As spring turns quickly towards summer, it’s not only the temps that are heating up, it’s the sheer volume of hot, hot, hot music coming out right now. I’m not going to sit here and attempt to hype up these four handpicked tunes – instead, I’ll encourage you to dive right on in and feel the sizzle for yourselves.
The Local Group, “(I’ve Been Getting Back Into) Crying Lately”
It’s pretty well known that I’m a sucker for the dulcet tones of traditional country and contemporary bluegrass music, so when giving this latest single from Saskatoon, SK quartet The Local Group a spin, it quickly became a lock for inclusion in today’s feature. Taking their name from the cluster of galaxies containing the Milky Way, here is a band that plays music of astronomical proportions, and believe me, as a teaser of new music from their upcoming sophomore album, you’ll quickly bookmark this name in your streaming platform of choice. “I’ve been getting back into crying lately / I’ve been rediscovering all alone / Like at the end of a sad old movie / Or a conversation on the phone / Or wishing I was with the one I love truly / Or missing my home / I’ve been getting back into crying lately / Crying all alone, crying all alone.” Produced by Clayton Linthicum (Kacy & Clayton), The Local Group used the pandemic-forced downtime to write, work, and rework their new tunes, before recording the album at Micah Erenberg’s Manitoba studio near Lake Winnipeg. Don’t miss the band’s forthcoming album, “Nero’s Waltz,” which drops this coming Friday via Grey Records.
Matthew Barber, “Every Time You Cry”
Okay, okay, so we follow with another tune that references those water droplets that trickle from the eyes – and this is far from an intentional segue, I promise – but when Toronto, ON singer-songwriter Matthew Barber announces the arrival of new music, it’s pretty hard to ignore. We were only too happy to share his previous single, “Viral” back in April (first single in almost four years), and naturally wanted to spread the word here about his most recent release, “Every Time You Cry.” Yet unlike the slower nature of “Viral,” this new offering comes packaged in an almost-sonic-return to the melodic power-pop of his own musical roots: “Every time you cry / I wind up wondering why / The well behind my eyes is dry / Do I have to dig deeper and try to get inside / The feelings that you never hide / And deal with my foolish pride?” Accompanied by jangly acoustic guitars and electric accents, the sound bounces along like a mid-period Beatles number. “Every Time You Cry is a confessional plea to understand and accept that tears don’t always come in the same ways to different people,” Matthew offers. “At least not when others are around.” Expect more new music from Matthew Barber very soon – we can’t wait.
Mary Clements, “Farmer Song”
Rooted in piano and voice, and a graduate of a six-week songwriting course held by Canadian country artist Lori Yates, Hamilton, ON folk-roots singer-songwriter Mary Clements recently shared her debut studio recording, “Farmer Song.” “This track centres around the story of a son contemplating whether or not he is willing and even capable of taking over his family’s farm from his father,” Mary offers. “The son wants both freedom and autonomy, but is scared of losing the shared reality and connection to his family. I think that many of us can think of a time in our lives when our meaning and purpose looked different than our families’, causing confusion, fear, and maybe even shame.” With the accompanying music video, the viewer follows this protagonist around a family farm in Ontario, where he considers the positives and negatives of the choice before him. “When someone takes time to listen to my music, I do not take this for granted. They’ve now shared an intimate moment with me which creates a connection,” Mary adds. “To me, there’s nothing more special and powerful in life than feeling connected and together.”
Fool’s Union, “Raven Lake”
We’re sticking around in Hamilton, ON to share this recent single from local four-piece rock outfit Fool’s Union – their first since “Maniacs” last October. Formed in 2017, Fool’s Union quickly made a name offering big guitar sounds and soaring melodies, with “Raven Lake” (released in early May) being mixed by famed producer Gavin Brown (Billy Talent, The Trews). “Raven Lake was written at the real Raven Lake near Dorset in northern Ontario. I had rented a cottage that was the end of a long drive through a dense forest, but led to an oasis on the lake,” shares lead vocalist/guitarist Nick Cino. “It’s about how we all desire to escape somewhere that is remote and quiet, away from all the noise and pressures of everyday life.” “I can see everything this evening / Waiting there for me among the stars / And I will go wherever you may take me / As long as I can be where you are / In the dark I can see your eyes glow / No one here can ever make a sound / These dark places always got me thinking / What’s all this thinking all about?” “We go to these places not only for rest and relaxation, but also for reflection and, if we can find it, redemption,” Nick adds in closing.