There's a lot of diversity in Hearing Trees' simplicity - you could easily slot the local quartet's sounds onto rock radio, into a dark club, onto your favourite indie blog, or in the background of the scene where the teen lovers kiss from the first time - but it's focused.
Produced by Grammy-winner Adam Kasper (Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age), the debut LP from Calgary trio Secret Broadcast follows up 2012’s Hungry Ghost EP, and is consistent in delivering riff-and-radio-ready-rock that has just enough dirt on the vocals to trick the indie kids into liking ‘em, while delivering the “hits”.
These guys just creep up on you, like Nick Cave’s little brothers (kinda moody, but quite harmless). Opening with “Beat the Drum Slowly”, a methodical dirge that surges and cuts, the listener is treated to nine other tracks of similar depth and attitude.
It doesn’t have an immediately hooky opener (there’s no “Willow Tree” or “Clinically Dead”) but the warbly meander of “Cut Off My Hands” is warm and welcoming just the same.
This intimate little EP is the second in under a year from local boy Micah Visser.
This one’s tough. We love Drew’s will-they-won’t-they Broken Social Scene project, but the man who is just as likely to jam with J. Mascis as he is to have tea with Feist’s mom is a bit of a mouthpiece.
It’s hard to keep up with local chillwave producer Gabriel Akinrinmade - he’s released more EPs and singles than anyone I can think of, in addition to remixing, blogging and doing a radio show on UMFM.
This three song follow up to 2012’s four song EP finds local punk quintet Distances delivering a slew of hard-hitting, well produced punk radio classics.
Opening with a wordy, mid-tempo tune about Alberta, this concept record made by Livingston (which is kind of a collaboration between many people, mostly folklorist/song collector Dr. Henry Adam Svec and Czech programmer Mirek Plihal, but is also a machine that can access all of Canadian folk music to make the perfect CanFolk recording) is pretty okay.
This debut release from Newfoundland born Halifax resident Kim Harris is lush, pretty, hip and strikingly diverse.
Wordier than early Bright Eyes, more lo-fi than Sentridoh and catchier than any Katy Perry hit, the Famous Sandhogs is by far the most prolific underground project since Anton Newcombe’s epic string of mid-90s releases.
This Winnipeg via Brandon folk/rock five piece unveils a stunning 11-track LP produced/recorded/mixed/mastered by Mike Posthumus (Young Pixels) that is equally as good for a breathy afternoon walk as it is for a night in with a bottle of something.
Local pop punk quartet Bleed American wears its influences on its sleeve, metaphorically and literally, possibly as the inked logos of such obvious heroes as Jimmy Eat World and Motion City Soundtrack.
Recorded in his hometown of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., the fifth overall record from 22 year-old Kalle Mattson is a comfortable blend of delicate folk ballads and upbeat, jangling rock tunes that satisfies despite some forgettable moments.
“Baby, We’d Be Rich”, the upbeat opening track from Juno winner Old Man Luedecke’s new four song EP, sounds suspiciously like it could be found on fellow Nova Scotian Joel Plaskett’s Three record, though it isn’t so suspicious when you see Plaskett produced and played most of the instruments on these tunes.
Opening with the devilishly handsome and chaotic title track, this EP from local quartet Sons of York is the latest in a long line of releases that showcase the type of honest power rock that for some reason hasn’t made the Kennerd brothers + Darren Hebner household names.
Winnipeg’s Honeysliders creep up on you with five classic-rock (think late-70s Eagles meets early-90s Big Sugar) infused hits, guaranteed to get the heads at the Times Change(d) a noddin’.
Vancouver husband and wife duo Ari Shine and Adrienne Pierce have created 11 glorious tracks of baroque pop-infused goodness that blend acoustic guitars with rainstorms and haunting boy-girl harmonies, all while making it seem new and natural.
This five song EP from local ethereal five-piece folksters Sibyl is masterful in its simplicity, instrumentation, songwriting and subtle diversity.
Clocking in at almost an hour and with 16 tracks, the latest from Flin Flon born/Ottawa resident C.C. Trubiak is precious (“Blue”), gentle (“Broken Morning”) and hopeful (“All I Need”) but it holds too many rough ideas, with many of the songs sitting around the one minute mark.