Thursday, 29 December 2016

We Knew - Not My Circus (2016)

We think this is the last tape we're posting this year. It's been a banner year for local tapes, and this one has become a favourite. We Knew play a taught, understated pop that is as dark as it is melodic. In other hands this might come out emo or hardcore, but this quartet have something special that pulls back from the brink to deliver something that's more like Galaxie 500. These are the perfect songs for a dark room and a a bottle full of regret.

You can get this tape via the We Knew bandcamp. More precisely, you SHOULD get this this tape.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Bog Bodies - Gnawed Hose (2016)

Every time Bog Bodies put out a new tape (which is ridiculously often - by our count they're averaging two per year), we shrug, sit down and strap in for what we expect will be a hell of a ride.

And, yup, this new tape is not much different than their previous releases - drum machines clatter along a frantic pace, guitars and bass pick out head-scratching tunes, and frontman Ivo Musa snarls incomprehensibly. You either get it or you don't. We're still pretending that we get it.

You can still get this tape from the Bog Bodies bandcamp, if you get it. Get it?

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Valiska - Healer (2016)

We're not sure what happened to the past few weeks/months, but we've suddenly found ourselves in the awkward position of having just a few days left on the calendar and a pile of tapes on the desk. So, let's get back to things, shall we?

Valiska's new tape sees Krzysztof Sujata further mining the excellent mix of ambient drones and more formal compositions. There's less (no?) piano on here, with synths dominating the palette along with layers of Sujata's own voice creating a tremendously warm and atmospheric soundscape.

Looks like the tape is sold out, but you can grab the download from the Valiska bandcamp.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Unspooled: Episode 11 - Citrus Park's "A Pretty View"

Whoops! Another month, another late post of this month's Unspooled podcast. If you missed the shorter version on Saved by the Bell last week, here's the full version. This time around. Stephen Bandola and Jeff Burns talk about their band Citrus Park, the three tapes they put our between 1989 and 1992, and their song "A Pretty View."

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Tinderbox - no, really, let go (1996)

We're veering off from our last post, at least in terms of musical styles. The smarty-pants folk-ish tunes of Tinderbox are a far way from Britpop, but this is the starting point for the work of Kris Demeanor, so, uh, take note, will you?

We posted the band's tape a few years ago, and a few songs from that outing are also on here. In fact, reading back to our post for that tape, we don't know that we have too much more to say about Tinderbox. Quirky storytelling, check. Manic guitar playing, check.

Download link, check.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Red Autumn Fall - Debutant (1996)

So, the weirdest thing has happened to Gene Poole over the past nearly ten years of running the CCPS: he now claims that he has come to like Red Autumn Fall. In fact, when we pulled out this CD, his eyes lit up and he said, "that one! That's their best It's super good!"

And we actually have to agree - this is an absolutely solid CD that really shows what Red Autumn Fall were about. Sure, Simeon's vocals are over-wrought, but that's what it was all about. "Josephite" and "The Revenge of the Blazer Boys" are near-perfect pop songs (so good, in fact, that the band re-recorded them for 1998's Departure CD). And the closing track, "Leopard Skin Seat Cover" takes us back to the Republik and the giddy heyday of Calgary's Brit pop scene. We really need to go to Ming for cocktail now...

Get the Debutant here.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Lotus Galaxy - Lotus Galaxy (1996)

We may as well carry on with posting a few CDs that meet our guideline of being more than 20 years old. Mostly because we have no old tapes to post right now. Hey, if you want to fix that and donate something, drop us a line, will you?

Anyways, this CD was hiding in our collection in its slimline case. Very sneaky. But we're glad we dug it out, it's a pretty great sample of how good Britpop got in our city. Buoyed by Sheila Mann's ethereal vocals, Lotus Galaxy redeemed a lot of the stuff out of that part of the scene. The track "Butterfly" still holds up. Although it does make us want to go grab a cocktail at Ming.

Get the Lotus here.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Various - 11 Objects Lost and Found (2001)

We received an email from a CCPS follower an embarrassingly long time ago, in which said reader asked if we wouldn't mind getting off our asses and finishing the work we starred in 2012 and post one of the remaining Catch and Release compilations. We said we would, and then didn't. Until now!

So here it is: 11 Objects Lost and Found. In the usual Catch and Release fashion, this is an excellently packaged compilation with a weird-ass mix of bands from Edmonton and Calgary. Kicking off with the excellent slanted pop of Shecky Forme (this is a band that has weathered the test of time exceptionally well), the CD veers off north for Edmonton's Parkade (not to be confused with The Parkades), Laura Palmer and a very early set of songs by Whitey Houston (that sound pretty much nothing like the band's other recordings thanks to the layering of a few samples/loops).

But the highlight for us here is the pair of songs by Rayovaq that close out the CD. We're pretty sure we've mentioned how much we loved this band and their scrappy, quiet-loud-quiet-loud guitar pop, the closest thing to Bettie Serveert our city ever saw.

Get Lost here.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Unspooled: Episode 10 - Bart Records

Well, we accidentally slept through yesterday, and missed posting this month's episode of Unspooled. We decided to take a slightly different approach this time around, and sat down with Kevin Stebner to talk about his work with the mighty cassette-only label Bart Records, as well as his many and varied musical projects.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Knots - Four Years In The Shade (2016)

Bart Records is on fire this year (metaphorically, that is), and this new Knots cassette is a great addition to the label's already impressive discography.

Where the first Knots tape from a few years ago was a sparse affair, this new release sees Neal Moignard leading a full band for a tape full of pop goodness. There's a great balance between Moignard's folk tendencies and power pop that works really well here, delivering songs like "Higher Ground" as hooky gems.

Get it from the Bart Records store or listen via the Knots bandcamp.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Leather Jacuzzi - Monsters, Narcs and Idiots (2016)

Oh, wow - Leather Jacuzzi takes us one step closer to the SIDS reunion we've been dreaming of. But then takes a left turn and drives into a wall at full throttle. Wait, how did we go from a walking metaphor to a driving one? Dammit.

We're being lazy and copping the same comparison to the Angry Samoans that everyone else has used because, well, it works. We caught one of their shows over the summer and were pretty much speechless - it was pretty much a steamroller of hardcore punk and wry humour (see "Here Comes Mr. Suck" for a prime example).

This tape was originally released in a super-limited run for the band's first show. We're indebted to Planet of the Tapes for re-releasing this. We picked up a copy at Melodiya, you can also grab it via the Leather Jacuzzi bandcamp.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Juicebox - Tetra Pak (2016)

Back to new tapes! Juice Box sit nicely alongside Milk Toast in terms of their twee sound, and we assume that their songs are built around found lyrics. This whole tape is filled with wry humour, but it's "Straight White Boys Texting" with its amazing skewering of, uh, straight white boys that seals the deal for us.

The limited run of the tape looks like it's still available via Fan Club Records. Or grab the download from Juice Box's bandcamp.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Bikeland - Jetfighter (2010)

We've got another old(er) tape! Not super old, but, hey, we take what we can get. We remember seeing Bikeland when they were active in 2010 and being kind of perplexed by their noisy chaos. Having the benefit of having seen/heard Clarke Alan Macleod's later work with Ashley Soft has helped us put this into perspective, and we get what's happening here now. The angst-filled shouts, noisy bursts of guitar and smashing drums come together just enough to draw you in. And then kick you back out.

Somehow Bikeland's music lives on over at bandcamp, where you can grab the download of this tape.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Unspooled Episode 8: The El Caminos' "Nobody"

Whoops, this somehow slipped by. Our October episode of Unspooled aired last week, but things are busy at the CJSW (getting ready for Funding Drive!), so we didn't get out hands on the Soundcloud link until the weekend. 

We think this is worth the wait, though (plus, it also helps to make up for our early airing of September's episode). This month, we spent a bit of time with Bobby Torpedo (aka Kamil Krulis), talking about the good old days of knocking monitors off the stage of the Republik and the El Caminos' 1992 cassette Ergo Drunken Sluts.

Monday, 10 October 2016

PMMA - Demo (2013)

Well, look at this! A tape that wasn't released just this year! It's a very exciting moment for us here at the CCPS. Especially because we really like PMMA - they were one of the first local punk bands to rediscover synthesizers, and they careen through this tape's seven songs like a dark, jet-powered... something. Maybe this isn't as fully-realized as their excellent LP from last year, but it's still a mighty powerful tape.

You can listen to 4/7 of this tape over at the PMMA bandcamp.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Valiska - Repetitions (2015)

We're posting a not new tape! Only because this one somehow slipped past us last year. So, it's really not that old.

Whatever, tapes is tapes. And this is a lovely tape. We don't say that too often, do we? Maybe we're listening to this with different ears than we have in the past, but we really get what Valiska is about with this release. The tracks glide seamlessly between drones and more formal compositions, Sujata's pianos act to underscore structural themes, while his synths add colour and looseness. The result is highly listenable, in both its calm and its tension.

Copies of this are still available from the Valiska bandcamp.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Corinthian - Eurozone Ghosts (2016)

This new tape from Deep Sea Mining Syndicate leader Evangelos Lambrinoudis II has been in fairly constant rotation in the CCPS offices for the past two weeks, only partly because it is such a good complement the unsettled weather we've had.

Corinthian tries to find a place somewhere between ambient noise, drones and techno, with one alternatingly giving way to the other. It's honestly difficult not to keep coming back to the name of Lambrinoudis' label to describe the sound here - this hypnotic and compelling tape does sound like deep sea mining. It's a shame that he's enabling our lazy writing style. 

The tape is limited to 50 physical copies; there was a stack at Melodiya last time we were in there, or you can grab it via the DSMS bandcamp.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Feel Alright/Century Palm - Split Cassette (2016)

Following on our last post from a bunch of Calgarian ex-pats, here's a split tape that local fellers Feel Alright and uh, Calgarian (and Lethbridge) ex-pats Century Palm that was put out over the summer for the tour the two bands dig of eastern Canada. Huge thanks to Jesse Locke and Kevin Boyer for helping us get a copy!

The Feel Alright side repackages a bunch of tracks that were originally on last year's excellent but completely unattainable Softies cassette. Feel Alright are one of the local bands we really can't get enough of. Craig Fahner is mining a great bit of early 70's power pop, living in an alternate reality where punk may never have happened. Or if it did, it stopped being fun. The perfect power pop of "Telegraph Hill" is alone worth finding this tape for.

Century Palm's side makes us wish that either we had the brains to get out east to see the band, or that they had the money to get out here for some shows. Punk did happen in Century Palm's world (as they confirm with a Husker Du cover), but then it got stuck in the 80's - their cover of the Grapes of Wrath's "All the Things I Wasn't" is a surprise and a delight. This is a nice evolution from the work Andrew Payne did with the Fun Funs here in Calgary five years ago.

We're honestly not sure how to/if you can get this tape. Planet of the Tapes put it out, but it's not on their bandcamp yet. Maybe write to your local elected officials demanding that this be more widely available?

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Brain Fever - La Luna (2012)

In a bit of random synchronicity, we found a copy of this last weekend - the original bridge between Brain Fever and La Luna. This tape was remastered and then re-released as La Luna's first LP. You can't download this one anymore, but, as mentioned yesterday, if you grab the improved version you can help La Luna with their bills.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

La Luna - Always Already (2016)/Tour Cassette (2015)

We usually try not to cover two tapes in one post, but we're going to make an exception for Calgarians-in-Toronto La Luna. The hardcore band moved east last year, and this summer hit a pile of trouble with their tour van in - of all the places - Newfoundland. Short of cash and facing a painfully high repair bill, they turned to their bandcamp as a way of raising money. Which we were more than happy to oblige, since it was also a way to grab a couple of goodies that otherwise we wouldn't have been able to.

Their 2015 Tour Tape is a quick two-track blast through what the band does best (a BIG guitar sound, lead singer Vanessa Gloux's vocals and great dynamics). Always Already, their 2016 LP (on tape? we're still confused when bands do this) is a steamroller of emotions that - for us - shows how amazing Nicolas Field's guitar work can be, blending math rock and hardcore into a tasty mix. 

We suspect the band is still recovering from the bills they accumulated on their summer tour; help them out and grab these tapes and/or the downloads via the La Luna bandcamp.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Ultra Gash - Trench Rash (2016)

Ultra Gash has a second tape that came out earlier this year, which is characterized by a messily-inky j-card (think of a laser printer that's spewing toner) and a spray-bombed orange cassette. And more of the same yelpy punk goodness that made their first tape so good.

Again, you can get this at Sloth (we think) or the Ultra Gash bandcamp.

Monday, 5 September 2016

Ultra Gash - Demo (2015)

We've got a ridiculously large pile of new-ish tapes in the CCPS office again, so we're going to, uh, post them. It's kind of what we do.

We saw Ultra Gash late last year at Tubby Dog, but didn't know they'd put out a tape until we found it at Sloth some time during Sled Island. This trio plays yelpy, propelling punk that's primal and dark at the edges.

Grab the tape from the Sloth or the Ultra Gash bandcamp.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Unspooled Episode 8: Ohama's "Let Them Eat Static"

We're back after our summer hiatus with Unspooled, and boy oh boy are we ever excited about this one. We literally had butterflies in our stomach before we sat down with synth legend Tona Ohama to talk about his 1982 cassette, Midnite News (not to be confused with his 1984 LP of the same name).

Tona was extremely generous with his time and with his stories, telling us all about his love of synths, growing up on his father's potato farm in Ranier and even getting into his new album that will come out this fall.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Dri Hiev - Place to Live (2016)

We feel like we've posted an inordinate number of tapes from electro noise punks Dri Hiev. While their live shows highlight the noisy part of the band, this new tape (released by Craft Singles) helps to show how listenable they really are. The drum machines aren't quite industrial strength on here, and the synth, processed guitars and bass are well-mixed. It's still nicely mechanical, gloomy and just claustrophobic enough. Bring on the rain!

You can get the tape via the Craft Singles bandcamp.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Detached Objectives - Destination Moon (2016)

We were sent the first tape from these electro goth rockers last year, and since then the band has added a third member and honed their sound. Detached Objectives pretty obvious about reaching back to the 1980's for said sound, and they wear it well. Mixing atmospheric pads and bass-driven goth rock, the atmospheric gloom on this fits well with their sci-themed lyrics - we kind of wish this had been used for the soundtrack for something like Silent Running.

Get the tape from your favourite local record store or the Detached Objectives bandcamp.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Sunglaciers - Sunglaciers (2016)

We missed Sunglaciers at Sled Island but heard really good things about them. So we checked them out a few weeks ago and picked up this tape. This is breezy, easy-flowing guitar pop with a touch of psych mixed in. If summer had been a little drier, this would have been just the thing for floating down the river with.

Looks like the tape is sold out now, but you can get the download from the Sunglaciers bandcamp.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Foul English - The Foul English (2016)

We needed to switch to something a little less taxing on our brains after yesterday's post, and this is just the thing. The Foul English play an unapologetic version of rock they call Dadcore. Yep, fun, no-nonsense, straight up stuff that recalls the early days of the UK punk scene. These aren't guys who are trying to invent a new style, they're guys who are trying to escape the monotony of their 40's, day-jobs, and mortgages. We can get behind that.

Interestingly, they've made their debut album available on CD, LP and tape. Everything new is old again. Get the CD or LP (or digital download, if you must) from the Foul English bandcamp.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Aleem Khan - Urbana Champaign (2016)

We've been at an impasse in the CCPS offices over the past week or so. We had planned on posting this new tape from Aleem Khan, but we haven't been able to fully figure it out yet. We saw Aleem's Sled Island set in June, and were left with our jaws on the floor. How had the kid from Shaani Cage with a penchant for playing soul music with guitars means for garage rock turned into a demure soul-pop-jazz-r&b dynamo?

Aleem quietly released a digital-only (and sadly no longer available) solo album last year that took the work he and brother Kaleem Khan started with Shaani Cage and launched it in a more organic, introverted direction. Urbana Champaign is perhaps the extension of that trajectory. It feels like the work of an artist who has just realized he has the chops and vision to make something amazing, and is testing the limits of said chops and vision. Aleem has left behind his guitar, opting for a reed organ and horns to produce a tape that is gorgeous, bewildering and fascinating. We've listened to this tape almost daily for the past month - it's like a Chinese finger trap that we haven't been able to free ourselves from. We're not sure if we want to free ourselves from it.

Get the tape via Aleem Khan's bandcamp.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Terminal Head - Terminal Head (2016)

From the first time we saw Terminal Head last year, they were instantly our favourite new band. This five piece take the catchy, late-70's influenced punk of the Nancees (whose final, almost unreleased album is one of our favourite almost unreleased albums from recent years) and perch vocalist Cody Swinkles of No River on top to make for some delightfully catchy power pop. It's a good reminder that as good as your band is, it can be even better with a great singer. We've had "Happen Again" stuck in our head for the past two weeks (especially the refrain of "I can't change") since we saw them play at the Palomino.

Grab the tape via the Terminal Head bandcamp.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Shiverettes - Live at CJSW and Just Three Songs EP (2016)

We were so excited when we saw that the Shiverettes had another tape that we didn't really pay attention to the fact that it was partly just a repackaging of their tape from late last year. But we love the Shiverettes so much, we're going to ignore that minor issue.

The band has capitalized on the excellent work that CJSW has been doing with their live sessions and released a set they up at the radio station earlier this year. The highlight on here is "Justice Robin Camp," their anti-tribute to the shame of Canada;s judicial system. It's a spectacular piece of garage rock, with Hayley Muir's menacing growl playing off perfectly against Kaely Cormack's bubblegum shrieks.

Oh, yeah - we also should have pointed out that one of those live tracks is also a song from their other tape. Even still, this is well worth grabbing from the Shiverettes' bandcamp or your local record store.

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Lucid 44 - Black/Veins (2016)

Holy crap, another tape from Bart Records! We feel like we've stepped into some Bizarro version of the city, where Stebner and his label are flush with cash and able to put out whatever he wants.

Anyways, whatever has happened here, we're not complaining. This is a really great set of songs from Markus Overland and his sad bastard folk. These are beautiful songs that feel like they're on the verge of coming apart, in very much the same vein as Mark Eitzel and the American Music Club. John Hadley's wonderfully textured guitar work helps to keep things together, just.

Looks like there isn't (at the time of writing this) a purchase link on the Bart Records site, but we've seen copies over at Sloth. Or you can grab the download from the Lucid 44 bandcamp.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

Greyscreen - Chillebration (2016)

One of the things that most amazes us about Kevin Stebner is the range of stuff he puts out. Standing in start contrast to Prepared is his chiptune project, Greyscreen. We have no idea how he makes this fun, glitchy noise. Or what he's doing with those Gameboys when he plays live:

As always, you can pick this up from Bart Records or your local record shoppe.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Prepared/No Hands - Split (2016)

We're always happy to bring another tape from Bart Records into our collection, and doubly so when it's from Prepared. There's something visceral about this band that gets us in just the right place, with the short, sharp, and wordy blasts of post-hardcore scratching an itch we didn't know we had.

Get the tape from Revolution Winter or your local record store.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Rae Spoon - Armour (2016)

We have a HUGE pile of new tapes sitting here at the CCPS offices, and now that we've provided some old tapes to keep us true to our original mandate, we're going to forge ahead with posting a pile of stuff.

And we'll start with this, the newest offering from Calgary Songs Project featured artist Rae Spoon. Technically, they're based in Victoria now, but this tape has serious ties to Calgary, with the tried and true partnership between Rae and Lorrie Matheson making for another great mix of songwriting and electronica. It's danceable and meaningful, and we're super into ththeirs new video that celebrates gender diversity and inclusiveness:

Order the tape (or CD, if you're so inclined) from Rae's Coax store.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Guilt Trip - Guilt Trip (1998)

Back to the all ages punk with this last tape from Yutaka Dirks. We posted another Guilt Trip tape from 2000 many years ago, and the comments were a bit divisive in terms of who was in this band. We've got made up names on this j-card, but we're pretty sure this was Jason Sinclair, Tyler Pickering and Dean Rudd, based on what folks said back then.

Most interestingly to us, though - this tape marks the first release for Meter Records, which went on to put out a bunch of great stuff in the 2000s. And we can hear a lot of the basis for Rud and Pickering's work with the Failure/the Evidence on this tape.

Plead guilty here

Monday, 25 July 2016

Radio - Hey Kid, Want Some Candy? (1996)

This is the weird one in the batch of tapes from Yutaka Dirks. We're not sure what to make of this - we don't remember the Radio, so we can't even rely on faulty memories to piece together a narrative.

This is weird, surprisingly reasonably fidelity, psychedelic pop. It's a lot of things. And puzzling is probably the most significant piece, with the tape veering between bedroom pop, accordion drones and spacey psychedelia.

We're still scratching our heads.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Arson - Demo

We have so little information about this one, it's kind of embarrassing. Plus, the audio quality is nothing short of questionable But that's certainly never stopped us before!

Yutaka Dirks tells us this tape is from the mid-90's, features female singers, is hardcore punk, and has no j-card. We could have guessed almost all of those. In fact, the last one we know for sure. If you have any real information, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Or hate mail.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Chupacabra - Society's Monster (1998)

We love discogs, mostly because it greatly satisfies our love of clicking on hyperlinked names to get to more hyperlinked names. Which is exactly what we did with the Alex P. Keatons tape from yesterday, which took us to a listing for this tape from Chupacabra (not to be confused with El Chupacabra, or the new band we're considering forming, ChupaChupsacabra).

Our copy (via Yutaka Dirks) didn't have a j-card, so we're stealing an image from discogs and noting the membership via the post over there. There's a fair amount of  metal content mixed with the punk here, which makes sense when we see that drummer Ryan O'Neill went on to play with Thorazine.

Grab the download here.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Alex P. Keatons - Turmoil (1998)

We're saved (slightly) from the past few days' trend of posting tapes and having NO idea who was in the band by  (of all things) the discogs entry for this tape from the Alex P. Keatons. Kind of. We snagged two last names from that post, but not much else. We've listened to the tape a couple of times, and it's kind of, well, pre-emo hardcore.

Or something?