Photo: Kayleigh Kowalsky
Rags And Bones is a monthly look at a selection of the loud and noisy happenings across Canada, focusing on musical styles and sounds that might otherwise fall outside Chart Attack's usual coverage.
Toronto's VCR have been gaining quite a bit of momentum for the better part of a year. Their self-titled demo, released back in October, established the band's reputation for pizza-fuelled chaos and led to them opening at shows for Odonis Odonis, Phèdre and fellow freaks Soupcans.
This week VCR are set to play a show to celebrate the release of their Greatest Hits 7'' via Barfbag Records, and have been kind enough to let us premiere one of the eight tracks they've managed to fit on the thing.
“One Trick Dog” closes out Side A of the 7'', in a manic, barking fit. Keyboardist Lia (I'll only be referring to members here by first name, for the sake of privacy and the fact that this record is solely credited to "fucking MURDERERS !!!") carries most of the melody, with the band raging on in support. Their sound is chained together by tight percussion courtesy of Manacle's Matt. Scott's words are pretty much unintelligible, but his mutated yelps and screams make the song seem all the more crazed. Somehow VCR have managed to take what worked from their demo, made it better, and gave us more of it on this record.
VCR's members are also fairly active in their community outside of the band, so here are some recent releases from acts with the VCR stamp of approval.
When not crafting zines or posters for shows, VCR's bassist Erica has been busy with the awesomely-named solo-project Jort, and just released a demo this week via Bandcamp. Jort sounds close to VCR's wild garage rock freneticism, digging into Erica's own blend of blown-out surges of synth and guitar. The songs are short and simple, but ring out with an intensity that approaches a slightly darker aesthetic than her other band.
Earlier this summer Anti-Vibes released a cassingle that was recorded with the help of VCR's Scott and Matt. They play an elemental kind of punk rock, crafting songs that charge ahead at full speed, but still manage to mine great, explosive melodies. Vocalist Claire's performances sound sweet one minute, and venomous the next, a range the band take full advantage of on their two short tracks. This cassingle is a promising release from one of the best new punk bands in the city.
During the school semester, VCR are split between Toronto and Montréal, with Lia attending school in the latter. She recently did some artwork for another band caught between the same two cities, the hard-hitting Pretty Boys. I had the chance to see them play at SHIBGBs in Toronto for their tape release show and was absolutely floored. It's rare to find a band where each member is so exceptional at what they do, but you can totally hear it on the noisy, incredible, Future Tiberian Baths. The title track is a seven minute long epic, with the band expertly weaving in and out of driving post-punk and looser noise jams.
Like the description at the top says, this column is for the loud and noisy happenings in the country, be it black metal, hardcore punk, noise rock... those sorts of things. If there's a band that meets the criteria that you think I should know about, whether it's yours, your label's, or one you're just a fan of, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org