Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

With a name that sounds like a remote village in Sweden, Westelaken are actually a quartet from Toronto, Ontario. Having first emerged back in 2018, with their self-titled debut, the band have had a productive 2020, releasing a split-EP with fellow Torontonians Hobby, as well as one of their own, The Pool of Blood. While that record only arrived last month, the band have wasted no time in following up with their most impressive step to date, brand-new album, The Golden Days are Hard, ten songs that show both the variety and quality of Westelaken’s songwriting.

In some ways, Westelaken could be pinned as an alt-country band, yet they’re not one that fall neatly into any particular box. Across the ten tracks they span influences and genres, from the Neutral Milk Hotel-like opening track, The January Song, through to the title track, a 10-minute opus, which combines the emotional vocals of Daniel Johnston with the bar-room balladry of Kyle Craft. Lyrically too, The Golden Days are Hard is a record that explores the layered emotions of modern living, an album laced with fear, resignation and just a touch of hope, it muses on topics of death, friendship, and finding the kindness that’s still left in humanity. While it could have been a heavy record, The Golden Days are Hard manages to portray a brightness that’s beyond its themes, it sounds like a bold next step, from a band whose talent could take them anywhere.

here’s an album what’s got ten types of songs.
The January Song, that’s a country-lobster city-lobster type song.
The April Song, dying type of song.
Grace, that’s a dying and living type song.
Mercy, “milk-of-human-kindness”, that’s an eye-of-the-dog, three-types-of-souls type song.
The Pool of Blood is a two paths type of song and The August Song is a one path type of song.
White Lichen, that’s a “you break it you buy it” type song.
The October Song, that’s a “you bought a ghost story and there are no refunds” type song.
Ghosts Explode, that’s a living and dying and worship the sun type song.
The Golden Days are Hard, now that’s a you-know-me-better-than-I-know-myself type of reckoning type song.

there are several additional type songs that these ten pick up here and there like stray radio signals ricocheting off street lamps and open palms and little rocks collected between the sidewalk and the yard. feel free to take note of ’em but a comprehensive list won’t be much more useful than the one we’ve got here anyhow.

Westelaken is
Alex Baigent – electric bass, upright bass, synth on track 1, backing vocals (all over the place but most prominently in tracks 1 and 9)
Rob McLay – percussion, synth on track 10, backing vocals (including harmonies on tracks 1 and 8)
Jordan Seccareccia – guitars, vocals
Lucas Temor – piano, banjo, backing vocals
Paul Vroom – “organ” on track 3, backing vocals
Rachel Bellone – vocals on track 3
and Slurry (Rachel Bellone, Tago Mago, Patrick McKenna, Steven Lourenco) on group vocals
Released August 21st, 2020

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Dana Gavanski has had something of a break-out year in 2020, her debut, Dana Gavanski has had something of a break-out year in 2020, her debut, Yesterday Is Gone, drew widespread acclaim following its release back in March. By all rights, Dana should currently be touring the album far and wide, however with those plans now on hold until 2021, she is finding new ways to share her music with the world. Her latest project is a brand new covers EP, “Wind Songs”, due out next month, and this week Dana has shared the latest single from it, her cover of Chic’s track, At Last I Am Free.

This period of enforced isolation came at a particularly odd time for Dana, not only was it meant to be a triumphant moment, marking her album’s release, it also came shortly after relocating to London. Channelling this isolation into something positive, “Wind Songs” arrives as a comforting draft of familiarity, by tapping into some of her favourite songs, Dana taps into a wider love of music, and its ability to root us. Take, At Last I Am Free, it is a track Dana only discovered in the last year, yet takes a special place with her, not least for Robert Wyatt’s beautifully odd rendition of the song which, “blows my mind, with his bizarre but amazing vocals and arrangement: that soft and gentle mellotron flute that pushes the song along coupled with his shrill wizardly voice“. Dana’s own take is led by her crystalline vocal, shimmering atop a warble of electronic keys and pulses of rhythmic piano. Wind Songs feels like a beautiful aside, a look at the songs that made Dana Gavanski the fascinating musician she is, and hint at just how much more there is still to come from her.


Dana Gavanski is a singer/songwriter currently residing in London.

“Wind Songs” is out August 14th via Full Time Hobby /Flemish Eye / Ba Da Bing Records.

It’s going to be clear to you and everyone else at the party that the Me First and the Gimme Gimmes discography could more than suffice for a day full of blowing up stuff. But in case you’re looking for some more recent bratty punk and some original songs, Pup’s newest album, 2016’s The Dream is Over, can freshen up your punk rock playlist.

The Toronto four-piece makes it look effortless as they turn songs about wanting to kill your buddies into shout-along anthems. The album title comes from a phrase the lead singer Stefan Babcock’s doctor used after Babcock actually shredded his vocal cords. So on a holiday when accidentally killing your friends is a real possibility and screaming is a must if you want to be heard, this record seems appropriate.

PUP’s ability to channel anxiety, depression, and generalized misanthropy into pummeling pop-punk hooks is an endlessly renewable resource. The band is also a good enough live act to justify the fact that half their lyrics seem to be about the exhaustion of touring. In 2019, the Canadian quartet followed up 2016 breakthrough The Dream Is Over with the equally great — and equally antisocial — Morbid Stuff. It helps that lead singer Stefan Babcock is one of punk’s great chroniclers of malcontent, even, and especially when he leans on self-deprecation: “Half the crap I say is just things I’ve stolen from the bathroom walls of shitty venues across America,” he snarls in “Full Blown Meltdown.”

Jordon Zadorozny has been releasing music as Blinker The Star since back in 1994. He has done almost everything an artist would want to do. He got a major label record deal. He’s written music with and for artists like Lindsey Buckingham, Chris Cornell, and Courtney Love. He’s played in some amazing venues and lived the rock and roll life.

You may think that over 25 years into his career, he might be satisfied with cranking out songs that sound like they were written in the mid-’90s. But that just isn’t the case. Jordon has been steadily writing and releasing fresh-sounding music for years. Case in point, Blinker’s new single “Cairo”,

The song has its influences in early ’80s Cure and New Order but with a grittier sound. That is partly Jordon’s writing, partly the people he collaborated with on the track. While Jordon does most of the heavy lifting, he gets some help from long time friends. Bob Wilcox plays the synths in the song, while Ken Stringfellow of The Posies sings backing vocals.


The Band:
Jordon Zadorozny: Drums, bass, guitars, vocals
Chris Church: String arrangement, violin, viola, cello
Filippo Gaetani: Melotron
Jarek Leskiewizc: Ambient/drone guitars
Ken Stringfellow: Backing vocals
Bob Wilcox: Synthesizer and backing vocals

released July 31st, 2020

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For the past decade, Little Kid have quietly been one of Toronto’s most prolific bands, sharing spiritual perspectives of everyday experiences with cathartic, slow-burning folk

The town and the city, the loneliness offered by both, so different but so alike; an ache somewhere deep inside that can’t be replenished, that can’t be patched up forever. So we keep moving, both inside or out. Searching for a place that feels like home, where can hear the trains, and no the way the rain falls. Looking for answers, out where the boundaries bleed, among the lights at the edge of town that give way to the darkness surrounding. Answers we’re not even sure we’d recognise if we found them.

Little Kid was formed in the 2009. since then, they have self-recorded and self-released five albums.


The Band:
Kenny Boothby – vocals, guitars, piano, organ, keyboards
Paul Vroom – electric bass, upright bass, omnichord, background vocals
Brodie Germain – drums, percussion, guitars, harmonica, keyboards, background vocals, lead vocals on “way past dark”
Megan Lunn – vocals on most songs
Aaron Powell – vocals on “a road in my mind”

Released August 24th, 2018

It’s only been a few months since Ontario-based dream popster Ellis released debut album Born Again, but Linnea Siggelkow has been keeping busy by learning to play some of her favourite songs. The aptly named “Bedroom Covers” EP is available to stream today via Royal Mountain.

The three-track release features covers of Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” Dinosaur Jr.’s “I Got Lost” and the Used’s “Buried Myself Alive,” giving each of the tracks a makeover that falls in line with Ellis’s shoegaze- and dream pop-influenced sound. Ellis has also shared a new video for her “Lover” cover, which features dreamy footage of people-free landscapes and urban landmarks.

In a statement about the EP, Siggelkow said:

I haven’t been feeling very inspired to write lately. The world is feeling equally chaotic and slow, my mind feels very strange, so I have focused on learning other people’s songs and it’s been sort of a nice break.

I wanted to cover songs by artists that have influenced me musically and as a songwriter. I love Taylor Swift’s to-the-point lyricism about her feelings, the relatability of her songs. Dinosaur Jr. is just such a cool band and J Mascis is one of my favourite guitarists. I’ve been practicing a lot more than I usually do, working on scales and trying to improve my technical skill — I want to be able to shred like J! And the Used was such a huge band for me growing up, Bert McCracken writes perfect emo songs that have stood the test of time.

Listen to Ellis’s full “Bedroom Covers” EP


Released July 7th, 2020

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Ellis (aka Hamilton, Ontario dream pop artist Linnea Siggelkow) is released her debut album, Born Again, via Fat Possum. On Wednesday she shared another song from it, “Saturn Return,” via a Michael Pugacewicz-video for the track. The full-length debut from Ellis, “Born Again” takes place in spaces both intimate and vast, ordinary and near-mythic: warm beds and lonely church pews, restless cities and desolate forests and the furthest reaches of the cosmos. Produced by Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear) and recorded partly at Aron’s Brooklyn studio, Born Again arrives as the follow- up to Ellis’s debut EP The Fuzz—a self-released, self-produced effort that promptly led to a deal with Fat Possum Records. In a departure from the viscerally charged dream-pop of The Fuzz, Born Again unfolds with a mesmerizing subtlety, gracefully spotlighting Ellis’s unhurried melodies, starkly confessional lyrics, and the luminous vocal work she’s shown in opening for artists like Soccer Mommy and Alvvays.

Siggelkow had this to say about “Saturn Return” in a press release: “‘Saturn Return’ is an astrological term for the time in your life where Saturn literally returns to the same place in it’s orbit that it was the moment you were born. The first one happens in your late twenties, and it’s a time of radical transformation. I am in mine now and have been feeling it big time! I wrote this record while reflecting on all the ways my life is changing, reconciling things from the past and making space to move forward.”

Previously Ellis shared Born Again’s first single, “Fall Apart,” via a video for the track. Then she shared another song from it, “Embarrassing,” via a video for the short track. Then she shared another new Born Again song, “March 13,”

Jake Aron (Snail Mail, Solange, Grizzly Bear) produced the album, which was partly recorded at his Brooklyn studio. Born Again follows Ellis’s debut EP The Fuzz, which she self-produced and self-released in 2018.

As Born Again’s title suggests, the album partly deals with questions of faith. Siggelkow is the daughter of a traveling book salesman and a piano teacher. “I grew up Christian and was quite devoted to faith up through my late teens, but I started challenging that once I got to university,” said Siggelkow in a previous press release announcing the album. “Since then I’ve been trying to redefine who I am and where I stand and what I think about these things on my own, and that journey very much played into the songwriting on this record.”

“Saturn Return” from Ellis’s debut album ‘Born Again’

Dana Gavanski is a singer/songwriter currently presiding residing in London.

As fierce as the inclement weather itself, the ethereal tones of Serbian-Canadian musician Dana Gavanski can stir a breeze and destroy like a storm. With her new covers EP Wind Songs Dana serendipitously brings focus back to her debut album, and shows an artist making the best of unfortunate circumstances and seeks comfort in the familiar strangers of her musical heroes.

The track list for Wind Songs will slowly be revealed over the coming months, kicking off with the official release of a cover teased back when Dana played her first session for Marc Riley on BBC 6 Music. “I Talk To The Wind” fit beautifully in Dana’s live shows around that time, and so when it came time for Dana to head back into the studio at the start of this year it became an obvious EP opener.

The record is a co-production between Dana, Toronto-based musician Sam Gleason, and Mike Lindsay of Tunng and Lump. While Sam helped Dana bring out the tunes, Mike’s input marked ‘the beginning of developing a sound that was closer to what I had in my head’. Though excited by the other elements of a song introduced during production, Dana and Mike were keen on ‘finding essential things, not overblowing, keeping things bare and letting the elements speak for themselves’. Not that the sheer variety of sounds and instruments didn’t overwhelm.


The album shapeshifted as it passed through the hands of Dana, Sam, and Mike, taking on different tastes, feelings, and visions. When Dana performed the songs with a band, they found new form again. She was intrigued by performers like David Bowie and Aldous Harding, who inhabit different personalities on stage, physically tuning themselves to their music. ‘

Releases August 14th, 2020

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The Dirty Nil is sharing a stripped-down version of the band’s new single “Done With Drugs,” an infectious track about people who want the world to know they’re kicking a bad habit.

“I see a lot of people who are trying to stop doing cocaine or stop drinking rivers of liquor, or stop eating lots of s**tty fast food,” explained frontman Luke Bentham, in a release. “On Facebook, I see these posts from people declaring, ‘I’m done with this!’ — they’ll have a six-paragraph post about how they’re changing their lives.” He sings: “They been good / they been sweet / but now it’s time to get clean / I’m done with drugs / I hope they’re done with me … Maybe I’ll try origami or jujutsu / and walk around IKEA with you / ‘cause I’m done with drugs.”

Bentham insisted he is all for self-improvement – and he is not making light of anyone’s personal struggle.

“I’m just kind of amused and fascinated by that whole aspect of social media. Like someone will post, ‘I’m done drinking coffee!’ Okay, well then just stop drinking coffee — you don’t have to try to stop the internet for the day to tell everybody that you’re done with Maxwell House! . “I find that funny, and somewhat narcissistic. But that’s just my opinion, and I’m kind of an a**”hole!”

Bentham and bandmates Ross Miller and Kyle Fishe worked on new music while quarantined together during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have released “Done With Drugs” along with a video that intersperses shots of them performing on the stage of Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre with scenes of a stadium full of fans at 1985’s Live Aid.

The track is also available on 7-inch vinyl with The Dirty Nil’s cover of Tom Petty’s “Even The Losers” as the B-side. Check out Bentham’s acoustic performance of “Done With Drugs” 


The Dirty Nil play rock and roll.

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“Call Me Out” was written in 2017. It’s an acknowledgement of the need for open listening, active learning, inward study and accountability towards personal and social change. It’s an owning of our privilege and responsibilities. We’re not looking to take up a lot of space with this release, but thought it might do some good to put it out now, rather than hiding it away any longer.

It won’t be available on spotify, applemusic, etc, or as a physical release. Please don’t post it on youtube. The purpose of this release is to raise money for the folks All $ from the sale of this song will be donated to Black Lives Matter Toronto:
and Unist’ot’en Camp Legal Fund for Land Defenders:

Constantines, 2020


Released June 9th, 2020

Written by The Constantines: Will Kidman, Steven Lambke, Doug MacGregor, Bry Webb, Dallas Wehrle