Audible/Visual Hoots: Max T, Steph Cameron, Innes Wilson & more

Illacuda – “Stop Calling”

“When you stop calling me, I’ll be fine,” repeats Illacuda lead singer Will Bennett throughout the band’s new shimmery psych-rock song. It’s a plea that nicely summarizes the, sometimes, only way you can get over someone: to cut off all contact. The video of “Stop Calling” switches between two disparate scenes – one of a woman, who intriguingly has a whistle around her neck, lying down then staring out her window and the other of a tense family dinner – and microscopic footage of an unidentifiable substance. Perhaps symbolizing the need to step back, think things over, and realize how big the world is. – Laura Stanley

Calcedon – “Sparrow”

This is the first single from this Hamilton group, and it plays with an electronic soundscape, creating stuttering, beautiful little fragments. One particular line of the song, “When a thing is built too fast, it’s weak” links to the video, which features kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken objects with gold. It’s a slow process, and rebuilding fractures (both physical and metaphorical) will always take time. There’s a nice thematic resonance throughout, and the song stands strong on its own, too. –Michael Thomas

Scotty Hills – “Won’t Be Back”

Desert landscapes, seedy bars, and a Johnny Cash-style outfit are the immediate visuals of Scotty Hills sparse video for “Won’t Be Back.” But there’s no need to bemoan the lack of flash as Hills hits the chorus. Smooth, with just the faintest twang, there’s an inescapable hint of James Taylor and a mellowness that can be savoured all night long. – Eleni Armenakis

Innes Wilson – “No Other One” 

“No Other One” is a super sweet one! From Innes Wilson’s forthcoming EP Bedford Hills, “No Other One” is a joyful folk-pop track highlighted by fun keyboard sounds and Wilson bursting with love. Best line: “has anyone ever told you that every season is right standing next to you weathering side by side?” D’aw! – LS

Wolf Willow – “Like the PFRA”

Well here’s a self-description we don’t see too often—Regina’s Wolf Willow bill themselves as “alt western swing,” and it’s a style of country music that you likely haven’t heard in a while. Though there’s a definite country twang to the vocals and there’s a copious amount of pedal steel and upright bass, there’s also a wonderful horn section for extra bursts of energy. The subject matter is a bit more modern, with a great “fuck you” line about 30 seconds in: “If I made a list of all the crushes I’ve had, it would go on and on and on/But don’t you worry, I’m burning that list, it’s gone, gone, gone.” –MT

Blood and Glass – “Hop The Fence”

New Orleans brass storm onto the scene with Blood and Glass’s single “Hop The Fence.” The band’s thrown aside some of their ethereal past for a punchy and, if I may, fence-hopping debut that’s riddled with energy and beats. The vocals are full of life, howling (sometimes literally) and crashing along with the symbols. It’s energetic, rich and an absolute delight as the band takes off in a new direction. – EA

Phenix Warren – “Katie McLeod”

Phenix Warren’s “Katie McLeod” is like finding a sweet rom-com on TV to spend your Sunday with. The plot: A boy (Phenix) becomes infatuated by a cute cashier at a grocery store. By the time his groceries make their way down the conveyor belt to her, he musters up the courage to ask for her name. “Katie McLeod,” she says with a smile. The store’s music suddenly plays “Dancing in the Streets” and Katie leaps over the till. The pair dance together up and down the aisles and are cheered on by fellow shoppers.

Phenix blinks. The dance only happened in his head but things seem promising as he and Katie lock eyes and blush. – LS

À La Mode – “Est-ce qu’on s’aimera” 

The Winnipeg act that last stole my heart with Perfection Salad is already back with a new song, and you don’t need to understand French to gauge the subject matter of the song. The simple drums and repeating vocals in the background lay the story down of being in a relationship with more than a little turmoil. The high highs can’t quite balance out the low lows, and the narrator wonders whether it’s worth it to go on. There’s a nice little guitar solo in the middle, perhaps putting to music those doubts we all have. –MT

Wild Rivers – “Do Right”

It hasn’t even been a year since Wild Rivers released their debut album, but the band’s still gathered up enough experience to start experimenting with their sound. They’re ready to reach into new directions with “Do Right,” their first post-debut single that drives the focus to the harmonies and the soulfully emotive vocals. It shouldn’t come as a surprise from two artists—Devan Glover and Khalid Yassein—that rarely rest, and never stay still. – EA

Steph Cameron – “Young and Living Free”

Saskatoon’s Steph Cameron wowed us with her debut Polaris Prize long listed record Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady in 2014 so we’re eager for her new album Daybreak Over Jackson Street due out April 14 via Pheromone Recordings. “Young and Living Free,” which has the same sparse and timeless folk sound that illuminated her debut, runs on nostalgia, the desire for simplicity, and it also recognizes how linked we are with the past. Cameron could be playing this song today at the Cameron House as much as she could be playing it at The Purple Onion in ’62. – LS

Max T – “Terror, Bright”

I cannot goddamn wait for Palm Isle, this Montreal artist’s EP that will be out on March 24. The debut EP takes a swirling kaleidoscope of pop music, at once creating something whimsical, nostalgic and entirely futuristic. It’s as though Born Gold’s music was filtered through a childhood fantasy, and the result is the kind of musical sugar rush I don’t feel nearly often enough anymore. –MT

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