Canadian Beacon | Cross Dog, Leif Vollebekk, Joel Plaskett & More New Swellness

It’s Friday. It’s Bob Dylan’s birthday. It’s the end of a short work week up here — and the start of a long weekend down south. How do you improve on all that? Easy — you toss in a slate of great new singles and videos from some supremely talented Canadians. Let’s hit it, git it and quit it:


Cross Dog | Jane Roe

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Cross Dog are a noisy, experimental, bass-driven punk band from Peterborough. Their music is played at ear-splitting volume, but the band’s socially conscious messaging cuts through the noise loud and clear. Formed in 2013, the intentional omission of a guitarist from the lineup leaves Cross Dog lacking absolutely nothing. Affirming the power in the rule of three, Tracy A (vocals), Mark Rand (bass) and Mikey Reid (drums) explode with a multiplicative force that betrays the finite bounds of their instrumental limitations. Their second release from their upcoming LP is the politically charged Jane Roe. The moniker is used here to represent every single person who is forced to fight for their reproductive rights and access to abortions. Their new LP All Hard Feelings is out June 7. “I wrote this song as someone who has been saved by this choice; as someone who has witnessed what happens to unwanted or underserved children in our society; as someone who believes that forced birth is morally wrong,” says Tracy A. “It is intended to be an anthem of solidarity, strength, and empowerment.”

Leif Vollebekk | Moondog

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leif Vollebekk will release his new album Revelation on Sept. 27. The 11 tracks on Revelation combine narrative lyrics and many one-take lead vocal performances with cinematic arrangements, gorgeous sonics, well-placed space and lush orchestration. His songwriting process was inspired by an exploration that began with Carl Jung and the I Ching, and continued into alchemy and the mystery of the divine. The final result is at once organic, earthy and celestial, with themes of nature — water, astral constellations, mortality — woven into a meditation on living in an ever-changing present laced with existential doubt, the search for a higher power. Moondog offers firm proof of this juxtaposition with its “meditation on love,” fateful meetings, family, and magic, with a lyrical nod to “tessellation” (a pattern of geographic shapes covering a surface). The video was directed by longtime collaborator Kaveh Nabatian and was filmed in Norway.”

Waash | Frozen

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Waash — the latest, pop-refining project from Vancouver songwriter Andrew Bishop — preview their upcoming self-titled full-length with the single Frozen. The soaring, synth-coursing statement on putting up boundaries as a form of self-care. Following the shoegaze slant of Waash’s similarly self-titled 2023 EP, Frozen is more of an electronics-forward take on ’80s pop, which points to the broader electronic experimentation Bishop brought to his next LP. While it’s an aesthetically smooth stream, the single also stirs up Bishop’s thoughts on some interpersonal strife. Frozen was the last track written for the record. Not only was it the last song written, it took many shapes and forms along the way. Initially, Bishop left the demo pretty stripped down, planning on building it up in the studio. Sometimes you just want to save some of that magic for the moment. The lyrics were co-written with Courtney Ewan Hancock, Bishop’s longtime partner in pop-rock outfit Twin River.”

Sunsetto | Green Txts

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Few musical artists have the ability to capture today’s zeitgeist the way Sunsetto does. While his sound is full-on forward-thinking pop — pulling from an all-over-the-map list of genres such as dance, rap, R&B and modern country — his lyrical themes dip and twist from the joyful to the profound. His previous single Plans laid the foundation for his emotionally charged next chapter in music; now he’s following up with Green Txts. “I’m a ’90s baby so we’ve seen the birth of social media, and we are a bridge between the IRL and URL generations,” Sunsetto says. The nostalgic song was written about losing friends — the feeling you get when you try to reach out to someone after a while and you realize they’ve changed their number and are just not the same person anymore.”

Brayden Bell | What If (ft. Amelie Patterson)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Brayden Bell is an indie-folk producer nd songwriter with ballroom gravitas and campfire-folk relatability, gearing up to release his EP Box Office Bomb on June 21. Bell’s considerate songwriting pulls truth in detail from the luminosity of everyday emotional directives, like dandelions growing through the sidewalk. The Canadian’s soaring falsetto brings a sensitivity to a contemporary Midwest-emo phrasebook, a Hozier filmstock captured through a Julien Baker lens. We’ve all experienced those dream-like relationships that felt almost too good to be true. And oftentimes, they turned out to be just that. But what if things were different? What if this time, you finally got it right? What If, featuring Amelie Patterson, is about holding onto hope and not over-complicating a good thing. After all, everyone deserves to find genuine happiness in love. Bell co-wrote it with Patterson, Michaela Slinger and Cassidy Mann.”

Joel Plaskett | Rainy Day Janey

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Just gimme a couple hours, and Jane, I’ll be outta your hair,” sings Joel Plaskett on Rainy Day Janey, the languorous, waltzing lead single from his upcoming record One Real Reveal. “When there’s a break in the showers, I’ll start walking there.” One gets the feeling that Jane might’ve had other plans, but begrudging affection leads her to humour the weary traveller. While Jane is snoring in the other room, the traveller wakes up and slips out, full of gratitude for the hospitality. In the morning, it’s almost like he wasn’t there — save for some boot prints near the side door. It was recorded on an old Tascam four-track cassette machine last fall with a single Telefunken microphone and with banjo, six-string and tenor guitars.”

Dani Nash | Ordinary Love + Anything At All

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Toronto’s Dani Nash has a passion for performance that has led her to become a respected fixture in the Toronto music scene; it would be hard to count the number of collaborations, tours and records Dani has participated in with her contemporaries. An accomplished and highly sought-after drummer and multi-instrumentalist, Dani has spent the last 10 years performing with some of Canada’s top touring acts including Sarah Harmer, Andy Shauf and Fefe Dobson. She recently joined July Talk. An accomplished songwriter in her own right, Nash came out from behind the kit to release a self-titled album in 2022. Her latest double-feature single release explores kindred themes of nostalgia with a nuanced undertone of the queer experience.”

Tyler Del Pino | The Drugs Still Work

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Winnipeg’s Tyler Del Pino truly challenges the concept of genre to deliver his one-of-a-kind brand of Canadiana. Del Pino has a pure passion for songwriting and an honest sound infused with starry-eyed narratives; a hybrid of rock-pop, Americana, and East Coast folk-rock that stays true to the roots of timeless tunes. His new single, The Drugs Still Work, was written as social commentary — an observation of the world as we collectively move through it. “Everything is changing all the time, it’s the impermanence of life that I find enticing,” he says. “Especially because everything that occurred in the past happened at a time surrounded by different conditions. Wishing for something to be like it once was is a little like wishing for a time machine. Things change, embrace it. We don’t need to make things great like they were before, we just need to improve where we’re at now.”

Ryan Wayne | Ready My Love

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ryan Wayne is a Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He first came to recognition as a founding member and songwriter in the acclaimed, award-winning band The Warped 45s. In early 2022, after several years away from touring and recording, Ryan suffered two strokes. As part of the healing process, Ryan was drawn back to the music world and began the final production and mixing of a series of self-produced songs with Grammy-winning producer and mixing engineer Malcolm Burn (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Patti Smith). The record, Crow Amongst the Sparrows, was released in 2023 to critical acclaim. Ryan’s new single Ready My Love explores themes of regret and escapism in somewhat abstract terms, juxtaposed with a chorus that offers a simple commitment to growth.”