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STRANGE DAYS AHEAD Jack White has told Billboard he’s putting the finishing touches on a third solo album, which he cryptically describes as “bizarre” and great for “reroofing the garage”. Yes, folks, even the man who saved rock with the White Stripes has given up on saving rock.
BACK AT ’ER Eleven years after her debut, Paris Hilton is hard at work on a follow-up that she promises will deliver a whole new sound. Unfortunately, she’s promising a mix of deep house and electro- and techno-pop, instead of what we were all hoping for: the sound of silence.
BUTT OUT In an attempt to curb lowlifes hawking nude pics of her, Sia released one of them herself, tweeting a blurry shot of her butt—which is just as well, since no one knows what her face looks like anyway.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE Famous philanthropist Bono has been named in the Paradise Papers leak for evading tax on his investment in a Lithuanian shopping centre. We expected it of Trump’s cabinet members—but really, Bono? You too?
Our Freedom Day (Independent)
There’s a completely legit case to 2
be made that the likes of Green Day, Good Charlotte, and Blink-182 ruined it for everyone. Who in the fuck wants to form a punk band to smash the state or soundtrack an Anarchists Anonymous meeting when, by sweetening the mix a little, you can dream of massive royalty cheques, private jets, and sold-out hockey rinks?
Pop-punk is the last thing that Reds give a shit about on Our Freedom Day. This is old-school thrashamatic punk for those who’ll argue that Tim Armstrong is more principled than Billie Joe Armstrong will ever be. Only four of the 12 tracks make it past the two-anda-half-minute mark, with “O.F.D.” wrapping up in a tightly wound one minute and six seconds.
As much as lead singer DK tends to sound like a gutter punk who gargles with uncut lye and whiskysoaked Lucky Strikes, Our Freedom Day isn’t afraid to make the odd sonic diversion. The guitars are more classic-emo sheen than Never Mind the Bollocks on “White Lightning”, while the occasionally heavenly closing track, “Umbilical”, starts out by alternating between acoustic guitar and mournful cello.
Further bonus points go to Reds for putting out the album on glorious 12-inch vinyl rather than shitty old compact disc, and for lyrics that actually seem like they weren’t written on the back of a Player’s Light pack after a couple of pulls on a glue bag. Take a listen to the impressively snotty “As It Is” and its unflinchingly honest lines “I’ve got no ambition to make it in your world/your
It is a tough age, indeed. During 2
the recording of their sophomore album, 2015’s I Get the Feeling Central, founding Tough Age members Jarrett Samson and Penny “Agamemnon” Clark were, like so much of the city’s great talent, compelled to make the move from the increasingly unaffordable Vancouver to Toronto, and change has been a constant ever since.
Most notably, Tough Age has streamlined from a quartet to a trio, adding on drums the notorious Jesse Locke, with whom Clark plays in Century Palm, but Clark’s increased workload on vocals cannot be overlooked. She takes the lead on “Me in Glue”, a thrashy garage-rocker that puts Tough Age in line with the Courtneys, and the sizzling reconfiguration of “Ghost” by the Drearies, taking it a little more up-tempo and a lot tighter than the original.
Even in flux, Tough Age continued its career trajectory with Shame, moving farther away from the literal garage sound towards more polished productions, without sacrificing an iota of energy. Some 20 tracks were recorded for this album, tastefully edited down to the eight essential cuts. The false start and chuckle on “Piquant Frieze” add to the live-offthe-floor feel they were going for, and achieved most spectacularly on the closing title track, which progs out for 10 of the album’s 32 minutes, ending on an experimental simmering of effects and hum that puts you right there in the studio with them. Shame is all pleasure, no guilt.
> ALAN RANTA
In a world where aggressive future 2 bass is the go-to for big clubs, and groove-driven house and techno are en vogue in the underground, it’s a bold choice to produce an album that borrows more from trance—a genre tied closely to the ’90s—than the trends of the day. But instead of creating a record that’s a homage to the past, DJ Forest Walker—or Jordan Mccuaig, to his mom—has neatly dragged the sound into 2017, thanks to a healthy dose of trap music.
A concept album of sorts—as far as a lyricless electronic record can be—his debut full-length, Project Arbutus, weaves a narrative across its 14 tracks. Each song offers a different mood or chapter, and is described by enigmatic, space-themed titles like “Solar Flare”, “Orbital Decay”, and “Event Horizon”. It might seem a little lofty and inaccessible, but the music is anything but.
The record is named after the organic world—namely, the trees that thrive on B.C.’S Sunshine Coast—but the album has a distinctly sci-fi feel, with cold, impersonal synth lines and minor chord progressions scoring the majority of the tracks. Sounds like the gritty, distortion-drenched lead in “Trackers II” and trap music’s ticky drums capture the feel of the urban jungle rather than verdant forests— but that coolness serves to highlight the moments that have real warmth.
Album standout “An Endless Fog”, for instance, is filled with lush pads and rich, suspended chords that drift behind a jazzy saxophone riff. The only track to feature vocals, it adds a human touch to a record dominated by synths. “Cascade”, too—a song that blends a Top 40–esque beat with electric guitar and piano lines—adds a new timbre to the proceedings, and is nicely complemented by funky stomper “The Lookout”.
Mccuaig has an ear for rhythm, and is able to manipulate drum sounds to become the focal point of the song, rather than just its framework. It’s that innovation that lets Project Arbutus capture the themes of the past while sounding undeniably fresh.
> KATE WILSON