Tag: power pop

New Canadiana :: First Base – First Base

First Base - First Base

Twelve perfect bittersweet pop songs to get you ready for the summer and wish you were making out. First Base’s debut on Chicago-based HoZac Records is laced with hooks, charm and sing-alongs. These tunes will worm their way into your ears’ brain, throw up a cot and tell you to chill out and have a time. Don’t let them down this summer — pick up a copy on gold vinyl!

Douze chansons pop, douces-amères, parfaites pour vous donner envie que ce soit l’été et d’être en train d’embrasser quelqu’un. Le premier album de First Base sur HoZac Records installé à Chicago vous accroche, vous charme et vous invite à chanter. Ces chansons se transformeront en vers d’oreille, déposeront leurs valises et vous diront de relaxer et de prendre une pause. Ne les laissez pas tomber cet été : achetez-en une copie en vinyle or!

First Base – No Surprise

First Base – You Can Come Over

Cameo :: Josiah Hughes on Fun 100 – Goodbye EP

Fun 100 - Goodbye EP

When I lived in Abbotsford, there was no Champion Jack’s and certainly no chillwave. There were, however, a million church basements, a handful of awesome thrift stores and a one-good-band-per-four-hippie-jam-bands ratio. Actually, there were a lot of goth bands too. A dude from my high school played in one called Ms. Anne Thropy, and now he’s in some Skinny Puppy side-project.

Anyway, living in a shitty city with nothing to do is actually a lot of fun. We spent our time playing shows in houses and church basements, and the best band in the city was Fun 100. When I say they were the best band in the city, I mean that they had a middle-aged guitarist who butchered Sabbath and Police riffs through his awful Peavey practice amp before the whole band broke into a brutal “Blitzkrieg Bop.” But twin towers Bruce and Ryan Dyck (k brothers, not twins) knew what was up. The former bashed his drums with Frankenstein arms, while the latter knew that a good frontman prioritizes throwing expired Twinkies at the audience over pitch or tone.

Since meeting them at the Burlesque House, Bruce and Ryan (and soon Adam and Marcus and Steve) became and remained my best friends. We released a split fan-CD, had Nelly dance parties and played with mohawked Christian pop-punk bands in tiny towns with names like Mission and Hope. We wheatpasted dumb jokes all over Abbotsford, started Internet fights and talked a whole lot of shit.

Somewhere along the way, Fun 100 evolved from my favourite friends to my favourite band, a remarkable songwriting prowess shining through more and more with each new release. From the droning-but-addictive chorus of “Computer” to Hit It and Quit and the Paper Lanterns split, Fun 100 were circling in on pop-punk perfection. Then, they called it quits. I’ve seen cry-moshing before, but until that night I’d never teared up at a hall show. It didn’t matter, however, because they played an impossibly legendary, mic-less final set.

Not to get all Kevin Arnold on you, but everything from your childhood ends and changes, and the loss of my Favourite Band Ever has evolved from a bummer to the best teenage memories a guy could ask for. Those wildly absurd shows were literally the most formative times of my life, and the time I spent with these goofs shaped me as a person. My love of music writing can be seriously credited to Ryan’s Bull Sheet zine.

It also helps that Fun 100’s final release, the limited Goodbye CD-R, is secretly one of the best Canadian punk releases of its time. “Shitty Band” is all addictive guitar and synth interplay, “Slide Into Jerry” sees Ryan’s comedic genius lyricism at its most loboto, “Foam Improvement” is a timeless power-pop classic that sounds like a way cooler Atom and his Package or a slightly lamer Pointed Sticks, “Ghetto Mall” is a Will Sasso-approved pop hit, and “Prom” is an incredible farewell to high school with absurd lyrics and million-part harmonies.

Clearly, the members of Fun 100 did the right thing by throwing in the towel — they’ve all moved on to better projects. One of ’em’s a dad, one of ’em’s a soldier and three of ’em are still in high school. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a Fun One Hun tattoo to design.

Josiah Hughes is the Music and Film Editor of FFWD Weekly, a regular contributor to Exclaim!, guit and choral for Grown-Ups, and a general shit disturber.

Dans le temps où je vivais à Abbotsford, il n’y avait pas de Champion Jack’s et certainement pas de chillwave. Il y avait cependant un million de sous-sols d’église, une poignée d’incroyables comptoirs familiaux et un ratio d’un-bon-band-pour-quatre-bands-de-jam-hippie. En fait, il y avait pas mal de groupes gothiques aussi. Un gars de mon école secondaire jouait dans l’un d’eux, Ms. Anne Thropy, et aujourd’hui il fait partie d’un side-project quelconque de Skinny Puppy.

Peu importe, vivre dans une ville de merde avec rien à faire est somme toute très amusant. On passait notre temps à donner des concerts dans les maisons et les sous-sols d’église, et Fun 100 était le meilleur groupe en ville. Par meilleur groupe en ville, je veux dire que leur guitariste de près de cinquante ans massacrait au travers de son horrible ampli de pratique Peavey des riffs de Sabbath et de Police avant que tous ne se lancent dans une version brutale de « Blitzkrieg Bop ». Mais les deux tours jumelles qu’étaient Bruce et Ryan Dyck (pas des jumeaux, juste les frères k) savaient ce qu’ils faisaient. Le premier piochait sur sa batterie avec ses bras de Frankenstein, tandis que l’autre priorisait le fait de lancer des Twinkies périmés dans la foule plutôt que de chanter dans le ton.

Depuis notre rencontre à la Burlesque House, Bruce et Ryan (suivis peu après par Adam et Marcus et Steve) sont devenus et restent encore à ce jour mes meilleurs amis. Nous avons fait paraître un split, organisé des partys à danser sur des tounes de Nelly et partagé la scène avec des groupes de pop-punk chrétiens dans des petits patelins avec des noms comme Mission et Hope. Nous couvrions les murs d’Abbotsford de posters comiques niaiseux, instiguions des batailles sur Internet et déconnions substantiellement.

De fil en aiguille, les membres de Fun 100 sont passés du statut de meilleurs amis à celui de groupe préféré, leur remarquable talent de composition se démarquant de plus en plus à chaque nouvelle parution. Du refrain monocorde-mais-contagieux de « Computer » à Hit It and Quit en passant par le split Paper Lanterns, Fun 100 gravitait autour de la perfection pop-punk. Puis, ils ont tiré leur révérence. J’ai déjà vu pleurer dans un mosh-pit, mais avant ce soir-là je n’avais jamais éclaté en sanglots à un concert de salle communautaire. Mais ça ne faisait rien puisqu’ils nous offrirent un dernier concert sans micro, légendaire au possible.

Je ne veux pas faire mon Kevin Arnold, mais tout ce qui est issu de l’enfance est voué à disparaître un jour et à évoluer, et la perte de mon Groupe Préféré À Vie, vécu d’abord avec dépit, est à la source aujourd’hui des meilleurs souvenirs d’adolescence que j’aurais pu espérer. Ces concerts sauvagement absurdes constituent littéralement l’époque la plus formatrice de ma vie et le temps que j’ai passé auprès de ces bouffons m’a façonné en tant qu’individu. Je dois d’ailleurs directement mon amour du journalisme musical au zine Bull Sheet de Ryan.

Le fait que le dernier effort de Fun 100, le CD-R à tirage limité Goodbye, soit l’un des secrets les mieux gardés du punk canadien de son époque n’est pas à négliger non plus. « Shitty Band » n’est que guitare contagieuse et jeux de synthé, « Slide Into Jerry » dévoile le génie des textes comiques de Ryan à son plus délirant, « Foam Improvement » s’impose comme un classique power-pop intemporel plus cool que Atom and his Package ou légèrement plus ringard que Pointed Sticks, « Ghetto Mall » est un hit pop portant le sceau d’approbation de Will Sasso et « Prom », un incroyable adieu au secondaire avec ses paroles absurdes et ses harmonies à un million de voix.

Il est évident que les membres de Fun 100 ont pris la bonne décision en se retirant – ils sont tous passés à de meilleurs projets. L’un d’entre eux est papa, un autre est soldat et trois d’entre eux fréquentent toujours le secondaire. Maintenant, si vous voulez bien m’excuser, j’ai un tatouage Fun One Hun à concevoir.

Josiah Hughes botte des culs, tous les autres puent.

Fun 100 – Shitty Band

Fun 100 – Prom

New Canadiana :: Shitty Neighbours – Pogo ‘Til She Texts You Back

Shitty Neighbours - Pogo 'Til She Texts You Back

The cool kids who rent the dilapidated house next door are at it again. And this time you grudgingly call the cops because they’re sounding pretty good over there, like something Sam Sutherland might have written about, or the awesome 7” collection you gave away when you gave up. Was that Needles//Pins that just showed up to the party? Does Don Pyle know about this? Too many questions for a Thursday when you have to work early tomorrow. Maybe if you keep your mouth shut and bring some beer, they’ll let you hang out next time.

Les jeunes cools qui louent la maison délabrée d’à côté en remettent à nouveau. Et cette fois, vous appelez la police à contrecœur parce que ce que vous entendez commence à sonner pas mal bien, comme quelque chose sur quoi Sam Sutherland aurait écrit, ou encore la super collection de 7” dont vous vous êtes débarrassé quand vous avez jeté l’éponge. Ça serait pas Needles//Pins qui vient juste de faire son entrée au party? Est-ce que Don Pyle est au courant de tout ça? Trop de questions pour un jeudi soir quand vous avez à travailler aussi tôt le lendemain. Peut-être que si vous la fermez et que vous amenez de la bière, vous serez invité la prochaine fois?

Shitty Neighbours – First Mistake

Shitty Neighbours – Dead to Me

New Canadiana :: Needles//Pins – 12:34

Needles//Pins - 12:34
The punky power-pop pandemic that’s been percolating over the last few years has come to a boil, and it goes to show that the music seeded to us in late puberty has begun to bloom. Everything we heard at house parties and smoky afterschool basements has fully germinated, fed over the years by long-term practitioners, unashamed of their love of catchy accessibility (see Young Guv and his tickle trunk of 7 and 10”s) and the resurfacing and reissuing of late ’70s nuggets from bands that fall somewhere between The Ramones and Cheap Trick. Vancouver’s Needles//Pins are leading the pack of these chipped toothed bubblegum chewers, making music best suited for the summer months or crushing out on the cute girl from homeroom on the first day of class. Suddenly the Screeching Weasels of the world have never felt so relevant.

New Canadiana :: Cold Warps – Slimer

Cold Warps - Slimer
Sometimes it’s good to take a break to keep the people hungry, and in the case of Halifax’s sweetie pop-punkers Cold Warps, absence makes the heart grow fuzzier. The foursome — who currently maintain a long-distance relationship with their Ottawa-based guitarist Dom Taylor — released a tantalizing smattering of demos and a Cheap Trick cover after their last tape, and Slimer marks their first physical release in around two years. While the songs remain breezy on the surface, with the usual hooks that unspool for days, the music itself boasts a bit more gnarl and heft – a tiny bit grungier, a little heavy and head-y. It’s August now, so let’s close with a cottage analogy: the boys still have their feet planted on the beach, but Slimer dips a toe into the swampy shit at the bottom of the lake — the secret of the ooze.

New Canadiana :: Sightlines – Summer EP

Sightlines - Summer EP
Vancouver’s Sightlines invite you to summer. The late night comforts of your parents’ basement can wait; it’s time to saddle up into the hot, dry western night. A jubilant meet-the-parents soundtrack for the new badass boyfriend, Summer is seven tracks of garage sale discovery bliss (including a syrupy twist down the Cowboy Trail). Lyrically yearning, singer Eric Axen’s honeydrip vocals shimmer atop three-chord palm mutes and power pop chatters. The sunsets are long, the nights are longer and you’re starting to feel those familiar sweatpants feelings. Something’s gonna happen tonight; you’re on the lookout… or maybe she is.

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Sightlines – The New Muses

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Sightlines – Twenty Seven

New Canadiana :: Sheer Agony – 7″

Sheer Agony - 7 inch
Montreal’s heppest combo graduate to a pop PhD with this master class platter. 2/4 of the dearly departed Play Guitar and the jazz hands of Silver Dapple have been obsessive-compulsively honing their chops in afterparty venues and analog basements before unleashing eight minutes of jangular heaven on an unsuspecting public. Pay your respects at the temple of tone and let it wash over you like underwater moonlight.

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Sheer Agony – She’s An Artist

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Sheer Agony – Good Cats Go To Heaven

New Canadiana :: Crabe – ???

Crabe - ???
Crabe have unleashed a totally blasted and inexplicable artifact from the Montreal underground. Forging undefined links between Archimedean power pop and wasted Ramones covers, their unreadably-titled CDR gives the briefest glimpse into basemental prog conjured by the dialectically adventurous. Quintessentially bizarre. We’re not even sure if this is grippable.

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Crabe – Alvin Pex

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Crabe – I Want You Around (Ramones Cover)

New Canadiana :: Quaker Parents – No Crime When Covered In Grime

Tape number three from the brothers Grundy feels like a lyric poem that was torn into shards and taped back together again, peaking with “When You Can’t Beat the Dream,” a song that stutters and starts and spits, talking pretty about the edges of consciousness and old rays of light. This band excels at describing the intangible; each song’s mathy meat gives the delicate lyrics weight and heft. Quaker Parents are part of a Halifax vanguard making healthy music that’s good for the brain and body and soul, cleverly disguised with blink-and-you-miss-them hooks. These are songs you can hold onto and listen to over and over again, until you get older, until you smile at last in understanding.

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Quaker Parents – Get In

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Quaker Parents – When You Can’t Beat The Dream

New Canadiana :: Quaker Parents // Dream Friends – Tap Turns Off // Dream Girls

This EP is a one-two Haligonian punch that will split (pun intended) your lip and leave you sucking its tangy aftertaste till you flip the tape to get another faceful. Quaker Parents bring a dose of helium-inflated ’faxpop that hops and reverses quicker than a Dukes of Hazzard car chase. Haphazardly tossing off bons mots and melodic firecrackers, the Parents bask forever in a summer of magical thinking. Dream Friends crank the grunge dial up a notch but match their tapemates’ cultural literacy and easy hookery lick for finger-lickin’ lick. True to their name, these aural explorers hack at flora of overgrown dreamscapes with serrated blades, dodging overhanging fronds and staring straight into the unreal haze. Grip and ponder: where would we be without parents and friends?

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Dream Friends – Aging Sportstar

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Quaker Parents – Teeshirt