Laughed the Boy – “Halfway”
In his review of Toronto band Laughed the Boy’s debut LP Here is Fine, Erik picked up on the band’s quest to feel more settled in their skin. “Halfway,” a new roughed up pop-rock track from Laughed the Boy, picks up on that journey. It’s an anxious song about making compromises with other people and with yourself too.
Maya Killtron – “Satin Sheets”
Maya Killtron’s “Satin Sheets” is a deliciously 90s pop track that needs to be on your summer playlist. It’s angsty as hell – Killtron says that for the track she “wanted to take it back to my roots, my hometown high school summers” – but with a throwback groove that begs to be turned up and jammed out to. Throw on any one of these ensembles and get in the car, we’re going cruising.
Grade School Records – Show & Tell
Edmonton-based label Grade School Records released a compilation record last spring that includes the label’s roster alongside their pals. Show & Tell is a ragtag bunch of sounds – there’s punk and pop and folkiness and electronica – so there’s something for everyone. Trace Italian’s drug-fuelled loneliness on “An Open Letter,” the infectiously poppy “Lost Lover” from “Laundry Week,” and the acoustic-punkiness of Space Plans’ “Safer Ways to Be Sad” are some favourites.
Jasmine Singh – “Journey to the Sun”
When somebody says they want to fling themselves (or somebody else) into the sun, it’s definitely not a positive thing. But rest assured, Jasmine Singh’s “Journey to the Sun” is a positive one. To the tune of catchy r&b, Singh pushes you to “take a chance, take a step” and to go out and achieve your dreams. It’s the encouragement you are looking for.
Yes We Mystic – “Felsenmeer”
Winnipeg band Yes We Mystic put out one of my favourite records in 2016 in Forgiver so I am pleased as punch they have given us a new track. “Felsenmeer” is a dramatic, what Yes We Mystic do best, track that follows the realignment of a relationship. The line that hit me the hardest was: “Used to say “I love you,” now we say “drive safe”. In the video, directed by Toronto-based filmmaker Jonah Haber, this journey is illustrated through a pair’s emotional dance. We watch the couple, clad in various outfits and bathed in different lighting, grasp at each other before eventually falling apart in peace.
Freedom Baby – “I Want To Give”
Screw having a song that’s “radio friendly,” Freedom Baby released a new single that clocks in at just under 15 minutes and it’s worth every second. “I Want To Give” is described by the band as “an EP’s worth of material smashed into one ambitious track,” and yeah, there’s a lot that goes on here. The track begins as a gentle piano ballad before expanding and contracting into a big rock track and a curious orchestral-pop tune…except it’s all the same song. There’s horns and strings and guitar solos and you feel exhausted and satisfied by the end.