ALBUM REVIEW: “THE BLUEST STAR” BY FREE CAKE FOR EVERY CREATURE

On August 3rd, free cake for every creature (PA) put out a new full length soft-pop album called the bluest star. What started as a solo project for song-writer Katie Bennett, free cake has expanded to include long-term band members, Francis Lyons and Heeyoon Won, as well as a rotating cast of musicians and friends.

the bluest star was recorded over the latter half of 2017 in the apartment that Katie and Francis share; maintaining free cakes’s lo-fi bedroom-pop roots while also showing growth through collaboration and experimentation.

Composed with a heart wide-open, each song offers insight into Katie’s lived experiences and her feelings about them. She whispers about the simple and mundane, “eating clementines on the subway / put the peels on my blue jeans” (be home soon) and shares her existential musings, “walked for hours aimlessly / washed in the nothing, happily / the world went on without me / and I let it, happily” (sunday afternoon).

Every track has something special to offer: the drum machine in shake it out, the pedal steel guitar that keeps coming back, the whisper of Katie’s voice in goodbye, unsilentlylisten closely to the bluest star; you won’t want to miss anything.

Favourite track: sideline skyline

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Photo by Francis Lyons

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A Basset

ALBUM REVIEW: “GOODBYE TONY” BY TONY PEACHKA

On July 16th, Tony Peachka (Minneapolis, MN) put out a surprise album called goodbye tony two days before their final show where they said farewell to their main lyricist Melissa Jones (guitar/vocals).

This five-song EP, similar to their debut album dirty knees, is a cute but fierce, delightful yet dangerous, angry but self-aware, punchy garage pop album about general discontent, coping mechanisms, and working through existing in 2018.

Fruit Salad, the first track on the EP, opens with the lyric, “I lighten my hair / in hopes it’ll lighten me elsewhere” which sets the tone for a song that is about learning how to cope when change feels hopeless. The following song, Gossip Girl, is about turning around feelings of general discontent (“I’m bored / I’m horny / I work too much / I’m lonely” and “I’m tired / I’m hungry / I eat like shit / I’m lonely”) yet being unable to keep up with them as they pile too high. My personal favourite, I Don’t Know, is critical of and confused by the heteronormative script and milestones that we are meant to reach within relationships (“move in together / write a cover letter / end up hating each other”).

Tony Peachka wrote relatable songs for people (like me) in their mid-twenties trying to, but only barely, keeping up with their responsibilties, social commitments, and relationships all while having boundaries and taking care of themselves. This album is an anthem for coping.

goodbye tony.

 

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Photo by Tessa Loeffler

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A Basset

ALBUM REVIEW: “MOTH EYES” BY PLASTIC CACTUS

Plastic Cactus (Plactus) is a dark & moody four-piece from Portland, OR. Built on the desert-inspired surf rock sound that Plastic Cactus developed while writing and recording their debut EP Pricks in 2017, they have now released their second four-song EP, Moth Eyes, that was recorded earlier this year.

“Nothing”, the single from the Moth Eyes EP, captures the feeling of being trapped into a banal routine. You are immediately lulled by the bass line and hauntingly soft vocals; although the giddy-up percussion builds anticipation of a higher tempo, the song wanes back into a lull by the vocals repeatedly breathe the lyric “feels like nothing”.

Dueling, intertwined, spaghetti-western inspired guitar parts set the stage for the story that “Moth Eyes” (which titled the EP) tells about a whispering skull that warns of imminent death. The song picks up at this warning, and after a series of eerie “oohs”, the song is cast into a minute-long outro with surf-inspired leads.

In “Off Beat”, the percussion reminiscent of a rattlesnake’s rattle to deter or warn predators must be a metaphor for the disappointing ex-boyfriend that “can’t even keep a beat”.

The final track of the EP, “Tumbleweeds (Plactus Theme)”, has a guitar melody that resembles a Sergio Leone soundtrack. This song (and the entire EP) is concluded with horns that completes the imagery of mounting a horse and riding towards the desert’s horizon.

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Lauren Miles Photography

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A. Basset

ALBUM REVIEW: “OBEY XI” BY CUTIE

Has anyone ever asked you “why are you so angry?” and you don’t know why or how, but you just are. That’s how I feel about Cutie’s latest EP OBEY XI—they’re angry and I don’t know why, but I can feel it.

Halifax’s Cutie did a physical release of this EP for Obey Convention XI in May with a limited run of only 10 tapes. I honestly don’t know if it gets any more punk than that. I took a calculator and added up the total minutes of the EP: a ripping 4 minutes and 40 seconds. Maybe that’s a weird thing to do, but I was trying to process how something so short could be so powerful. An important thing to note is the cover art for the EP, a photo of president Xi Jinping, which guitarist B claimed they used because “socialism is good and cool”.

The EP starts fuzzed-out with “intro”: an instrumental and almost dance-like track with a wailing guitar riff trickled on top. The next song “might” is pure fire the whole way through. Vocalist Jess yells along to veering guitar breaks into a breakdown that sounds like something you’d want to listen to while navigating through crowds of filth; see: businessmen. “Brother” builds fast and mean with a quick guitar solo at the end of the track that leaves you wanting more. Cutie doesn’t seem to be about lengthy solos (which I love). The ending track “control” is where the EP ties itself together; starting slow then accelerating into a raged filled passage just to be slowed down again into another breakdown that made me dance in my office chair.

The next time you’re feeling dissonant about your stupid job, throw this EP on for a short, socialist, rage-filled escape.

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Cutie at Halifax Public Libraries
Photo by OBEY Convention.

You can check Cutie out for yourself at these upcoming shows:

Saturday July 7 @ NO Funswick  FEST 4, Moncton, New Brunswick

Saturday August 11 @ Renegade Records, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Wednesday August 29 @ Radstorm, Halifax, Nova Scotia


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Stephanie Muise

VIDEO REVIEW: “WHO’S HE GOING TO MEET” BY BABY BRAINS

On June 22nd, Baby Brains (PA) released an offical music video for “Who’s He Going To Meet” from the catchy four-song EP, Eat Your Heart Out. Directed by Bob Sweeney, he captures the inspired 60’s era vibe that Amanda Steever envisioned.

“Who’s He Going To Meet” is a pop anthem for heartache, but the music video is an homage to the friendships with womxn that outlast any break-up. Amanda isn’t alone in her heartbreak, nor in wearing her heart-shaped glasses. This is a group of womxn that show up for each other. After Amanda dials her friends, they all drop what they are doing to show their support, indulge in greasy diner food, and treat themselves with a twist-cone. The video ends with each of her friends looking into the camera over their heart-shaped glasses; the lyrics may have been about a recent ex, but this song is about the friends that are there to pick you up.

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Amanda Steever of Baby Brains
Photo by Bob Sweeney

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A Basset

ALBUM REVIEW: “MAGIC GONE” BY PETAL

In 2015, I saw Kiley Lotz (the founding and only permanent member of Petal) perform in a high school hallway on a makeshift stage during an annual male-centered pop punk festival in mid-Michigan. The way she stood on stage looked like the way I stand when i’m uncomfortable; Lotz and myself were two of a dozen of womxn amongst hundreds of men. Unassumingly, she strummed her guitar and sang ‘I’m Sorry’; a song we’re lucky to see again on Magic Gone. Her voice is clear and pure; if we lived in a cartoon, tiny birds would float out of her mouth. I saw her later in 2016 when she opened for Pity Sex. Her confidence on stage had grown tenfold; an incredibly warm and friendly presence that made you feel like you knew her all along. Following this time, Lotz’ grappled with mental illness, guilt, shame, and her sexual and gender identity which she shared with Out Magazine earlier this month.

Magic Gone (06/15), released on Run For Cover Records, is Petal’s (PA) second full length album.

Side A, titled ‘Tightrope Walker’ consists of songs written prior to treatment. We’re able to bear witness to her self-reflection, self-doubt, and her tendency to put others’ expectations first. While ‘Better Than You’ is the song bopping on your summer playlist that reflects a fuzzy-guitar driven 90’s vibe, ‘I’m Sorry’, first featured on Petal’s 2013 EP Scout, finds its place in this arc of self-discovery. We see patterns of heteronormativity being examined: “A binary system/We pace around another/One is bound to shine/More bright”. We’re offered an invitation in ‘Comfort’ to a boiling point in her relationship with the lyrics, “And you could barely drive when I said/I don’t fucking care anymore/I don’t see the point of lying for/What I am only tearing apart”. The visual of sitting in the passenger seat next to your partner is relatable, but more importantly, this scene casts a mirror of ourselves and the destruction that occurs when we do not honor our own truth.

Side B, called ‘Miracle Clinger’, are songs she wrote while in treatment. We’re taken along for a journey that many of us have lived through in our own unique circumstances; a reminder that we’re not alone. Our departure begins with ‘Stardust‘, which captures the nostalgia of who we once loved as we move forward. “I became so skilled at the act of getting through every day that I trusted that ability”, Lotz speaks on her ability to be functional amongst her mental health hardships; a badge I have worn many times in my life only to discover the weight is heavier than I. She spent the last year intentionally building a practice to acknowledge, address, and treat her mental illness. Lotz is an artist that represents myself and many of my close loved ones in presence, in struggle, and in discovery. Magic Gone is proof that we can peel back our vulnerability to honor the depths within us and create community when we share our struggles.

Lotz’ offers the raw intimacy of her voice which feels as if she is a close friend singing to us on a summer porch. Kiley Lotz, a talented musician, has carried Petal through their second full length record. Petal is currently co-headlining with another Run For Cover Records favorite, Camp Cope. We’re rooting for Kiley as a friend, we’re showing up for Petal as fans, and we’re experiencing the aura of Lotz finding her way just like so many of us.

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Kiley Lotz of Petal
Press photo from Shore Fire Media

STAFF CONTRIBUTION: ALYCIA SOCIA

PREMIERE: BBQT’s “ALL FOR SHOW”

Someone once admitted to me that they identify as an intersectional feminist in their tinder profile just to get more dates; an acute example of a bad dude who’s using feminist language but is all for show (swipe left).

BBQT’s new EP, ALL FOR SHOW, is a sweet and salty treat about bad dates and being disappointed by a crush. These high-tempo minute-long tracks will satisfy all your garage-pop cravings (swipe right).

These BB CUTIES, now based in Montreal, met at a BBQ (well, of course) and quickly became great pals and supportive bandmates; each of them contributing some of their own spicy charm to the songwriting process. If you had the pleasure of looking deep into their online message threads, you would find lyrical content that has creeped into every BBQT song.

Despite only writing music for three years, Amery (vocals/guitar) delivers six well-crafted pop songs with silly, but relatable, lyrics. Allison (drums), in distinct BBQT fashion, keeps you swaying with her double snare hits across the entire EP. Jack (guitar/backup vocals) is responsible for most of the sun-kissed lead guitar that gives ALL FOR SHOW its power-pop inspired sound. And finally, Mike (bass/backup vocals), brings much more than just his sweet boyish demeanor; his driving bass lines bring each punchy track to the next.

Forget your crush and let ALL FOR SHOW be the summer soundtrack to your sunny afternoons drinking radlers in the park with all your best pals.

Fav track: FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. In thirty seconds you are blasted with the lyric that named the EP, noodley back-and-forth lead guitar, and a solo walk-down bass line that is punctuated by an effective single cymbal hit.

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BBQT’s: Allison Graves, Mike McDonald, Amery Sandford, Jack Bielli
Photo by: Tricia Robinson

Catch BBQT on their ALL FOR SHOW June 2018 Tour:

June 13th – with Property and Fog Lake @ Brasserie Beaubien, Montreal, QC

June 15th – w/ Dusk, Tough Age, and Peach Kelli Pop, @ The Clocktower Parking Lot Ottawa Explosion Music Festival, Ottawa, ON

June 16th – w/ Rareflower, Mountain Laurel, and Goodbye Stephanie @ King Edward Hall (All Ages Show) presented by Sweaty Palms, Edmonton, AB

June 17th – w/ Vi’s Guys (Canmore) @ The Canmore Legion, Canmore, AB

June 20th – w/ Dark Time, Le Plaisir, and Michael Rault @ Ship and Anchor, Calgary, AB

June 21st – w/ SBDC, BIRDO, and The Allovers @ The Palomino, Calgary, AB


STAFF CONTRIBUTION: Nikki A. Basset