Over the past few years, Partner has taken the Canadian music scene by storm. Their sound is bold and unwavering, meeting at the unsuspecting intersection of classic rock riffs and 90’s grunge. Consisting of BFF’s Lucy Niles and Josée Caron, Partner is breaking down barriers and paving their own path. One show after the other, they satisfy exuberant and voracious crowds with power moves, electrifying riffs, and unimaginably catchy hooks that reel you in forever. Coming off the release of their brand new record In Search of Lost Time (You’ve Changed Records), I had a great chat with Lucy and Josée which you can read below.
Partner is playing Beau’s Oktoberfest in Van Kleek Hill this Saturday, be sure to catch their high-energy set at 4:30 pm on the Main Stage. More info here.
Interview with Partner
You’re playing Beau’s Oktoberfest this weekend? Have you ever been to an Oktoberfest before?
Lucy: We’ve never been to one before, but apparently it’s a really fun time with lots of schnitzel. Yeah, I mean hopefully we’re around there long enough to check some cool stuff out. I’d love to catch the Planet Smashers for nostalgia purposes. Also, our friends Julie and the Wrong Guys. Them for sure, and we’ll get stoked the day-of and hopefully catch more.
Your new album In Search of Lost Time was recently featured on Pitchfork. Do you take album reviews to heart?
Lucy: We usually only take them seriously if they’re favourable. Because if they’re not, then we’re like “Welp, some people have a bad sense of humour.” Sometimes we’re sad when people don’t get it, but then we get over it.
Josée: Most people have been super, super nice.
Lucy: Some people say the skits aren’t funny, but that’s the most negative thing they say. They just don’t get it!
You’re live show is full of energy, and people seem to go nuts when they see you play. How much do you feed off of that?
Lucy: It feels great. We love attention. It’s feels so good when that many people are paying attention. We feel very powerful. It’s just so fun, everyone’s partying together. We get into crowd and intermingle with everyone.
Do you have any go-to moves on stage?
Lucy: Josée has a little step that she gets on. Sometimes I’ll do the splits by accident. I have a new one where I just spin around in circles a bunch. They usually come naturally and then we just keep using them, and keep them in our toolbox.
I saw you had some family come to the SappyFest show. Do your folks like coming to see you play?
Lucy: I think Josée’s parents have seen us like six times this year. My parents live in Labrador so they don’t see us as much, but they all go to every show whenever they can. They’re pretty much super-stoked, always.
You’re based in Windsor at the moment. How much time have you spent there?
Lucy: We’ve been here for about a year. There’s a few cool things here, like the guy that rides backwards on his bike. There are a lot of sights to see for sure. There’s a gay bar that I recently went to with a secret patio.
Josée: Detroit. It’s right there.
Lucy: Oh yeah, that too. And there’s a billion antique stores. There are a lot of Neverending Story-type antique stores that probably have some magic talismans inside them, you know?
Josée: When we’re rich we’re going to move to the bigger city.
Lucy: Yeah, like even a closet costs $800 in Toronto, it’s crazy! I mean, we probably would live in a closet if we had that much money, but you know.
You have a connection to Sackville, NB, and SappyFest. Do you have any specific memories of the festival?
Lucy: There’s always like 100 things going on at once. You’re never going to get to experience everything, you just have to go with the flow. Multiple cool shows, and multiple cool groups of people doing different things. Just go where the wind takes you, that’s the best advice. As for specific memories, I don’t know, we have so many.
Josée: There was that year you broke your glasses…
Lucy: Oh yeah, that was a horrible memory of Sappy. I went crowdsurfing and broke my glasses. I couldn’t see, but it was a miracle because people helped me out and guided me around because I couldn’t see. We’ve been to every Sappy since Sappy 5, and it’s just consistently awesome. But yeah, it’s a such a neat vibe being there and that’s why people keep coming back. Those who have been there know what I’m talking about.
What does it feel like to get the new songs out into the world? They must have been brewing for a long time.
Josée: It’s great to have them all out now, and it’s kind of a weight off and on our shoulders. Now we can move on, a lot of these songs are so old.
Lucy: For us, it feels like we’ve beaten these songs to death in our minds!
Josée: It really does kind of feel like we’re presenting something that was written three years in the past, so it’s exciting to move forward. We didn’t want to sit on the songs that long, but it really was just how long it took to make the thing. Once The Ellen Page and Hot Knives came out as singles, we had those for a while but they weren’t exactly what we wanted for the whole album so we had to gather our resources, apply for grants, figure out a label, recording, all that. And since we didn’t have a whole lot of time for pre-production, lots of work happened after the studio, which when mixed with touring, was a lot of logistical stuff to consider.
What’s your next step as a band?
Josée: Just keep writing!
Lucy: Yeah, just gotta keep writing. We have a couple new tunes for our next album already. Lot’s of touring too, we have some good shit lined up for the fall and new year. We’ve playing quite a few shows in the States, too, because the mid-west is pretty close to where we are. And New England, too.
Do you find touring in the US different? Particularly given the political climate?
Lucy: I mean, it does feel different, but people are always super cool punks just trying to have a good time. They just have a shittier go because they don’t have stuff like health care available, and it’s a more precarious existence. But yeah, everywhere you go it’s the same thing, people helping other people put on shows and have fun with it. We’ve stayed with awesome people everywhere we’ve been, so I guess we’re not so different after all.
I think I saw Lucy walk by and cheer at Sappy Karaoke while my girlfriend was belting out Shania Twain. Are you big fans?
Lucy: I don’t remember the karaoke that well, but we love Shania. I think she was the first non-gay person that we were obsessed with, as children and then also later as adults together. She’s #1.
We think we have finally recovered from another amazing two days out in Vankleek Hill for this year’s Beau’s Oktoberfest. This was my fourth year attending Oktoberfest and once again it did not disappoint. So much happens during these jam-packed two days. Here are the highlights from this year:
Six eighths of The Empty Steins, your Beau’s Oktoberfest Team Challenge Champions.
Competing in the team challenge
Every year I go watch the team challenge and every year I write about how much fun it looks and how cool it is to see so many people competing while raising money for charity. In years past, this joy was saved for organizations and businesses that signed up well ahead of time. This year, for the first time, they opened the team challenge up to the public. Obviously I jumped all over this and entered a team. And when the dust settled from the malt sack race, beer soaked sponge slingshots and tug of war, and after the total donations were counted, our team – The Empty Steins – were victorious. Big shout out to the other teams, the organizers and everyone who cheered loudly.
The Black Forest Stage
The Black Forest Stage made it’s debut last year and was back in fine form this year. The stage mostly features punk and garage rock and is hosted by Antique Skate, House of TARG, Vans, Pouzza Fest, and Ottawa Explosion. Once again this year it was the place to be with an absolutely killer line up featuring the likes of Steve Adamyk Bank, Solids, Lost Love, Camp Radio, Audio Visceral, Pale Lips, Wasted Potential, Brutal Youth and more. The stage also hosted an early morning Saturday Folkin’ Wake Up with some acoustic stuff to start you off slow. The highlights from this stage have to be Waste Potential bring up up Jordy Bell from The Creeps to play “Wait a Minute” and then Dave Williams from Crusades to play a track. Pretty awesome seeing the local bands getting that kind of respect. Also worth noting was the bloody blast that was Brutal Youth’s performance. I simply don’t know of many bands that have that much energy live.
Members of Antiques Skateboarding crew ripping it up on the halfpipe. Photo: Eric Scharf
In the shadow of the Black Forest Stage lies a halfpipe where many skateboarders entertain all weekend. You can find them hanging out and riding rather casually most of the time, but at a few very specific moments they let it all hang out. Whether it is during their “Gladiator” style combat where you must stay on your board while trying to remove others from theirs or when they pushed each other to the limits during a sort of best trick competition, the skaters are a sight to be seen. One thing I love about it is when people see something they like they are encouraged to throw beer tokens into the halfpipe for the skaters, I even saw some people throwing in a few bills. A photo album with some of the skateboarding I took in will follow soon.
54-40 showing that they still have it as they play on the main stage at Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016. Photo: Eric Scharf
The Main Stage Headliners
Between the team challenge, the Black Forest Stage and the Craft Haus, I didn’t have much time to check out the main stage this year. However I did watch the headliners both nights, and even though both have hyphens in their names, I was impressed for very different reasons. On the Friday it was a trip down memory lane to watch 54-40. Leading up to the show I spoke with friends about how I knew I liked 54-40, but couldn’t really think of that many of their songs. Once the band started playing I found myself singing along to every song except the new ones and having a great time. On Saturday night it was time for Beau’s collaborator K-Os to wow the stage. He played his hits and was great with the crowd, but my favourite part was when he went off freestyling, especially when he took a shot at Drake. From Canadian alt rock one night to Canadian hip-hop the next, the headliners closed out each night in style.
Remi Royale entertaining the crowd between set at the Black Forest stage at Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016. Photo: Eric Scharf
Remi Royale and the mystery of his stolen belt
This is not so much a highlight but more of an important event. Ottawa’s beloved punk rock crooner Remi Royale had his infamous hot dog championship belt stolen from the side of the Black Forest Stage. Royale was providing MC duties and singing a few songs in between bands, just doing what he does. Unfortunately some miscreant took off with his beloved belt, the item that harnesses all his special powers. If anyone knows anything that could help get the belt back, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and I am sure we can hook you up with a pretty sweet reward.
Brutal Youth were bloody brilliant as they closed out the Black Forest stage at Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016. Photo: Eric Scharf
The Food Selection and Quality
Every year I am amazed at the selection and quality of the food vendors we have to choose from on the festival grounds. There are so many inventive options, like chicken and waffles in a cone, bugger balls stuffed with smoked bacon and cheese, perogies, many kinds of schnitzel and so much more. My food highlight was Pure Kitchen’s tempeh Bavarian meatballs with roasted onion gravy served with potato hash topped with leeks, sauerkraut, pickled beets and apple sauce. Oh man am I ever hungry now.
The selection at the Craft Haus, night one wasn’t even done and stuff was sold out.
The Craft Haus
The Craft Haus is the very special tent beside the main stage where one can taste a plethora of delicious beers from many breweries. Beau’s special releases at Oktoberfest are great, Life on Juniper is one of the tastiest beers I have ever tried, and available in the other beer tents, but there is just something so special about the choices and different flavour and finishes within the Craft Haus. One of the most interesting beers was Forked River Brewing Company’s Wicked Wench which is a barrel aged sour stout. Order this beer if you ever really want to confuse your pallet. I could go on and one about all the really great beers I sampled in the Craft Haus, like Stack Brewing’s Stack ’72 an imperial IPA or Block 3 Brewing Co.’s The Epic, a chardonnay brett barrel aged saison, but instead of reading about it, just make sure not to miss out next year.
I encourage everyone, every year, to camp. I commend Beau’s for coordinating shuttle services in hopes of eliminating anyone’s urge to drink and drive, but I would much rather camp over night than have to cram into a yellow school bus with no washrooms all the way back to town. Not only do you not have to suffer through that bus ride, the party keeps on going as this year’s camping featured late night movies (Beerfest and Strange Brew), popcorn and canteen open early and late. Camping is also a great way to meet people as it is a little less noisy and rambunctious as one the festival grounds. Now if only they could find a way to have the campground licensed…
Staff and volunbeers
I think I mention this every year, but everyone I interact with, from Beau’s staff members to volunbeers, are so very nice and excited to be there. Whether it was coordinating media passes, participation in the team challenge, volunbeers serving me a drink or the ones walking around answering questions, everyone was just so positive and play an integral role in making Beau’s Oktoberfest so wunderbar.
Festival goers honing their flip cup skills at Beau’s Oktoberfest 2016. Photo: Eric Scharf
The Oktoberfest crowd
One thing that really impresses me is the behaviour of all those in attendance. When you consider that you have thousand of people displacing themselves in order to consume alcohol, I didn’t witness a single fight or any sort of misbehaviour. It is very refreshing to attend an event of this nature and see so many people having a great time and not experiencing any real problems.
Lost Cousins, and indie rock four piece from Kingston is swinging into town this weekend to play the Rainbow Bistro on Saturday. The four former Queen’s students are touring their latest EP Not Now What We Were and riding the wave of placing in the Top 10 of CBC Music’s national Searchlight competition last year.
We had a quick chat with Lost Cousins’ lead singer, bassist and primary songwriter, Dylan Cantlon Hay.
How was the East Coast tour?
The East Coast tour was an incredible time. It was the longest tour stint that we’d been on to date and it was our first time touring through the U.S. as well. It was also the first time we hit the road in our new band van, The Hot Potato, which made for a much comfier ride than we were used to. We met so many great people along the way and were able to visit some amazing cities that we’d never been to before.
Tours are fun, but what’s your favourite part of coming back to Ontario andheading home?
It’s always great to come back and spend time with all our friends in Toronto, as we spend countless hours on the road with just the four of us. We also end up eating a lot of fast food on the road, so it’s nice to be able to make some good home-cooked meals for ourselves. Lastly, nothing beats the comfort of our own beds, especially after sleeping on couches, floors, and car seats for days on end.
What made four former Queen’s students get together and form a band?
Cam and myself (Dylan) met in first year and immediately started writing songs together. Throughout high school we had each played in bands in our hometowns, but in high school you’re too young to play at most venues and your band probably sucks. So by the time we got to university all we wanted to do was hit the stage and rock out for hours on end. After playing as part of a three-piece for awhile in the campus pub house band, we started to feel that we needed more instrumentation to be able to take our songs into the creative realms we were starting to imagine them in. We started playing music with Lloyd and Thomas in the Queen’s Players Pit Band and soon realized that they would be great fits for the band from both a musical perspective and as friends. A few weeks later we played our first concert in the living room of our house and Lost Cousins was born.
Does the name derive from feeling like family, but not close enough to be brothers? If so, please explain, if not, please elaborate.
We definitely intended the feeling like family part, but not necessarily not close enough to be brothers. The name came from a lyric of an old song of ours and it’s really tied in with the coming and going of not just close friends, but all people in your life. We also felt that a lot of people tend to have cousins that they may not know that well or that they’ve lost touch with so we thought that people would be able to relate to it in a sense.
How would you describe your debut EP, Not Now What We Were in one sentence?
With songs that can set the mood in the heat of summer or on the harshest days of winter, Not Now What We Were is a refreshing collection of soul rock songs that blend influences of the past with lyrics that express growth and transformation.
What’s your favourite song to play live off the EP? Or what’s the song that really gets the crowd going?
Our favourite song to play live off the EP would probably have to be “Strange Dreams,” as it’s got a decent amount of groove in the verses and we’re able to rock out in the choruses. It also happens to be the one that gets the crowd going, as everyone yells “wooooo!” during the pauses in the riff section of the song. When the crowd gets involved it always fires us up on stage and gets great vibes going in the room.
What was it like to play such huge festivals as WayHome and Wolfe Island last summer?
Both WayHome and Wolfe Island Music Festivals were such valuable experiences from us. Not only were they amazing opportunities for us to play our music in front of new fans, it was also a chance to get a glimpse of the professional side of the music industry. The stages had phenomenal sound and lighting setups and were terrific introductions to performing to large crowds outdoors. We were also able to interact with other artists and industry professionals backstage, which was valuable for gaining insight on the industry. More than anything, being part of these festivals motivated us to work more diligently at our craft, as being exposed to these events and musicians made us realize how far we have to go.
What do you have in-store this summer?
We’re planning on doing a lot of writing and recording over the summer. We’re currently starting the process of working on our first full-length album, which is both very exciting and nerve-racking for us. Later this month we’re going into the studio to work on pre-production with Nixon Boyd of Hollerado. It will be awesome for us to work with someone with an outside perspective and to learn a new process of fleshing out material, especially someone like Nick that we look up to. Along with writing and recording, we’re planning on continuing to tour throughout most of the summer as well. We’ll be playing shows in our regular tour stops of Kingston, Ottawa and Montreal, as well as heading down south to newer cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago.
Check out their new video for their song “Feel an Emotion” below.
Check out Lost Cousins live at the Rainbow Bistro Saturday, April 2nd with Blve Hills and Kase – more info here.
Frédéric Levac chante et joue le clavier dans le band franco-ontarien Pandaléon, un trio electro, rock alternatif basé à Saint-Bernardin. Ce vendredi, le 29 janvier, ils lançeront leur deuxième album Atone, un LP enregistré dans une école abandonnée où Frédéric et son frère, le batteur Jean-Philippe, ont été comme ti-culs.
La semaine d’avant, Pandaléon à remporter trois prix au Contact Ontarois, un événement vitrine de musique francophone. En discutant le Prix du Festival international de la chanson de Granby, le Prix Festival Franco-ontarien, et le Prix Festival de l’Outaouais Émergent Prix ROSEQ, Frédéric a dit: « Honnêtement on le fais pas pour gagner des prix, on le fais pour que le monde trippe sur notre musique pis qu’ils aiment le show. »
Dit comme un vrai fan de la musique. Les deux frères et le guitariste Marc-André Labelle vous invitent au lancement d’album gratuit dans le théâtre de la Court des Arts le 4 février.
Il y a beaucoup de référence à la bouche, aux lèvres, à la langue sur Atone. Pourquoi?
Pour moi personnellement, ces sujets—de bouche, de lèvre, de gencives—ils m’allument beaucoup. C’est une bonne remarque parce qu’il sont partout mais c’est quand même subtile. Peut-être que c’est arrivé par hasard…
Que veulent dire les paroles de la chanson « Banny »?
Dans cette chanson, c’est à propos de la langue qu’on parle, le langage. Ça parle de relations humaines de partout dans le monde, et d’un voyage en Australie. Nous nous sommes retrouvés là, des gens de l’Indonésie, de l’Israël, des États, de l’Allemagne, et on ne se parlait pas vraiment. Mais on se comprenait en regardant le ciel—le ciel le plus éclatant que j’ai jamais vu de ma vie. Ça nous disais beaucoup de choses.
Que veulent dire les parole de la dernière chanson, « Atone »?
Le vide engourdit mieux
Que la distance
Tu n’es revenue que pour repartir
Simplement, des fois avoir rien c’est mieux que d’avoir quelque chose mais au loin. De toutes les 10 chansons, c’est la seule pièce qui prend place au présent, puisque que c’est vraiment un album qui parle du passé. Mais le thème de non seulement quelqu’un qui part, mais aussi qu’il y a quelqu’un qui reste là, ce thème est là.
Qui a eu l’idée d’enregistrer votre album dans la vieille petite école?
Mon frère Jean-Philippe, le drummer, et moi on y est aller a cette école. Ça été abandonner et on passait souvent par là, parce que c’est proche de chez nous et on y est allez à cette école. On disait qu’on devrait enregistrer là, y’a plein de places à capter des sons avec des micros. Parce qu’on trippe vraiment là dessus! Alors on attendait juste le bon moment.
Pendant un an et demi on écrivait des chansons qui avait de plus en plus à faire avec la petite école. Alors on a pris des démarches pour avoir accès pour un mois, au mois d’août. On s’est enfermé là pendant cinq semaines. C’était un peu comme du camping. Nous trois avec notre enregistreur Nicolas Séguin.
Est-ce que les chansons instrumentale « Lecture » et « Pythagore » ont été enregistrées dans les salles de lecture et des maths?
Oui et non. « Lecture » c’est une pièce en qui recrée l’effet de marcher dans les couloirs de l’école et d’entendre les profs à travers les portes, tu les entends mais pas clairement. C’est l’expérience de prendre une marche dans le couloir de l’école, créé par une tonne de bruits bizarres.
Pour « Pythagore » on a enregistré une centaine de portes qui ferme, au moins. Oui, on adore ça le son. Vraiment, on est sorti de là non seulement avec l’album mais aussi en ayant eu le temps d’essayer plein de choses. On a fais plein d’expériences qui sont pas sur l’album parce qu’ils marchaient pas, mais au moins on a pu les essayer.
Ça été une expérience très enrichissante.
Avez-vous eu des rêves bizarres?
Même pas malheureusement! Bein j’veux dire oui, parce qu’on a tous des rêves bizarres tout le temps. Mais la première nuit, c’était bizarre, on se demandait si l’école était peut-être hantée. Finalement rien ne s’est passé d’anormale. Ça a été un feeling très spécial d’y retourner, et en plus de ça faire ce qu’on aime le plus dans la vie dans cet endroit la. On était vraiment excité d’y avoir accès et on a revécu plein de vieux souvenir.
Est-ce que la photo de la pochette vient d’un des murs des couloirs?
Plus précisément dans la salle de bain des filles! J’ai remarqué le croquis et notre photographe aussi mais on s’est rien dit que dans la dernière semaine là. Il y avait un genre de croquis en arrière de la peinture. On sait pas c’est quoi… mais c’est un petit dessin super intriguant. Finalement c’est devenu la pochette.
On Friday evening, three bands performed in front of the pair of welcoming café windows at Pressed for a fittingly full house. This evening of femmes, presented by Debaser, featured Toronto’s Twist, supported by So Young from London, ON, and Ottawa’s own Trails. Altogether an energetic night, audience members hopped, bopped, and swayed throughout the venue’s crowded floor.
Trails’ dreamy set began with fingerpicked guitar, arriving in starts and stops, and blanketed in airy vocal melodies like a winding mountain hike – up and up, and back down the trail again. This was a voice like a gentle summer breeze. Trails’ music is unconventional in structure, yet satisfyingly poetic – reminiscent, to me, of the disfigured crooning of King Krule, or the sweet singing of Daughter’s Elena Tonra.
A loop pedal allowed for a focus on lyrics and additional layering, as the performer soloed and twiddled, playing and noodling over hypnotizing loops. The reverberation and delay effects on the guitar and microphone bounced lavishly around the room, and the audience swayed gently, captivated by the sounds. 30-odd minutes slid by far too quickly, as I realized I had been whisked away by Trails’ spectacular solo set.
If Trails was a gentle breeze, So Young was a ferocious windstorm – one that would blow the hat clear off your head, or the head clear off your body. This band had an edge that silenced any remaining chatter in the room and left no head unbobbed.
Early in the set, the band and audience members became aware of a ‘ghost in the room’, a meddling poltergeist, a tinkering phantasm, a troublesome technology malfunction. Swiftly, the sound issues were overcome, then crumpled and tossed with the trash by So Young’s powerful rhythms, roaring guitar tones, and heart-stopping vocal harmonies. The band members jumped out of and into songs like impalas. With their powerful pop-rock sound, these straight-faced young men and women delivered a rock-hard set to a satisfied congregation of listeners.
Twist @ Pressed (Photo by Mckinley Leonard-Scott/Ottawa Showbox)
Lastly, the band Twist took the stage, immediately inviting the audience’s attention with a groovy bass-guitar/drum warm-up/soundcheck. This band was slick. Their music, built upon busy hybrid drumbeats, featured soaring lead guitar over fuzzy riffs and bar chords. During their song Albuquerque, frontwoman Laura Hermiston’s vocals stretched and reached, up and up, high into the sky towards the birds and the clouds and the ozone shield. Throughout the set, hazy guitar pursued pulsating basslines in blissful polyphony, while band members hopped in place both on and off the stage, or lurched during their more mellow songs. The audience lurched, too, at times, their dances landing somewhere between a wiggle and a laid-back twist. With their brand of attention-absorbing pop, something like Alvvays with extra grunge, Twist brought the evening to an energetic close for a packed Pressed audience.
Ottawa probably seems like the last place in the world that beach-friendly surf rock would come out of, other than Moscow… maybe. But Cody Parnell, a.k.a. Blve Hills, has different ideas.
Blve Hills has released two records, both this year and both over ten tracks long. Pretty impressive, especially for a guy that seems like he was made for the chill beach bum life on the Gold Coast in Australia. It’s refreshing to see someone make music without taking themselves too seriously, and Parnell’s fun and laid back songwriting style is a much-needed dose of summer now that the cold weather is starting to make its way upon us. Fans of Mac DeMarco will feel right at home with this one.
The video for “She Won’t” off Blve Hill’s most recent LP She’s Still Here follows suit, and you can’t help but smile at its goofy concept while watching.
“I don’t think I’ve ever went the serious route while making a video,” explains Parnell. “It takes away from the fun. I’m not really much of a serious guy either.”
Filmed at the beach while back home in Orillia, Ontario, the dramatic rescue attempt of Parnell’s red guitar leaves us in suspense the duration of the video. The adversity he endures includes a death-defying rescue of the guitar in the treacherous waters of Lake Simcoe, as well as being shot at with water guns by children while playing said guitar. Although the ultimate fate of the instrument is uncertain in the video, we got an inside scoop from Parnell. “The guitar did survive the making of the video, and will live to make it through another.”
That’s pretty great news. We were worried there for a few minutes.
While slumming through another day finding new and exciting bands, there is one band that have recently released their debut EP. I speak, of course, about Pickering, ON’s hardcore band Lungless and their debut Inhale.
I became familiar with Lungless when they were Constellations back in 2014, when they embarked on their farewell tour throughout central Ontario. Now, if you were a fan of that band – you will absolutely love Lungless. Lungless is a more refined, polished and well structured version of Constellations, with two new vocalists instead of their previous solo vocalist, Dylan Cooper.
Lungless released their long-awaited Inhale on Friday, March 13th, 2015 – although the tracks were released individually throughout the week leading up to the release. The debut track and music video for “Lush” immediately gave me hope for this band, because it was fresh to the Ontario music scene. I am not really a big fan of hardcore music, but Lungless was very appealing to me because of their intensity and delivery in tracks such as “Lush”, “Eden” and “Glass”.
Another reason I was attracted to Lungless was their lyrical content, especially with the track “Glass”. For someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, bands who cover these subjects are always more palatable. The musical style even changes up to bring a new side to Lungless not heard on the rest of the EP, which makes me glad they chose it to close the EP.
“I’m sick of being empty, I’m sick of being broken.
I’d rather be alone, but I hate the silence”
As with all hardcore bands, Lungless has the vocal delivery to make happy most metal fans – which by today’s standards is next to impossible. You crazy metal heads!
Guitarist Nick Perovic and bassist Michael Griffin provide an excellent narrative for each song, with Greg Willhelm and drummer Michael Cernigliaro rounding each song out. The guitar work on this EP is pretty superb; heavy, melodic and frantic, with bass lines that quake your thighs altogether.
A great entrance back into the scene, Lungless have proved themselves worthy with this release. Hopefully, they’ll continue to build on this sound because it can definitely be something great.
Ottawa “rock and not roll” band The Haig are embarking on their first tour ever across the roads of Ontario.
Booking your band’s first tour isn’t always easy (this will be made clear shortly by lead vocalist guitarist Dean Morris). However, there’s a whole world of excitement to be had on the road, which hopefully doesn’t include flat tires or engine problems. The tour announcement seemed to be timed in conjunction with the release of their brand new EP Tales of Wisdom & Might. The EP is a collection of songs that will more than likely appear on their upcoming full-length record, a follow-up to 2013’s Template For Disaster. They embark on their 10-date tour on August 2 with their first show in Cornwall, ON at La Maison Tavern. I spoke to Dean about the tour and EP, and here’s what he had to say:
The London show came to us quite serendipitously. Richard and I were at Amnesia Rockfest in June and Richard happened to be wearing his Headstones shirt that day. Right before we walked in the gate on the first day, a voice came out of nowhere and said “nice shirt” to Richard. It was a beardy guy who was super friendly and we got to chatting and he came from London and we were like “hey, we’re trying to play there” and he was like “check out my band.” He gave us a download card and we gave him a business card and kept in touch and he totally set up this gig for us. It was, and will be, totally awesome.
When we get to Guelph, we’ll be sharing the stage with a killer band called The Pick Brothers, who I’ve seen once and Richard has seen a few times. They’ve played a bunch with our mutual friend Mark Laforest (of Autumns Cannon, Silver Creek, Scissorkick) and I think Richard met them the first time at a party at Mark’s lakeside home in Wakefield. I saw them play at a totally deserted Rainbow Bistro and they just tore it apart. They are so awesome live. We’re pumped. Every other gig was just an email barrage of lining up venues and bands who we’ve never met, places we’ve never been to. New adventures to have and friends to make, I guess.
Richard Michels and Treawna Harvey during recording sessions for Tales of Wisdom & Might.
As far as the music goes, we just put out a new EP called Tales of Wisdom and Might. It’s a bit of a teaser/preview of a full-length album we’re currently in the middle of recording. Most of these songs will be on the album, though we are re-recording them. Tales of Wisdom and Might was recorded at a studio in Orleans called Whisper Digital. The guy that runs it is super good at what he does, Mr. James Thorpe. Chris and I work with him, and we have mad respect for his skills. He mixed and mastered our first EP, and he’s recorded vocals and drums for our album as well. We’re getting Tales of Wisdom and Might pressed onto CD by Andrew Lacelle and Allyson Robillard of Plain White Records. They are super chill people. We met Andrew as he was doing sound at Avant Garde, and he spins us fairly often on his CKCU show, Indie City Madness.
A back-to-back-to-back marathon of venue-hopping begins for The Haig tomorrow, in Oshawa. May the wind always be at your back, guys!
Bosveld, a.k.a. Facetown Sonic, a.k.a. Velodrones and That Other Guy, a.k.a. Jeremy Mulder & Théan Slabbert are on the open road of adventure since yesterday! They left Ottawa in the afternoon on a three-week bicycle odyssey across southern Ontario to play shows in Oshawa, Toronto, Hamilton & Peterborough before the end of the month. Thanks to support from Kunstadt Sports & Moonsaddle, they’ll be able to clock in more than 1,000 km on this music tour. They’ll be back home in time to play Raw Sugar on Aug. 15 and Arboretum on Aug. 20. Observing the ups and downs of this map will help us track of their progress as we follow their tour page and their Instagram.
I first heard Velodrones play at the SPAO Guerilla Live fundraiser in December. I was struck by the sounds coming from his sampler, first thinking they were effects then finding out they were side-effects. Théan searches the soundscape for odd blips, rough edges around otherwise smooth harmonies, and incorporates these sounds into his music. Paired with Jeremy on the alto sax, they play songs that quiet rooms and encourage listeners to close their eyes, to delve deeper. Crackling static, ambient wind, Théan’s rich voice and his finger-picking… This is future folk and it is trippy, to say the least. What we heard as bits & bites on their Catalysts Mixtape is becoming a full course meal for their debut full-length. They’re going out to promote what they’ve done, what Théan classifies as the work of which he’s proudest.
The first night they spent at ours in Oxford Mills, and I was able to ask them 12 questions before they played us some of their new tracks. Thank you so much guys, Karine & I are very grateful! And we are stoked to hear the rest of the upcoming Veldbrand.
First of all, how was the first day?
Jeremy: It was tiring but exhilarating. It’s a bit of a daunting trip, but that’s just because it’s the first day.
Théan: Day one of the tour? Awesome. It was a beautiful day, the rain was not as bad as I thought it would be. It cools you. Saw a deer! Lots of farm country and that reminded me of my childhood. Side roads are the best!
How many kilometres do you hope to cover per day?
J: We’ll say an average of 80.
Other than seeing Canada, becoming physically fit, and not buying gasoline what benefits does a band’s bike tour offer you?
J: Well, we’ve already seen houses we’ve never seen, people we’ve never seen, signs, little towns you never knew existed, bridges you never knew were there. Hopefully that continues. I love connecting with the places we pass. I’ve lived in Ottawa all my life so I feel I’ve explored its entirety but this is an opportunity to “get in there.” Staying at people’s houses, in a way you wouldn’t otherwise! We’re staying with you guys, and people from Warm Showers. That gives us the opportunity to practice our set too.
J: It’s like Couchsurfing but tailored to cyclists. So far, we’ve found it be a tremendous resource — lots of friendly, positive responses, and it seems well moderated, with user reviews and such. Around southern Ontario it’s great, but in the east here, like Kingston to Ottawa, there’s not much activity.
Théan, was your moniker Velodrones inspired by cycling?
T: I’m gonna have to say, “uhh yes!”
Jeremy, are you a Master of Music?
J: Yeah, I am, if you can call it that. I have a Master’s Degree, I don’t know if that makes me anything. It means I spent a lot of money to have a piece a paper that says I’m a musician. And I can kind of play the saxophone.
Théan, you have a piece on your YouTube channel called “Improvisation with Jeremy Mulder on Saxophone //théan” published on Nov. 25, 2012. Is this the first track you two recorded?
T: Yeah, he just came to my house and we didn’t know each other. And I kinda just hit record.
J: No! We knew each other then. I’d recorded a couple tracks with you before it was called Bosveld. He’d stopped me in the hall at Ottawa U and said, “do you play bari sax? I need a saxophone!” I played on two pieces of his and we started to play more and more.
And now you’ve finished tracking your first LP together! How much of the album will you be playing on this tour?
T: All of it.
J: And Andre 3000 covers. Not even Outkast, just Andre 3000.
How long before we can get it on wax?
T: We can’t tell you that. Late fall, early winter? That’s what we said last year. Pop Drone is making it. It’s gonna be fun times!
J: Well I went to high school with Connor Bennett, one of the founding members, we were really good friends. And through him I met Kearon Roy Taylor.
T: Who’s doing the art for the new album!
J: Also Connor and another founder Aaron Hutchinson are in a band called Eschaton, and we played a couple shows with them as we toured with Claude Munson. They released our Mixtape! Eschaton has made a whole bunch of tapes so they knew what they were doing. HAVN is a cool place. They put on shows, I think monthly, and they’re right at James & Barton Streets in Hamilton.
T: Barton Street, the most dangerous street in Hamilton.
J: There’s a massage parlour next door.
T: Open 24 hours a day.
And how many days until you get to your first gig in Oshawa?
J: We’ll be there on the 23rd, the day of our show!
T: We’ll be there on the 22nd… to practice.
We wish you Godspeed! In closing, what are your favourite Ottawa bands?
J: I love Claude Munson, ever since we played with him it just kind of got in my head… And anything Pascal Delaquis touches is gold — Claude Munson, Hilotrons, Marabou, and many more. We’re really lucky to have him play with us.
London, Ontario’s Wild Domestic is a band that has an ability to draw you into their music, captivate your senses, and then leave you wanting more. The band is with Out Of Sound, a London-based label with bands like WTCHS (Hamilton), Lonnie in the Garden (London), and Say Domino! under their purview. I sat down with them before their show at Pressed on Saturday to discuss their music, the band, and what they have up their sleeves for the coming year. They are currently on a short tour with Lonnie, expanding their horizons beyond London and proving that just because you come from a smaller city doesn’t mean your audience has to be small.
“I think it’s really easy to over saturate the market. You don’t have a very wide demographic to present to. In London especially, there’s a bureaucratic and political aspect to being in a town with a big university and college.”
“Those institutions and student organizations have the money to bring in big acts, and it often stifles other core urban venues. On the flip side, because things are so insular, you really get to know the people you like to work with (Like Savanah and Adam from Out of Sound). With the idea of over saturation, you have to be careful about playing too much. We played as much as we could for a while and we unknowingly over saturated the scene in London. Even in Sarnia, we over-played it and the same thing happened. Now we play every 4-6 months, the magic combination. We had a music teacher that specifically told us not to get stuck in London. Even though there is great support there, it’s so easy to get stuck. We have bigger aspirations.”
The band is actually from Sarnia, Ontario, and the guys were all childhood friends but didn’t start playing as a band until they moved to London. Once together, they began writing material and playing coffee shops and other local establishments. Like many groups, they have taken many forms, and even one time called themselves Kid Skeleton – a 7-piece outfit with a trumpet. In this evolution, they honed their skills as each member brought different abilities to the table.
“There’s a lot of people in the band, and frequently it so happens that someone comes with a riff or a groove in mind – just as a base – then we kind of build from that.”
“Sometimes that ends up being the infrastructure of the song and go with that, or it may just be one of the steps, or we might get rid of a bunch of things and what’s left is what we go with. It usually stems from one or two people. But it’s always a collaboration.”
Now a 5-piece, the band took the stage at Pressed and played several tracks from their 2011 debut self-titled release. One thing that is pretty cool about them is their instrumentation. With every member taking on an instrumental role, most of their songs are driven by the music and not lyrics. It’s one thing that really made Wild Domestic stand out for me – their ability to create layers of instrumentals and sounds that keep you listening. Sometimes instrumental tracks can get boring or repetitive, but their songs tend to come in waves. You get a wave of heavy percussion, then a seamless transition into a more dreamy/reverb-driven guitar part, and so on. The opening track “Universally Known/Already Forgotten” on their record is a perfect example of this dynamic.
“For us the instrumentation always comes first, it’s what we work on the most. It’s an unspoken, unconscious thing for us that we want to get the instrumentation as strong as possible. So that approach sometimes doesn’t leave room for vocals because it would muddle things up a bit.”
“I think a lot of the music we’ve written doesn’t have space for putting words in. It just wouldn’t fit well. Sometimes we think lyrics could go one place or another, but we don’t want it to feel forced. It’s not worth it for us to force something into the music.”
Something else that stood out to me right away was their use of dual drum kits. The song “What Once Ran Wild” begins with the two of them simultaneously unleashing on the drums, and as the song progresses, guiding the buildup and climactic parts, and then bringing things back down again. It was especially interesting to see Nate and Devon move as exact mirrors of each other on stage, then move into separate parts, and then come back together as if they were pre-programmed to do so.
“Our big dilemma was there was already three guitar players so we had to figure out who was playing what. So we decided to go with two drums, we weirded things up almost by necessity. We had to do something differently with so many people.”
It’s exciting that these guys will be looking to write more in 2013. I feel as though their style can really accommodate a lot of experimentation and incorporation of new arrangements and sounds. Right now they’re pretty stoked about a 7” split they are included on, which is the second edition that Out of Sound Records has released.
“It’s a great opportunity to get a good bill together and get a bunch of artists on one release. Fairly short, easily consumed so to speak.”
The 7” split includes Wild Domestic (London), Bleet(Guelph), I Smell Blood(London), and WTCHS (Hamilton) – all great bands on the Out of Sounds label. Keep an ear out for new music and more tour announcements, as the band is hoping to get an East Coast trip under their belt. Going out west is a goal of theirs too, and they want to make 2013 that year.