It seems that no sooner have I wrapped up our monthly Snappy Singles article for posting, I am already faced with working on the next one. Time sure is flying by, as summer is officially here, and our friends out in the western provinces have been dealing with crazy hot weather and soaring temperatures so early into the season. Of course, great new music continues to land here at Team GDW HQ, making it tougher than ever to whittle down the four tracks we choose to share with you. The summer brings an abundance of great tunes – we sure hope that you enjoy these hand-picked choices for your listening pleasures today.
Julie Title, “Heat Wave”
Our aptly titled first pick today goes out to all of you who have been trying to stay cool during the oppressive heat out west, and comes courtesy of emerging Toronto folk artist, Julie Title. We first encountered Julie’s music this past spring, when her 2020 radio hit “Tornado” caught my ear, and with this latest single too, we find an artist who very much deserves to be heard. While her style is influenced by 70s folk music, Julie also attributes her music and writing to the wave of confessional female songwriters that she grew up with in the 90s, including Fiona Apple, Aimee Mann, and Hope Sandoval. While “Tornado” had a more mainstream sound, I personally love the direction that Julie takes with this tune; the slow yet melodic, atmospheric yet indie pop nature that combines the styles of all three contemporaries named above. “I’m going for a bike ride in the heat wave / Maybe it’ll get my mind off things / I don’t have an appetite and I feel strange / I keep pulling out more loose strings / Going for a bike ride and the heat wave / In the heat wave.” Expect a full-length album to follow soon, that shall touch on themes surrounding heartbreak, healing and hope.
Eamon McGrath (ft. Cayley Thomas), “Cannonball”
Upon learning that Eamon McGrath, one of our favorite Edmonton-based musicians, invited emerging artist Cayley Thomas, one of our new favorite Edmonton-based musicians, to add vocals for this latest single, Team GDW sat up and took notice. In our opinion, everybody should sit up and take notice, but we can only do so much – if you are reading these words right now, we appreciate you being here, and we just know that you’re going to love this one. “Throughout my career, I’ve been described … as a punk rocker, but being from Alberta, country music beautifully soundtracked the landscape of my upbringing,” Eamon shares. “Haunting yet hopeful; twangy yet sludgy, my new single is paradoxical in its nature, a reflection of the dichotomies that create the constant turmoil of the modern world.” In some ways, Cannonball is a metaphor for a musician on tour, powerless against the emotional forces that propels one down the highway, yet completely grounded and unmoving in the state of isolation wherein the song itself was recorded. It alludes to the chance to reflect and look back on moments of your life as a musician with fondness and longing, but also a deep realization that they will never return.
Alicia Toner, “Joke’s On Me”
It is pretty common knowledge that the Canadian Maritimes are home to an unbelievable amount of great music, to the point where it is virtually impossible for us to keep up with this music scene. One thing we have learned to take very seriously here at Team GDW, however, is to take heed and pay extra attention when artist friends from the east coast suddenly start to name drop one of their own as somebody we should be checking out. Originally from PEI, but currently residing in Toronto, Alicia Toner comes highly recommended, and having very recently dropped her sophomore album, “Joan,” as listeners, we have embarked on her deeply personal journey of love, loss, change, and growth. We could have selected any tune from “Joan” to share here today, but opt for her most recent single, “Joke’s On Me,” one about realizing the need to exit a difficult situation, whilst touching on our own inner conflicts we encounter before committing to taking action. Inspired by one of her own favorite artists, Brandi Carlile, for Toner, this song in particular aims to remind us that we need to do what is best for ourselves, and to seek help if needed.
Briar Summers, “Stronger”
One of the greatest feelings we have as music bloggers (and music fans), is to not only discover an emerging artist within our musical circle, but to genuinely enjoy witnessing their growth and development as they gradually blossom into the confident, talented musician we knew they were destined to be. We first encountered Huntsville, ON singer-songwriter Briar Summers back in the summer of 2017 at the inaugural Sawdust City (now Muskoka) Music Festival, a local attendee invited to kick off the festivities with her rendition of “Oh Canada.” Demonstrating an artistic confidence well beyond that of her seventeen years, Briar recently dropped her debut single, “Stronger,” putting huge smiles on our faces as we bask in the glow of our “we told you so” moment. Recorded at Union Sound Company in Toronto, complete with an impressive list of co-musicians (including Chris Stringer and Drew Jurecka), this powerful and moving indie-pop piano ballad is a fabulous start to her recording career. “And I won’t fall, I’ll beat the odds and stand up tall / And the world can doubt me but I won’t listen at all / Cause I believe that I’m stronger than they make me out to be / Yes, I believe.” Buckle up, because this musical journey with Briar Summers looks set to be quite the ride.