Snappy Singles: New Month, New Releases

Snappy Singles May 2024

The arrival of new singles into the GDW email inbox shows no signs of slowing down, making it extra tough to select four tunes to feature here this month. Skimming through the most recent submissions, several names of known GDW faves jumped out from the pack – three of these artists covered back in 2023, and the fourth last featured back in our early days. It’s always great to see what our musical pals are doing in the here-and-now, and based on the four songs we’re sharing today, there are exciting times ahead for all of them. 

Mia Kelly, “Bonefish Boys” 

We enjoyed hearing some tunes from Gatineau, QC folk-blues rocker Mia Kelly at a summer festival last year, and who shared a handful of new tunes, including this latest release, “Bonefish Boys,” which was still untitled at that time. Produced by Jim Bryson and set to appear on her second studio album, for Mia, this lead single “unravels the life of an older, weathered man I met while traveling, who had spent his life in the British Navy.” I recall that tale (grimacing only slightly at Mia’s British accent attempt) as told on that festival stage, adding that upon questioning exactly when this man had joined the navy, his response to her was “when the ships were made of wood, and the men were made of steel” – two lines that inspired the story of this tune. “The ships we sailed / Were made of wood still / And the men on them were made of steel / Oh, the hardest men still get hungry / Oh, us bonefish boys behind the wheel.” “I had a super clear vision of what I wanted Bonefish Boys to sound like,” Mia recalls. “I went into the studio with a specific vibe in mind: a slinky folk tune with jangling, junkyard-like percussion and instrumentation.”  

Briar Summers, “Lipstick” 

Another good friend of GDW, we caught up with Huntsville, ON alt-pop artist Briar Summers last August (and practically in her backyard too), sharing a handful of new tunes and announcing her upcoming third studio album, “Resonance” (and now confirmed for a June 2024 release). Teasing us back then with her 2023 single “Want Me” – which shall also appear on the new album – Briar formally released her latest single “Lipstick” last Friday, and it’s a stunning introduction to this next stage of her musical journey. “Wasn’t the plan but look at you / Feel the tension building in the room / I know what’s going on, but it still feels surreal / You’re like the drug I don’t wanna quit, make me a deal.” Reviewing Briar’s sophomore “From the Ashes” album back in late 2021, I acknowledged the level of maturity she demonstrated beyond her 17 years of age. A teenager no more, Briar’s own generational growth clearly transitions to this new single, where moody, heavy synth sounds compete with peppy pop drums, whilst simultaneously propelling Briar’s strong and noticeable vocal presence and clearly defined musical identity. Outstanding.  

The Harpoonist, “Good People” 

You’ll have to dig very, very deep into the GDW archives to locate our previous coverage of Vancouver, BC-based blues duo The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer, but it’s there, we promise. Embarking on an exciting solo project, and working alongside Gordie Johnson (Big Sugar), The Harpoonist (moniker of Toronto-born musician Shawn Hall) recently unveiled this first taste of new music, “Good People,” and left us standing dead in our tracks when encountering his powerful harmonica-based music once again. “Good People hit me like a brick to the head at my dining room table about a year ago, sort of like a mantra of some kind,” Shawn recalls. “I had this dizzying nature whirling around in me – it’s a call to action, in its simplest form asking, ‘did we come here to dance or come here to die?’.” Setting his potent mouth organ against a swirling backdrop of electronic voices and effects, “Good People” showcases Shawn’s infectious energy as he blends elements of funk, rock, and soul into his signature sound. Currently touring his new music across Canada, we can’t wait to discover more from the upcoming debut solo album from The Harpoonist. 

Little Misty, “Scarlett Town” 

We wrap up our music selection in Montréal, QC to bring you this fabulous cover version of a popular Gillian Welch tune as interpreted by progressive folk band Little Misty. You may recall that we discovered this band just a little over a year ago, featuring their song “Windmill,” and then premiering their music video for “Alma” just a couple of days later – needless to say, this was a band that impressed, making the inclusion of this cover here today an easy decision. Fronted by Kathryn Samman (vocals) and François Jalbert (guitar), the band share that this song has been a popular part of their live set for several years now, yet rather than be a straight up cover, it instead continues to evolve. “We’ve been treating this song the same way jazz musicians would approach a jazz standard, always modifying our version a little bit from gig to gig,” François shares. “Although it is a cover, we felt that this piece was special enough to be released as its own thing. We basically took a picture of what the band could deliver, without any post-production. No edits, no overdubs. What you hear was all played together as if it were a show.” 

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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