Monday, June 24, 2024

New Music Monday: Slugger embodies slacker-rock on ‘Chumps & Suckers’ EP


Victoria and Vancouver Island have a lot of musical talent, and Victoria Buzz wants to highlight some of the best and brightest local artists and bands.

Every Monday, there will be a fresh ‘New Music Monday’ article to help people find and support local artists and bands that are up-and-coming, well established or hidden gems!

For this endeavour, Victoria Buzz has partnered with our good friends at CFUV 101.9 FM, UVic’s campus radio station, to find and select the musicians and bands for this regular column.

This week, Slugger is the New Music Monday highlight!

Slugger is a three-piece, slacker-rock band from Victoria which is comprised of Matt Watton, Matt Engelsman and Gunnar Byres, who have been playing together since July 2023. 

Watton says that he was playing bass in another Victoria band called Divisonaries when he decided he wanted to form a new project in which he could flex his guitar muscles and sing some songs he had been sitting on. 

He then recruited Byres who also plays in the well-established band ex-cowboy and Engelsman who had been playing in numerous local bands since moving to Victoria. 

“I found out [Engelsman] was a huge Ween fan and I’m also a huge Ween fan so we were like, we definitely have to hook up and play,” Watton told Victoria Buzz. 

“It kind of just took off from there.”

On March 3rd, Slugger released their new EP, Chumps & Suckers which features three songs Watton had written prior to forming the band that he wanted to explore alongside his new bandmates. 

When describing what slacker-rock meant and the sound they have been developing together, Watton said they wanted to sound heavy, but melodic and alternative yet still able to jam and improvise on songs. 

“When sending this out to reviewers, I called it ‘hard working slacker-rock,’” he explained. 

“Slacker-rock to me is like 90s alternative stuff but less popular than Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.”

Slugger wanted to highlight the third song on Chumps & Suckers, “Duped.”

“There’s three songs and they are basically in order from worst to best,” Watton laughed. 

He added they are proud of all three tracks but on “Duped,” the song really developed into something more than they could have imagined. 

“It was originally a very ‘chordy’ song but turned into something really jammy,” said Watton. “It was one that really evolved during practices.”

The jammy bit made the song a crowd favourite when playing live shows, as it really allows all three members to explore the song. 

“It has a whole section where we sort of improvise on live,” explained Byres. 

Watton says that the lyrics for that song came from an idea he had to fit as many synonyms for chumps. 

“The first line is ‘how many chumps make a sucker,’ and I think in my notes app I just had a list of like, chumps, rubes, suckers, fools,” he laughed.

He added that it is incredibly funny and cathartic to yell “you’ve been duped” on stage at a show. 

Listen to a preview of Chumps & Suckers by Slugger below:

To listen to Chumps & Suckers in its entirety, check it out on Bandcamp or Spotify

Slugger wants to take most of the summer to write some new songs and work on their set so they can come back full-swing in the early fall, but they will be playing a couple shows around Greater Victoria in that time as well. 

“We are honoured to be playing Sick Day Festival on Pender Island from July 12th to 13th,” said Watton. 

“It’s going to be real fun, playing with all the cool, fun, local [Victoria] bands that I really like.”

In addition to Slugger playing at Sick Day, ex-cowboy, Queens Park, Trophy Dad, Conjure Hand, Poppa Don Gernie, HopeCity Waters, Sofia Miller, Silvertone and more will be performing. 

“Shoutout to Silvertone,” Watton said. “They’re going to be the next cool Vic band, mark my words.”


CFUV is a non-profit campus and community radio station that plays a ton of local music of all kinds across Vancouver Island. If you like to support local music they are an amazing resource with a plethora of new local tunes in their arsenal. 

“As someone who’s relatively new to Victoria, the music scene has been my way of connecting to people and the city and I think CFUV is super, super integral to that,” said Watton. 

“They validate and support the scene.”

Tune into CFUV 101.9 FM on air or online!

Let us know what you think of Slugger in the comments below.

Curtis Blandy

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