One man’s discount bin is another’s regular priced, notable new releases bin
This week from Sam and Josiah
It definitely feels pretty weird to be doing goofy little riffs about music while so much is happening in the world (and can you imagine if we had tried to talk about all that brutal real-life stuff while doing our stupid podcast?), so there’s this guilty feeling about making another dumb newsletter instead of talking about the terrors unfolding all around us. But I saw two people respectively post “I spent a few months interviewing people about Discogs’ decline” and “I spent the last few weeks interviewing people about the whole merch cuts debate,” so I guess we are allowed to waste a little bit of your time too.
Here’s what we’re thinking about this week.
Now That's What I Call Witch House: 90s Edition
Sam: Yes, we’re deep into November. But this is what I was listening to for the better part of the week and what I’m still listening to today and I’m now shoehorning in something less aggressively October-based just to please Josiah. When people were really using the term “witch house” in the heady days of 2010 I could not have been less interested since everyone involved seemed like a gigantic cocaine loser who worked sales for Vice (print edition), but this aggressively silly mixture of ’90s pop (mostly) and discordant, poster brain-addled remixes compiled by NIGH† †ERRORS was truly the stupid-but-also-good soundtrack that this Halloween needed.
Jos: It’s interesting to think about what you associate with annoying Vice guys who are trying to be cool, because other than maybe aggressively plugging Purity Ring for a sec, I can’t really think of anything else that even remotely fits the bill of witch house. I also love that you clarified print edition, like you don’t want to burn any bridges with the Vice web folx who are doing good journalism. Anyway I’ve been streaming this for a bit and it’s definitely not bad, but it’s not witch house at all. Other than the weird keyboard trickery in the band names, this shit’s got nothing on the world-weary yet transcendent heaviness of Salem. It’s kinda cute to see how half-joking music writer terms evolve into something else, and usually that something else is a new kind of self-aware vapourwave.
Peak Bloom “Electrical Body”
Sam: Kind of like Rob Zombie experimenting trying his hand at synth punk in the bowels of a spooky old castle? Plus blast beats? Maybe some mouth sounds? What is the vibe here? Just when I think I have oriented myself, the song is over. It reminds me of one my favourite Revelation bands, Since By Man, who were making incredibly sick synth-infused post-hardcore for what I imagine to be a pretty modest audience in 2004. And for those reasons, I love it.
Jos: Since By Man! Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a while. Sometimes our conversations really make me think about how one man’s discount bin is another’s… regular priced, notable new releases bin? It’s sick as hell that Sam posted something that he was the only view on. I never really fucked with An Albatross too much (maybe it felt like it was too pandering to specifically me?) but I think the Rob Zombie vocals are adding an incredible layer, especially because it almost sounds like another song with regular singing is playing at the same time. It actually kind of reminds me of this really scary and silly white belt band called JonnyX and the Groadies that I kinda enjoyed for a minute in the 2000s. I’m so old.
Gazm Fuck You II
Jos: It’s interesting to look back on what I thought life would be like before I moved to Montreal, and then compare that with what it’s really like. I was heavily into Heavy Vibe Music and kinda just assumed I’d be going to see Gazm every weekend. Instead, I’ve never seen them once. Unless, perhaps, I’ve brushed by the members of the band in my day-to-day life, maybe irritating them by tying my shoes abruptly while walking down Parc, or eavesdropping on their phones when they check online banking in line at the grocery store, or even making eye contact with one of them when I’m waiting to pick up my takeout and left my phone charging at home, not really knowing where to look or what to do in those liminal 10 minutes. You never really know. One thing that does keep happening is I keep talking mad shit about different people and subjects while walking around with Sara, only to realize that I’ve been captured by some nerdy sound collagist who is making a field recording on a Zoom mic. So even though I rarely go to shows and spend most of my time watching Taskmaster and scheming dinners, there’s a chance I’ve seen Gazm, in some capacity. Anyway they have a new EP and it’s great.
Sam: I hope one day someone gets a degree in Electroacoustic Studies from Concordia based on Josiah talking to Sara about me. Or Blink-182. This is incredibly sick and makes me want to move to Montreal too, but I know I’d just become an intern at Stomp Records or the social media manager for GrimSkunk. Do you think Josiah and I would hang out if we lived in the same city? Would he join me at all the big outdoor Pouzza shows where we’d skank the night away to the Planet Smashers? Would he finally make eye contact with a member of Gazm in that moment, them gazing over at the aging ska hoard from afar with a look of contempt, Josiah knowing he now must move back to Calgary in shame? Maybe!
Helena Deland “Night Soft as Silk”
Jos: Now here’s a Montrealer I definitely must’ve crossed paths with. I mean, in this music video, she’s literally taking the same route I walk when I’m trying to get a specific kind of feta from Les 5 Saisons (grocery store). As her new album, Goodnight Summerland, will tell ya, Helena Deland is originally from Summerland, BC, a place I’ve definitely been to but can’t remember at all. I love this album, it’s so sparse and quiet. I’m in my sparse, quiet, and contemplative era. Probably because I haven’t uttered a word into my Yeti for months. It’s just under my desk, collecting even more crumbs and filth. Anyway, “Night Soft as Silk” is a highlight from this album for me. And I love making Sam listen to hushed vulnerable music.
Sam: “Helena Deland” has feels like a name from a detective novel where the final twist is that it’s an anagram for the real murderer who’s been hiding in plain sight the whole time. I will not be explaining this further but it is a powerful energy that I cannot shake. The song is lovely and I appreciate when Josiah makes me listen to hushed vulnerable music that’s actually good and not boring. This sounds like someone could have made it outside of Montreal which I think is an important bar.
The Beatles “Now and Then”
Jos: Welp, the day has finally come where we have to deal with the quandary of what to do when they release more Beatles songs. I used to think it was fun to pretend the Beatles were bad, but like all contrarianism it becomes boring as soon as other people start doing it too (for those keeping track, Nickelback are back to being bad in my books). It’s cool that they found a Lennon demo and fleshed it out to a full song. It’s definitely a pretty boring song, in that it’s both pretty and boring. There’s some interesting drama to it, but I feel like it would have more dynamics if they had finished it together instead of waiting until half of them were dead. Maybe one day when the popscreen guy or the most annoying Discord person finally finishes the job and shoots me dead in the street, Sam can cobble together a final episode using scraps from my computer. If other classic rock bands want to follow suit, however, they should be careful. DO NOT LOOK THROUGH PETE TOWNSEND’S HARD DRIVE FOR UNFINISHED DEMOS.
Sam: Last night Josiah told me he added something to the newsletter to make sure I didn’t miss it but it being the Beatles is not what I expected. I’m going to be honest: this is not how I’m going to listen to this song. I’m at my kitchen table, on a laptop, the radio is on in the background and as stupid as this entire exercise seems to me I just can’t do it. Maybe when I go for a walk this afternoon. Maybe Ashley and I will watch the lil doc they made tonight and that will be the moment. But not here. Not for content.
the beatles “now and then” (josiah’s y2mate late for dinner)
Jos: Made another one of these quick tracks between end of day and (late) dinner where I don’t really know how to make beats so I just download a bunch of sounds and beats and beat tutorials from YouTube and try to layer and beat match the YouTube sounds on top of each other in Garageband. It’s very difficult but I can’t stop myself.
Sam: Maybe this should be the one listen to first actually.
Free every Friday.