Canadian Beacon | NOBRO, Lowest Of The Low, Astral Swans & More New Homegrown Excellence

Set your pussy free, skank in the plunderdome, have a good night and more.

I thought last Friday was busy. It was a freakin’ cakewalk compared to today’s frenzied, endless marathon of new singles, videos, albums and more. On the plus side: A whole lot of new goodness from my fellow Canadians. Open up a bag of ketchup chips and dig in:


NOBRO | Where My Girls At

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Due Oct. 27, Montreal modern-punk outfit NOBRO’s debut full-length Set Your Pussy Free is a caustic, celebratory, glorious fireworks display. Produced by Dave Schiffman (PUP, Rage Against The Machine), it’s a record about the ecstatic pursuit of personal escape and liberation even as the walls are closing in, a 21st century power-punk analog of Born To Run that rages against modern life’s restrictive pressures and dares them to a game of chicken. The latest single is road-dog anthem Where My Girls At, which recounts the band’s formation and early days playing the dive bar circuit, selling T-shirts out of garbage bags and building the bonds that have taken the band to where they are. “Where my girls at, where my girls at? / Gonna start me a rock ’n’ roll band!” vocalist and bassist Kathryn McCaughey calls on the jubilant chorus. “It’s an upbeat anthem where heartbreak takes a backseat to girl power and rock ‘n’ roll,” she explains. “Instead of wallowing in love’s disappointment, you can pick up a guitar and call on your girls. This celebration of sisterhood and female empowerment is a reminder that with friends by our side, anything is possible — even starting a band on a whim.” Through the weeks of 12-hour studio days, McCaughey was still working full-time at a bar at night. The desperation in my voice on the record is real,” she grins. “It was a struggle, but I felt like I stayed true to myself, you know?”

Lowest Of The Low | Hey Kid (You Got Soul!)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Lowest Of The Low are excited to announce that their sixth studio album Welcome To The Plunderdome will arrive Oct. 6. Featuring 12 self-produced tracks from the legendary Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Famers, it showcases a revitalized band committed to delivering melodic and thought-provoking rock in a uniquely Lowest Of The Low way; with the passion and commitment of punk. Along with the announcement, the band share the single and video Hey Kid (You Got Soul!). Featuring a strong ska element and sizzling guitars, the track certainly validates frontman/principal songwriter Ron Hawkins’ claim that Lowest Of The Low remain a band happily “full of piss and vinegar.” “It’s about a kid who is so full of rage that he winds up in prison,” says Hawkins on the new track. “There, he has an epiphany about turning your rage into something positive and the need to band together to change things. The song is a bit of a nod to my uncles, as I come from a family with bank robbers in it.”

Astral Swans | Shine The Light Inside (ft. Jairus Shariff)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In June 2022, Matthew Swann (aka Astral Swans) moved into the Residence Inn in downtown Calgary to make bedroom recordings in a hotel room. Swann had been selected as one of three artists for the Artists in Residence Inn summer residency to live, work, and create in the solitude of a 16th floor suite. The concept was to return to Swann’s roots, making experimental bedroom recordings with no budget, minimal gear, and very little concern for the commodification of the final product. These hotel songs are all informed by the absurdity of contemporary capitalist realism. Swann wrote Shine The Light Inside shortly after the world reopened post pandemic, and there was suddenly a greater divide between the extremely rich and poor. The song is about a billionaire’s rocket going off course à la Major Tom, and the lyrics are his AI reading aphorisms sourced from self-help books assembled by a proprietary algorithm to try and calm him down.”

Haley Blais | Body

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Haley Blais has just released her sophomore album Wisecrack. Across its 11 tracks, produced with Dave Vertesi, Haley explores concepts concerned with conscience, morality, and the superego. The album is textured and wryly poetic, oscillating somewhere between a cherished childhood memory and the creation of a new self. Alongside the album, Haley shares the video to focus track Body. Directed by Bertie Gilbert, it sees dancer Laurie Case traverse through neighbourhood streets into a playground and across a field with captivating contemporary dance movements. About the sonics of Body, Haley reflects, “I wanted this song to be my Sister by Angel Olsen moment, with a huge instrumental outro building towards a crescendo of guitars. I think Dave kind of mellowed it out, it has this swagger to it. There’s still the huge swell, but it feels more like a sigh of relief than a big emotional moment.”

Loony | A Good Night

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Scarborough blue-collar R&B / soul singer Loony (aka Kira Huszar) shares her new single A Good Night. It’s the second song in a surprising succession of new moments from Loony, doubling down on the breaking of over a year of silence. Working with Grammy-nominated collaborators Akeel Henry (John Legend) and Adam Pondang, the song begins with a traditionally Loony-sounding harmony stack, ominous and haunting with a barely noticeable vocal sample quietly sitting in the background. After a quick eight bars, we shift into a slappy guitar-based loop that excels within its restrain, the restrain being what truly allows Loony’s heartfelt lyrics and supernatural vocal ability to shine. Loony muses: “I’ve definitely ruined what was supposed to be a good night before, because I wasn’t willing to let something go. I had questions that needed answering, or feelings I had to get off my chest. It’s not always worth it, you definitely end up being the villain. But I can’t really pretend like everything’s cool if it’s not.”

Rose-Erin Stokes | I Can’t Stay

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “North Bay singer-songwriter Rose-Erin Stokes released her sophomore LP When The Sun Goes Away on Sept. 8. The album’s final single and accompanying video is I Can’t Stay. When The Sun Goes Away was produced by Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards) in Stittsville, and features the musical offerings of Andrew Sowka, Vince Aquilina, Philippe Charbonneau and Kinley Dowling (Hey Rosetta!). Its 11 tracks tell stories of relationships and self-reckoning, capturing nuanced moments in a relatable way that will both break your heart and put it back together again. I Can’t Stay is a stirring folk song about self-liberation, driven forward with Aquilina’s tasteful folk percussion and enhanced with Dowling’s evocative string lines. Stokes notes: “I Can’t Stay is about letting go of ways of operating that don’t serve you anymore, and about being the most authentic version of yourself rather than who you think others want you to be.” The video, filmed in northern Ontario, exemplifies the song’s themes in its storytale-esque journey of escape, featuring interactions with quirky forest creatures along the way.”

Rachel Bawn | Snapshot

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Raised in the small town of Hopeville, Ont., Rachael Bawn knew she was destined to be a singer before she even can remember. Discovering her voice as a songwriter and developing a core message to help other young women took a bit of time as she weathered life lessons. And now, a few years after the release of Bawn’s debut album, her innate talent and positive persona are aligned with a melodic missive primed for the masses. Teaming up with songwriter Rosanne Baker Thornley and producer Ben Pelchat, Bawn has co-written powerful new songs with an overarching theme of truth-telling. They confront the toxic side of social media, inspire courage for the inevitable hard things in life, and encourage listeners to slow down and not allow the busyness of life to overwhelm. Snapshot is about the social media paradox and its negative effects. Says Bawn: “We use it to feel connected but we end up doom scrolling, comparing ourselves to others, and end up feeling more lonely and bad about ourselves.”