Summer is officially here, and things are heating up – temperature wise, and music wise. As you take time to finalize your summer weekend excursions or full vacation itineraries, go ahead and enjoy our four musical picks this month to accompany your journeys and adventures.
Colour Tongues, “Midnight Island”
We were not joking when offering you some perfect ‘road trip rock’ to kick off your travel plans for the summer months. Vancouver, BC indie pop-rockers Colour Tongues recently dropped this nostalgic and pulsating anthem focused on themes of young love and early romance (ah, vacation dreams for many, right?). Gaining popularity following their entry into CBC’s 2022 “Searchlight” competition with “Control,” this latest offering is a highly energetic, guitar-driven indie-rock stadium filler that reflects on the different stages of relationships that all of us experience: the blissful naivety of first love, the trials and tribulations of trying to make it work, the ultimate heartbreak, self-rediscovery, and the final realization that true love needs to start from within. With strong parallels to both the melodic nature of Kodaline and the intense undercurrents of Wintersleep, “Midnight Island” will have you instinctively reaching for the volume dial, and raising the decibel levels all around you. This single is fun, catchy, lively, and unrelenting; yet simultaneously reinforces the notion that once free from the chains that constrain us, anything remains possible – that the energy of one’s youth is infinite.
Cynthia Hamar, “Shaken”
“Rise up and take the place you been / Designed for from the start / Leave the haunted place behind my friend / Boldly make your mark / But you gotta let it go / Love knows when to let it go / I know.” Alberta-born Métis singer-songwriter Cynthia Hamar recently shared this stunning single, taken from her upcoming fifth studio album, “Joint & Marrow,” expected to arrive later this summer. Accompanied by an atmospheric and earthy roots arrangement, layered under the warmth of some rich and highly emotive vocals, “Shaken” is both heartbreaking and hopeful. For this particular listener, I’m quickly making connections to the vocal intensity of Melissa Etheridge, the style of Buffy Sainte-Marie, and the musical punch of Erin Costelo – three names I never thought I’d share in the space of one sentence. There’s a little country, a little soul, and lots of heart. “Shaken is an internal conversation about trauma; recognizing the deep groaning and the need to let go of the pain to embrace a brighter future,” Cynthia offers. “It’s written from a point of exhaustion, surrendering to a solution and I hope it inspires the listener to process their own pain and see the comfort in choosing to forgive and move on.”
Nurdjana, “Do The Right Thing (Revision)”
We’ve been discovering plenty of retro-soul grooves from across Canada this year, previously sharing tunes from Jesse Roper, Léonie Gray, and Chynna Lewis on our pages and socials – so imagine our delight when finding yet another sweet-soul throwback number in our email inbox recently. Originally from the Netherlands, but now calling Canmore, AB home, singer-songwriter Nurdjana originally finished writing this single when going through the final stages of a divorce. “The song is about wishing your partner would do the right thing and step up their game,” she shares. “Deep down inside you know they won’t, and it’s time to let them go.” Nurdjana acknowledges that it was simply a moment of ‘missing her dad’ (also a songwriter) more than usual on a particular day, only to find an email message of her own from him containing fresh ideas for possible new compositions. “I immediately got this idea of turning it into a Motown song. It was the first time I finished writing a song that my dad left me,” she adds. “The revised version I recorded in the Netherlands last summer has more of a retro-soul, sometimes even bluesy vibe to it.”
Ted Simmons, “Somethings Are Never The Same”
Having devoted our first three July picks to music from the Canadian western provinces, we wrap up this edition of Snappy Singles with a little east-coast charm, courtesy of Newfoundland-born, and current Dartmouth, NS-resident, Ted Simmons. “I sat on a train with Miranda, talkin’ all night / But something was missing, something wasn’t right / She just wasn’t your, and there wasn’t nothing she could do / There’s no one to blame / There’s no one to blame / Somethings are never the same.” Released as a single just last month, this offers the first taste of new music from Ted’s upcoming album, “Dark and Dirty World,” with this cut pairing some powerfully orated lyrics to a scorching guitar-rock soundtrack. “This track was originally written on piano and was a slow Tom Waitsy kind of ballad,” Ted recalls. “I decided it needed some juice, so I took it to my friends, The Mushkat Band, and presto, [created] a rompy, classic rock kind of song.” With a slow, moody pace, Ted narrates the tale with a little Bob Seger grit in his voice, while the rise and fall of the ringing guitars add not only sufficient depth, but an aura of timelessness expected from the genre. A great introduction to an artist we’ve never encountered before, and a single that builds plenty of anticipation for the upcoming new album.
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.