Wednesday June 28, 2023

Hearing Protection

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.

The Ape-ettes: "Hearing Protection"

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We've been waiting to hear something new from The Ape-ettes since 2017, and the Sudbury garage-rock trio makes a welcome return this summer with Simply The Ape-Ettes, a new four-song EP for Reta Records and Denver's Snappy Little Numbers. The collection, the band's first on vinyl, reunites drummer Melanie Mcdonald, bassist Andrée St-Onge, and guitarist/vocalist Julie Houle. The band recorded with Mitch Houle (of Tommy and the Commies and Statues) as the Piss Factory in 2022. He also mixed and mastered the new tracks.

You can watch a video for the EP's hooky lead single "Hearing Protection" now, directed by Strange Attractor's Jeff Houle and Curt Carriere of Bad Taste Cinema. The clip presents the song, and its practical advice, as a high-school-set PSA. They reveal:

"The song Hearing Protection was actually written about our friend Adam Responsible. He would show up at shows and hand out hearing protection. He was a huge advocate for the very real dangers of hearing loss. At Xmas, he would give the gift of earplugs."

The Ape-ettes last released a self-titled album in 2017. At the height of the pandemic, Julie, as Julie Katrinette, issued a full-length solo record of folk, country, and bluegrass tunes titled Let's Not Complicate Things With Our Minds.

Puffer: Puffer EP

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Montreal hardcore/punk act Puffer has a raucous self-titled EP out through Brooklyn's Roachleg Records. The set presents four gruff-and-gargled street punk tracks played with gleeful abandon, sounding at times like Animal from the Muppets fronting Poison Idea. While the group features members of Quebec d-beat bands Ultrarat and Mueco, Puffer's hardly self-serious and entirely comfortable embracing big pub rock hooks. I can barely decipher the vocals here, but hot damn, if they aren't an absolute riot. Max Gosselin recorded and mixed the set with Fucked Up's Jonah Falco mixing.

The new EP follows Puffer's 2022 Live and Die in the City demo. Look for the band in a headlining slot on the second night of Ottawa's newly announced Side by Side Weekend festival. They'll perform at Club Saw on July 29 alongside Hug Mosh, Fraud Perry, No More Moments, Backseat Dragon, Bad Egg, Dashype, Zooman, and N'Nerjie.

Bad Egg: "Static Brain"

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Speaking of Bad Egg, the Kitchener/Windsor hardcore act shared their second single of 2023 earlier this month. The scorching "Static Brain" follows the sardonic "ACTIVISM™," first unveiled in March. The group commented:

"This song is a bon voyage to the Bad Egg of the past, as we evolve into our latest form. We are more than stoked to share with you a song as transformative as this, and we welcome you to the year of the EGG."

Look for the tracks, the band's first to surface since the pandemic, on a new EP later this year. Bad Egg's following up on their 2019 set Serotonin Flush #10301985. Before their Side by Side appearance, look for the group at the inaugural Kitchener-Waterloo Punk Rock Slobberknocker on July 8. That event, an offshoot of their local punk rock flea market, features a night of wrestling and music at Elements Nightclub. Bad Egg appears on home turf alongside Toronto's Brutal Youth, Cambridge pop-punks Frank Dux, and skate punks Cerebral Scrub? (playing their first show in six years).

Spleen: "Sans Espoir"

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Personnel from the above-mentioned Puffer and Montreal Oi! bruisers Béton Armé also recently appeared together as Spleen. The project puts a subtle post-punk spin on its members' usually street-level songwriting. The five-piece has a compelling five-song demo tape available now through Roachleg Records, recorded by Max Gosselin. You can hear it at Bandcamp and watch the band traipse around la Metropole in the noirish video for "Sans Espoir." Matt Smith and James Watts directed the piece.

Spleen features Dan P on vocals, Fabio on bass, Marty and Victor on guitar, and Ratpack drumming. If you've jumped on the Home Front bandwagon (and who hasn't), you'll find much to love here.

Careers in Science: "Go Go Giant Robo"

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The nerdy and sardonic Toronto punk group Careers in Science recently resurfaced, sharing their first new music since 2013's Cowards. You can hear "Go Go Giant Robo" at Bandcamp now, one of three songs to appear on the Outstanding Balance EP (available in full on July 10). The new set collects the last songs the band wrote before their extended hiatus and the 2015 death of drummer Eric Bourque. The surviving members revealed:

"We owed you these songs. We owed them to ourselves, to be honest. Also we really wanted to go out on a pun, and on this album cover. Frankly, I think we nailed it.

We were never trying to 'make it.' We toured, we played shows regularly, we put out records, but it was never our goal to be the biggest band ever. We wanted to play music with our friends. When we played what turned out to be our final show (which WAS actually Bathurst's final show) it wasn't that we actively broke up, we just chose to hang out and be friends instead.

It wasn't easy peasy though. We pushed ourselves incredibly hard to write more songs like this, and it hit a point where it wasn't fun to do that anymore. Callum left the band, Matthew had switched to guitar, we'd brought Pod from Deforesters on bass, and this thing that was supposed to be 'four grown men giving up on being adored' became laden with pressure to continue playing shows and write more complex music, both of which were kind of in violation of, you know, the whole Careers In Science experience. So we stopped. Never really announced anything. Despite the efforts of Art Drug records to encourage us to sell and tour Cowards, it wasn't enjoyable to do it without each other. Then, when Eric died, any thoughts of making music like this again disappeared into the ether.

But over time we started to think that man... these might be good."

You can read more on the group's struggle and their current status at Bandcamp, along with a breakdown of "Go Go Giant Robo." The track features Callum McPhee on guitar, Matthew Winkler on bass, and Dave Proctor singing. While the late Eric Bourque arranged the drums for "Robo," you hear Winkler behind the kit on the recording.

Look for the remainder of Outstanding Balance in the coming weeks.

Private Lives: Hit Record

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Montreal's Private Lives are readying their first LP for a June 14 release through Cincinnati's Feel It Records. The 10-song Hit Record set collects the entirety of last fall's self-titled EP, resequenced among five new tunes. You can preview the title track and album-opening "Trust In Me" at Bandcamp now.

Some Party's closely followed the evolution of Private Lives from the lockdown-killing home recordings of Pale Lips' Jackie Blenkarn and PRIORS' Chance Hutchison into the tight four-piece they are today. As a quartet, the couple brought in bassist Josh Herlihey and Lonely Parade drummer Frank Climenhage to craft a cool set of surfy post-punk tunes. Chance and Jackie's collective years fronting incredibly high-energy bands make Private Lives' relative sense of restraint feel well-earned. Maturity's often thrown around as a thinly-veiled pejorative for seasoned punks who've lost their sense of urgency, but not so here.

The inaugural Private Lives LP arrives hot on the heels of PRIORS' new LP Daffodil (available now through Mothland and Herlihey's debut 7" as Plastic Act (out now via Hutchinson's Brain Gum Records). Adrian Popovich (of FRVITS and American Lips) recorded and mixed the new album, with Eddy Current Suppression Ring's Mikey Young (Itchy Self, TV Freaks) mastering.

Leather Jacuzzi: Rumours 2

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Calgary garage punk act Leather Jacuzzi dropped a surprise EP a few weeks back to coincide with their Sled Island appearance. Rumours 2 delivers six scrappy new tracks from the group, including "Tits First Through the Piss" - a song we first encountered on video in 2019 (previewing a differently-named EP that never materialized).

Leather Jacuzzi features Sarah Ford (Zebrassieres, Sudden Infant Dance Syndrome) on vocals, Craig Fahner (Feel Alright, Motorists) on guitar, Brady Kirchner (The Funfuns, The Mandates) on bass, and Michael Couvillon drumming. Fahner recorded and mastered the new tracks, while Brady helped mix.

Leather Jacuzzi last released The Whole Hog LP on Danger Records in 2018. It collected music from the band's first two cassettes, 2017's Slander, Lies And Soda and the group's 2016 debut Monsters, Narcs & Idiots.

Force Majeure: "Triste Sire"

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Montreal Oi! trio Force Majeure recently shared "Triste Sire," the first preview of their forthcoming self-titled LP. Look for it in September through Double Turn Records and the French label Primator Crew. Drummer Scott Golyardi recorded the new track, with James Atkinson mixing and mastering.

The new album follows up on the band's 2020 EP Encore Debout and a 2019 split LP with King Cans. Force Majeure features guitarist/vocalist Karl St-Pierre (Hard Pressed, Last Crusade), bassist Martin, and Offside's Scott Golyardi behind the kit.

Prosthetic Bung: Mr. Neckofthewoods

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Toronto duo Prosthetic Bung continue their relentless release pace with Mr. Neckofthewoods, a new five-song collection. The album opener, "The Baffling Origin," is streaming at Bandcamp now, with the remainder due June 30. As with the group's previous releases, this album finds them wrapping a warped narrative in an improvisational swirl of psychedelia, noise-punk, and high-concept absurdity. The band boasted of the "mind-numbing journey" they've constructed:

"'Mr. Neckofthewoods' tells the bewildering tale of a magical decaying stump, and the great war with the evil Council of the Trees. Steffofthewoods and Zachofthewoods must unite with their strange pal, or the fate of the planet will fall into the wrong roots! The album was fully improvised and recorded atop Mount Bung in a cloud of smoke in April. It features a wide variety of eclectic sounds including electric kazoo, monotron, analog tape effects and vintage synthesizers..."

The collection's the duo's fifth release of the year, following February's faux-live album Futureless Throb: Live In Japan, 1983, April's The Quest for the Golden Bung, and the recent video performance Live? From Mount Bung!. Prosthetic Bung pairs guitarist/vocalist Steff and drummer/bassist/synth-player Zach (the latter also of the death metal act Chasmdweller).

Bile Sister: "Real Dreams"

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Julie Reich recently shared the second single from the upcoming Bile Sister record Living on the Edge. The dense and haunting "Real Dreams" lands as our second look at the synth-punk project, due July 21 through We Are Time. On the tune, Reich commented:

"I use the metaphor of having a dream or aspiration as having a virus that is contagious and infectious. You need to be excessively motivated to work on a music project, complete it and share it with the world in this day and age where artists don't really gain financially and work tirelessly. Perhaps we do it because it's part of our identity, it's in our spirit, and we are the ideas of tomorrow. There's something infectious about having a vision and seeing it through even with little gain. It's still a beautiful thing."

The track arrives alongside a trippy animated clip by Jonathan Carroll of SpekWork Studio.

Reich co-produced Living on the Edge with Josh Korody (Beliefs, Breeze), who also mixed at Toronto's Candle Studios. Sage Kim mastered the record. The new Bile Sister album follows the project's 2014 entry Faucet. It also arrives after Bad Trouble, the 2021 debut from microtonal rock duo Body Breaks. That group paired Reich with Montreal artist Matt LeGroulx.

Earl Wyvern: Billionaire Dinosaurs Turned Me Gay

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Barrie's Earl Wyvern pulls no punches on the provocatively named Billionaire Dinosaurs Turned Me Gay. As the title implies, the artist takes an angsty, anarcho-queer perspective on a host of social issues over four stylistically varied tracks. Wyvern's known for the Ontario witch punk act Angry Spells and the defunct hardcore act Beaver Slap, but makes their formal solo debut here.

The EP finds Wyvern on vocals, guitar, ukulele, and kazoo, backed on select songs by Tarantula Tapes regulars like Core Bee, Hysterics' Laura DeRocchis, Krista Grey, Amanda Katherine, and Cailyn Fitzgerald. Bee produced, recorded, and mixed the set, with DeRocchis mastering. The cassette release through Tarantula features a secret cover track.

Taxi Girls: "After Effect"

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Montreal punk'n'roll trio Taxi Girls recently shared the second single from their forthcoming EP. You can stream the propulsive album-opener "After Effect" at Bandcamp now. Coming Up Roses, the band's debut, arrives July 7. Look for it on vinyl through Italy's Wild Honey Records and on tape from Portland's Dirt Cult.

Taxi Girls features Pale Lips' rhythm section of bassist Jamie Radu and drummer Lynn Poulin - with the former taking up lead vocals and guitar. In Taxi Girls, they're joined on vocals, guitar, and bass by Vera Bozickovic. The trio recorded with Ryan Battistuzzi (Yesterday's Ring, Les Mains Sales, Conditions Apply) at Le Stuzzio. Ryan Morey (Wares, Daniel Romano) mastered the set.

With Pale Lips, Radu and Poulin last played on the After Dark full-length in early 2019.

Upside Man Down: Looking Up

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Calgarian skate punk act Upside Man Down recently issued their debut full-length through Red Deer's High End Denim Records. You can pick up the speedy and anthemic Looking Up through Bandcamp. The quartet recorded the 10-song set with Belvedere's Casey Lewis at Echo Base Studio.

Upside Man Down features guitarist/vocalist Brook Hadden, guitarist Steve Larsen, bassist Matt Egerton, and drummer Josh Cameron.

Lost Planet Airmen: "We Were Soldiers"

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High End Denim's also readying the release of Sagan, a new EP from Selkirk, Manitoba's Lost Planet Airmen. You can preview the set today with the 90s-flavoured "We Were Soldiers" and look for the complete EP on July 7. The new record follows the trio's 2021 EP Comforting Lies, Unpleasant Truths.

Lost Planet Airmen features Taylor Stephenson on guitar and vocals, Ryan Filby on bass, and Bryce Pankiewich on drums and vocals. The group recorded at Winnipeg's MOSMA school, with Cody Blakely of The Nielsens mixing and mastering at Half Stack Studios.

The Tarleks: Split with The Randy Bastards

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Vancouver pop-punk act The Tarleks recently appeared on a split 7" with Detroit's The Randy Bastards. It's the third volume in Faster and Louder Records' covers series, with the Randy Bastards tackling "She's So Negative" from The Tarleks' 2016 debut, Season One. The Tarleks return the favour by covering "(Smells Like A) Crust Punk Show." Each band contributes a new original to the record, as well.

Last year's entry in the ongoing series paired Johnny Terrien And The Bad Lieutenants with Harrisburg PA's The Suck. The first volume landed in 2021, featuring Moncton Ramonescore group The Follow Ups and London, Ontario's Dave Rocket And The Jobbers.

PasMort: "Dawson's Creek Vs. Le Mortal Kombat"

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Rivière Du Loup punk quartet PasMort has a penchant for unusual song topics, so we shouldn't be all that surprised to see them issue a single with the absurd premise of "Dawson's Creek Vs. Le Mortal Kombat." There's no metaphor here, as the song delivers precisely what it promises. The track's a b-side from the band's 2022 full-length Pas Responsable des Accidents, and arrives as they buckle down to work on the follow-up.

PasMort brings together members of the Quebec punk groups A Tree At Last, Albatros, Lost Love, and Striver. The group features vocalist/guitarist Jonathan St-Pierre, bassist Louis-Alexandre Bouliane, drummer Francis Bernard, and guitarist Olivier Thériault.

C.i.D.B.: C.i.D.B.

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I missed it when announced in late May, but check out the self-titled debut from Montreal mosh-core bruisers C.i.D.B.. The band recorded their debut EP for Gatineau's Pils Records with Jamie Duyns engineering and Chany Pilote mastering. That set, clocking in at six songs digitally or eight on cassette, features proper studio versions of the band's earlier demos, including a cover of the Ramones' Animal Boy tune "Eat That Rat." You can also find a video for the anthemic "80HD" playing through the Hardcore Worldwide YouTube channel.

C.i.D.B features Juicebox Jimmy on guitar and vocals, Raljiktar on bass, Mischa drumming, Shak on guitar, and Jay on vocals.

Mother Tongues: "Only You"

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Toronto psych-pop group Mother Tongues has a pair of new singles online previewing their forthcoming full-length. You can hear "Only You" and "Worm Day" at Bandcamp now. They follow "A Heart Beating" in previewing the band's debut long-player, Love In A Vicious Way.

The video for "Only You" features a nostalgic throwback to early-2000s arcade dance games, with vocalist Char Aragoza dancing alongside her sibling Jay Aragoza. It's their first time performing as a duo in a decade, as the pair formerly served as backup dancers for the artist Maylee Todd.

"Only You" features Lukas Cheung on keys and guitar, Charise Aragoza on lead vocals and bass, Mimico's Nick Kervin on drums, Lane Halley on guitar, and Kvesche Bijons-Ebacher on keyboards. Caitlin Woelfle-O'Brien of Blunt Chunks appears on backing vocals, with Jeremy Ugro layering in some additional synth. Cheung and Mr. Joy's Asher Gould-Murtagh co-produced these recordings.

Love In A Vicious Way follows up on the band's 2020 debut Everything You Wanted. It arrives this July through Wavy Haze. Mother Tongues will support it with appearances at Ottawa's Side by Side Weekend and Sackville, New Brunswick's beloved Sappyfest.

Tandoori Knights: Hungama & Khamoshi

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Garage-soul impresario King Khan has reunited with Montreal rockabilly institution Bloodshot Bill to reform Tandoori Knights. The (separately) prolific pair has a new four-song digital set of shambling lo-fi jams available at Bandcamp, titled Hungama & Khamoshi.

The Knights last appeared in early 2020 in a vintage-styled animated cartoon from Lluis Fuzzhound. The first (and as far as I can see sole) episode of the series, The Tandoori Knights vs. The Desaturators, remains on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. Tandoori Knights issued the 7" Temple Of Boom in 2019 through Slovenly. Their sole LP, Curry Up, first appeared in 2010 through Norton Records.

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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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