The summer may have been hot and hazy, long and lazy but that hasn’t stopped the songsmiths of Canada. They’ve been beavering away over there, cooking up more musical missives and sending them eastward. At usual here at RGM, we’ve gathered them all up and sifted through hours of tunes to bring you the very best of the bunch. So, to ease you into the autumn months we humbly offer to you the tenth instalment of the Maple Leaf Roundup.
Toronto’s indie stalwarts Wildlife get us off to a rocking start with ‘Wasted’ which is the sonic equivalent of an unsolicited bear hug from a rather muscular Keane. Slickly produced but brimming with energy, its anthemic charge is made for radio and bodes very well for the band’s new LP, Take The Light With You, due on October 11th.
Moving on from stalwarts now to true veterans, Blinker The Star have been making beautiful and weird music since the mid ‘90s (when I had hair) and ‘Sweet Nothing’ finds them twinkling as brightly as ever. Frontman Jordon Zadorozny claims he was aiming for a Thompson Twins vibe on the track and the warm louche synths here certainly get him pretty close. The stellar new album Careful With Your Magic was released on September 20th and can be found at bandcamp.
If gentle and intimate acoustic loveliness is your bag then Toronto’s Sean Aston MacTaggart is someone you need to know about. His upcoming six-song release features just vocal and acoustic guitar and latest single ‘Only Been An Hour’ is held together with nothing more than its own fragility and tenderness. Sonically, it’s all Nick Drakian boxiness (it was recorded in the stillness of night in an empty house) but MacTaggart’s velveteen alto is sure to have the harbourer of even the hardest hearts hunting for a handkerchief.
From Barrie, Ontario, Rebekah Hawker announced her latest EP Careful Women last month with the fantastic ‘Round Of Fools’, a track draped in warm pedal steel, light-touch piano and shuffling acoustic guitar. Imagine, if you will, Aimee Mann joining a country band but losing neither her cool nor integrity in the process. The vocals soar and the tune has that undefinable feel of a long-lost classic. Quality songwriting? Beautifully produced? Tick and tick - I’m in.
For some smooth old-school soul, look no further than Dan Moxon who caught our attention with his wonderful single ‘Where You Going To Sleep Tonight’. The song that could easily pass as a fifty-year-old standard from the canon is accompanied by a great video which happens to cement a long-time theory of my own that a visit to Ikea can have a devastating effect on even the strongest of relationships. The Vancouver-based singer releases his debut LP Lounge Singer on October 4th.
We close with the roots rock of The Actual Goners, who are fronted by a pair of songwriters originally from Vancouver Island now based in Toronto. Their latest single, ‘Temptation’ sees them shift to a rockier gear, which I have to say is alright by me. Having been recorded live in the studio, the track fizzes with passion and zeal, coming over like Tom Petty jamming with Spirit Of The West. Splendid. We’re looking forward to hearing what they come up with next.
For now, though, we bid farewell to the sweet land of syrup and song. Thank you for reading and be sure to join us next time when the Maple Leaf Roundup turns (up to) eleven.
The Maple Leaf Roundup is a Rich Barnard production for Red Guitar Music.