A good song, is a good song, is a good song. Even if it’s been on the shelf for a while, a good tune yearns to be heard. That’s kind of what happened in Brock Pytel’s case with his new single “Anemic Heart.” Pytel is perhaps best known for his role as the singing drummer of the late 1980s Montreal pop punk band Doughboys, who achieved mainstream success in Canada in the early and mid-1990s.

“Anemic Heart” and his 2022 single “Hurrah Hooray” were written a while ago, in fact, over a decade ago, but Pytel decided not to release them at the time. Fortunately, they have arrived now for our listening enjoyment, with an accompanying video for “Anemic Heart,” filmed and edited by Vancouver artist RD Cane, featuring a lot of impressive visuals that really compliment Pytel’s wistful lyrics and powerful harmonies.

Describing the circumstances surrounding the recording of “Anemic Heart,” Pytel told us:

“This song, and the previous digital solo single I put out in June 2022, were both from a session I did with (producer) Howard (Bilerman) at Hotel2Tango when I was visiting Montreal around the time of the Doughboys reunion gigs opening for Foo Fighters (August, 2011). Only ‘Anemic Heart’ and one other song (‘All or Nothing,’ still unreleased) were mixed at the time.

“Once back in Vancouver, I started playing some of this stuff live with Slips. I sat on the recordings for years, thinking they’d eventually get re-recorded as SLIP~ons songs, but as we wrote more new stuff, they eventually fell out of the set.”

In the decade-plus since these songs were worked on, the recordings essentially got put aside while Pytel became more and more involved working in the Vancouver film industry. After some health issues in 2020, he became more reflective when it came to considering how important music was to him. Despite music playing such a big role in his life, he realized that he had put out almost none of it in a long, long time.

This helped motivate Pytel to get the songs finished and released. During a hiatus with his garage punk band the SLIP~ons, he was able to finish the songs, which felt like a great weight was lifted off his shoulders. And the whole experience has bred enthusiasm and creativity within Pytel as he plans to finish more solo songs in the coming months, as well as issuing a SLIP~ons EP this summer.

Artwork for the single “Anemic Heart” by Brock Pytel