Canadian Beacon | John Orpheus, Charlotte Day Wilson, Joan Smith & More New Homegrown Greatness

Truth be told, every Friday is pretty good in my book. This one, of course, is even better, because long weekend. But if you’d like to have the best Friday possible, just scroll down and get acquainted with this crop of excellent new videos and tracks from coast to coast to coast. Catch you on the flippity-flop:


John Orpheus | Get Right!

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Born and raised in Trinidad but based in Toronto, John Orpheus is a multicultural musician, author and performance artist. Get Right! is the title track introducing his new EP out on June 21, which combines his playfulness, fluency and affection for the past. Lush with hip-hop swagger and “whole school” vibes, he demonstrates an evolving set of tastes that maintains his vibe of welcoming in the whole diaspora: from dancehall to hip hop to funk to Afrobeats. Funky, fun, and wavy, John excitedly shares that the lead single is about: finding your swag, securing the bag, and eating well. It’s a party vibe with an old school funk energy reminding you to get up, get down and get right. The goal is to dance and shake off whatever is holding you back from your best and baddest self. Sauce is what you put on food to give it flavour. This tune is the sauce.”

Charlotte Day Wilson | Canopy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Day Wilson releases Canopy, the third single from her sophomore album Cyan Blue, out May 3. Canopy is stripped and poignant, addressing the shadowy burden of animosity. ‘It’s like a canopy all that hate, I’m above it, can’t live that way,’ Wilson sings in her understatedly elegant, brooding vocals on the song’s hook. The piercing single comes alongside an equally sleek and monochrome video, filmed by cinematographer Sylvain Chaussée and styled by Mellany Sanchez. The video features Wilson, a star hockey player in her own right, skating with a hockey stick in hand across vast expanses of ice. Canopy follows Wilson’s stark and devastatingly beautiful second single I Don’t Love You, a confessional that highlights Wilson’s immaculate production skills and that she says is “meant to remind us that losing love & leaving can be just as inspiring as finding it.”

Maddie Jay | Eckhaus Latta 

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Producer, artist, and multi-instrumentalist Maddie Jay has been writing and performing since she was a child in Smithers, B.C. — and has thrived in many diverse creative and collaborative settings since then. Her music has always been a powerful tool of self-actualization and expression, and has simmered alongside her travels for years. She truly feels she is at her best when she is sitting in her bedroom studio surrounded by synths, drum machines and guitars, twisting knobs and pouring her heart into her computer. Of the new single Eckhaus Latta, she says, “In the last few years I was touring really heavily and I was being exposed to lots of high fashion and luxury spaces while feeling completely unequipped to be there. There was a lot of anxiety in me around the feeling of belonging — I was subtly molding what I was wearing, my taste in food and music, my headspace, even my demeanor, to allow me to feel comfortable in these spaces. I dated this older guy who I felt held the key to navigating this world. He told me all of his ex girlfriends owned the Eckhaus Latta baby T and I took that data to heart.”

Sunshine Express | Unshine

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Experimentation is the soul of Sunshine Express, one of the most prolific bands to emerge from Niagara’s fast-growing alternative scene. MattUU (vocals & guitar), JassChau (sampler) and AidanR (bass) embody an unorthodox pioneering spirit with colourful songs, striking visuals and a dazzling, electronic approach to rock ’n’ roll. On Unshine, Sunshine Express’ audacious new single, the band further embraces their affinity for live recording, enlisting drummer Justin Dobbelsteyn to push spontaneity and experimentation to the max. MattUU delivers dry-humour nihilism — first slow, then fast, then faster — with anthemic zeal. An icy, warped piano cuts through a turbulent rock instrumental — first frenetic, then dizzying, then kaleidoscopic.”

Shalli | Freezing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Pop-oriented R&B singer and songwriter Shalli exudes an authentic storytelling talent that conveys both vulnerability and strength. Born in Canada from Dominican and Jamaican parents, she began composing music at a young age. Her unique and powerful voice has captivated the hearts and minds of countless souls worldwide. A survivor of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, Shalli took that experience and channeled it into her songwriting. Since then, she has had a successful presence online, releasing 14 singles that have garnered millions of organic streams. The fusion is deep in Freezing, a new single that encompasses modern Afrobeat from West Africa, R&B from America and dancehall in the lyrical approach. Explosive, danceable and contagious — it’s a perfect display of the undeniable vibe that only Shalli brings.”

A Short Walk To Pluto | Hopeless

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:A Short Walk To Pluto have developed a tremendous social media presence through TikTok and Instagram, where the Torontonians regularly debut original music and covers of well-known classics. It was through that online presence that the quartet was discovered and endorsed by Howard Stern on his radio show. Their new single Hopeless mimics a panic attack, conjuring anger, pressure and fear in the struggle to cope with the intensity of one’s emotions. In the midst of this, there exists a longing for support and understanding from others, and a hope that loneliness might soon end.”

Bad Buddy | Q.B.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Bad Buddy is the musical collaboration between Emily Bachynski (vocals, guitar), Andrea Vissia (guitar, vocals) and Geoffrey Hamdon-O’Brien (drums). The band is a genre-defying musical spectacle, casually time traveling from wartime boogie-woogie bops, to glitterball heartbreak slow dances, to eye-gushing punk bloodbaths. The Edmonton band launched their career in 2016. The electric energy of the live show is amplified by the exceptional songwriting ability possessed by the band. Self-identifying as “Motown-surf-punk,” Bad Buddy command attention, painting powerful, sonic pictures drawn from real-life inspirations. Q.B. marks the first co-write between Andi and Bad Buddy’s main songwriter, Bachynski. Andi wrote this song during a significant period of change when she was feeling insecure about her abilities as a musician and felt judged by people who she thought were going to be supportive.”

Jackie & Her Brother | You’ve Changed

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The band name Jackie & Her Brother aptly describes the new Toronto-based duo. Jackie and Mark Andrade make emotional, reflective music from their home studio with a DIY sound and aesthetic. Eight years apart in age, in a relationship impacted by years of familiarity and family dynamics, it was later in life that the siblings decided to work on several songs that had sat unfinished and forgotten. With a shared love for catchy, pop-inspired sounds that they listened to across different decades, their debut single You’ve Changed uses ’80s-inspired emotionally charged production to explore the fears and inevitability of growing up. Written together, this coming of age track features Jackie on vocals and synth with Mark on guitar, drums, and bass.”

Joan Smith & the Jane Does | Diet Rock

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Write a song about eating disorders and how you feel inferior to other more attractive and ambitious women — but make it fun!” Joan told herself for some reason when she wrote Diet Rock. This song was recorded in November 2023 at Stereobus Recording in Winnipeg.”

Owen Marchildon | Heavy Dreams

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Owen Marchildon is a songwriter and guitarist who has been part of the Toronto music scene since 2002. His creative output has been prolific. Since 2005, he’s released 10 albums, one EP and several singles under four different monikers: Purple Hill, Rough Skeletons, Marchildon! and High Wasted. 2024 will see him releasing music under his own name. The first single, Heavy Dreams, is a jangle-pop love letter, a musical marriage of hook driven guitars, and the silvery sentiments of Big Star. Longtime bandmates and collaborators Jordan Bruce and Brent Hough spread out the sound, complementing the style, imagination and fabric of Owen’s songwriting. Owen explains the intimate story behind his single: “There was a time in my life when nothing was more beautiful to me than a Big Star song. You could say I was very much alone with music. Maybe not the healthiest choice. That all changed when I met Kaitlin. I had finally found my sounding board, my purveyor of all things positive. This is a love song for my best friend. Written after our wedding day, all the moments leading up to it, and knowing that I was no longer alone.”