Friday June 28, 2024

Silver Bowl

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.

Dog Day: "Silver Bowl"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Halifax veterans Dog Day have one foot in the garage on "Silver Bowl," the lo-fi preview of their upcoming LP. The gloom-pop institution returns on July 26 with A T-shirt with Writing on It, a nine-song set that follows up 2020's comeback album Present. The band recorded at Windhill Ranch as a trio, with the husband-and-wife filmmakers Seth Smith (guitar) and Nancy Urich (bass) backed once again by the band's early drummer KC Spidle (Diamondtown, Gemstones).

Like most of the band's catalogue, the new record arrives through Smith's Fundog label. It's their second release of the year, following the compilation Almost, a set of b-sides, covers, and outtakes recorded from 2006 through 2020. That 16-song collection surfaced on January 1.

Look for Dog Day to premiere these tracks live as part of SappyFest in Sackville, New Brunswick, over the August long weekend. An album release show is slated for August 24 at the Marquee Ballroom, with support from Motherhood and idialedyournumber.

Dog Day looms large in my pantheon, and Present was a massive comfort early in the pandemic. That news of this record hasn't thrown the Canadian music world into a tumultuous frenzy, I'll never understand.

PONY: "Freezer"

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PONY doesn't miss. They're exceptional. The group's repeatedly demonstrated a deft understanding of what makes their particular brand of bubblegum-punk click. You know you're in for a delight before even hitting the play button. The Toronto group recently shared "Freezer," a new single featuring Sam Bielanski's unmistakable vocals backed by Pretty Matty's Matty Morand on guitar, Christian Beale (This is Hell, Iron Chic) on bass, and Dan Leo (Iron Chic, Morning Fuzz) on drums. The quartet recorded this one with Alex Gamble (Fucked Up, Alvvays).

I'm rather enamoured with the lyrics this time out. The first verse, in particular, remains firmly lodged in my head: "Honeysuckle in the breeze / Smells like telling lies to me / Floods my head with allergies / Of you."

The track follows up on the PONY's sophomore LP Velveteen, released in 2023 via Take This To Heart Records.

Heavenly Sweetheart: "Forgot Something"/"Gotta Go"

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

That's not all from the PONY brain trust, as June also saw the release of a new single from Heavenly Sweetheart, featuring Sam Bielanski and Matty Morand performing in a trio with Sean from Psychic Void drumming. The band describes "Forgot Something" and "Gotta Go" as "equal parts college rock and c86 jangle," with Matty taking lead vocals in this configuration. On the tracks, Morand revealed:

"These songs came together from start to finish in my little home studio (spare bedroom and an unfinished basement). 'Forgot Something' is about living in a world of constant distraction and never really being sure if you actually did the thing you were supposed to do or you just thought about it before scrolling some more. This happens to me constantly. 'Did I take my SSRI? Did I turn the kettle off? Did I lock the door? Who can say. My brain is rotten.'"

The songs follow "A Little Worse" and "Another Sunny Day," the group's debut material that first surfaced in March of 2024.

Energy Slime: "Negative Attention"/"Magic Wand"

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Quirky Vancouver synth-pop act Energy Slime returns this summer with a new LP for the We Are Time label. The 10-song Planet Perfect is the group's first new collection of music since 2014's New Dimensional, while also serving as the next step in the evolution of producer/songwriter Jay Arner's solo material. The group's core duo remains Arner and Jessica Delisle, who wrote, performed, and recorded the new record together, mostly from their apartment. You can hear two tracks from the record today, each with an accompanying video, the melancholic (yet inescapably buoyant) "Negative Attention" and the sparkling electro-funk lead single "Magic Wand."

On the latter, Arner revealed:

"Specifically this is about trying to have fun in a place that is destined to become condos. In general it's about living in a city that is hostile to me and my friends. I've lived here my whole life but I feel like I'm being squeezed out."

The accompanying video, directed by Delisle, fittingly repurposes their apartment as a fiery hellscape.

The set also features contributions from Adrienne Labelle (Garbage Dreams/Supermoon) on bass and guitar, Sean Dunal on percussion, Kelli Ogmundson on backing vocals, and Mitch Davis layering a sax solo atop the song "Zucchini Castle." Live, the group's now performing as a four-piece accompanied by bassist Jarrett Evan Samson (Tough Age) and drummer Aaron Read. You can see that lineup in the "Negative Attention" video.

The new record lands August 9 through We Are Time. Jay Arner last released the new age-flavoured Jay III in 2019.

Laughing: "Garden Path"

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Montreal quartet Laughing are celebrating the release of their debut LP Because It's True, out now on Celluloid Lunch and Meritorio Records. In a final pre-release push, the band issued a video for the single "Garden Path," repurporsing some classic Max Fleischer cartoons from the public domain. On that track, the band commented:

"... it's a scorcher if I do say so myself. A lyrical fever dream, please enjoy our bleach-stained post-shoegaze classic rock salute to the whammy bars of the world, which sway in and out of reality like a spiral flag of nowhere."

Laughing brings together Josh Salter of Nap Eyes and Monomyth, Cole Woods of Human Music, singer/songwriter André Charles Thériault, and Fountain's Laura Jeffery. Jeffrey drums while the others trade off on guitar, bass, and vocals. The group recorded the brunt of the 11-song set with Faith Healer 's Renny Wilson at Value Sound.

Laughing sounds impressively detached from the present, offering up a breezy, easy-to-digest guitar sound that's comfortingly unhurried. It's less of a throwback than it feels effortlessly timeless. I don't have the cultural authority to declare the "sound of the summer," but you could do worse.

Heaven For Real: Hell's Logo's Pink

Watch "Platforms" on YouTube - Watch "All That Remains" on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

Twin songwriters Mark and J. Scott Grundy are back with a new Heaven For Real album, a nine-track set for Mint Records dubbed Hell's Logo's Pink. The mini-album, following up on 2022's Energy Bar, moves quickly - hopping from one sonic idea to the next with a mischievous glee.

These tracks stem from sessions at Toronto's Coach House Sound in the winter of 2023/2024, a studio powered by a solar battery and wood-burning stove. The physical limitations of the space surface in the scattershot spontaneity of the new material, as J. Scott revealed:

"...the battery would drain really quick when running all of our recording gear, so we had to do pretty much everything in one take."

The record features contributions from some of the group's past live collaborators, including drums from Jonathan Pappo (Ducks Ltd., No Frills) and vocals from Laura Jeffery (Fountain, and the above-featured Laughing). Songwriter/producers Louie Short and Andrew McLeod each mixed several songs on the set.

The Halifax-bred, Toronto-based art-rock group are following up on both Energy Bar and their preposterously titled early 2022 EP Sweet Rose Green Winter Desk Top Tell This Side Autumn Of The Fighter Hot In A Cool Way.

Frozen Lake: October

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Improvisational Calgary guitarist Devin Friesen (aka Bitter Fictions) has a new duo with Tough Age drummer Jesse Locke. Frozen Lake made their debut this month with a six-song cassette dubbed October, issued through Friesen's Shaking Box Music label. On the collaboration, Locke shared:

"I've been a fan of Devin's music and label for a long time, so it's an honour to join him in this duo for my first release on Shaking Box.

As the title tells you, Devin and I recorded these improvised guitar and drums jams in his basement in October 2023, when I was back in Calgary for a few months to beat the blues. I couldn't tell you what he did to capture our gnarly sounds, but I do remember playing Drumbo's 'Electricity' beat to get us charged up, while Devin shoved shards of metal under his strings.

After listening back today, I'm excited to share our ramshackle version of Orcutt & Corsano, forged in the fires of Unwound, Sonic Youth, and all things Albini (R.I.P.). Everything you hear was made up on the spot, after taking a few heroic hits from Bongholio, and that includes the parts where we almost sound like we're going to start playing a song. Enjoy!"

Conditioner: COW

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St. John's punk group Conditioner are back with their first new collection in a few years, an anthemic five-song set dubbed COW. It's out through Barely There Records. The group features guitarist Glen May, drummer Nick Giles, guitarist Derek Ashley, and bassist Jess Gibson — with Glen, Giles, and Derek often belting out their songs in unison. The band recorded with Swimming's Liam Ryan producing. Pillea's Micah Brown mixed and mastered the set.

Conditioner last issued Low Point in 2020.

Knitting: "Spirit Gum"

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Montreal indie rock quartet Knitting are back with "Spirit Gum," the first single from their upcoming LP Some Kind Of Heaven. Look for that record on September 6 through Mint Records. The track finds the lo-fi act harkens back to the 90s to weave a brooding tale that draws equally from grunge and shoegaze. You can see it visualized in a new video that features both a cast of puppets and a heel-turn cameo appearance from singer Marlaena Moore.

Knitting features Mischa Dempsey (formerly of Peterborough's Lonely Parade), guitarist Sarah Harris, bassist Piper Curtis, and drummer Andy Mulcair. The group recorded with Preoccupations' Scott Munro at Studio St. Zo.

The band is following up on their 2021 self-titled EP and a string of digital singles issued in the years since, including 2022's "Throwaway Year" and 2023's "Fix."

Avem: Graham Cracker EP

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Avem sing snarky pop-punk songs about birds, birding, and other avian-adjacent topics. That's certainly the case on their new EP Graham Cracker, but with a slight twist. Avem's new four-song set attributes their lyrics to guitarist Ernie Moore's father, Graham. One listen to the advance preview "Bird Perv," and it's evident that the elder Moore's phrasing fits perfectly well with the group's shtick. You can hear that track now, with five others to come.

Avem features the talents of Julian Warmland (bass/vocals), Ernie Moore (guitar/vocals), Bryson Emmons (drums/vocals), John Rodgers (guitar/vocals), and Alyssa Currie (vocals). The band recorded at Capitol City Recording in Springfield, Illinois. They last issued Nerdin About Birdin in 2023.


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Toronto noise-punk act Burner are in a foul mood on "OUTTATHECOUNT," their angsty new standalone single. It's the latest from vocalist Deshaun Molloy, multiinstrumentalist Fraser McClean (Casper Skulls), bassist Amy Praught, and drummer Evan Saunders (Dead Broke). The track finds the quartet working with a slate of well-known Toronto rock producers, including Aaron Goldstein, Dylan Frankland, Stephen Pitman, and Josh Korody.

Burner issued a self-titled album back in 2018, followed by the 2023 single "Exoskeleton." While "OUTTATHECOUNT" arrives as a one-off, it's a promising sign that the band's long-awaited new LP may be just around the corner.

Frank Dux: "Zack Verkerke Your Beer Stinks"

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Cambridge, Ontario skate-punks Frank Dux recently shared "Zack Verkerke Your Beer Stinks," another preview single from their upcoming LP Product of our Youth. That album's due later this year via Pink Lemonade, Tarantula Tapes, and Thousand Islands Records.

In the premiere at New Noise, the group offered some context for the new track:

"It's no secret that the world can be a bummer, and with that comes a slew of bad actors looking to sway you with their influence. More often than not, they are feeding you nothing but lip service for their own gain. Lean on your friends and those who truly care about you."

The single follows last summer's "One... Probably Closer to Two" and "Thoughts and Prayers Will Not Save You," both of which we can expect on this record. The quartet recorded with Handheld's Pat Dietrich at The Dojo.

Frank Dux features Shawn on bass, Kyle drumming, and guitarist/vocalists Joel and Scott. The new album will be their first since 2020's Grand River Transplit, a joint release with the Cambridge pop-punk outfit Block Parent.

B.A.L.M. Squad: "Dark Times"

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Ottawa's B.A.L.M. Squad recently shared the grim title track to their forthcoming LP for Pils Records. The set, due as a 12" double EP, will feature a slate of new material alongside a re-recorded version of their debut Point of No Return. Look for it in August.

The five-piece streetpunk act recorded at NOMANSLAND studio in Gatineau with Chany Pilote producing.

Ichi-Bons: "Leopard Skin"/"Outsider"

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Toronto greasers the Ichi-Bons have a new single, available digitally and as a 7" from Rollin Records. The 45 features the songs "Leopard Skin" and "Outsider," recorded with Liam Watson at London's Toe Rag Studios during the band's 2023 UK tour. The trio wrote the A-side an assist from Paul Sheahan of the Sirocco Bros.

The new tunes follow the rockabilly group's instrumental 2023 EP Ich-I-Bon #1 and their 2022 Trophy Records single "The Dust of Life." Ichi-Bons features guitarist/vocalist Mamoru Banzai, bassist Hideki Saito, and drummer Paddy Burn.

Random Assault: Random Assault

Preview and purchase at Bandcamp released June 11, 2024

Montreal Oi! trio Random Assault has a new five-song EP out. The self-titled set showcases four originals and a cover of "G.L.C." by the '77 UK group Menace. The band recorded with Scott Golyardi (Offside/Force Majeure) in May.

Random Assault features Guillaume on guitar and vocals, a veteran of bands like The Generatorz, Manic Manon & The Guestlist, La Gachette, and Offside. Bassist Mat also played in Offside and further served with Hold a Grudge, Jeunesse Apatride, and Ain't Right. Drummer Fanny hails from bands like Manmower, The Bombs, and Up Yours.

The new set's available from Pils Records.

Phane: Maniac

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I missed this one earlier, but the UK82-styled Phane has a new LP out through Phobia Records. The 12-song set follows up on last fall's Police System 7" with another furious set of originals proudly worshipping at the altar of GBH.

The Vancouver punk act features Tim Fueled on vocals, Cordie Charge on guitar, Tyler Tornado on bass, and Pedro Negra on drums. The quartet recorded with Jesse Gander (Pack Rat, Woolworm, Necking) at Rain City Recorders. When the band returns from their European tour in July, they'll have the new LPs on hand for local distribution.

The Readys: I Don't Know I'm High Let's Just Hit Record and Hope for the Best

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Barrie's Tarantula Tapes has a new album out from the brash Newmarket party-punks The Readys. The autobiographically titled I Don't Know I'm High Let's Just Hit Record and Hope for the Best clocks in with ten new songs from the five-piece, following up on their 2019 EP Songs That Sound The Same.

The Readys features vocalist Jarod Semple, backed by guitarist Nicolo Orlando, bassist Michelle Cooney, guitarist Sean MacTaggart, and drummer Dale Semple.

Jade Hairpins: "Drifting Superstition"

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Manic Fucked Up offshoot Jade Hairpins returns in September with a new 12-song LP. You can preview Get Me the Good Stuff now via "Drifting Superstition," which again finds Jonah Falco and Mike Haliechuk lending their maximalist tendencies to gleeful indie-pop.

Jade Hairpins features Falco and Haliechuk, backed live by Jack Goldstein and Tamsin M. Leach. The band recorded with Ben Spence and Alex Gamble at a raft of studios over the past few years, with the core duo handling the instrumentation and a long list of guests adding their voices to the harmonies. The new album follows up on the recent one-off singles "Unreliable" and "This is England," landing as the band's sophomore effort after 2020's Harmony Avenue.

Look for Get Me the Good Stuff on September 13 through Merge.

Fucked Up: "Stimming"/"Another Day"

Watch on "Stimming" YouTube - Watch "Another Day" on YouTube - Preview and purchase at Bandcamp

The Fucked Up mothership also returned this month, with the Toronto hardcore titans unveiling a surprising new full-length of their own. Another Day lands on August 9. The band is staging the album as a companion piece to 2023's One Day, mirroring the branding and concept of that record. This set again features ten songs, five penned by lead-growler Damian Abraham and five by Mike Haliechuk. You can preview the title track and the single "Stimming" now, each accompanied by new videos ("Stimming" filmed by Jonah Falco and "Another Day" directed by Toronto regular Colin Medley).

The current Fucked Up lineup features Damian Abraham on vocals, Mike Haliechuk and Josh Zucker on guitar, Sandy Miranda on bass, and Jonah Falco drumming. The above-mentioned PONY team of Sam Bielanski and Matty Morand appear as backing vocalists on the record, as does Chubby and the Gang's Charles Manning-Walker, and the inimitable Danko Jones.

The new album follows April's Being Annoying single and November's Show Friends EP. A supporting tour with support from Chastity kicks off in St. Catharines, Ontario, on July 14.

Chastity: "Summer All Over Again"

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Speaking of Chastity, the Whitby alt-rock act has a new single out just in time for that trek with Fucked Up. "Summer All Over Again" is a standalone, one of Brandon Williams' first new tunes since completing the angsty suburban album cycle of Death Lust, Homemade Satan, and Suffer Summer. On it, the artist revealed:

"Summer used to feel yellow, now it feels blue, it's like damn Winter 2. This song's about that quiet melancholy, like when you're outside on a perfect day, and you miss your cue to be happy."

The track arrives via Deathwish Inc and Dine Alone Records, accompanied by a homemade video. It features Brandon backed by guitarist Scott Downes, drummer Levi Kertesz, and bassist Devon Savas. Chastity recently issued a boxed set of their album trilogy, repackaged with new artwork.

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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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