It’s that time once again, as the countdown to the end of 2019 rapidly approaches and we somehow end this decade- we take a personal look back on familiar names, features and musicians’ best releases of the past 12 months. In what has been another crazy year filled with plenty of highs and lows- it’s the releases that have once again pulled a lot of people through the year.
Now in it’s 9th year, we let our favourites take over the site to tell us the records that have made their end of year lists. Telling us their most loved events/gigs and what we can look forward to from them next year.
Continuing the take-over and our next label instalment comes from another incredibly hard-working cassette label, Coup Sur Coup Records. Based in Castlegar we first discovered this label almost a year ago, as they were set to become home to William Covert and his debut album release which came out back in February of this year. Keeping an eye on this label it’s so easy to see that they are one of the most promising labels out there and one that deserves your backing. We speak to Max of Coup Sur Coup to find out more about his year in music personally and for his courageous platform…..
2019 was one hell of a year for Coup Sur Coup. For many reasons, some of it personal, but most of all for the business wise, it was an amazing year, filled with great moments, great and that’s the good part!
It was a watershed year for CSC records in many ways, I accomplished a lot more than I’ve set up to do, and had some very special moments along the way. I worked on/released 19 albums/extended plays, 9 of them on cassette, most of them that I dubbed, designed and made my self, so let’s just say that for a one man operation, it was a lot of work. But, hey, I’m not complaining!
Highlights for Coup Sur Coup Records in 2019 included:
-Signing Santa Rosa’s Sloth and Turtle and reissuing on cassette their incredible debut self titled Extended play, who sold out within weeks.
-Working with Chicago Drummer extraordinaire William Covert on not one, but 2 releases. His debut solo album Music for Synthesizer ans Drums in February and the companion Ep of remixes and reworked version Revisioned Modulations Of Synthesizersand Drums in August on which I did a couple of ambient remixes as well, a this one being a limited and now sold out tape release and entry number 10 in the digital series.
-Releasing Tampa’s ferociously insane duo Jitters scorcher of an album, Zones as a deluxe version, including a newly released song, and along the way establishing a good relationship with these two totally bunkers and extremely talented musicians.
-Working and reissuing the debut album and long out of print cassette version of my old Montreal friends and Canadian death and roll legends Ghoulunatics. This also sold out within weeks.
-Reissuing and finally getting to work with my old buddy Seb Painchaud of the magnificent stoner/math rock group Tumbleweed Dealer. This was really fun, as we have known each other for a long time, replaced each other in a lot of bands. It also got me to work and reconnect with my good friend Jean-Francois Richard Of Ion Dissonance, who I’ve known since high school.
-Working on and releasing the second album by Chicago’s super group Acquaintances, 8- 1/2 lives. We’ve got a lot of coverage worldwide with that one, and that was a lot of fun. A great rock record. I have a very solid relationship with Justin & Pat who also happens to be in CSC alumni, and amazing trio in their own right, The Poison Arrows. It also got me to work with the legendary Touch And Go Records graphic designer David Babbitt, who was super generous with his time, super nice to deal with, and delivered an awesome cover art for the cassette.
But undoubtedly, the highlight of the year and biggest surprise was to get to work with Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Storm Corrosion, Steven Wilson Band among his myriad of projects) on his drone/ambient project Bass Communion. I’ve always been a big fan of his multi-faceted work, especially Bass Communion, and it was a real honour for me to get to work and release an extended/reworked version of his long out of print 2004 EP Dronework. He was a real joy to work with, very open, supportive of CSC records, generous, and just an all around super cool guy to work with. The 100 cassette pressing sold out within 4 hours of being announced, and it was definitely the biggest release I had undertaken up to that point. It was mind blowing to see it unfold like this.
Bonus point for getting to work with British graphic artist extraordinaire Carl Glover, who handles all of Wilson’s artwork and graphics, he was also a real joy to work with, and getting to know both the folks at Burning Shed and the visionaries behind :zoviet*france: was the cherry on top of the cake…
Best gig I’ve attended this year:
Well since i now live out in the wood of the west Kootenays in British Columbia, I do see a lot less of live concerts as I used to when I was living in Montréal, but without hesitation it has to be Nick Mason’s Saucerful Of Secrets, back in April when I was visiting family in Montreal. I’m a huge Pink Floyd fan, especially the early pre dark side of the moon stuff (although I love pretty much everything in the Floyd discography) so that was quite a treat to see and hear all the syd barret classics, along with other deep cuts like atom heart mother, interstellar overdrive, fearless, ect. It was magical, Nick and the band where in great from, and it was pure psychedelia, and a dream come true for a fan like myself.
Seeing Voivod also, supporting their new record, back in September was great, as they are one of my favourite metal bands, and are from my former hometown of Montreal.
I sadly missed out on seeing Propagandhi at Massif fest here in Nelson (Massif Fest is this very cool, non profit, Indie/punk/metal 3 day festival organized by a very cool bunch of folks here in Nelson, BC) but, sadly i was out of town that weekend to attend a wedding, and I missed out on the mighty Propagandhi. To say that I was bummed is an understatement.
Best discovery of this year was the Indianapolis based label Past Inside The Present, and specially the British ambient/drone/electro artist 36. I also purchased many of their other releases over 2019, but I really liked everything 36 released. Stunning, intricate, challenging stuff. He did released a few different things this year , Lower Lights, Beneath the Lower lights, dreamscapes, and he’s about to release a split with Black Swan. All good, amazing stuff you should check out if your are not already familiar with his work.
Other notable releases for me this year was Cave In’s Final Transmission, their final release with deceased bassist and co singer Caleb Scofield. I also attended the fundraiser show they’ve done in Boston about a year and a half ago, for the Scofield family, it was a very bitter sweet affair, with Converge, Old Man gloom and The Cancer Conspiracy also playing. Cave In are one of my favourite bands of all time, so to get a new Record was amazing and didn’t disappoint one bit.
New Jersey’s NY in 64 released their final album, Safety, a few weeks back, very intricate and heavy instrumental post-hardcore. Top drawer stuff. They are good friends of mine. I’ve booked them and played shows with them many times over the years when I was living in Montreal, and forged a great friendship with all the members.
I was sad to hear of the demise of the band, but they all have multiple musical projects going, ( East of the Wall, El Drugstore, Hundreds Of AU among many other things) and I guess it eats up a lot of their time. Stunning record.
Dysrhythmia’s Terminal Threshold was also an incredible release, by one of the finest bands in heavy music today. Super complex, intricate instrumental music, they always find ways to put a new spin on their brand of dissonant rock, and they did it again this year. Kevin Hufnagel is a modern guitar hero, a master at his craft, and also a CSC Alumni, as I released one of his solo records a few years back. Production was handled by the band’s bassist, Colin Marston, who has a hand in producing and recording a lot of the modern metal bands today at his NYC studio, he’s becoming the Steve Albini of the metal realm. And the drumming of Jeff Eber will leave anyone scratching their head in a “ how does he do that” kind of way. Probably the best record of the year for me.
Plans for the new year?
Get back in the groove as I took a short break after releasing and shipping out Bass Communion’s Dronework 2019, I have a lot planned out, as far as releases goes. So expect more cassettes, of all genres and styles, more entries in the CSC digital series, and hopefully a few more interesting things. Not totally sure yet, as I am just restarting the machine after moving houses, But definitely more tapes and cool releases will come your way. Count on me. I’m also getting back in music my self and starting a new band, l here in British Columbia, and I will also get back to releasing new drone music under the moniker of the band of peace, as I have a ton of unreleased material to work with. I hope all of you had an amazing year, in music and otherwise, and I’d like to extend my gratitude to Naomi and everyone else at Circuit Sweet for premiering and supporting a lot of our releases this year and asking me to be a part of this. Thank you.
A huge thank you for your involvement and it’s our pleasure, anything we can do to share CSC! Looking forward to 2020 for the label.