Ottawa Explosion Weekend – June 12th-15th, 2014

ottawa explosion weekend

The Ottawa Explosion Weekend

One week has passed and I am positive there are still cosmic drones of power chords and the lowest of frequencies hovering over a small quarter in Ottawa, Canada’s humble capital city. The Ottawa Explosion Weekend is one of the punk communities most hidden gems of a festival that showcases all kinds of punk, garage and hints of metal and psych bands over five days. This particular Explosion was a spectacle of well-organized chaos, fantastic band rosters and the most friendly and positive vibe imaginable… I cannot express this with any combinations of words, “sorry!”, you will have to experience it for yourself to believe it.

The venues… the vibes

Art galleries have been a part of independent music since it’s infancy, in this instance the gallery is named Saw and it provided the perfect esthetic backdrop for the music, free-thinking and loose behaviors that were prevalent during these tuneful days. This was the home base for us through the weekend. where most of the music, merchandise tables and socializing was handled. There is an outdoor terrace with cobblestone, concrete and grassy knolls to sprawl out during the afternoon while you take in the music and some draft beer, this goes on into the early evening. When the night falls Club Saw opens up in the basement and bands take over the stage until 2am. The next closest venue is Mug Shots which is a pub based in a retired jailhouse building (it’s a hostel as well!). Mug Shots offered a pub styled venue as an enclosed, open-aired concrete courtyard. This was amazing for the reverb-y bands and added a very gritty and surreal atmosphere as it used to be a jail courtyard. There was also the local hotspot House of Targ, some record store performances at Vertigo Records as well as some other music friendly venues hosting acts during the weekend. Geographically this was easy to get a handle of and there was most everything you needed within walking distance including beer stores, restaurants, and coffee shops and of course some cool head shops to check out.

The first night of music was a perfect party situation; you could see the bands showing up, old friends exchanging pleasantries and overhear people talking about what’s to come of the next few days. This was pretty much the daily grind throughout the weekend, it evolved daily as the intensity was building and those early fumbling and chatting most likely developed into new friendships, or at the very least comfortable acquaintances for the weekend. Everyone involved was relaxed and at ease, even the organizers, the bar staff and security were very accommodating to us 300+ punks in various states of sobriety and social disorder. Pogo-ing, moshing, skankin’ and crowd surfing was all good, people generally were cool with it all and were helpful to their fellow miscreants who fell during the more tense sets where bands mutated their audiences into frenetic beings controlled only by impulse and rhythmic muscle twitches.

The Bands…

The overall roster was staggering; there is no way to cover all of the great music that was played. There were very little conflicts with genres or bands competing for audiences, most bands were well placed amongst their peers or were slipped in to other lineups, which only added to the dynamics for each night.

The heaviest hitters were The Marked Men, Nervosas, Vacation, White Wires, and of course the “surprise guests” Radioactivity who delivered a tight set with a monster sound. I have long seen a crowd react that way to a band with only a debut record out – the vocals were delivered perfectly and the masters of their craft executed the songs with fresh energy. The other above-mentioned acts all equally delivered their art with precision, energy and conviction. I consider myself privileged to have seen all of these bands live and loud and look forward to hearing more from all of them.

Some very notable mentions for this festival were the Abandos, Crusades, Famines, Feral Trash, Needles//Pins, Outta Controller and the Sonic Avenues. Judging on the crowd’s reaction to their performances and their songwriting, these bands certainly gained new fans from this event and have definitely made a strong impression on this writer. Some of these bands have fresh records out and I heard rumblings about new releases and label hopping from some others. Bruised Tongue Records line up featured some great acts – Dirt Cult, Hosehead Records and Let’s Pretend brought out the best of their rosters. Of course there was Dirtnap Records and all of it’s presence, represented proudly by being a long time supporter of this event and continuing to show interest in the scene.

Conclusion…

The Ottawa explosion is an experience of it’s own flavor and is well worth a drive, flight, hike or whatever you need to do to get there. We drove 13 hours and paid 60$ to take in 5 nights of entertainment and socializing with like-minded individuals, where else does that happen? I am already dreaming up next year’s roster for myself… see you there! Check out the Ottawa Explosion Weekend site and the Ottawa Showbox for the visual perspective. Also, stay tuned here at the Styrofoam Drone for an interview from the Ottawa Explosion with VACATION coming soon.

Words by: D. Jonathan Lutes

Ex-Cult Live in Philadelphia (5/21/14)

ex-cult philly 5-21

EX-CULT made a stop in Philadelphia last night to play at Underground Arts. It was their first ever visit to the city, who were joined on stage by local punk freaks The Abandos (who will be playing at the 2nd SD Showcase on June 11th). Ex-Cult are currently touring for their sophomore LP Midnight Passenger, which was just released by Goner Records on April 29th. They played a large handful of songs from the LP, including these few that we caught live for you below. In other news, The Abandos just released a new 7″, which includes the sludgy tantrum below called “Missing Chromosome.”

Shattered Circle:

Ties You Up:

Lights Out Club:

BUY the new Ex-Cult LP from Insound
BUY the Abandos 7″ – send them a message on Facebook for info
The Abandos on Soundcloud
Ex-Cult on Facebook

Styrofoam Drone Showcase (6/11) + Kappa Chow 7″

kappa chow punk as fuck 7 killer haze records

Killer Haze Records just released a new cassette EP from KAPPA CHOW. The Sudbury, Ontario band is gearing up to tour the states and they’re coming to Philadelphia for a second Styrofoam Drone Showcase on June 11th. Continue reading “Styrofoam Drone Showcase (6/11) + Kappa Chow 7″”

GIVEAWAY: Win tickets to see EX-CULT in Philadelphia (5/21)

ex-cult live

HEY PHILADELPHIA. We’re going to give away a pair of tickets to the upcoming EX-CULT show at Underground Arts on May 21st. In the mean time you can RSVP via this link right here! >> https://www.facebook.com/events/388831417922624/.

To win tickets to the show, simply leave a comment on this post with an answer to this burning question: What is the name of Ex-Cult’s upcoming sophomore LP on Goner Records? Leave your comments, go!

Burnt Ones, Jackie Paper, Raw McCartney, Shape Breaker Live in Philadelphia (03/22/14)

postersdphillyresized icon

Bourbon & Branch, Philadelphia’s newest venue space, was taken over on Saturday night by the very first Styrofoam Drone Showcase. Burnt Ones and Raw McCartney came into town from San Francisco and Indianapolis respectively, while Shape Breaker and Jackie Paper provided the hometown entertainment. Burnt Ones are on the road for their upcoming LP on Castle Face Records, an album that should be available for mail order any day now.

Take a look below for a video apiece from each band that played on Saturday. If that’s not enough, you can find more videos from the show right here (keep checking back!)

Shape Breaker – “Spellbound”


Shape Breaker closed their set with the track from their recent split 7″ on Gary Records, “Spellbound.” Psychedelic and punk vibes are prominent in their sound, more of which you can listen to right here.

Raw McCartney – “Born to Ride”


“Born to Ride” is a track from Raw McCartney’s recent Introducing cassette on Chicago’s Tripp Tapes. It’s loaded with the most fuzz as these guys stop at nothing to melt your face off.

Jackie Paper


Jackie Paper wasted no time with their take on folk-inspired psych rock. Fluttery flutes and grainy psych washes dominated their set, building their songs up into a monumental affair.

Burnt Ones


Burnt Ones brought their own synth-driven stoner pop, showcasing a bit from their upcoming LP on Castle Face titled Gift. It’s officially released on March 25th by the label, so keep your eyes peeled for that in the Castle Face Records store.

Related Posts:
Shape Breaker/ Fuck Mountain – Split 7″ (Gary Records)
Raw McCartney: Introducing CS (Tripp Tapes)
Burnt Ones – Protection Circle 7″ (Fuzz City Records)
Burnt Ones – Meet the Golden One 7″ (Burger)
Burnt Ones – All Night Long 7″ (Roaring Colonel)
Burnt Ones – Export 7″ (Asthmatic Kitty)

Styrofoam Drone Presents: Burnt Ones, Raw McCartney, Jackie Paper & Shape Breaker Live in Philadelphia, March 22nd 2014

styrofoam drone presents show flyer march 22 2014

WHO?: BURNT ONES, RAW McCARTNEY, JACKIE PAPER and SHAPE BREAKER
WHERE?: Bourbon & Branch, 705 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA
WHEN?: March 22nd, 2014

Coming on March 22nd, the brand new Philadelphia venue BOURBON & BRANCH will be taken over with the first Styrofoam Drone Showcase. Bourbon & Branch is nearly ready to open for business, and once it is, it will become one of Philadelphia’s newest venues. Located in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of the city, the venue features a 16 foot-wide stage, not to mention a full bar/restaurant with a heaping menu of food and drink.

While all this is going down, BURNT ONES, the San Francisco-based glam pop trio, are readying their new LP for Castle Face Records. They hooked up with Indianapolis-based fuzz-heaters RAW McCARTNEY for a tour, who just released a new cassette on Tripp Tapes (some highly recommended listening). Joining them in Philly for the night will be SHAPE BREAKER and JACKIE PAPER, two bands who are based in the city limits of Philadelphia. Continuing the trend of new releases, Shape Breaker just set free their vinyl debut on a split 7″ from Chicago label Gary Records. Jackie Paper is a 5-piece band with flutes and synth, joining the stage with their shadowy take on psych rock.

Check in by heading over to our Facebook page for the event!: https://www.facebook.com/events/285053734979267/

See you on March 22nd!

Bourbon & Branch on Facebook
Burnt Ones on Facebook
Raw McCartney on Facebook
Shape Breaker on Facebook
Jackie Paper on Facebook

Related Posts:
Burnt Ones – Protection Circle 7″ (Fuzz City Records)
Burnt Ones – Meet the Golden One 7″ (Burger)
Burnt Ones – All Night Long 7″ (Roaring Colonel)
Burnt Ones – Export 7″ (Asthmatic Kitty)
Raw McCartney – Introducing CS (Tripp Tapes)
Shape Breaker – Fuck Mountain split 7″ (Gary Records)

Woodsman, Lantern, School Girl Live in Philadelphia (02/07/14)

Currently based in Brooklyn, Denver-born psych crew WOODSMAN just dropped their third studio album on Fire Talk Records (more on that later). Their current tour just concluded over the past weekend with their record release show in New York City. The night before they made a stop in Philadelphia, bringing their experimental psych rock to Kung Fu Necktie on a Friday night. Philly-based band SCHOOL GIRL kicked things off. They specialize in a form of primitive protopunk, playing their second show to date. Grungy punk n’ roll trio LANTERN followed up, playing some tracks from their 2013 debut and a few other choice nuggets. It was their first show in awhile but they were right on point, evidenced by these videos after the jump: Continue reading “Woodsman, Lantern, School Girl Live in Philadelphia (02/07/14)”

PURLING HISS Record Release Show Live in Philadelphia (04/05/13)

purling hiss live in philadelphia 040513 head

Plenty of shows and events took place in the city of Philadelphia this past Friday night, but anybody who ended up at the sold out Record Release show of PURLING HISS at Johnny Brenda’s knew they made the best of their night. Water On Mars was released by Drag City Records on March 19th, which only meant that this celebration for the record was long overdue. Joining Purling Hiss on the stage for the night were hometown heroes SPACIN’ along with the Chicago-based AXIS:SOVA (who just released a new 7″ on Philly-based label Richie Records), who together set us up to endure one hell of a damaging performance. Continue reading “PURLING HISS Record Release Show Live in Philadelphia (04/05/13)”

TRUST Live in Philadelphia (10/24/12)

Last night was the first time that TRUST ever visited Philadelphia. The Toronto-based electronic outfit brought us all a sexy-good time at the North Star Bar, headlining a bill comprised of Void Vision, the Downtown Club and DJ Passable Plastic, who all happen to hail from Philly. The show marked the beginning of their current string of North American shows, where they had just wrapped up a large portion of their Fall 2012 tour over in Europe. The trio on stage played a generous portion of their twisted synth-pop debut TRST from Arts & Crafts, even slipping in a couple brand new tracks that have yet to have a home. Robert Alfons led the way in his dark, brooding tone for the duration of the show, often times sounding right on point with what you hear in their recorded material. Perhaps once this current tour of theirs is over, we’ll start hearing more about these new songs they played last night. Continue reading “TRUST Live in Philadelphia (10/24/12)”