When Death From Above’s Sebastien Grainger announced his new side project with Adrian Popovich last year, it was a bit of a dream come true for Canadian indie music fans. The band, featuring Grainger on drums, Popovich on guitar and Jessica Bruzzese on bass, marked the first collaboration between the longtime friends and fixtures of the Montreal garage-punk scene.
The pair first met when Popovich played in the gone-but-not-forgotten rockers Tricky Woo in the late '90s. After splitting with that band, Popovich took a self-described “semi-retirement,” opening a studio in Montreal and working as a producer for a slew of local artists like the Dears, Duchess Says and Solids.
Popovich and wife Bruzzese initially formed American Lips as a two-person outfit, naming it in tribute to a song by New York psych-punks Alice Donutand, and co-writing all of the songs. Grainger heard the demos, fell in love with the band and was soon invited to join.
The trio recorded Kiss the Void in two days. It’s an album full of garage-punk gems, from the blistering opener “Definition” to the psychedelic bop of “Heat Wave” to the head-nodding riffs of “Beyond the 7-11.”
Kiss the Void is be streaming in advance of its release date right here all week. Read the band’s track-by-track guide to the album below.
"Adrian didn’t want this to go on the record. Seb and Jess insisted and turns out it’s many people’s favourite. To quote Lux Interior [founding member of the Cramps]: 'Well you've got a big face/ tomato paste/ the one thing babe you're gonna face/ oooh that's good taste.'"
"Melodically, it’s an homage to the slept-on, sadly departed Montreal band UBT. We can’t decide if the lyrics are about lust, global warming or the maligned ’80s film Joe Versus the Volcano."
‘Kiss the Void’
"A portrait of 'rock & roll' as a hellish, ever-shrinking echo chamber. Is it still fun to yell into? Somehow it is! Lyrics were written from the point of view of Chuck Berry (before he died)."
"Have you ever tried to be taken seriously while wearing a pair of bell-bottoms and a gypsy blouse? Adrian has. We don’t recommend it."
"Our value decreases to the beat of 'We’re Not Gonna Take It.'"
"A tribute to Bad Brains as an inspirational force. Rasta dudes breaking through and rising to the top of a racially hermetic scene. Best underdog story in music. Also, best chord changes on the record."
‘Beyond the 7-11’
"A dune buggy charges out from under a pile of branded content, leaving all us non-lovers in the dust. Musically, it's Run–D.M.C.’s 'It’s Tricky' misheard through a wall so it ends up sounding like the Knack again."
‘I Don’t Wanna Fight Tonight’
"There’s enough war, so please be careful next time you cut your own hair. It might spark a new one."
‘What Haunts You’
"Lyrically, this song references the Damned and Joan Jett. It has guitar solos at the end that Sebastien mixed quietly because he didn’t want us to sound like Whitesnake."
‘Turn It Off’
"The riff sounds Egyptian to us, which might qualify as cultural appropriation. The lyrics may be about being in love with a phone. We’re very sorry on both counts."
Kiss the Void will be released on June 16 on Ancient Fashion Records. Pre-order it here. American Lips will be performing at Ottawa Explosion on June 17 and at Sled Island Music Festival on June 25 and 26.