Squirrelin4Sounds SUPER-SIZED: Femmaggots, Ruff Talons, Loosestrife, Doppelbanger, She’s, Two-Year Carnival, and Tamara Sandor

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Squirrelin4Sounds apologizes for the tardiness of this set of reviews, we just awoke from hibernation and ventured out of our comfy den at the first smell of spring. Here are the local sounds that sustained us through this perpetual winter:

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femmaggots
S/T

(Released Feb. 14 2014)

“conceptions of the self, conceptions of the self, what is the self?”

There are no easy words to describe eight-piece femmaggots’ self-titled debut. Easy words wouldn’t suit the album anyways. Recorded by Tim Keen, femmaggots offers a bacchanal chaos that is simply fucking cathartic. An experimental “post-life post-punk scum” down-the-rabbit-hole soundscape unfolds. It’s not surprising that members have been involved in radio production; there is a refusal to let any sound go unnoticed. Wails are woven into raw tapestries. Recommended for sweaty thrashing about, late night chain smoking walks, and hungry hook ups. Favourite tracks are “CONCEPTIONS”, “SUBTERRANEAN EXISTENCE,” “NEW HERE TOO,” “POSITIVITY.”

 rufftalonsRuff Talons
Crushed

(Released Jan 23, 2014)

“HEY, we’re DONE, I CARE, but WE really CAN’T talk!”

As a pretty vocal fan of their first EP Tuff Stuff, I’m stoked about local act Ruff Talons’ follow-up Crushed. I’m not the only one. Crushed, recorded by Anne Gauthier and mixed by Dorian Scheidt, has been topping the charts at CKUT 90.3 FM for months and it’s no surprise why. Ruff Talons offers catchy potent lyrics, fun and dynamic “fancy guitar” riffs, and last but not least, Aven Auzin’s lively sour candy vocals. Moving towards more of a garage pop punk sound, Crushed’s best tracks are “Break up,” “Cape,” and “Telephone.”

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 loosestrife
enough

(Released July 4, 2013)

“my money’s not mine, my money’s not my own, my money’s not mine, my money!”

I first saw loosestrife when they performed to a jam-packed, sweaty crowd in Park Extension a year or so ago. A music and dance duo, loosestrife’s performance was equal parts jam and performance art. There’s something pretty damn perfect about the mix of Lyke and Weadick’s voices and musical conversations; the mix of movement and rhythm. Their EP enough, mixed by Anne Gauthier, is the best kind of minimal punk. A find that one cherishes. Favourite tracks are all of them. Alright, if I had to pick one, it would be the red herring of the album, the track titled “graveyard”, a sort of macabre hypnotic waltz.

Doppelbanger
Hard Feelings

(Released Feb. 13, 2014)0002431930_10

“I USED A FAKE NAME, and my mama don’t need to know, I’m a karaoke DJ.”

I was pretty excited that local riot grrl punk rock four-piece Doppelbanger released Hard Feelings. Hard Feelings was recorded and mixed by Pamela Hart and Anne Gauthier at Innerchild Studio. The EP showcases six of their original tunes and a cover of The Raincoats (Doppelbanger first came together as a Raincoats cover band). Doppelbanger’s sound is minimalistic, with candid lyrics, caterwauls, and speak-song vocals. They even have an accordion in the mix. Although at times the songs could benefit from being a tad faster, Hard Feelingsslight absurdism echoes with many unspoken thoughts and unravel the routine. Favourite tracks are “Monster,” and “Ocean”.

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She’s
Tape

(Released Jan 20, 2014)

“so slow down… and fuck tomorrow.. ooooh ohh ohh”

She’s tag themselves as rock n’ roll and powertrash. I wholeheartedly agree with these monikers but would throw in a bit of surf psychedelic undertones to the mix. This is probably because She’s is a four-piece whose members play(ed) in other formations like Annette’s Beach Party, Blood and Archery Guild. Tape, their first EP, is part of a split cassette with Fountain and was mixed and mastered by Marshal Vaillancourt and Miguel Marcil-Pitre. Favourite tracks are “Kim Kimono” and “Girls Who Don’t Do Drugs”, which could nicely fit on the soundtrack for True Detective, and “This Hologram is Dissipating,” which is currently the soundtrack to my week.

Two-Year Carnival
Have You Seen Your Hands?a3709341195_2

(Released March 20, 2014)

“girl, I wonder what frequencies we will see from far…”

Two-Year Carnival, local heart-rock act, has shifted towards more of an indie rock sound in their new ten track album Have You Seen Your Hands? Fans of Blue Blood will recognize what they love in this new release, with a notable maturing of arrangement and sound. The Sunset Rubdown influence remains with a move towards Moonface. Two-Year Carnival spin tracks that evoke yearning creating surreal adventure reveries. Favourite tracks are “For Everything”, “So Much For Senior Hands”, and “Paper Sail Boats.”

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Tamara Sandor
A Bower in the Arsacides

(Released March 29, 2014)

“put it on and wear it, it puts you on and it wears you, squawk like a parrot till you up and grow into a cockatoo”

I first heard multi-instrumentalist Tamara Sandor when she hosted an open mic in the city in 2011. Years later, her melodies still dance across my lips. Sandor’s A Bower in the Arsacides starts with an arresting number that moves between genres such as jazz, folk, and neo-soul. “Daisy” showcases both Sandor’s talent as an arranger and vocalist. This album, the cover art of which highlights the Moby Dick reference in the title, is the product of years of hard work and material and it has aged like sweet wine. Perfect for the summertime. Along with “Daisy”, favourite tracks are “The Jog,” “Outskirts,” and “Dressed.” Fingers crossed she performs at the Folk Fest on the Canal this summer.

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