It’s been a little while since we brought you news from Canada but that hasn’t stopped it piling up on our digital doormat. So, we’re going to tidy up a few loose ends here and then hit you with another Maple Leaf column very, very soon. The volume and quality of music coming to us from Canada never fails to impress, so - unsurprisingly - we’ve been spoilt for choice as we share our pick of releases from the past couple of months.
Kicking us off this time are I, the Mountain from Toronto. Apart from the fact that you have to love a band with a comma in their name, their current single ‘The Boat’ - inspired by the Alastair MacLeod short story of the same name - is a bright and bouncy, sure-fire summer smash that is as infectious as it is endearing. The band are currently in the studio recording their third full-length release and if ‘The Boat’ (along with its fabulous video) is anything to go by it’s a record you’ll need to own.
Hamilton-based Drew Thomson Foundation are also currently working on their next LP and latest single ‘A Little More Time’ sees them cranking up the guitars and exposing their punky power-pop credentials. Mr Thomson describes himself as “33, sober, still a mess but not quite a disaster” and the record draws on the experiences of the decade-long task of getting himself to a healthier and ultimately happier place. We are, quite frankly, hooked and can’t wait to hear more.
If you’re a regular Maple Leaf reader you will know that a column can’t go by without a little stadium-stomping pop, so, over on the slicker side of things, we find Royal Oak with their gloriously anthemic ‘White Lies’. The track blazes out with an enormous synth hook, carefully balanced against some searing guitars that contrast to the open-spaced verses. I dare you not to sing along, clap your hands and, indeed, say “yeah!”
For something altogether more laid-back, look no further than Alberta’s Nature Of, whose very mellow single ‘Middle Of The Morning’ bodes particularly well for their imminent new album The Mean, the follow-up to 2017’s Cherish. The interplay between an intimate vocal, light-touch guitars and wistful piano make this track a thing of rare 3a.m. beauty and the nuanced production courtesy of Marcus Paquin represents a step forward for the band too. Turn the lights down low and enjoy.
Coming full circle back to Toronto, we've happened upon Laurent Bourque, who specialises in mellow of an entirely different kind. The tight drums and warm synths of his latest single ‘Matador’ evoke the ultra-smooth West Coast sound of the early ‘80s which is positively alright by me. The song is taken from Bourque’s forthcoming album due later this year and sees him changing up his approach to songwriting since his award-winning 2014 debut Pieces Of Your Past. Despite already having an album’s worth of new material, he challenged himself to write a hundred more new songs before assembling his sophomore offering. If ‘Matador’ is just one percent of the result then I guess you can count me in for the next ten albums.
So, as the eighth Maple Leaf drifts gently to the ground for now, please comfort yourself with the knowledge that new shoots are emerging all the time and, here at RGM HQ, it is our business and pleasure to bring you the very best of what’s next from our talented Canadian friends. Stay tuned.
The Maple Leaf is a Rich Barnard production for Reg Guitar Music.