Canadian Beacon | Snotty Nose Rez Kids, iskwē, David Vertesi & More New Homegrown Brilliance

Another Bandcamp Friday, another 1,000-plus emails, messages, notifications and reminders from people trying to convince me to buy their albums, songs, EPs, test pressings, T-shirts, posters, keychains, hot sauces, bandannas… and whatever else they have laying around the practice room, I guess. As usual, I ignored 99.9% of them. I have better things to do — like compiling this list of the best new singles and videos from around the country:


Snotty Nose Rez Kids | Red Future (ft. Electric Fields)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Hip-hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids welcome you into their world with the release of the title track from the upcoming album Red Future. The single is also accompanied by a video that serves as a visual gateway to the project, setting the tone for what’s to come. The video transports viewers into their bold new world, merging artistic expression with a futuristic aesthetic, and acts as a visual complement to the album. Featuring Australian Indigenous electronic music duo Electric Fields, the track sets a new tone for Yung Trybez and Young D, with a sound that moves the duo in a new sonic direction while building on the foundation they’ve laid over the past eight years of groundbreaking releases. “Red Future is about wanting to see our future generations thriving,” says Yung Trybez. “We were inspired by Indigenous futurism and we see us, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, as a small part in opening doors and inspiring future youth to realize the vision for their own lives, whether it’s music, art or anything else.”

iskwē | A Little Piece

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) is sharing A Little Piece, the sixth and final single from her upcoming album, the starkly honest and textured nīna (out April 12), produced by 10x Grammy-nominated collaborator Damian Taylor. A Little Piece twinkles with piano melodies and skittering beats, creating a wintry electronic soundscape which gradually opens into its prominent synth line’s exposed refrain. Speaking of the pulsating and hushed tones of A Little Piece, iskwē explains the song’s painful and complex inspirations: “Feeling overwhelmed, I was faced with myself alone and the choices I had made over the past several years. With conflicted feelings of longing, remorse, and loneliness, I felt caged by a sentiment I could neither explain nor understand. I was alone. My mind had fooled me. My tears felt endless and yet somehow this new solitude wrapped itself around my sadness like a giant cozy blanket I could not imagine emerging from ever again. A little piece of me had died, yet I found a little peace inside. A little piece of me had died, yet I found a little peace inside.”

David Vertesi | Age Of Celebrity

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For 15 years, David Vertesi has appeared as an integral part of some of Canada’s most exciting indie-rock projects. Whether he’s playing in Hey Ocean!, Shad, Dear Rouge, Hannah Georgas or Said the Whale, producing Haley Blais, Noble Son, Ashleigh Ball or Riun Garner, Vertesi brings a uniquely sensuous and brooding sensibility, an intricate sonic depth that multiplies the layers of a song. Today, his new album Fictionalized, is available everywhere, and in celebration, the acclaimed songwriter is sharing the new video for Age Of Celebrity, a song “about returning to music post-pandemic and post-Hey Ocean!,” says Vertesi. “Things have changed a lot since I was starting out in this industry, and I often feel like my experience doesn’t do much other than make me jaded. The thing I really miss is the pure enjoyment and self-confidence I had when I was just setting out. I’m doing my best to find it again.”

Donovan Woods | Rosemary

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Throughout his career, Juno-winning songwriter Donovan Woods has built a devoted following. Never one to mince words, Woods is one of music’s most vulnerable storytellers, and his forthcoming album takes that a step further. Honest and unflinching, on Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now, his upcoming seventh studio album due July 12, Woods takes a long look inside and isn’t necessarily thrilled with what he sees. For an artist who isn’t afraid to bear his soul, this is as emotionally gritty as he has ever been. But first, he shares the single Rosemary along with a video, co-written with Connor Seidel. He states: “Have you ever had a fight by text message? And it’s long, and existential. Someone did something wrong and maybe that’s it. Maybe the bond can’t be repaired. Well this song is about returning home to someone after having one of those, and offering yourself up. It’s about finally admitting all your faults, showing your actual self and asking, can you still love me? And really wanting an answer either way.”

Falcon Jane | I Own The Road

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Falcon Jane spins profound tales of rural life in her new single I Own The Road. Drawing from her own roots on the outskirts, this new track weaves stories of navigating through empty landscapes and the resilient spirit required to make it in the countryside. Otherwise known as Sara May, Falcon Jane is a songwriter with a deep sense of feeling who found inspiration in the lively atmosphere of Shelburne, Ont., where serenity took a backseat to the everyday hustle.”

Vicki Lovelee | Click

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vicki Lovelee is a Chinese-Canadian alt-pop sensation in Markham, Ont. She merges the luminosity of pop with brooding shadows of dark drama and orchestral instrumentations. Her latest single Click stirs anticipation for a new album in fall 2024. There are multiple contexts for the word, but they all relate to the meaning of the song. There’s a click when pieces — or people — fit together (or don’t). There’s the click of a computer mouse when you’re selecting something (or, in the case of the song, want to be chosen). And of cours, there are cliqus: Group of people with shared interests who don’t let others join.”

Homeshake | Basement

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Today, Homeshake — the long-running solo project of Toronto musician Peter Sagar — releases the single and video Basement from his new album, CD Wallet, out March 8. Basement, according to Peter, is an homage to the idea of the home basement, both as a place to hang out along with being the starting point for every band Peter has played in since he was a teenager. The video for Basement was shot by Jim Larson (who also directed the video for lead single CD Wallet) and features kaleidoscope-like images of Peter playing instruments in the basement among all the common artifacts you might find there. It’s a place of refuge and comfort and the fount of creativity for Peter.”

Katie Tupper | Need Nothing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Katie Tupper, the rising soul singer and former member of Saskatoon collective vbnd, follows her Juno-nominated sophomore EP Where To Find Me with new track Need Nothing, a groovy, toe-tapping alternative r&b song about unconditional love. “We wrote this song as a feel good confession of an endless stream of adoration,” reflects Katie. “If nothing is given in return this feeling of love and willingness to express it will always be there… I use music to try to figure myself out and to think about my identity. Just before writing these songs, I was bouncing around a couple of new cities, meeting a lot of new people, and introducing myself to a lot of them. I experienced a lot of changes during those introductions. Some of those feelings and experiences are captured here.”

Devon More | Catch That Moon (Song For David)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Vancouver musician Devon More just released her new album Sky Is Falling. To mark the occasion, Devon is also releasing a new single Catch That Moon (Song For David), a song about a relationship that burned hot and fast. “They say that opposites attract, and that was true for David and I,’ says Devon. “We were totally enamoured, and wholly incompatible. Our relationship didn’t last, but our deep respect for one another did, despite our vast differences – imagine that? In divisive times like these, ‘You do you. And I’ll be me.’ is a helpful and powerful sentiment. Be like David (and I): respect human biodiversity.”

Colour Film | Ain’t Coming Back

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following a six-year hiatus, Colour Film — the musical pseudonym of Hamilton singer-songwriter Matthew de Zoete — returns with Ain’t Coming Back, the first taste of the new album Half An Hour, out April 26. Matthew’s fondness for preserving unique moments has been a foundational part of his music since he arrived on the Canadian scene in 2006, first under his own name and then as Colour Film since 2016. His songwriting has been widely praised for its atmospheric blend of folk and pop, with his lyrics capturing those emotions that, once experienced, remain in our consciousness to help guide us through our lives. That approach has taken on a deeper meaning with Half An Hour, recorded just prior to the pandemic in January 2020, and delayed following an injury de Zoete suffered that almost derailed his music career completely. Now having partially recovered, de Zoete is ready to revisit a time that already feels like another life.”

The Denim Daddies | Livin’ On The Road

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Fans of high-energy country rock are ready to welcome the return of The Denim Daddies as they share Livin’ On The Road, the first single from their new album Northern Goods, out March 20.When a lifestyle creates a musical style, that’s pretty much the definition of authenticity. So when we say that The Denim Daddies are creating their own form of authentic country music, you might feel a little bit confused. For example, you may ask, how does guitarist/vocalist Andrew Brostrom keep writing songs that sound as if they stumbled out of a smoky barroom? Steady work on the craft, beer drinking, and breaking hearts, that’s how. Brostrom and his fellow Edmonton good ol’ boys  — bassist/vocalist Kurtis Cockerill, pedal steel guitarist Booker Diduck, keyboardist Sahil Chugh, and drummer/vocalist Matt King — have been finding ways to satisfy the tastes of both country music purists and newbies for over five years now, burning up every stage they grace with outlaw-inspired alt-country that parties as hard as they do.”

Caméra | Dimanche

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Formed in the depths of Montreal’s lingering winters, Caméra — guitarist, composer and producer Francois Jalbert; violinist, arranger and composer Mélanie Bélair; and composer, arranger and performer Aurélien Tomasi — find sounds, explore bizarre ideas and always seek beauty. Traveling between a murmuration of birds at sunset, a daydream in the Japanese rainforest in 1986, or listening to a sexy saxophone melody played by a dude in a leopard speedo inside a midcentury cottage while drinking a white Russian, the trio somehow makes sense. The main vocals and guitars on their newest single Dimanche were recorded during a burst of inspiration on a lazy Sunday. An accurate picture of the vibe that day, this song is a great example of what can happen when you give a musician some space and time.”

M’Grasker | Spectrephelia

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Human terminology might define M’Grasker as a band; however, they would be more accurately described as Biological Property of M’Graskorp Unlimited Enterprises and Subsidiaries of the GlanGlan Group. Much of M’Grasker’s DNA was salvaged from the backstage areas and bathrooms of seedy Toronto music venues and transferred via Scienetic Quantum Hurtlage to the M’Graskorp Labs, located just beyond space and time (and slightly to the left). The band is legally obligated to be happy to announce their third offering: M’Grasker by M’Grasker, an album scientifically guaranteed to blow domes later this year. It’s the night of the big game and you’re hunched o’er vials, flasks, and doo-dads in yonder lab, beholding apparitions in the shimmering concoctions before you. A faint melody tickles your ears from the near-distance of the future — the rustling of M’Grasker. At this locus of the endless cycle, the loveable lads are no more than nearly human goo, yet to take on the familiar bodies donned in the glistening white suits you’ve fashioned for them in your mind palace.”

Marshall Jacklin | Movement

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I am an alternative singer-songwriter from Toronto releasing my second single. Movement is about the beauty found in the fleeting moments of youth, when risk is synonymous with fun. My sound has been compared to Rufus Wainwright, Sufjan Stevens and Leif Vollebekk, and implements elements of folk, jazz, hip-hop and electronica.”

Bankes Brothers | Walkin’

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Bankes Brothers are about to light up Canada’s indie-rock scene and ignite audiences everywhere. Since the release of their debut single In Waves in February 2023, they have garnered acclaim and recognition across Canada and beyond, regularly showing in the Top 5 on Canadian commercial radio’s alternative charts. With the unveiling of full EP In Waves, alongside the final track Walkin’, all eyes return to The Bankes Brothers for what promises to be another banner year for one of Canada’s rising stars in contemporary rock and roll. Walkin’ is about doing your own thing — gut checking, you know?”

Basement Revolver | Red Light

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Basement Revolver have always centered around the friendship of bassist/keyboardist Nim Agalawatte and guitarist/vocalist Chrisy Hurn. Lead guitarist Jonathan Malström and drummer Levi Kertesz round out the band’s larger-than-life sound. Since 2020, Basement Revolver found time to wrestle with questions about identity, faith, mental illness, and sexuality. The inspiration for their new song Red Light came from a discussion at a band practice Chrisy shared that they had received a red light ticket which was extremely frustrating because it was for a greater amount than their recent paycheck. As a band who has received their fair share of parking and speeding tickets while playing shows and touring, they are no strangers to financial setbacks when it comes to working towards their dreams. The band members realized that it was a relatable topic so they wrote a song about it.”

Carmel Mikol | Trying Not To Hurt You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Carmel Mikol is a singer-songwriter from two worlds: she was raised half in the Canadian backwoods and half in the suburbs of Chicago. Solitude and rootlessness are equally present in her songwriting as a result. Her songs feel like they’re written on the interstates somewhere between these two places. A full-time indie recording and touring artist for almost a decade, Mikol has performed across North America and in Europe, from intimate stages to legendary festivals. Her previous albums earned three East Coast Music Award nominations and several songwriting honours. As part of continued emotional growth for Mikol after being the victim of past abuse, Trying Not to Hurt You comes from a place of accepting the full realm of life’s emotion. As she states: “This song, and the whole album it’s part of, is about facing up to the painful ‘ands’ of life: I love you AND we aren’t healthy together; I’m trying to stay with you AND I need to leave. Sometimes we just need to break our own hearts a little bit to make the hard decision.”