Snappy Singles: Early Spring Surprises

March 2024 Snappy Singles

Hey, maybe the groundhog(s) were not misleading us after all – aside from a quick blast of snow here in mid-February, it has been unseasonably mild these past few weeks. We’ve just dialed the clocks forward, signaling the pending arrival of Spring – so let’s celebrate warmer weather and lighter evenings with four recent releases that are perfectly in tune with the seasonal change and for brighter days ahead.

Kelly-Ann, “Overthinking”

Here’s proof that there is so much musical talent in Quebec just itching to be discovered. Montréal-based emerging artist Kelly-Ann released this stunning indie-folk ballad back on Valentine’s Day, digging deeply into the intricacies of human emotions through a fabulous mix of evocative storytelling and enchanting musicality.  Just a few lines into this one, however, and you’ll quickly realize that “Overthinking” is the antithesis of love and romance. “What were you to me / I’m not even sure I remember at all / You were the first man I truly loved / But now I realize you’re not the diamond I thought.”  Drawing parallels to the music of Charlotte Cardin and Geneviève Racette, “Overthinking” oozes with introspection and vulnerability, as Kelly-Ann tugs strongly at the heartstrings when sharing this tumultuous tale of the complexities of love lost and emotional disappointment. “Laid all of my cards on the table / Gave you all I had and so much more / Just to see you burn me to the ground / Well baby boy watch me set fire to you next.” Oh, and how about those opening riffs – I can’t be alone hearing strong hints of “Everybody Hurts” here?

Lookout Tower, “Long Shot”

There was never any intention to actively seek out some swampy blues when whittling down to four tunes for Snappy Singles this month, but once this latest release from Cape Breton, NS band Lookout Tower burst through the speakers, well, there was NO turning back. As a teaser of new music from their forthcoming “First Class Raft” album, “Long Shot” is a tale of an outlaw seeking redemption through one last heist. Boasting a mind-boggling assortment of banjo licks, harmonica blasts, and fuzzy guitars, this tune is accurately described by the band as “tension filled with hypnotic strings and soulful vocals.”Lately I’ve lost control / Locked up, I’ve lost my soul / Lately I’m a fraction of my silhouette / Gambled all my freedom and I’ve paid my debt… / Look out, I’m a long shot.”  It is easy to drop this tune into the loosely defined Americana genre, but it becomes evident that this is a band happy to adopt a square peg, round hole disposition when it comes to labeling their sound. A steady groove and gripping lyrics fill this heady song with an abundance of 60s-inspired soul sounds and psychedelia – sounds like a fun hang to me, and I’m happy to indulge.  

Marie-Mai, “Noir sur noir”

Long time readers know that Team GDW enjoy a selection of Francophone music from across Canada, and for me personally, Montréal’s Marie-Mai has been a fave for over fifteen years now. Following her successful career through all phases of her pop, indie, and alt-rock personas, the artist would surprise all with short notice about this single release, scheduling for the first day of March, then switching gears last minute to share on Leap Day.  “Anyone that really knows me well knows that more often, than not, I’m the girl who stares at the void and dreams,” Marie-Mai shared on social media. “It’s been a long time since I had those thoughts but when writing Noir sur noir, I let myself go there.”  Hitting both PLAY and REPEAT, I love how that career path is captured in this brief 3-minute foray, starting out softly, then building into a powerful rock ballad. “[Having} the satisfaction of being able to visit these emotions without them owning me, to be able to deliver myself in any vulnerability knowing that I am holding my own hand and will never let myself be forgotten again,” she adds. “This must be it, freedom.”

Kristen Martell, “Parmi nos fantômes”

It’s not often (if ever) that we share French language music from a Nova Scotian artist, but thanks to Mahone Bay singer-songwriter Kristen Martell, we could not refuse this opportunity to feature her debut French language single. Unbeknownst to us, Kristen has Acadian roots, growing up in Campbellton, NB, and is now eager to rediscover her childhood heritage. “I grew up speaking French but found I was losing confidence in my language,” Kristen recalls. “Writing songs in French … forces me to step out of my comfort zone, allowing me to work with new and diverse collaborators and listeners, while reclaiming an important part of my culture.”  This impressive French language debut has all the hallmarks of Kristen’s signature folk leanings that we have come to expect – soothing arrangements, haunting vocal harmonies, and profound messages that embrace the challenges of life. Be sure to check out the official music video below, which captures two lovers maneuvering through the highs and lows of daily existence, illustrating the resilience required to reunite amidst life’s challenges.

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.

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