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Canadian Beacon | Geoffroy, Kroy, Julie Doiron & More New Sounds To Be Grateful For

Photo by Alex Dozois.

A publicist who e-mailed me the other day began by announcing they were “sitting in gratitude” in their backyard. Really, they could have saved time by just deleting me from their mailing list in advance. Nobody needs to hear that kind of dumbassery. By contrast, here are some moments of brilliance you absolutely DO need to hear: The latest and greatest singles and videos from across this fine land of ours. Feel free to express your gratitude by hitting that little button and buying me a beer. I promise to quaff it in my backyard:


Geoffroy | Early Morning Sun

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Montreal artist Geoffroy just released his fourth album Good Boy, along with the video for Early Morning Sun, a track which he considers to be the “the heart of the album. It recounts the trip I took to Mexico City in April of 2022, where an unexpected encounter with a two-year-old dog named Papi completely changed my life,” he explains. “I stumbled upon a weekly pet adoption event. Amongst the litters of puppies, I saw Papi, sitting there, waiting, looking lonely. I tried taking him for a walk but he didn’t want to steer away from the shelter lady. I didn’t force anything, took a few pictures and left. No other dog there caught my attention or interest. But this one invaded my thoughts for the next few days, to the point where I had a hard time fully enjoying my vacation… The day before my return, literally, I texted the lady from the shelter and told her I would take him, if she could bring him to the airport and meet me there before my flight… Fast-forward two years, and he’s not just a pet — he’s my sidekick, my best pal, and makes me smile every day. Adopting him was hands-down one of the best choices I ever made.”

Kroy | Saltwater

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “After a long wait, Kroy, the stage name of pluridisciplinary artist Camille Poliquin (Milk & Bone), will unveil the fruits of her lyrical and musical explorations in a new album, Militia, due Aug. 16. It features dark pop melodies inspired by love, sadness and depression. The body of work is as old as it is new, some songs rooted in late teen years, others from the dawn of one’s 30s. Today, Kroy shares the new single Saltwater, which arrives complete with a video from director Gerardo Alcaine, who also directed Joligentil. Of the track, Poliquin says, “releasing this song is so special to me because I’ve been working on it for quite a while. I had written it for someone else at first, but then got too attached and decided to keep it for myself. Saltwater is a song about leaving them behind and moving forward with your battle scars. It’s a song about meeting someone so special you give everything you are to them, and are convinced you’ve found the person for you. Only to be completely deceived and betrayed. Blood, sweat, tears. It’s just saltwater.”

Dan Palotta | Kendra’s Pictures

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Folksinger-songwriter Dan Pallotta has a delicate and hopeful new single entitled Kendra’s Pictures. The Kendra in question was a neighbour of Pallotta’s who “took the most beautiful landscape and nature photographs that were filled with light.” The song features a gently rolling melody which seeks to transmit a feeling of light and of beauty that transcends mortality. Pallotta took many approaches to the song’s production, experimenting with synthesizers, piano, and upright bass. After trying out many renditions of the song that didn’t quite fit, it was Marc Muller’s lap steel guitar playing that gave Kendra’s Pictures its dreamlike quality. “It was big without suffocating the negative space we needed for the lyrics to come through,” explains Pallotta. “It gave the song an otherworldly feeling that the story was calling for.”

Victoria Staff | Niagara

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Victoria Staff is an indie-pop songwriter who uses the written word to communicate the complex themes of love, loss, and her struggle with mental health to her audience. Her debut project, Records & Honesty, was released in 2023, under the guidance of producer Dan Hosh. The heavy undertones of her music are offset by her comedic personality on stage, on social media, and amongst her peers. Her comedic personality is exhibited on her song Niagara, about a trip to Niagara Falls with a relationship that didn’t work out. Thus began her “smear campaign against Niagara Falls,” which has lost its magic for Staff. You’re introduced to this cheeky attitude at the start of the song with a candid conversation between Hosh and Staff’s sister. It’s a little bit silly, and perhaps moodier than her other music, but the song ended up being an absolute joy to create.”

Vicky Von Vicky | Be Still My Heart

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Vicky von Vicky are a Toronto indie-rock band featuring Michael Wynn (Melted Wings) on guitar and vocals, Rolston Miller on bass and Tom Nesbitt (The Others) on guitar. Their sound draws inspiration from punk, grunge, classic rock, and rock, soul and hip-hop. However, their music is not a genre mash-up. They delve into themes of love, loss, and life experiences, expressing themselves with candidness, vulnerability and a big serving of humour. Their uplifting new EP, Broken Chairs, was mostly written in the week Wynn was laid off from his job. Some of these melodies came straight from his dreams, and together with producer Nixon Boyd (Hollerado, Dizzy), they put together a rocking five-track EP. The focus track Be Still My Heart is about someone talking to their soul or heart, and getting them to try to calm down or take stock of where they are in life.”

Skinny Dyck | Easygoing

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Skinny Dyck — the playful performing artistic alias of Western Canadian artist Ryan Dyck — is following up his recent single Can’t Change The Colour Of Your Eyes with another new track. Easygoing is a “look in the mirror,” claims Dyck. “Sometimes I can see past my own reflection and into the childhood moments that made me who I am. Most other times I see my own face and before I start to cry I remind myself that life is beautiful and easy. My dad is always on about the Sweetgrass Hills located just south of us in northern Montana. Hope to do a hike with him someday soon.”

Christin Hryshka | The River

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Edmonton folk-roots musician Christin Hyshka recently shared his new album Rescue. To celebrate, he also released The River, the third single from the LP. The rousing track tells a tale of redemption and loss that leaves the listener contemplating both. “I read this tragic story sometime ago about a young girl living on the street, abusing drugs, no family and at some low point, she crosses a bridge over a river and thinks of jumping,” says Christin. “Thankfully, shortly after, some good people took her in and suddenly life had meaning again. The river in my song is a metaphor. On one hand, her old life was washed clean in the water, but the river had the potential to take that life as well. I tried to leave the interpretation of either scenario in this song open to the listener.”

Nelson Sobral | Hang On

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Nelson Sobral is a singer-songwriter guitarist from Toronto, equally inspired by the vast, wide open spaces of the country he calls home and the labyrinthine maze of the city in which he resides. His music is as much Americana and blues as it is soul and rock, perfectly balanced with the energy and sound of each of his respective influences, uniting them all with one, singular mission: To move and energize audiences into an all-night frenzy and travel the world on the might of his song. His gritty single Hang On, is Delta blues shot up with electric rock ’n’ roll. This is the third taste of his upcoming album, the followup to 2022’s Second Arrow. Hang On has soulful vocals and bluesy riffs, delivering an anthem of liberation, urging listeners to break free from the past. He says: “It’s a reflection of letting go of people and situations that no longer serve you.”

Dave Whitty | Ducks In A Row

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Dave Whitty is a singer-songwriter from St. John’s who has released three albums since 2012, with a fourth underway. If you listen to his music, it won’t take long to hear the pride he has for his home province, capturing Newfoundland’s joie de vivre and beauty. His new single Ducks In A Row was written coming out of the pandemic. It’s about the struggle of an artist during those times, and also as a person ages and matures. The title came from a quote Dave’s mother would use frequently. “She would say, ‘You better get your ducks in a row,’ as in, get whatever you need done together, to make sure you are giving yourself the best opportunity. This song is fun and uplifting. A perfect road trip song, when the sun is starting to set and you have the open road ahead of you. I think everyone can relate to the feeling of being a little lost in life and their career, and trying to push through to get to the other side.”

Julie Doiron / Astral Swans | Split 2 EP

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Following up on the release of Astral Swans’ catchy, nihilistic pop single The Coward, Swans (also known as Matthew Swann) and garage legend Julie Doiron are releasing the entirety of their Split 2. Doiron’s Last Night I Saw My Love is a stripped-down, melodic love song spontaneously composed in winter 2023. Julie recorded it at home with her friends and collaborators Dany Placard (bass, engineering, mixing), and Colleen Coco Collins (drums and background vocals). Swann and Doiron first crossed paths in 2006 when they were both signed to the same label with Swann’s then-band Hot Little Rocket. Since then, Julie and Matthew have been crossing paths all over the country. They have performed live together as well, with Julie contributing vocals to Astral Swans’ self-titled 2021 record as well. Split 2 is a lesson in contrast, with Julie’s songs being joyful expressions of love, and Astral Swan’s contributions being absurdist slacker meditations on identity.”

Action Forever | Stay With You

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Sim Bansal, the bandleader of Action Forever, grew up in Brantford, Ont. The music of Action Forever, while lively, electric, melodic and danceable, explores darker themes such as loneliness in a digital age, abusive relationships, loss of identity, and mental health. Their new single Stay With You, loosely tells the story of the troubled relationship of two lovers from the point of view of the abused. “Immediately, I feel a sense of tragedy when I hear this song. It’s meant to broadly acknowledge any kind of abusive relationship one might have — could be with a person, a thing, or, as I’m seeing more clearly these days, a society,” Sim explains. “I aimed to capture the spectrum of emotions one feels in this situation and have the listener experience the full weight of it — the naive delusional love, the frustration, the isolation and the denial.”