Canadian Beacon | Homeshake, Deep Dark Woods, Begonia & More New Homegrown Essentials

Sometimes the middle is the best place to be. Like today — here we are, smack-dab in the bittersweet center of another cruel and unforgiving week. And what the hell do we have to show for it? Well, we have this outstanding collection of new videos and singles from some of Canada’s finest. So quit yer bellyachin’. See you on the other side:


Homeshake | Nothing 2 See

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Homeshake — the long-running solo project of Toronto musician Peter Sagar —  will release his second album of 2024, Horsie, on June 28. Today brings the lead single Nothing 2 See. Following March’s CD Wallet, Horsie was written and recorded at his home studio and explores Sagar’s complicated feelings about returning to live performance. Deepening his relationship to loneliness and anxiety, the record examines those themes in the context of touring and the road. To that end, Horsie shows the influence of artists like Four Tet and My Bloody Valentine, the rhythmic forms of D’Angelo and Sade, and moments of ambient Americana found in the works of Ry Cooder. He maintains a philosophy of “less is more,” finding the simplest route from one point to another. Nothing 2 See finds Sagar attempting to hide in plain sight, moving through crowds at his shows and daydreaming of the peace and quiet at the end of the night. The song is accompanied by a video directed by Jim Larson which situates this mood through a small cult at a Palm Springs mansion.”

The Deep Dark Woods | Bridget O’Malley

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Juno-nominated group The Deep Dark Woods just released their new LP Broadside Ballads Vol. III, an eight-song record that lends a familiar melancholic warmth to traditional folk songs spanning centuries and continents. Today they share the video for the album track Bridget O’Malley. Songwriter Ryan Boldt says, “Bridget O’Malley is another Irish tune that I first heard from the Scottish group Silly Wizard, off of their record So Many Partings produced by the great Scottish traditional singer and songwriter Archie Fisher. The song was collected by the fiddle player and song collector Peter Kennedy in 1953, from the Irish singer Hudai ó Duibheanaigh. I believe the song was translated from Irish to English by Phil and John Cunningham of Silly Wizard. But it’s hard to find out who actually translated it. The Irish name is Brid Óg Ni Mhaille. I heard a beautiful version done by the English singer June Tabor with two fiddle players, playing almost a Renaissance or baroque-type version, I wanted to do that, so I got my string arranger Marie Grigoryeva to come up with a wonderful arrangement for the violin, viola and cello.”

Kaïa Kater | The Witch

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Grenadian-Canadian musician Kaïa Kater is revealing The Witch, a track from her upcoming album Strange Medicine. “I have been fascinated with old Puritan tales about witch burnings and scarlet letters for a long time,” explains Kater. “I specifically wanted to write about the way men historically have branded women as temptresses, harlots, sirens and shrews, and then sought to reflect this visually — the letter A for adulteress, the burning of flesh to symbolize evil. The first woman labeled a witch in Salem was a Black woman by the name of Tituba. Usually these women died nameless and scorned. In my narrative, the woman who is branded a witch and burned at the stake survives her pilgrim’s punishment, and now seeks her revenge on those who sought to destroy her.”

Luka Kuplowsky & The Ryōkan Band | Fugitive Song (A Response To Rainer Maria Rilke) 

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recently, Luka Kuplowsky announced his new album, How Can I Possibly Sleep When There Is Music, an enchanting double LP that extends his interest with improvisational ensembles and live recording. Alongside Alex Lukashevsky, Anh Phung, Evan Cartwright, Felicity Williams, Josh Cole and Philippe Melanson, and helmed by luminary Toronto producer Sandro Perri, Kuplowsky and The Ryōkan Band craft a singular sound of spaciousness, experimentation and unbridled expressiveness that traverses traditions of spiritual jazz, folk and blues. Today, he’s sharing another track from the album: Fugitive Song (A Response To Rainer Maria Rilke), an ode to the mystic Austrian poet. Kuplowsky describes his process for the song’s responsive mode: “The first few lines of Sonnet 3 from Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus floored me. A song quickly emerged that carved its own path and thoughts on lyricism, creative practice and the poet’s task. The Fugitive Song is an ambivalent hook, but to me it signals the elusive, ungraspable inspiration that brushes against our collective music-making.”

Ken Tizzard & Music For Goats | Barstools & Broken Hearts

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I am once again looking to release another album of original music with the current lineup of Music For Goats; Neil Lucy (guitar), Ken Grant (bass), Dave Lawrence (drums) and Steve Dagg (RIP – drums),” says Watchmen bassist Ken Tizzard. “This album titled The Dagg Sessions celebrates the songs created before Steve was diagnosed with cancer. After a year long battle of treatments Steve passed away in the winter of 2023. We had recorded the drums for the entire record in September before Steve’s illness was terminal… As for style of this record, I have to say it fits in with the Americana genre pretty well as if combines folk, country, rock and pop into a collection of songs that once again document a time and place in my own personal history.”

Charlotte Day Wilson | My Way + Cyan Blue

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Today, Toronto singer, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Charlotte Day Wilson releases two new singles — My Way and Cyan Blue, from her highly anticipated sophomore album Cyan Blue out May 3. Soul-baring and poetic, My Way evokes desire with refined lyricism and Charlotte’s hallowed, resonant vocals. Inspired by the blue-green hue of Wilson’s irises, the album’s title track Cyan Blue is a stripped-back and transcendent ballad, embodying the record’s emotional and sonic palette. Both tracks arrive with lyrical visualizers that render an exquisite ocean of sound. Cyan Blue finds Wilson crafting a smoothly woven cyan tapestry of her eternal influences; thumping gospel piano, warm soul basslines, atmospheric electronics, and penetrating R&B melodies. Yet it possesses a sense of vastness that rings in a new era for Wilson, one in which she’s embracing collaboration and newfound creative openness tinged with wistfulness and yearning and a reflection on youthful innocence.”

Adrian Sutherland | My Rebel Spirit

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Northern Canadian roots-rocker-with-heart Adrian Sutherland is pleased to release a mesmerizing video for his song My Rebel Spirit, from his recently released sophomore album Precious Diamonds. The song, strong in both melody and message, stems from Sutherland’s self-discovery about staying true to oneself: “I’ve felt like an outsider at different times in my life, and the spirit in me has always been slightly rebellious. I’ve come to realize that being a rebel or an outsider is not such a bad thing. Just stay true to yourself, and you’ll stay on the right path,” says Sutherland. This sentiment is captured perfectly in the animated music video through the journey of a musician, played by actor Jordan Talledo, searching for someplace he belongs. With ‘magical appearances’ by legendary harmonica player Mickey Raphael helping to guide the young man’s way, the story is about having a dream — and finding the inspiration to pursue it.”

The Neighbourhood Watch | Lifeline

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto act The Neighbourhood Watch create a story-driven blend of folk and indie rock that has culminated in millions of streams and strong recognition from national music outlets. They are now ready to release their fourth album: A meditation on family, illness, and loving what life gives you nonetheless. The new single Lifeline is a reflection on vocalist/guitarist Tristan Surman’s experience with a chronic auto-immune disease that really wreaked havoc on his life between 2021-2022. Because of the illness, Surman had to give up a lot of who he thought he was going to be. He had to accept that this was going to be with him for the rest of his life. He had to dance with the disease rather than push it out. Our society is still stuck in the mindset of “overcoming” or “succumbing” — but that’s not the only story we need. Chronic and mental illness just live alongside us, our entire lives, like a shadow. Sometimes they become overwhelming to the point we cannot think of anything else. Sometimes they fade to the background. But we have to find a way to accept that.”

Begonia | Get To You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Begonia, aka Alexa Dirks, is not slowing down after celebrating the one year anniversary of her critically acclaimed sophomore album Powder Blue, which secured a spot on the 2023 Polaris Music Prize Shortlist and earned her a 2024 Juno nomination. Powder Blue explored self discovery and challenging personal beliefs; in her upcoming EP Open Swim, she continues that journey by exploring communication with candour and sincerity. Alexa describes the EP as a project that “encompasses the feeling of working through conflict and the elation that can surface when you’re honest with others and ultimately yourself. Sometimes in the process you can feel like you’re swimming for your life through choppy water but on the other side there is the feeling of relief, like floating on your back in the sun.” Open Swim will be released July 17. Get To You, the first single, begins by unspooling a story about longing to connect with someone. Alexa states “this song is about trying to get through to someone you can’t seem to get through to. When you feel like you’re constantly showing someone who you are and they can’t or don’t want to see it.”

Lois Fisher-Underwood | Patchwork

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Lois is a singer-songwriter from the beautiful prairie province of Saskatchewan. She has released the albums $6000 Doors and Every Song On The Radio and the EP Anywhere You Are. With musical influences from gospel to Serena Ryder and Johnny Cash to Joan Jett, Lois blends her own unique life perspective, and percussive guitar style with honest lyrics that can pack an emotional punch. Lois is a storyteller with a witty, playful wisdom. She is the friend you are sharing an evening with over a glass of wine, or cup of tea. She is crazy enough to write personal songs that somehow connect with others, and she loves a song that makes you dance, laugh, cry and consider.”