Local alt-rock band Merin released their third EP this past August, and I had the pleasure of giving it a thorough listen. Full of pop-culture references and galactic metaphors, this album is the soundtrack to an epic space adventure — even referencing the classic sci-fi film Dune in the opening track, “Fear is the Mind Killer, Nerd.”
Scott Nolan’s first album since 2016 opens with a ballad entitled “Bella Vista,” a tribute to the venue where Nolan cut his teeth for decades. The Bella is now the popular Shorty’s Pizza. While you can still get a slice there, the venue it once was is now gone. Live long enough, and your old haunts will change names and owners or be obliterated off the map. Every time we pass by these places, a flood of memories, sounds, and smells comes at us. There is some comfort in nostalgia but also melancholy.
What can one say about the originators? The people who forged a path that few understood. Way before folk punk was really a thing, Johnny Sizzle was beating the shit out of an acoustic guitar. I guess all one can say is that we are happy to hear new material from Johnny Sizzle.
It was once Guildenstern who said to Hamlet: “Dreams, indeed, are ambition, for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream” (Act 2, Scene 2). This, of course, is multilayered in its interpretation, as is Tired Cossack’s sophomore release, I Know, I Guess. From the initial notes strikingly played on what sounds like a tsymbaly in the opening track, one is drawn into an encounter with the shadows that frontperson Stephen Levko is imaginably bumping into while both asleep and alert. While hammering down the meaning of the often obscure lyrics throughout the twelve songs is akin to trying to decipher the details of a dream upon waking, it might have something to do with generalized fatigue, partially veiled exasperation, routine and relationships, water and watching baseball. Regardless, this follow-up to their 2021 debut is exceedingly memorable – with equal amounts of continuity and progression of sound.
Sleeping is, without a doubt, the secondary purpose of Courtney Carmichael’s Beausejour bedroom. For the past several years, it has functioned primarily as the practice space and recording studio of sundayclub, an alternative-dream pop duo comprised of Carmichael and Nikki St.Pierre.
There is an Anishinaabe story about the Aandeg (a.k.a. the Crow), who is said to have once been without purpose, but who uncovered their raison d’être by helping others. In this way, crows are seen as exemplars of finding meaning through the process of continually seeking, deliberately pushing forward, and tenaciously not giving up; this bird is also suitably regarded as a welcome travelling companion. Perhaps there is soul resonance here between the flyer and frontperson of the band Status/Non-Status – community worker Adam Sturgeon – whose latest album, Surely Travel and its companion EP/B-Sides January 3rd, dive headlong into such themes. After all, most songs from this project deal with life on the road in the contrived nation of “Canada” and one’s distance from feeling at “home.”
Bush Lotus has had one hell of a summer. Between months of tree-planting in the heat and thick smoke of forest fires in Northern BC, Arielle Beaupré played her first headlining show, did a triple on the Manitoba festival circuit, and released her debut EP, Floating Kitestrings.
Although it’s not entirely clear whether the band’s name can be traced back to the early-to-mid 90s Australian Pre-School show Mulligrubs (with its Cheshire-Cat-like disembodied face) or the classical use of the term as meaning despondent or sullen, what is bait is that their latest sophomore album Tragical has documented a metamorphosis. Much has transpired since their single “Zero Sprite Slushie” first appeared on that suicide prevention benefit compilation “To Show That You’re Still Here” (February 2015), their opening for Propaghandi at The Garrick (February 2016), their dozens of cross-border East and West Coast shows (2016-2018), and The Plague (2020-?). What has emerged in the wake of it all is something new, which doesn’t seem quite as calamitous as the name implies. After all, wasn’t it AJ McLean who once sang, “Sadness is beautiful?” Accordingly, this next stage of Mulligrub’s evolution remains bittersweet but sounds a little more sweet than bitter this time around (on the surface, at least).