Thursday October 5, 2023

Agit comme du monde

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.

Sluice: "Agit comme du monde"

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High-energy Acadian power-poppers Sluice have a massive new single out. "Agit comme du monde" previews the band's sophomore LP, a 10-track set titled Archiviste. Their press release jests that it's "the most fun you could possibly have learning about niche Nova Scotian Acadian history while soaking in your 1990s nostalgia."

The band recorded as a trio with producer Thomas D'Arcy (The Sheepdogs, July Talk, NOBRO) at Toronto's Taurus Recording. Jay Dufour mixed. Jeff Miller directed the accompanying video for "Agit comme du monde," which finds the band visiting significant local landmarks in Par-en-Bas and Par-en-Haut, notably making "a key stop at Tusket Frenchy's, a local branch of the staple Maritime thrift store that is as much a part of Nova Scotia's Acadian identity as rappie pie."

Bassist/vocalist Trevor Murphy unpacked the cultural and linguistic facets of the single:

"At its core, 'Agit comme du monde' is a song about rebels - misunderstood youth who are looking for their identity in a place that is not ready to accept them as they are. It's an anthem for the boys who wanted to wear dresses after seeing Nirvana videos, for those who went hunting for retro clothes at Frenchy's to stand out in the hallways of their high school, and for the wallflowers who have never been able to find their place where they wanted it most. In order to showcase unique aspects of our distinct culture, we decided to put Acadian words that we have heard all our lives on full blast - sayings or phrases that were used to put us in our place. The title itself loosely translates to a phrase that basically means: please, just act normal."

Where we imagined this song as a series of bombardments against self-identity, we therefore chose to highlight Acadian words often imbued with negativity - 'ackmode' ie. a hyperactive troublemaker, 'malonne' ie. a mean-spirited jerk, 'haïssable' ie. a person with a hateful attitude. Those taunts, however, are turned on their head here, and just as we reclaimed our personal identity by finding our own way to express ourselves, we choose to use these quasi-insults as a way to tell a story of redemption. For everyone who thought we were weirdos and dreamers, it's our look at us now moment. It is a song that celebrates kids on the margins."

This time out, Sluice features Murphy backed by guitarist AA Wallace (of the Sleepless Nights and Cheval) and drummer Connor Booth. Archiviste arrives November 3 through Acadian Embassy, following up on 2021's Le succès par le travail.

Autogramm: "WannaBe"

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Vancouver-rooted new wave revivalists Autogramm return with a new album, label, and expanded lineup this fall. The band hooked up with Stomp Records for the November 17 release of Music That Humans Can Play. The group also found a new guitarist in Seattle-based Lars Swenson, known from Bread & Butter and Sub Pop's The Catheters. He appears here billed as Lars Von Seattle, joining the band's traditional lineup of guitarist/vocalist Jiffy Marx (Night Court, Hard Drugs, Blood Meridian), bassist CC Voltage (Dysnea Boys, The Spitfires, The Black Halos), and vocalist/drummer Joshua "The Silo" Wells (Black Mountain, Lightning Dust, Destroyer, Spun Out). Don't let my over-simplified write-up diminish their roles, either, as everyone shares credits for vocals, synth, and guitar.

You can preview the 10-song LP with the stomping lead single "WannaBe," a track that quickly reaffirms the band's devotion to Devo and The Cars. The accompanying video, shot in East Vancouver by director Jeffry Lee, further cements that throwback 80s aesthetic. The Silo commented on the track in a press release:

"'WannaBe' began as a way to say to the most important person in my life that I will stand beside them no matter what their direction, self-opinion, or physical state of being. Upon further reflection, I thought it could apply more broadly to all of our relationships in life: it's a declaration of love and support to any friend, child, or lover who is going through a change in their self-perception; the idea that gender, occupation, size, skin, are all merely physical manifestations of being and will never matter as much as the person underneath it all."

Autogramm recorded Music That Humans Can Play in Vancouver in August of 2022, working out Rain City Recorders and The Balloon Factory. The band last released the well-received No Rules in 2022 through Nevado Music.

Night Court: "Little Darkness"

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Speaking of Night Court, the livewire Vancouver trio has a new EP of their own out soon through Dromedary Records. Arriving on Halloween, the five-song Frater Set EP's available as an extremely limited lathe-cut 7". You can preview the record via the 20-second "Little Darkness," which gets a video despite its breakneck runtime. The Tyler Mcleod-shot clip finds Jiffy Marx starring as a skateboarding ghost (which is just about all the plot you can fit in that span). The new collection includes a deep cut new wave cover of "Joey The Mechanical Boy," a 1985 track by Texan punk act The Judy's.

Night Court released Humans!, their sixteen-song third album, in the summer via Snappy Little Numbers and Debt Offensive. The power pop trio features bassist/vocalist Jiffy Marx (of the above-mentioned Autogramm), guitarist Dave-O (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.

Tashme: Promo 2023

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In September, Toronto hardcore quartet Tashme shared a searing 5-song EP, their first published work in nearly five years. I was lost in the Polaris Prize wilderness when this news first surfaced, so please don't read my lack of punctuality as a lack of enthusiasm. Tashme sounds absolutely essential. The band, featuring members of VCR and Damagers, includes vocalist Lautaro Castillo-Oliva, guitarist Jackson Waite, bassist Campbell Falconer, and drummer Matt Avenins.

The group's set to appear at the fast-approaching Hamilton festival Yourin Fested, sitting up near the top of the Friday, October 13 night of the three-day event alongside Wasted Age and Toronto legends Career Suicide.

Night Lunch: "Flames of Love"

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Colour me intrigued with the upcoming Night Lunch album. I admit I couldn't wrap my head around the off-kilter schmaltz-pop of the record's first single, but "God Bless the One I Love" sits differently when heard in its proper context following the newly unveiled "Flames of Love." The Montreal band's latest preview brings their goth influences to the fore, with a sizeable debt owed to Siouxsie & the Banshees. The band describes it as a "hurried, lovesick rocker, set apart with a darker and more aggressive palette."

You can see the track visualized in a Joan of Arc-themed video, generated with uncanny valley AI by artist Vincent Papineau. The director revealed:

"Love's tune, akin to art crafted by algorithms, carries both allure and complexity. Like imperfect computer processes, it faces disruptions. Dissonance mixes with affection, as glitches do in code-generated art. Love, an ever-evolving journey similar to the learning process of automated systems, stumbles through misunderstandings. Yet, just as technology refines itself, love matures, drawing strength from its flaws. Vulnerable, like the growth of automated systems, it thrives in imperfection. Love, a profound expression of human emotion, embraces both brilliance and blemish, mirroring the imperfect beauty of technology-driven creations."

The band self-produced the album, recording with Wes MacNeil at Cool Guy Studio and John McColgan at JMC Studio. Luca Matteucci mixed in Pisa, Italy. Night Lunch revels in askew romanticism with guitarist/vocalist Lukie Lovechild, bassist/vocalist Marlee Kay, keyboardist Wesley Dunphy, and drummer Sailor (past members of bands like Baked Goods and The Marlees).

Fire in the Rose Garden lands October 20 through Mothland, following up on the band's 2020 Celluloid Lunch release Wall of Love.

New Vogue: Waiting Daze

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Max Desharnais' high-voltage DEVO-core outlet New Vogue recently returned with Waiting Daze. The self-produced seven-song release, available now on cassette through Sound Salvation Music, follows the project's self-titled 2020 record and stands as their third overall outing.

Max currently plays with the Montreal garage-punks PRIORS and earlier served in that band's predecessor Sonic Avenues. New Vogue's performed in several combinations over the past few years, from a duo and a full five-piece, often drawing on PRIORS' ranks to fill the roster.

Outtacontroller: "Gotta Get Out"

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Perennially underrated Halifax power-pop heroes Outtacontroller have another new single online, previewing a yet-undetailed forthcoming album. You can stream the bustling "Gotta Get Out" at Bandcamp, the band's second fuzz-bomb of the year following February's "Less is More." Both are expected on the eventual follow-up to 2022's Come Alive LP.

Outtacontroller features vocalist/guitarists Terry A'hearn and James O'Toole, bassist AJ Boutilier, and drummer Sean Parsons.

Golden Shitters: "Drop The Bomb"

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We're barrelling towards the release of Golden Shitters, the self-titled 12-song LP from the all-star Hamilton group of the same name. The trio recently shared a video for "Drop the Bomb," an album-opening seventy-second blast of no-nonsense Ramones worship. You can find the piece, shot and directed by The Dirty Nil's Sam Tomlinson, on YouTube.

Billed as "moronic three-piece punk rock from the City of Doom," Golden Shitters brings together Anxious Pleasers' Matt Ellis (also of Flesh Rag, PlasticHeads, The Vapids), Dark Trip's Dave Tyson (from Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs), and longtime Dirty Nil drummer Kyle Fisher. Ellis takes lead vocals on this track.

The album lands on October 27 through Oregon's Memorable But Not Honorable Records, with a limited LP and cassette run. The band will celebrate with a hometown Halloween party at Hamilton's Vertagogo, supported by Montreal's Private Lives and local punk acts No Signal and System System.

Shoulder Season: "Why Would I?"

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Halifax quartet Shoulder Season recently shared a new single, following up on their Not The Time EP. The band hyped the track's infectious hooks in a press release:

"In a time when the world feels like it's coming apart, 'Why Would I?' celebrates shenanigans and asks: why not? Like the best tracks from their 2022 EP Not the Time, 'Why Would I?' features layered vocals, crunchy guitar and a driving drumbeat. Add synth harmonies that give a wistful, nostalgic warmth and this track will be the earworm that keeps you humming along long after it's ended. 'Why Would I?' was first played live at a show on the coldest night of winter 2022; as the last bars faded, someone in the crowd triumphantly cried 'oh my god!' and it was clear the band had hit on something good. Why WOULDN'T you want to check this new song?"

Shoulder Season features Karen Foster (Safeword) on keyboards and vocals, Mel Sturk (The Johnnies, Yuma County) on guitar and vocals, Kristina Parlee (The Maynards, Smaller Hearts) on bass, and Meg Yoshida (Dog Day, Century Egg) on drums.

TJ Felix: World of Hurt

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Secwépemc punk artist TJ Felix recently shared World of Hurt, a 12-song LP of new material. As expected, the collection is relentlessly erratic and defies categorization but generally falls on the more aggressive end of the artist's expansive catalogue. The new set follows Felix's summer single "Do The Hastings Strut" and May's messy full-length I Tried Making Myself Repulsive So U Wouldn't Miss Me When I'm Gone. I've given up trying to itemize the TJ Felix catalogue past what's immediately in the rearview mirror. Therein lies madness.

The BC artist also recently shared a kaleidoscopic music video for the single "Take Me Somewhere Nice," recorded live with their four-piece band at Vancouver's Red Gate. You can find it on YouTube.

Felix weaves generational trauma into anxious songs delivered in an increasingly scattershot array of styles (with roots in DEVO and The Urinals, to be reductive). Formerly known as Industrial Priest Overcoats, Felix also performs with Bedwetters Anonymous and the hardcore combo Nasdaq.

Mr. Power: Light My Cigarette Off The Sun

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While distracted, I also missed the news that Mr. Power's finally shared their new EP in full. Light My Cigarette Off The Sun delivers four dynamic (and sometimes charmingly overwrought) tracks from the weird-pop artist, all of which feel substantive and well worth your time.

The songs feature Ottawa's Mikey Power (of surf-punks The Thrill) on guitar, vocals, percussion, and synths, backed by keyboardist Ian Brown, bassist Nock Agopsowicz, and drummer Brad Lapensse. Mikey recorded and mixed the full set, with Dana Wiesbrock mastering at The Shed in Gatineau.

The Latest Scheme: "Sleeping on Couches"

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Dave Archibald typically records quirky power pop as Daveband, but for the past few years, he's also maintained a folk-rock alter-ego as The Latest Scheme. That project finally has some studio material in the form of "Sleeping on Couches." The affable new single act showcases Dave on vocals and guitar, backed by Iain Beaton on fiddle and Neal Read on keys. This recording also features studio players Pat Murphy on drums and Thomas Stajcer on bass.

The Halifax-based Daveband last released their nostalgic full-length This Was Your Dad at 28 in the fall of 2020. The one-off singles "Sweet Little Place on Agricola" and "Pizza Girl" (recorded with By Divine Right's José Contreras) surfaced last year.

Bile Sister: "Have You Seen Your Eyes Lately?"

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We Are Time recently shared a new video highlighting the Bile Sister track "Have You Seen Your Eyes Lately?". The song comes from Living on the Edge, the summer full-length from the Julie Reich-helmed synth-punk project. Described as a "wobbly electronic hymnal," the song features kulitang gong performances by Pantayo members Kat and Katrina Estacio, along with an appearance on sax by Goosebump's Neil Rankin. The video, directed by Laura Dobson, features footage from an art installation by Katie Kotler exhibited at Toronto's OCAD Gallery.

Reich commented on the song's meaning:

"The song title, 'Have You Seen Your Eyes Lately?' is a question I ask myself when I need to be strong: I recall a time I decided I'd never let a partner mistreat me again. I looked in the mirror and told myself to never forget what I looked like, never forget the tears. It takes great strength to get out of an abusive relationship, and it took a long time to recover and learn. It was an empowering song for me to write, because the lyrics put women in the position of power."

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 and in the wake of Bad Trouble, the 2021 debut from microtonal rock duo Body Breaks. That group paired Reich with Montreal artist Matt LeGroulx.

Astral Swans: "Shine the Light Inside" (ft. Jairus Sharif)

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Matthew Swann's home-recording vehicle Astral Swans returned last week with "Shine the Light Inside," a track written during a three-month residency in downtown Calgary. The artist was one of three in the summer of 2022 who took part in the Artists Inn Residence Inn summer program, granting the musician a 16th floor hotel suite in which to write and record in solitude.

In a press release the Swann commented:

"I wanted to make something weird by myself, playing with bizarre sounds and structures. I used the cheapest midi controller I could find, one microphone, an interface for guitar and bass."

They describe "Shine the Light Inside," which features a freeform sax solo from Jairus Sharif, as "a song about a billionaire's rocket going off course à la Major Tom"

You can find the track on YouTube, paired with a visualizer by aritst Gino Serpentini (Little Snake). The track's set for release on October 23 as part of an upcoming six-song split EP with Calgary's experimental indie hero Chad VanGaalen. Look for it in full on October 13.

Astral Swans last issued a self-titled LP in 2021.

PACKS: "Honey"

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Madeline Link's lo-fi group PACKS are reading their second LP in less than a year, a 12-song set dubbed Melt The Honey. It's due for release on January 14, 2024 through Fire Talk Records, a relatively quick follow-up to this spring's Crispy Crunchy Nothing.

Link and her group, guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper, convened in Mexico City last March to write and record, working apart from their Toronto roots. The album's notes at Bandcamp reveal the globetrotting Link wrote for the first time from a place of contentment. The lead single "Honey," in particular, came together during a stint living with a romantic partner in a Chilean beach town. She notes:

"These songs are happier, or more optimistic, than any I've written, I was feeling generally less horrible than I have in the past."

PACKS recorded at Casa Pulpo in Xalapa, Veracruz in March of this year, Nash engineering.

Uh Huh & Lammping: In My Mind

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I'm a big proponent of Uh Huh, the dub-heavy, blissed-out evolution of the punks formerly known as Teenanger. My fandom pales, though, in comparison to that of the Toronto psych-rockers Lammping. The latter reworked several tracks from Uh Huh's self-titled LP as a "Balearic beat tape of sorts," featuring six revamped tracks. Titled In My Mind, the EP's greatest swerve arrives on the closing "After The Sun Sets," featuring vocal appearances by People Under The Stairs member Thes One and Vancouver hip hop artist Moka Only (of Swollen Members). You can stream In My Mind everywhere courtesy of Telephone Explosion.

Uh Huh reshuffles Teenanger's entire original lineup of Steve Sidoli, Melissa Bell, Jon Schouten, and Chris Swimming (drums, bass, guitar, and vocals in their inital setup). The downshifted group's self-titled debut followed Teenanger's final LP, 2020's Good Time. Lammping features singer/songwriter Mikhail Galkin, Badge Époque Ensemble drummer Jay Anderson, guitarist Matt Aldred, and bassist Scott Hannigan. They last issued a massive collection of unreleased beats as a free download dubbed Sketches of Pain, a holdover while they wrap production on their next LP.

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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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