Saturday May 13, 2023

Human Body Human Brain

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.

Spider Bite: "Human Body Human Brain"

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Spider Bite emerged early in the pandemic, providing one of the dozen-or-so full-lengths in Daniel Romano's breathlessly restless home recording run. Stuck in isolation during the worst of the crisis, Danny proved impossibly prolific - outproducing everyone at a time when artists had little to do but sit at home and mine their hard drives for Bandcamp Friday fodder. The brash Spider Bite stood out among its siblings. On vocals, we found a gleefully unrestrained Steven Lambke, setting aside his weathered poetry and the assumed stoicism of his elder status to rekindle the spit-and-sneer of his punk rock youth. The Constantines, of course, had their loud moments, as did Baby Eagle during the Bone Soldiers/Dog Weather era, but nobody mistook either for street punk (...and I heard about it every time I shoehorned them into Spider Bite's insolent fire comes from something even earlier.

Danny's steadfast brother Ian rounds out the trio on drums. While the Romanos spent their youth in the Welland pop-punk unit Attack In Black and more recently rekindled that swagger in Ancient Shapes, Ian boasts the gnarliest modern punk notch in his belt: during the Machine Response years he sat behind the kit for Toronto hardcore kingpins Career Suicide. All that backstory, and what I suspect is a fair helping of childhood nostalgia for Rancid (and the like), spilled onto the lockdown Internet in May of 2020 as the 10-song self-titled Spider Bite LP.

The emergency may have faded, but the world still sucks, so this summer sees the group revived. Spider Bite returns June 16 with their second LP, a 10-song set dubbed The Rainbow And The Dove. The band's press release comments:

"But still. Time passes. More wars. More storms. More ruin caused by greed. Spider Bite reconvened in the spring of 2022, recording The Rainbow and The Dove, an album that assembles the wisdom teachings of punk elders into a passionate rejection of settler-colonialism, environmental racism, and the general exploitation of the world by monarchs and resource extraction companies. Every moment is historical. Spider Bite celebrate a continuity of protest and refusal, and the communal joy of loud energy. Animated by a surprising humor and immense instrumental power, Spider Bite create a vibrant portrait of living in violent times."

The lead single, "Human Body Human Brain," is streaming now at the usual places. If I've not made it painfully obvious, this is peak Some Party content in every way possible.

Ian mixed the new record, with Daniel Husayn mastering at the North London Bomb Factory. The vinyl pressing on Daniel and Steven's You've Changed Records label includes the audio from their 2020 debut, 20 tracks in total. The group's also offering a limited version that comes packaged with a 42-page risographed zine, showcasing handwritten lyrics by Steve and 20 original drawings by Danny.

Steven Lambke last issued Volcano Volcano in April of 2022. He's on the road now in Europe supporting The Burning Hell. Daniel Romano's main band, The Outfit, last released the psychedelic rock opera La Luna. They're out on the East Coast next week with Julianna Riolino, then kick off a June tour of the US and Canada with The Dirty Nil.

Night Court: "Out of Control"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Vancouver trio Night Court turned heads last year with their two-volume Nervous Birds! album, a collection of lo-fi rock songs with one foot in breezy power pop and the other firmly rooted in punk. The trio delivered a sound that felt almost mercifully uncomplicated, a throwback to some vibrant idealized past. I'm not even sure which specific period I'm alluding to (90s Lookout Records? Peak-indie rock Mint? Beats me), but after the stifling malaise of recent years, Night Court feels like an open window.

The band returns June 9 with Humans!, their sixteen-song third album. Despite that count and befitting the band's jittery essence, the record only clocks in at 27 minutes. Look for it in the US through Snappy Little Numbers and here at home through Debt Offensive. You can preview the set with the single "Out Of Control," with drummer Emilor Jayne stepping up on lead vocals. The rest of the band joins in on the chorus, shouting, "We don't need to be reminded of being absent-minded," like a mission statement.

Night Court features bassist/vocalist Jiffy Marx (of the BC new wavers Autogramm), guitarist Dave Patterson (Jiffy Marker, Blood Meridian), and drummer Emilor Jane (Synchromantics, Pet Blessings). The group recorded at Magic Hour, a ramshackle studio the band assembled in Jiffy's garage.

Pretty Matty: "Harder 2 Smile"

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Toronto power-pop group Pretty Matty recently unveiled their sophomore full-length. The band has their eleven-song Heavenly Sweetheart lined up for cassette release through South Carolina's Self Aware Records. Look for it on June 14. The news arrived alongside the charming jangle pop single "Harder 2 Smile." In a press release, project lead Matty Morand revealed:

"When I initially wrote this song I was trying to do a quiet, melodic Elliott Smith sort of thing but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks I guess. I think that still pokes through in the guitars It's about having a bad feeling about someone who eventually proves you right."

The new album's the next chapter in Matty Morand and Sam Bielanski's wonderfully reciprocal recording cycle, coming right on the heels of PONY's new album Velveteen. With Bielanski in the captain's chair, that album arrives next week (May 19) through Take This To Heart Records. Heavenly Sweetheart swaps Morand to lead vocals, guitar, and synth, with Bielanski moving to bass and harmonies. Christian Beale (This is Hell, Iron Chic) supports on guitar with Josh Cassidy (Trout) drumming. The group recorded with Psychic Void's Josh Kaiser (apart from the Brooklyn-based Beale, who tracked his parts remotely).

The new album also collects the recent digital singles "Weird Year" and "See You Around." Pretty Matty issued their self-titled LP in 2019 through Get Better Records.


Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Brian Taylor and Rick White's side-gig OLD returned with an 18-song self-titled LP last week. Like the duo's debut in February, it recklessly blasts through a collection of throwback hardcore, bookended by a pair of songs that directly grapple with the notion of aging out of the punk scene. You can find the set at the TOHC83 Bandcamp page, the digital home of Ontario punk artifacts like the T.O. Hardcore 83 tape and classic records from Chronic Submission and Youth Youth Youth.

Brian Taylor, best known these days from the Toronto record store Rotate This, appears here on lead vocals and bass. Rick White, who hardly needs an introduction given his past with the legendary Eric's Trip, performs guitar and drums. The duo wrote and recorded these tracks last December.

The set follows a flurry of recent activity from White, who issued the psych-rocking Where It's Fine solo LP in 2021 through Blue Fog Recordings, among a slate of vinyl reissues from Elevator/Elevator to Hell and Eric's Trip. Last year he issued the Rick White plays The Sadies covers LP in tribute to the late Dallas Good.

PRIORS: "Optimizer"

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Montreal punks PRIORS recently shared the album opener from their forthcoming Mothland debut. Daffodil kicks off with the groovy, cynical "Optimizer," an intriguingly restrained track given the band's usual penchant for high-strung speed. In a statement, vocalist Chance Hutchinson addressed the contrast:

"'Optimizer' is a direct stab at post-punk because I wasn't really impressed with a lot of the stuff I was hearing. We always dipped our toes in post-punk, but I felt it was necessary to dive in on this one. I hadn't written a song around a bass line since 'Brew HA HA' from the last record and once I had the groove, it was really easy to see where it should go."

PRIORS features Hutchison backed by drummer Drew Demers (The Famines), bassist Alan Hildebrandt (Tabarnak), and guitarists Maxime Desharnais (New Vogue) and Sebastien Godin (Sonic Avenues). The new record also features 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.

Nora Kelly Band: "Lay Down Girl"

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Nora Kelly's eponymous alt-country act takes a major leap forward this summer, with Mint Records signed on to issue the quartet's debut full-length. You can now preview Rodeo Clown through the earworm lead single "Lay Down Girl." On the track, which arrived alongside a video from director Gabie Che, Kelly commented:

"The lyrics to this song were direct advice that I was giving to myself, to stop being a 'Lay Down Girl.' To stop staying put, acting sweet and putting everyone else first. Other people's approval had been my priority for so long that over time my connection to what I liked and what I wanted had become weak. The lyrics are advice to this former self, with a chorus that chants, 'I've been a fool... I'm going back to school, but this time my education's gonna be 'bout myself."

A press release unpacks the impact of pandemic isolation on Kelly's worldview, including the realization that her prior artistic circles offered little support in times of trouble. While giving rise to this new musical direction, that realization also led to the end of her buzzed-about Montreal trio Dishpit:

"It was painful to realize but ultimately caused me to make changes in my life, including walking away from my post-punk project DISHPIT and toward my dream to play in a country band. 'Lay Down Girl' will always be a catalyst song for the Nora Kelly Band, because in its lyrics I'm giving myself the advice to start the band before the band even existed."

The single features Kelly on vocals and guitar, backed by Ethan Soil (Fleece/DISHPIT) on drums, Vader Ryderwood (Treasure Eyes) on bass, Rachel Silverstein on keys, Dylan Keating on pedal steel, and Eric "Creature" Campbell on banjo. Kelly and Soil co-produced their new work, with Pietro Amato (The Luyas/Belle Orchestre) mixing.

Dishpit's Steve Albini-recorded debut landed in 2021 after several years of delay. The Nora Kelly Band last issued the Perfect Pig EP in the summer of 2022.

Hysterics: Hormones

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The Newmarket garage punks of Hysterics recently unveiled Hormones, a hard-driving six-song EP available on cassette through the mighty Tarantula Tapes. The band commented, "the emotions on this EP are raw as fuck," and that's no understatement, as the songs often directly grapple with issues of trauma and sexual politics. You can hear it now at Bandcamp.

Hysterics features Laura DeRocchis on guitar and vocals, Michelle Cooney on bass and backing vocals, and Michael "Capo" Capobianco drumming. The band recorded at Nik Nak Studios with Laura producing and Graham Shaw mixing.

La Sécurité: "Serpent"

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La Sécurité lay down one hell of a groove on "Serpent," the latest preview of their upcoming Mothland LP Stay Safe!. In a press release, the Montreal art-punk act comments:

"This song calls out gossip and drama that occur in friend groups. The person it is directed towards loves dancing. It's a pretty dancey song. We hope they dance to it."

The band shared the track alongside a suitably frenetic homemade video. On it, guitarist Laurence Anne Charest-Gagné shared:

"It all started with a glitch on the videotape. Images from the animated film Sonic intertwined with footage of us performing 'Serpent' live. Then, the idea was to create a synchronicity between the sound and different performances captured during SXSW in Texas. An enthralling short film. Guaranteed fun."

The group recorded with Samuel Gemme engineering at Gamma Recording Studio (Corridor, Anemone). La Sécurité features Éliane Viens-Synnott on lead vocals and synth, Félix Bélisle on bass, Kenny Smith on drums, Laurence-Anne on guitar and synth, and Melissa Di Menna on the same (current and former members of Choses Sauvages, Laurence-Anne, Jesuslesfilles, Silver Dapple, DATES, and Pressure Pin). Bélisle and Gemme co-produced the album, which arrives June 16.

Citizen Rage: "Walls"

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Calgarian hardcore act Citizen Rage recently shared another preview of their upcoming LP Harsh Reality. You can find the thrashy "Walls" on YouTube in a new video by Site B Productions. The band revealed that the aggressive track addresses "chronic pain and the mental and physical hells of having to deal with it day in and day out." The new album's out this month through Cursed Blessings Records.

Citizen Rage recorded with Jamie Kovalsky at Calgary's Prohibitor Studios, with Real Sickies' Rob Lawless mixing and mastering at The Physics Lab. The band hits the road next week for a Western Canadian tour alongside No More Moments. They'll follow it with a hometown matinee release party at Modern Love on Sunday, May 28, supported by Iron Tusk, Prohibitor, and Mixed Blame.

Dark Recollection: "Death Angel"

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BC punk label Neon Taste offers something of a left turn with the new cassingle from Dark Recollection, a synth-driven goth project spearheaded by multidisciplinary Vancouver artist Anju Singh. "Death Angel" presents a moody analog stomp the label describes as "an exploration into the complexity of morals and the fluidity of good and evil." The track features Singh on vocals and performing with a Roland JX-3P. Graham Chistrofferson joins them on an ARP Odyssey and a classic 808 drum machine. The duo recorded with Jesse Gander (Wares, Woolworm). You can hear the track or pick up one of the limited tapes at Bandcamp.

The Bloody Hell: "Hide Away"

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Halifax horror-punk bruisers The Bloody Hell have a new video in the wild celebrating "Hide Away," a highlight of their recent sophomore full-length, Nobody Cares. The clip, edited by vocalist/guitarist Ian Kean, assembles performance footage shot by the band this past winter. On the clip, he reveals:

"The main challenge with doing the video ourselves was making it not look like it was just four guys in their jam space. We didn't have much of a budget for this project but with some cool camera techniques and fancy editing, it achieved that goal quite nicely. The video is dark, personal, and moves quickly, which is a great visual representation of the song itself. DIY or die."

The Bloody Hell recorded much of their new material at Dartmouth's New Scotland Yard Studio in the summer of 2020. Nobody Cares follows up on the band's 2018 self-titled debut and includes among its nine tracks a high-octane cover of The Modernettes' classic "Barbra." The Bloody Hell features Ian Kean backed by guitarist/pianist James Densley (of the Trailer Park Boys offshoot Bubbles and The Shit Rockers), drummer Kyle Cantfell (Elektric Mistress), and bassist Joe Woods (Root Cellar).

Innes Wilson's Freightliner: II

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Guelph singer-songwriter Innes Wilson recently shared the second volume of songs from his Freightliner trio. The band's five-song II EP presents a slick and accomplished slate of country rock, arriving a year following their 2022 debut. While the earlier set repurposed material from Wilson's extensive solo career, II finds the group collaborating on entirely new material from their pandemic-era home studio.

Innes Wilson's Freightliner features its namesake on lead vocals, tenor guitar, and organ, backed by R.P. McMurphy on guitar, lap steel and bass, with Joshua Osmond drumming. The band tracked this set at Guelph's Brick Loft between September 2021 and February 2022. Andy Magoffin mixed and mastered at The House of Miracles.

Hellbent: "Not Enough Bees" + 2

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Breakneck Hamilton hardcore group Hellbent recently shared a new video capturing three songs from their recent album Primitive Hits. In a press release, the group commented on that unusual approach:

"When your whole record is only 11 minutes long and you want to make a music video, what do you do? Write longer songs? Spend money on production for a 17 second song? We did neither. In fact, we spent the exact amount that Spotify pays us per year - $3.78.

First we dressed up like bees because we have a song about bees and messed up traffic on a busy street, and then we forgot that we did that and made a rap rock looking thing on a bench. Two blunts later, we still had a camera and got excited and shot a super chaotic video for Slow Songs with an umbrella and a hammer."

The clip, available on YouTube, celebrates "Not Enough Bees," "Benchman," and "Slow Songs," three of the eight tracks from the group's April-released album. Former Cancer Bats guitarist Scott Middleton produced the set, which followed up on Hellbent's 2019 EP Dead Off The Floor.

The Dirty Nil: "Celebration"

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Dundas power-trio The Dirty Nil recently shared the second preview of Free Rein to Passions, their upcoming 10-song LP. It lands on May 26 on Dine Alone Records. When they announced the album, guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham promised a hedonistic outing (as if the Nil needed less restraint), and the heavy album opener "Celebration" certainly delivers on that. The press release cites the chugging metal riffs of the track as an ode to Power Trip's late frontman Riley Gale. Bentham comments:

"This is our purest love song, unconditional and without mercy. Tell me what you want in the whole wide world. I'll do it."

The accompanying "Celebration" video again finds the group collaborating with director Mitch Barnes.

The Dirty Nil recorded Free Rein to Passions with producer John Goodmanson at Jukasa Media, a rural studio in Ohsweken, Ontario, located within the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve. The record finds longtime members Luke Bentham and drummer Kyle Fisher now joined by Captain Wildchild' Sam Tomlinson on bass. The Dirty Nil are following up on their 2021 album Fuck Art.

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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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