The fellas at Pre-Rock Records sure put together one cracker of a compilation in House of Burners, the label's first release. Painstakingly curated by the label (made up of members of Shooting Guns) it offers a “cross section of Canada's heavy/psych/garage scene” leaning heavily on the psych end of the spectrum. Covering bands as far west as Victoria, BC and as far east as Moncton, NB this is the sort of compilation I get excited about as the likelihood of these bands actually passing through here is pretty good.
Here's a few words on each of the 16 tracks.
Powder Blue - “Go On Forever” (Saskatoon, SK): There are days I wish this song would go on forever. It's got an easy, breezy rock base riding a wash of psychedelic keys and serene female vocals. It's totally chill and swollen with relaxing melody.
Public Animal - “One Way Ticket” (Toronto, ON): Public Animal is Ian Blurton of C'Mon's new band. And they kick ass. This track has lots of rock energy, lots of vocals, groove and keys. I've heard they're great live and given this track, that's no surprise.
Bison - “These Are My Dress Clothes (Live)” (Vancouver, BC): Even a good recording such as this does no justice to the experience of seeing these sludgeoners in the flesh. I gave my chiropractor fits and this song was a big reason why.
The Switching Yard - “Tanya” (Saskatoon): One of the biggest highlights of the compilation, TSY find a riff that works and ride it along the tracks while adding texture and psychedelic flourish with few vocals. Brilliant psych-rock.
Shooting Guns - “Taylor St. Champagne Room” (Saskatoon): Of course there's a Shooting Guns song. Good one too! Killer grooves hold down the fort as psychedelic keys move in and out of focus, making it both earthbound and spacey at once.
Krang - “Upstairs” (Edmonton, AB): This one sounds very jam oriented. Bluesy guitar meanders around as psychedelics (obviously) swirl, dive and weave. Dynamic track where the guitar “speaks” with so much heart.
Lavagoat - “Moleman” (Saskatoon): Undoubtedly the heaviest track on hand, it's thunderous and vile. Heavy as a brick doom riffs smack you with a face full of sludge and bile. Oh, and some psychedelic touches of course.
Hawkeyes - “March of the Elephants” (Kitchener, ON): This one's almost as heavy but much more psychedelic. Not sure what the elephants are high on but they're trippin' stratospheric, man. Massive riffs, hypnotic groove and no vocals to get in the way.
Mahogany Frog - “Saffron Myst” (Winnipeg, MB): The least “metal” and arguably most psychedelic of the bunch. Programmed beats and lush synths/keys set on a dreamy course through undiscovered areas of the mind, stimulating hormone release if you know what I mean. Sexy!
Chron Goblin - “Deserter” (Calgary, AB): With a name like that, expect stoner rock. And yeah, you got it. But this one has stomp to it. More like beer and whiskey are the driving force of beefy riffs with southern flair. Crack a cold one and groove out!
Black Thunder - "Too Late/Death Stare" (Regina, SK): So fuzzed out I have to go brush my teeth. Beautiful riff-fest straight outta the early 70s. The percussion is fantastic. Think Dozer, sHEAVY and just about the whole Sucking the 70s compilations.
Rehashed - “F.U.C.K.” (Saskatoon): The oddball of the lot. This is full out hardcore rage. Mosh pit violence and vocal venom (think Blacklisted, Ringworm) lay a serious beating from a dive bar basement. No psych at all but damn does it make you want to kick the shit out of something.
Devonian Gardens - “Glow” (Calgary): Bewitching and a little eccentric. Sounds like gypsies tripping on mushrooms. The journey here is far from linear taking psychedelic side trips that can disorient the listener in the best of ways.
Cop Shades - “Burn This Village to Save It” (Moncton, NB): This one has kind of a greaseball indie rock vibe but with balls. But of course, it does shoot off into orbit as psych is almost necessary. But refuelling on this ball of dirt needs to happen too.
Clunt & The Scrunts - “Card in the Spokes” (Victoria, BC): This is some pretty catchy and upbeat rockabilly type stuff. Some Americana gets brought in to break up the speed. Cool shit. Wouldn't seem out of place in a Tarantino movie.
The Pack A.D. - “Night Crawler” (Vancouver): Steel guitar leads into a “We Will Rock You” beat. The duo rides out a simple hypnotic riff with tripped out, multi-tracked vocals. Be careful, detachment from reality is a possibility.
And there you have it. 16 tracks from a range of Canadian bands, most of which can make you trip balls if you aren't already. It's a most excellent selection of tunes, from the burly and bloody knuckled to the idyllic and intoxicating. Trust me, there are some medical grade pupil dilators on this. Dig it!
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