Canadian Beacon | Nora, Vaniers, Pukka Orchestra, Dirty Nil & More New Homegrown Heroes

I see people are lining up to pay their respects to a certain someone. I can only hope they’re paying them in the way he would have wanted: In large, non-sequential bills jammed into a brown-paper bag. I kid. But I’m deadly serious about this lineup of great new Canadian singles and videos. There’s some truly great stuff down below; scroll and see/hear for yourself. Best of all: It’s free (though you’re certainly welcome to hit the coffee cup button and leave me a tip while I’m still here to enjoy it). Chin up, folks:


Nora | Natural Disaster

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Braeden, also known as Nora, is a 24-year-old mixed-race artist hailing from Toronto. His eclectic musical style captivates listeners, seamlessly blending elements of punk rock, post-punk, shoegaze, post-rock, soft grunge, and surf rock. Nora‘s debut EP Strange to Bloom, has earned more than 500,000 streams to date. In collaboration with Big Kill’s Cayne McKenzie and Andrew Huckaliak (both formerly We Are The City), new single Natural Disaster liberates the rebellious spirit within Nora. “When I’m on stage and feel the crowd’s energy building as they connect with a song inspired by a former coworker’s attempt to undermine me with the same words now fueling the audience’s excitement, it’s an incredibly empowering moment,” Nora says. “It’s a visceral ‘fuck you’ to anyone who’s ever tried to put me down or make me feel less than my worth.”

The Vaniers | Charlie

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Vaniers are a Toronto rock trio formed in 2016 by Diego Paz (bass guitar/vocals), Alex Iacobellis (guitar) and Nick Donato (drums). Known for delivering scorching live performances and dazzling crowds, The Vaniers have become a staple of their scene, celebrated for their high-octane shows and catchy tunes. The three bandmembers each like a wide variety of music: in-your-face rock tunes, catchy songs, and songs that tell stories. Their new single Charlie is kind of a mix of that. This is music that they want to hear. It’s not out there, so they decided to make it themselves. It’s universal. Everyone knows a Charlie, some have lived as a Charlie — and surely a lot of people want to be a Charlie. In this case, the focus of the song is about a man named Charlie who wants to chase after his dreams despite everyone around him being pessimistic about his star power. This is The Vaniers’ way of saying, “At the end of the day, you just gotta do it.”

The Pukka Orchestra | Every Man And Woman Is A Star

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Pukka Orchestra were an award-winning new wave band in Toronto in the 1980s and 1990s. They became an important and revered contributor to the Queen Street music scene of that era. After a long hiatus, The Pukka Orchestra completed a new album in 2023 — Chaos Is Come Again — of reworked, remixed and remastered tracks that never saw the proper light of day. Besides the obvious truism that every human life is important, part of the inspiration for their single, Every Man And Woman Is A Star, there is the astonishing fact that stars that go supernova are responsible for creating many of the elements of the periodic table, including those that make up the human body.”

Stephen Hamm: Theremin Man | Are You Receiving Me

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Stephen Hamm, a figure in the Vancouver music and arts scene for over three decades, releases Are You Receiving Me?, the second single from his upcoming album Songs Of The Future. The album is slated for release on May 6, promising a thrilling journey into the realms of electro-rock. Delving into themes of losing connection, longing for reconnection, and the poignant pain of isolation, Are You Receiving Me? harness Hamm’s introspective lyrics combined with his dynamic musical arrangements promise to captivate audiences worldwide. The accompanying video, directed, shot, and edited by the talented Ani Kyd-Wolf of Sugar Skull Films, adds a visual dimension to the song’s narrative. With a distinct vision in mind, Kyd crafted an epic visual experience, creating a spaceship capsule set using props from Industrial Works. The result is a visually stunning journey that complements the song’s emotional depth.”

Asko | Nisis

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Marek Tyler is nêhiyaw and Scottish/Irish, and while his name is on the project, Asko is a gathering place of many collaborators and advisors. In some ways, Tyler is an oskâpêwis, listening deeply to the creative forces of his relatives. Asko‘s community doesn’t end here, though. Asko includes the kinetics of pow-wow dancers following the heartbeat of the big drum and embraces the choreography of prairie chickens telling the stories of the grasslands. It is the voice of the wind and the songs of the bright blue sky. Taking this all inside, Tyler responds with a creative offering in the form of a soundscape echoing nêhiyaw life and ways of living. Asko foregrounds these energies, inviting the listener into a rich gathering of the nêhiyaw creative practice across time and space, generations, and forms of life. On the first single Nisis, Tyler says, “câpân Harper told a story about learning our culture from family. I was 15 when my uncle showed me how to play a round dance rhythm, and 49 when another uncle taught me one of our family’s round dance songs.”

Scenic Route To Alaska | Lasts Forever

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Scenic Route To Alaska are sharing the title track from their upcoming album Lasts Forever, which arrives April 12. A prairie-pop bop, Lasts Forever captures the essence of a carefree road trip with infectious melodies and laid-back vibes. A cocktail of sun-kissed guitars, driving bass, cheeky drums, a twist of synth and lyrics that resonate like shared secrets, the single is an effortless blend of style and substance, inciting the fleeting magic of an endless summer. Born and raised in Edmonton, the trio of childhood best friends, Scenic Route to Alaska have been a consistent force in Canada’s music scene since 2011. With six albums already under their belt, the band (Trevor Mann, Shea Connor and Murray Wood) are gearing up for their seventh release. The upcoming album promises a matured yet light-hearted sound, weaving catchy melodies with Trevor’s vocals as they navigate through themes of love, loss, and nostalgia.”

Nia Nadurata | Could’ve Been

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nia Nadurata returns with new single Could’ve Been, a piano-driven ballad is a heartfelt journey into emotions of disappointment and the challenge of losing one’s true self while seeking validation from others. “Although easily misconstrued as a love song, Could’ve Been is really meant to be a cry for help as I am trying to navigate challenges like setting boundaries and contending with the pressures of societal norms,” Nia reflects. “Could’ve Been follows my heartfelt journey into the intricate emotions of disappointment and the challenge of temporarily losing sight of my true self while earnestly seeking validation from others. While the chorus, ‘I could have been whoever you wanted me to,’ captures the experience of reshaping my identity to align with external expectations, unintentionally compromising my self-worth and leading me to question my own convictions; the song ultimately delivers a sincere message: ‘Even still, I hope you’re happy…’ It serves as a genuine reflection on the universal pursuit of self-discovery and the yearning for authenticity.”

The Lucky Ones | Waitin’ On A Paycheque

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Yukon bluegrass band The Lucky Ones officially begin a new chapter with the release of their new EP A Nickel For The Fiddler. On the heels of two singles, Since The Farm Got Sold and Fools Gold, the group offer one more preview with Waiting On A Paycheck, a high-and-lonesome homage to their blue-collar roots that can be traced back to Jimmie Rodgers. A Nickel For The Fiddler was recorded on a hot Tuesday in August, when The Lucky Ones dropped into Ganaraska Recording Co., a studio east of Toronto run by Juno-winning multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner and guitarist Jimmy Bowskill (Sheepdogs, Blue Rodeo). Their motive was the time-honoured tradition of artists capturing lightning in a bottle while in the midst of a tour, and it indeed proved to be a highly productive day, with the five songs laid down live-off-the-floor now comprising the new EP.”

Amanda Jordan | You Don’t Wanna Know

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Country artist Amanda Jordan is pleased to share the official video for her newest single, You Don’t Wanna Know. Co-written by Amanda with Rick Huckaby, You Don’t Wanna Know is a soulful country single that warns of certain heartbreak for a new girl at the hands of a love she once had. Produced by Joël Bruyère, it is also the first track to arrive from the artist’s debut album arriving later this year. Amanda co-produced and co-directed the video along with Jeff Isy. “I wrote this song as a letter to another girl about a guy who just isn’t who he says he is,” she says. “In dating situations, I believe it’s important to watch for red flags, check your facts, and take warnings from other women seriously. When we’ve experienced a devastating heartbreak firsthand and see the same warning signs for someone else, this should be expressed. Women shouldn’t be afraid to speak up, have each other’s backs, and stick together.”

Chorus Of Courage | Burn It Down

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Bracebridge, Ontario’s survivor-led collaborative project Chorus of Courage are lifting the veil on the 10 tracks which make up Always By Your Side, a debut album that reflects and transmutes survivors’ lived experiences into rich and deeply honest songwriting. Through gathering survivors and songwriters during a summer retreat, the project’s organizers, including qualifying registered psychotherapist and singer-songwriter Cindy Doire, created a home to explore some of the most difficult experiences that one could imagine. Love, music, silence, acceptance, guidance, connection, and movement are key to Always By Your Side and its songs’ origins, which range from soulful empowerment (Alysha Brilla’s Shine), delicate reassurance (the Julian Taylor-penned Sweet Little Hummingbird), and the incendiary folk rock of Doire’s songwriting contribution to the record, Burn It Down.”

Jared Adams | Mystic Humanism (Acoustic)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Last November I ventured out down by the Seine River with Eric and Natalie of Fairy Ring and we discovered one of Winnipeg’s best kept secrets, an old rusted car!” says Adams. “I thought this car would be the perfect place shoot a video for Mystic Humanism since it kind of represents both rampant capitalism and out-of-control climate change, which is exactly what the song is about. It was such a pleasure to work with Eric and Natalie and I think they did a fantastic job on this video.”

Ghostly Kisses | Crimson

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Laced with significance and power, dream-pop sensation Ghostly Kisses have shared their latest hypnotic release, Crimson, in the lead up to their album Darkroom, set for release on May 17. Well-known for their enchanting slices of heaven, Ghostly Kisses called upon celebrated producer Oli Bayton for another unblemished display of other-worldly art. With Margaux Sauvé’s captivating vocals sitting at the forefront, Crimson delves into themes of individual rights and freedom, a message which holds momentous weight in today’s world. Held together with a percussive dreamscape speckled with orchestral elements, we are greeted with further glimpses of the upcoming album. “Crimson holds a special place for us within Darkroom, primarily due to the emotional depth of the themes it explores,” says Sauve. “Through the Box of Secrets, we received numerous revealing confessions of homosexuality, and the challenges individuals face in expressing or living their love due to familial or societal constraints. Crimson aims to be a broader reflection and claim on individual rights and freedom, also echoing events such as the tragic death of Mahsa Amini and the Iranian protest movement for women’s freedom.”

The Dirty Nil | Am I The Menace?

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Juno-winning rock trio The Dirty Nil are sharing Am I The Menace?, a new cut taken from the deluxe edition of Free Rein to Passions set for release on April 4. “When we cut this one and our producer John Goodmanson heard my lyrics, he laughed and called me a brat,” frontman Luke Bentham says, calling the song “a semi-sincere self-examination, compiled from observing others.” On Free Rein to Passions, The Dirty Nil followed their instincts down to the note to produce their most authentic work to date. They jammed away in their practice space for weeks, not overthinking anything or taking any external input. They didn’t sweat the small details or fret over transitions and arrangements. Less second guessing, more reckless abandon. It’s the same approach to rock they’ve taken since they were kids.”

Old Man Luedecke | The Raven And The Dove

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Today, two-time Juno winner Old Man Luedecke is sharing The Raven and the Dove, the third single from his upcoming Afie (Bahamas) Jurvanen-produced comeback album, She Told Me Where To Go. “There is a boogie breakdown in this song and a lot of good lines about relationships, says Luedecke. “This is a baggy corduroy trouser jam that is addressed to the floor of the Senate. Touching love poetry with a sick beat, it alludes to a global event that kept everyone indoors and a dependence on devices at our peril.” How did Old Man Luedecke go from touring the world with his banjo to suddenly giving it all up to work as a deckhand on a scallop boat, and abandoning his signature instrument? “I was just going over to my scallop farming neighbour’s house to get some scallops to have for dinner,” says Chris Luedecke. “Knowing that the live music world had slowed down, he asked me if I wanted a job on his boat.” And so, Luedecke accepted and began going out to sea in the North Atlantic, not far from his family home in rural Nova Scotia.”

Sue Decker | Keeping Time

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sue Decker’s rich and warm voice, distinctive slide guitar playing, and authentic songwriting make for a powerful combination. Her music inhabits the borderlands where blues, folk, country, and soul meet, now witnessed in her second album, Keeping Time. She collaborated with sought-after roots producer Steve Dawson to record at The Henhouse Studio in Nashville. In 2019, Sue had released her debut full-length album Outskirts of Love to international acclaim. Her latest single Hummingbird finds solace in nature. She explains, “In the first several weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had the precious experience of watching a hummingbird build her nest on a tree branch right outside my window, tend to the eggs, and feed the hatchlings. Then I got to see the little ones learn to fly. It helped me get through those bewildering and dark days.”

Neighbourhood Watch | Bones

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:The Neighbourhood Watch’s story-driven blend of folk and indie rock pulls on a personal experience with chronic illness and expresses that story in a way that resonates with people who are struggling with all kinds of illnesses — mental or physical. The Toronto band’s upcoming fourth album is a meditation on family, illness, and loving what life gives you nonetheless. New single Bones was inspired by the fun, garage-rock inspired indie-rock anthems that have become popular in the last few years: The Backseat Lovers, Briston Maroney and some earlier Cage the Elephant tracks served as major musical inspirations. Bones is a song about relapse and how your body can feel it coming on. The intuition that your body is about to give out again, after a prolonged period of health and stability.”

Adaline | If Something Is Good

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian queer alt-pop artist Adaline has independently released her anticipated new EP Hymnal. The EP features the powerfully vulnerable lead single Brave, the poignant Running On Empty, the honest and deeply vulnerable What Love Is All About and latest focus track If Something is Good. The latter is a song that asks that we take a closer look at the truths we cling to and question whether they are truly good. “It encourages us to fight for our valued connections,” shares Adaline. “That if a church, a God, a belief system is truly good, it won’t cause you to lose the people you love. Love doesn’t cause estrangement or force you to choose at the expense of another. Love doesn’t cause pain, loss, and confusion.”