Canadian Punk Rock: Northern Necrophilia
Izzy recently told me that lack of sunlight can cause chemical imbalances in the body which leads to physiological depression. Yup, ur-hur, punk and depression, same thing. Now, it might just be the impression I got from that episode of Bobby’s World wherein the family visits their relatives in Canada for Christmas (and when they get there they all have counterparts with different colored hair and different Christmas traditions), but if I’m correct, Canadian Winter is a fucking GAUNTLET compared to that of my home Southern California. And the Sun’s been going down at 3 or 4 around these parts as of late! I can only imagine the shadowy hell that is enveloping our Friendly Neighbors to the North.
“Friendly Neighbors?” you say? Yes, by and by, it is largely due to defunct local group Friendly Neighbors that I’m here blogging today about Canadian Punk. You see, it all started last August. Me and my chums went to The Smell to see the Neighbors, NASA Space Universe, Le Face, and two touring groups from Vancouver. This was the night my beloved Prince shirt was ripped apart by some repressed closet homosexual tough guy in the mosh pit. As it turned out, that was the last time I saw the Neighbors (they kicked ass), but it was also the first time I saw Defektors and B-Lines. I ended up purchasing the Emergency Room compilation (the theme being regulars from the Emergency Room, an all ages diy space in Vancouver), and a B-Lines demotape, at the mild suggestions and nudges of one Kent Friendly.
The Defektors were on the side of the 80s underground; they call to mind bands like Naked Raygun, The Wipers (they even do a Tragedy cover), Shoes This High, Effigies. I also think of Crime because of the chunky guitars and gruff vocals. The track I’m streaming here, Burning Light, is an excellent gloomy number from the awesome Emergency Room compilation lp, and it kind of deviates from the sound of the songs on their single. The other material I’ve heard from them is a little rougher in quality, more garagey, whereas this track is smooth potatoes. The vocals on this are a little finer too. Don’t forget to listen to the songs on their myspace!
Burning Light by The Defektors
B-Lines are more on the loud, outta tune side of thangs. Me, I cannot for shit understand people who listen to hardcore, but not punk pop, and vice-versa. B-Lines absconded with the two and married them before the eyes of the children, who truly understand. ‘S’like Buzzcocks teaching Redd Kross some chops while the Angry Samoans meditate to a Ramones lp in preperation for the ensuing battle of the bands, where both seek to unseat Eater sitting on the Plugz’ shoulders from the champions’ pedestal. B-Lines drummer, I think his name is Bruce, is one of the few real punk drummers. It’s not sloppiness, like many assume. There’s an actual style. If I had to describe it, it’s like hyper minimal jazz or whatever. He’s got chops s’what i mean. These two tracks are from their debut 7″ EP which I gobbled up when the band made their surprise return to The Smell this past summer. Also, somewhere, out there, on the internet, there is a fantastic live set from a radio show called “thunderbird live” or something where the band discusses, get this……. HOCKEY!
Busy Man by B-Lines
Leaving & Dryer Fire by B-Lines
Now for the task no parent wants: pigeonholing White Lung (whom I have never seen). All right, stream of consciousness time. John Morton’s ferocious post-Electric Eels punk band X___X, morphing into UXA long enough to write lyrics and get everyone together, blacking out and waking up as Really Red in Austin, then U-Ron realizes he’s actually D. Boon and trades one of his spare copies of Buzz or Howl Under the Influence of Heat to Rikk Agnew for American Youth Report. Oh, some australian shit too. This band is all around great. Hard to say what makes it. The bass sound is so thick I’m retarded, and the guitar cuts right through that. The drums AND the vocals are strong, tuff stuff. The first track is one of the b-sides from their recent Magazines 7″, and the latter appears on that record as well, but the version here is from the Emergency Room lp.
Backhouse by White Lung
Therapy by White Lung
White Lung plays @ the Smell this February. Check their page for West Coast Tour dates.
And now some oldies!
Scratches and Needles by The Nils: I found out about this fantastic punk pop band through Joe Stumble’s post of their Sell Out Young Ep at Last Days of Man. They started up in the 7os around the same time as Redd Kross, roughly the same age too. And they were brothers to top it off! They didn’t start making records til the 80s though. Far as I can tell, they were big fans of The Wipers, Clash, Dils, and New York Dolls. They’ve got a retrospective cd now called “Green Fields in Daylight“. Grievously, their singer, Alex Soria, committed suicide a few years ago. In light of the intro to this post, there may seem to be a crass tone. I mean no disrespect to Alex and his brother.
The Dishrags, are a bit older than the Nils. I found out about them through my friend Greg, guitarist for the Friendly Neighbors. Oddly enough, Joe Stumble posted one of their videos about a week after I got into the Dishrags. Apparently they’re Canada’s first all-female punk band, something which seems to be more common over their than here in California. The Emergency Room Lp, for instance, has loads of bands with girls in them. It’d be nicer if we could have more of that over here without the usual asswipe saying “People only like ’em ’cause they’re girls.” The Dishrags first record, Past is Past, caught the attention of Joe Strummer, who insisted on playing with the Dishrags. Here is the a-side of that single, which any Canadian reading this heard when they were in diapers, as well as a later track.
Past is Past by The Dishrags
Death in the Family by The Dishrags