Ottawa’s Boyhood (Caylie Runciman) continues her trajectory into stoned-out electro space. While the core experimentation is still in tact, gone are the garage-pop sounds of days past in favour for the drum machines, keyboard and samplers you know we love. In the eyes of many, Ottawa label Bruised Tongue can do no wrong, and you can consider us among those acolytes, especially with an exciting project like Boyhood on the roster.
“Way With Silence” was premiered by our Austin pals Gorilla vs. Bear. Mauka comes out on Indica Records next week.
Prolificacy and quality may often be mutually exclusive, but in the case of YlangYlang’s œuvre this clearly isn’t so: first, she kicked off the year with Blossom, a sublime collection of abstract ambient pop gems. Next was an irresistible set of ’90s Top 40 R&B covers, followed by Pyramid Island / Parallel Beaches and video game soundtrack Dream Warrior. Now we have am i being overdramatic?, YlangYlang’s latest full length album and fifth solo release of 2014. Even more intimate, fractured, and melancholic than Blossom, its intricate sound design, elegiac melodies, and dreamy, soft focus textures make for a highly rewarding listen.
Montreal electro-indie scene veteran Malcolm Fraser aka The World Provider has been a bit quiet in recent years, but luckily that’s just meant he’s been hard at work on some new material. “Pam Pam” is a brilliant new single, a subtly throbbing dance track produced by the Dears’ Murray Lightburn. Singer Stacey Dewolfe softly coos over some grooving arpeggiated synths, featuring some incredible piano work from none other than Chilly Gonzales, and the overall effect is intoxicating. It’s one of those press-play-and-repeat situations. The dark ‘n’ lovely video was directed by Kara Blake.
Kontravoid has expanded with Votive: the new side-project from everyone’s favourite dark-wave mask-enthusiast, and we definitely love what we hear! Adding vocalist Kat Duma and more of a dance-club vibe to the proceedings makes the project more in keeping with Cam Findlay’s previous projects Parallels and Crystal Castles.
And apparently, they’ve been busy: in the span of 24 hours, the band dropped the video (above, directed by Nadia Khashan), and EP (below) and the news that they are opening for TRUST tomorrow at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Really, there couldn’t be a more appropriate pairing.
Vesuvio Solo, one of Montreal’s most exciting new projects, gets the remix treatment from Waterfront Property, who recently joined the ever-expanding Banko Gotiti family. He gives a decidedly more LCD Soundsystem/electro take on the poppy soul of Vesuvio Solo on this remix, and throws in some excellent guest vocals from Marlene Brando.
There’s nothing more exciting to us than a new artist thinking big on their first release. Johnny Couteau, where do we begin? From the Infamous Mind of a Psychoactive Runner is a concept album of the highest order. Set in a dystopic coastal town near Fukushima called Tchernobeach, this John Carpenter-ish tale took upon its own life in our imagination, which we’ll do our best to narrate despite there probably being many ways to interpret (and embrace) this tragic adventure. The epic seems to follow our protagonist, the “Psychoactive Runner,” as he and the inhabitants of Tchernobeach come to terms with their new radiation-poisoned lifestyles.
Our hero also seems to have developed some kind of trans-temporal powers – he lives simultaneously in the future and the past – and this makes him both the coolest and most reflective chronicler of the affected. The music is dark, conceptual synthpop, a bit reminiscent of the earliest Gary Numan stuff, alternately conjuring dark atmospheres (radioactive coastal vistas at night) and sweaty post-apocalyptic bars where the mutants hang out. By the record’s second half, it seems like we’re beginning to come to terms with the disaster, and there’s even a bit of room on this hardscrabble coast for romance, like on standout single “A la Jeune Fille aux Longs Cheveux Noirs”. Silent Shout fave Marie Davidson does a guest turn on the beautiful ode “Tchernobeach,” and in the end, we’re coping alright, and despite the quarantine, life goes on.
Thus ends this masterpiece produced in a Montreal basement by an incredibly imaginative and talented new artist. Even if Johnny Couteau releases nothing else, he’ll always be a legend to us. You can buy From the Infamous Mind of a Psychoactive Runner on cassette or digitally from Bandcamp.