Midweek Music Mix

Category: music 100

This week’s Midweek Music Mix features new releases from Counting on Downstairs, Marco Rocca, Zachary Greer and Angered Wrecks.

Matt Carter

Withdrawals / Split #1 – Counting on Downstairs 

Withdrawals / Split #1 is the first in a new series of split releases from Fredericton’s Counting on Downstairs to feature guest contributors from the Atlantic region. With contributions from both Counting on Downstairs (Eric Hill) and Void Ant (Scott Saad), this two track release is just what we’ve come to expect from Hill and his various projects. Sometimes dark and ominous. Sometimes bright and playful. Usually a little of both. Grey?

I always find it difficult to describe music broadly classified as ambient or experimental. A challenge. Like waking up and going about your day with one shoe on. As time goes by in such situations (I’m just speculating here, honest), I would imagine you’d eventually find yourself slowly adapting, seeking comfort in the precarious situation you find yourself navigating. That’s a loose interpretation of my approach to this music because really, how does one accurately describe a tone that remains largely consistent with little development over a four minute period? Or how can I convey what’s happening within an oscillating synth pad that sounds as if it was recorded three floors up from the sound source using a voice recorder? While the writing can be difficult for me, the music rarely disappoints. 

For his contribution, Saad’s Illusory Haunt feels like an invitation to dance without knowing or caring what the steps are. There is an underlying call for movement – up a wall, across a floor – emanating from beneath a wash of static and melody. And there’s a distorted voice. Is it asking or commanding? Illusory Haunt lacks the usual appendages where a pulse would normally be found, yet its life and energy are indisputable. 

Hill’s Unnameless is a great compliment to Saad’s track, pairing greater rhythmic definition with a more subdued approach to melodic development. The pulsating bass and lack of melodic clarity conjure up suppressed memories of apartment living: It’s Saturday night, quarter past one, and your downstairs neighbour is high again, hosting some sort of slow, subdued rave. You can’t hear any voices. No cheers. No shouting. Just a never ending pulse. Is it a party or did they just fall asleep with the TV on again? You’ll never know because the next time you see them, you’ll both smile and act like this never happened. 

Angered Wrecks – Bennies, Booze and R&R 1981

Holy shit. My inner anarchist-archivist-local-punk-rock-music-history self may have just peed his pants. A full collection of recordings from one of Fredericton’s earliest punk bands – the Angered Wrecks – is now online and on vinyl. Again, holy shit!

I’ve long known of Angered Wrecks’ frontman John Westhaver and his role in making music in Fredericton during the late 70s and through the 80s. I know him primarily as a member of the greatest ensemble to ever come out of this city in my opinion – The Exploding Meet – a band lead by Angered Wrecks guitarist Mark Carmody. It was much later that I learned about the Angered Wrecks by reading Sam Sutherland’s book, Perfect Youth: The Birth of Canadian Punk. Very excited to finally hear what the group sounded like rolling through covers of the Subhumans, the Stooges among several originals. Respect your elders. Give this a listen. 

Take Forever – Marco Rooca

New music from Moncton’s Marco Rocca is always a treat. Under the singer/songwriter veil, Rocca brings a wealth of influences into his work, often challenging the loose parameters placed upon this single-artist category. Take Forever is a perfect example. Shifting between blues rock, foundational country, and straight ahead pop, Rocca meshes the gloss of America’s folk/pop You Can Do Magic appeal with the Fandango! era, dirty-beard rhythms of ZZ Top and a touch of Ramones thrown in for good measure. It’s all here in four short tracks. 

Never Say Die (Original Soundtrack) – Zachary Greer

Right before the holiday break I wrote a piece about the history of skateboarding in Fredericton. The Long Road to the Garrison Skatepark was intended as a sort of prequel to the efforts over the past twenty years to establish a proper, professionally designed skatepark in Fredericton which filmmaker Jordan Greer documented in his series, Never Say Die. This is the soundtrack for the series, written and recorded by his brother Zachary Greer.  

The thirteen tracks on this release each carry a seriously laid back feel, contrasting the often aggressive nature of the sport. No longer seen as a fringe culture and therefore one no longer strictly associated with fringe music, Greer’s interpretation of skateboarding and the film’s overall theme embody a sense of patience, practice and optimism – quite possibly the three biggest contributors that helped see the Garrison Skatepark project move from a dream to reality. Clever stuff. 

As a standalone collection of music, Never Say Die (Original Soundtrack), when placed alongside his previous soundtrack compositions, is a strong reminder of Greer’s ability to create mood and atmosphere, through simple tones and melodies.

Send us your Music!

If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com

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