Friday March 15, 2024

Modern Myth

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.

Sham Family: "Modern Myth"

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Toronto punk quartet Sham Family cuts a stark profile on "Modern Myth," colouring their driving social commentary shades of Joy Division, the angular Dischord sound, and modern curiosities like Protomartyr. The track takes a grim view of society's preference for self-affirming narratives over objective fact, as the band explained in a statement:

"'Modern Myth' takes on our society's obsession with creating and recreating stories rather than truths. From National Enquirer alien babies to modern election interference, we have been consistently at odds trying to figure out what we actually know versus which fictions we've swallowed whole."

The quartet recorded with Holy Fuck's Graham Walsh (Hot Garbage, Tallies) at Palace Sound, with Justin Perkins mastering. The song is the first follow-up to their attention-grabbing, self-titled 2022 EP. Director by Bee Pethick showcases the track in a new video that matches its fuzzed-out intensity with dizzying layers of abstract footage.

"Modern Myth" arrives via Born Ruffians' Wavy Haze Records. Sham Family features vocalist Kory Ross, backed by drummer Zachary Cockburn, bassist Jason Brum, and guitarist Cole Sefton.

The Scenics: New Part In Town

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Victoria label Supreme Echo is showcasing Toronto proto-punk pioneers The Scenics with a new archival release. On April 29, they'll issue New Part In Town, a 10-song collection of recordings from 1976, eight of which were previously unreleased. The set features audio remastered from the original analog tapes, packaged with an eight-page booklet of stories, artwork, and photos from the era.

The version of the band captured here features Ken Badger and Andy Meyers sharing guitar, bass, and lead vocal duties, backed by their original drummer Mark Cusheon. The latter would leave the band by the spring of 1977, with the group continuing through several further lineup shuffles before imploding in 1982. During that time, they issued a single full-length, 1979's Underneath The Door. Colin Brunton, director of the seminal Canadian punk short The Last Pogo, praised The Scenics as "the most creative, the most original, and the most daring band in that original Toronto scene."

You can preview three songs from the record at Bandcamp now, with the nearly-nine-minute "Little Johnny Jewel" reserved exclusively for the physical release.

Indian Giver: "Soul Wound"

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Indigenous hardcore act Indian Giver recently shared a seething new single titled "Soul Wound," commenting:

"Soul Wound is about the psychological and Intergenerational impacts of the residential school system. As an Intergenerational survivor of the Cecelia Jeffrey residential school in Kenora, ON - this song is about the weight of this history and the isolation of the modern world."

Milan Sarkadi recorded and mixed the track at Toronto's Dreamhouse Studios, with Dan Weston mastering. "Soul Wound" is the first new Indian Giver song to surface since "Blind" in 2022 and "Blood on the Cross" a year before. The track arrived alongside news that the band would appear at this year's Lawnya Vawnya festival in St. John's, NL. They'll join an eclectic lineup that includes recent Polaris winner Debby Friday, Inuk singer Willie Thrasher, Montreal punks PRIORS, and more on the first weekend in June.

Seed Toss: Safe And Sound

Watch "Dog Peach" on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Montreal's Seed Toss has a new EP out through Michigan's Setterwing Records, delivering five cuts of propulsive, 90s-flavoured alt-rock. There's a familiar grittiness to the band's approach that I can't quite put my finger on, but it evokes that early 2000s No Idea sound. The set opens with the muscular single "Dog Peach," a song recently showcased in a video from director Alice Hirsch and the band's Maxime Lajoie.

Seed Toss features Lajoie (Spite House, Deeper Well), backed by Donavan Robert (Argument), Marco (Private Hell), and John Donnelly (The Fake Friends, Mundy's Bay). The new material follows up on 2022's Love Business EP.

The Fake Friends: "Internet Boyfriend"

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Last week, the bold Montreal post-punk group The Fake Friends issued "Internet Boyfriend," the first single from their upcoming mini-album Always Worse / Never Better. You can hear the song in a frenetic new video from director Rose Cormier, comprised of a fast-edited collage of show footage and other hijinks.

The new seven-song set follows up on 2022's Good Enough. The band recorded with the aforementioned Max Lajoie (Spite House, Seed Toss) and Jordan Barillaro (Gutser, Thick Glasses) engineering, with Barillaro and Lucas Liberatore mixing the set. The new record is due March 22 through Stomp Records.

The Fake Friends emerged over the pandemic from members of Trigger Effect, Mundy's Bay, Watch for Wolves, and Kennedy. Their lineup on this record features vocalist Matthew Savage backed on various tracks by a revolving cast of performers, including guitarists Luca Santilli, John Donnelly, and Felix Crawford-Legault, bassist Michael Kamps, multi-instrumentalist Timothy Aaron Bryan, and drummers Joel Hoelscher and Michael Jalil Khayat.

Corridor: "Mon Argent"

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Jangle-pop luminaries Corridor continue to fascinate with the second single from the fast-approaching LP Mimi. You can hear "Mon Argent" everywhere or see it alongside a new visualizer on YouTube. On the track, the Montreal band commented:

"We all end up dealing with things that we don't necessarily understand. Nothing more abstract, insecure and random as the income of a musician. It was a good theme for our anti-rock/adult life record and it made us laugh. It's also ironic how taboo it is to talk about. When I told the band the song was going to be called 'Mon Argent' (My Money) Sam looked down as if he had just gotten fired from the band."

Mimi arrives on April 26 through Sub Pop and Bonsound.

This year's model of Corridor features Jonathan Robert on vocals, guitar, and synths, Dominic Berthiaume on vocals and bass, Julian Perreault on guitar, and Julien Bakvis drumming, with the new addition of Samuel Gougoux (TDA, VICTIME) on keys. The twitchy electronic effects speckled throughout "Mon Argent" certainly feel like Gougoux's handiwork. The group 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.

3Dspex: "Payday"

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Sudbury pop-punk act 3Dspex has a new office-set video out for "Payday," the first single from their upcoming EP Depth Perception. The downtrodden anthem delivers authentic 90s alternative vibes as the track intensifies towards a shout-along crescendo. The band recorded at their hometown's Deadpan Studios, with the new set due March 29.

Depth Perception follows up on the band's 2021 EP Sunny Days Inside a collection recorded under the name VCR (of which there was one too many). The group also issued the "Midwest Success" standalone single in 2022. 3Dspex features vocalist/guitarist Jame Quenville, guitarist Joe Genier, bassist Tony Carr, and drummer Dylan Baron.

Lemongrab: I Spy with My Little Eye

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February ended with the arrival of the sophomore LP from Lemongrab. I Spy with My Little Eye delivers ten new songs from the lo-fi art-punk outfit. Formerly based in Montreal, Lemongrab principles Léonie Dishaw and Gaëlle Cordeau decamped for Berlin some years ago, reviving the group in Germany with a new five-piece lineup. The new record, independently released by the group, follows up on 2021's EP The Wet Album and Lemongrab's 2019 debut It Doesn't Sound Good but It Feels Awesome. You'll find material on the album sung in English, French, and German as the band rifles through a range of quirky, punk-adjacent styles.

La Sécurité: Stay Safe! Remixed

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La Sécurité's art-punk triumph Stay Safe! was a highlight of 2023, and the band's giving the album a fresh spin with a collection of six remixes. Newly released via Mothland, Stay Safe! Remixed finds the band reworked a cast of electronic-minded artists from Quebec and abroad. That cast includes Born at Midnite (the duo of BBQT's Amery Sandford and TOPS' David Carriere), Amsterdam's The Mauskovic Dance Band, post-punk droners Freak Heat Waves, Dur Club (1/3 of Montreal's Le Couleur), Malépart (Thierry of Choses Sauvages), and Standard Emmanuel. La Sécurité notes the last act in that list is the "secret project" of bassist Félix Bélisle.

Regarding their contribution, Freak Heat Waves commented:

"We hope you enjoy our lush, heady, and prom-ready take on La Sécurité's 'K9'. We stripped the track down to a few core elements, and then built it back up over a detailed and expressive groove that ultimately dissipates into the universe, leaving you ready to hit 'play' again."

La Sécurité recorded Stay Safe! with Samuel Gemme 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.

N1_SOUND: Mantras

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Jon Schouten's headfirst dive into dub and electronic music takes him far from my comfortable frames of reference, but while I'm ill-equipped to comment on the sounds he's producing, I'm more than happy to go along for the ride. Having witnessed Teenanger's wild evolution from garage-punk into the groovy Uh Huh, this next leap certainly feels apt. Billed as N1_SOUND, Schouten recently issued a new two-song set titled Mantras, available through the Telephone Explosion offshoot Spiritual World. On the instructions, the label shared:

"Cabaret Voltaire's Three Mantras might be the least known, most influential record of all time. An outlier within an outlier's 16 year catalog, the mysterious slab is composed of two side-long tracks stretching over 20 min each with confusing track titles and a third track either completely missing(?) or intentionally omitted(??). Who really knows or cares. What matters is the vibrant bouquet of dub & eastern musical influences and the minimal drum machine beats resulting in a collage of crunchiness that repeats ad infinitum until the hypnotic grooves feel permanently imprinted into your brain. MANTRAS by N1_SOUND is an homage to this incredible piece of music while actually sounding very little like its obscure and largely uncelebrated reference.

MANTRAS isn't trying to recreate or rework Three Mantras, however, it borrows the inspiration or overall desired 'experience': Unabashedly acknowledging and celebrating where its particular sound came from, while giving the highest praise to its originators."

The audio is available on a limited 12" vinyl pressing.

Mantras is N1_SOUND's second recent project in the genre, following the debut from Y'Know, which paired Schouten with longtime bandmate Melissa Bell on a similarly dubby exploration. That duo issued a self-titled single in January.

ROY: "Spoons for the World"

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Raven Sings The Blues recently premiered the title track to ROY's upcoming album Spoons for the World, a confidently unhurried psych-pop gem. It's our second preview of the record following the ballad "Now You Know." Idée Fixe Records wrote enthusiastically about the reveal, sharing:

"The perfect album opener, Spoons brings the optimistic message that every day is filled with fresh promise. A kitchen jammer to be certain replete with Altec crushed acoustic leads blazing over Kali Horse's Sam and Des' swooning vocals as Harrison Foreman weaves magic and Jay Anderson keeps it all together."

The eight-song Spoons for the World arrives on April 19, following up on 2021's Capitalism. It's ROY's fifth album and third in partnership with Idée Fixe.

ROY mastermind Patrick Lefler self-produced the album, with Jeff McMurrich (Jennifer Castle, Bry Webb) acting as creative director. The record includes a host of collaborators, including the aforementioned Desiree Das Gupta and Sam Maloney of Kali Horse, cellist Eliza Niemi, The Royal Family' 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.

Mudie: "Yeux Rouges"

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Montreal mainstay Hugo Mudie may be calling it quits, or, at the very least, he's strongly considering it. The Sainte Catherines frontman revealed the news alongside his new single "Yeux Rouges." He commented, en francais:

"J'ai décidé ( plus mon corps que moi ) que 2023 était ma dernière année à être chanteur, comme métier. Vous lirez mon livre Pleurer devant du pain pour comprendre, mais vous pouvez aussi écouter ma toune Yeux Rouges qui sort le 8 mars, sur aucun label.

Je vais avoir quand même quelques tounes de Mudie qui vont sortir dans la prochaine année + au moins un album d'un de mes bands et même un album d'un nouveau band. Mais je ferai pas de shows ( sauf peut-être un, genre avec Ron Hextall ou Drogba mettons qu'ils veulent essayer ça) et pas de nouveau stock. Est-ce que c'est pour toujours ? Je sais pas. Mais j'aimerais."

While he's alluding to new music from several projects, Mudie also implies the well may be dry and that live shows are increasingly unlikely. The artist's proven prolific in recent years, issuing the solo full-length Bad Vibrations in 2023 amidst a steady stream of digital singles, splits, and a revival of the rootsy Yesterday's Ring.

Mudie plays on this poppy number with Karl Houde (Blurry Eyes), Adrian Popovich (FRVITS, American Lips), and Louis Valiquette (Blurry Eyes, Yesterday's Ring).

Dark Mean: "Working Hard"

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Rough-hewn Hamilton indie rock act Dark Mean recently resurfaced, sharing the slow-burning single "Working Hard." It's the first work the trio's shared since their 2016 single "Settle Down," and before that, the 2014 EP Samuel The Phoenix. It sure sounds like the band's extended hiatus was a source of frustration. The group shared:

"In terms of what inspired the song, or the lyrics... umm probably desperation. Feeling so desperate for something to happen while full-well knowing time is not on your side and there is nothing you can do but wait. So the opening of the track begins with this sort of cathartic release 'Working hard, killing time. I woke up wrong, just to feel right.' Doing nothing is often harder than doing something, right?"

The band recorded with producer Michael Keire (The Crowleys). Dark Mean features Mark Dean, Billy Holmes, and Sandy Johnston.

Handheld: "No Footsteps to Follow"

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Kitchener pop-punk icons Handheld have a new live record celebrating their 25th anniversary. First assembled in 1998, Handheld put out a half dozen releases in their original incarnation, last issuing a self-titled full-length in 2008. They reformed in 2018, with their latest LP, A Canadian Tragedy, arriving in 2022. Live at 25, which features songs spanning their entire catalogue, arrives on May 10 through Thousand Islands Records.

Pat Dietrich recorded the 14-song live set on an October 2023 show at The Revive in Waterloo, Ontario. Matt Gauthier mixed and mastered it. A recently unveiled video for the song "No Footsteps to Follow" previews the audio and shares some footage from that night.

Book Buddies: Sean

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Dartmouth indie rockers Book Buddies recently released Sean, a five-song EP that follows their debut 2022 full-length, Best Before.

Book Buddies brings together members of the Nova Scotian rockers Designosaur and the metalcore act Pale Ache - with members also appearing in punk outfits like Outtacontroller and Cluttered. That roster includes vocalist Becca Dalley, bassist Anna Cannings, guitarist Andrew O'Toole, and drummer AJ Boutilier.

Cell Press: Cages

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Montreal noise-rock act Cell Press recently released a muscular nine-song full-length titled Cages. Drawing on a gnarly mix of metal, hardcore, and sludge, the group stresses the importance of the album as a whole. They comment:

"We are trying to offer a full-length album with no filler from start to end and are appealing to our listeners to embrace an almost passe era where bands present collections of songs that are meant to be listened to altogether and that fit and tell a complete story, with each song being individual chapters to that story."

The band recorded as a trio, with PQ on lead vocals, Sean Arsenian tackling both guitar and bass, and Mark McGee holding it down on drums. Sean Pearson (TV Freaks, the Black Halos) recorded the band at Boxcar Sound in Hamilton. Members of Cell Press previously performed in a range of noisy bands, including The Great Sabatini, Biipiigwan, I Hate Sally, The Chariot, Animal Ethics, Architect, Swarm Of Spheres, and Angles.

Cages is out now on The Ghost is Clear Records, Ancient Temple Recordings, and No List Records. The set follows up their four-way 2021 split with Botfly, Anthesis, and Greber.

Wasting Time: "How Much I Miss Those Days"

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Toronto pop-punkers Wasting Time recently linked up with People of Punk Rock Records to share the first single from their forthcoming third album, Hurry Up and Wait. You can stream the bouncy "How Much I Miss Those Days" everywhere or see it on film in a new performance video on YouTube.

The quartet is following up their 2023 EP Chainsaw Dynamos and the preceding year's full-length Once More Without Feeling. The new set finds them again working with producer Matt Gauthier.

Wasting Time features Mad Vlad on guitar and lead vocals, Mike on bass, Mark on lead guitar and Nick on the drums.

The Sylvia Platters: "Severance"

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Jangle-pop act The Sylvia Platters recently shared "Severance," the melancholy second single from an upcoming album for Abbotsford's Grey Lodge Recordings. The band recorded with Jordan Koop (Dumb, Apollo Ghosts) at The Noise Floor on Gabriola Island.

The Sylvia Platters features guitarist Alex Kerc-Murchison, bassist Stephen Carl O'Shea, vocalist/guitarist Nick Ubels, and vocalist/drummer Tim Ubels. The Vancouver band's new material follows their 2022 EP Youth Without Virtue.

Basement Revolver: "Red Light"

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On "Red Light," Basement Revolver spins a traffic fine into a full-blown meditation on financial difficulties. The Hamilton dream-pop group commented:

"As a band who has received our fair share of parking and speeding tickets while playing shows and touring, we are no strangers to financial setbacks surrounding our dreams. At a band practice, our guitarist/vocalist Chrisy shared that they had received a red light ticket which was especially frustrating because it cost more than what they earned on their most recent paycheque.

Although the song was inspired by this specific red light ticket, it's also about financial struggles in general and how they often get in the way of our personal goals."

In contrast to the frustrations expressed in the lyrics, "Red Light" boats a bright and buoyant sonic profile that should please fans of bands like Alvvays. The song is the group's first to follow up on their 2022 Sonic Unyon album Embody. The quartet features bassist/keyboardist Nim Agalawatte, guitarist/vocalist Chrisy Hurn, guitarist Jonathan Malström, and drummer Levi Kertesz.

Class of 91: "Burn Down"

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Ottawa rockers Class of 91 recently shared "Burn Down," another entry in their stream of propulsive love letters to the sound and vibe of Hüsker Dü. The track, along with "Broken Window," follows up on the band's 2022 EP Lost Stories.

Class of 91 features vocalist/guitarist Ian Ferguson, guitarist Brock Sarault, bassist Fred Pantalone Jr, and drummer Steve Clifford. The quartet recorded in August of last year, self-producing with Kristian Montano (Kali Horse, Daniel Romano) mastering. You can next catch them live at the Dominion Tavern on April 13 with Drift Current and Juventud.

Night Lunch: "Junkyard of Love"

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Montreal's off-kilter indie-pop act Night Lunch marked their SXSW voyage with a new video from Fire in the Rose Garden. The band worked with artist Phil Osborne of Osborne Oddities on a surrealist piece celebrating "Junkyard of Love." The director revealed how the clip came together:

"Lukie gave me some footage that he and Marlee shot in a junkyard. I edited what I thought were the best parts then did some rotoscoping of Lukie over the footage using a computer screen as my rotoscope machine. Going frame by frame with paper on the screen, tracing him playing guitar or dancing. These parts were inspired by Rick Raxlen's animations. Then I decided to improvise some more animation based on what is said in the lyrics, including some junkyard-type creatures such as a love tank shooting hearts out of its eyes. All drawings were done using sharpies on 8.5" by 11" paper. At least 600 drawings in total."

The band self-produced the recent 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 arrived last fall through Mothland.

React to it at your leisure

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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