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Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada | INDIE
Band Pop Blues


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On the first Saturday of December in Halifax, the streets were wet, bone-cold and snowless. It was the perfect climate for the night's show at the Khyber -- a split tape and EP release party featuring Secret Colours, Bad Vibrations, Bloodhouse and Dog Day. Any sugary attempts at holiday merriment were shunned in favour of heavy and ethereal noises, a touch of slam dancing and a white bed sheet with the blood-red proclamation "No Reason for the Season" hanging grimly above it all.

The night began with Secret Colours, the solo project of veteran Halifax musician (and Bad Vibrations bassist) Evan Cardwell. His voice floated above a bed of rising synths and threads of bass -- a neutralizing sound bath full of delicacy and calculated climaxes. The hypnotic vibe held for the next act, the mighty Bloodhouse. With half the band buried within the crowd, they played a nonstop set, churning out stunningly heavy riffs while lead singer Alex Mitchell's vocals rose above the murk like spooky flotsam.

Bad Vibrations are to be admired for their pursuit of a singular and highly focused purpose: to rock everyone's fucking faces off. A sloppy mosh pit formed as the trio played a propulsive set of songs from their new tape and summer seven-inch Under Pressure. This was the sound of Motörhead fused with Eric's Trip -- a roaring, juddering ride with giddily astral detours.

The last band on the lineup, Dog Day, took the thread of tension built by the previous acts and smoothed it out with their weird, engaging sparkle. Recently pared down to a two-piece, the band -- Nancy Urich and Seth Smith -- traded instruments and vocals. The simplicity of this new structure brought out one of the best qualities of this band -- their voices, both sweet and alien, settling over the heart like a cold but comforting hand. As the crowd filtered out into the wet night, these voices echoed behind them in the rafters of the old building, high and knowing. - Exclaim

Bloodhouse’s side is much of the same, really, at least in its bare-bones effectiveness and skillful throw-backs to Superfuzz Bigmuff (1988) and all the c86 dream-pop bands like Vivian Girls are obsessed with. Their half is more samey—all four songs are fairly indistinguishable, especially the first few times through, though it’s a lovely haze—and less entrenched in the grunge sound, but also more assured and viscerally pummeling than their split-mates. The “Endless Vacation” and “Magic Tipi” one-two that opens their half is the most pleasurably jarring four minutes here, relentless with heavily reverbed vocal yelps and deliciously crass, caterwauling guitars. The whirring lo-fi sludge can, at times, filthily pile on extra thick—like with “Name Your Shame”‘s blistering 60 seconds—but it never fully distracts from the great pop punk at the core of their songs, buried just underneath. - Coke Machine Glow

Was pretty pumped to see this land in my mailbox roughly a month or so ago. Yeah, it’s been that long…way too much shit going on right now, blah blah blah. Anyway, got hooked on Bloodhouse from a link to download their six song cassette from One Base On an Overthrow awhile back, although I’m not necessarily sure exactly on the specifics. The Halifax group play a delay heavy and fuzzed out sort of pop/punk mixture that I doubt I’ll ever get sick of hearing at this point. Bands want to tackle this sound? Be me guest. This here single on Caesar Cuts is the bands debut on any type of vinyl format, featuring two brief two minute rockers that do well in showing off what the band can do. The a-side of “Please Don’t Meet Me” is what would probably qualify as “heavy pop”, something that the band uses to describe their own sound. It gets going with the slow stomp of guitar and drums and continues to pound it out for two minutes interspersing here and there with some lovely guitar twang/squall that brings on the downer vibes a bit. On the b-side there is “Cool Intentions”, which lays into a subtle shifting and quite effective melody for its duration while surrounding it in plenty of rough distortion as well. These folks hit the nostalgia button kind of hard at times, but I believe it to be well worth the ride. - Built on a Weak Spot

Got an earful of these guys from a very reputable source. The explosive sounds that come from this band could fit into any this or that, or here and there. Bloodhouse sounds like a three piece/two-guitar outfit, but how sure can one really be? What is sure, is the gorgeous amount of delay, reverb, and distortion on yet another sexy and heavy garage band. Despite the band's name, it is hard to imagine a large amount of violence associated with these guys - more like rock and roll. Bloodhouse ride on a line that so many other burgeoning 'underground' bands are capitalizing - a powerful and loud mix of barre-chord'd-droney-punchy-guitar-riffs, amateur-primitive/tribal drumming patterns (that just might be MIDI...but don't let anyone know that secret), and forward translucent vocals. Definitely on the lighter side of the gloom scale, Bloodhouse makes the ideas of noise, drone, and rock and roll more accessible for the crowd that just isn't that extreme. The album itself is pretty standard to awesome; Digital Village - a great introduction to the 6 song S/T cassette (that you can grab on their bandcamp) sets the bar with some high energy rock that is followed by possibly the best track on the release, Grave Mind. (But where's the tube-driven overdrive?! It sounds so creamy that way.) This is definitely a choppy rock release that you SHOULD get and CAN get for FREE...but share the wealth. - Die Pop Tapes

Going through the archives of our Bands of the Week, I’ll admit that one could argue we’re lacking in the heavier rock ‘n’ roll department. And while you probably won’t find death metal on here anytime soon, it’s time we delivered some sludge and fire, so it’s with that in mind that we head to the great white north for some visceral gut punches from Halifax’s Bloodhouse.

Some intense Google-ing proved rather fruitless when it came to finding any backstory on Bloodhouse, so let’s just get right into the music. They’ve got a bit of the back-country psychedelic rock you find in bands like Black Mountain, along with delay and distortion effects that fans of bands like Thee Oh Sees would appreciate. Despite having features of both sub-genres, Bloodhouse’s self-titled EP fits nicely in a land that’s darker than garage rock and lighter than gloomy drone-rock, and it feels like it just can’t be played loud enough. Guitars crunch and fuzz with blasted out vocals buzzing underneath. Bloodhouse is bookended by tracks (“Digital Village” and “DGDGGW”) that kick you in the face from the get-go, while the meat of the EP stretches their sound out with a more patient drive and heavier drumming. Start with opener “Digital Village.” - Crawdaddy! Magazine

I have a soft spot for rock from the Maritime Provinces for some's one of those seemingly far out-of-the-loop areas that I like to think breeds weirdness. I might also just be romanticizing it because of my fondness for Rick White and Elevator and the Moncton scene of the Nineties. Bloodhouse hail from Halifax (home of Sloan...and Jale, if you got that deep...) and do a pretty convincing take on Thee Oh Sees variety of psych-rock, except far heavier and plodding, and without so much of Dwyer's guitar eccentricities. More riff based and without any West Coast folky touches, but the vocal treatment is almost identical. Six tracks, I found this pretty enjoyable for what it is: a darker and rockier Canadian version of...Thee Oh Sees, who I seem to like a lot more than many Termbros these days. Pro tapes/cards with a nice stark black design.(RK) - Terminal Boredom

A churning swamp of distortion oozes from Bloodhouse’s debut cassette. It pushes their thunderous pop monstrosity into new dimensions of intensity, molding the Haligonian pop-vocal-phenomenon into walls of spectral noise and sinusoidal chaos. Tracks like Eerie Power tear apart the murky folds of reverb, bearing witness to a brash group of teens spawning havoc within our audio organs. HEAVY.

- Weird Canada


Bloodhouse EP (2010)
Bad Vibrations/Bloodhouse Split Cassette (Brotherhood Records 2010)
Baby Butter Knife (Craft Singles 2010 Cassette Series)
Please Don't Meet Me 7" Single (Caesar Cuts 2011)



Debut on wax for Halifax's (Nova Scotia, in CANADA for those who don't know) BLOODHOUSE. 2 song single record here, this band referenced themselves as 'heavy pop' and 'teen punk' which I can agree with a little bit. My ears catch bits of stuff like Suicide, the Cramps, Stooges, melodic pop based punk of the mid 80's and such going on with this musically and the pop quotient is high. Their recording is relying heavily on a delay pedal and this has a real late 70's, early 80's feel about it. This is anything but HC so you know now, but I really enjoy this. Released on Caesar Cuts, the label who brought us the 1st Leather EP! (Cowabunga Records)