Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

You may know Ben Cook as the guitarist in Canadian punk band Fucked Up, but his solo project, Young Guv, demonstrates his broad music taste and undeniable song writing talent. Last year, he unleashed a two-part album “GUV I & II” via Run For Cover Records, which boasted pretty, lo-fi guitar pop songs with a ravishing melancholia. After early-to-mid-2000s stints in hardcore bands No Warning and Fucked Up, it’s safe to say Toronto-based singer/songwriter Ben Cook has found his bliss since setting out on his own as Young Guv. From his 2015 debut “Ripe 4 Luv” to today’s “GUV III”, his third release on Run for Cover Records, Cook has been putting out hooky, throwback guitar pop that sounds more like a ray of sunshine than a sock in the jaw.

You’ll know whether you’re onboard with GUV III within seconds, as opener “Couldn’t Leave U If I Tried” leads the way with textbook jangle-pop a la Teenage Fanclub or Matthew Sweet.

“Every Flower I See” by Young Guv from the album ‘GUV I’ out August 2nd, 2019 via Run For Cover  Records.

The record maintains that buoyant tone all the way through, folding in power-pop (“Lo Lo Lonely”), psychedelia (“Scam Likely”) and even a touch of the orchestral (“April of My LIfe”) along the way. What’s to stop Cook’s bliss from becoming your own?

Canadian singer-songwriter. Jerry Leger has been releasing records since 2005, so far he has released 13 albums (7 solo, 3 credited to Jerry Leger & The Situation and 3 with his side projects, The Del Fi’s and The Bop Fi’s).
Leger’s last three major albums Early Riser (2014), the double LP Nonsense and Heartache (2017) and Time Out For Tomorrow (2019) were all produced by songwriter/musician, Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies. 

From Toronto, Canada. Jerry Leger has been called “one of Canada’s best” by Exclaim, a “gifted storyteller” by The Toronto Star and “One of the best Canadian songwriters” by Rolling Stone.

Time Out For Tomorrow” is his masterpiece.” – ROLLING STONE’ 

“Songs From The Apartment” is a lo-fi collection of songs recorded solo at home, most of which had been written, quickly demoed and forgotten about. The performances are relaxed, intimate and raw. Time Out For Tomorrow: Deluxe Edition’ & ‘Songs From The Apartment: reissued as a Limited Edition Red Vinyl’ out March 26th

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Rarely does an album title suggest the truth in advertising that Keeper conveys with this, the seventh outing by the Canadian alt-country conglomerate that shares the name Elliott Brood. For the better part of the past 20 years, this talented trio has been making music that’s tasteful, tuneful and easy on the ear, and indeed, this latest release is no exception. These shimmering acoustic melodies are both hopeful and uplifting, a welcome respite from today’s troubled times. Various upbeat entries — “Bird Dog,” “Oh Me” and “Stay Out” — find an ideal fit with the reflective ballads “Merciless Wind” and “A Month of Sundays,” as well as with the tempered twang of “Full of Wires.” Indeed, the combination provides a reassuring sound that resonates throughout. That’s appropriate; according to the press material, the album’s overall theme revolves around “loyalty and longevity…the strength of conviction, and how that strength is tested over time.”  No wonder then that the overall delivery is both buoyant and engaging, with every encounter as satisfying as the first. Consider this a keeper indeed.

Elliott Brood is a three-piece alternative country band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, consisting of Mark Sasso on lead vocals, guitar, banjo, ukelele and harmonica, Casey Laforet on guitar, backing vocals, bass pedals, keys and ukelele and Stephen Pitkin on percussion,

Vancouver art collective Crack Cloud have shared their debut album “PAIN OLYMPICS”, marked by album highlight and lead single “Ouster Stew.” It was self-produced and written and recorded in Calgary and Vancouver between June 2017 and December 2019. The group’s previous release was their 2019 single “The Next Fix,” which followed their exceptional 2018 self-titled EP. Earlier this year, Paste featured them in our list of 30 Canadian artists you need to know in 2020. In comparison to the tightly-coiled, guitar-driven post-punk of their self-titled release, “Ouster Stew” is more colorful and eccentric—adding synths and saxophone into the mix. Lead singer Zach Choy’s (the group are adamant not to call him a frontman, doubling down on their decentralized model) vocals are positively waggish as their guitars squawk with an art-rock-meets-funk vivacity.

Like Psychic TV before them, Crack Cloud have a philosophy, and one that they are not afraid to wear on their sleeves. While their anarchic, phantasmagorical visuals, heavy use of symbology, and seemingly never-ending cast of colourful collaborators have often invited cult comparisons, this really does the collective no justice.


There is no apocalyptic death drive here; no cult of personality; no hierarchy of power. While frontman and lyricist Zach Choy is in many ways the face of the group, the collective is one founded on equality, and in his cryptic lyrical blending of poetics, polemics and personal experience, Choy is truly the mouthpiece of something far larger than himself. Nowhere else is this more apparent than on the album’s first single, ‘The Next Fix.’ What begins as a caustic, claustrophobic account of addiction swells into a sprawling, euphoric hymn as Choy is joined by a choir of seemingly endless celestial voices. Less a cult then; more a church. Listening to this song or watching its accompanying self-directed video is a truly spiritual experience, and in its building, jubilant movement it offers a glimpse of Crack Cloud’s most vital message: using community to turn adversity into hope.

This isn’t just bravado; its a story born of deep, personal experience. Crack Cloud operate on the frontline of Canada’s out-of-control opiate crisis, mobilising and organizing in Vancouver’s harm reduction programmes.

The group themselves have had their fair share of trauma, and the collective LP offers its members a vital vehicle for rehabilitation and recovery. As the tagline on the album’s back cover makes clear then, this is absolutely ‘based on true shit.

Part Three of the “Pain Olympics” 2020 series, made DIY by the Crack Cloud Media Collective

I’ll never forget where I was when I first discovered The Cranberries’ “Dreams”: as they put the song on repeat all afternoon. I may someday forget where I was when I first heard Living Hour’s kinda dreamy cover version, While it’s far from the heat-stroke shoegaze that first drew me to Sam Sarty’s project, this cover shares its unique deep-exhalation appeal. Oh, and careful—when you google “living hour dreams” it autocorrects to “living your dreams,” which is apparently a song from Beverly Hills Chihuahua 3. This is not that song.

Living Hour’s expansive, gentle and slow indie rock is distinguished by lovelorn melodies, transient polyrhythms, and a dreamy instrument palette that includes heavenly interlocking guitars, casiotone keyboards, and brass. Floating over these warm sparkles of sound are Sam Sarty’s emotive lead vocals, which are intoxicatingly smokey and vulnerable.

Living Hour recorded their early songs with friend and producer Riley Hill in the west end of their hometown, Winnipeg, Canada. Their self-titled debut album was released on cassette in early 2016 on Bloomington’s Tree Machine Records, introducing the band’s cinematic sound and propelling years of DIY touring in Canada, USA, and Europe.

Living Hour’s Softer Faces was released by Brooklyn’s Kanine Records in February 2019 with production by Kurt Feldman (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, DIIV, Depreciation Guild) and Jarvis Taveniere (Woods, Purple Mountains, Parquet Courts).

 The album received acclaim from NPR, Stereogum, Paste, Vice, Bandcamp, AllMusic, The Grey Estates, Gold Flake Paint and more.

 “Some of the most heartsick synth-pop since Cocteau Twins.” – Noisey

Winnipeg rockers Living Hour dream big with grandiose, all-encompassing shoegaze that stretches to the ends of the earth.” -Stereogum

Following the release of a zine/flexi on PUP’s Little Dipper label, Canada’s Chastity are back with a soaring new single on Dine Alone Records that’s like part post-rocky emo, part gospel. Really cool stuff. “Been trying to think of all the good people in the U.S. right now instead of the trippy ones,” main member Brandon William says. “My pal has been telling me that this is the end of a bad era, not the beginning of one. I love that. Hoping for some positive change, hoping that the world is able to drain this bloodbath.”

His first new material since releasing last year’s Home Made Satan features studio vet Makeda Francisco on backup vocals and finds the pair singing about a sense of optimism for the future in the midst of the trash fire that has been the year 2020. “Been trying to think of all the good people in the U.S. right now instead of the trippy ones,” Williams said in a statement. “My pal has been telling me that this is the end of a bad era, not the beginning of one. I love that. Hoping for some positive change, hoping that the world is able to drain this bloodbath.”

Earlier this year, Williams threw his support behind the Ever New charity compilation with a cover of “Now The Struggle Has a Name” by the Tragically Hip. Prior to that, he released a live companion album to 2019’s Home Made Satan.

Whitby’s Brandon Williams has returned with new Chastity material, sharing his single “Drain the Bloodbath” through Dine Alone Records today.

Toronto indie-punk trio Tough Age have shared their new album “Which Way Am I?” ,via Mint Records, following singles “My Life’s a Joke & I’m Throwing it Away,” and “Repose.” Which Way Am I? is the follow-up to 2017’s Shame. Taking cues from Flying Nun indie-pop and speedy ’80s punk, “My Life’s a Joke & I’m Throwing it Away” is the sound of melancholy whiplash. It’s part happy-go-lucky breeziness and part painful self-destruction, and either way, it’ll get you all riled up.

Like most of their crate-digging contemporaries, the new record explores all kinds of new directions, experimenting in different areas of post-punk while implicitly nodding to the pocket-sized punk of Dirtnap Records .

The first single the group is called “Repose,” and while it is one of the record’s sleepier cuts, it’s by no means tame. Clark takes on vocals for this song—as she does with many of tracks—before the five-minute track gives way to a sprawling John Dwyer–like guitar odyssey. “‘Repose’ is me trying to write a song about peaceful things after all of my misery songs on the previous record and 7″,” she shares. “I had mixed success in achieving my goal. I always write the melody first and then I decide what I want the song to be about, and then I write the words (sometimes words slip in during the melody part and then I have to write around them). To me, ‘Repose’ sounded like a calm and solitary night, so everything in that song happens at night.”

“I wrote the music for ‘Repose’ one morning when I should have already left for work,” Samson adds. “It came very quickly (but not quickly enough to avoid being late), but didn’t feel like something I could write a melody for. We practiced the song without Penny singing, so the first time we heard her vocals were live in the studio as she recorded them, and Jesse and I both were stunned. It felt like a real left turn for Penny, and I think shows the depths of talent she sort of just tucks away and dishes out when she feels you’ve earned a piece of it.”

Tough Age“My Life’s a Joke & I’m Throwing it Away” From the album ‘Which Way Am I?’ out on Mint Records released on August 7th, 2020

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Tenille Townes. The Canadian-born country singer/songwriter and musician, first reached our ears a few years ago with the arrival of her hit song “Somebody’s Daughter,” which landed on many best-of-the-year lists. Her debut album The Lemonade Stand is finally here, after releasing a preliminary EP earlier this year, The Road to the Lemonade Stand. “The Lemonade Stand is a collection of songs that mean so much to me and are the way I see the world in this season of my life right now,” Townes said in a statement. “I want this music to be like a gathering place, where people can come and be filled up. I hope this record reminds people of who they are, that they are not alone, and reminds them of their dreams. You guys today is the day that I get to tell you that my debut album ‘The Lemonade Stand’ is coming out on June 26th!!. I really am just so excited I can’t even stand it as I’m typing this out to you. And this is what the cover of the album is!!! I can not wait for you to have this whole record in your hands to listen to in your kitchens or your cars or your headphones and I hope it makes you feel comforted, cheered for, seen and heard like there’s somebody sitting next to you going through the same things. I hope it makes you feel like a dreamer too. Because this record is the dream I had when I was a seven year old kid singing along to music in the backseat. She would really be freaking out right now ha.

This record is the dream that I had when I was a seven-year-old kid singing along in the backseat of the car. She would really be freaking out right now.”

I’m so proud to be from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada and so thankful for all the ways it has shaped me and shaped my music. The community and love that surrounded me growing up will forever be the anchor of who I am. I will always hold on to home and hope to carry forward that spirit in my music.

Listen to the Road To The Lemonade Stand EP, featuring “Jersey On The Wall (Forgive Me I’m Just Asking)”, out now

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Braids have been taking the time and space necessary for little miracles to occur. Burrowed in their Montreal studio, the band has spent the better part of three years crafting “Shadow Offering”, their 4th album, due out in June 2020 via their new label home, Secret City. On Braids’ fourth album, Shadow Offering, the Montreal art-pop trio is at its cleanest and most refined. They teamed up with producer Chris Walla, who teases out the rockier side of their tunes, turning the group’s taut synth reveries into glistening and forceful songs that tackle topics like abuse and desire and self-hatred. Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s voice is dizzying; she presents her fears not as a persistent dull ache but as something that is going to rip her apart from the inside out.

Unlike previous albums, Braids decided to stay close to home for the recording of Shadow Offering. Taking over a spacious sound recording studio tucked in an old warehouse, the band were able to slow down and creatively rediscover themselves. “With this album, we wanted to give ourselves time to achieve a higher caliber of artistry and collaboration,” Tufts says. No longer riding the novelty of youth, the band deliberately took time to recommit to themselves and their craft, and channel new energy into their music. They wrote 40 songs. They went through their Saturn Returns. They learnt how to support one another better. They drank a lot of La Croix.

The band sketched and re-sketched new material for eighteen months before lucky circumstance found Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) renting out space in their studio. The four began wandering into each others’ rooms, curious about each others’ projects. Typically opting for a private and insular creation process, the friendship between the four saw the band sharing their songs with Walla, and naturally resulted in Walla co-producing and engineering Shadow Offering. Pushing the band out of their comfort zone, he at once broke and unified the band’s dynamic, unearthing individual creative energy long buried over the years. With a new sense of confidence, listeners will find Braids at their most personal, unabashedly flexing through their new music.

Braids are a Montreal-based, three-piece band. Formed in 2007, they have solidified a decade-long reputation for their musical ingenuity and established themselves as one of Canada’s most acclaimed art rock bands. With Standell-Preston’s vocals as the pillar of their sound, Braids weave organic and electronic elements together amidst a lyrical landscape that is intimate and emotionally-immersive


Prior to recording “Shadow Offering”, Braids’ continued intentions were to manipulate guitars to the point of being unrecognisable. Indeed, they have since admitted they felt they had succeeded once the guitar was hidden between layers of textures, loops and effects.

On their fourth full-length LP, the Canadian group have made a conscious choice to bring guitars to the forefront of their sound again. They rediscovered the instrument as a “vehicle for cathartic release, drawn to its visceral and authoritative qualities,” and were keen to embellish and utilise its imperfections and the spontaneity it can bring to a performance or recording. Montreal-based indie trio Braids will release their new album “Shadow Offering” on June 19th via. Co-produced with Chris Walla of Death Cab For Cutie, the album finds the band at their most personal, unabashedly flexing a new sense of confidence through songs that reach a higher level of artistry and collaboration.

New single ‘Just Let Me‘ explores the push and pull of a relationship, the narratives created between partners, and inevitable hardships of love. The accompanying video features singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston’s directorial debut with collaborator Derek Branscombe.

“The song was born of a desire to get through to one’s partner, to work through those feelings of complacency, stagnation, of pointless arguments; when you feel your partner, though sitting across the table from you, is further away than if they were not there at all,” stated the band. “It’s a yearning to understand how a love that was once there and so clear, could slip away. It asks the universal question that so many relationships encounter along their journey – where did our love go?”

With former Death Cab For Cutie guitarist Chris Walla in the producer’s chair, they entered into a new world of experimentation, utilising a plethora of equipment from Audio Kitchen amps, a 1967 Rickenbacker 340 and a 1963 Gibson LG-1 to masses of outboard gear and a reamping chain that included multiple rack units including an Elysia Mpressor for live sidechaining and even tremolo and phased vibrato effects.

A multi award-winning band, Shadow Offering follows their acclaimed 2015 album Deep in the Iris – which won the 2016 Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year – and could be considered their most honest and intuitive yet. Here, the band detail their five favourite guitar parts on the album, from discovering chorus pedals to using their drummer as a rotary speaker…

Eclipse marked our first taste of the front-and-centre roll the guitar would come to play on this record. While tracking, we were uneasy over what elements would lead the mixes, and how a myriad of instruments and sonic explorations would all glue and fit into songs. We never recorded a record this way – producer at the console, amps and live tracking sessions, capture over construct. It required a leap of faith on our part, something a group of three highly strung control freaks admittedly struggled with.

With Eclipse, Chris and Raphaelle experimented ad nauseum with wonky open tunings for deep and resonant chords. We also discovered chorus – something we foolishly avoided for years. With Chris’s guidance, we coloured outside our comfort zone. Listening to the first mix draft was a decisive turning point in our process. After months spent chasing an ephemeral ‘idea’ of what guitars might bring to our songs, we finally developed the film so-to-speak, and the image staring back at us was bold, expansive and all-encompassing. Needless to say, we were pleasantly reassured that what we were striving for was possible.”

Snow Angel

“At once jarring and visceral, tracking for Snow Angel was also a moment of joy, of exalted discovery. After laying down the song’s basic structure, Raphaelle had asked to be set up in the live room on a whim, amps pinned, for a few takes of unscripted overdubs. It was a moment of flexing and experimenting with the musicality of an extremely loud amp. And for Raphaelle, the birth of an emotional conduit just as immediate as the human voice, to provide emotional armour, and a violent counterpart to the album’s most confessional and raw poetry.”

Fear Of Men

“This song is Austin’s shining guitar moment. Austin doesn’t play guitar, he plays drums and as such had a spare hand to lend during our guitar tracking sessions. With the amps cranked, we set him up in the live room – heavily earplugged – and got him to be a real live rotary speaker. Microphone-in-hand, he spun around the room in his best ‘flanger’ impression, and the resulting audio is about as bespoke a ‘swirl’ effect as one could hope for.”

Young Buck

“We mixed Shadow Offering in our Montreal studio. The studio has two rooms – control and live. We spent a month mixing, and a typical day saw Chris [Walla] and Mike our mix engineer in the control room working on a mix, while we spent the day in the live room, chasing all sorts of extra parts for second verses and second choruses, intros and outros.”

“We’d reconvene once in a while to share progress, listen to mixes, and trade song progress back and forth. We’d been battling with the groove in Young Buck, struggling to get the mix to lock. Upon listening to the n’th rough mix, it suddenly came into focus. Through sheer relief, we didn’t ask too many questions at the time, and it was only while digging through stems, long after the mixes were wrapped, that we discovered Chris had clandestinely been tucking layer upon layer of palm muted guitar parts into the mix, gluing the song together.”

Just Let Me

“Stories and process and memories aside, Just Let Me is our favourite guitar ‘moment’ on the record. At every step of the way, the song is structured around creating this luscious and blooming key change, centred on two interlocking guitars. If at the outset of this record we wanted to take a swing at guitars-as-centrepiece, this is the moment in which we unapologetically enjoy the fruits of this journey.”

Shadow Offering is out June 19th on Braids Musique Inc. and Secret City Records. Braids’ new album “Shadow Offering”