Vancouver’s Woolworm have shared a new single, Bangs, which is a feedback soaked ode to love getting in the way of life.
Bangs is available today to stream on Bandcamp or Spotify and is self-released by the band in conjunction with their West Coast tour dates with Seattle’s Sun Spots that kick off on Friday, April 28th. “Bangs” was recorded and produced by DIY wizard Nick Short (Dumb) at Choms Studio in Vancouver. A second single from the session, “Ritual Pass”, will be released worldwide on May 17, 2023.
Woolworm have been pillars of the Vancouver punk/indie/hardcore scene for over a decade and have released three full length albums along with a slew of EPs and singles. In 2022 they collaborated with L.A.’s Militarie Gun on two tracks that were included on the bands album All Roads Lead To The Gun.
“Ritual Pass” and “Bangs” were written with their release in mind. The band is currently working on its fourth full length album, and as with the recent collaborations with Militarie Gun, these two songs emerged from the space surrounding that. Frustrated and disillusioned by the traditional process of waiting in line forever just to release physical records, Woolworm decided to skip that process entirely here. Inspired by the relative freedom of being unsigned to any label, these songs were envisioned as being written, recorded, and then digitally dropped quickly, while they were still “new” to the band.
But the world had other plans for Woolworm. No, not just that horrible pandemic. Something objectively even worse got in the way: true love. Before recording plans were finalized, longtime drummer Nick Tolliday broke the news that he would be moving to Toronto to be with his partner while she went to school. Not long after that, even longer-time guitarist Alex Pomeroy announced that he would be moving to London, England for the same exact reason.
These departures turned out to disrupt a schedule, but not much else. Woolworm found two perfect fits to fill these two massive gaps. On drums, Graeme Macdonald, formerly of Dead Soft, whose first ever local music purchase was Woolworm’s album Believe in Ourselves. On guitar, TJ Reynolds (currently of Punitive Damage) who actually released that same album on his Crippling Doubt imprint way back when. Both have been in Woolworm’s orbit since the early days, and both have filled out the sound in unexpected ways.
“Ritual Pass”, written first and during a less hopeful period, takes vocal and lyrical influence from The Chameleons’ Strange Times, combining dreamy dark post-punk melodies with a heavier musical approach influenced by 90’s hardcore and post-grunge. The song observes the mad gold rush of modern art with something resembling disgust and violently shakes it off. Graeme’s drumming drives this home, both figuratively and sonically, while TJ’s final feedback squall reinforces a sense of hostility.
“Bangs”, on the other hand, was inspired by more love – this time affecting a member who can’t actually escape Woolworm. A vocal melody fell into place naturally over a riff within minutes of its composition and, as is the case with every Woolworm song, Heather Black’s backing vocals then took it to a new plane of existence. The goal was to reimagine My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anything sound as something a little more forceful and clear. Appropriately, like the love that inspired it, the song showed up suddenly and fully formed.
Both songs express a duality that Woolworm has pursued for its whole existence. A song about an imagined enemy’s banishment during a ritualistic cult act of violence… and a song about wanting someone too much for words. Cold, hard, heavy rock music and warm melodies. A band that still almost exclusively plays hardcore shows, trying to balance their own bitterness with a love song.
Love is a force. It kidnapped two whole members of Woolworm to other sides of the globe. It kept the band alive through that resulting fracture. And it inspired “Bangs,” which has really got to be the best Woolworm song ever. I don’t mind saying that because I wrote it. Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. It’s me, Giles from Woolworm. That’s right, it’s been me all along. What, this old thing? Just some music we’ve been working on. Please feel free to write about it, especially if you work for a music publication.