Loreena McKennitt
Fri Nov 10, 2017

A song about love, dedication, and family sacrifice has been released for Remembrance Day by award-winning Canadian recording artist Loreena McKennitt.

The single, entitled “Breaking of the Sword”, was inspired during McKennitt’s participation in April at The Canadian National Vimy Memorial for the 100th anniversary of the historic Battle of Vimy Ridge where she experienced a palpable sense of profound loss. During the ceremony, she performed “Dante’s Prayer” from her 1997 album The Book of Secrets.

“I feel the sentiment of this song is both timeless and universal,” says McKennitt, who, in this new, original piece evokes both her role as an artist, and as an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

The music weaves together the military family and Canadian communities, with contributions from the Ottawa-based Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces and the 90-voice Stratford Concert Choir located in McKennitt’s home base of Stratford, Ontario and led by director Ian Sadler .

Breaking of the SwordThe title of the song is borrowed from a group of statues on the Vimy Memorial called the Defenders, particularly those known as the Breaking of the Sword. The Canadian National Vimy Memorial consists of 20 symbolic statues, the largest of which is known as Canada Bereft. Sometimes called Mother Canada, it personifies a young nation mourning its dead.

“When I looked at Canada Bereft with her head bowed in grief, I found it so moving and powerful,” says McKennitt. “When you lose a child, that unimaginable loss and longing is felt the world over. It transcends borders and cultures and time itself.

McKennitt’s song is written in the first person from a mother’s perspective. It describes the sunny April morning the child is born and how he grows up to work in the fields and stables alongside her. The war then calls him away where he is killed in battle.

“From a personal standpoint, the closest I have come to witnessing this loss from the immediate family’s experience has been when I attended two repatriation ceremonies,” reflects McKennitt. “The last time the families had seen their loved ones was when they were departing from home. Now, they were coming back in a casket. Witnessing the spouses and children during their moments of dealing with this reality is something I will never forget.

“In my eleven years of being an Honorary Colonel, I have come to realize there are at least three kinds of families experiencing loss in times of sacrifice– the immediate family, the military family, and the communities where our fallen have lived,” says McKennitt. “I have tried to represent each of them in my arrangement, symbolically drawing upon the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as our local community concert choir.”

“In the contemporary sense, families of those who serve continue to make huge compromises and sacrifices to support their loved ones, regardless of their mission or task – from combat to humanitarian and search-and-rescue missions, to the demands of daily training and operations. We, as citizens, owe those who serve, as well as their families, our immense gratitude and at the very least, the act of remembrance.”

As of Friday, November 3rd, “Breaking of the Sword” will be exclusively available digitally, via iTunes, Amazon Music Unlimited, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play Music and more.

McKennitt has also announced that 100 percent of her Canadian proceeds will be donated to the Support Our Troops Fund . The fund provides financial support and assistance to Canadian Armed Forces members, veterans, and their respective families.

Loreena McKennitt’s eclectic Celtic blend of pop, folk and world music has sold over 14 million albums worldwide. Her recordings have achieved Gold, Platinum and multi-Platinum status in 15 countries on four continents. She has twice been nominated for a Grammy Award and has won two Juno Awards, as well as a Billboard International Achievement Award.

In 2014, she was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Canadian Air Force after serving for eight years as Honorary Colonel of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

In 2013, McKennitt was appointed to the rank of Knight of the National Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France. She is also a member of the Order of CCanada andhe Order of Manitoba. In 2002 and 2012 she was the recipient of Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals. She has performed in some of the world’s most-respected and historic concert venues, from Carnegie Hall to the famous Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain and for dignitaries including Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and numerous heads of state.


In celebration of the success of debut album YOUNG, Overcoats will release a deluxe version of the album with new music and this excellent new version of "Kai's Song". The duo tells us "Kai's Song" is "one of our favorites from the album. It's a song about self-love and acceptance – treating yourself with kindness even when you don't recognize the person staring back at you in the mirror. Whether you're having an off-week or month or lots of change is happening around you, you can always come back to yourself. We wanted to record a version of the song in its most vulnerable form."

YOUNG was written by Overcoats and co-produced by Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, The War On Drugs, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and experimental R&B artist Autre Ne Veut, with additional production from Myles Avery and mixing by Ben Baptie (Lapsley, Lianne La Havas, Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson). Their palette is stealth and simple electronics, with traces of folk, pop, and bluegrass embedded within. Like a spectrum from Sylvan Esso to Simon & Garfunkel, Overcoats creates music deeply rooted in emotion, and guided by the search for its innate expression through voice and electronics. Songs that began as bedroom creations flourished into rich but restrained productions, with careful craft illuminating the nuance of Overcoats' unique songwriting.

On YOUNG, Overcoats creates music of mutual empowerment, at once synthetic and organic, wistful and uplifting, triumphant and subdued. The Fog is a bay of lonesome, oscillating synth chords: its boundaries defined by the reflection of echoic finger snaps. Elion and Mitchell find clarity through a lovers' haze, their stoic verses liberated by the resounding chorus: Freedom is when I'm without you / When the fog lifts I'm the only one I see. Leave The Light On layers looped and transposed vocals over thumping two-step 808 and punctuations of club-ready brass. Showing the true breadth of influence, songs like Little Memory and Smaller Than My Mother are laced with gospel and jazz, strands woven in with Vernhes' and Autre Ne Veut's natural touch.

YOUNG has a clear, vertical ambiance that lets the topical vibration of the music shine through. This is the arrival of a magical collaboration: a rare unification of two hearts under one imagination. Elion and Mitchell are bound by the absolute belief in one another, and the confidence that every creation is compelled by shared purpose. Like its arc of transformation, from Father to album closer Mother, Overcoats captures the notion that we are the intersections of our parents' greatest fantasies and biggest follies. YOUNG is a canny portrayal of these complexities: of love, of inspiration, and the legacy of family.

11/3/17 - New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom^
11/10/17 - Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel*
11/11/17 - Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter*
11/12/17 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle*
11/14/17 - Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe*
11/16/17 - Grinnell, IA @ Grinnell College
11/17/17 - Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
11/18/17 - Oberlin, OH @ Oberlin College
12/7/17 - Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
12/8/17 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
12/9/17 - San Francisco CA @ The Independent 

Pro Teens
Pro Teens

Pro Teens music seems like it's mostly about mood, about movement — less about how a song sounds and more about how it feels. Since their sophomore LP, Accidentally, in 2016, Phoenix, AZ’s Pro Teens has centered their songwriting more and more on feel; truly, Philistines, their latest EP, epitomizes this approach.

There's “Tulsa,” an underwater slow dance, mellow and moonlit, with its shimmering of guitar and bubbling bass line suspending the listener in a sort of comfortable infinity, or “ She’s Gonna Be So Great,” whose tottering drumbeat sends the listener slogging through a thick swamp, lifting sopping feet with awkward grace as beautiful insects rattle past their ears. Both songs send the listener someplace else, allow them to feel its heat and see its distant hills and taste its salt, leave them with the same disorienting impression with which a dreamer is stranded upon waking.

Each track on Philistines possesses this same transportive power, with distinct outcomes. Just as “A Companion” conjures the moment a mystery is uncovered, its first clue found on the flurry-littered concrete beneath an overcast day, “Bloomin” summons a simple emotion: Drunken satisfaction, the sort that sends stumbling into the sunny laps of friends, laughing and singing, reveling amid the wavering organs and chirping chords. The hard rubber of singer Andy Phipp ’s tenor grounds these songs even as his flippant poetry lures the listener further into these strange imprints.

This isn’t to suggest that these songs are more mood than melody. In fact, the EP’s final track “You Won’t” might fit nicely between the Strokes and Elvis Costello on a mixtape. Still, on Philistines, Pro Teens is simply more mesmerizing than catchy. Case and point: When “You Won’t” ends, when its jerky strut and funky chords stop suddenly, the listener will find themselves back in the real world feeling cold, confused, and disaffected with no recollection of the previous two and a half minutes, besides, of course, their gnawed-at heels and the dull neck ache, these vague reminders that, maybe even recently, they had been strutting down a sunny street.

The Reed Effect Credit Ryan Abramovitz
The Reed Effect
Credit Ryan Abramovitz

This riff is courtesy of Montreal buzmeister Jon Asher. "If Nirvana and The Doors had a love child, who was then raised in the desert taking hits of acid with Frank Zappa, you’d likely end up with a band that sounds as oddly unique as The Reed Effect.

"Hailing from Toronto, ON, the psych rock trio have spent the last several years proudly shaking hips with their riffs warping minds with their lyrics, and assaulting all five senses with an onslaught of progressively addictive rock hooks that pull from grunge, metal and blues. Having been tapped as support for bands like Jeff Martin of The Tea Party, The Wild and Die Mannequin along with multiple performances at Indie Week and Canadian Music Week, The Reed Effect have been leaving their unique brand of stinkface-inducing, schizophrenic rock lingering in the air of venues across Canada since day one. Lead by founding member guitarist/vocalist Kirk Reed along with his brother Chris Reed on bass and drummer Bryan Fontez, the rock n' roll power threesome released their new EP "A Strange Curiosity" November 10th, 2017, setting the bar higher than ever.

Drummer Bryan Fontez comments: "We expect any and all fans of rock music to find something on this EP that they’d enjoy. We’ve carefully crafted six very dynamic songs that range from catchy radio bangers to progressive grunge metal to psychedelic tribal grooves. It’s an interesting EP with a collection of feelings,emotions and experiences attained through living and observing life. Six very unique tracks that sound drastically different and we’re super proud of it."

The band's first single and new music video No Way Outta Here directed plus edited by Fontez is a straight ahead rocker with catchy guitar riffs, heavy thudding drums, pounding bass accompanied by a hint of blues, a slide guitar solo and a danceable beat.

The Reed Effect light up the Mod Club Nov.10 as part of Indie Week.

Dan Talevski
Dan Talevski

Flying under the radar and deserving of a listen is Dan Talevski’s new album, High Times. High Times is a mix of Dan’s recent pop hits and new material, highlighting his signature vocals, lyrics, melodies and production. Highlights include latest single, Papers, featuring fellow Toronto artist, Aleesia, Dan’s summer club jam, Birthday Suit, and other major singles, Rocket, Knock Me Off My Feet and Guilty As Sin. Over a decade in the making, its double-meaning tongue-in-cheek title symbolizes a time in Dan’s life where he “felt bigger than the world,” living his dreams and addicted to the music industry and pop culture. In 2007, Dan Talevski was discovered through his 47-second cover of Justin Timberlake’s What Goes Around Comes Around. He has toured with the Backstreet Boys and Nick Carter, hit the studio with wll.i.am , and written songs for Shawn Desman, Danny Fernandes, Keshia Chante and numerous others. With over 6.5 million streams to date, Dan has been nominated for many awards, including: Pop Artist of the Year nomination at the 16th Annual Indie Awards, Best New Solo Artist: CHR at the Canadian Radio Music Awards, and an iHeartRadio MMVA for Best New Canadian Artist for Knock Me Off My Feet.

Benjamin Booker
Benjamin Booker

We have always held to the hope, the belief, the conviction that there is a better life, a better world, beyond the horizon." Franklin D. Roosevelt  

That quote is at the heart of Benjamin Booker's new video but this heart sure isn't worn on the sleeve. In his new video for "Believe," Booker takes us on a surrealistic journey through military training with striking visuals from director James Lees (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bloc Party).

Says director Lees: "We wanted to create something inherently musical and entertaining whilst still being a meditation on the themes within the song. Feeling lost and directionless, the inherent human need to find a sense of belonging and the many false roads you find yourself down that ultimately fail to provide a purpose in life we all feel pressured to identify in adulthood."

"Believe" is off Booker's latest album 'Witness' (out now on ATO), which has earned career-best raves and spotlights from Time Magazine, FADER, the NY Times, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, NPR Music + more, as well as a performance on Conan last month.

The big thing right here is Booker's compelling delivery, rooted in the most soulful soils of blues and r'n'b.

They`re back! After a month away on Downchild`s “Something I've Done” tour Mike Fitzpatrick and Gary Kendall return to their weekly residency at The Blue Goose, Sunday afternoons with a stellar line up of guest artists.

 Special Guests:
Nov.12-Al Lerman & Lance Anderson
Nov.19-Matt Allen & Larry Bodner
Nov.26-Dwayne Laforme & Michael Fonfara
Dec.3-Steve Marriner & Curtis Chaffey
Dec.10-Kevin McQuade & Martin Alex Aucoin
Dec.17-Raoul Bhaneja & Darren Gallen

All backed by Big Groove's Mike Fitzpatrick (drums) and Gary Kendall (bass).

Dogs At Large
Dogs At Large

Quirk act of the week, undoubtedly Dogs at Large, a psychedelic pop band from Chicago, IL. The songwriting project of Sam Pirruccello, they write vocally driven tunes in a retro style that harkens back to the softer tones of Sixties and Seventies, but with one eye decidedly on the present day. In the winter of 2015, Pirruccello was working on solo music with a keyboard and drum machine in a cramped Logan Square apartment. Excited about the songs, but knowing they needed live arrangements, he enlisted Artie Snow on the drums, and they promptly started a punk band. After working the local scene, undergoing a number of lineup changes and realizing that they didn’t want to play heavy music anymore, the band started work on OVERPASS, a retro pop record featuring smooth saxophones, chorusy guitars, dampened snares and Pirruccello’s crooning vocal. It’s a unique record with a blend of influences as disparate as Big Star and Roxy Music, featuring ten pop songs that Pirruccello held up to a gold standard. Writing twenty songs for the record, he cut half of them, making sure that only the tunes he could fully stand behind made it to mastering. With OVERPASS in the can, the band plans to play as many shows as possible, line the stage with candles, and turn up the sax.