Canadian Beacon | Skye Wallace, Begonia, Jaxxee & More New Homegrown Sounds

Why have Canada Day once a year when you can have it a few times a week? Get the festivities started with the latest and greatest sounds from around the corner and around the country. Then take tomorrow off. The work will still be there when you get back.


Skye Wallace | Tough Kid

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With a voice like a soaring instrument, unflinching lyricism, and a swaggering live show shaped by years on the road, Skye Wallace is a singular force on a mission to melt faces and elevate heart rates. On their brand new head-turning single Tough Kid, Wallace makes their production debut alongside award-winning co-producer and collaborator Hawksley Workman. Tough Kid is the dancey, grinding, enormous tune dictating the death of fear, which signals the sonic storm that Wallace has in store for us. It’s about the death of fear in us all — that moment when we let go of our inhibitions, bred from others’ opinions and approval, and start 100% buying in on ourselves. Wallace wrote it when she was feeling burnt out from hustling in the music industry for so long. So coming into this next chapter of new music, Wallace was fully armed with concepts, desires, and collaborators who re-lit their fire, and thus made a promise to only do the shit that filled their cup. Things like only making content for social media that they truly felt excited about, creating with inspiring and supportive pals — especially things that didn’t have to be ‘releasable’ or commodified — and being critical about what performance and career meant to them.”

Begonia | Marigold

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Next week, Begonia will perform at the Polaris Music Prize Gala, where her latest album Powder Blue has been shortlisted. Today, Begonia (aka Alexa Dirks) dropped a new EP that explores a few different iterations of her song Marigold. In addition to an extended cut, the EP also features a guitarmony-laced upbeat reimagining from deadmen, a trip-hop vibe-dive with Sun Sun, and a French house reimagining for the dancefloor from Ma Bwe. “Marigold is basically a short story about my teenage life,” says Dirks. “A passing reflection that has confirmed for me that all the questions and uncertainties I had as a kid, have value. I think It’s the shortest song I’ve ever written yet it always felt like such a big song to me. Sharing parts of myself that I haven’t really shared in my music before… mainly the relationship I have to my queerness and my loss of religion. I think subconsciously part of me kept it so short because I was a little afraid of it. Once the album was mastered I had a panic and felt like I had to send a mass email to any person that knew me before like ‘to whom it may concern, I am not straight and I don’t believe in the same God anymore. We good?’ Haha, I can’t fully describe it but it was like I had a fear of being ‘exposed’ or people questioning me or being disappointed in me. I don’t love that I felt that way but it’s the truth.”

Jaxxee | So Tired

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Jaxxee seamlessly weaves through the rich tapestry of music history, blending the timeless allure of blues and soul with contemporary soundscapes to create a truly unique and entrancing musical journey. Her journey as a musician is a testament to her passion and dedication. Discovering her voice later in life, she has since embarked on a remarkable musical odyssey. Her sultry vocals are a force of nature, transcending eras and touching the deepest corners of the soul. With raw power and genuine emotion, Jaxxee’s voice becomes an instrument of transformation, carrying her listeners to a place where trip-hop and funk merge in perfect unity. On the new single, So Tired, she delves deep into the universal experience of late-night self reflection. Exhausted from that constant feeling of not being enough, it is a plea for some relief. Recording live off the floor forced Jaxxee out of her comfort zone as she and producer Neil James Cooke-Dallin did things on the fly. She learned that this is the thing that makes her unique — singing from her heart and soul with the power and emotion held deep within.”

José Lobo | Si Vale La Pena Decir Que Si

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recently, José Lobo announced his debut album In All Good Hope is due out later this year. Now the singer-songwriter  is sharing the album track Si Vale La Pena Decir Que Si, a collaboration with Tout Feu. “For his part,” says Lobo, “his lyrics (in French) are about caring for the places we live in, and nurturing the links with people (and plants) around us and for me, it was about saying goodbye to a relationship and repeating to myself ‘Si vale la pena decir que si’ which is ‘It is worth it to say yes!’ despite the consequences. The song was inspired, created, and recorded amongst the winter mountains, sonic walls, and the Atlantic Ocean. This is the last song to be recorded on the album and to me it felt important to bring a glimpse of my most current self to this album.” Originally from Venezuela, Lobo has spent the better part of the last decade in a somewhat nomadic mode, splitting his time between his current homebase of Montreal, San Francisco’s Mission District, Paris, and also Hamilton, where much of the album was recorded.”

iskwē | End Of It All

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for Waseskwan Iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) offers the new release End Of It All, diving into the end of iskwē’s relationship with her ex-wife, one which gave birth to a new beginning as best friends. First written in Los Angeles with Joey Verskotzi a few years ago as iskwē dealt with a frustrated broken heart while facing the beginning of the unravelling of her marriage, she and Joey collaborated to blend the “frenzy and calm that existed in my heart at the same time … I was preparing for the end of something special, while simultaneously hoping for a new beginning all with the same person. The evolution of love and friendship,” she explains. End Of It All experienced a further evolution in Mexico City, where iskwē worked with producer Grammy nominee Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire, Killers, Bomba Estereo). The two were introduced to Chilean musician Rulo, who stacked saxophone along with flute performed by Tbird Luv. “I found the two instruments really complimented each other, like a conversational back and forth, which was only heightened by an ode-to-the-’90s key change midway through the song!”

Jeremy Dutcher | Motewolonuwok

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Jeremy Dutcher — the classically trained Two-Spirit song carrier, composer, activist, and member of Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation) in Eastern Canada — shares an intimate glimpse into the making of his new record, Motewolonuwok, set to be released Oct. 6. The video, shot by Émile Tremblay during and around recordings in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang, highlights the profound meaning behind the word Motewolonuwok: “Those who work with that which can be heard but not seen. Magicians. Witches.” Jeremy’s quest throughout this album was to “reclaim that term and understanding that the magic is inherent in who we are.”

Kayla Williams | Come Close

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Calgary’s Kayla Williams is a yacht-pop songstress who pays homage to ’70s soft rock royalty, such as Toto, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates and The Doobie Brothers. A seasoned musician, Williams adds her bold feminine flair to the genre, delivering a positivity-forward, feel-good throwback tribute with a glittery, vibrant energy. “Come Close is a summer anthem! I wanted to write a really upbeat, catchy and danceable tune with a retro feel but through a pop filter. Lyrically it’s about those good chemicals you get flooded with when someone you’re into comes close. It’s lovey dovey, flirty and one of the most feel-good songs I’ve ever written.”

Howlin’ Circus | Innocence

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In the heart of these tumultuous and divisive times, emerges a musical force that pulsates with the unyielding spirit of rock ’n’ roll. Meet Howlin’ Circus, a transcendent Middle Eastern-inspired psychedelic rock project masterfully orchestrated by the visionary Canadian-Iraqi musician Jafar Sandouk. With his gritty, powerful, and defiant lyrics, Sandouk fearlessly blurs the boundaries of genres, weaving a mesmerizing tapestry that unveils the devastating personal impact of Islamophobia and white supremacy in the post-9/11 era. Yet, his music goes beyond mere social commentary; it delves deep into the heart of humanity, exploring the world’s sharp decline in empathy. The single Innocence serves as a testament to Sandouk’s audacious creativity. Drawing inspiration from the legendary Ronettes, he infuses the track with a captivating drum beat and mesmerizing, almost spooky organs. The bold Arabic-style guitar riff adds a unique twist, demonstrating Sandouk’s willingness to embrace diverse influences and boldly challenge the norms. As he describes the creative process behind the song, Sandouk proudly declares, “Who’s to say you can’t do that?”

LAL | I Pretend It’s Raining

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “LAL’s eighth album and film project Spectacular brings together amazingly talented artists whom they have worked with throughout the group’s 25-year history. During the second half of the pandemic LAL’s Nicholas Murray and Rosina Kazi — after 27 years of being romantic partners — decided that in order to grow and be better to each other and their music, they needed to separate. Today, they are ready to share the first single from their album, I Pretend It’s Raining. “Through a long pandemic, we wrote this song, and many others, to aid in dealing with the grief of loss,” says LAL. “Loss of people, strained or breaking relations, and our connections to locations and places, and these notes continue to help us celebrate life, while providing unique paths to forgiveness and self-care. It’s a song about the radical love and transformation after heartbreak, that allows our grief to travel through our very essence. Utilizing the plentiful small moments, we create hope and joy from the aforementioned grief, and releasing all that pure energy back into the universe, divine.”

Liam Barrack | Memories

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian singer-songwriter Liam Barrack has been produced by Juno nominees like Ryan Worsley (Dear Rouge, Monowhales) and is dedicated to his work as a musician, crafting beguiling indie pop songs which chart the ups and downs of his life so far. His new EP, Sines and Symptoms, was recorded at Echoplant in Vancouver with Worsley, featuring contemplative and self critical songwriting with an earnest pop sensibility. Memories, taken from the EP, reflects on Barrack’s first year of university which was mostly spent in an intoxicated state. “The song sounds like it’s directed to a person, but if you listen to the lyrics carefully, you can tell I’m actually speaking to the substances in a personified manner,” Barrack explains.”

Mountain Head | Internet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Dressed in black denim and adorned with solid gold grills and long beards, Mountain Head’s sound blends psych-rock, alt-rock and elements of electro/jangle pop into a unique and potent sonic concoction. With millions of streams and multiple Top 40 hits in Canada, the duou have been finishing music with legendary producer GGGarth Richardson in Gibsons, B.C. at the renowned Farm Studios. This marks their first time recording outside the confines of their own studio. Internet, the inaugural single to be shared from these sessions, was originally sparked by a beatbox and nose bass jam. The track stands as a reflection on the web and underscores the irony of boundless information devolving into disputes and trolling.”

Whale And The Wolf | Living In My Head

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Much like their name, Whale And The Wolf‘s unique sound is sonically immense and wildly fierce in its energetic intensity. Unapologetically authentic with a generous helping of playfulness, they’re audacious yet accessible. WATW skillfully incorporate the band’s multiple musical influences, perspectives and personalities to create their own distinctive maximal sound, sans ego. Living In My Head was the first track that the band recorded remotely during lockdown. The experience proved to be a challenge to write together as they worked on the song individually, and adapting to this songwriting style allowed them to really focus on the individual parts, making them quite nuanced and complex, while still working together to serve the song as a whole.”

Slightest Clue | Suit Uptight!

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Slightest Clue are a Vancouver quartet. Charting the emotional highs and lows of a relationship, their new single Suit Uptight! grapples with the fear of losing someone. Produced by Matt Di Pomponio, the thrashing verses represent one’s anxious state of mind in thinking this person might be gone for good. In contrast, the melodic choruses capture the sweet relief of realizing that you may have another shot at working things out. Each member — Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, Nick Sciarretta — brings distinct influences and experiences: a stage actor whose playlists go from Talking Heads to Sonic Youth to Björk, a hook-obsessed recovering choir girl, an electrical engineer whose personal idol is John Bonham, and a guitarist who played for (and left) 10 other bands before deciding this was the one for him. It’s like the secret after-school project of four kids who would have passed each other without a glance in the hallway at school. But once they’re plugged in and ready to play, their distinct blend of post-punk, alternative rock, and dark pop, all bets are off. It wasn’t supposed to work, but it does.”

Virgo Rising | Tristan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Fans of Virgo Rising have waited for a long time for Tristan. The ’90s-tinged bop has been a persistent crowd favourite since its introduction, with live shows often including impromptu sing-alongs of the song’s infectious chorus. However, its path to release wasn’t simple; it took three recordings before the band settled on a largely live-off-the-floor version that properly captured its energy. Tristan is the second single from Virgo Rising’s forthcoming Vampyre Year EP, out Oct. 13. “Tristan was a hard song for us to get right with recording. It took a few tries and we spent a long time refining it between recording sessions,” says singer Emily Sinclair. “It’s a loud, cathartic rock song, almost like a messy chant about the boy I would’ve been.” Tristan explores a new, punchier side of the band’s sound; a refreshing, feedback-heavy rock. The band has said that treading new ground was integral to the creation of their sophomore EP, which took years to create and was delayed twice.”