Nunavut synthpop! Scary Bear Soundtrack have fully arrived with their debut EP Ovayok Road. Way up in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, Gloria Guns and Christine Aye have been quietly making some excellent bedroom synthpop, including one of our favourite songs of last year, “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” Their sound has grown leaps and bounds, fuller, and more completely realized. It’s great to see another highlight from last year’s The Longest Night, the incredible “Fault Lines”, make the cut on this release. But every song on this record has its own special appeal, and there’s a lot range and diversity in sound throughout the EP. If we had to pick a favourite, it’s the remarkable “Victoria Island”, a super-hooky and propulsive synth-pop number with endless replay value. We couldn’t be more impressed.
Ovayoak Road is available now from Bandcamp. Don’t sleep on it!
Okay, we’re going to go ahead and call this the most glorious musical collaboration of the summer. Two long-time favourites of ours, London’s Quinn Read-Baxter and Gavin Noir have teamed up and the results are just spectacular. It’s been far too long since QRB’s “Don’t Go”, which was one of our favourite songs of last year. “Without You,” a much more downtempo and hypnotic jam, is nevertheless another incredible single, and was produced by none other than Ontario’s reigning bedroom Italo revivalist, Gavin Noir. Maybe we should start calling Gavin London’s Johnny Jewel?
We first learned about Toronto hip-hop duo Above Top Secret when they released the wonderfully dark “Ghost” back in March, but they haven’t been idle since. Two days ago they dropped “WTF?!”, a slightly off-kilter jam full of unusual samples and inventive rhythms. It’s tough to pick a favourite element of this beat! The strange flute-sounding thing? The occasional guitar stab? SunSun’s production may be endlessly interesting, but singer/MC Ayo Leilani is no slouch either though, her vocals effortlessly floating on top of the beat, embodying the essence of WTF.
Above Top Secret perform this Friday at Camp Wavelength on Toronto Island, co-presented by multimedia collective 88 Days of Fortune. Silent Shout’s ARP 2600 will be DJing in between bands, and there’s lots of other faves on the bill too, including Doldrums, Zoo Owl, and RAVETAPES.
Toronto’s Century Palm has an impressive pedigree, with members having done (or currently doing) time in Zebrassieres, Ketamines, Tough Age, Dirty Beaches and more. After last year’s excellent s/t EP, the group has returned with a 7” on BC’s premier purveyor of punk, Deranged Records.
“Valley Cyan” is an expedition into territories previously explored by the luminaries like the Units, Devo, and Pere Ubu, but sheds new light on some formerly uncharted corners. No band has ridden a wave this new nor this brave since ‘79.
Grab the “Valley Cyan” 7” now over here.
If you’ve been following along for the past few years, you know how much we’re fans of Violence, following their career since the release of their phenomenal debut EP in 2013. What we love about them since then, is that despite the fact the core electronic elements are left in tact, each new release sounds completely different from the one before.
Case in point is their latest single “Shaking Pictograms.” The song sounds similar to their past outings with the dark synthwave we’ve come to expect, but adds new elements that we never would have expected from the band. There’s a certain layer of funkiness behind the single, and we love that.
Following Violence continues to be a journey that we’re happy to join them on. And excitingly, the journey continues with the release of their new EP Le Théâtre, due out September 11 on Visage Musique, and a launch party at Casa in Montreal on September 25th.
Hey, a new tune from our favourite Winnipeg bedroom synthpop auteur, Dave Shaw aka Glass Random! Also known for making excellent music under the name Camp David, he’s about to release his fourth release, the Leave Everything EP. If the title track is any indication, we’re in for an emotional synthy journey that’s very much on a psychedelic tip. It reminds a bit of the best of old-school Miracle Fortress, maximalist synthpop with a sweet centre. Knowing Shaw’s track record, odds are this EP is going to be amazing. Can’t wait.
In the meantime, check out the extensive back catalogue on Soundcloud.
Word to the wise: The Marquis, the brainchild of Montreal’s Dillon Steele, is probably the best new post-punk act we’ve heard all year. We’re incredibly pleased to premiere the first single off his debut EP, which features drums and production by Silent Shout fave Charlie Twitch, and cello by Christophe Cinq. The song’s called “lil bb” but it’s not the hyper-referential internet pop jam one might expect with a title like that. Instead, it’s a classic-sounding post-punk track that oozes paranoia and dark pronouncements. And sure enough, the thundering drums and crisp production really remind of Charlie Twitch’s work as ¡FLIST!, which is the best because we want more things that sound like that.
The Marquis EP is out in October on Art Not Love Records and we have a powerful hunger to hear it. In the meantime we’ll satisfy our ear-cravings with repeated plays of “lil bb”.
L Con, aka Lisa Conway of Toronto’s Del Bel, has been making excellent music for a very very long time, but this brand new single takes us back to those Chrome and the Ice Queen days. “The Distance of the Moon” is a slow-burner full of longing, with the slightest tinge of Lynchian darkness. A wonderfully contemplative piece featuring an incredible horn outro, it’s a song one can spend a whole day inside.
“The Distance of the Moon” is available now on 7″ with an amazing minimal vocal piece, “Without Colours,” on the b-side. You can pick it up from Bandcamp. Both tracks are early versions of songs that will be on L Con’s next full-length Moon Milk, which we absolutely can’t wait to hear.
A lot has happened since we went away, but two are particularly noteable: an election was called in Canada, and Petra Glynt released a song about it. A recording from the Toronto mainstay is a rare breed indeed, but something about the horrible policies of current (and hopefully soon-to-be-erstwhile) Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper behooved her to release the on-point “Murder.”
While not subtle, “Murder” is definitely an important work, and we wish more musicians would take political action in this day of apathy and low-voter turnout. Here’s what Alex Mackenzie (Petra Glynt) has to say on the matter:
Dear, Mr. prime minister Stephen Harper,
As we are nearing the end of your 10-year tenure, I can’t tell you how many times I have felt the range of emotions between severe disappointment and rage, how many times I wanted to shake your reality so that you could witness the lives you are allowing to be crushed by your economic gains. We don’t care about economic gains. We do not want the wealth of temporal money. I hope that once you have stepped far away from your current position, you will see the damage you have done and what wealth could alternatively mean.
Not to mention the song itself, which is wonderful! Mackenzie’s deep croon — a staple of the project — is prominent throughout as well as her wild drumming style and delicately placed synth samples. Hopefully you’re all inspired now to do your own bit of campaigning to get Harper out of office.
The last we heard from Teen Daze, he had released a pared-down ambient record on his bandcamp. But it seems that a lot has happened since then, as his next album Morning World is due out on the illustrious Paper Bag Records. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise to those following along since he always seemed well connected, composing remixes for the likes of Young Galaxy, You Say Party!, Jay Arner and many others.
The sounds on the latest single is unlike anything we’ve heard from the prolific Vancouverite. “Along” is a densely layered prog-pop masterstroke and certainly an interesting direction. I mean, the comparisons to Pink Floyd not withstanding, we love it when a band takes a chance like this, and expected nothing less from Teen Daze. As an added bonus, they’ve released the original demo as a b-side for the single, so you can hear it in its nascent stage too.
Morning World is out August 7 on Paper Bag.