New single releases show no signs of slowing down anytime soon – perhaps only musicians and music bloggers are exempt from taking summer vacations at this time. As the season gets into full swing, we bring you four new tunes that are a perfect accompaniment to your summer adventures – with three from old friends and acquaintances, and one making their GDW first spin. This is the ideal time to grab that fruit smoothie or mojito, and take a few moments to enjoy these summer sizzlers.
Gunner & Smith, “Something More To Give”
If you can recall the last time that music from Saskatoon, SK folk-rock act Gunner & Smith was featured here at GDW, well – you have been on this musical journey with us for a long time – as it was back in late 2017 when their “Byzantium” album was featured on our pages. The stage moniker of singer-songwriter Geoff Smith, I recall tossing around tags such as indie-country, blues-nostalgia, and plenty of twang when jotting down thoughts about that album. Geoff Smith returned to the scene recently with the single “Find Your Own Way,” and now once more with this latest offering. “This was written in response to a letter a friend sent me. He moved away and we rarely get to see each other,” offers Geoff. “[It’s] about reminiscing about growing up with each other and the impact but also how fragile we are and how hard it is to do all the things we really want like stay in touch even with people important to us.” As we have come to expect from Smith, his lyrics trace an increasingly intricate existence: doubt, trust, faith, reflection – backed by hauntingly beautiful chords full of tension, each capable of delivering their own reckoning. Gunner & Smith release their forthcoming album, “Hear You In My Head,” next month on DevilDuck Records.
Westminster Park, “Don’t Cry My Dear”
“Let’s top up that glass / Talk of good times passed / Pull a record from the shelf / Or, write a song ourselves / Don’t cry my dear, they’re not worth your tears / Don’t cry my dear, I am here.” Naturally, we are both very familiar with, and huge fans of London, ON indie-folk band Westminster Park – the husband & wife duo of Steve and Colleen Murphy, who perform on occasion with a full band, and other times as an acoustic folk-duo (regular readers will recognize Steve as one of our editorial contributors). Westminster Park recently announced exciting news about their upcoming album, “Songs That Rhyme With Alone,” (joined by Filip Stasiak on bass and cello), which is scheduled for an early October release. This lead single, “Don’t Cry My Dear,” has all the hallmarks of the band’s chamber-folk influences that we have come to expect, yet tantalizes the senses with the addition of a breezy bossa-nova style accompaniment – seemingly simple on the one hand, yet enough to ratchet up our anticipation to discover more about what lies ahead with this new music before October rolls around. “Don’t cry my dear, they’re not worth your tears / Don’t cry my dear, I am here / Let’s dry up those tears / I am here.”
Alexandra Babiak, “Settle Down”
Toronto, ON indie-pop artist Alexandra Babiak dropped this latest single back on July 29th, the lead track from her upcoming “Magical Thinking” album, and is an absolute corker for those seeking out some Alvvays-style shimmery rock vibes. “This song explores reaching for a level of peace and stability but still having the demons that taunt you,” Alexandra shares. “It’s this internal agitation that won’t evaporate, even though maybe your surroundings are calm. Being in that state of discomfort can be necessary to move through to get to a place of mental freedom.” Do not be fooled here by the soft, emotional piano key strokes and almost Sara Bareilles sounding opening lines – “I settle down at the end of a long empty day / Moving along with nothing to share or say / It won’t be long ‘til your coming home with me” – because around fifty seconds in, Babiak will bring each and every one of your senses to life once her soft and atmospheric vocals become further accentuated by the instrumentation. Featuring watery guitars, quirky drum beats, and an infusion of lo-fi synth, Babiak wraps you with her sweet and yearning vocals. “I’ve got something to cry about / But I’m not gonna cry today / It won’t be long ‘til you’re coming home to me.”
After The Wreck, “Coming In Hot”
“Girl don’t be afraid / Just know we’re still in the game / Just ridin’ in the passing lane / So let’s just give it a shot / Two lost souls on this pale blue dot / Step aside we’re coming in hot.” Back in January we shared music from New Brunswick based duo After The Wreck, who return this summer with not only this amazing new single, but with a pair of extra bandmates too. Founded originally by Pete Lockhart (guitar/vocals) and Randy Ross (drums), the duo calls upon Pete’s brother, Jeff Lockhart (bass), and friend Paul McIntosh (piano) to expand both their stage presence and their sound. The video was recorded on location at the Tongue and Groove music room at the Crabbe Mountain Inn, just east of the city of Fredericton in Upper Hainesville, NB, and features Jeff’s daughter Dannika as the young lady central to the video, and Cameron Rogers as the young man. “Good friends of the band, Travis and Krystal Wedge rode the motorcycles through rain, heat, and pot-hole ridden roads to capture the freedom of couple-dom out on the road,” shares Pete, who also offers that the single is set to appear on an upcoming new EP. “This song is about embracing and loving the one you’re with, no fear, no regrets.”
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.