Canadian Beacon | Mawzy, His His, Asko & More New Homegrown Sounds

There’s been a lot of jibber-jabber lately about Burton Cummings preventing the controversial (but fittingly named) current lineup of The Guess Who from playing his songs. My two cents: 1 | They’re his property (well, his and Randy Bachman’s, mostly), so he can do what he wants — and everyone else can like it or lump it; 2 | I presume The Guess Who can still play the songs Cummings didn’t write — including everything from their two recent albums of new original fare. If those tunes aren’t good enough to keep them employed, well, tough noogies. Personally, I’d like to hear what Bachman has to say about all this, since Mr. Takin’ Care Of Business generally doesn’t act like a guy who willingly leaves money on the table. While you wait for the next shoe to drop in this soap opera, check out these new tunes from some Canadians who (far as I know) aren’t trying to stop anybody from doing anything with their music.


Mawzy | Start Again

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Mawzy is the brainchild of songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Cooke. Through earnest storytelling, Mawzy lyrics capture the unnavigability of life and romance in his city, Toronto. His use of crafted melodies and lush synthesizers work together to create the trademark Mawzy sound. Start Again is about giving love a second chance. The lyrics describe a day spent with a past partner, walking through the city, saying things that were never said, and reconnecting to start again. There is a shared sentiment between the two that things were never quite finished and to make things work it would require honesty and a fresh start. Sonically, this song pulls from ’70s influences like Steely Dan and Fleetwood Mac, and features the vocals of Kirty of Fast Romantics.”

His His | Outside

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:His His is the recording project of Toronto artist Aidan Belo. He combines elements of Greenwich Village-inspired folk, contemporary indie folk and lo-fi analog production to create something honest and melancholic. Today, he shares the single Outside, which “started out as a little chord loop from an Omnichord that I got at an auction,” says Belo. “I added guitars, bass, drums, ran them through my cassette deck and was sitting on this instrumental track for a while. This winter, I was hanging out with my bandmate at his place in Parkdale after a band practice. We then went to a bar called Pharmacy and at the end of the night I was going to call an Uber home but it was a bit expensive ($50 or so) because of the snowstorm that had just started. I ended up walking about an hour and a half home, trudging through the snow. At some point in the walk I came up with the vocal melody that would become Outside. I got home, partially thawed, and in a frenzy, tracked the vocals and wrote the lyrics. It’s about walking through what felt like a completely empty city at the time and reflecting on some of my friends who have left Toronto for good.”

Asko | Nikâwîs

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Asko, the new project from Marek Tyler, will release his upcoming self-titled album on Sept. 9. Following the lead single Nisis, Tyler is sharing Nikâwîs, of which he says: “Nikâwîs (aunt) câpân Harper told a story about family responsibilities. This summer, we lost our late aunt on Mom’s side. As our uncle explains, to help our mom’s sister take the next step, we refer to her not by name but by kâkî-kahwîsiyan (our late aunt on mom’s side). Mom noted that after someone’s passing, we don’t refer to individuals by their name at all because kinship terms are used regularly. But nowadays, people will, after one year, preface the person’s name with late-. Two years ago, kâkî-kahwîsiyan shared her story of dancing fancy with me. She said, ‘When I danced, I tried to carve through the air like an eagle.’ This song is for the aunties and nieces and their courage to dance, to be seen, be okimâw (the boss).”

Myriam Gendron | Terres Brûlées

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following the recent announcement of her new album Mayday, due May 10, Myriam Gendron has shared the single Terres Brûlées. Sung entirely in French, her stately voice resounds over a solemn guitar arpeggio, with her own guitar bolstered by guitarist Marisa Anderson moving in tandem. Throughout, double bass Cédric Dind-Lavoie and drummer Jim White add flurries of tension and momentum to the song’s resolute march. “This song represented one of the biggest writing challenges I’ve ever faced,” she says. “Initially, I had a melody in my head. I came up with a chord progression that I played for days and days, humming my melody, unable to find the words. Obviously, I was dealing with a text in alexandrines. It’s a very intimidating form, associated in my mind with classical or romantic French poetry. I really couldn’t just say anything, I had to pull out all the stops, dare to be lyrical, pretend I was Baudelaire or Léo Ferré! And that’s what I did, letting the symbols take over. The additions of the guest musicians really enriched the song, which became a genuine soundscape. I’m not quite sure what the song’s about: I’d say there’s the idea of a ravaged landscape, a slightly post-apocalyptic atmosphere, but also a force of life that persists and seeks to express itself through the ruins of time. It is perhaps this force that has guided me over the past year. A few months after writing the song, the news of the fires ravaging Canada cast a different light on the lyrics. It seems that words always escape us.”

Old Man Luedecke | Dreadful Wind And Rain

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Next month, two-time Juno winner Old Man Luedecke will release his upcoming Bahamas-produced album She Told Me Where To Go. Today, he’s sharing the fourth single from the album, Dreadful Wind And Rain. “It is a song about the end of travelling and the end of a couple’s fight,” says Luedecke. “The sunny morning when the big clouds are breaking up and moving off. A great Buffalo Springfield-like guitar solo, and the tune is short enough to play twice as a double shot for a good moment of driving.” She Told Me Where To Go is a journey through the darkness and light of mid-life. The songs wrestle, long form, with the value of an artist in a time when music is ingested in 15-second increments.”

Grizzly Coast | Sweet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the imaginative yet highly analytical mind of Alannah Kavanagh comes Grizzly Coast, a Toronto musical project blending dreamy indie-rock instrumentation with introspective pop lyricism. Grizzly Coast’s songwriting successfully blends dreamy guitar-rock sensibilities with their trademark thoughtful lyricism. Sweet is a song for the sentimental. Born from a dream out of the blue about someone Alannah knew as a teenager, it got her thinking about how you don’t have to be in touch with someone to remember them fondly. Sonically, Sweet is filled with ambient and shimmering textures that mirror the dreamlike state that inspired the song.”

Dan Mangan | Find New Ways

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dan Mangan is sharing the bouncy new single Find New Ways, which — bluntly put — is “about haunting my wife should I happen to die first,” he says. “The idea that even death can’t help our relationship from evolving and unfolding in new and unexpected ways. Lustful love is part of the journey, but most of a life together is actually about friendship. It’s about having a person. And not just staying with that person because you said you would, but finding new ways to appreciate their contribution to your life.” It comes from his Juno-nominated album Being Somewhere, a combative plea for mercy from a manic world and its effects on the psyche. “I wanted this album to feel like the inside crook of a familiar elbow on the nape of your neck, a comforting embrace” says Mangan. “These songs are tenderhearted and unfurl like an overdue conversation with a dear friend. They essentially lay out where we’re at, how I’m doing, and how I think I can help.”

Somber Seas | Anchored

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A band deeply influenced by the tidal waters of the Canadian Northwest Coast, Somber Seas fuse indie-rock with celestial synth inspirations, creating a captivating sound that invokes thoughts of an otherworldly habitat. Formed in Prince Rupert (and now based in Vancouver), the band constantly strive to bend genres, tackling new inspirations as they come.”

Keira Gray | After You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Keira Gray grew up in Red Earth Creek, Alberta before eventually moving to Faust. She has aspired to be a singer since she was a little girl listening to Ariana Grande, Rihanna and Christina Aguilera. Most of her time was spent teaching herself to sing their songs. Keira currently lives in Slave Lake, where she works as a server. When she’s not working, you can find her collaborating with other music professionals writing songs and recording music to share with the world. Her new single After You was inspired from a personal experience that Keira has since moved on from. It was very therapeutic to express her feelings at that time.”

Emmett Jerome | Goodbye Trouble

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “One of the most exciting young musicians to come out of Western Canada, Emmett Jerome has established himself as a captivating performer with a world-weary voice wise beyond his years. Rooted in the old-school troubadour tradition, he has traveled coast to coast, chasing songs and soaking up stories along the way. With a bluesman’s heart and a traveler’s soul, Emmett welcomes listeners into a world where tradition and youth collide. His debut single Goodbye Trouble is lifted from the upcoming Rocky Mountain Son EP, set for release later this year. The song was written for a friend of Emmett’s who passed unexpectedly from a drug overdose — someone he never considered might’ve been struggling with mental illness or drug abuse — and hears him coming to terms with both his own naivete and the reality of mental illness.”

Waash | It’s A Lie

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Waash — the latest, pop-refining project from prolific Vancouver songwriter Andrew Bishop — previews his upcoming self-titled album with the single It’s A Lie, a smooth, laid-back statement on putting up boundaries as a form of self-care. Following the shoegaze slant of his self-titled 2023 EP, It’s A Lie is more of a synth-crystalized bop, which points to the broader experimentation Bishop brings to his next LP. “You’re probably going to think these are breakup tunes,” Bishop says — though he adds pieces like It’s A Lie are more generalized than purely romantic. “It’s really just about standing up for what you need out of a relationship, and making sure you’re getting what’s important to you. And if it’s not reciprocal, then you go. No harm done.”