Category: New Release
Zachary Gray and Para Palabras join forces on Containment, a new split release from London, Ontario imprint A Person Disguised as People. The pairing of these producers is ideal, as both excel at crafting electronic music rich in technical detail, texture, and timbral nuance.
Zachary Gray kicks it off with a set of intricately woven rhythms and soft focus textures that float, bend, and decay in a fashion comparable, but certainly not reducible, to BoC, Tycho, et al. The track “You’re A Real Class Act” (and its dusty ethereal coda) ranks among Gray’s finest work. On the second half, Para Palabras delivers a batch of equally substantial tracks that are, by comparison, more stylistically varied. In “1AM”, for example, percussive and synthesizer sounds seamlessly morph amid a static vocal loop, while “Borracho” explores a spacious Balearic vibe, laced with captivating pentatonic melodies and pitched percussion.
Containment is a standout release for both producers and a great place to begin for the uninitiated. Pick it up now via Bandcamp.
After a bursting onto the scene and earning the sixth spot on our Top Songs of 2014, Gavin Noir’s singular synthpop has returned in the form of the Lovelife EP. The London, Ontario based “enigmatic producer” offers us a return to 80s synthpop pastiche, drenched in pastel tones, innocuous tape hiss and dissonant vocals. Standout track “Someone Like You” is a slow dance ballad that has all the right elements to become a smooth disco-ball anthem in the world of – let’s say – Netflix’s upcoming Wet Hot American Summer TV series?
We’ve been waiting for an official release from Gavin for a long while, and are super excited to finally have something. The Lovelife EP is out now on his Bandcamp and is available digitally for the price of $3.
Rhythm of Cruelty, the mysterious Edmonton duo of Ian Rowley and Brandi Strauss, released their follow up to last year’s Dysphoria with Saturated, a bleak as hell 7-track banger with catchy post-punk tunes for the post-apocalypse.
The LP opens with the eerie audio-collage “Knowing Your Future,” that sounds like a cut from an ’80s neo-futurist soundtrack to a film full of punk mutants hiding out from the sun’s radiation in decayed cities waking from a nuclear winter. Sweeping LFOs, guitar feedback and creepy squeals of a sax open the LP until the militaristic industrial rapping of the drum machine kicks in high-gear on “Day In, Day Out” and continues to pound out over the next six tracks.
There is a sinister union of man vs. machine going on here, with the crashing punk howl of Rowley’s guitar, Strauss’ high-played Peter Hookesque basslines, and her dejected vocals caught between the dripping cave echo and the glossy wool of reverb – all in time to an up-tempo distorted machine march.
Our bloggy brethren Quick Before it Melts are becoming well-known for their annual Canada day Cancon covers compilation Dominionated, and this year’s edition featured a ton of artists we love, including Kashka and Matt LeGroulx (of Galaxius Mons). But our two very favourite covers were Toronto’s VIRE taking on Nash the Slash’s stone-cold classic “Swing Shift” and Winnipeg bedroom pop maestro Camp David‘s version of another synth-pop-pantheon cut, Spoons’ “Nova Heart”.
Download the compilation for free from Quick Before it Melts. Canadian music! What can we say, we like it!
The title of Stefana Fratila‘s new album is fitting, since each style is only there for a short time before transitioning into something else. There’s delicate and sweet moments, unnerving atmospheric sounds and deep, steady beats. The end result is a mixed collage of sounds that demonstrate just how good of a producer this Romanian-born, Vancouver-based artist is. (If you’re a fan of Ramzi or early Grimes, you’ll definitely be into this album.)
She’s a strong vocalist, too, breathily singing about things like nostalgia and slow emotional healing. But even when the material gets dark, the music stays light and airy, giving you a choice as a listener. Either put it on in the background as the perfect summer afternoon soundtrack, or get thoughtful while listening carefully to the lyrics through your headphones.
The album is available (digitally or as a cassette) through Fratila’s Bandcamp.
Tasseomancy resurfaces with Palm Wine Revisited on Healing Power Records, and it’s their most refined work yet. The album is grounded in a considered and focused eclecticism that makes for an exciting yet cogent listen. Its instrumentals, namely the Palm interludes and “Black Milk Instrumental”, conjure the indescribably captivating elements of vintage minimal/new age/ambient private pearls; a remarkable achievement in itself, and one of the greatest aspects of this release. Equally impressive is the slew of well-crafted and timbrally rich vocal tracks; “Reality”, “The Grass Harp”, and “Braid. Wind is Coming” showcase the group’s deft approach to infusing classic pop & folk idioms with detailed arrangements, leftfield embellishments and classical elegance. Palm Wine Revisited expertly interfaces with exciting past and present music contexts with skill, imagination, and grace, making this a top contender for Album of the Year.
We’re longtime fans of Brendan Philip, whether it’s his work as one half of Crowns back in the day, or his guest vocal on Keita Juma’s masterful “Come Over”. So that’s why it’s so exciting that his debut EP got picked up by Dine Alone and released in May. “Shadow Ceremony” was one of our favourite songs of last year, and it’s only one of many highlights on this terrific dark electro-r&b record, which balances experimentalism and pop perfectly. The aggressive synth-bass on downtempo tracks like “For You” and “Warning” is so expertly pulled off. We imagine this EP to be only the beginning of a brilliant career. More soon, please.
Check out the video, directed by Yannick Anton & Kevin Dempster, and be sure to grab a copy of the record from Dine Alone.
We have been following the trajectory of Most People since the release of their self-titled debut record in 2012. We’ve said it before, but the band is one of the most talented in the city in terms of pure musicality, and now, we have a triumphant return with their latest EP Violet Spaces.
Co-produced by our very own Digits, there’s a decidedly more electronic feel to this EP and a darkness that we had never really heard from the band before. Sure, there’s still the beautiful vocal harmonies, shredding guitar lines and drums accenting just the right parts, but just try and listen to “Release” and NOT want to fuck shit up. Add in the synth bass in “I Just Might,” and the “boom, bap, boom-bim-bap” drum line of “Telephone,” and you’ve got a completely new style from the Toronto-duo. Something that we always love is following a band from their nascent stage, developing and honing their style and willing to try new things. This experimentation pays off in spades on the new EP and makes us excited for everything new the project does.
Not to mention the four remixes that close out the album, done by Silent Shout faves Zoo Owl, Eytan Tobin, Slowpitchsound and, of course Digits. Those in Toronto can catch Most People at least twice this summer. Their record release is in Toronto this Saturday with Silent Shout mainstays Petra Glynt and Hush Pup. They are also presenting a new piece of awesomeness at this year’s SummerWorks Music Series (which, full disclosure, was curated by me and Wavelength’s Adam Bradley).
No doubt about it: Healing Power Records is one of Toronto’s finest experimental labels, having released some killer new Bile Sister music this year, and with a highly-anticipated Tasseomancy album on the way. But probably the most interesting thing they’ve put out so far is the debut full-length album from New Chance, aka Victoria Cheong, aka one half of the Healing Power braintrust. Ear Rationelle is an inventive, psychedelic, sometimes-grooving, sometimes-floating record, and one to get lost in thought to. Mind-expanding stuff. Featuring a collaboration with Petra Glynt and Jaclyn and Allie from Doomsquad, too!
Highly recommended. You can grab it on cassette or digitally from Healing Power.
iansucks is an amusingly self-deprecating moniker which refers to one-half of this Winnipeg duo, comprised of Ian Ellis (of Winnipeg pop-rock trio Animal Teeth, who apparently sucks) and Emma Mayer (who we must assume, does not suck).
Their first outing, boring stuff go away, is composed of ten sad songs of somnambulistic organ-pop that is very reminiscent to the similarly self-deprecating and sad Castiotone for the Painfully Alone, by the way of distorted casio drumloops, spooky synths, restrained guitar strumming and blasé vocal delivery.
The LP drifts in and out of lofi bedroom casio-rock ballads to minimal atmospheric segues that coast through sleepy, woeful ambiance, until the next track detonates and we are jarred from the gentle lulling atmosphere to more sad rock songs. The entire experience of this ten-track album reminds me of secretly making out with your high school crush only to be violently interrupted by your lame parents.
boring stuff go away is great for kissing to at your parents’ cabin, so grab a copy from iansucks’ Bandcamp and get making out.