Snappy Singles: Alt-April Anthems

Snappy Singles April 2024

“A” is for “April” – “A” is for “Alt” – “A” is for “Anthems.” So, it appears that our Snappy Singles feature for this month pretty much wrote itself. If you are looking for a selection of artists who often have an “alt” tag attached to their name and/or music, you’ve come to the right place. We have three solid “alt-anthems” to try on for size, before wrapping up with one of the coolest (a lock, basically) indie-folk tunes we’ve heard all year. Give us fifteen minutes, and we’ll give you four stunning singles in return. Check them out:

Leah Martel, “Everybody Out”

Hitting the airwaves just last week, “Everybody Out” is the 25th single released by Hamilton, ON alt-pop artist Leah Martel. Okay, okay, excuse the belated April Fools prank, but in Leah’s mind, this could very well be her 25th single to date. Here in the real world, however, this marks her debut, and believe me, it’s an indie-pop corker for the ages. “I wrote Everybody Out at a point in my life when my social anxiety was really past its peak. The thing is, I figured it would have been its worst as a kid in elementary school getting picked on and not, embarrassingly, as a 20-something just trying to attend a party of some very nice seeming people from my college program,” Leah shares “If I said something, I felt like an alien trying to pretend to have a human conversation. If I stayed silent, I felt like an awkward weirdo just hovering around. So, instead of trying to communicate through it or rise to the occasion in any way, I ran out early and wrote this little melody.” A little mellow to start, Leah quickly builds the tune into an alt-pop jam, with a brief dramatic pause before going all out with her final hurrah. A very impressive 25th debut!

Black Suit Devil, “Passage”

The last time we caught up in person with Toronto, ON alt-rocker Black Suit Devil, lead vocalist Andy Du Rego teased us with news of fresh music being on the horizon – something long overdue considering he last released his stunning “A Matter of Time” album just before the pandemic. The first taste of new music, “Passage” is set to appear on Black Suit Devil’s upcoming third album, and the timing of this single could not be any better once you hear those well-timed April showers that open. Fulfilling a desire to dive into his grunge rock roots, Andy’s raspy vocals blast slowly and melodically from the speakers with a distinct early 90s alt-rock vibe, accompanied by some era-appropriate guitar cries that will make fans of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden sit up and take notice. I’m detecting some Queensryche cues in the pacing here too, perhaps even a little David Gilmour influence in the guitar solo. Du Rego has never been shy about using music as a vessel for raising awareness surrounding mental health issues, addiction, homelessness, and depression – and taps into the subject matter perfectly once more.

CJ Wiley, “No One Like U”

I’m pretty sure that when it comes to us folks spreading the love about new music, the normal modus operandi is to acknowledge the press release, listen to the song, and then share with our audience. With a bizarre twist, however, this latest single from Toronto slack rocker CJ Wiley was aimed in my direction thanks to some heavy SiriusXM radio rotation, piquing my own curiosity, and leaving me finally seeking the press release from my email. “No One Like U is a song about the nostalgia of teenage years,” shares Wiley. “Playful friendships, the expansiveness of queer love and how romance can show up in platonic relationships, going through ups and downs with friends just as you would with lovers.” Co-written with acclaimed singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield, and produced by Boy Golden in Winnipeg, “No One Like U” boasts twirling guitars and breezy vocals – a place where country meets grunge (yes, really). No wonder this one grabbed me by the collar when bursting through the airwaves during my commute last week. Give it a whirl, let it get under your skin, and thank me later.

Daniel Raymond, “The Prettiest Girl In An Ugly Town”

Canadian independent artists have been a GDW staple since Day One, and if an unfamiliar name takes time to reach out with stories about their music and journey, we’ll often do our darndest to listen. Discovering an intriguing email recently from Oshawa, ON singer-songwriter Daniel Raymond, we quickly became excited about his latest EP. Saving Daniel’s music for a rainy day (it’s April now – perfect timing), just a few lines into the EPs opening track convinced us that this song had to be in this feature today. “The prettiest girl from an ugly town / She’s driving in an Outback now / Windows down singing along / With 4 Non Blondes’ ‘What’s Going On’ / Broke loose from chains of selfish eyes / That slowly, subtly defined / Her as they needed her to be / Sometimes new eyes can set you free.”  Produced (and joined) by Jim Bryson at Fixed Hinge Studios, and mastered by Phillip Shaw Bova, Daniel’s sound and style reminds us of GDW fave Ben Somer – another artist that paints pictures with words. We can’t promise to feature everything that lands in our laps, but when your music is this good, so are your chances…

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

0 replies on “Snappy Singles: Alt-April Anthems”