Canadian Beacon | Pukka Orchestra, Sleepkit, Ombiigizi & More New Homegrown Sounds

Last week I watched the new Stax documentary on Crave. Meh. Then I watched The Beach Boys documentary on Disney+. Yawn. I thought about watching the new version of Let It Be, but after Get Back, is there really any point? Maybe it’s just me, but I’d love to see a music documentary that told / showed me something I didn’t already know / hadn’t already seen. You too? Welcome to the club. While we wait, enjoy these legitimately new videos and singles from some fine Canadian artists. No subscription required (though you are always welcome to buy me a beer):


The Pukka Orchestra | Weekend (Come Alive!)

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Award-winning new wave Canadian band The Pukka Orchestra were formed in 1979 by singer-guitarists Graeme Williamson, Neil Chapman and Tony Duggan-Smith. Based in Toronto, they became an important and revered contributor to Toronto’s Queen Street scene. After a two-decade hiatus, The Pukka Orchestra recently completed a new album — Chaos Is Come Again — of updated, reworked, remixed tracks, remastered posthumously after the death of Williamson. The original tracks were made available only to friends and local fans. But now Chaos Is Come Again is widely available. “If we don’t care about our world and those in it, then chaos has come again,” is the resonant theme. Weekend (Come Alive!) ushers it in with an intense dance groove and reckless guitar solo, combating injustice in life with positivity.”

Sleepkit | Oxygen On The Autobahn

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sleepkit are a band who can genuinely be described as mind-expanding; from the nucleus of their songwriting to the texturally ornamented arrangements, they manage to imbue each aspect of their music with a sly veneer of otherness. Initially more frantic (and loud enough to piss off their neighbours so much that the working title was Doug Anger), the band streamlined a recorded jam, refining the vibe, layering in texture and melody until Oxygen On The Autobahn emerged. The title was chosen as a nod to Jean-Michel Jarre’s lush 1976 synth opus Oxygène, after founding songwriters Marie Sulkowski and Ryan Bourne realized it was formative for both of them; a staple for respective family trips — Bourne’s camping off the TransCanada and Marie’s ripping down the Autobahn.”

Ombiigizi | Connecting

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Ombiigizi, the Juno-nominated and Polaris-shortlisted collaboration of Zoon (Daniel Monkman) and Status / Non-Status (Adam Sturgeon), return with the new single Connecting. An exultant anthem awash in searing guitars and jangling rhythm that erupts in raw emotion, “Connecting explores the idea that we’ve not always been given a choice in how to define ourselves. Is it the Indian Act, our identities, our family or the company we keep. It starts with you and we believe,” Ombiigizi says. Accompanied by an animated video directed by Joseph Howard, Connecting is propelled by the growing harmony of Indigenous voices. “What is connection?Who defines the path we follow? What choices do we have in the cycle? Why do we continue down a particular road? When will we find the solutions to the madness? Where will we go from there?”

Sunny Daydream | Vitamin D

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “I released my indie sleaze-inspired single alongside its video, marking my official debut as Sunny Daydream. About Vitamin D: I wrote this song about reconnecting with each other and to nature, after a pandy and before the impending collapse of late stage capitalism. Electric guitar riffs, 808 claps, synths and keys drive this new era of music.”

Julian Taylor | Running Away

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Veteran Toronto singer-songwriter and Juno nominee Julian Taylor shares an upbeat and bluesy new slice of his upcoming album Pathways (out Sept. 27). Running Away juxtaposes weary Americana with a driving piece of blues rock in a bid to outrun hurt and pain instead of facing it head on. “All my life I’ve been a huge rural blues fan,” explains Julian. “My grandfather used to spin old blues records like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee when I was a kid so that kind of rockabilly country blues groove lives inside me. I would say that [this] song is inspired by the blues music that came out of plantation fields.”

Emmett Jerome | Willow Rose

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. Willow Rose offers a new glimpse into his Rocky Mountain Son album, set for release later this year. “I was headed back to Nashville from Glasgow, KY when I chanced upon a stranger in an old bar. She bought me a whiskey and we ended up talking the night away. Her name was Willow Rose and her melancholic, yet beautiful story moved me deeply; I wrote this song as a homage to her by the end of the night. More than just a portrait of one experience, this is a a statement on the power of human connection, especially the bonds people make as they go through painful periods of their lives.”

Rory Tallon | Hatchet

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Alternative indie-folk singer Rory Taillon has a voice that needs to be heard. Trained as a classical singer from a young age, his years of study are evident in the power and control that he has over his voice. He uses his warm guitar tone, haunting lyrics, dynamic voice, layers of looping and the thumping of his kick drum to take the audience on a journey through his set from exhilarating highs to emotional lows. His song Hatchet is about struggling with the anxiety and frustration toward dealing with toxic people in your life. Social norms imply that you should just accept toxic behavior and abuse from certain people in your life, especially if they are family or because it’s just easier to act like they aren’t problematic or harmful. Rory asks in this song, “How can that hatchet stay buried / If you keep digging it up / For one more swing?”

Harkness | All The Things You Are

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Harkness releases his new single All The Things You Are, a song he says can serve as a beacon to those who have been through some form of physical or mental trauma. The lyrics are colorfully indirect but the message and feeling is clear. “Despite many of us having been through horrible moments in our lives,” says Harkness, “this song hopes to remind us that we are not defined by them, that we are much bigger than that.”

Church Of Trees | Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “In an album brimming with dark observations and dire warnings, Church Of Trees paint a rather hopeful picture in their latest single, the artfully poppy Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, off their latest album release Transience. Sung by songwriter Bernard Frazer and powerhouse vocalist Heather Brazeau, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright is downright upbeat in a Foster the People, MGMT kinda way. The fifth and latest single from Transience, the song bubbles with perky synths and euphoric vocals. Co-producer Jordon Zadorozny (Blinker the Star) delivers some animated guitar alongside Frazer’s buoyant keys, all woven together with a sanguine vocal polyphony. “It is one of a couple of duets that Heather and I sing,” says Frazer. “I get such a rush working with her.”

Grizzly Coast | Clouds

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the imaginative, yet highly analytical mind of Alannah Kavanagh comes Grizzly Coast, the Toronto musical project blending dreamy indie-rock instrumentation with introspective pop lyricism. Recorded at Dreamhouse Studios with producer Alex Bonenfant (July Talk, Crystal Castles), Clouds showcases a blend of joyful synths and driving guitars. The indie-pop anthem delves into the shared experience of mental health struggles, wrapped in an energetic and uplifting melody. Inspired by our common humanity, this song is a testament to the fact that we are never alone in our personal challenges.”