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Skitso-Convo becomes Cellphone

reasonably smallToday we continue our roll-out of previews for our CMW showcase with another song premiere, this time from electro-horror-punks Cellphone. If you’re not familiar with the band that may have a little to do with their defiantly unGoogle-able name, but it’s actually their second moniker. The band recently rebranded from the more descriptive Skitso-Convo.

“It’s still the same band,” says Eric Farber. “We just weren’t down with the loaded 7/11 screwball-self-talker implications of Skitso-Convo. I want us to keep changing the name every few months to keep it fresh.”

That’s not the strategy of a band that cares much about mainstream success, but that hardly seems like Cellphone’s goal. Though they still have a Skitso-Convo YouTube channel with a few songs (one of which debuted on NME), they’re willing to let that live under a different name while they continue to follow and record their every musical whim.

Their songs to this point have often been categorized as “dance-punk,” which seems like a somewhat accurate description, but it definitely doesn’t fit into the category of more indie rock leaning groups like Bloc Party or Franz Ferdinand that are typically put under that banner. Instead it sounds like what would happen if the Dead Kennedys got really into Kraftwerk, a style that Farber categorizes as “aggressively smoked out.”

“It’s like backwards dance punk,” he says. “Instead of putting twitchy guitar on long dance grooves, we put a lot of trance and techno sounds in to concise punk structures.”

Cellphone have just finished their first six-song cassette, which they plan to release soon, and already have their following release planned. Here is the debut of a track off that upcoming EP, entitled “Everybody Shits, Everybody Dies”

Cynical Detroit duo Bad Party makes Toronto debut

Cynical Detroit duo Bad Party

Detroit industrial punk duo Bad Party – who make their Toronto debut at our CMW showcase this Saturday – mix pounding drum machinery and ripping guitar that makes you want to both dance around and rough someone up at the same time. But while frontman Nate Savino has a reputation for bad-assery, I found out he does not condone fighting, or at least not bullying. That said, he still resents people – including his now-ousted bassist, who shall not be named. Armed with a new guitarist, Bad Party continues the tradition of noise punk they started (as part of  Tamion 12 Inchand White Devil.) They plan to release new vinyl this summer, sounding exactly like you’d think a band living in America’s most wounded post-industrial city would sound. Savino answered some of my email questions on the motor-less Detroit, his hatred for Catholicism and how he’s “an angel and a devil at the same time.”

Now that 22-year-old guitarist Kent Alexander replaced your old bassist, how has that changed your sound?

HE SHREDDS … When it was bass it was tuned really high and played through a guitar head. Now it’s a guitar tuned low – it’s a little different but I looked for a new bass player for years. Kent can play anything but we don’t really plan on playin the older (songs), maybe one.


You’ve mentioned your distaste for the U.S. government. Why? Politically, how do you sway?

Have you ever been to Detroit? To the USA? CANADA is the real America. I guess I think both left and right, personal freedom in its totality, and social programs to eradicate extreme poverty.

You have a song called Catholic Guilt. Were you raised Catholic and how does that affect your art?

More like tortured as Catholic, like in a sick religious cult. They can all burn in the hell they have created in their minds. Religion (like that especially) is about mind control, maybe some of my art (music) is a breaking away from that kind of thinking.

Detroit was hit hard by the recession, with some foreclosed homes on sale for $1 or less. How has the economy affected you?

I used to be able to work and make money. The situation around here has been complete shit for five years… the government sucks!!!!!! They are responsible for the economy or lack thereof. It has made me fucking pissed, I would have had two more records out at least if it wasn’t for it.

Detroit is known for pioneering techno. How has electronic music influenced you?

Techno sucks. It is usually boring it has no soul. BOOTY has probably been more of an influence for me. I used to go dancing a lot more and was co-founder ofFunk Night a big detroit dance party (that a lot of people who were not involved with get credit for).

What other projects do you have outside of Bad Party?

SXUAL PRDATOR is my new dance project with Devon Parrott …  White Evil is a project that involves playing live to films I make or collages. T-shirt art is a favourite, because then you can wear it in public – my answers are getting dumbed down because of my distaste for typing – I make art that is usually meant to show something wrong with society, at least in my world.

Your music sounds angry. Do you listen to that kind of music?

Some songs I guess are kinda angry, some aren’t meant to be. Some are. Sometimes it’s just a really really shitty sound tech making me pissed, which influences the sound in a negative way. I mostly listen to classical music, and a recorded tape of  early AC/DC (High Voltage and If you Want Blood you Got it) over and over. But I do listen to all kinds of music.

You once told a journalist “if I get it in my head that I don’t like someone, I’ll just run at them across the bar.” Have you mellowed out since then?

I’m not as crazy anymore … and that interview got a little jumbled. It would have to something really serious for me to attack, and i’m really thousands of years old. but nobody would belive that anyway… I have never never started a fight – I am not a bully. I hate bullys. I never had a childhood, have always thought in a timeless mannner, I react to situations. I am angel and devil at the same time.

What is your relationship with your former bassist, in terms of creating music and personally?

I would rather not talk about it

What’s your relationship with the crowd you play to?

We’ll see on March 24th

Resonancity, Buzz Records and Dan Burke present CMW with smoke and grime at the Comfort Zone


Saturday, March 24 will be a landmark day for Resonancity. That’s the day we extend our reach from the comfortable confines of the internet to the sinister, oft-raided, and, if we’re being totally honest, kind of creepy (but awesome) Comfort Zone. The infamous den of iniquity will be the setting of our very first live Resonancity showcase, a Canadian Music Week bill of skuzzy, attention-grabbing rock and roll.

Resonancity and CMW may seem like strange bedfellows, but we’ve found a way to fit our skewed attitude into the industry-friendly festival schedule. We started this website with a simple goal: to spotlight the beautiful, heavy and often strange bands hiding in plain site, beneath the often-covered, usually PR-assisted batch of boilerplate pop-rock that hogs most of the media attention. How did we reconcile that mindset with a festival whose major coup is reuniting Treble Charger and I Mother Earth?

That’s simple: We teamed up with Dan Burke. Never one to settle for the safe choice, the legendary Toronto promoter collaborated with us and scrappy local DIY label Buzz Records to come up with a lineup that would sidestep the temptation of mediocrity. Burke initially started his NeXT series as a direct challenge to CMW, but the event eventually picked up enough steam that the festival wisely incorporated it into its own schedule.

Burke’s managed to raise as much hell from within, and credit CMW for letting him and a few other left-of-centre promoters to follow their own vision, but even he’s unsure how we managed to sneak this one under the CMW (CMF?) umbrella. While big-name breadwinners like Passion Pit and Atlantic Records Rolling Stone cover stars the Sheepdogs are hobnobbing at the Royal York’s “Indie” Awards, we’ll be tucked below the Waverly Hotel with a five-band lineup that might be a bit off, but definitely won’t be forgettable. No one’s going to pick up a sponsorship deal or record contract here, but if you’re looking for a good time then this will be the place to park for the night.

Post-industrial noisemakers Bad Party have a reputation for crowd-disturbing antics in their live shows (which might be why they’re so rare), and since they’re visiting from Detroit they have a total blank slate.

We’ve also managed to snag Absolutely Free for their third hometown show. You may recognize the guys as four-fifths of Resonancity-favourites DD/MM/YYYY. Their new incarnation brings the same percussive, instrument-switching fervour, but with less focus on spazzy popcraft and more on gorgeous, spacey drone.

Buzz Records kindly lent us one of their house (or, more accurately, Garage) bands, Connoisseurs of Porn. As you may glean from the moniker, these Captain Beefheart, Mr. Bungle worshipping youngsters are less about blog-friendly renown and more about glorious dissonance, with some skewed melodic songcraft poking underneath the jagged edges.

Skitso-Convo have rebranded under the less Googleable name, Cellphone, but they’re the same loveably noisey-but-danceable electro-horror-punks they’ve always been.

The bill is filled out by one more mystery act that we’re excited to share, but we can’t announce them until closer to the show date. We can tell you they’re a attitude-filled bunch of shit-kicking punks that have been making a lot of noise (both literally and figuratively) on the Toronto scene.

Album Review: Young Galaxy Shapeshifting

Young Galaxy Shapeshifting

If you’ve been keeping up with Montreal dream pop trioYoung Galaxy over the past few years, the first thing you’ll notice about the new album Shapeshifting is that it doesn’t sound anything like them. The rest of your listen will be devoted to deciding whether or not that’s a good thing.

Shapeshifting’s opener- The Angels Are Surely Weeping – serves as an assault of the unfamiliar; ushering in a punchy drum loop paired with a synth bassline. Even Stephen Ramsay’s vocals lack the watery presence of past recordings. Here his voice comes across as a sterile echo, a suitable companion to the cold electronic frameworks of the songs that dominate the album, but a change that is likely to off-put some of their shoegaze-minded listenership.
And although Young Galaxy undergo a massive stylistic makeover onShapeshifting, it isn’t necessarily a regressive one. For instance, Catherine McCandless’ vocal duties have never been stronger. On album standout We Have Everything, McCandless gives the performance of her career: a confident, operatic tour de force that makes the hypnotizing looping track a memorable one.

Unfortunately, such memorable moments are few and far between, andShapeshifting ultimately portrays Young Galaxy as sonically nomadic, searching for a niche as a little fish in a big pond.

CMW Preview: Connoisseurs of Porn debut Re-Gifted Fruit

Gearing up for our first Resonancity showcase at the Comfort Zone this Saturday has us very excited. We stand behind every band on the bill, though we know none of them are exactly industry-friendly. So, starting today and running every weekday up until the show, we’ve decided to give you a preview of each band. Today, we start with local noise-makers Connoisseurs of Porn.

The band first caught our attention for their abrasive, angular, but often strangely catchy compositions, the glorious sound of three bored kids making noise in a garage and accidentally stumbling on some excellently skewed noise-pop nuggets. That’s what caught our attention, but it’s probably not what caught yours. No, that’s most likely their band name.

CoP are built for overstuffed festivals like CMW because, outside of listening to each and every band on the schedule, sometimes you have to resort to blindly reading band names. We don’t think we’re exaggerating to say that Connoisseurs of Porn is one of the more arresting ones on the schedule. (And who knows what kind of spam this site is going to attract after this post?)

According to guitarist Greg Keefe, they chose the name for the exact reason you probably think: they thought it was funny. But, intentionally or not, the moniker eventually penetrated deeper into the band’s aesthetic.

“It…captures something significant both in the ways we relate to music and life,” he says. “Porn is fucked up. Mainstream porn in particular is interesting both in that it’s this weird exaggerated/deranged display of sexuality and yet despite this it is still extremely formulaic. In this respect it seems like a good metaphor for what seems like a lot of posturing that occurs both throughout the music scene and as a more general phenomenon in life. We have the experience of operating on the fringes (both in music and in life) and with this comes a sort of voyeurism – this shit seems ridiculous from the outside. Who knew ass-to-mouth could become derivative?”

The band started when the three members – Keefe, Grant Spooner and Chris Thomas – moved into a house together, mistakenly believing that would inspire musical productivity. Instead it led to drinking, noisemaking and eventually “[making] enemies with the neighbours and the police,” which, somewhat predictably, forced them into a rehearsal space.

From there, they started taking things seriously – not too seriously of course, but enough to produce two short releases – The Peasant Terror/Chicken 7” and the I’m Bored EP – both of which display their knack for strange but compelling weirdo-rock, reminiscent of all of rock’s favourite eccentrics: the Jesus Lizard, Captain Beefheart and Mike Patton, among others.

They’ve also just finished recording their latest EP, Falling Down The Stairs, and is kindly letting us debut the first song. According to Keefe, the EP is the result of “playing the shit out of songs for a really long time then trying to capture a really good version them.” So, without further ado, here is the internet premiere of “Re-Gifted Fruit”: