Ryan Hicks is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Regina, Saskatchewan. He cites Ron Sexsmith, Father John Misty, and David Bowie as influences.
Hicksmakes melodic, cinematic, alt-pop music; as if Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, and Fleet Foxes made music for David Lynch. Fittingly, he took part in a songwriting class taught by Fleet Foxes’ vocalist Robin Pecknold. His new song, “No Life For Me,” was prompted by an exercise that sought inspiration from the line, “I wish I dated a painter.” Rather than romanticize a muse, Hicks wondered and realized, “‘Does the painter approach everything in their life as premeditated, each action anticipating a reaction to manipulate the partner?’ That idea of a ‘perfect’ life is no life for me.”
JSJ (Joshua Säde James) is an emerging Canadian artist who incorporates self-worth and love within his music, with the message that “you are worthy, you are loved, and you are imperfectly you.”
Just because you’re thinking about them does not mean they’re “Thinkin Bout U.” That’s what JSJ learned in penning a love letter to a long distance relationship that only existed through FaceTime and ultimately didn’t last. Craving intimacy, he explores the push and pull between feeling lonely versus feeling completely alone.
JSJ has worked his way from coast to coast in Canada and is now traveling along the Baltic performing all over Northern Europe with Norwegian Cruise Lines. After declaring never again, the hopeless romantic is 6 months into a new relationship, 6000 miles apart.
Winners of the “Best Live Band” title at the 2022 Mississauga Music Awards, The Jailbirds are a band you need to see live, known for their on-stage heavy hitting sound and their love of a good, loud rock show.
Their cover version of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” has become one of their live show staples. Everyone’s familiar with this classic, legendary song, but it was important for the band to make it their own, and not just play it exactly like the original, cause otherwise what’s the point? The band altered some parts, put them through those Jailbirds sound filters, to make it an authentic cover.
They specifically kept the same tones as some of their other songs like “All I Need” and “Watery Grave,” to make sure this was a recognizable Jailbirds song.
“‘Highway Star’ was the first cover song we learned as a band when starting The Jailbirds,” explains frontman Myke Penney. “In our opinion, it had everything a band needed to be able to do, packed into one song. The solos, the rhythms, the vocals, it’s all there, and it’s all on 11. It proved to be a fun way to get a crowd’s attention as well, especially if they aren’t familiar with our music yet. We frequently start off our setlist with this track, because it’s really one of those songs that people can’t look away from while any band is attempting it to see if they can pull it off.”
Inspired by early instrumental synthesizer music, Brock Geiger and Ian Jarvis are the collaborative duo, Étamine, creating immersive tracks that envelop listeners in a cinematic dream world. With their debut collection of music, lines blur between human and machine, between grounded and celestial, and between introspective-wandering and body clutching grooves.
Their new song’s title, “Helicopter Takeoff at Night,” was directly inspired by Andreas Feninger’s long exposure photo of a helicopter in the dark. The centrifugal motion of the lights on the blades feels like a perfect representation of the propelled dizziness that this track induces.
This track, along with the rest of the record was all written and produced by Brock and Ian remotely during the peak of travel restrictions. Étamine had archives of improvised jams with basic setups (a couple synched drum machines and synthesizers) from messing around on the tail end of recording sessions they’d been doing with other bands. With so much time to explore, they dove into some of the sessions and started to realize these improvs might actually have something going on.
“When Ian sent the first bones of this track to me, it immediately elicited feelings and visuals analogous to a fast paced, high-action film sequence,” says Brock. “The way the main harmony sits against the odd time signature creates a strong forward momentum. When I was writing additional melodies I kept picturing it accompanying a chase scene with neon lights blurring or a Mortal Kombat fight.”
Bad Knights are the South African alternative and soft rock band making waves with their poignant debut album Letters to Everybody.
Bad Knights draws upon life’s raw, messy, and beautiful tales that reveals what we can see in ourselves, that epitomize the human condition in all its brilliance and with all of its flaws. Any story worth telling has both its monsters and its miracles, its joys and its sorrows – a perfect dance between becoming and overcoming. “We long for stories that bring us hope, the ones that remind us that our dreams are powerful and that instill within us the courage to keep moving forward,” shares the band.
Letters to Everybody encapsulates the depth and complexity of human nature and our existence. Lead singer and dummer, Stig, delivers a soulful and Bruce Springsteen meets Eddie Vedder-esqe vocals over blues licks and rising organ choruses with droning synths and explosive drumbeats amid sparkles of angelic backup vocals.
In their debut 15 track first offering, that is as diverse in its genre as it is in its subject matter, Bad Knights presents something instantly gripping while remaining serious, mature, and refined in their expression. The tracks are thoughtfully worded, complex, and meticulously placed. Each component, instrument, and tone plays its role in bringing together a sound that keeps you hooked.
“I’ve played guitar for years, but have no formal music education really, couldn’t read music to save my life,” shares Stig. “I’ve seen more bars under broken neon lights in dodgy towns than I’ve seen bars on music score sheets. But I’ve always liked observing the world, sometimes writing about it, which naturally evolved into song-writing. Music, if anything, presented an avenue to explore a new form of storytelling.” His lack of any background in musical theory, allows for a more free-spirited, almost rebellious approach to song writing and gives Bad Knights it’s unusually unique, musical aura.
Hamilton-based artist Melissa Marchese was born to sing. Her new album, MAD LOVE, runs the gamut from country torch and twang to anthemic bluesy-rock to the record’s focus track, “Sirens,” a horn-soaked Motown-inspired romp.
“Sirens” reflects on climate change and how deprioritized this existential threat is. Marchese expresses the human experience that we all share and the importance of our only home.
“The wrath we are already beginning to experience from humans’ destruction of the planet does not discriminate, and we should wake up and do something while we still can.”
MAD LOVE is an exercise in bringing peace to listeners’ hearts, reflecting Marchese’s ethos that love unequivocally always wins. “It means everything to think that I can help someone remember that they’re not alone and that we’re all going through something,” she enthuses.