Reviews

Gentlemen Of Leisure – S/T

Gentlemen Of Leisure - S/T

Review by Andrew Patterson Truth is, you can do almost anything you want over a really good bass line. And if you get the mixture right, just right, really straightforward pop songs can reach a state of wonderfully refined fulfilment. They allow you to have fun; what’s more, they feed you. You feel seriously good listening to them, full up.… Continue reading


Freelove Fenner – ‘Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner’

Freelove Fenner - 'Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner'

Review by Andrew Patterson When exposed to the repetitiveness of modern Top 40 songs, with hooks that loop ad nauseum throughout their entirety, I find myself wondering in maladjusted horror, ‘Why? Why has it come to this?’ There seems to be an accepted answer to this question, which is that, due to the warp speed at which our culture moves,… Continue reading


Shad – ‘Flying Colours’

Shad - 'Flying Colours'

Review by Tim Martin Sometimes listening to Shad I feel like I’m floating. Or maybe he’s floating. Remember watching ninjas in slow motion movie sequences? Yeah, like that. On Flying Colours the listener is instantly given a soundscape that builds like a slow motion explosion, or like a fight scene from Crouching Tiger. Shad reflects on his influences, and a… Continue reading


Viet Cong – S/T

Viet Cong - S/T

Review by Andrew Patterson This is without a doubt the strongest debut from a Canadian group this year. Most bands will never release a collections of songs so palatable in their lifespan; Viet Cong have done it first time around. Though it shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering the group’s pedigree (the peerless rhythm section from Women, plus one… Continue reading


Basia Bulat – ‘Tall Tall Shadow’

Basia Bulat - 'Tall Tall Shadow'

Review by Tim Martin Good music should be like a sunrise. There should be brilliant hype, a shiver in the back of your neck, and the great warmth that comes from something new. At it’s best, comparable to a morning walk between glass-rimmed buildings at dawn, or that moment when a dense fog is shattered. Good records should begin with… Continue reading


EONS – ‘Arctic Radio’

EONS - 'Arctic Radio'

Review by Tim Martin The notes transpose themselves across registers and varying keys. Our mood profoundly shifts when the first nylon string is plucked. Melodies move like well-oiled swing sets. Symbiotic ambience hums and gestures back to past Wilderness of Manitoba or Evening Hymns records that we used to study to. But I have yet to successfully multitask to the… Continue reading


Devon Sproule & Mike O’Neill – ‘Colours’

Devon Sproule & Mike O'Neill - 'Colours'

Review by Jordaan Mason It’s hard not to think that a title like Colours is meant to evoke autumn. As I’ve been taking in this record, I’ve been watching the leaves change, the sky shift, the moon hang red over the city. And to consider Colours a fall album is somewhat unfair. Sure, it’s matching the mood of the days… Continue reading


Marine Dreams – ‘Corner Of The Eye’

Marine Dreams - 'Corner Of The Eye'

Review by Andrew Patterson On the sophomore album by Marine Dreams, an old adage reveals itself to be true: there is great bravery in feeling deeply. With its serene production and slightly unusual palette, Corner Of The Eye is a gentle, bare-skinned record. It is tender and curious. It is populated with complex emotions, neither happy or sad, uplifting or… Continue reading


TV Freaks – ‘Two’

TV Freaks - 'Two'

Review by Terris Taylor The first time I saw TV Freaks, frontman Dave O’Connor was covered head to toe in winter clothes. As they played he undressed himself in the typical manner of a proper frontman. Only made brilliantly absurd by the amount of the set it took to get completely down to his briefs. The memory itself is a… Continue reading


Islands – ‘Ski Mask’

Islands - 'Ski Mask'

Review by Tim Martin The sun rises on a new Islands record. Tight guitar hooks slap us like rays of sunshine, and the listener is transported to that ethereal dance floor that exists only in MJ videos and snow globes. Nick Thorburn carefully joins letters and phrases with poetic deftness, and the album makes all of us feel like morning… Continue reading


Rae Spoon – ‘My Prairie Home’

Rae Spoon - 'My Prairie Home'

Review by Tim Martin Earlier this year, I met a woman who had finished her transition. As she spoke to me, her face held the beautiful glow that comes at the other side of great trial. Enduring rejection from family and friends, she had felt like the only letter of LGtBQ that seemed to be belittled and lost amidst the… Continue reading


Maestro Fresh Wes – ‘Orchestrated Noise’

Maestro Fresh Wes - 'Orchestrated Noise'

Review by Tim Martin Hip-hop is not under the vultures’ wings. Wesley Williams moulds this pure, beautiful art form, casting orchestral refreshment with his wand. This wizard of rhymes has been swinging the baton since before this reviewer was born. Escaping the vultures, the tropes of the album take us back to the Egypt-Sinai pilgrimage. His mindscape might be the… Continue reading


Chief Thundercloud – ‘End Of August’

Chief Thundercloud - 'End Of August'

Review by Andrew Patterson For years (and years and years) now, Craig Currie aka Chief Thundercloud has been kicking against the pricks in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A heavy load put upon his own shoulders, he trudges deeper into the forests of his mind, muddying himself. And with each foray, his limbs grow a little stronger, his thoughts a little sharper,… Continue reading


The Darcys – ‘Warring’

The Darcys - 'Warring'

Review by Shannon Reid There is a fire burning in the big smoke. Break the glass, ring the alarm, Toronto’s own, The Darcys, have rubbed their personal struggles and persistent roots together igniting a flame that will elevate them to a whole new level. Warring is the groups latest album set to be released September 17th on Arts & Crafts.… Continue reading


Faux Fur – S/T

Faux Fur - S/T

Review by Andrew Patterson Disparate expressions between the hands and face. The hands mingling excitedly, traipsing about the neck. The face practically falling off itself. A combusting bough of fingertips and the lips, listless, drooping like a string of rosary beads. This full-length debut from Calgary’s next-gen guitar pop wizards is built on a highly-effective, singleminded tension. Achieved by piling… Continue reading


By Divine Right – ‘Organized Accidents’

By Divine Right - 'Organized Accidents'

Review by Christina Bell Staying true to their legacy, By Divine Right has made an album that fervently throws you back into the late ‘90s Canadian indie rock scene. Organized Accidents wastes no time, hooking you at track number one, “Mutant Message.” This catchy tune couples heavenly boy/girl harmonies with swift instrumentals and space age-y aural effects. “Mutant Message” sets… Continue reading


Austra – ‘Olympia’

Austra - 'Olympia'

Review by Shannon Reid Austra was a light in its original composure. One that was group generated but passionately sole composed by Katie Stelmanis. In their present form, they are producing an intense heat made of modern-romantic substance while evoking visions of glowing rich material. Austra’s latest sophomore album titled Olympia burns with electronic injected incantations and thrives on strata-infused synergy;… Continue reading


Sean Nicholas Savage – ‘Other Life’

Sean Nicholas Savage - 'Other Life'

Review by Christina Bell Writing a perfect pop love song is an often attempted, rarely accomplished musical feat. But the perfect pop love song is something that Sean Nicholas Savage has absolutely mastered. The idiosyncratic Arbutus songwriter is impossibly romantic but also suddenly sad on his newest album Other Life. Savage’s music has taken a turn for the deeply personal… Continue reading


Mavo 7”

Mavo 7''

Review by Andrew Patterson This is it folks, it don’t get much better: the long-awaited debut recording from cherished guitar-poppers Mavo. Led by Osaka-born Mitz Takahashi, Mavo have been active in one way or another for over 5 years, and have only just now made their music available for those living outside the 514. Mavo’s sound is essentially a college-rock… Continue reading


Jay Arner – S/T

Jay Arner - S/T

Review by Andrew Patterson Everything is wet. Not soaking, not oozing, but there is a sparkling humidity in the air. Downtown is nearly void of people, save for Jay Arner who’s out “half drunk, just trying to make some laundry change”. It’s late at night on a Tuesday, after all. Streetlights dangle red in the rain-slicked blackness. This is the… Continue reading


Crosss – ‘Obsidian Spectre’

Crosss - 'Obsidian Spectre'

Review by Andrew Patterson As the title of this debut LP suggests, Crosss are a band concerned equally with texture and form. This Halifax power-trio make rugged and ruthless rock music whose punch comes from a combination of pristine sonics and deliberate structures. Each track here (save perhaps the 20-minute droning closer, ‘Will O’ The Wisp’) would make the perfect… Continue reading


Hooded Fang – ‘Gravez’

Hooded Fang - 'Gravez'

Review by Jordaan Mason The days are getting warm again and soon so will the nights. Every year, there’s always that one record that sticks out on my stereo just as the heat rises, as I start to shift in the night. It comes pulsing, like sweat, and it stays with me until the leaves all die again. It becomes… Continue reading


Jim Guthrie – ‘Takes Time’

Jim Guthrie - 'Takes Time'

Review by Shannon Reid In the field of atmospheric science, there is little information available to scientists regarding lightning hitting water; so naturally, when Jim Guthrie’s newest album titled, Take Time featured cover art displaying root pattern lightning hitting a ‘waves of contemplation’ tabletop, my mind wandered and my heart galloped. This is a tasty image that foretells the feeding… Continue reading


Broken Deer – ‘Polaraura’

Broken Deer - 'Polaraura'

Review by Andrew Patterson Often, when discussing the merits of lo-fi recording, there is an emphasis on how the sound is made beautiful by restriction. Either there is a sense of immediacy (time restriction) or a sense of triumph despite limitations (the underdog effect). The music can often feel trapped in a moment or a format, and cherished all the… Continue reading