A lifelong musician, there are few roles Ariel Posen hasn't played.
Although born in Winnipeg, Posen spent much of his childhood on the road, travelling from show to show with his musician parents. He began playing guitar at 9 years old, kicking off a career that eventually found him travelling the globe for his own gigs, including shows as a member of the Juno Award-winning, roots-rock band The Bros. Landreth. Several years later, Posen began working on an album of his own, tracking his new songs in the same studio in which his parents once recorded their albums.
Born in the suburbs of Essex, England, Zach Oliver is a multi-talented musician that now resides in Toronto, Canada. Growing up he idolized artists like Stevie Wonder, Amy Winehouse, John Mayer and Coldplay, as his parents were always playing a very wide spread, variety of music around the house.
When Zach was 8 years old, with not much to do as a newly landed immigrant to Canada and highly inspired by Jack Black’s “School of Rock”, he picked up on of his mum’s old guitars and began to write songs. This hobby quickly turned into a lifestyle, as Zach was performing and writing as much as he could, even integrating it into his elementary school curriculum anyway possible. This carried on through to his high school life, where Zach was lucky enough to have a very influential Music teacher, Chris Carson-Foster and an incredible music program. This allowed him to work on his craft for a majority of his senior year - writing, producing and recording his own songs in the recording studio he and his music teacher built above the school’s comm tech room.
Eric Schenkman has released his new video, the title track of his magnetic CD “Who Shot John?” – a retro/modern rock offering that grabs you from the opening riff.
You might have seen him before, on stages before thousands of fans throughout the world with the Spin Doctors. You would already know he is one of the band’s not-so-secret weapons — a vital songwriter and a virtuoso guitarist who both crafted the ‘90s band and co-wrote all five of their Top 100 hits. He also worked with Chico Hamilton, Carly Simon, Natalie Merchant, Noel Redding, Phoebe Snow and Corky Laing, among many other notable musicians.
The title track of his latest album offering WHO SHOT JOHN? showcases the many sides of ERIC SCHENKMAN from raw, rockin’ blues to funk/soul/pop. With its elemental lineup of guitar, bass and drums, and songs that seldom stray beyond three chords it’s radio-friendly and familiar enough to draw listeners in. After that, the complexities reveal themselves.
WHO SHOT JOHN? is both classic and immediate. And, as SCHENKMAN would likely admit, it’s overdue.
Canadian producer Darrell Kelloway — artistically known as DK — is fresh out of the gate with his newest album, Soul Expressions, including “Coltranes of the Movement”.
“The aim was to restore the importance of lyricism that stays true to the art,” he says of Soul Expressions, which includes collaborations with Canadian MCs Ghettosocks, Aquakultre, Timbuktu, as well as Atlanta’s Cam James, and Brooklyn’s Justo the MC. “I went for vibrant, jazzy and soulful samples, and sought out guests that truly understand the combination of rhythm and poetry.”
That Nikki You Know is a spoken word artist and musician living in Montreal, Quebec.
She has performed at The Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Eden Mills Writer's Festival, Hillside Music Festival, Slamtario, 100 Mile Riot, Strummer Fest and POP MTL.
From Victoria to Halifax, That Nikki You Know has performed her original music and poetry under a variety of names and with a variety of projects. She has facilitated workshops with Rock Camp For Girls* MTL to help vocalists find their voice and continues to find her own voice as it evolves, shifts and grows.
Memories is her first official release, recorded entirely in her home studio. It showcases many of her spoken word pieces previously only experienced in a live setting without musical accompaniment. This project is both music, and poetry, together.
Canadian art-popsters Alexander and The Great Ones have unleashed their all-you-can-hear sonic buffet, SUPER TURBO and sophomore single “2 Yung 2 b in <3.
“I explored the sounds of the last century not as they were, but as they are,” says frontman Alex MacNeil of the outfit’s debut LP. “Think: heart still pumping, but flecked with rust.”
It’s an anticipated release from a group MacNeil affectionately dubs “desperate rogues” and “roving strays”; CBC’s Carsten Knox named Alexander and The Great Ones as “Artist to Watch For” and The Coast lauds them as a “Young Upcoming Artist.” “This was recorded with the help of many of Nova Scotia’s finest musicians. And locally produced gins.
“Adulthood was like falling down a steep set of stairs,” he continues, recalling how this all came to be, punked-up cherub cover art and all. “It happened so abruptly and before I knew it.”
If there was a plotter following along, they’d map beginnings in what MacNeil describes as Nova Scotia’s industrial northern mainland; from there, he’d complete music school in Sherbrooke, Quebec before venturing on to Grahamstown, South Africa.
Over a year ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Bara Jonson and Free at Live at Heart Newfoundland, and I immediately became a fan.
The continued love and friendship that they developed from their showcase at that event turned into a ‘love fest’, with fans in Newfoundland and the rest of Canada as well, resulting in the release of ‘Hello Newfoundland’, their tribute to their time there and to the amazing people they met while on Burin Peninsula.
Now they are heading back to Canada to play the prestigious Indie Week in Toronto on Friday, November 15 as a part of the Cashbox Caravan Showcase at The Hideout club.
Their new release of ‘Devils Die Too’is the usual standard of this act, encompassing great vocals, intense lyrics and awesome production. When asked about what inspired this latest release, Bara Jonson and Free had this to say:
“As international touring artists Bara Jonson and Free (BjF) meet a lot of people. Most of them being warm-hearted and nice but occasionally there are those who seem to be egoistic and narcissistic, who will do almost anything for their own gain and purposes.”
Canadian country-pop singer/songwriter Lori Lynne Johnson and her debut album Heartache & Healing — available now — embody the notion that once a caregiver, always a caregiver.
"At my core, that's who I am," explains Johnson. "I have taken care of people all my life. That has always been a big part of my identity."
Naturally, it's a big part of her music.
And it takes just one spin through the Oakville country-pop singer-songwriter's striking EP to understand that Johnson is still deeply dedicated to helping others. The only difference is, these days she gets results with music instead of medicine.
Caustic and raw, Down the Lees’ dynamic vocals and guitar draw you in, only to strike a blow from the heavy rhythm section. Based in Ghent, Belgium, Down the Lees is Canadian Laura Lee Schultz and Belgians Jonathan Frederix on drums and Kwinten Gluehorse on bass.
The project has followed an eclectic musical path with engaging and dynamic soundscapes inspired by genres such as post-rock, shoegaze, hardcore, slowcore, and no-wave - often echoing the work of artists such as Slint, Shannon Wright, Sonic Youth, Cloud Nothings and Low.
The dictionary defines ‘wanderlust’ as the ‘strong desire to travel,’ and nothing could be truer — both figuratively and literally — for Canadian jazz artist Blaine Sharp and his debut album and single of the same name.
“I’ve always loved the word,” the Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and actor says. “There’s something about it that appeals to the romantic in me. That the concept of ‘aching to get away so badly’ has its own word… and, not just any word, but a portmanteau that attaches the passion of ‘lust’ to it all.
“I’m not a linguist, but as a musician… this strikes me as pretty fertile ground to explore.”
And explore is what Sharp is doing; this is a man who, if life was a checklist, seemingly had “it all” — an established career, his “dream home” and a teeming stable of family and friends close by. An avid traveler and musician at heart, however, his bucket just never felt full. “At this point in my life, taking a chance on my life’s dream required a leap of faith,” he says. “For me, it meant walking away from pretty much everything.”
The album sees Bambrick moving in some new musical directions, with a more Pop-influenced Jazz sound, featuring strong Canadian content, and original material. ““(It’s) more of a departure from the traditional sort of records I’ve made in the past,” she says. “This project brings together more of the things that inspire me overall, not just in jazz and not just in music. The arrangements show influences from rock, pop, and folk music, and the tunes we’ve chosen have a strong connection to the events of the world around me, and the roots of who I am as a musician and a person.
“The material on this record comes from a variety of different sources and has been inspired by several factors,” she continues. “While my initial intention with this recording was to include a fair amount of Canadian material, as well as some more original songs, I found there also became a bit of a theme (or themes) developing.
“There’s a lot of connection to Newfoundland (which isn’t surprising, coming from this proud Newfoundlander), as well as several tunes that comment on the condition of the world around me.
Canadian singer/songwriter Joshua James can look to one thing in common with Julius Caesar, circa 49 BC; after a solid decade of self-proclaimed stalemates, the Saskatoon-based rocker has readied a mission to the point of his own ‘no return’ with the forthcoming release of Crossing the Rubicon.
Now Joshua James if Cedar Sky is releasing the new video “Diana” from Crossing the Rubicon.
“The story goes, as the water rushed past their feet in Gaul, Caesar and his army knew there was no going back,” James says of the long-late figurehead’s historic passage into Rome. “This album symbolizes something similar for me.”
After ten years of James feeling like he was starting over, falling flat on his face, he started “leaning into new perspectives and shaking the ‘Etch A Sketch’ of life,” he says. “It finally became time to lay it all on the line.
“I put everything I could into releasing one of the most emotionally charged — yet microscopically complex — albums in me.”
The Trews have released the brand new video for their single "Vintage Love". The video captures live performances from this summer at The Rec Room Toronto, The Kee to Bala, The CNE, and an intimate gig at Hard Luck in Toronto.
"Vintage Love", which is currently sitting at #10 on the Active Radio charts in Canada, comes off the band's most recent effort Civilianires (Cadence Recordings). The album debuted on the Current Album chart at #6, #3 on Digital Current Album chart and the #1 on the Alternative Album chart.
The Trews have a ton of upcoming tour dates over the coming months. They will return to their roots, playing a show in Halifax on November 9th at The Marquee, followed by a very special performance for Hometown Hockey in Glace Bay on November 11th.
In December the band will hop on the CP Holiday Train to perform across parts of Canada and the U.S. More information can be found here: https://www.cpr.ca/holiday-train/united-states
Canadian singer/songwriter, acoustic world artist and 2018 Toronto Independent Music Award nominee Eunice Keitan is using the power of song and personal experience to inspire and support those struggling with depression.
The Montreal-born, Toronto-based artist’s newest single, “Hope is a Bird” — available now — “is about struggling with depression,” Keitan pinpoints, noting it’s something she herself has experienced. “The song touches on the isolation, thought processes, and fears of a person struggling with their mental health, to the blossoming of hope through the loving support of a community.”
Known for her rich, soulful vocals, Keitan increasingly noticed through her International travels and upbringing that everyday people around the world struggle through harsh realities. “This impacted my perception of social issues at play in the lives of people around the world,” she recalls. “That impact surfaces in the themes of many of my songs,” in reference to her forthcoming EP, which includes topics of mental health, addiction, abuse, and social change.
Canadian folk and roots outfit Durham County Poets are offering up their fourth and newest release, this time celebrating all things blues and the artists that inspired their journeys to the stage.
The album’s premiere single “Hand Me Down Blues” lands today, ahead of the five-piece band’s forthcoming album of the same name later this month.
“I went to my first blues concert with three of my best friends in 1981,” says Durham County Poets frontman and lead vocalist Kevin Harvey on the inspiration behind Hand Me Down Blues. “We had tickets to see Muddy Waters at the Spectrum in Montreal. When I entered the venue, Muddy’s signature guitar riff was ringing in the air and spilling into the lobby so we all hurried down to the front of the stage.
“I was awestruck,” Harvey recalls. “I was a 19-year old young man in the presence of a master! I planted my elbows firmly on the stage, as if to stake my claim, and looked Muddy square in the eye…”
That wasn’t the only point of contact for Harvey and the legend. “I placed my hand on his shoe, too,” he continues. “Muddy looked at me and winked as if to say ‘welcome to the blues, son.’”
Canadian father/son duo Son of John have added a new release to their roster — “Country Pure” is available now!
The British Columbia-based band - son Javan Johnson and dad Johnny P. Johnson - seamlessly blend two generations and genres as they croon country/roots tunes together, bringing the genre back to its storytelling and traditional roots with their unique acoustic sound.
“When you see the title ‘Country Pure’ you might think of cowboy culture or certain stereotypes of country music – farms, trucks, beer, blue jeans,” says Javan. “But the song is more about those people that wear boots and jeans in the middle of downtown Vancouver. They may have left the country for whatever reason but they’re authentic in the way the dress and act – their heart is still where they’re from – and that’s really the essence of the song.
“We’re country boys – my dad grew on the farm in rural Saskatchewan, and I grew up on an acreage by the river in BC,” he continues. “Even though it doesn’t sound like the songs on country radio – I don’t think you can deny that our music is country.
The Small Glories make their US debut with ASSINIBOINE & THE RED, an album that celebrates the Canadian Prairies. The album will be released worldwide on June 28 on Red House Records. The album title references the junction of two rivers, the Assiniboine (pronounced ‘uh-sin-uh-boin’) and the Red, in the duo’s hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and celebrates the happenstance meeting of members Cara Luft, an original member of the Wailin’ Jennys, and multi-instrumentalist JD Edwards. The duo premiered the album’s first single, “Oh My Love”, this week with PASTE Magazine.
“It’s our happiest sounding broken-hearted love song!” Luft says of the single. “It’s a theme we are all familiar with when we give our heart over to another and the feeling is either not reciprocal, or the timing is off, or we misread the signs.”
Alt. indie pop troubadour Dany Laj & The Looks left a trail of travel markers when it came to making this, their seventh and latest release, Everything New is New Again — available September 13th.
“In May of 2018, we toured Canada and the United States,” Laj recalls of the era. “We picked up our drummer Victor (Tremblay-Desrosiers) on a swing back thru Montreal and hit the road to Saint-John, New Brunswick to play a festival before locking ourselves in our friend’s jam space for a day to learn the record.”
From there, the band — Laj, Tremblay-Desrosiers and Jeanette Dowling — left for New York City. “We descended into what felt like a bunker opening into the depths of the underground through the sidewalk,” he continues, speaking of NY Hed Studio where the trio tracked the record over the next two days. “It was an honour to record with Rocio and Matt Verta-Ray at a place where some of our favourite and coolest records we know were made… Heavy Trash, Andre Williams, Ronnie Spector, and Alejandro Escovedo, to name a few.
“Working with them was like catching lightning in a bottle… They captured us in our purest form.
Relationships come in all kinds and contexts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t mostly hurt when they come to an end. So goes the theme in Toronto-based indie alt-pop singer/songwriter Little Coyote and her newest single, “Dig Up My Grave”.
Watch it on YouTube here:
“It’s about four different breakups,” she explains of the track and its hauntingly beautiful video. “They all happened all at once in my life last summer.
“Although the nature of each breakup and relationship was different, I found a connective theme in each relationship: toxicity.
The track lands as a rhythmically-rich balm, soothing but forward-moving — much like the sentiment behind the songwriting. “‘Dig Up My Grave’ speaks to not only moving on from toxic relationships but of wanting more from the people in my life… People with whom I would not find a relationship grave and, if we were to get there, they would fight with me to bring us back.”
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