Canadian Beacon | CJ Wiley, Jackie & Her Brother & More Artists Who’ve Got It Goin’ On

Some people are all talk. Others get shit done. If you don’t already know which group I’m in, here’s a hint: It’s not the same one as these Canadian artists. Which is to say: They’re makin’ things happen while I’m tippy-tapping and yap-yap-yapping. Well, enough of that crud-blort. Let’s quit jawing and get ’er done:


CJ Wiley | Cheap Therapy

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:CJ Wiley is sharing the video for new single Cheap Therapy, a track infused with producer Boy Golden’s laid-back Americana slack, bringing a liberation to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics that makes the track anthemic. Cheap Therapy is a song about “the emotional labour that most feminized people tend to carry in relationships, romantic or otherwise,” says CJ. “It’s inspired by a time when I was casually dating and not looking for anything serious, but noticed that people, usually men, would try and use me as their personal therapist.” Performing alongside artists like Tokyo Police Club, Shannon And The Clams or Haley Blais, and already a mainstay in the city’s queer music scene as the host of the Big Gay Night concert series, Wiley introduces themselves in songs as categorical and entrancing as the sold-out shows they organize. Aflame in a stirring spectrum of soulful Sheryl Crow Americana and the electric grumblings of Garbage or Hole, sometimes in the space of a single song, Wiley’s distinct voice carries their project with the wit, candour, and excitement of an artist with a striking perspective and a heart that demands to be heard.”

Jackie And Her Brother | Best Days

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Being in a band with family is not always easy; a relationship impacted by years of familiarity and family dynamics. The duo, aptly named Jackie And Her Brother decided to work on several songs that remained unfinished and forgotten. The result is a new project from Jackie and Mark Andrade. The name is a simple way to describe their dynamic and their shared love for catchy, pop-inspired bands that they listened to across different decades as they grew up. We often wonder, and reflect on our life. It’s a healthy part of being human. We’re also told to stay in the present and live for the future. This dichotomy pulses at the centre of their second single, Best Days, where Jackie and her brother turn the focus backward wondering if our best days are already gone. “The ending has samples of our younger family members laughing and shouting ‘best days’ with their entire life ahead of them,” explains Jackie. “The addition of these samples adds another interesting layer to the song. When were your best days? Childhood? Or are they happening right now?”

Asko | Sîsîkwan

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Recently, Asko, the new project from Marek Tyler, announced his upcoming self-titled album, which will be out this September. Today, he’s sharing another single and video from the LP, Sîsîkwan, honouring family matriarchs. “When my mom worked on artwork and struggled with a cultural question, she would call my kokum for advice and guidance on contemporary art,” says Tyler. “I have made that call to my mom time and time again. I want to honour our family’s matriarchs, their footwork and fan work. When they enter, I want to play bells, shakers, and rattles for them, honouring them with beats.”

Chemical Club | Year Of Sundays

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Indie-pop duo Chemical Club are back with Year Of Sundays, a mellow laid-back track about  being unhappy but not knowing what’s next: ‘Been somebody else / Been noone at all / Just playing the part in whichever Pattern I fall’. Speaking on the track the band reflects, “written during a period of aimlessness, Year Of Sundays is about the in between we all experience between adolescence and adulthood, where figuring out your next move feels do or die. Knowing that you’re unhappy where you are, but not knowing where you want to be. A demo of this song from 2019 was uncovered, and so we finished this past year. Working on this song felt special as we were able to view our younger perspective through an older lens.”

Donovan Woods | 116 West Main, Durham, NC

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Acclaimed songwriter Donovan Woods will release his seventh album Things Were Never Good If They’re Not Good Now, due July 12. Today he shares the record’s latest single, the breezy 116 West Main, Durham, NC. “I wrote this in a green room at The Carolina Theatre in Durham. I had a great day walking around (really nice town), and I was feeling hopeful. This is what passes as hopeful for me,” notes Donovan. “I’m trying to forgive myself more, and that’s what I’m doing here. I wanted it to feel like one of those days when you’re getting a lot of errands done. Maybe you’re walking, and your legs feel good. You feel like you could walk forever. It’s sunny, not too hot, and you think it’s good that time rolls on. Maybe it is actually good. Saxophones are the sound of moving on. Maybe you didn’t know that.”

Begonia | Stay Forever

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Begonia, aka Alexa Dirks, has released Stay Forever, the next single from her upcoming EP. An ethereal song that showcases a profound vulnerability through self-reflection. The melancholy lyrics contrast Alexa’s dreamy vocals which are underscored by the flowing piano melody. “This song came about when I was having a hard time letting myself trust in a relationship” Alexa notes. “I wanted to just let myself go into the love I felt but had never felt secure like that before so it was (and still is sometimes) a tough process for me. To just be free of self judgment and open to love takes great honesty and vulnerability that has taken me a long time to cultivate.” The openness of Stay Forever fits into the journey of the upcoming EP, Open Swim, one which explores honest communication with oneself and others with candour and sincerity.”

Sam Weber | Oregon

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sam Weber, the L.A.-via-Vancouver Island singer-songwriter and guitarist, is continuing to share glimpses of his upcoming record Clear + Plain (Aug. 23) with the warm and observational Oregon. Grounded by a strong bassline, Weber builds layers of vocals, lush percussion, and exploratory acoustic guitar into the track as it develops. “Oregon was written on a trip to Ashland,” Weber explains. “We were renting a casita on this big property where all these hippies lived. It’s a bit of a sensory abstract poem that just sort of emerged. I think the imagery is my own from the I-5 corridor, seeing the lush green flora, very pagan-beautiful, natural imagery of the state, contrasted with the scraps of humanity strewn around. And the progressive culture of Portland.”

Harry Lee Follon | Grief

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Canadian singer-songwriter Harry Lee Follon shares Grief, the second single from his new EP Uncle’s Lament, out June 21. The new offering comes on the heels of the previous single Won’t Say Goodbye. Follon says of Grief: “One thing I’ve learned over time is, never let anyone tell you how to grieve. Grief is personal. Grief doesn’t wait until you’re ready. Vulnerability is accepting grief. It’s okay to let go. Hopefully this song helps someone feel less alone.”

Custie | E, Pt. 2

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Custie is an emerging artist from London, Ont., whose distinct sound explores pop music as it intersects between singer-songwriter, R&B and alternative. E, Pt. 2 is largely a continuation of his previous single, On E, And Everything In Between, balancing the heaviness with softness. “E, Pt. 2 was born from a period of slow-focus after I recorded On E, And Everything In Between,” Custie says. “The followup both literally and figuratively achieved some distance from the themes that haunted me. I was in the mud of the friendship, doing snow angels in the glass shards. As a counterpart, E, Pt. 2 is sadder, but a lot more dream-like. You don’t have to succumb to the sadness, or face it, because it’s constantly weaving different emotions and, intentionally, creating some formless tapestry of experience.”

June Body | Agree To Stop

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “From the moment that guitarist/vocalist Connor James and bassist Alex Callaghan began rehearsing what would become the first June Body songs, they unknowingly set into motion a new wave of Halifax rock lore. They are joined by drummer Matt Schofield to round out their rock trio. Swaying between the punchiness of modern rock and the nostalgic tones of ’90s alternative, June Body’s rawness and forthright lyrical delivery throws back to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and The Weakerthans. Their new album Last Everythings sounds like June Body in their truest form. It’s a culmination of the band’s growth on a musical and personal level, and is their first outing to feature the post-production prowess of indie-rock legend, Jace Lasek (Land of Talk, Besnard Lakes). The focus track, Agree to Stop, is about Connor’s seven-year relationship coming to an end. Even though he and his partner were both still in love with each other, there was this pervasive feeling of understanding that the end was what was right for both of them. It was such a difficult experience to have to agree that they’d be better apart.”

Parade | Do You Know Where Your Friends Are Right Now?

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Parade are an experimental pop-rock trio in Toronto featuring Stefan Hegerat (drums, compositions), Chris Pruden (synthesizers) and Laura Swankey (voice, electronics). Drawing on their diverse backgrounds in jazz, classical, and electronic music, the trio pushes the boundaries of genre and form by blurring the lines between improvisation and composition to create unique and immersive sonic landscapes. Do You Know Where Your Friends Are Right Now? was inspired by the social media fueled mental health crisis. It has been extremely distressing, for Stefan’s work as a music educator, to see how badly young people are struggling with anxiety and depression and he feels that there is a responsibility as an artist to advocate for solutions.”

Penny Shade | Hard Lines

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Penny Shades, hailing from Nelson B.C., are a vibrant neo/alt soul quartet ensemble renowned for their original music. Characterized by mesmerizing three-part harmonies, electrifying lead vocals, and contemporary grooves infused with a touch of psychedelic allure. The band launched their debut EP during the pandemic and have already found themselves sharing major festival stages. Led by vocalist Sarah Orton, alongside guitarist Jesse Lee, keyboardist Jeremy Sauer and drummer Ness Benamran, the group are gearing up for a second EP release this month. Here’s a preview.”