Sunday January 19, 2020

Mark Zuckerberg

Wares have a busy weekend of Alberta festival gigs ahead of them, with appearances planned in the coming days for both Edmonton's Winterruption YEG and Calgary's Big Winter Classic. If you catch them at one or the other, be sure to snag a cassette or two from the band. Not only are they packing their brilliant self-titled 2017 debut, but they'll also have a share of Some Party's Under The Circumstances run in tow. For the immediate future, Wares has pledged all sales of their cassette stock to the Unist'ot'en Camp Legal Fund, supporting the indigenous re-occupation of Wet’suwet’en land.

Far be it for me to let a good idea slip by without getting on board, so Some Party will be following suit. If you were waiting on ordering one of the new comps, now is the time. I'll also donate whatever comes in over the next few weeks to the Unist'ot'en Camp. You can order a cassette online here.

Winterruption and the Big Winter Classic are running simultaneously this weekend, with several bands making appearances at both events on alternate days. Wares' Big Winter Classic set goes down at Calgary's Last Best Brewing Company on the 24th, part of a stacked bill that's headlined by Toronto art-punks Weaves. That same day you can catch their Some Party tape-mates in Partner at Yellowhead Brewery up in Edmonton. At Winterruption, Wares are playing Freemason Hall on January 25 with Ezra Furman headlining.

Listen: Wares - "Rice Paper Dress" @ Bandcamp

Winterruption and the Big Winter Classic are also set to feature my satin-clad Niagara neighbours Dboy. The gimp-masked, Soviet-style punk trio formally announced their sophomore full-length last week. New Records In Human Power arrives on February 14 from Dine Alone Records in Canada and Alcopop! in the UK.

The Welland band previewed the new 12-song, 19-minute set with the single "Red Ultra Glide." You can check it out below through a new video from director Chris Paco. Release shows for New Records go down on February 14 at the Warehouse in St. Catharines and the next day at the Monarch Tavern in Toronto.

The new album follows a series of recent short-form releases from the group, including the ATTN SPAM digital single, the 3-song Dboy for President 7", and a split with Daniel Romano's Ancient Shapes.

Dboy features the gravelly pipes of guitarist/vocalist Matt Sajn (Northern Primitive), backed by bassist Tony Ventresca and drummer Ricky Pridmore (both of whom played in Welland ska-punk act The Snips).

Watch: Dboy - "Red Ultra Glide" @ YouTube

Halifax's wry, literate indie-rock quartet Nap Eyes have a new full-length on the way this spring titled Snapshot of a Beginner. The record, which follows-up 2018's I'm Bad Now, arrives March 27 with Royal Mountain, Jagjaguwar, and Paradise of Bachelors carrying it in various territories. It'll be the band's fourth outing.

The announcement arrived alongside the jangle-pop lead single "Mark Zuckerberg," replete with a beautifully hypnotic animated video. In a statement the band commented:

"People are scared of Mark Zuckerberg. You look at him before Congress and think, 'Is this the bogeyman? Is he a CIA plant? Can he read my mind with some sort of God-mode search feature in all my chat transcripts?' This video leads us to believe that Mark wants to enjoy and surveil whatever world he inhabits, whether it’s starting a band with ghastly apparitions in the spirit realm or changing size according to his whim while observing natural and urban landscapes with equal awe. He wants you to accept his friend request and let him watch over you. 'When there was only one set of footprints in the sand...'"

Nap Eyes featured vocalist/guitarist Nigel Chapman, drummer Seamus Dalton, bassist Josh Salter, and guitarist Brad Loughead. The group recorded at The National’s Long Pond Studio in upstate New York with producers Jonathan Low and James Elkington. Look for Nap Eyes on the road soon, supporting Dan Bejar's Destroyer.

Watch: Nap Eyes - "Mark Zuckerberg" @ YouTube

Toronto avant-pop artist Scott Hardware recently shared "Joy," the gorgeous second single from his upcoming Telephone Explosion full-length Engel. The 8-song album arrives on April 3. In a press release Hardware commented on the new song:

"[Joy is] a song not about experiencing Joy but a promise to myself to keep looking for it. Reading the lyrics back revealed to me that I consider this pretty hard work; I’d have to keep pushing the boundaries of my own spirituality, sexuality and relationships to find it. By the end of the song I’m begging no one and nothing in particular to 'give me to my Joy.'"

The track features Ice Cream bassist Carlyn Bezic and Hooded Fang drummer Jonathan Pappo playing. Robert Shortill and Dan Lee engineered the track, with David Psutka mastering. The record's rather provocative cover art was crafted by Chris Curreri. Scott Hardware recorded Engel at Telephone Explosion's "pay what you can" recording space, Studio Z (which was just recently profiled by Now Toronto).

Engel will be Hardware's first new release since his 2016 full-length Mutate Repeat Infinity. It includes the recent single "Bound Together," which we first previewed this past July. Hardware has roots in the Toronto psych group Ostrich Tuning. Following his time in that group, he relocated to Berlin where his solo efforts first emerged under the name Ken Park.

Listen: Scott Hardware - "Joy" @ Bandcamp

Last week at Punknews.org I premiered a new video from London punk four-piece Red Arms. The band lays down some classic Hüsker Dü and Dinosaur Jr vibes in their clip for "All That Noise," the second single from their late-2019 full-length Critical State. Guitarist Eric Longtin had this to say about the video:

"All that Noise" was filmed on Sept. 5, 2019, in London, Ontario, among the ruins of a rehabilitation center for World War II vets, located in a beautiful inner-city enclave called Westminster Ponds. The stark contrast between the reclaimed natural beauty of the area and the decaying buildings from a dark chapter in our history mirrors the dichotomy between the melodic pop sensibility of the song and its bleak subject matter.

Red Arms recorded Critical State at 11th Hour Studios between the spring of 2017 and the summer of 2018, mixing at the Sugar Shack last winter. The band features guitars, vocals, and synth from Roberto LoRusso and Eric Longtin (Snacks?), backed by the rhythm section of bassist Curt Hebert (Limiter, Daily Murders) and drummer Jay Westman (Baptized In Blood, The Weekend, The Matadors). The 10-song record is available now on vinyl from Yeah Right Records and cassette via Reel to Real.

Watch: Red Arms - "All That Noise" @ YouTube

Moncton, New Brunswick indie-folk trio Les Hay Babies return next month with Boîte aux lettres, their third full-length. The francophone group's new album arrives on February 28 from Simone Records.

You can preview the group's new material with the single "Same Old, Same Old," which arrived alongside a video last week. Les Hay Babies features Katrine Noël (Tampa/Thomé Young), Vivianne Roy (Laura Sauvage), and Julie Aubé. Boîte aux lettres follows a few years of side-projects, collaborations, and solo work from all three principles. As a group, they last released La 4ième dimension in 2016.

Watch: Les Hay Babies - "Same Old, Same Old" @ YouTube

Madeline Link's low-fi rock band PAX recently released Melt It Down, a three-song digital single featuring the new songs "89 Days" and "Blown By the Wind," along with a download-only secret track. It follows the Toronto group's September-released single Sucked Up.

From roots as a bedroom recording project, PAX grew last year into a full band featuring Link backed by guitarist Dexter Nash, bassist Noah O'Neil, and drummer Shane Hooper. The group's last physical release was the full-length Ouch on Art of the Uncarved Block. Madeline and her sister Eva Link recently released the full-length Big Time, as the jangle-pop duo Triples.

Listen: PAX - Melt It Down @ Bandcamp

To help launch their now-ongoing Western Canadian tour, Ontario post-hardcore superstars Alexisonfire shared a slow-burning new single titled "Season of the Flood." It's the third track to arrive from the popular group since their reunion, following 2019's "Familiar Drugs" and "Complicit."

Frontman George Pettit commented in a statement:

"I’m very proud of this new song. There were some first time attempts for us and we all really came together in the studio to make this song what it is. This was also my first time singing with Dallas [Green] on a song. I know I’ve been playing in a band with Dal for almost 20 years, but damn, that guy’s voice could melt an angel."

Dine Alone will release the track physically as a limited 7" single with an etched b-side. The band's recent singles are their first studio material since 2010's Dog's Blood EP and the 2009's album Old Crows / Young Cardinals.

Listen: Alexisonfire - "Season of the Flood" @ YouTube

Alexis are playing those western dates alongside L.A. punks The Distillers and Montreal garage-rock quartet NOBRO. The latter recently announced an EP through Dine Alone, titled Sick Hustle. It arrives on April 3. You can hear the sugar-bomb first single from the set, "Marianna," linked below.

In a statement vocalist/bassist Kathryn McCaughey commented on the track:

"It’s a song about a girl named Marianna. She is my best friend and the OG guitar player in NOBRO. We thought we were going to take over the world with our 'onslaught of shred and grit' but before we were about to play our biggest show to date, Marianna told me she was moving away to live on a goat farm in northern BC. I was heartbroken—absolutely devastated. But as they say 'the show must go on' and it did and it still does. I wrote her a song so at least when we play shows she can still be there with me, always."

NOBRO features McCaughey with guitarist Karolane Carbonneau, Lisandre Bourdages on keys and percussion, and drummer Sarah Dion.

Listen: NOBRO - "Marianna" @ YouTube

Niagara-on-the-Lake emo heroes Heavy Hearts are back with a new single titled "Vexed." You can check it out through a slick new video below.

The band recorded at Arc Recording Studios in Hamilton with producers Julius Butty and Cory Bergeron. They're following up their 2018 New Damage single Cut Too Deep with this song, although no word's yet arrived on where it'll end up.

Heavy Hearts features vocalist/guitarist Justin Glatt (vocals/guitar), bassist Jamie Gorman, guitarist Riley Jensen, percussionist Joey Demers, and drummer JJ Sorensen.

Watch: Heavy Hearts - "Vexed" @ YouTube

Fredericton art-punk trio Motherhood has a few quirky new projects on the horizon. On March 1, the group will release Live From Sedalia, an EP worth of recordings which will arrive both digitally and as a limited edition VHS tape. The band recorded the session in March of last year in a cabin in the woods outside of Sedalia, Colorado. Motherhood will produce 50 vintage tapes featuring the 20-minute, four-song set. If your VHS deck happens to be in the shop, you can preview at least a portion of the footage now on YouTube.

The group will also soon take part in a direct-to-vinyl live session at Brooklyn's Leesta Vall Sound Recordings. Motherhood will travel to the studio in early February, where they'll track one-of-a-kind, personalized recordings to a 50s-era record cutting lathe. You need to pre-order one of these if you want one, as there's only so much time in a day to bang these out. Each will be unique.

Motherhood last released Dear Bongo on the Forward Music Group. The trio features lead-vocalist/guitarist Brydon Crain, keyboardist Penelope Stevens, and drummer Adam Sipkema.

Watch: Motherhood - "Hallway (live from Sedalia)" @ YouTube

Halifax punk trio Souvenir has a song online titled "Promises." That's unfortunately all the information I have on this one, but if you're into gruff No Idea styled melodic hardcore (and who isn't), you should check them out. You'll know more when I do.

Listen: Souvenir - "Promises" @ Bandcamp

Podcasts

The new episode of Come For a Ride features a chat with Nick Flanagan, the Toronto and L.A. based comedian who once fronted Brutal Knights and Wrong Hole. Jesse Locke (Tough Age) and Kritty Uranowski (Lavender Bruisers) co-host the Toronto-based interview show.

Subscribe: Come for a Ride on iTunes

Speaking of Jesse, Motorists, Locke's new band with Feel Alright's Craig Fahner and Matthew Learoyd, are showcased on the new episode of City Slang. Emmanuel Sayer (of Ottawa Explosion fame) and video director Travis Boisvenue host the Ottawa-area interview show.

Subscribe: City Slang on iTunes

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