Brock Pytel, best known as the singing drummer for late 80’s Montreal pop-punks The Doughboys, has just released his new solo single, “Anemic Heart.” The single is the follow-up to his 2022 single, “Hurrah Hooray.” The Vancouver transplant’s two latest singles were both from a session he did in 2011 at Montreal’s Hotel2Tango with Howard Bilerman (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Arcade Fire) after some Doughboys reunion tour dates with The Foo Fighters. The track features two of his former bandmates, Jonathan Cummins on the Jazzmaster, and Jon “Bond Head” Asencio on bass (both of whom are in Montreal’s The Low Sixes) and was mastered by Ronan Chris Murphy (Gwar, King Crimson). The song meanders from jangly verses that seem to be pulled from The Rolling Stone’s “Their Satanic Majesty’s Request” into melodic choruses that call to mind 90’s pop crossovers like The Fluid or Afghan Whigs.
Accompanying the new single is Pytel’s video for “Anemic Heart,” filmed and edited by prolific Vancouver artist RD Cane. The video features blurry cityscapes, fires, and idyllic beach scenes that compliment Pytel’s melancholic lyrics and harmonies, painting the contrast of a love gained, then lost.
In the years between the sessions for the singles and their subsequent releases, the recordings fell into an extended dormancy. Pytel was buried under seemingly endless hours working in Vancouver’s film industry, where eventually, the stress and lack of sleep caught up with him.
Reflecting on his mortality (after serious health issues in 2020), Pytel explained,
“One of the things that really hit me at that time was how little music I’d put out into the world compared to how big a part of my life making music is. I was really motivated to get things going in that regard. These digital singles are me clearing my plate, so to speak, and making room for the new. When things seem to be lagging with the SLIP~ons (waiting for mixes, etc.) it helps with the frustration of working on getting these songs out.”
With renewed vigor and determination, Pytel plans to complete more solo singles from the H2T sessions in the months ahead and unleash a 5-song vinyl EP of his power pop band SLIP~ons in the Summer of 2023.
Connect with Brock Pytel:
I grew up in Alberta, but spent most of my life in British Columbia – I also spent a lot of my summers in Britain as I was lucky enough to have immigrant parents with the capital to go visit our relatives. The amount of time I spent overseas makes it hard for me to say I feel fully Canadian, but it does make me feel typically Canadian as so many of us have mixed parentage. My parents defined another divide in me as I feel inexorably pulled to both science and the art; my father being a doctor and my mother being a school teacher. I studied both in university and now work on making healthcare software during the day, then write/read/draw/paint/dance in my evenings. My global wanderings, my education, and the fact that my appetite for media could be described as ‘voracious’ means my frame of reference is pretty varied. It’s hard to say that I have a favourite music genre, rather I am always seeking sounds that convey a sense earnestness an honesty.
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