Haha – A Time Once Forgotten
Haha’s A Time Once Forgotten is a two track lo-fi pop EP that jams in the whole day. On “Sunrise” we hear snippets of voices and clips from movies and tv shows that I cannot place while a plodding guitar and glitchy electronics slowly unfold in the background. On the flip side, “Sunset” is a moody tune. At under a minute and a half, Haha’s synth layers are murky and unsettling – a storm is on the horizon.
Baanya – “It Says So, in the Bible”
When I Googled Wilderness of Manitoba’s Stefan Banjevic (Baanya), I came across this CBC article he’s featured in where he talks about coming to Canada at age nine from Belgrade, Serbia with his family and two suitcases, one full of lego. The photo that accompanies the article, a young Banjevic playing the cello while his father watches, is also the cover of his stunning two track EP he released this past spring. The EP’s title track “It’s Says So, in the Bible” is a curious journey as Banjevic reflects on this move to Canada. It’s driven by a cello with a cloud of electronics and guitar whirring around it. Despite its lyrical trepidation, this song makes you feel safe.
North Atlantic Explorers – “The Sky Ain’t Ever Been So Blue”
In 2014, North Atlantic Explorers (Glenn D’Cruze and his crew) released a nautical-themed album My Father Was A Sailor which was followed by an “ambient instrumental companion piece,” All The Ships At Sea, in 2015. And then these explorers sailed off into the sunset…until now! “The Sky Ain’t Ever Been So Blue,” the first track from a forthcoming 2019 release, is joyous – D’Cruze himself even described it as “the most uplifting” song he’s ever written. Among fairly minimalistic instrumentation, a group of voices come together to celebrate being out on the open road and the beauty of nature.
Markus Floats – “Softens”
Montreal artist Markus Floats has crafted an incredible sonic journey in “Soften.” The majority of the track is driven by a looped synth line while glitchy, but sometimes smooth, sounds circle around it. As the track approaches the three minute mark, these additional noises slowly strip away and even the looped synth line disappears momentarily. At the end of the song, sinister sounds creep in and it feels like you’ve been dropped into some eerie, unknown place.
Sarah MacDougall – “Empire”
Sarah MacDougall’s forthcoming record All The Hours I Have Left To Tell You Anything isn’t coming out until November but to wet our collective whistle, she has released the cinematic single “Empire.” “Created at an artist retreat in an abandoned silver mine town in the Yukon shortly after the death of [MacDougall’s] grandfather and the dissolution of a long-term relationship,” “Empire” is, clearly, an emotional song. With a hefty folk-rock soundscape, “Empire,” sounds like something being burnt down so rebirth can happen.
PINE – “Waste”
Ottawa emo band PINE have re-released two older tracks from the band’s back catalogue which, according to the band, are “some of the songs that helped define [their] sound.” “Waste” is an emotionally charged track that begins quite poppy – it would fit well in a 90s, high school centric rom-com – before growing agitated and eventually exploding with grief and anger.
David Ivan Neil – “Fake Tinder”
“Multiple fake Tinder accounts not for evil, only for love. I’m just trying to figure out what it’s going to take for you to love me,” sings David Ivan Neil on his folky track “Fake Tinder.” It’s a song that could be evil, to borrow Neil’s descriptor, but instead is charming as we hear Neil, whose earnest and hushed vocal performance adds another layer of charm, list the fake people he has made Tinder accounts for in an attempt to find out what a girl he likes, likes. Yes, it’s ridiculous approach to try to get to know somebody but it makes for a great song.