After a brief period of winter hibernation our Canadian friends have re-emerged, bright-eyed as ever and begun sending their musical magic across the water to us once again. 2019 looks like it will hold riches aplenty and we feel it our duty to share with you some of the very best new Canadian releases in this, our first Maple Leaf roundup of the year.
We start with singer-songwriter Abigail Lapell from Ontario whose third LP, Getaway, is out now. With a vocal that sits between the mighty Natalie Merchant and The Be Good Tanyas’ Frazey Ford, Lapell’s songs range from bluesy howlers like ‘Devil in the Deep’ through the familiar folk fingerpicking of ‘Down by the Water’ to the more haunting Lou Rhodes territory of ‘Leningrad’. There’s a versatility of songwriting and musicianship on Getaway that rewards repeat listening. The album is available to sample on bandcamp and is even available on vinyl - go on, spoil yourself!
If you like your music bigger and punchier then look no further than Edmonton-based Altameda. The dizzying guitars and untethered energy of ‘Losing Sleep’, released back in November, sounded something like the Gin Blossoms trying to outrun Lenny Kravitz. By contrast, current single ‘Little Tears’ has more Ryan Adams wistfulness and pedal steel fairydust to it, demonstrating that Altameda really run the gamut. The band are currently on tour in support of their brand new album Time Hasn’t Changed You and it’s a record that is definitely worthy of further investigation. If janglesome, feelgood Americana is your bag, then Altameda are for you.
Singer-songwriter Charlotte Cornfield from Toronto is preparing for the springtime release of her new album The Shape of Your Name. Current single ‘Andrew’ sees Cornfield’s immediate vocal - which marries the breathless quirk of Rachel Yamagata with the deadpan of Aimee Mann - set against comforting fuzzbox guitars in a song that serves as a perfect love-letter to an imperfect partner. You can catch her on the road during the extensive Canadian and US tour in support of the upcoming record.
Jojo Worthington’s ‘Stabilize’ is the first single from her new record TCYK which is scheduled for a July release. Billed as a song about mental illness, its central message seems to be more simply about the importance of human contact. The song certainly had a stabilizing effect on me, with its refreshing use of electronica set against Worthington’s irresistible Cyndi Lauperish delivery. As the song goes “pick up the phone” and tell your friends - you could change their lives for the better.
And finally, I am unable to leave you without mentioning four-piece Wild Rivers. The chiming Rhodes and harmony vocals of their current single ‘Moving Target’ aptly dress what can only be described as a work of exquisite beauty. It’s a track honed on the road and recorded live in the studio. There’s more touring on the immediate horizon for the band but this track will satisfy fans hankering after new recorded output. The country-tinged track oozes class and smoothness and if the blend of Devan Glover and Khalid Yassein’s vocal doesn’t have you sobbing into your sandwiches then you’re probably not human after all.
As each day passes, more quality Canadian music reaches the RGM inbox, so I don’t imagine it will be very long before you hear the rustling of maple leaves once again... see you next time!
The Maple Leaf is a Rich Barnard production for Red Guitar Music.