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Calgary’s Hag Face kick out the crypts

October 2, 2015

Plus hear new music from Chad Vangaalen and Seth Smith, Tommy Tone, and Departmentstore Santas.

No Rest for the Obsessed is a column spotlighting some of the most exciting new music AUX’s Associate Editor Jesse Locke finds each week. It began in 2010 for Calgary’s dearly departed alt-weekly FFWD, and takes its name from a Lightning Bolt song.

Hag Face – R.I.P. / Babysitter Split

Calgary’s supernatural sludge-punks Hag Face have a pair of new releases that’ll make you want to spark up a witch’s finger. Take a puff of the Sabbath-style paranoia of “Old Hag” from their R.I.P. LP on Psychic Handshake before the blistering bad trip sets in with “Rip It” (see a title trend here?). The second song is taken from their 7″ split with Babysitter on Pleasence Records.

Chad VanGaalen and Seth Smith – Seed of Dorzon

In the downtime between releases from their primary projects, Calgary’s Chad VanGaalen and Halifax’s Seth Smith (of Dog Day fame) traded tracks over Dropbox. This pair of musicians/visual artists/filmmakers have always shared enough similarities to seem like coast-to-coast counterparts, yet the results of their collaboration might not be what you’d expect. Seed of Dorzon is an experimental electronic album (similar in sound and spirit to VanGaalen’s Black Mold project) that spans a lot of sonic territory in its two sidelong tracks. Strap in for a 30-minute expedition through outerstellar ambience, shuddering mechanical beats, and bizarrely sampled baby babbling. Limited edition CDs and cassettes are available from Smith’s label Fundog.

Tommy Tone – Fax Me A Brain

Vancouver’s Tom Whalen is a man of a thousand faces including Cadillac Spring, New Vaders, and Space Bros. (full disclosure: I reissued the latter on my cassette label Planet of the Tapes). Tommy Tone is his latest guise, and this week saw the quiet release of Fax Me A Brain. These seven songs of warped synth-pop see him traveling to “Safari Planet”, “Muscle Planet” (sample lyric: “When I have the perfect body I will crush every person in my path”) and revisiting the Montreal mirrorball fromage of Gino Vanelli’s “I Just Wanna Stop” with a strangely straight-faced cover. The album is a PWYC download but Tommy Tone will send you a signed photograph for $10 or a personalized song for $20.

Departmentstore Santas – At The Medieval Castle Nineteen 100-Year Lifetimes Since

In the early 1980s, La Mesa, California’s Departmentstore Santas recorded an album of wide-eyed lo-fi pop that stands shoulder to shoulder with Daniel Johnston, the Television Personalities, or Naffi. The sun-bleached smarts of singer-guitarist Joseph D’Angelo have made At The Medieval Castle… an underground classic for decades and it will soon see a proper reissue from Superior Viaduct. With the permission of D’angelo, some kind soul has shared a rarely seen video for standout song “Kaleidoscope” featuring footage from the same carnival as the album’s cover shoot. It might not be seasonally appropriate, but these charming 4-track tunes will surely warm the cockles of your heart.

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