Canadian Beacon | Slightest Clue, Adrian Sutherland, Dead Root Revival & More New Homegrown Brilliance

Every now and again, just for shiggles, I click on one of those articles that claim to reveal the 10 essential habits of highly successful people (or something to that effect). One of them always involves getting up insanely early to get a head start on the day. Easier said than done after a lifetime music-related night owlery. But today I pulled it off with the help of insomnia — I couldn’t sleep, so I got up at 2 a.m. and went to work. And yeah, I got a lot done. But I also remembered something: The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. If that isn’t enough of a wakeup call for ya, this collection of the latest and greatest Canadian sounds will certainly keep you from nodding off:


Slightest Clue | Why Can’t I Call You?

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver’s Slightest Clue (Malcolm McLaren, Hannah Kruse, Sean Ries, Nick Sciarretta) are 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. Dressed up in sultry post-punk stylings reminiscent of Arctic MonkeysAM, Why Can’t I Call You is the final single to be shared from the band’s forthcoming Carousel EP before it’s officially released on Feb. 9. Inspired by songwriter McLaren’s crush on a person he couldn’t pursue, the song is rife with hooks and vocals that emulate the likes of Grian Chatten (Fontaines D.C.) and Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys).”

Adrian Sutherland | Precious

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Northern Canadian roots-rocker Adrian Sutherland is kicking off the New Year with a new video. Precious features four youth dancers, three Adrians, two locations, and one black Jeep… resulting in one super fun contemporary throwback to Alanis Morrissette’s iconic Ironic video. Precious reflects the different facets and faces of Adrian’s life — the musician, the hunter, and the family guy — each of whom makes an appearance. With the song’s driving beat a natural fit for powwow, youth dancers from SummerBear Dance Troupe lent their talents to the video. Having them perform onstage with Adrian while he sings “this land is precious” represents the next generation, the cycle of life, future guardians of this land — and hope for tomorrow. All of which are precious.”

Dead Root Revival | Trillions Of Stars

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “It’s easy to describe Dead Root Revival’s sound as old school. It is guitar-focused rock ’n’ roll played with a Southern flair, after all. But with songs derived from frontman Tom Savage’s socially conscious worldview, DRR are a band fully in tune with the zeitgeist. That’s clearly evident on the Kingston, Ont., quartet’s new album, The Controller’s Exam, a sweeping 11-song collection that arrives March 1. Dead Root Revival have released a handful of live albums — capturing all the grit and energy of their shows — but The Controller’s Exam will be their studio debut. Oddly enough, it was also recorded in a live setting with renowned producer David Barbe (Sugar, R.E.M., Drive-By Truckers) at Chase Park Transduction Studio in Athens, Ga. All of the classic elements are present on Trillions Of Stars, powered by Savage spitting out lines like “We are the instigators of our own disease” between fuzzy guitar breaks. It’s all supported by Tony Silvestri on Hammond and Wurlitzer, alongside the driving rhythm section of drummer Bonz Bowering and bassist Richard Piche.”

The Dream Eaters | I Am Not Subhuman

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Catchy pop act The Dream Eaters are vocalist Elizabeth LeBaron (originally from Calgary) and singer-songwriter Jake Zavracky (who hails from Boston). The duo met while working at the same bar in Brooklyn, and have evolved from a band into a full-on video art project. Having recently released the song Mood Pills, The Dream Eaters are following up with the anthemic Subhuman, born of Jake’s observations of the struggle for transgender rights. It looks into the mind of a person who is yearning for acceptance, but who is committed to their individuality and staying true to themselves. The official lyric video portrays Elizabeth and Jake as two goths in high school yearbook photos. It demonstrates what it’s like to feel rejected for being different, while still craving validation and love.”

Kaia Kater | The Internet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The first single from Juno and Polaris-nominated artist Kaia Kater since 2021 is a preview of a new album coming in the spring, kicking off what promises to be a triumphant return for the acclaimed songwriter. Kater’s album will feature key special guests and celebrates the power of women and oppressed people throughout history as they rise up and turn the poison of centuries of oppression into a strange kind of medicine. The Internet encapsulates the manipulation of our modern digital age. Inspired in part by Kate Bush’s Watching You Without Me, Kater riffs on old modem sounds by rendering some of the lyrics barely intelligible and slightly garbled.”

Allen Dobb | Black And White 1912

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After more than a decade-long retreat from recording and performing, singer-songwriter Allen Dobb is returning with a new album on Feb. 9. Alone Together draws from characters, stories, and landscapes that are part of Allen’s experience working as a range management specialist in the interior of British Columbia. The third single, Black and White 1912, tells the moving story of an old cowboy who travels back in time through a black-and-white photograph taken in 1912. The melodies are carried by acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, lap steel, piano, and other instruments in tasteful arrangements that always create just the right sonic space for Allen’s intimate and soulful vocals.”

iskwē | Waiting For The Laughter

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) has a new release to share. Produced by 7x Grammy nominee Damian Taylor (Björk, Arcade Fire, The Killers, Bomba Estereo) and written alongside dear friend Akamatisse of Toronto’s Keys N Krates, Waiting For The Laughter was born out of conflicted feelings brought about by the messaging iskwē was seeing regarding our aging process, definitions of beauty, and how she felt that she fit into these different roles. The song’s sweeping orchestration includes violin, acoustic guitar, charango, cavaquinho, cello and cuatro to build a cinematic atmosphere which envelopes the listener in chamber pop melodies. “Waiting For The Laughter begins as a testament to the sadness I felt when I began to realize my face was changing faster than before, and I was uncertain how to look at myself in the mirror and feel happy with my reflection. Throughout the song, that sadness becomes more empowering, as the marching drum gets stronger and the violin erupts, leaving me with a sense of confidence while I wait for the laughter. I know it’s still there, it has not disappeared. I just needed to plant my feet in the comfort of aging in order to laugh again.”

Connor Roff | Somewhere Green

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Combining the natural beauty of West Coast Canada with London, England’s urban forest, Connor Roff’s luminous music embraces and showcases his dual nationality. He’s not afraid to explore the depths of both the light and the dark or combine genres such as alternative pop, folk, R&B, and even electronica. Connor’s songs and melodies reflect and celebrate his yoga teaching practice and passionate advocacy for the LGBT+ community. His song Somewhere Green is inspired by our disconnection with Mother Nature — especially in a western world rife with corporate capitalism, colonialism and greed. Connor and producer James Turner worked on the song internationally via video call and email. For one of the finishing touches, they added some sounds of birds recorded from their phones in Vancouver and London, U.K.”

Moira & Claire / Logan Richard | Unrequited Love Blues

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As a Prince Edward Island-born songwriter, guitarist and producer, Logan Richard’s beckoning melodies have swiftly risen to prominence in the Canadian music scene. Likewise, sisters Moira & Claire write lighthearted, indie folk-pop songs that appeal to East and West Coasters and everyone in between. Together, the three have teamed up to write the duet Unrequited Love Blues. This song is about two people that love each other, but don’t know that the other person feels the way that they do. It originally began as an acoustic song, but after working with producer Colin Buchanan, he encouraged Logan and Moira & Claire to give it a try as a pop bop. Having several elements return in the last chorus (vocals from bridge, chorus, guitar solo) all overlapping and intertwining acts as a representation of the two unrequited lovers’ thoughts colliding. There is no emotional wall separating the two anymore, and the listener is left with an overflow of thoughts and emotions.”

Steve Maddock | A Special Kind Of Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver musician Steve Maddock shares A Special Kind Of Love, the second single from his upcoing album Jack Of All Trades, set for release on Feb. 16. Jack Of All Trades is a joint venture between Steve and Mike Reveley, a former Vancouver jazz arranger and composer who founded the Capilano University Jazz Studies Program that Steve attended. A soulful ballad that deals with the real meaning of love, A Special Kind Of Love pulls at the heartstrings as hints of jazz and blues shine through. “The song is about a young man talking with his father about his new girlfriend,” says Reveley. “The older man tries to tell him what real love is all about, but he doesn’t quite understand. He feels that he already knows what love is. As he ages, he comes to understand what his father was talking about: That special kind of love.”