Back in November, we devoted our popular Snappy Snippets series to a more ‘singular’ feature concentrating on brand new single releases. Well, the email inbox at Team GDW is overflowing again with some fantastic new tracks, and while there are simply way too many to list here, check out these four Snappy Singles that quickly caught our attention over the last month, and have to be shared.
AlphaCub, “Night Heart”
Recording under the name AlphaCub, Marc-Antoine Robertson’s previous single, “Last Chance Romance” not only featured in our November article, but proved to be an amazing debut release in the highly popular synth-pop genre, thanks in part to the soul and funk grooves added to the mix too. So upon seeing the name AlphaCub in my email again recently, I was consumed with thoughts of his dancefloor-ready beats and stadium-size energy, and naturally curious to learn if Robertson could recreate this musical magic once more.
“Who are you at night?” Robertson asks. “I fell in love with the darkness. I was always fascinated by that one, distant light that shone from the forest of near the ocean. The only thing I love more is the wild night that I embrace trying to reach that glow.” If the shimmering retro 80s synth-vibes and pulsating grooves from this latest release prove to be the source of his glow, then all nocturnal creatures can unite on the dance floor, and become lost in this moment. “Night Heart” may not pack the same punch as his previous single, but warrants repeated listening, and reinforces my claim that AlphaCub are very quickly redefining the synth-pop culture. I can’t wait to sample the full length album scheduled for release on March 22nd via Culvert Music.
Too much new music is not necessarily a bad thing, yet the yin that is an abundance of fresh material is always counterbalanced by the yang; of finding something too late or, gulp, missing out completely. I found new music from Toronto-based Zinnia in an email from just over a month ago, and having only now sampled “Lupins,” offer proof that late is much preferable to never. Fusing modern synth-pop with a distinct soul vibe, Zinnia quickly earned my attention, especially when encountering the delightfully eerie vocals courtesy of Rachael Cardiello. How delightful? How significant? Cast your memory back to that first time you heard Hope Sandoval’s “Fade Into You,” and then check for goosebumps. Yes, now you understand. In goosebumps we trust!
Just like AlphaCub, Zinnia have found an identity carved from that vintage 80s sound, yet err more towards new romanticism and dream-pop, rather than pulsating dance beats. “Lupins is a tribute to the search for softness and compassion in the face of struggle. Pulled from the wreckage of realizing not all pain can be healed. With vulnerability comes a deep fragility.” Accompanied by James Burrows, Chris Pruden, Connor Walsh and Mackenzie Longpre, Cardiello demonstrates a truly natural intensity as the track progresses, driven by tight orchestration that leads to a rousing, passion-fueled finale. Go ahead and immerse yourself in this impressive debut. Believe me, your ears and emotions will thank you for it.
Rvnners, “Through The Wall”
If you are still craving more of that throwback synth-pop music, we’ve definitely got you covered here today. Hailing from Toronto, ON, the four-piece band Rvnners are more than ready to transport you back in time with their uplifting indie-pop anthem, “Through The Wall.” Known previously as Tiny Danza, the band may have reunited under a new name, but their dynamic songwriting and high energy sounds are as good as ever. As the first single from an upcoming new EP, produced by Crispin Day (July Talk/Shad), “Through The Wall” is an incredibly upbeat track, yet simultaneously tackles the hidden struggles surrounding addiction, failure, and redemption. “[This} was written after years of getting sober, medication and work,” offers band-member Andrew Cameron. “I had this image of a ghost pacing back and forth, behind a wall that no one could see, trying to get out. Recovery is 90% personal – no one can get inside your head and fully understand.”
As the British half of Team GDW, this song provokes strong memories of the music of popular synth-pop bands from back in the day, especially the poppy, upbeat and commercially successful outpouring of hits from the likes of Erasure, Bronski Beat and The Pet Shop Boys; tracks that kept revelers moving and grooving at the office parties and on the night-club dance floors. Rvnners tap into this sound with ease, making it easy to quickly lose sight of the darker subject matter found at the core of the song. “I want to dedicate this song to anyone struggling in life,” Andrew reiterates. “Whether it be with chronic pain, BPD, depression, self harm, anxiety, surviving abuse, trying to make a life out of less than nothing. The problems that take decades. Everybody has their own wall.”
Skye Wallace, “Coal In Your Window”
We are not quite done with retro-inspired music just yet, but there’ll be no more 80s synth-pop from here. With this latest single from folk-punk singer-songwriter Skye Wallace, her powerhouse vocals and heavy guitar distortion not only eats synth-pop for breakfast, but is bursting with enough energy to leave her raring for lunch too. Skye Wallace is a modern-day testament to traditional punk-rock, a genre often ignored, but never eradicated; bubbling away in the darker recesses of the musical spectrum, and ready to strike back onto the scene with your eardrums firmly in the crosshairs. Looking for aggression and distortion wrapped in a melodic, passionate musical package? Allow me to introduce you to “Coal In Your Window” from Skye Wallace.
“I wrote this song in a building in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, that used to be an old cottage hospital,” Skye explains. “It was inspired by a story I heard about one of the young folks that used to work in the hospital and the boy would throw coal at her window at night to beckon her down to their meeting place in the boiler room.” Whether your punk music affiliation draws you closer to the modern-era sounds of Green Day and Pussy Riot, or the older-generation like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, Wallace transcends all elements with natural ease, and should not be dismissed. “It’s a truly universal concept of jittery, passionate love and doing whatever it takes to access that fire that another person ignites in you,” she adds. “I wanted to evoke an excited, dangerous, lustful energy that gets the heart pumping.” Skye Wallace shall release a new album later this year – stock up on your blood pressure meds right now, you might need ‘em.
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.