On July 2nd, 2020, Ontario power pop act Death Party Playground announced a surprise Bandcamp release of “Still Memories” recorded live at the band’s last Los Angeles date before COVID-19.

“From Ontario to the world, Death Party Playground gives a more stripped-down version of their originally orchestral and somber track,” Jammerzine‘s Ryan Martin writes in their premiere of the track, “but by doing this, they show that this song is meant for the stage.”

Recorded at The Mint in Los Angeles, “Still Memories” is a folksier turn for the group, but is meant to showcase singer Kyle Turner’s ability to translate painful themes into genuine beauty along with documenting some of the band’s last shows before the pandemic put live music on hold.

“I’ve only performed the song at The Mint in Los Angeles, again for the release party of Little Joy in Waterloo, and maybe once or twice elsewhere,” Taylor says. “It serves as a sort of resolve for the hopelessness of the previous track, ‘Bright New.’ ‘Bright New’ presents a character that can’t escape their pain, [whereas] ‘Still Memories’ is a resolve from that pain into something positive. It’s an appreciation for their experience, and for those they love or have loved.”

The story of Death Party Playground is really about the evolution of singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kyle Taylor.

Based in the thriving university town of Waterloo, Ontario, Taylor has been a fixture on the local music scene for over a decade and began sharing his insanely catchy power pop anthems under the Death Party Playground banner in 2013, culminating with their first full-length album, Little Joy, released this past January. On one hand, Joy displays how Death Party Playground has evolved into a true band, combining the energy of the late-‘70s New York scene with early ‘90s Britpop drama, but songs like “Still Memories” showcase Taylor’s undeniable lyrical and melodic skills, as evidenced on the live version recorded at the band’s final dates in Los Angeles before COVID-19.

“I’ve only performed the song at The Mint in Los Angeles, again for the release party of Little Joy in Waterloo, and maybe once or twice elsewhere,” Taylor says. “It serves as a sort of resolve for the hopelessness of the previous track, ‘Bright New.’ ‘Bright New’ presents a character that can’t escape their pain, [whereas] ‘Still Memories’ is a resolve from that pain into something positive. It’s an appreciation for their experience, and for those they love or have loved.”

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