Album Review :: Still Depths :: Best Plan For Your Life

by Gabriel Fars

Still Depths has a very casual grunge sound to their music. If you’re a fan of Nirvana, or just 90s rock in general, I’d highly recommend this album. There’s a sort of half-angry, half-apathetic theme to the songs. Best Plan For Your Life will give you the existential crisis that you need and make you reassess your life plan. 

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Album Review :: Andy Shauf :: Norm

by maggie cheal-tarr 

If certain sections of Twitter (or, rather, X) are to be believed, we are currently living through an epidemic of male loneliness. You might have seen op-eds, graphs, or surveys making the rounds, supposedly demonstrating that North American men in the 2020s have fewer friends, experience depression at higher rates, and are having less sex than ever before. Whether this framing of affairs is true and what ought to be done about it is anyone’s guess. But almost as if anticipating the contentious social media discourse on the subject, Saskatchewan-based folk musician Andy Shauf released Norm on February 10, 2023. The singer and multi-instrumentalist’s eighth LP fits perfectly among his catalogue as another perceptive and affecting exploration of the psyche of lonely men.

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Album Review :: Super Duty Tough Work :: Paradigm Shift

by Mykhailo Vil’yamson

No stranger to dropping weighty truth via their projects, Super Duty Tough Work is back with their much-anticipated second record, Paradigm Shift, and it delivers a heavy reality-dosing ten tracks of hip hop content. Formed in 2014 by emcee Brendan Grey, this from-the-floor rap outfit released their first LP back in 2019 (that was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2020). However, while there is continuity from Studies in Grey in leitmotif, there has also been a deliberate tightening and nuanced sonic scope. This not only includes scaling back the use of horns on Paradigm Shift – which was quite prominent on older SDTW recordings – but also slowing things down substantially tempo-wise. In fact, only two songs on this release could be described as more upbeat, namely “New Sight” and “Dirty Hands.” This opting for more of a chill vibe was conceivably strategic, though, since it functions to compel the listener to pause and consider more fully the voice of the artist. And Super Duty has some important things to communicate.

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EP Review :: Merin :: Merin – EP

by Bradi Breckman 

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.” 

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Album Review :: Scott Nolan :: The Suburb Beautiful

by Scott Price

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. 

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Album Review :: JohNNy SiZZle :: I Can Not Forgive You

Independent release on Bandcamp 

by Scott Price

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. 

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Album Review :: Tired Cossack :: I Know, I Guess 

By Mykhailo Vil’yamson

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.

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