Wednesday February 14, 2024


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.

Jon Mckiel: "Hex"

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Surrealist East Coast indie hero Jon Mckiel returns this spring with Hex, the follow-up to 2020's spellbinding Bobby Joe Hope. You can preview the ten-song set through the album-opening title track, a layered and haunting psychedelic number. On the song, the Baie Verte, New Brunswick artist commented:

"'Hex' is a song that came about from sampling my voice and guitar. Lyrically it wonders what darknesses might be at at play, personally or collectively. Sometimes observing systems and people on the brink of collapse, it feels as though there is a hex on all of us ~ a self imposed one given that the game was so long ago fixed. Social media puts a magnifying glass over all this, while the great reflection keeps our attention."

Avant-garde Nova Scotian musician Nicola Miller plays sax on the track. The complete set arrives May 3 through You've Changed Records, again featuring Mckeil working closely with JOYFULTALK's Jay Crocker. Among the setlist, you'll hear a cover of "Concrete Sea," a 1972 tune by the Winnipeg singer-songwriter Terry Jacks.

The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol: Verdun

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Ottawa psych mainstays The Band Whose Name Is a Symbol have a new album available. Verdun may only feature three songs, but in typical fashion, those are spawling instrumental numbers rife with long droning diversions, punctuated with distorted fits amidst krautrock grooves. The album-closing "French Pastry" clocks in at nearly 24 minutes alone.

The band's John Westhaver shared a few recollections on their studio session, noting:

"On the last Sunday of March, 2023, The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol got together with their gear for the first time since November of 2022. Raven Street Studios was the setting with our longtime engineer David Sarazin (Elevator, Droneverdose and Berzerkir). It was a grey, damp and chilly day. There was no plan and no discussion as to what we would do. We set up our shit, picked a key and started to play (8 minutes in, Sarazin remembered to hit record). We played non stop for near 2 hours and tore down. It felt wonderful. The art of improvisation. We sat afterwards in master control in silence and checked out some of what was captured. The smiles on 7 faces spoke louder than bombs. Verdun is our new appointed crown jewel"

The set's available at Bandcamp or on a limited vinyl run through Feeding Tube Records and Cardinal Fuzz. Verdun is the band's first new studio LP in over five years, a gap that's admittingly hard to notice as they've shared no shortage of live recordings and archival releases in the space between. TBWNIS features Scott Thompson, Jason Vaughan, Chris Laramee, Bill Guerrero, Dave Reford, Nathaniel Hurlow, and John Westhaver on this outing.

Annie-Claude Deschênes: "Phones"

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Annie-Claude Deschênes's new single seems tailor-made to toy with my Pavlovian conditioning. "Phones" builds a groove around a distracting array of modern audio artifacts: the email sending sound, the computer speaker RF interference. It throws me at every listen, and even though I know it's coming, I fight the urge to start swatting at my phone. The track's our second preview of the Deschênes' upcoming LP Les Manières De Table, due April 5 through Bonsound and Italians Do It Better. The labels state that the new single "highlights the absurdity of excessive politeness." It's one of several tracks mentioned in this week's newsletter that grapple with our modern afflictions.

Deschênes is best known as the lead vocalist of Montreal synth-punk heroes Duchess Says and plays in their psych-flavoured offshoot PYPY. "Phones" stands out as the most significant departure from the sound of those bands. ACD co-produced the song with Jean-Michel Coutu (PYPY, Corridor, Paul Jacobs) and Italians-label head Johnny Jewel. Jewel mixed the tune. A release show for the new album is planned for April 26 at the PHI Centre, with additional engagements in Quebec and Ontario to follow in May.

Duchess Says last issued Sciences Nouvelles in 2016. In 2022, Deschênes hinted at her minimalist electro-pop future with the solo track "Electric Light," contributed to Italians Do It Better's After Dark compilation series.

Hot Mud: "Lost in the Wild"/"Where The Bad Kids Go"

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What can we make of the emerging Ottawa rock act Hot Mud? The project stems from one Muddy Watters, who, despite their improbable name, has a history of curating the Canadian underground through the Canada's Cool Culture radio show on Carlton's CKCU. The artist's in the thick of a promotional campaign teasing an intriguing new record dubbed Rehab Rock, purportedly written while Watters dried out in a capital-ara rehab facility. As you'd expect, the record wrestles with addiction and recovery, but over nine rather diverse tracks, it does so with a refreshingly deft sense of style. You can hear "Lose in the Wild" and "Where The Bad Kids Go" now, two confident previews that paint the artist as something of an Elvis Costello character, a (perhaps formerly) angry young man channelled through lushly arranged indie pop.

Referencing both the Velvet Underground and Arcade Fire, Hot Mud describes "Where The Bad Kids Go" as:

"A day in the life, an anthem for a lost lonely addict. Marching to the stumbling beat towards the shady corners of the city where the bad kids go. Looking for love, finding more trouble, and waking in the hospital to start the journey all over again and again..."

The press release dares cite both Nirvana and Frank Sinatra when describing "Lost in the Wild." Mud reveals:

"The distorted guitars and pounding drums represent the frantic anxious search for the next high. The police sirens are always in the background keeping you on the run. The innocence lost and the comradery of the broken. There is a romance there, a form of beautiful tragedy."

I'm down for a well-constructed stage persona, and whatever Hot Mud's story is, the songs hold up. We'll learn more when Rehab Rock arrives on March 1.

Spectres: "Chain Reaction"

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The new record from Vancouver post-punk quintet Spectres is only a month away. Last week, the band further teased Presence with the propulsive single "Chain Reaction." While much of the material we've heard from the record owes a heavy debt to New Order and The Cure, this track cuts closest to the project's punk roots. Vocalist Brian Gustavson revealed as much to, stating:

"There are open nods to the Southern California sounds of Rikk Agnew and the Adolescents' darker material, combined with Spectres' classic post-punk aesthetic. The track wouldn't sound out of place on a 1980s Thrasher video compilation."

The 11-song Presence lands on March 15 via Artoffact. The new album follows 2021's Hindsight, a b-sides compilation, and 2019's Nostalgia LP.

Originally from Coombs, British Columbia, Spectres features Gustavson backed by guitarist Zach Batalden, guitarist Adam Mitchell, drummer Mitch Allen, and bassist Jason Renix.

Jake Nicoll: Ego Trip

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The new full-length from St. John's singer-songwriter Jake Nicoll remains under wrap, but he's shared a charming three-song EP while we wait. Titled Ego Trip, the set finds Nicoll performing three earnest and catchy tunes, described as "poppy outliers" from recent studio sessions. You can pick them up at Bandcamp.

While his solo output tends to fly under the radar, Nicoll's made huge waves these past few years, both as an essential member of beloved PEI storytellers The Burning Hell and as a producer. On that front, he played a key role on Kelly McMichael's Polaris shortlisted Waves album (he co-produced B.A. Johnston's Argo's Suck, as well, but Polaris snubbed that one).

Jake's upcoming LP, Lonely Mission, arrives in April. Last year, he and Pam Mackenzie released a split album of intimate four-track recordings collectively billed as Pami and Jake.

TEKE::TEKE: "Bankrobber" (ft. Malcolm Bauld)

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Montreal's TEKE::TEKE lent their distinctive sound to a punk classic with a striking cover of The Clash's "Bankrobber." Their take, recorded for the upcoming Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats tribute album, premiered last week at Brooklyn Vegan. There, the band's Sei Nakauchi Pelletier revealed:

"'Bankrobber' was the first ever song I heard from The Clash, it was on a compilation tape a dear friend of mine had made for me in my early 20's. The Clash went on to become one of my favorite and most-inspiring rock bands of all-time, way beyond their musical genius but also for their political stances and DIY approach."

The friend referenced in that quote is Malcolm Bauld, lead vocalist of the early-2000 Montreal favourites The Frenetics. Bauld appears here as a guest vocalist, contributing the cover's English verses. The group recorded with Howard Bilerman at Hotel2Tango.

TEKE::TEKE further revealed that their rendition draws upon the sound of Japanese bands like Tokyo Kid Brothers or JA Seazer, tying in a 70s sound that emerged in parallel with the UK's early punk scene. The nine-track album, issued on World Clash Day, raises funds for the International Rescue Committee humanitarian aid organization.

TEKE::TEKE performs a post-modern take on eleki (60s Japanese surf rock), often ratcheted to cinematic extremes and mixed with modern post-rock, shoegaze, and psych elements. The band last issued the LP Hagata last summer through Kill Rock Stars.

Jug: Or Not

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Winnipeg's Jug has an EP out soon through Neon Taste Records, a four-song 7" titled Or Not. You can preview the gritty rockers "My Bodies Doomed" and "When" at Bandcamp.

Neon Waste celebrates the band's masterful grasp of punk frustration, a trait the write-up at Bandcamp mines for particularly gross effect. I'll avoid reposting the particulars here. In describing the band's sound, they reference "Flipper's pace and Wiccans' slow-burning ferocity" seared "to plastic." Look for the record in a limited one-time vinyl pressing on March 22.

The Fuckin Astronauts: "GT Racer"

Listen at SoundCloud

Attitude-forward Toronto synth-punk duo The Fuckin Astronauts came roaring back this week with "GT Racer," a crunchy rendition of a song first penned by Dave Tyson for his Hamilton punk outfit Dark Trip. You can stomp along at SoundCloud.

The Fuckin Astronauts features Dark Trip's Liam Cosby (also of Vypers) and Dorrie Mack (billed here as Turbo Mike and Billie Hammer). The new tune's the first from the pair since their four-track 2022 EP PJ $TYLE.

Golden Shitters: Live at Vertagogo

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On a related note, Hamilton's goon-punk trio Golden Shitters has a new live record out. Live at Veragogo features the supergroup at a hometown record release show. Trevor Cooke captured the group last fall as they played a Halloween gig supporting their self-titled LP.

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

Golden Shitters' debut arrived last October through Oregon's Memorable But Not Honorable Records. Look for them traversing the Ontario highways this month with Sudbury's Psychbike.

Crisis Party: Live In Victoria 04.16.23

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If you're snagging live sets from Some Party favourites, don't miss the latest from Ottawa's Crisis Party. The punk trio recently shared an energetic eleven-song set, captured at Victoria's Little Fernwood last April by Cody Baresich.

Crisis Party unites the prolific Haligonian artist Matty Grace (Future Girls, Cluttered, Century Egg) with Tony Cardozo (The Flying Hellfish, Precious Failures) and "Ska" Jeff Hurter (Doxx, Dogma, Exit Death).

The band issued a Pils Records studio session last year as part of that ongoing series, following up on their 2022 debut, Welcome to the Party.

Down Memory Lane: "Scars of Love"

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Melodic skatepunk quintet Down Memory Lane evokes early 2000s angst with "Scars of Love," the second single from their upcoming EP Space. The Montreal band calls the new song "a portrait on how to never forget about oneself in a toxic relationship."

Look for the album through People of Punk Rock Records, both digitally and as part of the compilation album Breathing Space. That LP pairs this new material with the songs from the band's 2021 EP Breathing. You can pick either up on March 1.

Look for a record release show on Pub la sainte-paix in Drummondville on May 4, with support from Dutch Nuggets, We Told You So, and Throw It Away. The group's also slated to appear at their label's Red Bridge Fest in the summer, performing alongside veterans like Lagwagon, Millencolin, Diesel Boy, and Zebrahead. That event goes down in Pont-Rouge, QC on June 7 and 8.

Merc & The Montclairs: Do the Salvo

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It's been a while since we've heard anything new from Toronto's aggressively off-kilter Merc & The Montclairs. The experimental group issued Do the Salvo earlier this month, following their early 2020 record Be a Galvo (both titles reference the Wild Man Fischer song "Do the Salvo," and the wider Zappa-sphere of sonic weirdness). The new set features seven recordings, including a cover of Ween's "Your Party."

Project lead Eli Speigel makes no excuses for the group's absurdist tendencies, stating:

"Making music is incredibly stupid and that's what makes it so fun... Just know that whenever these songs sound serious, listen harder, dickhead. Music is so so silly and I'm just a boy who likes changing the words of 'you' and 'me' in popular songs to 'poo' and 'pee'."

Along with Speigel, the set features contributions from Stella Tagom, Lucas Temor, Cale Weir, and Jason Shory. Slurry's Rachel Bellone also appears, singing lead on the quirky "National Portuguese Bakery." The band recorded last fall with Rob McLay producing.

The OBGMs: "Get Up"

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Last week, the acclaimed Toronto punk act The OBGMs shared "Get Up," a bombastic one-off single. Other than the 2022 one-off "Same," the track provides our first hints at the group's direction following their Polaris shortlisted LP The Ends. The band boasted, "pretty sure we released the saddest, grungiest, lullaby pop song of 2024."

The track arrives courtesy of the Burn Industry imprint. Calvin Hartwick recorded the group at Dream House Studios, with Jesse F. Keeler of Death From Above 1979 mastering (The OBGMs will support DFA on a handful of Canadian dates this May).

The Ends landed in 2020 via Black Box. The OGBMs feature vocalist/guitarist Densil McFarlane, drummer Colanthony Humphrey, bassist Joseph Brosnan, and guitarist Simon Outhit.

Jyraph: "Fantasma (En Vivo)"

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It's been a year since we last heard from Pablo Garcia-Rejon Gaubeca's solo outlet Jyraph. The Spanish-language, Montreal-based post-punk project resurfaced last week with "Fantasma (En Vivo)." You can see the hypnotic track performed by a pair of spectral Pablos in a suitably psychedelic video on YouTube.

Gaubeca's played in several Montreal rock bands over the years, including Palmetto, Hypocrites, and most recently The Wesleys. That garage quartet issued their debut EP, Outside Voices, in 2022, with new material on the immediate horizon.

Jyraph's last solo full-length, El Fuego, arrived in 2018, with several compelling one-offs trickling out in the years since.

ROY: "Now You Know"

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Patrick Lefler's psych-pop project ROY returns in April with Spoons for the World, an eight-song LP due through Idée Fixe Records. The album's his fifth overall and third for the label, following up on 2021's conceptual set Capitalism. You can hear the album's unhurried (and surprisingly dignified) lead single, "Now You Know," at Bandcamp.

Idée Fixe touts the project's evolving maturity, sharing:

"Three years on from Roy's Garage, Spoons for the World feels like a new chapter in the book of ROY. The album heralds a lyrical style that moves away from the paranoid commentary of the external to a newfound focus on the relationships to the people and places that comprise Patrick's personal world."

There's rarely a Toronto psych project that doesn't involve Lefler in some capacity. The artist appears as a producer or player on recent work from Possum, Hieronymus Harry, The Royal Family, and Bart among others.

Lefler self-produced the album, with Jeff McMurrich (Jennifer Castle, Bry Webb) acting as creative director. The record includes a host of collaborators, including vocalists Desiree Das Gupta and Sam Maloney of Kali Horse, cellist Eliza Niemi, Wine Lips' Charlie Weare on flute, Jay Anderson (Badge Époque Ensemble, Lammping) on drums, and Harrison Forman (Hieronymus Harry, Mr. Joy) on bass and guitar. Additional players include Aline Homzy and Kel Mansaray on violin, Michael Davidson on vibraphone, Steven MacPhail on flute, and Taylor Barber on vocals.

Spoons for the World arrives on April 19.

Sunglaciers: "Cursed"

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Calgary indie outfit Sunglaciers recently shared "Cursed," the first single from their upcoming album Regular Nature. Weird-folk hero Chad VanGaalen co-produced the album, the band's third, and performs on almost all of the collection's 15 tracks in one form or another. He's one of several notable contributors, including shoegazer Daniel Monkman (OMBIIGIZI, Zoon), percussionist Chris Dadge (Lab Coast, the Bleach Wipes), saxophonist Nate Waters (Friesen/Hume/Waters ), and Wares' Cassia Hardy (who makes a guest appearance on synth). You can hear both VanGaalen and Monkman on "Cursed," which is now streaming everywhere and accompanied by a suitably surrealist video on YouTube. Mark Lawson (The Unicorns, Land of Talk) mixed the album.

The band commented:

"'Cursed' is quite probably Sunglaciers' biggest downer to date. It is a piece about shattered, unsaid expectations, and reflecting on the reality of a situation after it has passed, and all that remains is its memory. It is a slow dance between regret and acceptance, a song about lost love and lost potential. It is being caught in a moment, blinded by short-term desires, only to wake up on the other side when everything has passed and it is too late to reconcile."

Sunglaciers features Evan Resnik on vocals and guitar, Mathieu Blanchard on drums, Kyle Crough on bass, and Nyssa Brown on vocals and guitar. All four members share synth credits. The band's last full-length, Subterranea, arrived in 2022. Regular Nature arrives March 29 through Mothland.

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Jean-Philippe Fréchette's eclectic indie outlet Navet Confit recently shared "Changer l'heure," the first single from an upcoming album, due in the spring. The sly track weaves subtle electronic elements around a catchy acoustic riff, only for the song to wander into a sea of shoegaze noise as it progresses.

The new recordings follow up on Bonjour, Fréchette's ninth major release, issued in 2022 through Lazy at Work, as well as a split EP with the Montreal synthpop artist Sheenah Ko. The set also arrives on the heels of last year's self-titled full-length from the post-punk / garage act Nüshu, with whom Confit plays guitar.

Ancient Teeth: "Sacrifice"

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While Ancient Teeth first surfaced as Adrian Mottram's solo outlet, the band we see today feathers a deep bench from some well-known Canadian bands. Mottram most recently played in Toronto's Sights & Sounds and has roots in the early-2000s Ontario punk group The Getaway. He's joined here by guitarist Chris Hughes (Moneen, Seas), bassist Jahmeel Russell (Red Vienna, ACTORS, KEN mode, Projektor), and drummer Mike Duffield (Beams, Flowers From Hell). The quartet has a nine-song cassette due March 8 dubbed Humanizer, with the lead single "Sacrifice" now streaming.

Mottram commented on the band's atmospheric alt-rock sound in a press release:

"It starts with a ferocious explosion of energy and slowly breaks apart through contemplative moments and dreamy atmospheric tangents. A lot of the songs are written from an intimate perspective and celebrate my feelings for different people in my life. Chris wrote three of the songs and having his voice included enriches the overall narrative. Trish Robb singing on the album was essential as well, so she took the lead on 'Vanishing Light.'"

Along with Robb, guest players on the record include Ryan Dhale (Age Of Electric), Jordy Birch (Pure), Katrina Natale (Devin Townsend), and even Mottram's parents. Ancient Teeth recorded at Union Sound in Toronto. Look for a limited cassette run through Debut Offensive Records.

No Brainer: "Lowest Common Denominator"

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Calgary punk act No Brainer recently resurfaced with "Lowest Common Denominator," their first new material since 2020's Everything is Fine. The anthemic track finds the five-piece recording with Jesse Gander (Pack Rat, Woolworm, Necking). Daggermouth's Stuart McKillop mastered. There's yet to be a word on what the band has in the pipeline, but the single arrives via Vancouver's Outhouse Records.

You can see the track performed in a new video directed by Jason Nolan. No Brainer's lineup features members from a host of Calgarian bands, including PMMA, Paradise, The Special Edisons, X-Ray Cat, and The Pissoffs.


Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

VR is a new hardcore project from Vince Soliveri and Ross Miller, frequent studio collaborators and bandmates in projects like The Stoves, Telepathic Love, and, most prominently, the current lineup of Single Mothers. The Hamilton duo issued their frantic four-song debut earlier this month, available digitally and as a limited cassette.

KYTLY: "Modern Life"

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Hamilton singer-songwriter KYTLY recently shared "Modern Life," a wonderfully hooky slice of lo-fi indie pop. In a press release, the artist shared:

"Modern Life is a song of the times. Disposable relationships. Replaceable feelings. Sensationally driven. Dopamine-rushing lifestyles. It's a self-effacing anthem for modern dating and the disingenuous process of becoming 'fast friends.'"

Laura Keightley's following up on her 2022 album Detours and Exits, produced by Brian Young of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Fountains of Wayne. In the 2010s, Keightley played in the short-lived Toronto indie-rock outfit The Caraways.

Daniel Romano's Outfit: "Chatter"

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The second single from Daniel Romano's upcoming album Too Hot To Sleep landed last week. The high-energy "Chatter" is another sign that this year's leaner iteration of The Outfit bears more than a passing resemblance to Danny's punk outlet Ancient Shapes. You've Changed Records celebrates the band's embrace of power-pop exuberance in a press release:

"Now here, in the depths of northern winter, arrives Too Hot To Sleep, simultaneously a transcendent document of the spirit, and a swaggering, street level blast of rock 'n' roll; a surprisingly direct shout down of the corrupt politicians and techno fascists that police our bodies, pollute our world, assault our connections; a reason and occasion to dance, to sweat together at one of The Outfit's legendary live shows wherein everything comes faster than the next, no breaks, no outside, there is only now, there is only all of us here together, alive. A public offering of each to each."

You can see the group perform "Chatter" while tangled up in a telephone wire on YouTube. The Outfit's new live lineup features brothers Danny and Ian Romano in a quartet with vocalist Carson McHone and Sudbury's Tommy Major (Tommy and the Commies, Young Guv). That lineup will soon hit the road in Ontario, supported by LA's Uni Boys and Prince Edward County folk singer Ivy Wye.

Too Hot To Sleep arrives March 1 through You've Changed, following up on 2022's prog opera La Luna, and before it, 2021's triumphant Cobra Poems.

Comeback Kid: "Disruption"

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Winnipeg hardcore titans Comeback Kid recently shared the second single from their upcoming EP, Trouble. You can see "Disruption" showcased in a new video on YouTube. Vocalist Andrew Neufeld commented on the track:

"'Disruption' serves as our Call To Arms type song. The continuous rhythm pounding throughout the track that never really gives in, we met with a pace of urgency. Early AFI influences popped out as we were writing this, and we embraced that! It's about just getting through the next day, or the next step because it could all come crashing down at any given moment."

He's not lying about those AFI vibes.

Trouble is due March 15 through New Damage Records as the follow-up to 2022's Heavy Steps. The band recorded with producer John Paul Peters (Cancer Bats, Propagandhi) at Private Ear Recording in Winnipeg. Will Putney (Knocked Loose, Every Time I Die) mixed the new material.

The group shared "Disruption" with news of a 17-date Canadian tour supporting the EP. The band's setting out from Halifax with a gig at the Seahorse Tavern on March 20, then heading west to ultimately arrive in Vancouver for April 11 show at The Pearl.

Comeback Kid features vocalist Andrew Neufeld, guitarists Jeremy Hiebert and Stu Ross, bassist Chase Brenneman, and drummer Loren Legare.

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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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