Home Hear Area Resident | Polycanard: Exclusive Album Premiere & Track-By-Track

Area Resident | Polycanard: Exclusive Album Premiere & Track-By-Track

Mind the gap: The prolific Ottawa rocker is back with a collection of odds ’n’ sods.

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Well, this is getting a little ridiculous — but in a good way. Polycanard, which officially arrives Friday, July 29, will be the seventh full album by Ottawa’s Area Resident in as many years — and the second of 2022.

Granted, it isn’t quite R. Stevie Moore or Robert Pollard territory, but it is arguably more consistent. Not surprisingly, R. Stevie and Uncle Bob are two heroes of Doug Hempstead, the nation’s capital broadcaster who is, in fact, the Area Resident.

Polycanard, Hempstead explains, gets its name from a nonsense word he and producer/collaborator Jordon Zadorozny came up with when the pair were in high school French immersion classes in Pembroke, Ont. They have been making fun and music together since they were kids, Zadorozny prominently as the man behind Blinker The Star. In fact, Zadorozny has put at least one Blinker album out every year since 2017, adding to a catalogue which dates back to the early ’90s.

“There’s not really any new stuff on Polycanard,” Hempstead says. “Well, it’s new to you, but not new to me. It’s kind of my Hoy-Hoy! Except I’m not dead.” He’s comparing this collection of unreleased demos, live tracks, one new song and a handful of favourites, to the Little Feat compilation which came out following the death of leader Lowell George. “I’m also not Lowell. I could never write anything like Rock And Roll Doctor — but I did write a song called Warm It Up First about a guy who stole gold pucks from the mint by putting them up his bum.”

Tinnitist asked Hempstead to go through the songs on Polycanard, track-by-track. So he did:

 

Riverside (live)

“This was recorded in 2018 at an Ottawa-area music festival in Finch called Barnstorm. The guitar player Paul makes his own beer and rigged up a keg in his car with a hose out the passenger window. The studio version of the song is my most popular one on Spotify. It came out on 2017’s Delano.”

I Save Cigarette Butts

“I suppose this is the one new song. It’s a cover of a Daniel Johnston song, done in a similar style to the way P covered it. I started this back in 2009 a few days into quitting smoking, but Jordon did additional guitar overdubs, synth overdubs, live drums and re-recorded the bass in June. I’m putting it out as a single.”

Two Hours To Go

“This is a version of an Area Resident song I wrote and recorded initially in 2004. This version was done by a band I was in with a bunch of my Ottawa Sun colleagues in 2014 called The Slow Century. It’s considerably more upbeat than the proper version which came out on 2017’s Delano.”

Viscount I

“This is just the version from the 2019 album Viscount. One of my favourites, named for the brand of cigarettes Jordon’s mom used to smoke.”

How To Skate (demo)

“One of two demo versions of this unreleased song which uses a line from Slaphot and name-checks two Nirvana albums.”

Photo by Sandy Sharkey.

The Prize (demo)

“An unreleased demo showcasing my attempt at an outro falsetto. These demos are a little rough because not only is it me on all instruments, but they were recorded onto a compact flash card using a Fostex MR8 digital 8-track. So, the songs had to be mixed and exported, then deleted before another could be recorded. These demos couldn’t be remixed for Polycanard, only EQ’d and mastered.”

Pigs On The Wing

“A single I put out a month or so ago — a cover of Pigs On The Wing (Parts 1 and 2) by Pink Floyd. Looking forward to the re-mix of Animals coming out soon.”

Ugly Business (demo)

“Another unreleased 8-track demo I never went back to. There’s so many lyrics that I had to record them in two tracks.”

What A Farce It Is, Was (demo)

“Done in 2007 about the awful neighbours on the other side of my townhouse unit wall. Never revisited this one, either.”

Quasar

“Just the title track from the Area Resident album which came out in March. This is the album version which, unlike the single version, features my partner Chelle Lorenzen’s backing vocals. She also did the Polycanard album artwork, which was inspired by George Hardie.”

Getting Stuck (demo)

“This is why I don’t do guitar solos. Almost re-recorded this for 2020’s Jardinova album, but co-producer Dave Merritt said I could do better.”

In Convulsions (demo)

“I think this was recorded the day after What A Farce It Is, Was. It’s about my younger daughter.”

Hunkered Down In A Government Town

“Previously released as a single and the first track on Jardinova. This is my pandemic song, recorded in April 2020. My second-most popular track on Spotify.”

Canopy (live)

“Like the opening track, this was recorded at Barnstorm in 2018. There are two other versions — the one on the CD of the first Area Resident album in 2016, and the reworked version on Spotify and Bandcamp featuring live drums throughout.”

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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check out him out on Discogs.