Riff Raff

By Bryce Dunn

Greetings vinyl lovers! There’s a good batch of wax to get to this month, starting off with Vancouver’s own Sun Wizard, purveyors of languid country jangle with just a pinch of early ‘80s power pop, as evidenced by the two tracks, “Quit Acting Cold” and “Tambourines.” Singer Malcolm Jack has a lilting, hiccuping quality to his voice not unlike an early Tom Petty or Dwight Tilley while the yin to Jack’s yang, James Younger, hits the right bright notes with aplomb. The rhythm section of Frank Lyon and Ben Frey don’t rock the boat too much, instead keeping things sure and steady and soothing while offering fans of Band of Horses, the Byrds and the like something to tap their toes to. These two cuts aren’t available on their most recent EP, so fans should snatch this one up.

Country jangle of another kind is next up, thanks to Calgary’s femme fatale, Miesha Louie and her Spanks, which is just Stuart Bota on drums. As we’ve noted in the past, Miesha’s firebrand voice and gritty guitar will spill the drink and break the hearts of anyone within reach while the machine gun rattle of Bota’s drum attack ignites the tracks found on this recent single, “Mean Face” b/w “Fuck Around.” And much like the aforementioned b-side, Miesha & the Spanks certainly do not—and they don’t intend to slow down the roots-rockin’ rumble anytime soon.

Calgary also lays claim to the mod-explosion of Seven Story Redhead, a band I recently discovered while trolling that crazy thing we call the Interweb. Four songs adorn a recent EP (available on disc too, but the vinyl is more eye-catching, if not for the 3-D cover, than the go-go gal who go-goes down for the count after some serious shakin’ I assume) and you will want to “Shake It Out” after hearing the tunes herein. The title cut is a primed and ready to blow up example of early Who-isms while “Beast With Two Backs” cops some Brian Jonestown Massacre licks but turns the volume up to 11. “Foolish Schemes (From The Underground)” and “Don’t Wanna Know” mine some fertile punk rock soil and would nestle nicely between Clash and Count Five records most assuredly. Check this out.

Calgarian connections continue with our next act, No Problem, who recently inked a lucractive deal (read: copious amounts of booze, babes and blow) with Handsome Dan (of the Spastic Panthers) in the back alley behind the French Maid to release their debut EP, Your Eyes. Your eyes will definitely deceive you, however, upon glancing at the mugs of the members of this Edmonton outfit, as Sam the Eagle and Peter Boyle are among the photos (ironically, in an art-imitating life sort of way, singer/guitarist Graeme does in fact look like Gary Busey circa his DUI days!). But, don’t let that sway you from checking out these tracks of fast and bulbous punk rock riffery, remembering the halcyon days of American hardcore, a lá Circle Jerks or Zero Boys in their prime. With songs about money-grubbing banks (“Debts”) and psychotic ex-girlfriends (“Your Eyes”) it’s no problem for these guys to make for short stabs of fist-pumping good times; a solid effort here from a solid band.

Finally, as the good times must end inevitably, so shall we with this column and our last entry courtesy of Steve Adamyk and his band of merry-makers from Ottawa. Studious readers will remember it was only a couple of months back that we drooled over his last single, and no sooner had the spittle dried from my chin than he unleashed yet another piece of power pop that leaves me gobsmacked. All the tracks have the hooks aplenty, and the formula of short, sweet and to the point is what works best. Take “Satellite” for instance, barely a minute long, but with a keyboard-laced chorus it works wonders. “Hit The Ground” is the favourite, with its ‘50s-bubblegum inflected feel, but it’s hard to choose. With another single and a full-length on the way, any followers of the current Canadian power pop scene (Statues/Mother’s Children/Varsity Weirdos et al.) will want to add this guy their collections, pronto.

That’s all folks!

Sun Wizard:
Miesha & The Spanks: Transistor 66 Records
Seven Story Redhead:
No Problem: Handsome Dan Records
Steve Adamyk: Red Lounge Records