Saskatoon label releases “House of Burners” – the only compilation album you’ll ever need

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Comp. features Pack A.D., Bison, Public Animal in addition to Sask. bands

Shooting Guns, Saskatoon’s doom purveyors, have been making waves across North America with their excellent Brotherhood of the Ram LP. And now the instrumental group has launched a label, Pre-Rock Records, promoting their first official release, the House of Burners compilation.

The album features several Saskatoon groups – Powder Blue, Switching Yards, Lavagoat – and pits them up against bands from across Canada, including The Pack A.D., Mahogany Frog and more.

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According to drummer Jim Ginther, the idea started a couple of years ago when Shooting Guns were on tour and began talking about putting out a compilation of all the bands they had played with.

“We are really grateful that bands like Public Animal, Bison and Pack A.D. were into doing this,” he says.

“We were really awestruck to be working with artists like that.

“And if you know who we hang out with ‘House of Burners’ seemed like a fitting title.”

The House of Burners opens with Powder Blue’s excellent dream-pop track “Go On Forever”, before launching into Public Animal’s “One Way Ticket”. It’s a bit of a jump transition-wise, but despite the Blurton-isms – the driver seat sledgehammer guitar riffs – the two groups manage to find common ground in their dueling vocals and droning organ lines. From there we are treated to down tuned madness and pummeling rhythms via Vancouver’s Bison, who deliver one of the heaviest, most bludgeoning tracks of the entire compilation – they are responsible for the best song title as well.

Another stand-out track comes from The Switching Yard, another Saskatoon group that seemed to gain some momentum after putting together a unique sound within a small scene and pairing it with a roaring and trippy live performance. “Tanya” is appropriately noisy but keeps a consistent groove throughout.

Other highlights involves Regina’s Black Thunder, who deliver the rumbly, doom-laden rock boogie “Too Late/Death Stare”, Rehashed’s thrashed and throttled “F.U.C.K.”, and “Card in the Spokes” from Clunt & The Scrunts, a Victoria-based rock duo featuring two prairies ex-pats.

The Pack A.D. is the anomaly of the album – while the duo’s hard-burning blues rock isn’t sonically that much of a departure from the rest of the group’s, they are by far the most “straight” sounding of the bunch. That said, their cover of “Night Crawler” – originally by Thee Oh Sees – is a gloriously mucky-albeit-melodic ending to this compilation.

While Ginther is unsure of what the future of the label holds, he is hoping for a vinyl-release of House of Burners. (psst – make it happen because we’ll buy one!)

“We always thought it would be great if a label would pick all of our stuff up. And of course it never really works out like that,” says Ginther. “So we figured if we were going to do this we would have to do it ourselves.”