Canadian Beacon | Metz, Thunder Queens, Elliott BROOD & More New Homegrown Gifts

Much like love, the Canadian Beacon is a many-splendored thing. And since it’s Valentine’s Day, allow me to present you with this timely bouquet of a dozen freshly plucked videos and singles straight from my heart (or at least my email inbox) to yours. Feel free to share this with your sweetie — but trust me, if this is all you’ve got for them, you are about to enjoy to many splendors of a night in the doghouse.


Metz | 99 + Entwined (Street Light Buzz)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With time, we come to understand the way the joy of connection is mirrored by the void of loss, how the constancy of love is matched only by the impermanence of life, the simple idea that we could not create light if we did not risk the dark — we’d never need to. So it is with Metz, a band once known for blowing out eardrums with songs of joyous rage who have, over their past few records, begun exploring ways to turn abrasiveness into atmospherics, the evolution of their sound not only a reflection of the maturing of the band themselves but also of a changed world that demands nuance and compassion to comprehend and to survive. It was a journey already underway on 2020’s Atlas Vending, but one that reaches new heights on Up On Gravity Hill, where the Canadian trio create a kaleidoscopic sonic world as tender as it is dark, aided once again by engineer Seth Manchester. Deep, detailed, and unyieldingly personal, it is not only Metz’s most powerful record to date but also their most beautiful. It arrives April 12, but the first two singles are here now.”

Thunder Queens | Fighter

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Embark on a sonic journey of revelation in motion with Thunder Queens, the London, Ont. trio of Violet Bruneel, Lola Hayman and Clara Magnan. On their debut album Strike One, Thunder Queens deliver a blend of doom-tinged grunge, onyx-toned punk melodies, and searing multi-part harmonies – all while creating a mesmerizing sound that is uniquely their own. The band are unafraid to be experimental and shapeshift, conjuring the playful vitality of Sheer Mag, ground-shaking range of Black Sabbath, and the urgency of The Runaways. Today they share the lead single and video Fighter, a track they penned at the tender ages of 9 and 10. Tired of hearing all the ways their generation was failing, this song was a proclamation of their dedication to fighting for what they believe in. Now, on the brink of high school, Lola, Violet, and Clara remain just as committed to fighting for a just cause as they did then.”

Elliott BROOD | Wind And Snow

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “On their new song Wind And Snow, Elliott BROOD show they’ve still got plenty of lyrical tricks — and that signature high-test stomp — up their sleeves. A roadhouse classic in the making, complete with its zingy rhyme of Albuquerque with Wild Turkey, Wind And Snow is a Diners, Drive-Thrus and Dive Bars travelogue interwoven with country quips and riffs. Sailing through states (and states of mind), Wind And Snow only stops long enough to gas up before it barrels down the highway. It officially ushers in the trio’s Country era, the second part of a two-album cycle that began with Town in late 2023. On its own, the eight-song Country includes tracks that rumble and ricochet between emotions and borders along with two covers, Rodney Crowell’s beloved Bluebird Wine and deeper cut Out of Time (The Rolling Stones). As a whole, Country works in similar layered fashion, filtering decades of influences and experiences through Elliott BROOD’s road-tested lens.”

Abigail Lapell | Anniversary Song

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Abigail Lapell announces her new album Anniversary, set for release on May 10. An evocative collection of original love songs, the album balances upbeat earworms with elegiac ballads, ultimately emerging as an earnest celebration of commitment. Anniversary was recorded at the 200-year-old St. Mark’s Church in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., and was produced with Great Lake Swimmers Tony Dekker, who helped shape the project’s spooky, resonant sound while lending his voice to a few spellbinding duets. Alongside the announcement, Lapell shared the album’s lead single and video, Anniversary Song. Recorded live with her band in a 200-year-old church, the track features an in-house harpsichord along with drums, bass, electric guitar and layers of doubled vocals and harmonies, brought together with lyrics that celebrate the syntax and symbolism of commitment. “Anniversary Song was inspired by the idea of mashing-up traditional anniversary gifts (cotton, leather, diamonds) with the periodic table of elements (iron, carbon, silver) to celebrate the physical and symbolic bonds of togetherness.”

Mike Evin | I Almost Called You Babe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Mike Evin has been wearing his heart on his sleeve for over 15 years, writing immediate and disarming piano pop songs with adventurous melodies that live inside you. The new jazz-tinged breakup ballad I Almost Called You Babe, his first new music in four years, may be his most emotionally raw song yet. The intense song was written freshly after a big breakup, a couple of weeks before Evin was scheduled to go into the studio to record a new batch of songs. Almost pulling the plug on the recording sessions, Evin set aside some time to write and process his feelings. I Almost Called You Babe is a snapshot of those murky days after a breakup. Though never intended to be heard by anyone else, Evin and producer Chris Stringer (Rose Cousins, Timber Timbre) realized the song’s potency and captured it during an agonizing couple of hours in the studio.”

The Dead South | Yours To Keep

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With a new album out and a standing ovation for their Grand Ole Opry debut in the books, The Dead South now set off on the Chains & Stakes World Tour, which will cover North America, Australia and Europe throughout 2024. On Completely, Sweetly, an instant fan favourite from the new album, The Dead South fold a banjo riff until it transforms into doom metal, like Metallica served up stringband style. The grudge-powered song, an album highlight, reaches deep into the highs and lows that come with moving beyond betrayal. Yours To Keep, the source of the album title, arrives with a video that finds the band in an alternate dimension with mystery potions and dancing demagogues, like The Grand Budapest Hotel but set in Saskatchewan. Yours To Keep was directed by Two Brothers Films, the team behind videos for In Hell I’ll Be In Good Company, You Are My Sunshine and Diamond Ring, from the band’s impressive catalogue.”

CJ Wiley | No One Like U

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Tearing through Toronto on a groundswell of breezy, gripping slacker rock, non-binary singer-songwriter CJ Wiley doesn’t waste any time. Twirling guitars, a steady drum beat, crunchy bass; ballads twanged slightly country, anthems skewed slightly grunge; telling stories of loss, gender, starting fresh, and how expensive it is to be alive; Wiley’s musical project is urgent and undeniable. Today, they’re sharing their new single, No One Like U. “This song is about the nostalgia of teenage years,” notes Wiley. “Playful friendships, the expansiveness of queer love and how romance can show up in platonic relationships, going through ups and downs with friends just as you would with lovers.” Co-written with Toronto songwriter Charlotte Cornfield and produced by Boy Golden in Winnipeg, No One Like U is a trans-Canada song already primed to hit the road.”

Brookside Mall | Mailer Daemon

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Brookside Mall share Mailer Daemon ahead of forthcoming album, No More Fragrant Thoughts. The song’s title references the software program responsible for letting you know when your emails are undeliverable. “The song leans on a particularly absurd ‘what if’ to pull a character out of this lonely space where the mailer daemon is the only person sending you emails,” said Brookside Mall. “In addition to feeling isolated and just sort of looking for contact, you find something comforting about this entity; the neatly itemized lists and thorough rationale for each bounce back. A search of your correspondence shows you’ve revealed more of yourself than you’d realized.” “He writes me nice replies with itemized receipts / Looking through those letters now, how he must know so much of me / From misdirected resumes, to bookings for house sitting gigs / A query from that choir-for-hire, a quote on video editing.”

JupiterReign | In A Rush

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:JupiterReign, also known as Thaydra Gray, has been surrounded by music since the beginning of her life. She began singing in her father’s church choir in Montreal, where she grew up, directed by her mother, even before she could put together full sentences. The youngest of four daughters, it was through her sisters that she found her deep love for R&B. Rooted in its rich traditions, JupiterReign’s music aims to evoke emotions, tell stories, and forge connections with a diverse and passionate audience. Her single In A Rush, captures the excitement and spontaneity that often accompanies romantic connections. This song not only explores the magnetic pull between individuals but also embraces the carefree spirit that defines the thrill of being swept away in the heat of the moment. It’s a vivid picture of the thrill and passion that come with the fast-paced nature of love, making it a perfect anthem for those who savor the playful and sensual aspects of their relationships.”

Flint & Feather | We Belong Together

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Albertan roots duo Flint & Feather share their second single We Belong Together, the latest preview of their debut album due in autumn. The song is another glowing example of Flint & Feather’s Rocky Mountain folk-pop sound, built around the melodic inventiveness of Joal and Lauren Kamps, and channeled through their heart-tugging harmony vocals. Lyrically, We Belong Together is a lighthearted love song all about how absence makes the heart grow fonder. With We Belong Together, Lauren says, “We had been invited to take part in a five-week artist residency at the Banff Centre and Joal spent the first week there alone. He told me that he was having the worst case of writer’s block and was really missing my companionship. I decided to surprise him and drove out early the next day and We Belong Together quickly became one of many songs that were written throughout the remaining residency.”

Berk Jodoin | One Child

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “As anticipation builds for Berk Jodoin’s new album Fly Away, he shares a new song with personal significance. One Child is the Métis singer-songwriter’s plea to understand the struggles Indigenous children have faced in the past — as Jodoin did — as well as in the present. The timing of One Child’s release on Feb. 14 is significant, as it also marks the annual Have A Heart Day, which brings together caring Canadians to help ensure First Nations children have the opportunity to grow up safely at home, get a good education, be healthy, and be proud of who they are. “ ‘What makes me different from you?’ is a question I’ve asked myself many times, and I always come up with the same answer: ‘I don’t see much, to tell the truth.’ We are all born with innocence in our hearts; it’s the hate that is taught that poisons us. But overall, I wanted the song to have a positive message that ‘love can bring us back again.’ We all are One Child!”