We’ve bid farewell to August, and we’ve made it through the Labor Day weekend (Labour Day up north). This only means one thing – we’re wishing summer farewell and bracing for the arrival of autumn. But fear not, if you find yourself not quite ready to deal with seasonal transitions again so soon, we’ve got four fabulous singles to share here today that will lift your spirits. Whether you long for more heat and humidity, or if you’re excited for crisp morning air and pumpkin spiced everything – these hand-picked tunes will put a smile on your face, no matter what.
“Sometime they used to beat the drum for an hour, steady, until our dead people come to us.” It was just last month, on our most recent visit to Ontario, when we happened upon “We Were Here,” the fabulous single from Toronto-based Oji-Cree artist Aysanabee – and had me quickly scrambling to take note of the artist for inclusion in this feature today. Boasting some astonishing vocals and magnetic momentum, this latest single, “Nomads,” not only represents a powerful artistic statement, but signals – in both sentiment and sound – what is yet to come. Presenting themes surrounding family history, mortality, and how to move through it all, Aysanabee’s song brings driving, building, and freeing forward motion as it points to the future. Recorded at The Lair in Barrie, ON, under the guidance of JUNO winning producer/engineer Hill Kourkoutis (Tania Joy, Madison Violet), “Nomads” lifts and carries its heavy memories and breaks through, exploding in joyous unburdening even as it contends with a question each and every one of us must answer: ‘Where do we go from here?’ “They ask what we were doing, all that, and to be good … and they were with us. They were with us all the time. And they quit that once the old people died.”
Alexandra Babiak, “Til It Burns You”
While we have often featured artists on more than one occasion with these Snappy Singles features, this may be the first time that an artist has appeared in consecutive posts. Last month we shared “Settle Down” from Toronto, ON indie-pop artist Alexandra Babiak, which received plenty of positive feedback, and compels us to promote her latest single release, “Til It Burns You.” Babiak wrote this tune during a residency in Prince Edward County during a moment of writer’s block. “I put on my voice recorder on my phone and played/sang, just tried to free-associate,” she recalls. “Eventually, this song came out. Obviously, the final version grew and changed from the original, but the progression and lyrics never changed, which is not a common thing for me at all.” Recorded at Union Sound with producer Sandra Perri, Babiak also notes that the progression is deliberately repetitive, leaving the desire for a spooky overtone that lingers and drifts above the uniformity of the structure. “I asked for a Theremin-type sound, and you can really hear that bubble up throughout the song,” she adds. “There’s a sense of hope in this song buried beneath the surface, and almost a mistrust in the possibility that things can get better.”
Carleton Stone, “House In The Hills”
Cape Breton, NS singer-songwriter Carleton Stone is no stranger to the music scene, with a solo career spanning in excess of ten years, and as a member of the band Port Cities. I fondly recall enjoying his “Climbing Up The Walls” single from back in 2014, so my curiosity was piqued upon learning that Stone was putting out solo pieces once more. This fourth single from his upcoming album encapsulates the feeling of accepting that we are enough with what we have in our lives. It feels like the media or internet is always trying to sell us something to help improve our lives or make us feel like we aren’t enough, and Stone is trying to counterbalance that feeling with this song – wanting the message to stand out by keeping the production as simple as possible. “We wrote this song in the first few days of 2020. I remember waking up and checking Instagram and seeing that the U.S. had assassinated a general in Iran and thought ‘Oh wow, this doesn’t seem good,’ and then scrolled down and saw the next piece of news was that Post Malone had got a new face tattoo,” Carleton recalls. “I thought the juxtaposition of these two stories encapsulated so much of what is wrong with the ‘click-bait’ world we live in.”
Long Range Hustle (ft. Claire Kelly), “Used To Call”
Was it really April 2021 when we first featured the single “American Cash” from Toronto, ON indie-rockers Long Range Hustle? Yes, indeed it was. How time flies… ‘New to us’ at the time, the band would follow with another raucous single, “Used To Call,” and now – twelve months later – decided to release an alternate, stripped-down version of this catchy tune, performed as a collaborative duet with Nashville-based singer-songwriter Claire Kelly. Both artists connected earlier this year during time at a music festival, planting the seeds for this unique experience, and with this version toning down Long Range Hustle’s usual high-energy level to instead lean a little more towards 70s country and bluegrass influences. “Claire’s voice is starkly beautiful which lends itself to the song perfectly. Sweet and smooth, but filled with yearning and heartache,” shares vocalist Jay Foster. “The first time I heard her sing, I was absolutely crushed in the best way, and now I feel so lucky to work with her. She breathed new life and meaning into this song and I couldn’t be happier with it.” Be sure to enjoy the accompanying music video, and witness Claire joining the band on-stage to perform their re-imagined Americana version of what used to be a piano rock tune.
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.