It really is hard to keep track of time during these strange and challenging times, but summer has arrived! Summer is officially here! But before you race outside to dust off the patio furniture, crank up the grille, and put a few beers into the cooler, take a few minutes to check out these great new summer jams….or better yet, crank them up during your backyard BBQ or pool party, and share them with all of your friends.
Christian Howse, “Stuck”
Offering this single as a teaser for his fifth studio album, “Liminal,” released just last week, Springdale, NL singer-songwriter Christian Howse happily describes this latest track as an exploration of the complexities of a modern relationship. Having phrased my opening line, you’d think that I’m incredibly familiar with this Maritimes-based artist, but truth be told, I had never encountered this name until “Stuck” arrived in my email inbox for my consideration – just how does somebody with FIVE albums under their belt stay off my musical radar for this length of time? We know that Canada is rife with talent from coast to coast, but wow, just wow – okay, back on track now… Unlike his previous work, Christian brings an edgier approach to his new material, placing him firmly in the role of songwriter AND social observer. Handling the vocals and acoustic guitar duties (with his preferred Furch/Stonebridge guitar), “Stuck” also features stellar work by fellow Newfoundlanders Nick Earle (electric guitar) and Dan George (drums). “The [new] songs are exceptional,” shares producer Dean Stairs, “And Christian delivers them with an earnest and quirky appeal.” “Liminal” is available now, via Citadel House Records.
JJ Wilde, “Cold Shoulder”
Prior to catching JJ Wilde performing here in central PA before COVID-19 pulled the plug on live music (crowds and amped up tunes – good times), I had no familiarity with this rising Kitchener, ON-based alt-rock songstress. Touring with her full band to fulfill opening act duties, JJ’s raw energy and charismatic on-stage persona captivated the room with ease; a powerhouse of a performer clearly destined for great things ahead. And just a few months later, JJ’s song “The Rush” held the number one spot simultaneously on three prominent rock charts across Canada, one of only eleven artists to achieve such honors, and the first time by a female performer and first time with a debut single. Like I said, destined for great things ahead. With her latest release, “Cold Shoulder,” JJ should have no problems building upon her success. “This past year has been crazy with many ups and downs, new experiences, places and people,” she recently shared. “It seems like I started this adventure so long ago, but really it’s only been just over a year.” This is the first song that JJ was also able to record in the studio with her full band in tow. “I’ve been secretly sitting on some songs…and am finally getting closer to sharing them with you,” she adds. “If you saw me on the road, you’ll know this one.” JJ’s debut album “Ruthless” is out now.
Grizzly Coast, “End Of The Night”
Toronto, ON indie-rocker Alannah Kavanagh, recording under the name Grizzly Coast, shares this latest single; a bouncing, highly energetic guitar-driven indie-pop tune just perfect for your summer celebrations and weekend festivities. “This single was inspired by many long nights out in the Toronto music scene, having fun at shows and forgetting about whatever happened that week,” Alannah shares. “Shows became a place where…I could fully immerse myself in the moment, the art, the people, and not overthink anything – a lovely privilege.” Boasting pop infused beats to accompany her soaring vocals, Kavanagh appears happy abiding by the indie-rock rulebook, creating some good old-fashioned melodic pop-rock that rapidly develops into an epic anthem of her own; similar in style to both Alvvays and The Killers (I detect hint of “Mr. Brightside”). “I aimed to evoke the brimming energy that live music makes me feel through an upbeat melody and fuzzy, near triumphant guitar lines,” Alannah adds. “Finding the music community provided me with a bedrock of cool people that I had a lot in common with and was excited to see all the time.” “End Of The Night” shall appear on Grizzly Coast’s upcoming independent EP, “Party Of One,” out on July 17th.
Ben Kunder, “Stranger”
Toronto, ON indie-folk rocker Ben Kunder has released another single from his highly anticipated upcoming album, “Searching For The Stranger,” one currently postponed due to the current pandemic. Co-produced with Aaron Goldstein at Baldwin Street Sound and Chris Stringer at Union Sound, “Stranger” sees Kunder once again flex his fighting spirit, offering yet another stunning teaser from this latest project. “Stranger is me really letting go. It’s about exploration, nostalgia, searching for something greater and deeper than anything you’ve known,” he shares. “[It] feels like an escape to the present. Like you’re dreaming of being in this different world that feels euphoric, and you are there – just open your eyes.” This softly propulsive and undulating song expands on Kunder’s ability to soundtrack both the ordinary and the extraordinary in luminous detail. “The Stranger is the unknown, the different, the fight, the human connection we long for but haven’t yet experienced,” he adds. “The strange and weird that exists inside of us, the genetic makeup that we tend to hide but makes us who we are. That’s how I discovered my voice…by digging deep and really listening to the weird and unconventional that makes me unique. I’ve always been a bit of an outsider and the more I accept that, the more I grow.”