Snappy Singles: So Long Summer, Hello Fall

Snappy Singles September 2023

As we bid adieu to the hot ‘n’ humid season, and welcome the arrival of crisp ‘n’ cool weather, we’re also packing away the summer jam playlists and tuning into some of the less-mainstream releases being sent our way right now. Cue the lightbulb moment for this month’s theme – September’s edition of Snappy Singles brings you some recent indie cuts from artists also making their debut feature here on GDW.  These tunes may not be for everybody, but this English half of the team is sure hitting the repeat button hard right now…

Foggy Windows, “Burning Bright”

We receive tons of new music submissions on a daily basis, and sadly, a large percentage of them get swallowed up in the ‘not enough time to listen’ void. But, as I’ve stated often, tease us a little with your email pitch and clicks to your links shall likely follow – and upon hearing this latest tune (released today) from Miramichi, NB alt-rockers Foggy Windows, I found myself quickly hitting the repeat button. The immediate grungy guitar distortion hits the senses from the off-set, with the additional meticulous riffs that follow earning your full attention. The subdued vocals lure you in, offering a strong sense of nostalgia wrapped in the ongoing beat and dominant (yet discreet) lead guitar that lingers beautifully in the foreground. “Burning Bright touches a few different topics, including the cognitive dissonance that we feel when suppressing our passions of shying away from our ambitions,” shares vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will McCombs. “And the importance of embracing challenges and opportunities that come your way.” This timeless combination of retro riffs and soft vocals leaves me drawing comparisons to Ontario rockers The Brandy Alexanders, although I really need to sample more of their work before making that a formal conclusion. New to Foggy Windows? This tune is a great place to start…

The Conscience Pilate, “Blue Shadows”

Another new tune, another band new-to-us, courtesy of Toronto-based alt-rockers The Conscience Pilate. Debuting back in the 90s post-grunge era, the band found initial success in their home city before disappearing from the scene completely. The embers burned, but never extinguished, and founding members Edward Pond and Neil Leyton decided in late 2022 that it was time to resurrect the band from the ashes. “Blue Shadows” began with a painting Edward spotted at his local coffee shop. “On the canvas there’s a little town with blue shadows on the snowy ground,” he recalls. “I jotted that detail down along with its opposite – golden rays. I also have this recurring nightmare of the sun going black, leaving a dark disc in the sky against the stars. Neil dug both, so we packed them together into a lyric.” Propelled by a guitar-driven beat, “Blue Shadows” may be a 2023 release, but could easily convince longtime fans of the indie-rock scene of being a flashback from 1993. Dropping plenty of musical cues synonymous with the sounds of Therapy, Suede, and The Manic Street Preachers, I find myself transported back to that era when – for a few short years before commercialism came calling – indie-rock was a much-needed escape from mundane mainstream radio at the time. Excellent stuff here.

Haley Blais, “The Cabin”

This latest single from Vancouver, BC alt-pop-rock artist Haley Blais was heard first-hand blasting through my car speakers just last weekend (thanks SXM), and had me quickly glancing at the radio display to determine the source of this amazing tune. You can’t fail to notice those opening potent guitar riffs that yield immediately to some mellow beats and soft vocals, before exploding periodically as this one plays out. “I don’t wanna be the smoke inside the living room / Can’t you open up the patio door / I don’t wanna be wet inside your swimming shoes / Can you take me out and shake me on the shore?” Seeing Haley’s name on that radio display, I recalled seeing the same in my email inbox recently, and scrambled to learn more. Speaking about this single, Haley shares a little about the cabin that inspired her, describing, “a sweaty, dehydrated memory of my summers spent in the cabin on the lake. It wasn’t our cabin – my dad’s brother’s wife’s cousin’s friends owned it or something – but it was ours. I had my first sips of beer, first almost kisses. It’s a fluffy recollection until the guitars break through with their overbearing distortion like a roaring tidal wave and I’m thrown back into the discomfort of real time.”

Marissa Burwell, “Either Way”

We close out our four hand-picked tunes today with this new release from Regina, SK emerging indie-folk artist Marissa Burwell – and I must confess now that this inclusion coincidentally prompts one of those ‘seven degrees of Kevin Bacon’ moments. Teaming up with producers Madison Nicol and Chris Dimas to record her new four-track EP, Marissa acknowledges Haley Blais as being one of her primary music influences – something further reinforced when you dig deeply into Marissa’s own cathartic lyrical creativity. “We hate to be away / Maybe my life will change and we can be happy this way / But what about now / There’s little to no chance that I’ll make it out.” “The songs on this EP were written through different points of reflection, some songs were written in the eye of the storm, while other were created after the city centre had been rebuilt,” Marissa offers. “Each song explores an unspoken experience, whether it’s daydreaming about what could be or about what is. These songs were started and finished in varying environments; empty rooms where the vocals hung over your head and on the floors of a rental apartment booked for a reunion weekend with friends.”

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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