Anni Spadafora sings, bust strings, and rallies sweet chaos whilst serving up the finest New Fries. New Fries being one of thee best bands in the city right now, and collectively one our staff favourite bands over this past year. A year that included a highly recommended cassette, ‘Fresh Face Forward’ on Pleasence Records, and a consistently captivating live show. New Fries played a number of shows locally, and on the road, with some of the best bands far and wide, oh Canada! Here’s her words on the creme de la creme…
Old and Weird
What I Saw
Old and Weird’s ‘What I Saw’ has a 3-boobed face on the cover. Allison, Danika and Hannah recorded it themselves at Boob Face Recording Centre. The 10 songs warp with time changes here and there, and lyrics smartly fold onto themselves (“peachy beach-y”/”peach beach”). The strangeness of the songs’ melodies is its excellence—they’re gorgeously uncomfortable, especially when sung (not quite insistent, definitely not sweet, a series of intonation gymnastics). So many candy-coated guitar lines I can’t wait 45 seconds to get to. To say these are anti-pop songs (like other reviews suggest) feels like a simplifying of the record’s mechanics. This record is not in opposition to anything, it feels new and elsewhere.
Moss Lime’s ‘July First’ sounds like all the boldest songs by The Flying Lizards, Young Marble Giants, and ESG. This 5-song EP is drenched in mystery and sex. Yep, it’s the sexiest. As well as a perfect example of how affective simple arrangement/instrumentation can be, which I believe to be the loudest gesture. Plus they cover Calabria 2001—you can’t do that to a girl with the surname ‘Spadafora’.
(Idee Fixe Records)
Many years ago after Jennifer Castle played an in-store at Soundscapes. I obsessively watched video footage of it online as it caught her singing an unreleased song I didn’t have the name for. A year later I knew it was called Sailing Away because my friend Julie found a Daytrotter session recording of it, we passed it out sparingly to close friends like some kind of Holy Grail MP3. Weeks before ‘Pink City’ came out, Sailing Away was first released and I spent that afternoon in the park playing it on repeat, balling my eyes out behind my glasses, eating a California Sandwich. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard.
Jennifer Castle’s songwriting is of some sort of otherworldliness: intentionality, cutting sincerity, humor, and urgency. These are all inadequate words to attempt to speak of the wild experience of witnessing Jennifer Castle. She continues to find the words and melodies for that humanness we all reach at, hide from.
Sense of Self / Tenent / Habit Anything
(Egg Paper Factory)
I missed all of the Jean-Sebastien Audet projects that pre-dated Unblonde (The You Are Minez, Faux Fur, Zouk Fuck). I read that he had recorded hundreds of songs by the age of 18, all in his self-made home recording studio in his parents’ basement. This year alone (as Unblonde) he released ‘Tenent’, ‘Habit Anything’ (pieces from the making of ‘Tenent’) and ‘Sense of Self’. Each varies in their sounds but all employ the Jean-Sebastien-tailored, self-recorded intimacy he’s obviously been molding for years. The quality of voice and guitar he captures rattles equal parts curiosity and envy in me. I felt similar feelings when I first heard ‘The Glad Fact’ and ‘Getty Address’, those early Dirty Projectors records.
Shithead in the Ditch
Palberta’s ‘Shithead in the Ditch’ is a collection of that smartass, chest-out brazenness that I really want more of these days. It’s the smartest example of sonic mess that I’ve encountered in a long time. No preciousness here: 1-minute long songs, small pieces of space/guitar foolishness, that raw instrumentation so many bands shy away from (few or no pedals/effects), and a perfect mix of cutting lyrics alongside grotesque barks. Each song sounds incomplete, in the best way possible. I want a forever-punk sisterhood with these women.
Also records from Absolutely Free and Fatima Al-Quadiri and Guerilla Toss and Eucalyptus and New Chance and Each Other, Cocteau Twins’ ‘Blue Bell Knowl’ was re-issued this year and it felt really good to only listen to that for a few weeks, Carl Didur (and Zach Automat) and William Onyeabor’s ‘Who is William Onyeabor’ (I think it came out in 2013 but I bought it in 2014) and the song ‘Windows’ by Angel Olsen was excellent for heartbreak