Snappy Singles: July Gems

Snappy Singles July 2024

Summer is officially here, and it’s not only the temperatures that are hot right now! With the endless number of single releases landing on our listening radar from all over Canada, talk about enduring a heatwave of the music variety. The ladies are leading the charge this month, loading up our Snappy Singles with some sizzling new tunes. We don’t need to provide any further instructions – just grab a beverage, treat yourself to a 15-minute break, and enjoy these personally picked songs today. 

Vikki Minor, “COOL” 

Alt-pop has always been at this artist’s core, but when previously recording under the moniker velours, the music was a little more AOR, a little more melodic pop (no complaints) – but with the desire to experiment more towards the punk-pop aspect of the genre, a new identity was born – one with a cool new attitude, and with an even cooler sound. Seems fitting then that Saskatoon, SK (and sometimes Toronto-based) singer-songwriter Vikki Minor brings everything “COOL” with this new tune, and a turn of the century era throwback music video to boot (captured over one weekend at various SK locations). “We’ve all had a crush – either on a friend or a stranger we saw for two seconds across the record store, where we can’t help obsessing and imagining our lives with them,” Vikki shares. “I wrote the chorus first and fell in love with the hook, then wrote the verses listing the coolest things about a person I could think of and got a bit cheeky in the bridge about how this crush may not last forever, but it’s ‘worth a shot!’.” Oh, and how about that opening guitar riff – Joan Jett flashback overload right now… 

Marthe Halvorsen, “Invisible Sword” 

Be the water finding its own way around the rocks / Never be commodified or let them put you in a box / Cause you know / You know you hold so much more.” It has been a little over a year since we last checked in with Norwegian-born, and currently Montréal-based dreamy indie-folk artist Marthe Halvorsen – whose single “Dissolve” focused on finding the courage within to jump into the darkness and confront what needs to be confronted.  With “Invisible Sword,” Marthe’s latest release, a similar theme is explored – wrapped in some wonderful jazz-fueled horns and pacing. “[This] is a tribute song to our inner warrior and our inner moral compass. The force that is there to guide us, if we only remember to listen,” Marthe shares. “It’s a song about standing up for ourselves and learning to stay true to our core and our values. In a society that constantly tries to put us in boxes … I wanted this song to be like a little pat on the back to encourage us all to stand our ground.” “Be the fire burning, won’t you ever let it cease / Know that you, and only you will be the cure to the disease / As you grow to love yourself every day more.” 

Tiny Horse, “New Religion” 

I’ve lost count of how many times I used this line in the past, and will likely use it again in the future, but “I was tuned in to SiriusXM radio during my office commute recently when this previously unknown tune burst from the car speakers.” A cursory glance at the display (as to not be a distracted driver) flashed up the name Tiny Horse – an indie soft-rock band based out of Kingston, ON. “Face of an angel, voice of a god / You can have my money and my credit card / Cut our losses, quit our jobs / We can do whatever ‘cause it’s not hard.”  Fronted by vocalists/guitarists Clara Roberts and Rae Corcoran, their sound (per their bio) ‘is a step into a place of possibility and freedom, their performances are equal parts small-town queer cabaret, 70s folk-rock rapture, and Bowie-ish extravaganza.’ Drawn to their dual vocal harmonies and acoustic guitar accompaniment, I may not have purposely been seeking a “New Religion,” but this one sure found me as I dealt with the usual assortment of highway traffic and thoughts of work-related tasks awaiting me. One to watch this year… 

Billie Zizi, “Levitate” 

So, it’s one thing to have a name flash up on your radio display that is completely unknown to you when a fantastic tune plays away (as per Tiny Horse just now), but to have another instance during that same commute – well, that’s quite a rarity. When “Levitate” burst through the car speakers, another unrecognized name was displayed – or was it? Billie Zizi – an indie alt-pop artist from Edmonton, AB – had a familiar ring, but from where? No answers were found on Billie’s socials, but I remained convinced of having seen this artist somewhere on our travels. And then came the hit (via our GDW search engine) – Billie played lead guitar/backing vocals for Leela Gilday during a 2022 summer festival performance we attended. Suddenly, those memories returned, and with it, this chance to spread the word about “Levitate,” Billie’s latest single release. “I got lost in the fog / White foam lace / Spinning in a haze / Obscuring the path seductively / Luring me to oblivion.” Per the official press release: “Levitate draws new maps through familiar terrain with stunning results…newcomers will be drawn in by her tender, innovative approach.” 

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: July Gems”