All the Rage no. 83, May 4, 2020: It’s always new to someone

As always, 60ish minutes of the best in new (and new to me) left-field pop from Canada, Australia and beyond! This week we get loud with Welland’s Daniel Romano, Calgary’s The Shiverettes, Melbourne’s Slush, Freo’s Grunge Barbie. New Donny Benét! New New Fries! Delightful mellowness from New Zealand’s Floating Island. Also, a whole bunch of tunes from the past couple of years from bands that I’m only discovering now, like Edmonton’s Midnight Crisis. So much excellent music out there, just waiting to be discovered, so dive on in.

The setlist:

 Daniel Romano
I’m Afraid Of Elevators

Slush
Bleed

R.M.F.C.
Reader

Grunge Barbie
St. James St

Midnight Crisis
Hecubus (evil!)

The Shiverettes
Hard Bitch

Baby Band
Skeptics & Chill

Switches
Saurkraut

Jon Mckiel
Private Eye

New Fries
Ploce

Donny Benet
Mr Experience

Floating Island
Discontinuation

Punko
Plants Singing

Key Out
Chorus

Hussy
Gatorade

Sachet
Holes In One

Hippy Stamps
All I Can Remember Is Your Blue Eyes

All the Rage no. 58, December 12, 2018: My favourite songs of 2018

In which I look back at my favourite left-field pop songs of 2018, from Canada, Australia and beyond. So many excellent songs, so many excellent bands came our way in 2018 that this list only scrapes the surface. Let’s get to it! Your setlist and song-by-song reviews below.

 

  1. Rebel Yell, Stains (feat. Gussy)

So many great songs passed over the All the Rage airwaves in 2018 that it was incredibly difficult to choose the cut-off song, as it were: my “Rest of 2018” list is 33 songs long. That said, isn’t this a great piece of menacing electronic tuneage? I think my first exposure to Rebel Yell, a.k.a. Brisbane’s Grace Stevenson, was via a remix of a Lovely Head song. So when Hired Muscle, her debut album arrived last June, I was definitely on board. All in all, not a bad way to begin the countdown.

  1. Smaller Hearts, Chipper

Pet Shop Boys meets Stereolab, with hints of Depeche Mode? Yes, please. “Chipper,” and their whole album, hint at greatness to come from these Nova Scotians.

  1. Würst Nürse, Hot Doctor

I like to think my musical tastes are pretty eclectic, but if there’s anything that I’ve learned in putting together this show and podcast for the past three-plus years it’s that I definitely have a type, or a few types. And one type is definitely loud, aggressive, melodic punk with a social conscience and a sense of humor. Which is to say that I’ve got all of the time in the world for “the world’s first and best nurse punk band.” Being serious is easy; writing a straight-up Rawk song about sexism that includes the line, “I want your hot beef injection,” is something else. And that something else is Satirical Feminist Transcendent Rock Awesomeness.

  1. IV League, Superstar

Pure, anthemic pop. A glittering fight song.

  1. Civic, New Vietnam

Punk as fuck.

  1. Haolin Munk, Deep Space Float (feat. Lee Reed)

Chill as all get-out. And from just down the road in Hamilton. And it’s part of an odd concept album about aliens and space or some such. Check it out.

  1. Savour the Rations, Thank the Lord (feat. Domba, Kwame, Raj Mahal & Gibrillah)

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/embed/5738271

Hard, heavy, profane Australian hip hop. Um, yes, I’m in.

  1. Choses Sauvages, Ariane

Mellow Québécois pop. I’ve already used the word “chill” to describe another song on this list, but it definitely applies here, and I’m too lazy to check a thesaurus.

  1. Donny Benét, Love Online

Finally seeing Donny Benét live (in Paris, no less. On a boat, no less) was a personal highlight of 2018. (I have no doubt that his January concert in Cologne will feature similarly in my 2019.) So was the release of his latest album, The Don. 80s-style synth-based pop combined with sexy-adjacent lyrics is his stock in trade. Think Chromeo-style come-ons delivered by someone posing as a gone-to-seed Lothario who, despite outward appearances, still has It. His secret is that the music is tight and his lyrics are clever without ever descending into parody. Being serious and sincere is easy, being funny and clever is difficult. Anyway, yeah, “Love Online” is a great song, but I could’ve picked any song from The Don. Treat yourself. Check him out. You deserve it.

  1. Flowertruck, Come Across

But just because it’s easier to be sincere than funny and clever doesn’t mean there’s no place for sincerity in my favourite songs, “Come Across” being a prime example. It leans heavy on the melancholy and angst and hits those feels like a pro, ably assisted by a chorus that’s been lodged in my mind for months.

  1. Speedy Ortiz, Lucky 88

See above re emotional heft, which Speedy Ortiz has become expert at delivering. They’re fast becoming one of the United States’ most dependable and exciting rock bands.

  1. Paupière, Défunte Lune de Miel

And now for some bouncy Québécois pop. Still disappointed that I missed them when they came through Toronto earlier this year.

  1. Babygirl, Over in No Time

Sad, beautiful dreampop from Toronto. Wonderful delicateness.

  1. Tram Cops, stolen land

A moody and haunting track out of Melbourne. Yeah. It sticks with you.

  1. Constant Mongrel, 600 Pounds

Heavy, in tone and content. A song from the soundtrack of a world in a bad spot and spiralling.

  1. Orlando Furious, Rage

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/arD_5YGJdQ0?rel=0

Stream of consciousness unlike anything else I heard this year. Discordant, dissonant, unsettling. 

  1. Tim & the Boys, Hey

Driving, straight-ahead rock and roll with a nice aggressive edge…. Geez. I feel like I’m trying to write about wine. You can use words like “mouthfeel” all you want, but it basically comes down to, do you like it? Yeah, I like this song. I like it a lot. It’s my 14th-favourite song of the year. It rocks. It annoyed me to no end that I couldn’t buy these Sydneysiders’ album in Canada until months after it was released Down Under.

  1. Confidence Man, Don’t You Know I’m In a Band

In 2018, Confidence Man followed up on a couple of ridiculously enjoyable singles with a ridiculously enjoyable debut album. Case in point, this tongue-in-cheek assertion of pop star entitlement that is itself a near-perfect pop song. I want Confidence Man to be around forever, please.

  1. BBQT, High Wasted

Charming, off-kilter indie pop from Montreal. One of my two go-to summer songs on this list.

  1. Muncie Girls, Picture of Health

So, Muncie Girls is one of only three non-Canadian or -Australian bands that made my top 30, which should give you a good idea of how much I like this song. “Picture of Health” is pop-punk done right, and I’m particularly taken with their stuttered repetition of words in the song’s earwormy chorus. I’ve never heard that done before, and it Sounds. So. Cool.

  1. Little Ugly Girls, Tractor

Australian (from Hobart) riot grrrl band with tracks preserved in amber since the 1990s and whose album was only released this year. “Tractor” roars.

  1. Chromeo, Room Service

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/B-_xw6lf9T8?rel=0

We’re all running low on energy. Chromeo makes the case against going out, and for staying in and getting down. I’m convinced.

  1. JuliaWhy?, Pocket

More proof that the future of rock and roll is female.

  1. Metric, Now or Never Now

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/4Eh6mc993AIHTEpj3LFIlp

The live version of this song was a standout when I saw Metric in Utrecht in November, leading me to revisit it on the album. Verdict: It’s among Metric’s best.

  1. Petra Glynt, Surveillance

Probably the most epic tune on this list, “Surveillance” is an uncompromising and abrasive piece of artpop that had me thinking of U.S. Girls or an unvarnished Grimes. Bonus points for making a danceable song about living in a surveillance society.

  1. Sunscreen, Tide

My choice for 2018 summer song. A gentle pop tune that nails that end-of-summer feeling. 

  1. Phantastic Ferniture, Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/00F5GpqtjDr750q3M2Bkfm

Reminds me of Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phonenix in that all of the guitar pop songs on this Sydney band’s debut album sound timeless, like they always existed. Perfection.

  1. Sahara Beck, Here We Go Again

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5s2JcXMkuhkEF8MYeWFrW1

I’ve been a fan of Sahara Beck since coming across her song “Brother Sister” on triplejunearthed.com. After a 2016 debut album on which she seemed to be trying to do everything at once, Beck comes through in 2018 with the superb “Here We Go Again,” a song built on the same emotional depth that characterized her previous work. I’m very excited to see where she goes next.

  1. Superchunk, Reagan Youth

Who would’ve thought that a 30-year-old band would deliver the year’s most insightful take on how everything went wrong in the United States. A song that is as musically vital as it is emotionally necessary.

  1. U.S. Girls, Incidental Boogie

https://open.spotify.com/embed/track/5DZBl18zByeRXwRotKcVvF

From the first time I heard U.S. Girls’ “Incidental Boogie” in 2015 (on the Free Advice Column EP), it was clear that Meg Remy was someone to watch. Fast forward three years later, and U.S. Girls’ latest album, In A Poem Unlimited, is deservedly topping best-of lists. The whole album is great: rage at social injustices mediated by elaborate, sultry (and sometimes menacing) pop arrangements. In writing and performing a pop album of great substance, Remy (working with myriad conspirators) is performing at pop’s highest difficulty setting and succeeding brilliantly. Easily the best album, with the best songs, of the year. And the re-recorded “Incidental Boogie” is just harrowing in its bleakness.

So there you go. See you in 2019!

All the rage no. 15: The year-end mix

https://www.mixcloud.com/widget/iframe/?feed=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.mixcloud.com%2Fbhaggart%2Fall-the-rage-no-15-the-end-of-the-year-mix%2F&light=1

For my final podcast of 2016, I’ve turned the sacred setlist duties over to The Mysterious Natasha. I think you’ll agree it looks (and sounds) pretty damn good. I’m also taking a break from the mic this week, so this is (ahem) all rock (all pop?), no talk, and it gave me a chance to try out my Christmas present, a Denon MC4000 DJ controller. It’s pretty sweet so far.

My one contribution is Stars’ No One is Lost, the existentially perfect way to close out the year:

“Au lendemain de fête, les conséquences vécus
Répètez, répètez jusqu’au sommet
Personne ne reste
Personne ne reste
Personne ne reste”

Happy New Year. See you in 2017.

Your setlist:

PROGRAMM, Like the Sun
Indian Summer, Love like This (f. Lastlings)
Hello Seahorse!, Bestia
Heart Beach, Counting
The Jezabels, Unnatural
Poliça, Wedding
Gang Signs, So Long
Le Couleur, L’amour le jour
Pet Shop Boys, Yesterday, When I was Mad
Jen Cloher, Dead Wood Falls
Teeth & Tongue, Cupcake
The Juan Maclean, A Simple Design
Grimes, REALiTi
Stars, No One is Lost
Andy Williams, Moon River

All the Rage 1.6 Indie pop and punk rock, from Montreal to Melbourne.

It’s show number seven! Your weekly dose of new independent music from Canada and Australia, with a shout out to Nasty Grrls thrown in, because it is election season. Your setlist:

Martina Topley Bird, Too Tough to Die (intro)
Royal Red Brigade, Blood Music
The Nation Blue, Rotten
Pinkshinyultrablast, Kiddy Pool Dreams
Jo Passed, Look Up
Marie Davidson, Naïve to the Bone
Scraps, Underground
Jennifer LoPan, Number Eight
Double Date with Death, Creature
Le Couleur, L’Amour le Jour
Hey Chica!, Un Instante
Wild Meadows, Nowhere
Passive Smoke, Hold Me
Candy, Can’t Pretend
Extra Foxx, The Beatles Were Right
Childbirth, Nasty Grrls
Metric, Reflection 06 (outro)

All the Rage 1.6 Indie pop and punk rock, from Montreal to Melbourne.