Canadian Music Week: Two Songs From: Brock Zeman

Photo by Jamie Kronick

Brock Zeman, singer/songwriter, is from Ottawa, Ontario, and plays indie rock with country-folk undertones. He recently released his 11th record (!), Pulling Your Sword Out of the Devil’s Back. The title track is more spoken word poetry with music involved than a song. It’s meta-commentary on the art and science and struggle of songwriting and broken hearts and stories that don’t belong to you don’t belong to you and that won’t go away. You won’t be able to sing along, he says, as he rolls to a crescendo, which is true. Still, if I had a car and oceans of prairie to get across, I think I would start my driving playlist with it, just for the satisfying rhythms and final, thundering stop. Little Details, on the other hand, is, for lack of a better term, a rollicking break-up song, and you definitely can sing along:

A Good Read A Good Listen and A Good Drink, Adam Sturgeon, WHOOP-Szo

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. WHOOP-Szo is a fluid musical collective currently operating out of Guelph/London, Ontario, Canada. Previously they were my most favorite purveyor of tone-poems inspired by the Canadian Arctic, but with Mirror North, the a-side of their offering for Record Store Day, things have taken a turn for the sludgy. The record/song was created by an incarnation … Continue reading

Canadian Music Week: A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Mary Caroline

Mary Caroline

It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. For our second Very Special Presentation of A Good Read . . ., we’re jumping all the way up north to Yellowknife, NorthWest Territories, where singer/songwriter Mary Caroline divides her time between television and making indie-folk music. As an introduction, here are some songs from her debut studio album, Life on Earth: Songs of Winter … Continue reading

Canadian Music Week: Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, Sterling Road

Cassie and Maggie MacDonald. Photo credit: Haley Anne MacPhee

Previously on NTSIB’s own personal Canadian Music Week: some rock, some punk, some sweet dirty blues, from the rust belt and the praries. Today we’re jumping out to the Maritimes, to Nova Scotia, and to Cassie and Maggie MacDonald, who have an invigorating sound that draws from Scottish, Irish and Cape Breton traditions. Here are a few tunes from their new record, Sterling Road: Jimmie’s, written for an uncle and the family farm, is a charming delight, sweet as sea breeze on a warm summer day: The Dusty Meadow Variations, a glorious piano and fiddle romp: And finally, their interpretation of Buain A’ Choirce (Reaping the Oats), a Scots Gaelic milling song, which I like because it is both beautiful and gloomy:

Canadian Music Week: Two Songs from: The New Wild

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The New Wild are Sean and Daniel Guezen of Winnipeg, Manitoba. They play heavy, bluesy garage rock, the kind of thing that will rattle your bones and pin your ears back if you’re standing in the front row. This is Dallas, the first song from their self-titled EP, which causes me to sway along in my chair, grinning, every time I listen to it: The New Wild by The New Wild And this is Play It By Fear, from the same EP, which is . . . something of a cautionary tale, complete with guitars that burst out like the sharp end of a buzz-saw: The New Wild by The New Wild

Canadian Music Week: Steak and Eggs, Flamingo Bay

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Steak and Eggs is the latest record from Flamingo Bay, of Hamilton, Ontario. Like it’s diner-staple namesake, this record is solid, filling, and comfortingly familiar without being tedious. Here are some of the highlights: Culprit of the Tahiti Pearl, is seven minutes long, and is really two, perhaps three songs in one. It is also the first song, and sets the swamp-garage tone for the record: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay Checkout Line is the second song, and brings some stompy bluesy swagger to the proceedings: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay And finally, Righteousness, the closest thing they have to a slow jam: Steak n' Eggs by Flamingo Bay

Canadian Music Week: Heart Static, YouYourself&i

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So, as some of you may know, Canadian Music Week kicks off today in Toronto. I am not there, but, in honor of the occasion, I’ll be shining my light on some Canadian bands and musicians that I love. First up: YouYourself&i (Daniel Gélinas), of Montréal, Québec, with a new EP Heart Static which I like because a) he does actually use static as an instrument! and b) the songs are like sonic puzzles, full of unusual shapes and complicated connections. The tone is gloomy, in places, but yet also shot through with bright shimmery tones. As an example, here is Mummies, the first song on the EP: Heart Static by YouYourself&i And also Blubber, which I could perhaps describe as “a heartbroken computer muttering to itself:” Heart Static by YouYourself&i

A Good Read A Good Listen and A Good Drink: Lylit

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Lylit, of Austria, is a classically trained pianist and jazz vocalist who studied at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz, Austria. Now she’s brought her considerable talents to bear on pop music, and is releasing her first record today, called Unknown. It’s a collaboration with producer/drummer Andreas Lettner; Unknown is the first single from that record, … Continue reading

A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink, Catherine Feeny

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. Catherine Feeny, indie folk solo artist has teamed up with jazz percussionist Chris Johnedis to make a record, and it’s scheduled to emerge into the world later this month. I’ve had the pleasure of listening to some tracks ahead of time, and here’s what I can tell you: it’s a many-faceted folk-jazz fusion gem. These … Continue reading

TIO, A Simple Way

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And now for something that does not involve a couch: A Simple Way, by TIO, of Toronto. This song is everything I like about electronic music: hypnotic, shimmery, but with a hint of drone, sandpaper and ancient videogames. Plus some ambiguously sexy cover art. Come, let us listen and squint at that picture and wonder if it’s a dick together.