Friday, 30 June 2017

For Those Aboot to Rock: A Countdown to Canada Day. The Olde edition

Three years can seem like an eternity to even the most die hard doom fan, particular if your favourite band hasn’t deliver any riffs during that time.  Take the band Olde for example, after delivering their self-titled debut and garnering critical acclaim from the doom underground, fans have been clambering for  their crushing sonic blows. Fear not, because Olde are set to return on  August 11 with their  STB Records debut Temple”, an album that delivers everything “Olde” did but  with added weight, ferocity and that much needed hook laden fuzz they’re know for. 

So with Canada Day a mere 24 hours away, not only can you check out a brand new sonic demonstration in the form of Now I See You but we have given free reign to Olde guttermouth and bassist Cory McCallum to choose the best underground riffs from the Canadian underground.  Check it oot below to find oot what is all aboot.   (my Canadian naturalisation is complete)

By: Cory McCallum

It is almost Canada Day, by golly, and what better way to celebrate 150 years as a nation than to strap on your toques, fire up the bacon and crank some crushing and under-appreciated Canadian bands.


Luke Roberts (of Thantifaxath and Pale Mare, also metal heavyweights) stretches out in his band Ayahuasca"Yin" is a beast of an album; a conceptual trip through the dark regions of Roberts' psyche. The delightfully-complex guitars and rhythm section set the scene for the incredible vocals (the harmony work on this record is second-to-none). 

RIYL progressive sludge with a real focus on smarts, with a smattering of 90s grunge, punk rock and traditional heavy metal to boot. Coincidentally mixed by our own Greg Dawson (which is how I found oot aboot them).


Hawkeyes are a six-piece instrumental psychedelic doom band out of the Kitchener-Waterloo area, but they might as well be from space. These dudes are in no hurry to get anywhere, and their patience is a welcomed-virtue. For fans of FloydMogwai or virtually anything loud and droney, Hawkeyes consistently brings the goods with songs that are sonically rich and textured and pay close attention to dynamic and movement. Strap in and launch off. 


Full disclosure: OLDE would not exist without Sons of Otis.  It's not that long a story, but it boils down to our Greg recording Sons of Otis and having a "holy-shit-I-gotta-do-that" epiphany.
Are Sons of Otis underappreciated?  Arguable.  Does everyone who digs heavy music know who they are?  No, and they should.  SOO are by far Canada's crown princes of Sludge or Stoner Metal or Heavy Psych, or whatever the hell else you want to call them.  They do it all and they do it all tremendously well.

I would hazard that there hasn't ever been a heavy band that can "lock into" a riff or a groove the way Otis can.  When all three (very capable) musicians get on that same page (and sometimes, by design, it takes a while to get there), things get REAL in a hurry.  Fat fat fat bottom end, a rhythm section that operates like a two-brained octopus (hunh?), guitar tones that make your toes curl and possibly the most inconsequential lyrics of all time (note: I am not taking a swipe at Sons of Otis' lyrics.  I am saying that the sounds and the songs are so goddamned heavy and hypnotic that Ken Baluke could be singing out a recipe for butter tarts {awash in reverb and echo and whatever else tickles his fancy}, and I would be pleased as punch).  A modern-day legend, still going strong.  Hail Otis!


Unfortunately, many of us probably have a story about seeing a great band play to almost no one.  Mine involves Shallow North Dakota, Hamilton's finest purveyors of noisy, progressive sludge rock (humour me; they kind of defy easy categorization) playing in my shit hometown to about ten people in a Mediterranean restaurant.  SND existed in a bit of a vacuum; they were heavier and more daring than anyone else in the Southern Ontario scene at the time and were making brilliant records and demolishing live audiences years ahead of their time (or at least half a continent away from where they would have been huge).  Canada's Melvins, in a way, but even calling them that with complete respect and admiration is unfair and reductive.  Regardless...when you want a bit more edge, something a bit more fierce, punishing and unrelenting, turn to Shallow North Dakota.  A fave amongst many Ontario metal heads over the age of 30 or so.


In the spirit of breaking rules, I conclude with Friendly Rich, perhaps Canada's hardest-working weirdo and a truly underappreciated force hacking his way through the wilderness of the Canadian music scene.  If you are ONLY down with hearing me blather about metal bands, well...tough.  "Heavy" is relative, anyway. Friendly Rich (and, most often, his assorted Lollipop People) have been recording and releasing some of the most innovative and interesting (and yes, often the heaviest) music here in the Great White North.  If you have ever wondered what would happen if a travelling freak show crashed their caravan into a Hell's Angels clubhouse which just happened to be rented that night to, say, an Italian lounge lizard doing an interpretive presentation on the respective folk music traditions of various Eastern Bloc countries....and who hasn't wondered that....well, here you go.  Friendly Rich requires investment; your time, attention and, most importantly, your open mind.  It is an investment that, should you make it in good faith, will pay off in spades.

Plus....”Sausage Samba” is easily the greatest video of all time.

Honourable mentions- Seas, Sierra, Ol' Time Moonshine, Hammerhands, Godstopper, Yeti on Horseback, Algoma, Culted, Razor, Mutank, Sacrifice, Haitian Knife Fight, Kabal, The Shanks, Low Orbit....shit.  I'm putting my name in right now to come back and do this next year. 

Get crushed.  Happy birthday, Canada.
Olde Cory

Olde Band info: bandcamp || facebook