Julie Doiron, Status/Non-Status) mastering. The eight-song LP arrives through Mothland on June 2.

The new album follows the band's 2020 EP NEWNEWNEW and PRIORS' 2021 LP My Punishment on Earth. It also arrives in the wake of a pair Hutchison's side projects. This past year saw the debut of both Private Lives (a quartet fronted by Jackie Blenkarn of the Pale Lips) and Perfect World (featuring TV Freaks members David O'Connor and Vivienne Bell).

Excited To Die: "Excited To Die"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The new Dartmouth hardcore act Excited To Die recently emerged from a few of my favourite East Coast artists. The band's self-titled debut makes a strong statement of intent, pairing their brash namesake single with a cover of State of Alert's 1981 track "Blackout" (that's Henry Rollins' first band, of course). The group paired those studio tracks at Bandcamp with three live recordings of varying levels of clarity (two of which were captured live at Dartmouth's Woodside Tavern).

Excited To Die's the latest from Gemstones collaborators KC Spidle and Cody Googoo. The former's best known for their part in the rootsy shoegazers Diamondtown and the beloved Haligonian gloom pop act Dog Day. The latter's discography has become so singularly massive it really needs its own newsletter (see: Booji Boys, Mutated Void, Heavenly Blue, et al.). They appear here on guitar and bass, respectively, joined by drummer James Macneil and Equimerton's Rod Meade Sperry on vocals. The band teases plenty more to come, so watch this space.

Brutal Youth: "Through The Teeth"

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We're fast approaching the long-awaited new album from the St. John's bred, Toronto-based melodic hardcore act Brutal Youth. Rebuilding Year, the band's first since 2016, arrives April 21 through Stomp Records with 14 new songs, including the newly unveiled "Through The Teeth." In a press release, vocalist Patty O'Lantern commented on the track, sharing:

"It's a pretty sour hate song honestly. To be truthful the entire first half of the record sort of feels that way. Sad, sour, aimlessly kind of wallowing in self pity. Melancholy, brooding, woe is me type stuff. This song stews for sure... This one was one of the first songs we had for the album, the idea was to try and have an album with more tempos instead of them all being spit in your face fast. Not that we don't love spit in your face fast music, but I think we've done that and this was to be a bit of a departure and some space for growth. The breakdown originally had no words and it felt a bit empty, I'm pretty chuffed with the end result."

The song, stepped in the influence of classics like Bad Religion and Down By Law, arrived alongside a video from director Michael Crusty (The Black Halos, Danko Jones). Brutal Youth recorded with Steve Rizun (The Flatliners, Choices Made) at Drive Studios in Toronto. Rebuilding Year's their fourth long player, following up on 2016's Sanguine.

The band features O'Lantern backed by drummer Dustin Campbell, bassist Kyle Hynes, and guitarist Greg Hounsel.

The Deposed: "Something Gone Wrong"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto's The Deposed bill themselves as a "pre-post-punk" act, firmly planting themselves on the earlier side of the Joy Division / New Order divide in an era when so many of their contemporaries crowd the latter. The band recently issued a two-song digital single, debuting the compellingly anachronistic "Something Gone Wrong" and "Takedown" at Bandcamp.

The group performs as a trio featuring guitarist/vocalist Paul Downes, guitarist/programmer/backing vocalist Paul Kelly, and bassist Dick Heck. Downes notes that his band The Precious Few nearly signed with a major label in 1984, information that's clearly lost to the pre-Internet dark ages. Kelly's early credits saw them play as a founding member of the Dunnville, Ontario punk trailblazers the Problem Children (they of "Beer For Breakfast" fame). The Deposed wryly downplays these bona fides, noting, "such early promise led to pretty much nothing, UNTIL NOW."

The band, who I'm pretty sure had past incarnations as both Sell Signal and the instrumental Flourine, recorded at Kelly's home studio and Toronto's Houndstooth rehearsal room.

Divorcer: Espionage

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Vancouver "wonky pop" group Divorcer are issuing their vinyl debut through Portland's Domestic Departure Records. The Espionage 7" features four tracks of playful indie rock delivered in that disarmingly straightforward Raincoats fashion, following up on the group's 2022 tape Nutty Grotto. You can hear it at Bandcamp now.

A four-piece, the collective Divorcer resume includes current and former dalliances in bands like Fake Fruit, Underpass, Tough Customer and Luvgoon.

Bratboy: "Cuff Love"

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Later this month, Vancouver punk trio Bratboy finally unleash their 10-song Bratworld LP. The set collects singles the band's teased out in digital venues since the fall of 2021. This album's indeed a long time coming, as the group recorded it in that blissfully innocent pre-pandemic winter of 2019. Jordan Koop (Dumb, The Courtneys, Apollo Ghosts) captured these songs live off the floor in late December of that year at the Gabriola Island studio, The Noise Floor.

The announcement arrived alongside a preview of the album-opening "Cuff Love." You can hear it at Bandcamp or see it in action on YouTube through a visualizer (featuring footage shot and edited by Sam Weir and Ellie Cameron-Smith).

Home to former members of the indie rock group Jo Passed, Bratboy are guitar/vocalist Bella Bébê, bassist/vocalist Megan Magdalena, and drummer Tony Dallas.

Tunic: "My Body, My Blood"

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We're also nearing the arrival of Wrong Dream, the new LP from Winnipeg's acerbic Tunic. The noise-punk outfit recently shared another preview of the nine-song set with "My Body, My Blood." The lumbering track (which the band notes is their longest) arrived alongside a haunting video by director Torin Langen, showcasing several unsettling sculpted clay masks in a vintage horror setting.

In a premiere feature at Invisible Oranges, guitarist/vocalist David Schellenberg revealed:

"This song is about mentally abusive relationships I was in, some romantic, some platonic. In one case I used to pretend I was asleep when this person came home so I didn't have to interact with them. I laid quietly in the dark to avoid them. In another I was verbally abused by a former business partner and it didn't matter that we were supposed to be equals. He talked down to me and broke my spirit. No matter who I was to him, I was on the bottom."

Wrong Dream lands April 28 through Artoffact Records, following up on Tunic's 2021 LP Quitter. The album features material co-written by Drew Riekman of the Abbotsford, BC post-punk outfit Blessed. Tunic's current lineup finds Schellenberg backed by bassist Tomas Ingham and drummer Dan Unger.

TJ Cabot: "S'Cool Days"/"Past Discrepancies"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

This week Moncton rabble-rouser TJ Cabot shared his first EP of the year, a two-song digital single anchored by a cover of Stanley Frank's 1976 nugget "S'Cool Days." I relish the opportunities this newsletter gives me to stumble into the forgotten corners of the country's early punk history, and this track certainly qualifies. Cabot backs his rendition with a rapid-fire original dubbed "Past Discrepancies." You can pick up both at Bandcamp. The artist self-produced the recordings from the basement of his Salisbury Road hideout, with Outtacontroller's James O'Toole mastering.

Cabot, otherwise known as Tyler Boutilier, plays with numerous Maritime punk exports like the Phone Jerks and Nerve Button. His 2022 output included the EPs Pissin Ammo, King Grove, and SD Action. The full-length vinyl debut from TJ Cabot & Thee Artificial Rejects arrived in December of 2020 through Germany's Alien Snatch.

The Speakeasy: "Breakfast Drugs"

Listen on YouTube

Montreal punks The Speakeasy slow it down on "Breakfast Drugs," an apologetic examination of heartbreak-fuelled substance abuse. It's a notably vulnerable swerve from the otherwise gruff rock band, reserving its power for shout-along choruses and a soulful guitar solo in the bridge.

The track follows the triumphant "Bright Side" single from earlier in the year, marking the group's post-pandemic return to action. Expect both songs on an LP due later this year through Thousand Islands Records. The forthcoming album follows up their two-part EP cycle, Tales From The Moonshiner, issued between 2018 and the fall of 2020.

For these new recordings, the five-piece reunited with producer Vincent Côté (L'Affaire Pélican, Bussieres).

Moore Ave: "Binge Drinking"

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On a similar note, Aylmer, Ontario pop-punk quartet Moore Ave recently addressed their struggles with the bottle through the single "Binge Drinking." It's the latest preview of their forthcoming album, which sees the band working in the studio with Alexisonfire's Wade MacNeil. The group 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.

You can preview the song alongside a video directed by drummer Shawn MacDonald. The band, formerly dubbed the Moore Ave Underground, also features vocalist Josh Gaudette, lead guitarist Joe Gaudette, bassist Jack Gaudette (all brothers, and not in the Ramones way). Moore Ave's new record is due in the spring.

Blonde Elvis: "The Gardener" + 2

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Jesse James Laderoute's Toronto glam-pop outlet Blonde Elvis is on a tear, issuing previously unheard recordings every few weeks this past month. As of this mailing, you can hear "The Gardener," "My Suit," and "Union Boy" streaming at Bandcamp, with each song swerving a bit stylistically from the last. On "The Gardener," Laderoute commented, "[I] was going for early Costello produced by Eno and got maybe halfway there." Meanwhile, the freshly arrived "Union Boy" feels like Brit Pop crossed with The Damned.

These archival recordings feature contributions from Mike Mernieks-Duffield, Patrick James McCormack, Jordan Belowos, and Kristina Koski. While details are few, these outtakes are due for at least two future collections, one of "blown out post-punk" and another of "weird failed pop experiments." You can decide what fits where.

Kingfisher: "A Punk Rock Provocation"

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Ottawa punks Kingfisher recently issued "A Punk Rock Provocation," a single describing "the aftermath of meeting Joe's musical hero, only to feel (metaphorically) slapped in the face." It's the latest preview of the group's upcoming collection, which likely also includes the recently shared "The World Won't Fall Apart" and "Praying for More Pain." You can hear it at Bandcamp or see it performed in a claustrophobic new video 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 run includes their self-titled debut, Generation Zero, and Hidden Enemy. The band features vocalist/guitarist Brent Walker, vocalist/guitarist Joe Brownrigg, bassist Casey Conner, and drummer Dave Dorval.

Lammping: "Better Know Better"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Toronto psych-rock troupe Lammping recently shared "Better Know Better," a chilled-out stand-alone single recorded during the sessions for their forthcoming album. The band takes the new work in stride, commenting, "this joint started with a riff and ended up wherever this is...probably not gonna be on the album, but it's a cool ditty, so why not put it out." The smooth track's paired with an instrumental remix at Bandcamp.

Lammping issued the Stars We Lost LP in March of 2022 through We Are Busy Bodies. That album featured singer/songwriter Mikhail Galkin, Badge Époque Ensemble drummer Jay Anderson, Matt Aldred on guitar, and Scott Hannigan on bass.

Fast Eddie: Lost & Found EP

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Solo acoustic punk act Fast Eddie recently issued their sophomore LP. Lost & Found clocks in with four new recordings, including a cover of Green Day's Warning-era tune "Waiting." The set also features a guest appearance from Italian artist Gab De La Vega.

Otherwise known as Eddie Knowlton, Fast Eddie's recently performed as a member of the Toronto skatepunk group Debt Cemetary. His bandmates Davey Knight and Bill Morton lend a hand here on production. The new EP follows up on 2019's Dive In and a handful of subsequent singles, all of which you can pick up on Bandcamp.

The Mendozaz: "Dapper Man"

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Quirky Toronto pop-punk act The Mendozaz return to the road this spring, and they're celebrating by revisiting their 2021 Cartridge Heart full-length Up and At Them. The band recently debuted a video for the song "Dapper Man" from that collection, directed by Jason Romilly. On the project, guitarist/vocalist Jonny Mendoza commented:

"At its core, 'Dapper Man' is a song about mistaken identity. For the video we wanted to explore the different ways people interpret identity. We recruited female-presenting musicians, models and actors and asked them to show up dressed as their version of a 'Dapper Man'. Then we asked some male-presenting performers to dress as their version of a 'Lovely Lady'. We ended up with a pretty eclectic bunch."

The resulting clip features a scene billed as "what could be the cast of a John Waters film engaged in a high-stakes underground poker showdown." You can check it out on YouTube. The band recorded "Dapper Man" with John Dinsmore (PUP, Talk Show Host) at Lincoln County Social Club.

The Mendozaz are on the road in Ontario in April and May as they gear up for a May 20 appearance at Montreal's Pouzza Fest.

Matt Post Band: 3 Songs

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Matt Post's esoteric solo outlet the Matt Post Band has a new three-song EP out. Simply titled 3 Songs, the brisk set follows last fall's Up Up Up Left Down Down Down Left Up Up Up Left Right and finds the artist again dabbling in lo-fi, electronic-tinged bedroom rock. You can find the set at Bandcamp.

Post recently issued a new full-length with the Toronto trio Super Kill Me Now, an eight-song set named The Day My Butt Went Psycho. That project finds Post on bass and vocals, joined by ex-WLMRT drummer Alex Wood and guitarist Luke Trotta.

Golden Shitters: Golden Shitters

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

All-star Hamilton trash punk trio Golden Shitters have their debut album on deck for a summer launch. The 12-song self-titled arrives June 30. While you can preview four songs from the set at Bandcamp now, you'll find they all previously appeared on the band's similarly titled EP from last fall.

Billed as "moronic three-piece punk rock from the City of Doom," Golden Shitters brings together Anxious Pleasers' Matt Ellis (also known from Flesh Rag, PlasticHeads, and The Vapids), Dark Trip's Dave Tyson (a proud member of Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs), and The Dirty Nil's resident starchild Kyle Fisher. Matt and Dave trade off vocals, guitar, and bass with Fisher drumming.

The group has a handful of shows on deck for the spring, with their live debut scheduled for April 14 at the Hamilton record store It's Alright Ma. They'll follow that with a week of Ontario tour dates supporting Irish punk legends The Outcasts in May.

Julianna Riolino: "If I Knew Now"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Alt-country singer-songwriter Julianna Riolino recently shared a new video for "If I Knew Now" from her last fall's You've Changed Records LP All Blue. Laura-Lynn Petrick (Matthew "Doc" Dunn, Anemone, Kiwi Jr.) directed the clip, which you can find on YouTube.

All Blue followed up Riolino's 2019 EP J.R. and landed in October of 2022 as her first solo full-length. As a prominent member of Daniel Romano's band The Outfit, she stepped into the lead vocal spotlight on 2021's Cobra Poems, affirming that role on the psychedelic rock opera La Luna. Look for JR on tour this May and June, first supporting The Sadies on their US tour, then opening for Arizona singer Kassi Valazza.

Blue Oil: Blue Oil

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Victoria-based archival heroes Supreme Echo have a reissue on the way from Blue Oil, celebrated by the label as Quebec's first all-women punk group. Due May 26, the self-titled Blue Oil LP collects a dozen songs alongside an extensive bilingual booklet featuring the band's history, photos, gig posters, and more. The label comments:

"Formed in 1978, Blue Oil played relentlessly through Quebec's early '80s scene with their dynamic brand of punk, new wave, and post-punk. 12 songs from 1981-83, including their hit single 'Money,' meticulously remastered."

You can hear "Money" and three additional songs at Bandcamp now, where you'll also find some lovely photos of the vinyl package and accompanying book. Supreme Echo does this sort of thing better than anyone, and the nation's underground music narrative is richer for it. Someone in power should give them the Order of Canada. Hell, give 'em two.

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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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