The fist single from San Francisco’s Emotional is a wavy cosmic track as much psychedelia as 80s electronic kitsch. Death Record’s founder Brian Wakefield has cobbled together a catchy earworm. It’s coming out on a combination of over a dozen labels including Empty Cellar Records, Burger Records, Danger Collective, Death Records, Gnar Tapes, Grabbing Clouds, Little L, and Plastic Response February 19th.

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Three years on from their stellar Good Feelings LP, the Soupcans return with another LP for Toronto’s Telephone Explosion Records, Soft Party. Just as Good Feelings was a dramatic leap forward in style and fidelity (i mean, for the soupcans, at least), Soft Party marks another push towards refining the sound of the band. The ‘cans have reigned in the feedback and psychedelic tendencies of their previous releases in favour of a thick, focused assault of guitars and drums. Not to say the ‘cans have lost any of their edge; quite the opposite, really. Soft Party is as loud, abrasive, and disgusting as any soupcans record should be. It’s also completely and utterly badass.

Much of the record should be familiar to anyone who has followed the ‘cans over the last year. These songs have been staples of their live shows for awhile now. Some tracks are definitive versions of songs that have existed in various forms for sometime: Opening ripper “Crimes 1” was featured on their split release with Shearing Pinx in demo form. A live take of “Razor Face” was released on a 7″ lathe put out by TER back in the summer. The keen super fan might recognize “DOB,” as a demo of the track was included on the 2014 Incline Decline mixtape. Of all these familiar tracks, nothing compares to the absolute monster that is “Young ‘n’ EZ.” Originally appearing on a single for Bruised Tongue in 2014, “Young ‘n’ EZ” find the ‘cans channelling their inner Sabbath, or at least their inner Black Flag circa My War, delivering four minutes of pounding proto-metal doom. On Soft Party, they pull the tempo down and things get tougher, harder. It’s the soupcans at their best. On the merit of this alone, Soft Party is an absolute success.

Elsewhere the ‘cans deliver on their classic hardcore punk sound (single “Siamese Brutality”, “Hairicide”, “Dripzone”), even getting out there and noisy on the appropriately titled “Murder Parade.” But the album’s most engaging tracks are when they slow things down slightly: “Nice Nife,” “Psychosomatic Rash,” and the title track all offer something slightly different, a breathe of fresh air that keeps Soft Party throughly engaging from front to back. Praise must be given to James Toth, the record producer/engineer, for making this the best sounding ‘cans record to date.

The Soupcans won’t be winning over any non-believers with this record. But for the fans, Soft Party delivers in every conceivable way, proving why they’re considered to be among Toronto’s very best bands.…

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>>Faux Cults

Peterborough has a weird scene that’s absolutely thriving, from one of our faves The Lonely Parade, to the incredibly prolific Sean Conway, the youth of Peterborough are killing it. This brings us to Faux Cults. Made up of members of Beef Boys and The Lonely Parade make up most of this sloppy surf garage quartet. Their righteous millennial angst and social commentary is right up our alley and should be up yours too. Not to mention the band name is just fantastic.…

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>>Whatever Will Happen – by Iji

Sometimes it’s hard to get out of the bed in the morning. Sometimes it’s too cold and you just can’t bring yourself to do it. Sometimes you need something to help you not feel like a wet blanket.

That’s where Seattle’s iji comes in. This album is equal parts laze all day and sweet lubricant to get you out of those sheets and into the day. From opener “Cruisin’ USA”, a sunny number replete with the happiest little horn parts that really put some pep in your step, to my favourite track on the record “Bound 2 Glory”, a slow burner indie rock (has a little springsteen influence in there too) number that exudes resilience, this whole album is like a musical pat on the back from your bud. It’s just good rock and roll that dips in and out of sunny pop lounge that has an immediate calming effect. Sometime getting a little weird in the right kind of ways. Hope you get a kick out of it.…

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Vancouver based The Matinee rolled into the studio on a lovely summer afternoon. The band were laid back, professional and into it. At the time we didn’t know they’d be our50th session posted, but I for one am pleased to mark this milestone with their music. The Matinee’s music is simply really good, roots-based, rock and roll. Play this session through really good speakers or excellent headphones and I dare you not to dance! The five band members ooze contentment and a relaxed state and this translates to their music as well. Its comprehensive. Remember – Pinball Sessions are almost always one take, live off the floor. Granted, Dan Beeson sets things up based on his extensive experience to get the best possible sounds. Once recorded, small adjustments are made – but what you hear is what happened live in the studio in the 3 – 4 minutes that it was recorded.
The Matinee recorded three tracks. Young and Lazy sounds like the song of a generation, but possibly one that graduated high school in the 80′s. That is said in no way as a negative – if Young and Lazy was out in 1983 it probably would have rivalled Tom Petty for some radio play. Lofty statement I know, but the song rings original, familiar, classic.On Our Own – a beautiful ballad that sounds of an instant classic includes; delightful harmonies, sparse and tasteful instrumentation, a lovely piano solo and good solid writing. December Slumber is a lazier, pedal steel driven track, full of vivid imagery, it has soundtrack written all over it. Try to get to one of their live shows.…

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Feuerstack’s rhythmic tunes are completely consuming. His voice and style captivate one into thinking – no, believing – wholly in what he is singing. There is something undefinably charismatic about Feuerstack’s music. He, and his songwriting, are so relatable while constructing these beauteous pieces of art, rooted in the human condition. Feuerstack has that relatable voice you want to hear, in his singing and songwriting. He’s the pal you want to help you through hard times, he’s the voice you want to hear when you’re making a hard decision and the the person you want beside you when you’re taking that first, integral step. Feuerstack has played on some of the most fantastic independent Canadian records in the last ten years. He’s put himself out there and has made amazing music. He has been a part of some incredible and, hopefully, important pieces of art. We were lucky enough to enjoy Michael and Tim (Paper Beat Scissors) company when we had them during their duo tour in September, 2013. We were able to get them together to play on this and the previous session. They played on each other’s tracks and created a beautiful, creative environment to share their music with us and together. We’re proud to present this session to you and hope you may be able to catch these two together, or separate, at some point in the future.…

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Tim Crabtree is Paper Beat Scissors. He is an artist. He is understated. He is a surprising musical presence; creating beautiful art, in what appears to be an effortless manner.

I recall when studying the philosophy of art, that my preferred definition of art and beauty involved an elusive quality, something indescribable, that evaded definition, thus art and beauty were defined by evading definition. Writing this editorial is challenging, trying to capture in words the art of Paper Beat Scissors music is evasive.

The studio visit from Tim Crabtree had an effortless and light feel to it. Michael Feuerstack and Paper Beat Scissors came into the studio together. They were prepared to play on each others songs, they were at ease and generous of spirit. It felt like a comfy Sunday afternoon (which it may have been).

A transplant to the East Coast of Canada by way of Burnley, England, Tim has become an incredible addition to the landscape of Canadian songwriters. His minimal yet stunning guitar playing is accompanied by Michael Feuerstack on pedal steel on this session. You can hear the hints and nods to Elliot Smith, an obvious influence on Crabtree’s song writing and style.

Not only is this session a combo of Paper Beat Scissors and Michael Feuerstack, it also includes a version of a yet unreleased The Weather Station song. So think of this one as a gift. A beautiful piece of art, wrapped in brown craft paper, enjoy the unwrapping of it – listen to the session and we think you’ll agree that there is a sense of wonder and gratitude that it evokes. Share it generously.…

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Dave Clark’s Woodshed Orchestra is really something to behold. From start to finish the band weaves you through sonic journeys based on Clark’s musical knowledge. From funk to Balkan infused dance to New Orleans jazz The Woodshed Orchestra waltz’s through them all tirelessly.

You may know Dave Clark from one of his many projects, including Rheostatics & Gord Downie’s band, but in The Woodshed Orchestra he takes on a manic, shaman-like persona. Running through the songs and the crowd with a palpable energy that electrifies any performance. His immense catalogue of original songs is what the band revolves around, but with a revolving door of players they have learned to improvise in a jazz manner.…

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Khari McClelland has got real, genuine soul. It’s obvious from the minute he opens his mouth to sing or just have a laugh. His joie de vivre is infectious and exhilarating. He channels a raw spirituality that is more terrestrial than heavenly, it’s human and very real. This isn’t present better anywhere than in Khari’s music.

Khari came into the studio alongside Samantha Martin, Stacie Tabb and Sherie Marshall to lay down some of his uniquely beautiful gospel-influenced tracks. We were lucky enough to have these amazing musicians in one room to collaborate so effectively on these sessions. The results are enchanting and delightful.

The emotional response from such visceral songwriting combined with the sparse, almost minimalist, instrumentation tied together by their combined vocal prowess is stunning. Sometimes when you get the right artists in a room together you can make something magical and we feel that this may have happened. You can make your mind up for yourself by listening to the two tracks below. keep an eye out for more collaborations between these artists in the future, we sure will be.…

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