Thursday June 6, 2024

Got You On The Run

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.

This year's turning out rather unlike the well-oiled machine I had hoped for. From day to day, I'm lurching clumsily from one responsibility to the next, somehow successfully ticking off the unnegotiable boxes, but only just so. When I started Some Party, I knew the daily Punknews coverage treadmill had become untenable, so I counterprogrammed. I designed a system that practically beseeches me to ignore it. It's my neglect engine - out of step as a feature. So, while the newsletter, or the lack thereof, rarely causes me much stress, there are times when a prior issue is so glaringly distant that I feel the need to admonish myself publicly. That's especially true when updates from artists I've cherished for decades start piling up.

I've reached that point. So here I am, resetting the clock, taking my lumps, and feebly chipping away at the backlog. My apologies, good people of the Dominion of Canada.

Cuff The Duke: "Got You On The Run"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

I lived in Guelph during the early aughts, contemporaneous to Three Gut Records' short but impactful lifespan. I was in the Royal City at the right time and place (entirely by accident), and few labels occupy such a hallowed place in my canon. While this newsletter's given me ample opportunity to tout my Cons fandom, I've rarely had the opportunity to fawn over their labelmates Cuff The Duke. I wore through my Life Stories for Minimum Wage CD in the summer of 2002. The band's sometimes quirky mix of roots elements and guitar squawl spoke to a shared conversation in Canadian music at the time - reverberating among folky punk hybrids like The Weakerthans, Jon Rae and the River, the Sadies, and (a bit later) Attack In Black.

This September, the group returns from their decade-plus hiatus. Breaking Dawn lands September 6 as the band's seventh full-length, launching their new label Cardinal Records with a dozen songs. Wayne Petti's vocals are instantly familiar on the lead single "Got You On The Run." The artist commented on the song in an Instagram post:

"This is one of a few songs on the record that had been floating around for years and never finished. My first demo of it was from 2015! I had the chorus written but not the verses. All the songs on this record are mostly my reflections on my own mental health, and this was really the first song I wrote that addresses that. When I wrote, 'I add it up day by day, the over-under odds I play and when it hits, I can never say but oh I got you, I got you on the run' I knew that the song was going to be about how my anxiety had a way of creeping in at unpredictable times or at least it seemed that way. The feeling of always being chased by those feelings because they weren't being addressed."

A video for the track repurposes old Super 8 film footage shot by Petti's grandfather in the 60s. Boy Wonder compiled and directed the visuals.

Emerging in Oshawa, Ontario in the early 2000s, Cuff The Duke last issued the Union LP in 2012, sandwiched between two EPs of cover songs (In Our Time and In Our Time Part II).

Nap Eyes: "Feline Wave Race" / "Ice Grass Underpass"

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When we last heard from Nap Eyes, the celebrated indie rockers were putting their pensive spin on classics by Bonnie Raitt and (somewhat unexpectedly) Green Day. Three years out from 2021's When I Come Around EP, the Halifax-rooted band is back with a slate of new material and the promise of a new LP.

"Ice Grass Underpass," written by Nigel Chapman in 2009, predates the group's formation and heralds the sound they'd establish on 2015's Whine of the Mystic. It appears here in its first official capacity, with the crunch and squeal of Brad Loughead's guitar supporting Chapman's signature deadpan. The expansive "Feline Wave Race" bookends the group's songwriting journey, the product of contemporary sessions focused on improvisation and nonlinear narratives. "Wave Race" came together in Windsor, NS, with Loughead mixing in Los Angeles. The group recorded "Ice Grass" in Montreal with Faith Healer's Renny Wilson. Director Bailey Salwey visualizes both tracks in new videos.

Nap Eyes released Snapshot of a Beginner, their fourth LP, in early 2020 through Royal Mountain, Jagjaguwar, and Paradise of Bachelors. These new tracks and the album they foreshadow arrive again via POB. Nap Eyes features Nigel Chapman on vocals and guitar, guitarist Brad Loughead, bassist Josh Salter, and drummer Seamus Dalton.

Rick White and The Sadies

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

After the passing of Dallas Good, the ties binding The Sadies to indie legend Rick White only became stronger. With the loss still raw, Rick celebrated his longtime collaborator with a faithful album of Sadies covers. This summer brings the artists closer still with the arrival of a communal album of brand-new material. The 13-song Rick White and the Sadies, recorded in the early winter months of 2024, lands this week through Rick's Blue Fog Recordings. LPs are on order now, with the digital set available early through Bandcamp.

On the project, White revealed:

"I've always had a close relationship with The Sadies. I met Dallas Good in 96 and we hit it off right away. He played in Elevator from time to time and i did lots of artwork and song writing for the Sadies. We shared an apartment in Toronto in the early 2000's and in 2003, Me, Greg Keelor and all the Sadies recorded an album together called THE UNINTENDED. Ever since then we had plans to record another LP together but it never managed to come together before Dallas's untimely death in 2022.

Well, we've finally done it, thirteen brand new songs filled with sweet melodies and swirling psychedelic guitars like only our special connection could create. The loss of our brother Dallas understandably focusses many of the lyrics on mortality. Of course we had him clearly on our minds while making this album. He may not have physically been here with us, but he is very much a part of it. The lyrics are about the loss of a loved one and the light and dark of life in general. We made this album to help lift us, an album we really like, an album we think Dallas would like too."

Rick White's best known for his time with the pioneering New Brunswick act Eric's Trip. A prolific home recorder, he recently issued the minimalist new wave set Music Box and the feedback-drenched De-Evolution EP. The Sadies, featuring guitarist/vocalist Travis Good, bassist Sean Dean, and drummer Mike Belitsky, issued Colder Streams, their final recording with Dallas at the helm, in the summer of 2022. That album, released via Dine Alone and Yep Roc Records, landed on last year's shortlist for the Polaris Music Prize.

Julie Doiron/Astral Swans: Split 2

Watch "The Coward" on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Calgary singer-songwriter Matthew Swann has a new split 7" on the way, pairing his surrealist Astral Swans vehicle with New Brunswick indie legend (and Eric's Trip alumni) Julie Doiron. Each artist contributes two songs to the project, which appears to be the second in a series following Swann's 2023 team-up with Chad VanGaalen.

You can hear Astral Swans' single "The Coward" now, featured in a new video from director Mitch Nybo. Doiron's tracks, which are not yet available online, feature a rhythm section of Dany Placard on bass and Construction & Destruction's Colleen Coco Collins on drums. Look for the set on June 14, lathe-cut to vinyl through Red Spade Records.

Astral Swans last issued a self-titled LP in 2021. That record featured Doiron providing guest vocals on several tracks. Doiron issued I Thought Of You that same year through You've Changed Records.

The Deposed: Dumb it Down

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Intriguing Toronto punk act The Deposed are back with another digital single. The two-song set features the high-octane rocker "Lipsmacked" and the sneering title track "Dumb it Down." The band recorded at Dining Room Sound with Thrush Hermit's Ian McGettigan engineering. They commented:

"These two songs continue our quest to capture the point of early punk while avoiding the brain-fog of nostalgia. You decide whether we pull it off or not."

The new tunes follow The Deposed's 2023 singles "Something Gone Wrong" and "Takedown."

The OBGMs: The Healing

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Toronto's The OBGMs talk a big game, but their EP The Healing delivers on it. The two-song EP pairs their previously shared "Get Up" single with the newly unveiled "I'll Be Okay," a multi-faceted punk ripper featuring a rapid-fire vocal appearance from Toronto rapper Just John. Both tracks find the group careening ahead at full speed, with the latter muscling some metal and hardcore into the mix. Denz McFarlane puts his vocals through the ringer on both tracks.

The two-song digital set 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 OGBMs feature vocalist/guitarist Densil McFarlane, drummer Colanthony Humphrey, bassist Joseph Brosnan, and guitarist Simon Outhit.

The new EP follows the group's acclaimed 2020 LP The Ends (Black Box).

Kelly McMichael: "Bomb"

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St. John's singer-songwriter Kelly McMichael taps the Riot Grrrl sound on "Bomb," the third preview of fall's After The Sting Of It LP. The track provides a spirited counterpart to our earlier glimpse at the record, with "You Got It Wrong" and "Too Soon To Tell" each taking a quieter approach via piano-driven folk-rock. After The Sting Of It, due on LHM Records, follows McMichael's 2021 debut Waves, which not only landed on the Polaris shortlist but earned an East Coast Music Award for Rock Recording of the Year.

The new track again finds McMichael again teaming up with Jake Nicoll of The Burning Hell. He serves here as a co-producer, engineer, and mixer. You'll find another familiar face, José Contreras of By Divine Right, credited with mastering. "Bomb" finds McMichael backed by Nicoll on drums with Sarah Harris on bass.

Scott Sheppard of Corner Brook's Bus People showcases the track in a surreal animated video.

Bus People: Starcade

Watch "Skaters" on YouTube

Speaking of Bus People, the synthpop duo (or "lo-fi prom band" if you ask them) recently issued their debut full-length. The eight-song Starcade unites vocalist/keyboardist Aley Waterman of Toronto dream-pop act Galaa with bassist/guitarist Scott Sheppard from island garage rockers The Rangers. Together, they've crafted a set of nostalgic tunes that reminisce on 90s youth culture, with the album's very title referencing a video arcade from Corner Brook's now diminished Valley Mall. That vibe's perhaps best captured in the single "Skaters," a "psychobabble pop-punk anthem" awash in coming-of-age innocence. You can see it in a vintage-styled video with animations from artist Vasco Cavalheiro.

The band recorded with producer Phil Churchill (The Once) in 2022 at Ginger Beard House studios. Starcade serves as the inaugural release from Milltown Records, a new LHM Records imprint focused on western Newfoundland artists.

Jake Nicoll: Lonely Mission

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The aforementioned Jake Nicoll also recently issued a new solo record. You can find the nine-song Lonely Mission streaming everywhere. It's astonishingly the St. John's songwriter's 11th full-length. The album's spacious and intimate, a product of COVID-era mandated solitude. Don't assume, though, that it's some lo-fi basement affair—Jake's too deft a producer, and his skill's on full display. Get your headphones out. In a statement, the artist sets the scene:

"The title refers to both the title track of the album and to the time of the album's creation - deep in the dark lonely depths of the pandemic. Stranded on his family farm for that first year of lock-downs and outbreaks, Jake assembled himself a studio in a cabin, built himself a number of vintage styled tube preamps, microphones and compressors and nestled into his creative cocoon. With the snowy rolling hills and farm fields as a backdrop, Jake let his creativity wander; writing, recording and experimenting with a patience that only a locked-down pandemic world could grant to an artist. Having stepped out of the endless rush of touring, producing albums, and running a recording studio, Jake found himself thinking about the larger questions of life and the future of this warming planet."

The new album follows Ego Trip, a decidedly poppier EP issued as a teaser in February. While not working in the studio or recording solo, Nicoll performs with beloved PEI storytellers The Burning Hell.

Unwanted Noise: Bury Me On The South Shore

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Longueuil street punk act Unwanted Noise has a new full-length in the wild. Bury Me On The South Shore clocks in with 11 new takes on the band's self-described "chaos punk" sound, recorded by Scott Golyardi (Force Majeure, Méfait) at Studio 440. The vinyl's out through nearly a dozen labels, with North American pressings available via Truckstop Toilet, Dismantled, and Gatineau's Pils Records. A video for the suicide-prevention track "Prevail" premieres online this Friday.

The new album follows 2021's North American Invasion split with California's D-Con and 2019's Tonight We Die full-length.

Innes Wilson's Freightliner: "Let It Run"

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Guelph singer-songwriter Innes Wilson recently shared "Let It Run," a feel-good slice of Americana from his Freightliner trio. The artist describes the track as a road-trip song, with lyrics focused on "letting things go and the hopeful determination to move on to a brighter future."

The track follows October's "Country Fair Queen" one-off and last year's five-song II EP. On it, you hear Wilson on lead vocals and tenor guitar, R.P. McMurphy on guitar and bass, and Joshua Osmond on drumming. St. John's musician Ally Corbett makes a guest appearance on the fiddle. Richie Gregor recorded and mixed the set.

During the pandemic, Wilson issued several collections of frustrated pop-punk tunes under the name Part-Time Cool.

Les Dales Hawerchuk: "Belle Voitutre"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Roberval rock heroes Les Dales Hawerchuk have been uncharacteristically quiet lately. Other than a theme song composed for the Chicoutimi Saguenéens junior hockey team, we've not heard from the group in nearly eight years. "Belle Voitutre" marks the band's return, eschewing their usual on-ice theme for a muscular road song. It's our first glimpse of the band's yet-unannounced new release, their first since 2016's Désavantage numérique. It'll be their fifth LP.

Les Dales Hawerchuk features the brothers Sylvain and Sébastien Séguin on vocals and guitars, with bassist Charles Perron and drummer Pierre Fortin. They recorded with Fortin and Gautier Marinof engineering at Croco and Tone Bender Studios.

Boids: "Go Slow"

Watch on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Montreal punk trio Boids have a self-titled LP due later this month through Stomp Records. You can preview the 11-song set with the lead single "Go Slow," now streaming everywhere and showcased in a newly unveiled video. The album follows the band's 2021 EP Disassociation and their hooky 2020 LP Quel Drag.

Boids features guitarist/vocalist Patrizio McLelland, bassist Andy McAdam, and drummer Mike Gasselsdorfer. The trio recorded with Ryan Battistuzzi (Taxi Girls, Hood Rats, Conditions Apply) at Le Stuzzio in Montreal. Look for the new album on June 28.

Eye Ball: "Kick You"/"Violins"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

I'm never sure how much anonymity folks want for their weirdo side projects. Eye Ball is a thrilling new punk outfit from somewhere-Ontario featuring personnel I've mentioned in this column before, not that the Bandcamp credits state as much. The whip-fast singles "Kick You" and "Violins" are an absolute riot, billed by the band as "hastily made music for hastily made people." Aren't we all?

You can hear the complete Eye Ball discography in two and a half minutes, with more soon to come. Windsor's Jesse Fellows is presumably involved in this set, but you didn't hear that from me.

Malcolm Bauld: "Imaginary Son"

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Montreal singer-songwriter Malcolm Bauld recently broke a sixteen-year drought for new material. You can stream the single "Imaginary Son" everywhere. It's the artist's first original solo release since the 2008 album Covered In Dust.

If you're of the right age, you'll likely recognize Bauld as the lead vocalist of the early-2000 Montreal punk act The Frenetics. A few months ago, the artist revisited his band's catalogue with gorgeous new renditions of two familiar favourites. January saw an emotional take on "Journalist," a track from 2004's Grey Veins To The Parking Lot. In December, he cast back further, resurfacing "Are You Waiting?" from 2001's These Mistakes Took Years Of Practice as a piano ballad. It's wild to hear these songs in a new light.

Earlier this year, Bauld lent his vocals to a cover of The Clash's "Bankrobber," paired with Montreal psych septet TEKE::TEKE. Their take appeared on the Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats tribute album.

The Ramblin' Ambassadors: Por el atajo Instromundial

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Hot damn, this is a nostalgic edition of the newsletter for me. One of my first loves in music, let alone the Canadian corner of it, was Huevos Rancheros, Calgarian purveyors of cowboy surf-rock. They may be the first band I saw live as a teenager.

While Huevos hung up their spurs long ago, Brent J. Cooper carried their spirit through several records with The Ramblin' Ambassadors - but even that band's been quiet for over a decade now. The group re-emerged in April with a new EP, available on vinyl through Madrid's Ghost Highway Recordings as part of the label's instrumental singles series. Por el atajo Instromundial delivers four new tracks, including a cover of The Fleshtones' "Double Dipper." The years have done little to dull my love for this sound. One listen, and I'm back where I started, underage in a dingy St. Catharines student bar (one that's long since burned down).

The Ramblin' Ambassadors feature Brent J. Cooper on guitar, Chixdiggit!'s Tyler Pickering on drums, and Garrett Thorson on bass. The band last issued Ramble On in 2012 through Mint 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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