How do you speak through a stranger? Contain multitudes. And begin to find new kinds of design in accident. True story. In September 2015 Jon bought an old Teac A-2340, a reel-to-reel tape recorder, tapes included. He exchanged a few emails with the online seller while negotiating a deal, but they never met. The first time Jon tested out the machine at home it disclosed a beautiful dream. A single tape of astounding samples from an unknown source. He nicknamed it the Royal Sampler. They began to jam together.
I want to hear you speak. The tape might have been a lost demo for the games of hide and seek that accustom us to evasion. Listening and gathering, the only way out was through. A collaboration constructed in echo. The completed songs seem to start mid-sentence, waiting a little further along the trail. Watch your step the ground gets uncertain by the bend. The maple trees in giggling fits. The shoreline no longer sure. I hear the mourning dove. Hang on a second. You were saying. Sometimes what’s past isn’t prologue it’s blocked. How you have to pause for your mind to work backwards. Not to remember but to unforget. What if something’s missing and you get stranded in “the futureless future”? Distend time? The not-so-distant waves wrinkling. An answer. 1968 isn’t just some numbers. Scraps of an otherwise. Maybe written in another language or maybe…Is that what you meant?
The album was recorded during the summer of 2019 at Jay Crocker’s home studio in Crousetown. Under the watchful eye of Edward Snowden and a Blue Heeler named Judy. Jay and Jon transferred all the material they could excavate from the Royal Sampler along with the dialogic samples Jon had been making since that fateful September introduction. They combined these two samples with the following design principle: even in the songs organized around a Jon sample, the stranger would be woven in. A shared sonic architecture. The rest belongs a mystery.
Tell me what you see. A game of hide and seek. A field wears the fog like an ancient argument. Wayward voices take shape just up ahead. Count down from 10 and be alone again. Abandoned to potential. In the green wide open. The colour of another time. The hammock gets twisted in the wind. Knotting and undoing. A fishnet. Let loose or captured, a life repeated, a life revised. Nothing is effortless. From another era insisting, there all along. I was there all along. These sounds, like truth, can be measured in time. Speak through me. Who can tell you what is real?
London, Ontario’s WHOOP-Szo is a blazing force of DIY rock. Fronted by Anishinaabe-Canadian community leader Adam Sturgeon, the band has spent nearly a decade carving out a reputation for themselves in Canada’s crowded DIY scene, rising on the strength of their musicianship, songwriting, and tireless touring.
We are thrilled to welcome WHOOP-Szo to You’ve Changed Records with the release of Warrior Down on November 1, 2019. Warrior Down is thunderous and ground-breaking, harmonious and generative, a concise, focused 35 minutes that dances conscientiously between anger and discipline, frustration and hope. Calling out both specific instances of injustice in Canadian history — such as the murder of bandleader Adam Sturgeon’s cousin by a Saskatchewan RCMP officer (“Gerry”) , or recalling Sturgeon’s grandfather’s experience at a Residential School(“Cut Your Hair”) — and broader, wider-reaching ones such as the experience of having race and culture assigned to you by a government that doesn’t represent you (“6.1/6.2”), Warrior Down depicts the unfolding of a cultural big bang, in which eruptions of truth activate a succession of healthy confrontations.
Amaruq is an Inuktituk word meaning “wolf”. It’s also the name of a school in Nunavik where WHOOP-Szo leaders Adam Sturgeon and Kirsten Palm worked during 2012. “Amaruq” is an entry point into discussions of the Inuktituk language and multilingualism in Canada, and serves as a dedication to the community that welcomed the band. “As much as we try, we cannot always control the feelings that enter our lives. They can come in unexpectedly, like a wild animal appearing just when you thought yourself along. Have you ever crossed paths with a wolf? In the North, where we lived and worked for many years, they call them Amaruq. We dedicate this song to Larry Tamusai and all the other young people who have suffered, are suffering and will suffer the effects of inadequate mental health resources in Indigenous communities across Turtle Island.”
WHOOP-Szo TOUR DATES
Sep 10 – Calgary, AB – The Palomino
Sep 12 – Winnipeg, MB – The Royal Albert Hotel
Sep 13 – Thunder Bay, ON – The Apollo
Sep 14 – Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Dryer Fire
Sep 15 – Sudbury, ON – Townehouse
Nov 01 – London, ON – Rec Room
Nov 02 – Toronto, ON – The Round House
Nov 06 – St. Catharines, ON – The Warehouse
Nov 07 – Guelph, ON – Ebar
Nov 08 – Hamilton, ON – This Ain’t Hollywood
Nov 09 – Windsor, ON – Green Bean Cafe
Nov 21 – Peterborough, ON – Sadleir House
Nov 22 – Ottawa, ON – Cinqhole
Nov 23 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa | M For Montreal
Nov 26 – Moncton, NB – Caveau
Nov 27 – Saint John, NB – Taco Pica
Nov 28 – Halifax, NS – Gus’ Pub
Nov 29 – Fredericton, NB – The Capital
Nov 30 – Quebec City, QC – Scanner
“A Flower That Wouldn’t Bloom” is the third offering from the flower pop super group “Ancient Shapes”. In all realities it is the amalgamation of two recording sessions that took place almost a year apart–– in essence this is the greatest hits compilation.
Ancient Shapes is comprised of Daniel Romano, David Nardi, Vee Bell, Roddy Rosetti and Ian Romano. They have been called “ the best band since computers” and also “incredibly good as hell” when it comes to their live engagements and sock hop shake down events. The group has traveled the world over sharing their songs and ideas with others, now they offer us this: A flower that just refuses to bloom.
Inside this heated material you will find such subjects as sadness, happiness, loneliness, togetherness, longing, acceptance, colonial guilt complexes and home town optimism.
There was the first one, and everyone seemed to like that, and the second one people liked too… this is the third one. Odds are good.
A Flower That Wouldn’t Bloom
October 25, 2019
In January 2018 Daniel Romano’s Ancient Shapes embarked on their first Canadian national tour. 13 stops between Vancouver and Montreal, 13 brief, passionate blasts of sound within the frozen moment of the winter, the moment that extends for thousands of kilometres and crosses mountains, prairies, rivers, and all sorts of soiled and stolen lands. The sound made by 5 comrades, wrestled into shape by another at the front of the house, and captured by another in raw black and write images.
Photographer Sebastian Buzzalino has compiled the best of his photographs from the tour into a beautiful 120 page 6×9” format book, containing 147 images from the stage, the van, the beds, the hotels, the freezing cold road stops, and the results of drinking too many Labatt 50s. “I’ve had the privilege of working with Dan on a couple of tours, but this was the first time documenting Ancient Shapes” he says. “Huddled in a busted van full of speed holes as we raced across Canada at the height of winter, I captured a more frenetic, urgent side of his music. Between the close quarters, the packed venues and our scrappy camaraderie, these represent some of my most visceral and intimate photos to date.”
The photograph is a collaboration between photographer and subject; let the subject speak: “Sebastian Buzzalino is an invisible summer. When behind the camera, he is disguised and blends into even the most vivid scenery. This ability is what makes him able to capture the raw, living, bleeding imagery that he does. Never have I met someone with such a quick response and attention to a subject. Above all this, when the camera comes down, his beautiful smile appears.” – Daniel Romano