Audible/Visual Hoots: Surf Dads, Jordan Klassen, White Poppy and more


Surf Dads – “Up All Night”

We first rode waves with Surf Dads on their EP back in the fall but the Regina duo are already gearing up to release their debut LP, All Day Breakfast this April. “Up All Night,” the first track from the forthcoming album, is powered by the same quick strokes of a crackling guitar that lit up the Dads’ EP and breezy self-depreciation and regret (“I wanna die,” they sing) that, for some of us, is something that fills you on a pretty frequent basis.  – Laura Stanley

Jordan Klassen – “Curses”

There’s a reason Jordan Klassen is one of my favourite Canadian artists. With every new release, Klassen experiments with new sounds and new techniques and triumphing at all of them. “Curses” is the title track of his new EP out March 3, and this five-minute epic builds a dark atmosphere with a clear light at the end of the tunnel. A dense intersection of piano, bass, strings and drums backs Klassen’s song about confronting mental illness and Klassen shows off a hell of a command of the high register on his vocals. I’m pumped to hear the full EP. – Michael Thomas

Sunnsetter – “The Closest to Hell (That I Would Ever Wish To Be)”

“The Closest to Hell (That I would Ever Wish to Be)” carries with it the same stunning emotional heft found in Sunnsetter’s 2016 release It Was Winter and I Wrote Some Songs… Andrew McLeod’s (Sunnsetter) latest is a gorgeous, sprawling track steeped in melancholia. Around the three minute mark, the soft guitar picking and brushed percussion is ripped open by impassioned cries of frustration before dissolving into the abyss. We’re definitely looking forward to Sunnsetter’s 2017 release. – LS

Big Lonely – “Dreamboat”

It’s the middle of winter in Canada, so Big Lonely is bringing some wish fulfillment into your home with a summer-ific pool party. The smooth, summery vibe of the song, which refers to actual boats and the sea, fits in perfectly with the shots of floaties, board shorts, Hawaiian shirts and the like. Burlington, Ont., if just for a moment, looks like a tropical paradise. – MT

White Poppy – “Love Molecules” 

“I thought it was love but now it’s gone,” Crystal Dorval (White Poppy) softly croons as she drifts through the bloodstream. Despite this downer sentiment, “Love Molecules” is a soothing, psych-folk track that carries not a care in the world. As if Dorval has looked through a microscope at a sample of her own blood and realized that her body is always in flux so why can’t her life be too? – LS

CHANCES – “Shine”

The debut single from Montreal’s CHANCES mixes elements together in a way I don’t think I’ve heard before. The band calls its vocals almost ceremonial in a way, and at first, as the vocals begin to overlap each other, it sounds like it could be heading in a folk-pop direction. Instead, it bursts with synthesizer and picks up the pace. The chorus itself is especially impressive, including Ojibwe lyrics over raga sounds. The future looks bright. – MT

Smaller Frame – “Turn Yourself Away”

I like the depiction of depression in Ronell Drapeza’s (Smaller Frame) new track, “Turn Yourself Away”. We hear about a battle between what easy (“turn yourself away”) and hard. The characterization of dissociation in the line, “Shrug like usual / Towed in absent state” is particularly stunning. And Drapeza’s manipulated vocals throughout only heighten the lyric’s unsteady emotional state. – LS

Ominous Cloud – “Next to Me”

There’s nothing scary about this surprisingly sunny, psych-pop debut track from Ominous Clouds, the latest project from Patrick Earles. He previously got our attention in 2014 with Strange Fires and here he amps up the psychedelic warbles and anthemic guitar to create a perfectly dreamy little song. –MT

Potential Red – Broken/Daydreaming 

Here’s a nice little A/B release from Ottawa band Potential Red. On “Broken” the lead singer of David Sklubal is pretty much completely shrouded by an 80s-inspired rippling guitar/synth combo as if he’s being drowned out by the din of the bar he’s at but doesn’t want to be in. “Passive Wav”, on the other hand, is an all instrumental song that feels much clearer. Sklubal has realized that he is free to leave the bar and go home. – LS


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