2020. Potent and beautiful, indie rock or even power pop at times, at the center most of the time, for lack of more precise descriptors, expansive power pop or head rock compressed down to power pop, elements of the 1980s and 1990s but not another synth pop or new wave throwback, it's easy to hear how these could have been stripped down to punk songs, and it would've been great, but this is perfect the way it sits, maintains the anger and energy and rich with some of the same stuff that made the Pretenders so enjoyable, not sounding like that band but thick with production and instrumentations that don’t distract from the center of the songs powering it along, like the more complex versions of power pop, complex yet focused, focused on feeling and message rather than any desire to show off talents as musicians, some lessons learned from Tom Dowd applied, all the sounds wrapped around the songs like layers worn in cold weather, the hard edges and harsh rhythms intentionally caressed with synthesizers like the message of the lyrics, like warm hands reaching out to guide you home through a winter storm, like the elusive complexities that surround conversations about anything important. -- winch (green noise)
Wares is a musical project engineered by Edmonton songwriter Cassia J. Hardy. From teeth rattling electric convulsions to soft-spoken acoustic refrains, the musical inflections explored on each Wares release are as varied as they are enthralling.
Few albums combine raw vulnerability with shredding solos as seamlessly as Wares’ Survival. On her first release for Mint Records, Edmonton’s Cassia Hardy blazes through riff-wielding indie-rock symphonies for anyone striving to stay alive and create a brighter future. By sharing her own journey towards hope, she hopes to light a path for anyone lost in the dark. As Hardy explains in its liner notes, “this record is dedicated to decolonial activists, anti-fascist agitators, prairie queers fighting for community and a better life.”Since Wares’ origin as a solo project, Hardy’s guitar skills have taken centre stage. Learning how to play thrash-metal solos provided her with the instrumental ability to create emotionally riveting songs, rising to meet the intensely personal lyrics about her life experiences. While the Flying V hasn’t left her hands since the days of playing riffs by Megadeth and Metallica, she learned to meld these six-string pyrotechnics with loud-quiet-loud dynamics into a sound that feels vibrantly original.Previous Wares releases have flickered with a slow burn, yet Survival lights the fuse from ominous to explosive in its first sixty seconds. This change in mood can be credited to the past year of touring across Canada with the stalwart live band of keyboardist Jamie Mclean, bassist Matthew Gooding, and drummer Holly Greaves, who also perform throughout the album. Their arrangements are meticulous, while Hardy’s production alongside engineers Mason Pixel and Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung) refine these songs into crystalline clarity.Hardy’s dramatically enunciated vocal delivery has earned comparisons to Destroyer’s Dan Bejar, but she draws more inspiration from Arthur Russell and cult Albertan queer-punk group Fist City. Her sonic imagination travels far beyond overdriven shredding, from the swooning acoustic guitars of “Jenny Says” to the Hold Steady-style organ-rock of “Surface World.” The result is 2020’s answer to Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues or G.L.O.S.S.’s Trans Day Of Revenge with a far wider musical range.
• Riff-wielding indie rock symphonies from Edmonton’s Cassia Hardy • Produced with Mason Pixel and Jesse Gander (Japandroids, White Lung) • For fans of Arthur Russell, Fist City, Destroyer, Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues and G.L.O.S.S.’s Trans Day Of Revenge • No export to UK / EU and Canada
released April 24, 2020
Recorded mostly at Bikini Bottom, summer 2019 by Mason Pitzel Mixed in December 2019 by Jesse Gander Mastered in January 2020 by Ryan Morey
Cover by Kira Buro Photo by Josh Bookhalter and Charlie Paget
Love and thanks to: Ann & Cecil Hardy, Niko Stratis, Jesse Northey, The SMF, The Aviary, The Empress, The Quiltbag, RCYK, Mustafa, Marlaena, Jessica, Trevor McNeeley, Leila Sidi, Mal & Trev, PJ & Erin, Cat & Jaye, Andy & Liz, and everyone who’s hosted us, shared a stage with us, and helped us out on the way.
This record is dedicated to decolonial activists, anti fascist agitators, prairie queers fighting for community and a better life.