Young Widows / Coliseum / TV Freaks – Scion Sessions

5 out of 5

Label: Scion Sessions

Produced by: Various

I’m not exactly sure what this is / was. The website for Scion (www.scionsessions.ca) seems to be defunct, and there are some pretty general blurbs here and there – “Scion Sessions is committed to supporting Canadian artists, catalyzing original projects in the music community. Scion Sessions is the music vehicle of Scion Canada, actively supporting people who are driven by their passions” – and a link on a Toyota page, suggesting the ‘vehicle’ and ‘driven’ words in that quote aren’t accidental, but as to whether or not this was a live performance or somesuch, I dunno. The Discogs page for this split single mentions it was live, and that this was given out as a free promo, but if it was given out at the time, that suggests studio recordings, and these things do sound really, really good if’n they were live.

I’ve tried comparing the Colisum and TV Freaks songs to their album counterparts – from Sister Faith and TWO, respectively – and I think there are differences, a little faster and scuzzed up on both (and maybe more obviously, different ‘recorded by’ credits are listed on the 7″ versus the albums) – but again, these are really deep and densely produced tracks here, and sharply performed, so either as representative of the groups’ sounds or showcases of live performances, they’re both aces. This is Coliseum in hardcore mode, all speed and aggression, and TV Freaks do a hyped-up 80s punk thing, riffing on some familiar sounds before escalating it into their own frenzy.

Young Widows’ track is new to me, but they’ve brought along regular recording mate Kevin Ratterman, for that delicious, reverb-ed sound. The sound is halfway between something off of Youth and Lightness – slow and melodic – and Easy Pain – minimalist heft – with the name of the track (Roots To the Leaves) and slightly more cavernous sound leaning toward a Youth and Lightness B-side, perhaps. But again, this is a really good representation of the group, and is also a fantastic recording.

I don’t own a lot of Coliseum, and TV Freaks was new to me, so being a YW fan, the one new track plus the extra exposure to the other groups was absolutely worth it. But especially for those whom this was a freebie, if you’re a fan of any / all of these bands, I think this is a great sounding mini-comp, that presents each group in a very favorable light.