Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Chastity’s second full-length record, “Home Made Satan”, is a more barbed direction for Whitby, Canada-native Brandon Williams. It’s an emotional and political concept record, the 2nd instalment of a building trilogy, from the perspective of a young man who’s spent too much time alone, allowing paranoia to drown out the reality of the outside world. It’s an album about fear, an intense meditation on youth, suburban life and extremism in a sinking Western World.

Williams, who produces all his own music, created something with a strong cinematic nature, a record that sounds somewhere between My Chemical Romance and The Smiths (even as he cites Morrissey’s alignment with the UK’s far-right as the complete opposite of his own political view). Recorded in a small studio in London, Ontario, with his full live band in the few weeks between a European tour with Fucked Up and a seven-week North American tour, Williams crafted Home Made Satan like he was producing a film—his bandmates were the cast members, his engineer the cinematographer, and Williams the writer. “It’s visual,” he says. “I’m scoring this picture I have, and trying to get it as close to people’s ears as it is in my mind.”

The new songs are gothier and hookier than ever, recalling ‘80s goth staples like The Cure. Home Made Satan’s got more eyeshadow than 2018’s acclaimed shoegaze-meets-hardcore Death Lust, and it’s got pop sensibility for days. Williams has toned down the reverb, too, on the new record, with an emphasis on vocals and lyrics. Home Made Satan, with its lines about commies and masochism and the evangelical right, is meant to sing along to.

And when you do, you’ll mostly be singing about America’s fall. About hyper alienation and xenophobia, the people’s struggle for happiness, those without access to community who become afraid and more alone. “It feels like America’s constantly coming undone at its seams,” Williams says, “and it’s falling apart on its most vulnerable people first.” He’s jumped more into politics on this record, with an intent to represent those often unrepresented.

Through songs like “Flames”—a gauzy, hook-heavy, tongue-in-cheek tune that draws a line between sexual fetishism and the fetish of the “American dream,” and parallels bleak emotion with bleak economy—and “Last Year’s Lust,” a melancholy track about the dark thoughts we get when we’re alone for too long (“Today, I stay home / I make sure I’m not going to hell”), Williams sings the song of those trying to survive on their own.

Home Made Satan is acutely political, but it’s also romantic. “The Klan still meet in London, you should come,” goes the song “Spirit Meet Up” a fraught-sounding standout about a Bonnie and Clyde-style affair. “I’ll bring my weapons / Unmask ‘em, skin ‘em, cut ‘em

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/ Watch them run, organs bleeding, falling, dying.” The young man is out to fight for what he believes, battling hate and discovering critical thought of his own (“With a full stomach and another plate to eat / You say commie like it’s a bad thing,” he sings.) The violence, Williams explains, is done with the belief that it will “net good” for the world at large. As the record moves on, “Sun Poisoning” is about the melancholy that often comes with the vulnerability of a new relationship, feeling happy and sad at the same time, “Do you want to see / How easily my teeth bleed?” Williams sings, “Do you really want to see / If you can make me happy?”

On “The Girls I Know Don’t Think So,” which Williams refined with the help of his bassist Julia Noel, he sticks up for the concerns outside of his own lived experience. Here, the young man finds his heart. He ridicules men who harass women, men who say “no need for hostility,” when there is a long list of reasons to be hostile. “Dead Relatives” is a mournful song in which the young man bemoans traditional American values and stews at home, hoping for the day of radical reform to come— “There’s a special place in hell for the Christian right,” Williams sings, “Bury your parents tonight.”

With Home Made Satan, Williams chooses a side. And that side is with youth on the fringe, those in the struggle, and the far-left. With this record, Chastity rises as a young voice for revolutionary thought, action and song.

released September 13th, 2019

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On July 12th, Sub Pop Records released “Automat”, a collection of METZ non-album singles, B-sides, and rarities dating back to 2009, available on LP for the first time, and including the band’s long out-of-print early (pre-Sub Pop) recordings. It’s a chronological trip through the lesser-known material of Metz, the widely-adored and delightfully noisy 3-piece punk band from Toronto, ON.

The vinyl LP format of Automat included an exclusive bonus 7” single of Metz interpretations of three diverse cover songs, a glimpse of their wide-ranging and excellent taste. And, on August. 20th these three bonus tracks will be available in digital services everywhere. Rejoice! And then also go listen to: a cover of Sparklehorse’s “Pig,” from a very limited 2012 Record Store Day split single originally released by Toronto’s Sonic Boom record shop; “I’m a Bug,” a cover of the Urinals’ art-punk classic, originally released on YouTube (not an actual record label) in 2014; and Metz’s previously unreleased rendition of Gary Numan’s “M.E.”

released August 20th, 2019,
2019 Sub Pop Records

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Toronto group Ducks Unlimited have a jangly sound that owes much to ’80s indiepop like The Go-Betweens and the rosters of Flying Nun and Sarah Records. They’ve opened for The Goon Sax and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever and have just released this cracking slice of strummy goodness, “Get Bleak.”

Ducks Unlimited Featuring guest vocals from Laura Hermiston of fellow Toronto band Twist, “Get Bleak” is a jaunty slice of C86 indie-pop. The song pokes fun at the wishful thinking that simply moving to a new city will fix your problems, and it also sulks in that reality. “You flew across an ocean to / Get bleak,” sings lead vocalist Tom Mcgreevy against chunky guitar plucks.

Released July 16th, 2019

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Toronto jangle-pop quartet Ducks Unlimited have shared their new single “Get Bleak” taken from their forthcoming currently untitled EP, out later this year.

Featuring guest vocals from Laura Hermiston of fellow Toronto band Twist, “Get Bleak” is a jaunty slice of C86 indie-pop. The song pokes fun at the wishful thinking that simply moving to a new city will fix your problems, and it also sulks in that reality. “You flew across an ocean to / Get bleak,” sings lead vocalist Tom Mcgreevy against chunky guitar plucks.

Mcgreevy says of the track: “Get Bleak” is a song about this idea that moving somewhere else is going to solve all your problems. It’s something that I’ve heard expressed by a lot of friends in one way or another, especially as more and more people are getting priced out of cities like Toronto, New York and London. There can be plenty of good reasons to leave the place that you’re from or somewhere you’ve made your home for a long time, but I think there’s this ‘grass is always greener’ thing that in my experience, and anecdotally from people I know, just isn’t true. It’s hard to move to a new place, and you’re still going to be you when you get there with the same issues and hang-ups, plus you’re going to miss the people who care about you, and they’re going to miss you.

Ducks Unlimited have previously opened for artists like Weyes Blood, Rolling Blackouts Coast Fever and The Goon Sax . released July 16th, 2019

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Three girls, three instruments and one hell of an awesome and brutal energy. That’s how we describe in few words our new favorite Toronto’s band, The Beverleys. They play fast, loud and with no bullshit. Brutal was their debut album and is literally how that word sounds. We all have very different influences… Susan loves Nirvana, it’s her favorite band of all time and so she loves the heavy grunge stuff. Steph is more of a Britpop and hip-hop kind of fan and Joanna loves all sorts of classic rock music, Britpop and shoegaze. It was just sort of all those things coming together and that’s just what made what you hear today. Nothing purposely influenced what we did.

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Originally released November 6th, 2015

Susie – Lead Guitar, Vocals
Jo – Guitar, Vocals
Stephanie/Audrey – Drumz

Written and Performed by The Beverleys 

Sandro Perri returns with In Another Life, his first new solo album since the acclaimed Impossible Spaces from 2011 (which garnered a Best New Track and Top 50 Albums of 2011 from Pitchfork, among many other accolades). Perri has been called “one of the most singular producers in contemporary music” and his long affiliation with Constellation through various electronic and singer-songwriter guises (Polmo Polpo, Glissandro 70, Off World) has produced a uniquely adventurous and iconoclastic discography. In Another Life expands on this in peerless fashion.

The new album is what Perri describes as “an experiment in ‘infinite’ songwriting.” The title track is a 24-minute pop mantra for sequenced synth, piano, guitar and voice, progressing sideways rather than forward. A relaxed three-chord vamp runs the length of the album’s Side One, peppered with Sandro’s languid, lilting vocal and adorned with continually developing musical details – massaging the listener with the joys of repetition while defying stasis and monotony. Like the longer-form work of fellow-travellers Bill Callahan, Destroyer or Arthur Russell, Perri extends the notion of the meditative minimalist pop song to its literal maximum, flouting ‘commercial’ concerns in our streamingly short-attention-span era – and perhaps implicitly calling for a politics of slow consumption? The lyric of “In Another Life” suggests as much, moving through bemused critiques and degrees of equivocation about unrealized utopias, culminating with the final stanza: “Beyond the choice of create or destroy / inherit, steal, gift or employ / Fair is far too small a word we’d enjoy / In another life / So hold a promise no bigger than two hands / Hope scaled and re-read in human / And not reduced to a list of demands / In another life.”

Side Two of In Another Life features a similar approach, though in a distinct 3-part series: “Everybody’s Paris” begins with Perri on vocals, with the mic then handed over to André Ethier (The Deadly Snakes) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer) respectively, who each take a vocal turn singing lyrics of their own. Sandro calls this “a song-cycle designed to accept any lyrical variation fed into it: a fill-in-the-blanks questionnaire in the form of a song.” Of course “Everybody’s Paris” ends up being much more than this, with the evocative phrase of the song’s title serving as the lyrical tent pole and recurring refrain; an anchor point for signification and sentiment that intentionally belies the suggestion of anything prosaic or administrative about Perri’s formal conceit. In the hands of these three master lyricists and voices – and with Perri subtly reconfiguring the instrumentation and arrangements for each of the three parts – “Everybody’s Paris” emerges as a profound and fitting sibling (a set of triplet brothers?) to Side One’s ‘infinite’ title track. 

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The result is a gently yet enormously affecting album that basks thoughtfully and discerningly in a slow, sweet melancholia. In Another Life is a supremely listenable return to form for Sandro Perri, the music like a temporal analogue to a tender nature tableau registering slight changes under shifting light and a meditative gaze: at once appearing to signify only itself, while auguring the promise of harmonious life. 

Released September 14th, 2018

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Black Dresses is the collaborative effort of the artists known as Dei Genetrix (formerly Girls Rituals) and Rook, and we named their debut album Waste Isolation one of the best albums of 2018 so far. Not long after that, Black Dresses put out the Hell Is Real EP. The duo’s noisy dark-pop is as ferocious as it is fun, even when they’re singing about traumatic experiences. Catharsis is this band’s driving force; if you don’t have anything to scream about, they’ll give you something to scream about.

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This is like lesbian Death Grips…. On second thought, these women make Death Grips look like Bryan Adams. Synths that can abrade away cities and lyrics that will send violent shivers down everyone’s spines. It’s painfully honest, horrifically brutal, and definitely one of the best things I heard this year!

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Remembering Alexander Lee “Skip” Spence, born on April 18th, 1946, born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada — he died on April 16yj, 1999.

He was co-founder of Moby Grape, and played guitar with them until 1969. The first Moby Grape album is probably in the Top 10 Psychedelica rock albums of all time! Skip released only one solo album, 1969’s Oar, and then largely withdrew from the music industry. He had started his career as a guitarist in an early line-up of Quicksilver Messenger Service, and was the drummer on Jefferson Airplane’s debut album, Jefferson Airplane Takes Off.
He has been described on the Allmusic website as “one of Psychedelia’s brightest lights”; however, his career was plagued by drug addictions coupled with mental health problems, and he has been described by a biographer as a man who “neither died young nor had a chance to find his way out.”

Described as “one of the most harrowing documents of pain and confusion ever made”,the album was recorded after Spence had spent six months in Bellevue Hospital. Spence had been committed to Bellevue following a delusion-driven attempt to attack his ex Moby Grape bandmates Don Stevenson and Jerry Miller with a axe.

In November 1968, Alexander ‘Skip’ Spence stepped outside Bellevue Hospital for the first time in five months. While he had dozens of new songs and sketches in his head, he was no longer a member of Moby Grape. He needed another outlet. Meeting with producer David Rubinson at a hotel in Manhattan, Spence hatched a plan to record his new material in Tennessee.

Receiving some advance money from Columbia, he bought a motorcycle, and… well, either he returned to his family in California, or he drove down to Nashville. The timeline and course of events is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that in early December, Spence entered Columbia’s Nashville studio on 16th Ave. Though his future was unclear, he was ready to embark on a solo project. It turned out to be a recording process – and record – like no other.

The 12 original songs on Oar communicate a whole range of emotions. Often, it’s as though Spence is whispering to us, stuck somewhere between accusation and confession. At times, he croons in a baritone, telling tales of travel and betrayal. Other times, he cracks himself up with his own wordplay. There are moments when his music veers towards the dreamy, others when the sense of intimacy is arresting.

After its original release in May 1969, Oar went out of print. Yet over the years it has returned to us again and again. When first released, Oar was not promoted by Columbia Records, despite pleadings fromproducer  Rubinson. It was at the time the lowest-selling album in Columbia Records history. Subsequent reissues have added ten more songs, in different stages of completion, to the original dozen. The original release ended with a fade out of “Grey / Afro”. The 1999 Sony/Sundazed reissue appends “This Time He Has Come” to a fade-less “Grey / Afro”, which reflects how the two songs appeared on the master tapes.

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The Dirty Nil play rock and roll. Loud, distorted, and out of control, they play like it’s a fever they’re trying to sweat out. Reveling in the din of distorted guitars, pounding drums, and desperately howled vocals, the Hamilton Ontario three-piece makes music for turntables and hi-fi’s – music for dive bars and house parties – for beer drinking and joint smoking – for road trips and barbecues – for fighting and yelling and shouting and singing and screaming and howling – for sweating and bleeding – trying and failing and trying again anyways. Gravel-in-your guts, spit-in-your-eye, staggering, bloodthirsty rock and roll. They have two 7″s available that capture the snarl and destructive noise they create. The Dirty Nil play rock and roll – cause they couldn’t do a damn thing else if they tried. The Dirty Nil present their second single Pain Of Infinity from their upcoming album Master Volume, out September 2018 on Dine Alone Records.

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Band Members
Luke Bentham: Guitar and Vocals
Kyle Fisher: Drums
Ross Miller: Bass and Vocals

Toronto’s Vypers released a new 4-song EP back in March and if you want the limited vinyl, you’d better act quick!, The four-track offering will be treated to a physical release on clear 10-inch vinyl via Fishbum Records.

Vypers play loud high energy psychedelic garage rock all enveloped in a wall of noise and plethora of hooks.

A couple of the tracks are previously released but no matter, “Mr. Girl” deserves to be played at least as much as “Despacito.” . Beyond that, you can also check out the new video for “My Girl.” It was shot on a ’90s camcorder and the band blew their $50 budget on “dollar store confetti guns and gin.” The results are exactly as fun as they sound.

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Vypers The Band are:

Nic Waterman – Fuzz Guitar, Vocals
Damien Florio – Drums
Patrick Lefler – Bass
Liam Cosby – Verb Guitar, Vocals