We are midway through August, meaning that two-thirds of this Covid-crazy summer is already in the books. Whether self isolating in your downtown apartment, fighting the daily battles of being an essential worker, or enjoying the lakes and beaches that come to life during these months, we’ve got four new tunes to satisfy your summer music cravings. With offerings from ON, AB, and a pair of indie-pop gems from BC, there’s enough here to keep your spirits lifted as we head towards the cooler, crisp temperatures of the fall season.
Yukon Blonde, “In Love Again”
Vancouver, BC indie-rockers Yukon Blonde share their latest single, “In Love Again,” which features keyboardist/backing vocalist Rebecca Gray taking the reigns with the lead vocals for the first time. “This track began as a fun experiment when we were jamming,” shares vocalist Jeff Innes. “We were trying to have three or four separate melodies that when played together sounded nice, but didn’t make much sense when apart. I had the idea…to write a love song that detailed the simple day to day aspects of a newish relationship, normal things you value once you’ve been through the ringer.” “I love the way you hold my hand / Not traditional but then again / Nothing in our lives is ever then / It’s the way I want my time spent / I love it when you wake me up / Not abrasive now but rather soft / And I know I am a little rough / I’m addicted to the coffee, love,” Gray recites, her dreamy vocals at the forefront joining the signature synth and light ringing guitar riffs synonymous with the Yukon Blonde sound. “The moment I had the melody in my head, it reminded me of classic French pop, and Rebecca instantly came to mind to sing it,” adds Innes. “It’s a really sweet old to honest love without irony, which is typically not in our nature.”
S. K. Wellington, “Like A Ghost”
Continuing to write, record and perform under the moniker S. K. Wellington, Calgary, AB singer-songwriter Sarah Kemmer recently released her latest single, “Like A Ghost,” her first since “Without Breaking Your Heart” back in March 2019. “Like A Ghost came to me following the loss of a significant relationship,” she offers. “It would have made for an epic country song (they took the dog and all) but I decided to go in a different direction. I needed to pursue this radically different process and new sound for my own healing and passion.” Effortlessly combining folk music with pop, indie and rock influences, Kemmer once again delivers a beautifully crafted tune that is reflective, poignant, poetic and full of hope. “I realized that a relationship ending in a tough way doesn’t always have to result in anger and resentment. You can allow that powerless feeling, the intense hurt and the grief, to soften you,” Sarah adds. “I found a lot of compassion for both myself and the other as I fell apart and then started to build myself back up again. There can be a balance while adjusting to a new normal.”
The Zolas, “Ultramarine”
Is summer 2020 getting you down? Are you ready to simply chalk up this crazy year as a loss? Well, don’t call it quits just yet – not when Vancouver, BC indie-poppers The Zolas have returned to whisk you away on another retro fueled binge of 90s Britpop. “Ultramarine is a psychedelic fantasy about throwing our phones off a bridge and going to look for a real connection,” the band share. “Google Maps makes it impossible to get lost and yet we’re feeling more lost now than ever. Time to pull the plug on all that and find our own way back.” Sentiments that are shared in their lyrics: “My only vice is my own devices / And it’s stringing me out / I’m lost in a world where I can’t get lost if I wanted.” “We’ve all been feeling the aches of internet addiction…it’s like an abusive marriage we can’t quite quit,” the band adds. “Our brains aren’t evolved to process the knowledge of every human rights injustice happening on this earth at this moment. Or that 16 people we know are having the perfect summer weekend while we’re here scrolling. Who can sleep after staring into a hot blue beam of pure information right before we close our eyes?”
Evangeline Gentle,“So It Goes”
I’ve made this statement many times, and will do so again right now: the future of roots-folk and Americana music is in good hands thanks to the next generation of Canadian musicians arriving on the scene. If you remain skeptical, I invite you to spend time listening to the immense talents of Evangeline Gentle, a 23 year old native of Peterborough, ON, whose latest single, “So It Goes” was released just last week. Produced by Jim Bryson (Kathleen Edwards) at Fixed Hinge Studios, the single is both a personal and nostalgic recollection of Gentle’s late-teen years. “I’ve been in love with music my whole life…[but] somewhere along the way, I internalized a lot of messaging about my queerness as being something that would hold me back,” Evangeline shares. “[This single is] a memory of how bold and burning teen experiences of life are, and how easily songs can transport us back through time to those days.” Cue the reference to her hometown during the chorus too: “Do you think of me when Springsteen is on the radio? / Do you think of me when leaves canopy on the patio? / Do you think of me when Hunter Street’s lit in that golden glow? / I was your favourite part, your summer sweetheart, and so it goes.” Keep your eyes and ears open for Evangeline Gentle – she’s making big waves right now.
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.