Canadian Beacon | Brandy Zdan, Major Love, Super Duty Tough Work & More New Homegrown Quality

They (whoever they are) say that more than 100,000 tunes are uploaded to music streaming sites every single day. I don’t know how many of those are by Canadians. But I do know this: The best ones can be found right here, right now. Take it from me:


Brandy Zdan | Hell No! (Live)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I give you a new tune live before it’s even out on record,” announces former Winnipeg (and longtime Nashville) singer-songwriter Brandy Zdan. “Hell No! Live (was) recorded by Jace Kayarte at the historic Basement in Nashville. What is rock ’n’ roll to me? A song that says something. A good guitar riff. A killer band. Sweat. Energy. No f*cks given. It’s just the beginning of drops every month this spring and summer. I hope you are here for it. share and let me know what you think. lastly, TURN IT UP!”

Mike Evin | Dancing To Sir Duke

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “For over 15 years, with his heart on his sleeve, Mike Evin has been writing immediate and disarming piano pop songs with adventurous melodies that live inside you. Joyful new single Dancing To Sir Duke encapsulates the wide-eyed spirit of his music and comes in tandem with the announcement of his seventh album, Something Stirs When You Sing, out Aug. 23. Produced by Chris Stringer (Timber Timbre, Abigail Lapell), Dancing To Sir Duke is vibrant, soul-infused and chock full of handclaps and doo-wop vocals. The song is inspired by his childhood days discovering music on his Fisher-Price record player. “I’m a big fan of using an evocative title as a starting point for writing a song. This title felt like it could be a painting or photograph. The chorus came pretty quickly, and it felt amazing — I knew I had something. But it took a year for the rest of the song to reveal itself to me. I had many versions on the go. It took a lot of patience to wait and get the song boiled down to its essence.”

Ray Henderson | Voice

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “A tough-sensitive singer-songwriter from northern Ontario, Ray Henderson combines the darkness of Johnny Cash, the storytelling of Kris Kristofferson and the gravitas of John Prine. Equal parts country, roots rock, blues and gospel, Henderson’s debut full-length album Broke Down in Bala captures his lightning in a bottle. The focus track Voice came to him in a dream. “I saw my lady across the water,” he explains. “She was looking for me and calling my name but couldn’t hear my reply. My voice was gone because… I guess I just didn’t fit in with the real musicians and naysayers… my own underconfidence. Then I met the positive lady in the song, so it was her belief in me that gave me strength and just kept me writing.”

Major Love | For The Long Run

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “ ‘In these times of trouble when I long to feel some comfort, well, I think of you.’ The opening line of Major Love’s fifth single For The Long Run — the lead track off their sophomore album Live, Laugh, Major Love — is a confession with a universal longing at its centre. It asks the question — ‘If I’m totally honest, if I’m truly myself, will I still be loved and accepted?’ Lead singer-songwriter Colleen Brown explains: “During lockdowns, I think we were all experiencing some form of longing. A lot of us felt really isolated. Maybe we were single and hadn’t touched another human in a year. Some of us were in bubbles or family units, but felt totally alienated from them. It wasn’t just physical isolation, but also the sense that humanity was splintering, along with a shared sense of reality and belonging. Many of us were losing people to conspiracy theories, seeing people we love suddenly spouting hateful rhetoric. And then some of those people would try to turn it around on us, accusing us of the same thing… it can break your brain, if you don’t have deep moral conviction behind your beliefs.”

This Mad Desire & Da Fingaz | Ready For The Weekend

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:This Mad Desire is Mackenzie Kristjon’s rock ’n’ roll brand, specializing in indie-rock that has been described as “like Neil Young on David Bowie drugs.” Kristjon is an Icelandic-Canadian songwriter and author who operates in the Toronto-Hamilton area. Ready For The Weekend is a collaboration between Kristjon and Marcus Manderson aka Da Fingaz. The two met at an online music industry event and discussed a collaboration. Manderson provided instrumentals for a real swinging R&B/disco vibe so Kristjon wanted to accentuate that party atmosphere. To get there, he added a dreamlike, almost psychedelic bridge where we could hear our various participants musing about their future weekend plans before we launch into the final choruses. He also added some really upfront, funky bass to increase the Shake Your Booty quotient.”

Billie Zizi | A Picture Of A Picture

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Edmonton singer-songwriter Billie Zizi is sharing her first new music since 2016, the dreamy and transcendent A Picture Of A Picture, a song which she wrote early on in the pandemic as she pondered the “ephemeral nature of existence.” Co-produced with close friend Austin Parachoniak, A Picture Of A Picture couples pedal steel guitar careening high to exemplify the searching nature of Zizi’s gentle vocals, along with emotional and experimental guitar playing by Parachoniak. “It’s about searching for the lost memory of love and finding it only in fragmented shadows,” Zizi explains of the song’s themes. “Like a ghost, longing paces the imprint of the heart and lives in the recesses of one’s mind, dull and intractable, a diffused grief — aka, when you break up and you can barely remember their smile but you’re longing for that ecstasy in the sunshine, that young love feeling, oblivion.”

Super Duty Tough Work | Watershedding

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After releasing their mission statement-esque debut full length Paradigm Shift in 2023, Winnipeg’s Super Duty Tough Work expand on this thought by releasing the instrumental version of the record, accompanied by the B-side Watershedding and two tracks from their debut record Studies in Grey. Paradigm Shift Extended arrives June 7. Watershedding is a smooth yet haunting, forward-moving yet relaxed offering, filled in typical Super Duty Tough Work fashion with sparse yet tasteful staticky piano and lyrics so layered, you’ll be looking for the footnotes to catch every reference. Navigating a new era, Watershedding finds frontman Brendan Grey drawing on the past as he tries to make sense of the present, lamenting on everything from mind reading algorithms and corporations supporting genocide, to the effect all of the above has on one’s psyche. Despite the despair, Grey maintains his wit (“My style is like the Black Adder meets the Black Panthers”), focus (“Each move made with a purpose, stay watching like closed circuits…”) and commitment to his listeners and the art (“So when I rhyme it’s sincerely yours”).”

Harry Lee Follon | Won’t Say Goodbye

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “With his thick grey beard and ubiquitous wide-brimmed hat, Harry Lee Follon looks like a man transplanted from a previous century. But that timeless image is the ideal reflection of his music — pure, honest songs that are as emotionally resonant in 2024 as they would have been in 1924. On his new EP Uncle’s Lament, out June 21, Follon bares his soul on five songs, accompanied by pedal steel guitarist Chris Hierlihy and fiddler Ally Corbett, a marked change from his prior work with his band Uncle Harry & the Kickstands. “In 2021, I lost my mom, and there’s no denying she is all over these tunes,” Follon says. “My mother loved music, and she will always be a major influence on me — and my music. These songs are all about love and loss.” While that’s certainly true of the EP’s first single Won’t Say Goodbye, it’s still hard not to be uplifted by Follon’s vocal performances and his natural ease at crafting memorable melodies. The overall feeling while listening to Uncle’s Lament is something close to sitting in a front parlour enjoying good friends playing music together.”

Ouri | Baby Has A Frown

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal producer and multi-instrumentalist Ouri returns with her new single Baby Has A Frown. Pulling from her background as a cellist, harpist, and intent lover of reimagined dance music, Baby Has A Frown provides insight into the musical landscape in which Ouri currently finds herself. “This song is an infinite dance of polarities,” she says. “I wanted it to feel like a mantra and a choreographed pursuit. A slow and deep euphoria playing on loop in your head… I’m accelerating into this new sonic world where all my sides merge as one.” The new single comes after her highly praised debut album Frame Of A Fauna was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize. Baby Has A Frown also follows her bt002: self-hypnosis tape and joint project with Helena Deland titled Hildegard.”

Erik Lankin | No Escape By Land Or Sea But The Air And The Sky Are Free

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal neoclassical composer/producer Erik Lankin is sharing No Escape By Land Or Sea But The Air And The Sky Are Free, the third single from his forthcoming debut The Icarus Album. The title is the only quote by Daedalus from the Edith Hamilton rendition of the myth. He is declaring his intent to escape the labyrinth of his own creation by flying to freedom. The music reflects this hubris with an orchestral swell halfway through and then is followed by a somber recapitulation as the omniscient narrator foreshadows the doomed nature of the flight. Erik’s highly anticipated The Icarus Album uses music to reinterpret the myth of Icarus and Daedalus as a metaphor for losing his father to mental illness. Flowing between grief and torment to find places of hope, triumph and healing, Erik’s music reflects his personal journey of coping with loss and finding meaning in what he creates. His work is a testament to his talent, passion and courage as a composer.”