Tags: Monomyth, Sloan, Superfriendz, Teenage Fanclub, The Weather Prophets, Thrush Hermit, Velvet Underground
With climate change you gotta wonder if there some Laurel Canyons blooming with succulents and bougainvillea up there in the formerly great whit north. For record number two Halifax, Nova Scotia’s Monomyth swap out their rhythm section, keep the psychedelic pop hooks and come up sporting their best paisley. The songwriting duo of Seamus Dalton and Josh Saltzer continue to split the vocal duties and their admiration of local heroes like Sloan, Superfriendz and Thrush Hermit while adding from Teenage Fanclub harmonies and the erudite pop sensibilities of the Weather Prophets.
Happy Pop Family is a wonderful tour de force and one of the best pure pop records of the year. The cool and beautiful Palpitations features a pristine melody interrupted by grungy heart attack chords. Aloha with its airy Teenage Fanclub harmony that kicks off the record isn’t even the best song here. That honor goes to the infinitely catchy Re:lease life (Place 2 Go) which plays like a travel log and has an off the cuff feel to it that reminds me of the Go-Betweens’ Darlinghurst Nights. Did I overdo it there? No, it’s that good!
Tags: Halifax, Joao Gilberto, Lilys, Monomyth, My Bloody Valentine, Swirlies, The Laurels
The Laurels out of Halifax contain members from Monomyth and Moon. That doesn’t really help though. They sound a bit like the 90’s noisy indiepop of the Swirlies and the Lilys. Not surprising since they admit to being ispired by that scene along with Beach Boys, Byrds and C-86. Their self-titled bandcamp album has elements of all of the above as well as a sublime ode to Joao Gilberto thrown in for good measure. Crazy that bands this good are just giving away their music!
steam: The Lauras
Tags: Mint Records, Monomyth, Sloan, Superfriendz, The Church, The Dentists, The Dylans, The Sneetches, Thrush Hermit, Ultravivid Scene
When you think of bands from Halifax, Nova Scotia, if you don’t draw a blank, then you probably think of the 90’s grunge era bands like Sloan, Superfriendz and Thrush Hermit. You probably don’t think of jangly neo-psychedelic music and you most certainly wouldn’t think of bands like the Church, the Dylans, the Dentists, the Sneetches or Ultra Vivid Scene. Well, Monomyth are here to re-put Halifax on the map and change any previous ideas about what goes on up in the Canadian Maritime provinces.
The band have just released their debut album Saturnalia Regalia! on Mint records. It’s an accomplished record with great some great song featuring lush harmonies. The band features three songwriters in Seamus Dalton, Josh Salter, and Graeme Stewart, but they have a similar aesthetic and high quality which keeps the album engaging and interesting. Since this record arrived in the mail last week it’s been on constant rotation. Its bright songs and nods to obscure psychedelic bands without sounding too obvious make this one a keeper.
Tags: Bratmobile, Canada, Childbirth, Courtneys, Devo, Edmonton, Lo-Fi, Tee-Tahs, Undertones, Wire
Edmonton, Alberta’s Tee-Tahs are full of glammy, lo-fi goodness and a few other things. Their debut album comes as download or on cassette if you can catch them live. Their songs are basic, catchy and full of attitude, irreverance and humor. With a song called Slutfucker and another one about “kicking cans and breaking stuff, fucking guys in parking lots” Tee-Tahs seem to be kindred spirits with Seattle’s Childbirth. Both bands have loads of attitude and a knack for being frank, funny and in your face when singing about about sex from the female perspective.
Tee-Tahs take a more poppy, post-punk approach to their songs though. You can hear the Undertones (Fun Forever could be new the Teenage Kicks), some Wire and maybe even some Devo, making these songs get under your skin quickly. And they come quickly too, nary a one longer than two minutes. You’re sure to find yourself with whiplash as surefire hits like Rat Babe, Fun Forever, Okee Dokee and Slutfucker come in swift succession.
stream and buy the album: Tee-Tahs – Buzzkill
Tags: Bratmobile, Cub, Hockey Dad Records, Tacocat, The Courtneys, Tuscadero
The Courtneys are from Vancouver, BC and currently making their way down the west coast of North America in support of their self-titled debut album. It’s snotty, adolescent fun that reminds me of Tuscadero, Tacocat and Bratmobile. The record is full of super melodic and slightly shambolic songs. Sure some of the rhymes are obvious and the topics daft (90210, Keanu Reeves) but their enthusiasm and innate ability to deliver pop hooks make it easy to overlook a few shortcomings from this promising young band.
The Courtneys play Seattle tonight at Heartland along with Chastity Belt, Bingo and Mega Bog.
Catch the Courtneys in California:
Jun 26 – The Knockout, San Francisco, CA
Jun 27 – Hemlock Tavern, San Francisco, CA
Jun 29 – Pehrspace, Los Angeles, CA
Tags: Bachelor Records, Bob Dylan, Gun Club, Indian Wars, Long Ryders, Neil Young, Uncle Tupelo
The cover of Indian Wars‘ second album Songs from the North features a wooden duck on a bed of wilting parsley set amid some fine silverware. On the back cover there is a photo of a garage with a photo of Dylan on the door and a torch stake with a doll’s dismembered head and foot attached to it. I know why Dylan is on the door, but what does the wooden duck mean and why is there a dismembered baby doll on a torch? Either it is some great symbolism or an inside joke. There isn’t a lame duck among the 10 songs on the record. They are rollicking, familiar, and engaging “songs from the south sung from a Northerner’s point of view.”
The second album from this Vancouver, British Columbia band sees them pining for the land south of the border. It drips with American place names and sounds. It wants to sail the muddy waters of the Mississippi and wander the deserts high on Mescaline, and walk through swinging doors knock some back and get into brawls. And it does all of that! Songs from the North improves on Indian Wars debut with better songs, better fidelity and more even pacing. Indian Wars walk the walk and talk the talk, even if the walk and talk are ones you may have heard before. It’s a worthwhile record whether you are floating down the Mississippi, lost in the desert or just in your local bar.
Songs from the North is available on vinyl from Bachelor Records.
Tags: Long Blondes, Sleeper, Sleuth, Standard Fare
Sleuth‘s cassette Brave Knew Nothing has been available for nearly a year, but I just found out about it about a week ago. A quick search through my RSS reader shows that they’ve mostly avoided detection up to now save for an appearance on a Cloudberry fanzine CD. The sharp detectives in charge of the NY Popfest have been on their trail as well and the band will be appearing at this year’s Popfest scheduled May 17 – 20.
How has this excellent Vancouver, BC band and their wonderful EP gone mostly unnoticed for nearly a year? Dunno. Each one of the six songs on the EP is a winner. Sleuth singer and guitarist who goes by The Lion In Love has a lion of voice that propels their songs beyond so much of today’s run of the mill indiepop. If you were fan of the Long Blondes, remember Sleeper or dig Standard Fare, then Sleuth are well worth investigating further.
mp3: Sleuth – Unceremonious Splendor (from Brave Knew Nothing available at their bandcamp)
Tags: Bachelor Records, Indian Wars, Long Ryders, Manic Attacks
When we last visited the Vancouver, BC garage scene the Dead Ghosts had just released their self-titled debut album that hinted at country and rockabilly but was mostly straight ahead garage. Indian Wars have just released their own debut and have upped the ante in the country garage sweepstakes. Sounding like a less paisley, more cactus and tumbleweeds Long Ryders these cowboys from British Columbia gallop through 13 songs on their debut entitled Walk Around the Park. It’s a dusty stampede of a record that will either have you replacing your garage door with swinging ones or just wholesale trading in your garage for a stable. Hee-haw!!!! Hope these guys ride down to Seattle one of these days, border crossings and barbed wire be damned, because when I saw them here last year at the Funhouse they proved they could bring it live as well.
In geographically related news, another Vancouver band Manic Attracts which have ties to Dead Ghosts, Shimmering Stars, Time Copz and Chains Of Love have just released their first album Eyes Wide Shut and is recommended if you dug that Myelin Sheaths record from last year.
Tags: Dirtnap, White Wires
At this year’s SXSW one of the highlights of the week was Ottawa’s White Wires. The trio weren’t reinventing the wheel with their powerpop garage jams, but their songs were so tight and well formed it was like hearing garage rock for the first time again. It was one of those shows where you go in kinda liking a band and then mid-set there’s some kind of conversion/epiphany turning your like into love. Each song that day at the Longbranch tunneled through my auditory canal and bounced around my skull connecting my Nerves, Buzzcocks, Ramones and Buddy Holly synapses and creating a good buzz, though I think the beer could have helped too.
At that point White Wires had an album and a 7 inch to their names. They’ve since added to that collection with the Pogo Till You Puke single and a couple split 7 inches with the Mean Jeans. They’d been promising a second full length record some time this year and delivering on that promise the time has finally come. It’s called WW II and Dirtnap records is doing the honors this time around. It’s twelve songs all under three minutes constructed from three chords, jangle and the hum of some gold old fashioned reverb. There’s no pretense, just infectious garage rock that will have you wishing it was summer again so you could cruise around with the windows down blasting these songs.