Wednesday January 24, 2024

Field of Ruins

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.

Daniel Romano's Outfit: "Field of Ruins"

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Following several personnel changes in the off-season, Welland artist Daniel Romano's returned with a new iteration of The Outfit. This year's model finds the chameleonic songsmith and his brother Ian Romano writing and recording as a duo, joined in their Camera Varda studio by longtime engineer Kenneth Roy Meehan. That's a significant reduction in the cast, with Julianna Riolino and Roddy Rossetti branching off to support the former's burgeoning solo career. The Outfit's new live lineup features the brothers in a quartet with vocalist Carson McHone and Sudbury's Tommy Major (Tommy and the Commies, Young Guv). That lineup will soon hit the ground in Ontario, supporting their new LP Too Hot To Sleep.

The record features ten tracks, and if they're anything like the lead single "Field of Ruins," we can expect a stripped-down power-pop sound. While the song dips into psych-pop on its tail end, the line between The Outfit and Danny's punk act Ancient Shapes has never been blurrier. Meehan engineered the recordings, with the brothers mixing and Kristian Montano mastering. The new album arrives March 1 through You've Changed Records as the follow-up to 2022's prog opera La Luna, and before it 2021's triumphant Cobra Poems.

The Outfit's on the road in February and March supporting the new record, with stops at Montreal's Tavern Tour VIII (February 10, sharing the stage with Night Lunch) and Calgary's Block Heater Festival (February 16). At the end of the month, they'll embark on a short Ontario release tour supported by LA's Uni Boys and Prince Edward County folk singer Ivy Wye, with stops in Windsor, London, St. Catharines, and Toronto.

Corridor: "Mourir Demain"

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Montreal post-punk / jangle-pop heroes Corridor have a new record on the way this Spring from Sub Pop and Bonsound. Mimi arrives on April 26 with eight songs, including the newly shared "Mourir Demain." The track's slow-burning psychedelia finds an ideal visual partner in a new animated video from Paul Jacobs.

In a statement on Bandcamp, Jonathan Robert commented on the track:

"I wrote it when my girlfriend and I were shopping for life insurance. With our little daughter growing up, we also considered making our will. I said to myself, 'Oh shit, from now on I'm slowly starting to plan my death.'"

The essay further delves into the relaxed and deliberate recording process Corridor undertook for their fourth album, refusing the rapid pace that accompanied past efforts. Robert reveals:

"The goal was to work differently, which is the goal we have every time we work on a new album—to build something in a new way. This time, we took our time."

That effort (and the pandemic) demanded seclusion, with the members of Corridor sequestering themselves at a cottage in the summer of 2020 to build these songs. The record also finds the group embracing electronic elements like never before, a feat no doubt assisted by the addition of Samuel Gougoux (TDA, VICTIME) as a full-time member. The new iteration of Corridor features Jonathan Robert on vocals, guitar, and synths, Dominic Berthiaume on vocals and bass, Gougoux on synths, Julian Perreault on guitar, and Julien Bakvis drumming. The band worked with co-producer Joo-Joo Ashworth (Dummy, Automatic) at Montreal's Gamma Recording Studio in 2022 and 2023.

The new album follows 2019's Junior and Robert's 2022 solo LP as Jonathan Personne.

Psychbike: Demo

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Matthew Ellis of the Sudbury sci-fi punks Teleporters recently shared the first recordings from Psychbike. You can hear five thrilling demo tracks, anchored by Ellis' distinctive wail, at your streaming platform of choice. You may have heard one of these in the latest season of the Letterkenny spinoff Shoresy - as Ellis works on the show's production team.

Psychbike's bummed around Sudbury for a few years, participating in the Up Here festival and other local events. They'll soon take their high-octane post-punk sound on the road, sharing a bill with Hamilton pinheads Golden Shitters (members of Anxious Pleasers, Sam Coffey & the Iron Lungs, and The Dirty Nil). Look for the pairing in North Bay on February 16, in Sudbury the next day, then down to Hamilton on the 23rd, wrapping up at Toronto's Bovine on the 24th.

Teleporters issued Undone in Otherspace in December of 2022.

Little Kid: "Bad Energy"

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Contemplative Toronto indie-folk act Little Kid recently shared a second preview of their forthcoming LP. You can now stream the deceptively low-key hooks of "Bad Energy" everywhere, featuring guest vocals from Fog Lake's Aaron Powell and a tape-warped sample of Eliza Niemi's cello work. In a statement, which you can read in full at Stereogum, principal Kenny Boothby commented:

"'Bad Energy' is a song with many verses. Each verse talks about the concept of "bad energy" from a different angle. My overall goal with this song was to implicate Christianity - or, at least, the twisted, Americanized version of it that I grew up with - in a lot of the evil going on in our world: war, genocide, rape culture, capitalist greed, resource exploitation, climate change… There is some personal stuff in there, and some pretty universal stuff."

The eight-track A Million Easy Payments lands February 23 through Chicago's Orindal Records and Bristol's Gold Day Recordings. Little Kid features Boothby on vocals, guitar, and keys, backed by Brodie Germain (drums, guitar), Paul Vroom (bass), Megan Lunn (vocals, banjo, keyboard), and Liam Cole (drums, percussion). Vroom engineered and mastered the album, as he did the band's previous three.

Little Kid's celebrating the release with a March 22 show at Toronto's Tranzac (fittingly alongside collaborator Eliza Niemi) and a March 23 gig at Montreal's Casa Del Popolo (with Laughing). Both shows will feature Little Kid's Orindal labelmates Advance Base supporting. The new LP follows up on 2020's Transfiguration Highway.

BIG|BRAVE: "I Felt a Funeral"

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Deconstructionist Montreal trio BIG|BRAVE has a new LP due in the Spring. A Chaos of Flowers lands April 19 through Thrill Jockey, promising eight helpings of the sparse-yet-heavy minimalism the group's made their signature. You can preview the record with the album-opening "I Felt a Funeral." The compellingly raw track plays on an Emily Dickinson poem, with waves of distortion raising and falling behind Robin Wattie's vocals. You can see it captured in a fittingly vulnerable video on YouTube.

On that piece, guitarist Mathieu Ball commented:

"The making of this video employed a similar process as we do when writing music. As we've learned to let the flow of ideas take its course, the act of creating works whether with fully formed concepts or an unfinished notion, starting the work itself acts as a sort of guide to where the final outcome may land. We realized that something more visually minimal than what we first imagined was the way to go... the performer (Robin) and the audience both partake in this visual and aural conversation together creating a more intimate visual space. The audience is led in and out of her intimate space all while being kept at safe distance. Paired with the lyrical content, it can be considered an apt representation of the elements of mental collapse - a simplified visual dance with the inner and outside world."

A Chaos of Flowers features Robin Wattie on vocals and guitar, Mathieu Ball on guitar, and Tasy Hudson drumming. Guests on the album include Portland guitarist Marisa Anderson, Bhutan-born avant guitarist Tashi Dorji, and LA-based saxophonist Patrick Shiroishi. BIG|BRAVE recorded the album, the follow-up to 2023's nature morte, Seth Manchester (METZ, Tunic) at Pawtucket's Machines With Magnets.

Debbie Christ: "Lust!"

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Montreal garage act Debbie Christ returned with a dynamic new single last week. Right out the gate, "Lust!" misleads you, creeping in with a slow-burning verse draped in dusky psychedelia. The chorus comes on like a panic attack, rife with guitar squalls and a frantic vocal delivery. That adrenaline rush plays out amidst the vintage horror stylings of the accompanying video from director Aaron Nadal.

Debbie Christ's fronted by vocalist/guitarist Clara Harwood. She's backed on this track by lead guitarist Jacob Barton, bassist Christian Lee, Jacob Tarasofsky on keys, and drummer Jack Moore (who recorded and mastered the track). Debbie Christ's following up on a handful of recordings issued in 2023, including the singles "Heathen" and I've Got Time / We Carry On.

Capable!: "T-Shirt Préféré"

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Montreal punk quartet Capable! has their first long player queued up for a February 23 release on Stomp Records. The band recorded Le Désordre Organisé in the summer of 2023 at Mountain City Studio with Adrian Popovich (FRVITS, American Lips) engineering and Hugo Mudie (The Sainte Catherines, Yesterday's Ring) producing. The band commented, en français:

« Cet album se veut avant tout une célébration de la musique. De celle que l'on fait, mais aussi de celle que l'on écoute et que l'on partage. Celle qui nous fait du bien quand ça va mal et qui nous élève quand ça va bien. Ces mélodies qui sont notre phare dans les angoisses du quotidien et qui donnent un sens à nos vies. C'est ce que j'ai voulu représenter en chanson. »

You can preview the record with the lead single, "T-Shirt Préféré." You'll doubtlessly hear it played at their Turbo Haus release show on Friday, March 22, supported by Conflit Majeur and Rope Skills.

Capable! has roots in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, where members previously appeared in the Rouyn Noranda punk group Les Sprates. They later surfaced in the Montreal outfit Bonne Journée!. Capable! last issued the Brûle Brûle Brûle EP in 2021.

Prosthetic Bung: Zib Zob

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Toronto chaos engine Prosthetic Bung makes records faster than I manage to send these emails. Since this newsletter last checked in on them, the noise-punk/free-jazz group issued (at least) a half-dozen barely contained, erratic live recordings - each reaching new heights of absurdism. Their latest is Zib Zob, a seven-song set due February 9. It's particularly notable in that it finds the group expanded from a duo to a quartet, with multiinstrumentalist guitarist/vocalist Steff and drummer/synth-player Zach now joined by Haile Dubious (of Oshawa's Poison Foundains) on sax and jaw harp, with Mike Bristow (Whisker Biscuit) taking over on bass. I'm shocked it took them this long to rope in a full-time saxophonist, as this music screams for unhinged skronk like few others.

Like all their releases, this set finds Prosthetic Bung fully improvising from the studio floor. This time out, you'll hear a swath of new instruments, including a kalimba, a Japanese taishōgoto, and a horn section. You can stream two tracks from the Zib Zob mess at Bandcamp.

TJ Felix: Maladjustment

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Secwépemc punk artist TJ Felix falls into a similar category: they're so doggedly prolific that it's a challenge to follow their output (even when I'm not hopelessly behind). The Vancouver musician's latest is a ten-song set dubbed Maladjustment. It follows November's Go Ahead and Reap the Folly of Sincerity, one of four full-lengths issued in 2023 amidst a scattering of singles. The new record boasts most of the artist's staples: a sonically unpredictable set with roots in foundationally weird music (DEVO, the Urinals, etc.) married to an anxious delivery and coloured by trauma.

Formerly known as Industrial Priest Overcoats, Felix performs with Bedwetters Anonymous and the hardcore combo Nasdaq.

Dermabrasion: "Magic Missile"

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Toronto duo Dermabrasion crafts a sinister stomp on "Magic Missile," the final preview of their debut full-length. Pain Behavior, due Friday through Hand Drawn Dracula, finds Kat McGouran and Adam Bernhardt immersed in industrial, goth, and post-punk sounds. It's worlds away from their nascent EP Lunate, to say nothing of the pair's past in the punk act WLMRT. On the new record, Kat shared:

"the five songs on Lunate were a beginning. i was still very sick when i recorded my vocals. we were punks who had never used a drum machine. pain behaviour is those five songs, rerecorded as i heard them in my head, together with five more that complete the statement. we worked with Josh Korody, an amazing musician, producer/engineer and techno DJ, to help us refine our drum sound. if you choose to listen to the new tracks, i hope you can feel the drums in the pit of your stomach.

...i will bellow out into the world whether people pay attention or not. but for those who listen, my spirit is grateful for the energy returned."

In Dermabrasion, McGouran plays bass and sings lead while Bernhardt accompanies on guitar and synth. Josh Korody recorded, produced, and mixed the 10-track LP from Candle Recording with Noah Mintz mastering.

Outtacontroller: "Gimme Nothin'"

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Every recent track from Outtacontroller has been reliably impeccable; I'd be shocked to discover otherwise. Last week, the Halifax fuzz-pop group kept up that standard with "Gimme Nothin'," a punk tune that feels almost effortlessly timeless. You can stream it everywhere now. There's yet to be word on whether it's part of some greater whole, but I imagine we'll have news soon.

Last October, the band issued the Just a Scratch EP through Madrid's Jarama 45RPM Recs, following the one-off summer single "Gotta Get Out." Both landed in the wake of 2022's Come Alive LP. Outtacontroller features vocalist/guitarists Terry A'hearn and James O'Toole, bassist AJ Boutilier, and drummer Sean Parsons.

Gulfer: "Too Slow"

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After bowling us over in November with their single "Clean," Montreal emo-revivalists Gulfer formally unveiled its home: Third Wind, the band's new record, arrives next month from Topshelf. The ten-track set opens with "Clean" and features the new preview "Too Slow," which hits hard before swerving into a mathy drum'n'bass outro. The band credits their evolving sound to guitarist/vocalist Joseph Therriault, who took on the brunt of their songwriting. You can see the new song showcased in a video on YouTube.

Gulfer's released a string of singles in the years since their 2020 self-titled full-length for Topshelf and Royal Mountain, including a split EP with Marquette, MI's Charmer. The quartet features guitarist/vocalists Vincent Ford and Joe Therriault, bassist David Mitchell, and drummer Julien Daoust.

Peanut Butter Sunday: "Fort McMurray"

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Acadian pop-punk act Peanut Butter Sunday is headed out on tour in early February, sharing the stage with bands like Double Date with Death, Thick Glasses, and Family Man in a string of shows following the St. Lawrence River from Rimouski to Ontario. To celebrate the occasion, the group shared "Fort McMurray," a rollicking preview of their forthcoming full-length for Acadian Embassy and a surefire future crowd favourite with its massive sing-along chorus. You can see it visualized in a genuinely surreal video on YouTube.

Hailing from La Baie Sainte-Marie, Nova Scotia, Peanut Butter Sunday features guitarist/vocalist Michael Saulnier, drummer Andre LeBlanc, guitarist Normand Pothier, and bassist Jacques Blinn. Pothier and Blinn are members of P'tit Belliveau's backing band and played previously with Cy. The quartet recorded with Jean-Pascal Comeau at Studio La Classe in Memramcook, NB. The new track follows their debut EP, Quoi-c'ya pour souper?.

Elephant Stone: "Pilgrimage"

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Montreal psych titans Elephant Stone issue their new LP next month, and we've heard a great deal from it to date. The latest preview is the meditative "Pilgrimage." Adam Kinner's sax plays an outsized role on this one, embuing the track with throwback adult contemporary vibes. On the song, band lead Rishi Dhir commented:

"In the early 2000s, I found myself crisscrossing America in a van, shoulder-to-shoulder with a motley crew of musicians... When you're constantly on the move, it's easy to build emotional walls, to isolate yourself even while surrounded by others. I am particularly prone to this.

During one tour, we found ourselves with a few days to spare in Oregon. Armed with 'Two Buck Chuck,' olive bread, and cheese from Trader Joe's, I made my way to the coast. As I sat on the sand dunes, I watched the clouds roll in rapidly, becoming one with the tumultuous waves and the awe-inspiring might of nature. At that moment, it felt as though I had been on a pilgrimage to the ends of the Earth, seeking a personal communion with the divine. With 'Pilgrimage' I attempted to capture the essence of that journey—a voyage not just across the physical landscape, but through the intricate terrains of the soul, reminding us that sometimes, the most profound discoveries are made when we're farthest from home."

The ten-song Back Into The Dream lands February 23 through Elephants On Parade and Little Cloud. It follows up on 2020's Hollow and clocks in as Elephant Stone's sixth full-length. The band features Dhir on vocals and various instruments, including bass, guitar, and his signature sitar. Kent backs him on saxophone, with drummer Miles Dupire-Gagnon, guitarist Robbie MacArthur, and keyboardist Jason Kent rounding out the ensemble.

Autogramm: "Born Losers"

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Lovable Vancouver new wavers Autogramm have a new video online celebrating the track "Born Losers" from their recent Stomp LP, Music That Humans Can Play. The band teases that the tongue-in-cheek video from director Tyler McLeod features, in no particular order, "a sasquatch, an epic backflip on skis, Kokanee beer, and a banana on a shrimp platter." McLeod shot the piece on location at Sasquatch Mountain Resort in British Columbia. You can find it on YouTube.

The album is the band's first as a quartet with the addition of guitarist Lars Swenson, known from Seattle's Bread & Butter and Sub Pop act The Catheters. He appears here billed as Lars Von Seattle, joining the longstanding Autogramm lineup of Jiffy Marx (Night Court), CC Voltage (The Spitfires, The Black Halos), and Joshua "The Silo" Wells (Black Mountain, Destroyer, Spun Out).

B.A. Johnston: "Gonna Move to a Ski Town"

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Similarly, you may recall that B.A. Johnston once declared his intention to become a Kokanee-swilling ski bum. That fantasy comes to life in the recently shared video for "Gonna Move to a Ski Town" from director Stephan Macleod. Curiously, the video's promoting a track from the Hamilton troubadour's 2019 LP (The Skid is Hot Tonight), an album now quite far in the rearview mirror. Johnston's since followed that up in 2022 with Werewolves of London, Ontario and again in 2023 with Argos Suck. I suppose the track's message remains utterly timeless, so who am I to question it?

Hot Garbage: "Erase My Mind"

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Precious Dream, the new record from Toronto psych heavies Hot Garbage, is out in the wild. The release arrived alongside a video for "Erase My Mind," directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick. The director revealed:

"Erase My Mind" is a gritty emotive montage of Hot Garbage immersed in a brutalist haven, as they observe textural sights. When I heard the song, I wanted to create something that felt like a Le Corbusier-style moving mirage - slightly non-linear, visually striking and modular - to match the song's tone."

Mothland's press release relishes in describing the instrumentals, noting the presence of "what could very well be a Casavant Frères organ run through a 10-story-high Leslie cabinet."

Precious Dream, the band's sophomore effort, arrives via the Quebec psych label and Brussels' EXAG' Records. Hot Garbage features bassist/vocalist Juliana Carlevaris, guitarist/vocalist Alex Carlevaris, keyboardist/vocalist Dylan Gamble, and drummer Mark Henein. The band recorded with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh at Palace Sound. James Plotkin mastered the new material, which follows up on 2021's RIDE.

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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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