This is a monthly infrasound guest post by Amber Waves over at Open ‘Til Midnight. Inside of these issues are five tracks – mostly independent acts from Canada – that have found their way onto Waves’ radar. There will also be a posting by 2020k on OTM’s blog monthly as well with the same premise, called Hidden Gems. Make sure to suggest tracks for the series through Facebook or Twitter. Without further ado, 2020k presents Northern Lights.
Greetings from the Great Hot North!
One of the best things about being a music addict is discovering the countless flavours of sound and examining how they vary from country to country, or even region to region. Canada’s music scene runs the full gamut from mainstream music to the endearingly quirky to scintillatingly sinister. In this new feature of 2020k, I’m graciously being given the run of the virtual house to share some of Open ‘Til Midnight’s favourite gems — the Northern Lights if you will.
“Knives” – The Box Tiger
A fusion of Toronto and Portland, The Box Tiger have drawn comparisons to everyone from a heavier Broken Social Scene to Florence + The Machine. My leaning is towards the latter: Sonia Sturino’s vocals are uncannily similar to Ms. Welch. Melodic indie rock meets a sharply wielded pen (think of Garbage’s Shirley Manson) and the result is incredibly catchy.
“Knives” is the second single leading to a proper album release this summer (the first, “Set Fire To Your Friends”, features a Heathers-esque video and is well worth the watch). It’s become an addiction of OTM’s of late with its catchy refrain and perfect-for-speeding-down-the-highway pace. You can check it out below or take a look at the video on YouTube.
“Burn” – Magneta Lane
Magneta Lane’s backstory is the stuff of Behind The Music legends — and the trio of ladies are all still in their twenties. Having gotten off to an incredible start as an indie band in 2003, the pressure and politics of the music industry left them frustrated, furious and in need of time off. A decade later, they’ve returned with their Witchrock EP and with the guidance of James Black and Rick Jackett (Finger Eleven; Blackie Jackett Jr.), they’ve crafted polished alternative rock tracks that are full throttle and yet twisted with the hooks of a more pop sensibility.
Unafraid of expressing their minds, their latest video “Burn” is a middle finger salute to the media and its depicition and targeting of women. Simple yet as subtle as a sledgehammer, there’s really nothing better than watching children do shocking yet empowering things. Watch the video below and check out OTM’s full review of the Witchrock EP for more details of their winning comeback.
“Weapon For Saturday” – Lauren Pritchard
Let’s keep that empowered female vibe flowing by taking a look at Lauren Pritchard’s newest track. Yes, she’s American. Yes, I can make exceptions. Trust me, she’s worth it.
Lauren Pritchard has those bluesy pipes that immediately command attention — think Melissa Etheridge or Janis Joplin. Soft and soulful one moment, belted and bombastic the next, Pritchard’s debut Wasted In Jackson became a favourite album of mine. Her strongest tracks, to my ears, were the ones where she dug deep into raw wounds and unleashed her heart and the mainstream seemed to concur, given the success of singles “Painkillers” and “When The Night Kills The Day”. On her newest tune, Pritchard is channelling some serious Fiona Apple-calibre feisty attitude, and I think it’s incredible. Shades of a lighted industrial vibe flit through the electronic rock number, and yet, the grit of heartbroken classic blues remains at the core. The lyrics are trademark Pritchard: clever wordplay and vivid imagery. Good omens for a new album!
“Savanna” – The Cliks
The Cliks have held the attention of the media for the personal journey of frontman Lucas Silveira as much as the music. And while the story of Silveira — the first openly trans artist signed to a major label — is powerful, the music is incredible in its own right. No wonder, then, that The Cliks have found love on countless stages alongside the likes of Cyndi Lauper and Diamond Rings.
On their latest release, Black Tie Elevator, there’s a heavy flavour of soul (think somewhere between the swagger of Elvis and the retro resurgence led by Amy Winehouse and Adele) and it suits Silveira’s emotive voice well. Lead single “Savanna” is playful and pulls in a little island flavour between the bass lines. I’m thinking it needs a bonfire roaring at a beach stage, making it the perfect summer introduction for new listeners. Nurse your bad ex stories with tequila and song, and when you’re done, you can check out a recent live review including some sweet pics.
“Caves” – Data Romance
Capping off our five for July is a breathy, chill-out number that’s heartbreakingly beautiful. Formed in Vancouver, duo Data Romance are firmly in OTM’s sights after releasing this track from their first full-length album, Other. It’s the kind of track one needs to fully experience — induced synthesia, perhaps. Eyes closed, volume up, Amy Kirkpatrick’s voice is that of a fallen angel. Perhaps the experience of Data Romance is to be expected: Kirkpatrick’s background lies in designing lighting for clubs; Ajay Bhattacharyy, conversely, met Amy while studying sound design for film.
Part Lykke Li, part Fever Ray, all inspired. Listen to “Caves” below and be sure to check out the rest of Other.
That’s it for July! Care to see what hidden gems RJ’s shared with OTM? Click here to view his offerings to the music afficionados.