Hello out there. I’m back to let you in on my music listening the last while. I feel like this last year or so I have leaned more on old favourites than anything super current, which had me uninspired to jump on here and share (I also religiously listened to Noah Kahan’s “Stick Season” album for quite some time so that pretty much occupied my time). But new things are starting to pop up on my phone again and that got me wanting to compile a recent(ish) list of things that have held my attention. Hoping there is something here for you to throw in the headphones.
Luke Sital-Singh – “Dressing Like a Stranger”
I stumbled across this album while doing one of my routine music searches sometime last summer. It’s catchy and easy to bop your head to. Wikipedia says that he has a few songs on some fairly major TV shows like Suits and Greys Anatomy over the years. That makes sense to me. Seems like generally acceptable pop music for people in their 30’s and 40’s. God damn it. Am I that audience now?
Noah Derksen – Sanctity of Silence
You looking for a nice spring album? I was listening to the song “You Got a Hold of Me” on Friday after work and I could have sworn Noah was melting the Saskatoon snow right in front of my eyes. His voice has a soft, warm quality that just makes you feel at ease. Like putting on a comfy sweater or bundling with a blanket on the couch. I can feel some Ray LaMontagne with a touch of The Teskey Brothers in there maybe? The whole album is wonderful. “Say it Ain’t So” has a nice bluesy feel and “Fuck You and Fuck Your Friends Too” is just fun to sing in the car while you think about someone who did you dirty. Winnipeg is turning out some talent.
boygenious – “$20”
The trio of Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker is back with another album. When the first album came out I couldn’t find anywhere to buy the vinyl, so Jessi bought it for me in Germany and brought it over when she came to visit one of the first times. I liked that album so much that I’m putting this on fairly preemptively because I haven’t spent a whole lot of time listening. We can discover this one together.
The National – “Tropic Morning News”
I know there are haters of The National out there and to those folks I say, more for me. These MF’ers know how to craft songs that connect with me every time. Again, a little early to call the album a success with only a few songs out, but I’m just happy for some new material. I’ve also got a mark on my calendar to see them in Munich later this year so, yeah, I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.
Manchester Orchestra – “The Way”
A favourite band over the years for me. I think I have put them on here a few times already (I’m too lazy to actually check). This new song has been my top play as of late. Andy Hull has such a distinct voice that carries so much emotion. When I listen in my headphones, it makes me feel like I’m in the middle of an empty warehouse. It’s expansive and the sound seems to echo around you from every angle. Just a super catchy song.
The Milk Carton Kids – Running on Sweet Smile
I’ve always been a sucker for harmonizing. There are few who do it as well as The Milk Carton Kids. Their voices and guitars blend together so seamlessly, like they were always meant to be that way. Simple, beautiful, music.
Rhett: Sometimes you need a little push to get going again. I was talking to Logan at a birthday party last year and he mentioned that my blog had fallen off a cliff. I felt like my writing was redundant and I wasn’t finding any music that was inspiring me to get the blog going. He offered to write a post for me to get me motivated again. It’s that whole idea that got me wanting to write this blog in the first place. Just to share. Share the personalities of people and myself through musical taste. And not just for me to write, but to hear other voices and inspire me to listen too.
Logan is one of the funnier people I’ve ever known. I always love when Logan is around because you never know what kind of hilarity will ensue. He has a calm, easy delivery of lines and it just cracks me up. His, what I would call, “shock humour” has maybe faded with age, but he is still as witty and comical as ever. That makes me excited to look behind the curtain and see what he’s been listening to these days.
So thank you for getting me back in the saddle, Logan! Enjoy!
P.S. Logan warned me about the language in his text with this perfect line, “In the wise words of Ricky from Trailer Park Boys, “If I can’t smoke and swear I’m fucked.””
Logan: I’m so fucking happy I don’t live anywhere near Rhett. He’s one of those people that laughs with every part of his face. Those big dumb teeth let out of their cage for everyone to look at. If I had a steady diet of that in my life, I would never find hats that fit. My head would swell with every Rhett Kirk chuckle.
A persons playlist is like a window into their heart and mind. Shows you a lot about somebodies personality. I used to keep my playlist very close to the vest. Pantera or Nirvana would flood out of my speakers. Only a select few would get to see what I was listening to behind closed doors. Not that Pantera was real mainstream or popular but it was more socially acceptable than a video of some guy busking or a punk goes acoustic album. Self conscious of my musical tastes but I’ve showed everyone I’ve ever met my dick like it’s as normal as a fucking handshake. NEWSFLASH! My playlist is longer…… only because they don’t measure playlists in inches.
Anyways, Rhett didn’t ask me to do this but like usual, I bullied my way in. Enjoy.
Greta van fleet – “Broken Bells“
Don’t be scared to give all these candlelight session songs a big thick taste. Keep the milk on hand because they are GOD DAMN SPICY! Greta doesn’t seem like something people just tolerate. You either like them or you don’t. And I fucking love them. The sound, the look. They hit every fucking note my ears need to hear. These guys are a throwback to a time in musical history when artists weren’t a dime a dozen, men were men. Men were men that looked women. Pants were tight, hair was long. I’d highly recommend running out and grabbing all the Greta vinyls you can get your hands on. If you can’t find any albums, just ask Tegan. I’m sure she will gladly give you mine.
Lost Dog Street Band – “September Doves“
I fell down one of the many cosmically deep rabbit holes YouTube sucks me into and landed on this song. Perfect 10 for sticking the landing here. The hickish hillbilly folk you probably didn’t even know you were missing in your life. Take a deep dive into their library. I did. I gobbled up all of their records and feel like my life is now better for it.
Paul Cauthen – “Slow Down”
This song is on here because I like to sing it. Same feeling you get when Creed comes on. Use your big boy voice and belt it out. I’ve never heard myself sing but in my head it sounds pretty fucking good. In reality it’s probably like a rock stuck in a brake that somehow resembles a song.
The Misfits – “Saturday Night”
Like most people, when a certain song comes on it takes you back in time. You can’t help but be flooded with memories of yesteryear. This is that song. I’m sure most people my age would have an Usher song or “Photograph” by Nickleback. Not quite. A little horror rock to take you on a trip down memory lane. Buckle up ya fuckin weirdo. The misfits aren’t a listen to both sides of the album band. Really gotta sift through the shit to find the gems here.
Brian Dunne – “Taxi“
The lyrics of this song hit. They hit so hard. I felt every fucking word the first time I heard this. When you’re young, who the hell knows where they want to go and what they want to do when they get there? Probably lots of people but not me. This song makes me think about winging it. Figuring life out on the fly.
Rob Riccardo – “Let It Breathe”
Like “Lucky Man” by The Verve, this is a feel good track. Really picks you up. One of those songs a person needs when the doom and gloom clouds hang over your head. Instead of strapping on the gloves and beating the piss outta yourself, find a song like this. It helps.
Jason Cote – “Thompson“
He probably forgot I have this but why should something like this be hidden away in an old MacBook. Give the fucking people what they want, ya selfish cunt. Jason and I are very similar. Handsome, fit, funny guys with great personalities. Never mind. That’s just me. He’s a bird dicked loser without a single commendable trait. All kidding aside I believe in supporting your friends. Fuck the buddy discount, pay full price for a friends service if they have a business, buy their shit, read their fucking blogs if they write one and listen to their fucking songs if they write some.
Hopefully these were new to somebody and if they aren’t, maybe they rekindled an old flame.
Ice ice icicles, pop pop popsicles, test test…testing one, two, three. Hope everyone is having a good summer so far. Things are moving along quick! Jessi and I were able to get back to Germany which was a definite highlight for me in the last few years. Feeling more like myself since coming home and have quite a few tunes to put out there for people to listen to! Let’s cut to the chase!
DEHD – BLUE SKIES
I love these poppy grooves during the warm days. I listen to this on the way to the gym in the morning a lot because it’s upbeat and puts a little pep in my step (it’s still very little pep first thing in the AM). “Bad Love” is the jam. Put on some sunflower shaped sunglasses and hit the beach!
PETE YORN – HAWAII
This has been my most steady play for the last while. On our trip last month, Jessi and I skipped over to Mallorca for a week. We were whipping up some tapas in our little Airbnb one night and I threw this album on. Jessi said, “Who is this? I like it.” Nothing like having your music choice validated by the company you keep. Put it on and don’t touch the dial.
BARTEES STRANGE – FARM TO TABLE
My favourite new discovery. “Heavy Heart” friggan slaps. It’s got a great blend of calm and chaos. Great voice, lots of interesting instruments, and just a nice little banger once it gets up to full steam. He was touring with Lucy Dacus last year which means he’s starting to pick up speed in the indie world.
SPACEY JANE – HERE COMES EVERYBODY
Some good old indie rock here as well. Not much to say. This is my cup of tea front to back.
JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW – THE LESS I KNEW
I have posted about JVM before. I found out about this album because Dan Mangan posted a story about the opening song “Hurricane”. Dan knows a good song when he hears it. Like usual, this is full of catchy tunes and JVM’s signature voice.
MARLON WILLIAMS – MY BOY
Another artist I have mentioned previously is Marlon Williams. I am finding it harder and harder to attach a genre to his name. Previously, I would have linked him more to country/americana/folk music but these songs seem much different. It still feels older, but maybe more 80’s pop now. Either way, the first few songs have caught my attention. They are different but in a good way.
DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE – ASPHALT MEADOWS
Ben Gibbard and Co. know the formula. You don’t make successful albums steadily since the late 90’s by accident. Transaltanticism is one of my favourite albums of all time and their sound is the epitome of my musical taste at its core. All that said, they have fallen off my radar the last little while. I wasn’t super into either of their last two albums, Thank You for Today and Kintsugi. I thought that they had lost me for good. How dare I back Ben Gibbard into a corner?! These songs take me right back to what I loved about Death Cab when I first heard them.
JACK JOHNSON – MEET THE MOONLIGHT
Sticking with nostalgia, we have some new Jack Johnson songs! I was really trying to leave this off the list but I just felt that I needed to mention it for the sake of continuity in my life. I remember my brother, Jori, coming home from University and playing “Banana Pancakes” on guitar. When I picked up my first car in 2008, I went to Walmart in Swift Current and bought the Sleep Through The Static CD and listened to it on repeat the whole way home. I sang “Better Together” at two close friend’s wedding just last year. Jack Johnson is attached to my memories at many stages of my life. So how could I leave these new songs off my list? And you know what? “One Step Ahead” is a jam. Full stop.
Hello, hello. Hope everyone is having a good start to the spring! I know some parts of the province are still under a bit of snow, but things seemed to have turned the corner here in Saskatoon. Starting to string together a few warmer/sunny days in a row.
I’ve been listening to a lot of the same things these days and have the new Rural Alberta Advantage album on most days (I am really digging that and you should too). That being said, the change in season always motivates me to start digging for some new music. I have a few here that I think people might be into. There is some bright, poppy stuff but also some slower quiet stuff for your peaceful spring mornings.
Throw on some headphones, get some sun on your face, and take these tunes for a spin!
DEANNA PETCOFF – TO HELL WITH YOU, I LOVE YOU
Starting off with something fun and easy. “Failing Upwards” is the perfect first song for you to check out today. It’s upbeat and full of life. She has a rich, mature voice that makes her sound older than she is. Although she comes across as a veteran, this is the debut album for the Toronto based artist. I think she’s off to a good start.
ERIN RAE – LIGHTEN UP
I stumbled across this mostly because I follow along with Kevin Morby and Katie Crutchfield (Waxahatchee) on Instagram. Kevin Morby is featured in the song below which is the tie in here. I did a scroll of the bio on her website and it’s a good little read if you are interested. I love the ramblin’ feeling of “Can’t See Stars” and the old organ notes in “True Love’s Face”. I think everyone can find something interesting and fun in these songs.
ALDOUS HARDING – WARM CHRIS
New to me so I don’t know a damn thing about her. Well, I do know that she is from New Zealand and boy oh boy, New Zealand seems nice! Another easy listener to get you bopping along while you run for groceries.
ROLLING BLACKOUTS COASTAL FEVER – ENDLESS ROOMS
Admittedly, a lot of their albums sound the same to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like them though. Quite the contrary. You know I love that indie, surfer rock stuff, right? They always seem to be a band I enjoy throwing on for warmer weather. A couple of the songs off their new album are out and I like them just like the others. Horrible band name though.
MITSKI – LAUREL HELL
I can’t really put my finger on what it is that I like about this, but “Heat Lightning” was my top play for quite a while at the beginning of the year. It has fallen further down my list as of late, but I felt like I had to put it on here out of respect for my subconscious preference. I love the long build up in “Heat Lightning” but rather than exploding during the chorus it falls immediately back without boiling over. Something interesting there that I enjoy.
ALTAMEDA – BORN LOSERS
I had kind of forgot about Altameda until I came across their newest offering. This is all quality. From Edmonton, but now based in Toronto, these guys have a bit of a nostalgic sound to me. There is something familiar and warm about their sound. Troy Snaterse sings with somewhat of a walking vocal from time to time which I like as well. Written after the loss of Snaterse’s father to illness and step-brother to a tragic accident, the band states, “Born Losers is a meditation on change, loss, and growth, but more than that, it’s a reckoning with mortality, a call to live while we’re still alive.” No time like the present!
Long time no talk. I couldn’t quite muster up a year end review like I did last year. It was much harder than I thought it would be to formulate new material from things I had already discussed in detail. That on top of a cancelled trip over the holidays had me bummed and unmotivated to do much.
I learned a few things this past year while writing this blog. The first thing is that it is very hard to constantly be searching for new material every month. When you are perpetually searching you don’t have time to sit with the things you have already found (Now that I write it out I see that this might be true for most things in life….but I digress). It was challenging for me to move on from the music that I was enjoying knowing that I needed to find new things to write about. Secondly, as I touched on, it was hard for me to circle back and write a year end review when I had already stretched myself thin talking about the minutia of every item all year. Lastly, I felt like my writing on my first few posts was more natural and unique but the more I had to cram in posts the more similar the posts felt to me. So with this, I am going to try writing a little less. Maybe try and do a post every quarter or every couple months instead. I still have lots of friends wanting to help me out with posts, so I hope to have them fill in for me as well.
I started this last year as a way to fill my time during the pandemic and share my musical taste with friends. For those of you who are still hanging around, I hope you have added a few new songs to your playlists and maybe even thought a little harder about the music you like or the stuff you don’t. Again, these aren’t supposed to be the best songs in the world, just trying to expand the horizons. Looking forward to seeing what you guys are into this trip around the sun!
PEACH PIT – FROM 2 TO 3
Most of the things on my list today are fresh to me. Peach Pit is an indie pop band from Vancouver which I am digging right now. It is bright, smooth, and beachy. The little guitar riff at the end of “Up Granville” pretty much sums up that sound for me. I am new to the party here, so I need to go back and listen to their first two albums as well. I always love finding more CanCon whenever I can.
WeaKENeD FRIENDS – QUITTER
Some more indie rock coming your way. This one is a little more rock than the last. I also just love this album cover. I am still trying to come up with a point of reference for you on this one. You might just have to give it a listen and tell me what you think. It reminds me of something I would have listened to in Grade 10 thinking I was so rad. This will not be everyones cup of tea, but it has given me a nice “throwback” feeling lately.
ALICE PHOEBE LOU – CHILD’S PLAY
I think this is the first South African on my blog so far. After moving to Berlin upon completion of highschool she started busking in S- and U-Bahn stations which is where she really honed her craft. She also has multiple previous albums but this is my first taste. I like “Underworld” and “Silly”. This is hanging out music for a slow morning or evening. I’ve been putting this one in my headphones while I’m working on stuff or just needing a breather. It has an expansive/spaced out feeling to most of it. Nothing is rushed, nothing is forced. It just comes to you when you are ready for it.
TOKiMONSTA – “REALLA” FT. ANDERSON .PAAK
This kind of goes against my whole indie persona but I randomly found this song from 2014 and I just can’t stop listening to it. I was watching a Netflix show where they interviewed Jennifer Lee (TOKiMONSTA) about being diagnosed with Moyamoya Disease in 2015 where she briefly lost all her language and comprehension skills. She regained them and started working on her next project but still wasn’t able to fully understand music. I don’t even know if I can wrap my head around what that means, but I found it interesting. I also said to myself, “TOKiMONSTA is the stupidest name ever! I’ve got to see what stupid music she makes.” Much to my chagrin I found this song and really like it. This song only folks.
WIDOWSPEAK – THE JACKET
“Everything is Simple” is the only song released off this album so far, but it’s my current top play. I love the simple little bass line that is at the forefront. Molly Hamilton has an easy listening voice to go along with the grungy sound of everything else. They also do this with other instruments throughout the song, pairing elegant with rough around the edges. Clear notes with blurred ones. I love the contrast that that creates. Looking forward to hearing what else is on this album!
I’ve got a bit of a double-month list this week. I have to say that I ran out of steam on this a little bit. Partly because I felt like I had nothing interesting to say and partly because I’ve basically been listening to the same things over and over for the last while. Hoping to get this one in and then start to gear up for another “Year in Review” type blog for December.
There is a definite feeling in the air that fall isn’t going to linger much longer. Honestly, I’m looking forward to the music that keeps me cozy during the colder months. I think the prospect of being inside more makes me sit with the music a little longer too. I usually find more meaning in the words and get more attached to a beat this way. In saying that, I have already found a few favourites but I don’t think they will surprise you.
SAM FENDER – SEVENTEEN GOING UNDER
I am having a tough time placing this guy under the right umbrella. He reminds me of about 4 different people at the same time and that confuses the hell out of me. A few years ago I found his song, “Hypersonic Missiles” which I really dug. The Apple Music write up on that album compares him to Brandon Flowers of The Killers, which I can totally get. This new album is also something different. “Seventeen Going Under” and “Getting Started” reminds me of The War on Drugs and that is the highest form of praise I can give. The drums, the guitar, and that “full band” sound is so similar. I love that you can hear every instrument from piano to saxophone and everything in between. He still sounds like Brandon Flowers in these songs, but then he morphs into another form. Listen to “Get You Down” and “Long Way Off” and tell me if you hear Dallas Green. I have looked down at my phone more than a couple times to see if it was him when I first started listening to these. City and Colour, The Killers, and The War on Drugs. Does that make sense? Either way, I’m digging this album a lot.
THE WAR ON DRUGS – I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
Well would you look at that! Hot on the heels of a reference, I need to include this here. No shame folks, I fucking love this band. I think this is the third time I am putting them on my blog and I don’t care. Excuse me for a second, I forgot to pre-order this on vinyl…
P.S. Wiki says their record label is called Secretly Canadian. I mean come on…
JASON ISBELL & THE 400 UNIT – GEORGIA BLUE
I am just running the gamut on bands we all know I like already. During the recent U.S. presidential election, Jason Isbell said that if the Democrats won the state of Georgia, he would write an album featuring cover songs from Georgia artists and donate the proceeds to Georgia based non-profit organizations. The state was won and he kept his word. In doing so, they put together a pretty random collection of songs, but it is still enjoyable nonetheless. The cover of Gladys Knight’s “Midnight Train to Georgia” ft. Brittany Spencer slaps. I also like “Honeysuckle Blue” for that classic rock guitar and a little organ. A few R.E.M. songs in there too for all you boomers out there. This is not going in my Jason Isbell shrine at my house, but I’m still going to listen to it from time to time.
ANDY SHAUF – WILDS
How can I list two of my favourite artists in a row and then not include Andy Shauf? Guys, he did it. AGAIN! Another top to bottom great listen. If you enjoy Andy’s offbeat style and mumble voice like I do then you can plug-and-play this one any day of the week. Much like all his albums before, every song feels like it belongs right where he put it. It is a perfect collection. When you listen to it front to back you can tell how thoughtful he is about writing an album as a whole not just a list of singles put together in an arbitrary list. I just got this record in the mail today and can’t wait to put it on my turntable once I stop writing. “Jaywalker” was the first song to jump out at me with its catchy little guitar piece but “Green Glass” is my favourite for sure. Not being facetious here, I think it might be my favourite song this year.
Rhett: One of my favourite things about living in Saskatoon is that it can still feel like a small town. You can run into people you know regularly. I don’t think there is anyone I run into more than Claire and it always brightens my day! She’s always smiling and eager to chat even if she’s working. I feel that there is this unspoken bond between us because we know where each other comes from. Not just where we lived, but our families and the people we grew up with as well. Our grandmas are even dear friends.
All my sentimental feelings aside, I think we have similar taste in music too. That is why I am very excited for you all to read/listen along! Thank you for doing this, Claire! Catch you later!
Claire: I’m just delighted to be writing this edition of PB&Jams. Rhett and I are linked by family and townie ties but didn’t really get to connect until our college years in Saskatoon. We happily catch up whenever we bump into each other – from riding the bus during our uni days to me slanging pints on the Yard & Flagon rooftop. He eagerly accepted my proposition (both a challenge and offer) to write a female-centred post for the blog, and I am happy to say I’m joining the company of other contributors rounding out the female and 2SLGBTQ+ content. I hope my list encourages you to not only hit up the singles I share here but to dig into the albums and catalogues of these artists; so let’s get to it! The hits gonna be coming at y’all fast. I’ve included selections ranging from alt-pop to Americana to full on rock and roll, and I’ve been crushing hard on all these tunes. I am 100 percent not ready for the summer to fade into fall, so I’ve been pumping these hits to delude myself into endless summer bliss.
VISSIA – “My Wom”
VISSIA is the perfect combination of indie meets pop. When people ask me what her music is like I usually reference some combination of Robyn and Sheryl Crow. Everything VISSIA puts out – from her merch, to her Spotify podcast “Making Out with VISSIA,” to her latest album, With Pleasure – is filled with colour and life. Her blue splatter vinyl has been spinning constantly at my house because it is one of my favourite albums to play when entertaining. And I did not know how much I needed her Tarot Tee until it was on my bod! Her new music video for “My Wom” is energetic, bright, and bursting with powerful lyrics that will leave listeners feeling sassy AF. So throw on your high rise jeans and dance your ass off to this song!
Mariel Buckley – “Hundred Cities”
Need an occasion to wear your Stetson and slam back a few whiskeys? Please go see Mariel Buckley ASAP. I know she is eager to be hitting the road with her band coming fresh off the recording floor with a Sloan cover and this new single, both featured on the 97 Riverdale EP. Currently based out of Edmonton, AB, her live show is not to be missed. You will fall in love with her swagger, drawl, stage banter, and old school Americana vocal stylings. Touring bassist Kurtis Cockerill is sure to crush some brews with ya after the gig too. If you dig on the tunes check out her merch too (hello “grass jacket” rolling papers) and let’s help get our local artists on the road after all this damn C****d mayhem.
Haim – “Summer Girls”
In case you haven’t already been jamming out to this song all summer long this is your chance. So relaxing yet simultaneously energising. Listening to Haim just makes me want to create a playlist with everything from Savage Garden to Fleetwood Mac. And if you want to pump it up a notch, the Amber Mark Remix or the Solomonophonic Bouncy House Remix are both really enjoyable. Haim Radio on Spotify is one of my favourite ways to chill out and feel good when I’m on my commute to work.
Partner – “Play the Field”
This catchy track, along with the quirky music vid, will hook you on this band. Please note the 420 and 69 jerseys they sport for the occasion! These adorable stoners will have you in a daze in no time with their bass heavy pop. Hailing from Canada’s East coast, Joseé and Lucy come together with a sound harkening back to the 90s garage band era out of Portland. MoSo fest was the first opportunity I had to see them live and I was grooving and singing along at the top of my lungs in Amigos Cantina. I’ve since hit up their live shows any chance I can and have all their vinyl – I can’t get enough. Blast them into your headphones at the grocery store and just zone out. I recommend you start with “Hot Knives” and “Everybody Knows Your High” before blissing your way into some of their newer jams like “Big Gay Hands” and “Honey.” Screw it, maybe just order an extra-large pizza and throw on all the tracks.
Tanya Tucker – “MUSTANG RIDGE”
Hit play on “Mustang Ridge” but make sure you have time to then enjoy the 2019 album, While I’m Living, in its entirety. Tanya Tucker should not be relegated to the 90s country that she was initially known for but instead should be celebrated as a modern troubadour and Grammy winning sensation. I particularly enjoy this record when I’m getting ready for work or when I’m taking a long solo drive in the country. Would recommend enjoying a cruise and the changing fall colours to help ameliorate any summer-slipping-away blues.
SATE – “Howler”
I first discovered SATE by happenstance. To explain, my mother is a Johnny Reid superfan – like go on river-cruises in Europe to see him perform kind of superfan. And as her child, and the good Scottish descendant that I am (lol), I’ve attended my fair share of Johnny Reid shows. Now as much as adult contemporary music may not be my go-to genre (it surely is not), Johnny Reid always has an insanely stacked band of talent up on the stage to support his act. Other notable female singers who have performed in his band include Miku Graham and Juno-nominated Tanika Charles. So when I discovered that after the Johnny Reid show one night SATE was doing an impromptu set at The Capitol I had to be there. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen someone rock so damn hard. “Howler” will have you wanting to rock out, dance, and scream. It makes me want to build the hugest campfire and howl at the moon all night long. Experience her magic and mayhem at your own risk because it’s going to make you want to get frisky or smash the patriarchy.
Megan Nash & The Best of Intentions – “Chew Quietly/Clean Slate”
Megan Nash can often be heard gracing the CBC Radio 2 airwaves and is one of my favourite Saskatchewan artists. I absolutely fell head over heels in love with their Juno nominated 2017 album “Seeker” and am thrilled that they are putting out a new album. This single is such an exciting tease for what is to come with Soft Focus Futures, out November 3rd. Maybe the fall season won’t be so bad after all! And in major Saskatoon excitement, Megan Nash & The Best of Intentions are going to be playing Amigos Cantina November 27th. In addition to Megan’s sensational song writing skills, soothing voice, and captivating as hell tunes they are also an advocate for inclusion and safe spaces in our communities and music venues, most recently fundraising for Moose Jaw Pride. I’m blushing with Sasky pride over here right now!
Yola – “Diamond Studded Shoes”
I was first curious about the artist Yola when I discovered she was featured on the track “Highwomen” by country music supergroup The Highwomen. And to my pure joy, I further realized she also collaborates with artists like Jason Isbell and Sheryl Crow – bless! As much as her collaborations excite me, no questions about it she holds her own on her solo albums. Her tunes have elements of gospel, blues, and soul while creating a very contemporary Nashville sound. This ain’t no pickup truck country pop but the real deal and Yola is blasting through stereotypes in the country music scene.
VISSIA – “MY WOM”
MARIEL BUCKLEY – “HUNDRED CITIES”
HAIM – “SUMMER GIRLS”
PARTNER – “PLAY THE FIELD”
TANYA TUCKER – “MUSTANG RIDGE”
SATE – “HOWLER”
MEGAN NASH & THE BEST OF INTENTIONS – “CHEW QUIETLY/CLEAN SLATE”
What a month! Lots going on in my world these days. Hope everybody is having a good end to August. Not much to say today so let’s get right to it!
BIG RED MACHINE – HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT’S GONNA LAST?
Named after the Cincinnati Reds of the 70’s, Big Red Machine is the combined power of Aaron Dessner and Justin Vernon. Yes, Aaron Dessner, a founding member of The National and producer/writer for many of today’s artists including Sharon Van Etten, Ben Howard, and Taylor Swift. And yes, Justin Vernon, better known as Bon Iver. Could this get any more “Rhett”? Not to mention the album also features songs with Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes, Anais Mitchell of Bonny Light Horsemen and all of the artists mentioned above. Yowza! I could be trapped in my room for a good while listening to this album with my headphones on. If you are a nerd about music like me, you should definitely look at all the things these two have been involved in. When you have T-Swift knocking at the door to work with you, you must be doing something right.
COURTNEY BARNETT – THINGS TAKE TIME, TAKE TIME
This is an album off my “not yet released” list, but I have been listening to “Rae Street” so much that I have to put it on here before the whole thing is released. Whenever I see a Courtney Barnett album come out I know I am going to like it. Just soooo consistent. Another gal that just simply rocks. Check her whole catalogue for lots of other good tunes if you haven’t already.
STURGILL SIMPSON – THE BALLAD OF DOOD & JAUNITA
He’s back and he’s gone traditional country again. Remember the computer game “Oregon Trail”? That is what I think of when this is on. Blazing a trail on the open prairie in a covered wagon just hoping that half your crew doesn’t die of dysentery. The song “Sam” is a perfect example of a cowboy campfire song. Another thing worth noting is that Sturgill refers to his band as the Hillbilly Avengers and that just makes me laugh. Sturgill doing Sturgill.
WE WERE PROMISED JETPACKS – ENJOY THE VIEW
This might be my favourite band name of all time. Fossum introduced me to the album These Four Walls in 2009ish and it still holds up big time. Recently, they had fallen off my radar until I randomly found this new album in my regular search. My love for them has been instantly revived. Only a few songs are released so far, but they are all solid. And how can you not love a Scottish accent breaking though a little? Glasgow, stand up!
BRITTANY HOWARD – “STAY HIGH”
Was thinking about Alabama Shakes recently and wondering what the hell happened to them? Somehow, I had missed that Brittany Howard, the lead singer, had put out a solo album in 2019 and Heath Fogg, the guitarist, did the same in 2020. I also learned that the drummer was a very bad man and now I understand why there is no longer a band (I’ll let google teach you the details). Luckily, the world still gets to hear this gal belt it out. One of the most soulful voices I’ve ever heard. Fossum, Shaun, and I almost saw her from the front row at Lollapalooza a while back but a torrential downpour cancelled the show and pushed everyone out of the park and into downtown Chicago to fend for themselves (that was pure insanity, but it’s a story for another time). “Stay High” is a perfect pick me up. Smell ya later, Sunday blues!
BIG RED MACHINE – HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT”S GONNA LAST?
Rhett: Where do I even start with this post? So many things to say about my next guest. In preparation for this I started looking through old pictures to find some good ones of Jordo and I to put up here. They are almost exclusively from 2012-2014, which means it is certainly time to get some new ones together. Nevertheless, here is one of the oldies:
If you don’t know her, you need to meet her. One of the most fun, hilarious, genuine people that I know. From a few summers in Cypress together, to Sasquatch Music Festival in Washington (see below: a picture Jord took of me watching Rodriguez at The Gorge), to an infamous road trip to Great Falls, MT (shout out to Julie as well on this one). These memories are deeply ingrained in me. I feel like it has been a lifetime since we last hung out, but it has been so nice to text back and forth a bit about this blog over the last little while.
I hope this post brings you as much joy as it brought me today! You are the best, Jord!
Jordynn: Hi folks, just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to have a peek into some tracks I’ve been wild about this summer season. Although not many of them are hot new stuff, I’m hoping something resonates or you maybe check out a genre you might not have considered up your alley before! I feel very lucky to live in the current ‘great wide open’ era of musical tastes, where we can all be into anything and share it so easily with our friends – and thanks to Rhett for making that even easier with this lil’ blog.
I feel that I come from a much deeper pop & country background than our other lovely friends that have contributed their picks (for example, I’ve been Shakira’s biggest fan for the last 20 years – like to the point that it’s not healthy). I also feel like I’m a bit of a loose cannon when handed the aux cord; Rhett and our other friends have been on a more than a few road trips where I’ve taken the car on an experimental pop journey that nobody asked for, but that they always politely nodded along to. I’ve spent a good chunk of our slowed lifestyle this past year or so building psychotic playlists, with titles such as “music for a sleepover at Joanna Newsom’s house”; “dirtbag canadiana”; and “Guy Fieri’s discman on shuffle, probably” (this last one is heavily Steely Dan). Again, I’d like to reiterate that nothing good will come from being kind and passing me the aux if you’re ever in a car with me.
I really had no intention for this little list to skew as Canadian as it did – can’t say I’m a great patriot or anything but tend to just leech onto the current music scene of wherever I’m living for a few years, and have been especially lucky to always be near wicked college radio stations. I’ve also noticed how female-dominated my top tracks seem to be, in complete contrast to our pal and previous contributer Tegan’s tastes! Jesus… maybe Shakira has an even deeper grip on my psyche than I previously thought.
This Summer of Jord has been insane so far – I wasn’t 100% sure how I felt in the spring about summer events with tons of faces going ahead, but I buckled up and took the vaccine doses that had been marinating in my arm for a few months out for a spin. I’ve been drinking doubles and yelling at the top of my lungs like the good old days, and feel like I’ve packed months of good times into the past few weeks. It’s been GREAT to get out and see all the friends I’ve been missing since summer 2019, now with a whole new layer of appreciation for our time wasted together. I hope these songs I’ve settled on give you some semblance of a summer feeling, even if some of them are pretty low key!
Starpainter – “WILD AZaLEAS”
This southern Alberta band has been strategically placed at the top of this list along with Vanessa from Swift Current – if there’s any groups I hope you take away from this and gas up to your friends for the remainder of the summer, it’s these Western Canadian artists. I bought multiple copies of Starpainter’s 2020 album “Bury Me by My Family” as housewarming gifts for friends with varied music tastes as a little experiment this last year, and have had my heart swell hearing back from each of them about how much they liked every single track. This country/rock ballad for me stirs a lot up, like nostalgia of backroad drives in an ancient single cab Silverado that absolutely everybody’s Dad seemed to have when we were kids. Other standout tracks on the album included “Mark of Cain” and “Slammin’ on the Brakes”, which are a bit less dainty than this one but still hit hard in the emotion department; all up, we’re talking about a truly unskippable album listing.
Vanessa Gauvin – “HOME”
I was lucky enough this month to spend a week at my childhood summer camp with Vanessa, who spent her summer out there leading introductory music classes for the kids and working on her own music. She held a room full of teenagers rapt when she played them this song from her EP Devil Man, which I can guarantee you is not easy (or do kids just hate me?). Another track I’ve been enjoying from the EP is “Sunshine with a Storm Brewing”, which I’m shocked wasn’t written about our weather in the woods that week. Although I wasn’t able to push kids out of the way to have her help me learn chords for myself, I did bang out a kazoo riff for Heart of Gold I’m pretty proud of. We’re all very glad she was able to make it out for the summer and share her passion for music with so many kids – you never know who the next young Vanessa in the crowd is going to be (spoiler: not me).
SG Lewis – “WARM”
Gotta say that when summer started I was having more of a smoky contemplative summer than the hot vax summer that was promised by our various premiers, and I found myself reaching back to this fairly introspective 2015 track from the UK producer SG Lewis heavily. It isn’t a hot new summer track by a long shot, but I would call this an easing into summer track – the wooziness of our long winter hangover is real, and reminds me of this faraway sounding, potentially-underwater production style.
Ratboys – “ELVIS IS IN THE FrEEZER”
Ratboys’s lead vocalist Julia Steiner has a real diminutive vocal style that often gets completely overpowered by their energetic rickety-ass country instrumentation, and I’ve thought more than once while listening to them that it’s like waves are crashing into what she’s trying to say – which I love. The group had a wicked album out in 2017 called “GN” which was where they piqued my interest; other standout tracks from this album included “The Record” and “GM”. They also put out an album recently that was very well-received; definitely worth checking out if you liked these few tracks that have gripped me.
Benee f. Grimes – “SHEESH”
Although Grimes’s wrinkly space cowboy boyfriend seems to get most of the press these days, the Vancouver/Montreal mystic is a powerhouse whose first album from a decade ago rocked my world and was the playlist to my morning snowboard laps while living broke out in Whistler for a fun, weird winter fresh out of uni. Here, the Galadriel wannabe adds a dreamy, bratty touch to this track from Auckland, NZ’s other (better?) popstar, Benee. If my frantic pop tastes aren’t speaking to you here, Benee has also put out some great/less hyper stuff such as her track “Winter” that features a fellow antipodal musician on the rise, Mallrat.
Toro y Moi – “OMAHA”
Although the guy behind Toro y Moi, Chaz Bear, has put out some really strong albums in 2019 & 2020, this older track was one I revisited quite a bit early into the summer that helped inch the sad cobwebs of a global respiratory outbreak off of my mind, even for 3 minutes at a time. I’ve been making countless smoky trips on the Crowsnest highway this summer getting moved west for a new job, and whenever this track has come up on rotation in my aforementioned playlists, I throw rational caution to the wind and roll that window down and sing while sucking in that gritty ash – but frig it, ya know? And if that isn’t summer energy, not sure I know what is. I continue to attempt the high vocals that loom in the background after the two minute mark, and then quickly abort when I remember I have no musical talent and my lungs get pissy and I wonder if my childhood asthma is gonna resurface from smoke irritation. Worth it, baby.
Eamon McGrath – “SIGNALS”
Do you have a driving while mad song? Do you want one? If so, most things by this guy originally from Edmonton could probably fit the bill. My favourite band of the 80s was The Replacements from equally-landlocked Minneapolis, and Eamon McGrath has always reminded me of their best stuff; kinda snarly, wounded, and real loud. Again with an older pick from his album “Young Canadians” from like a decade ago here, but bite me. If you’re into this song, some other tracks I’ve also always enjoyed from him include “Chlorine” and “Dark End of the Street”.
WAYLON NAPADOGAN – “On a Scale of Rob Ford to Jim Lahey, How Drunk are You Lady?“
Our friend Dave texted me and our other pal Randy a spontaneous link to this song a couple months ago, and it hit me like a ton of bricks and became a cornerstone of my summer listening. While reading up on him further, I found an iconic intro that read “You probably know Waylon Napadogan from being voted the 12th-best country music singer from southeastern New Brunswick two years running now” – I laughed til I cried and it cemented my appreciation for his brand. Mr. Napadogan is a deeply Canadian artist, with other sizzlers such as “Frig Off Bud” and “Gettin’ Stoned Behind the Tim Hortons” that are equally great and droll. This track makes me giggle every damn time and think of all the times you’ve gone out for drinks with the homegirls, go full ‘Alberta Premium princess’, and then end up shutting down one shady establishment or another while being complete terrorists and making multiple enemies as the night unfolds. What a glory.
STARPAINTER – WILD AZALEAS
VANESSA GAUVIN – HOME
SG LEWIS – WARM
RATBOYS – ELVIS IS IN THE FREEZER
BENEE FT. GRIMES – SHEESH
TORO Y MOI – OMAHA
EAMON MCGRATH – SIGNALS
WAYLON NAPADOGAN – ON A SCALE OF ROB FORD TO JIM LAHEY, HOW DRUNK ARE YOU LADY?
I’ve got a pretty random list this month for you. To be honest, I have mostly been listening to Bo Burnham’s new special Inside on repeat since it came out. It is absolutely incredible and I recommend it to everyone. I do have a few other things here but it’s a little jumbled. Hopefully you can still find something that you dig!
Vincent Neil Emerson – Vincent Neil Emerson
My recent favourite album is this one. Nathan introduced me to him last summer and I had “25 and Wasting Time” playing constantly after that. This new album is even better. Vincent’s songwriting is much more refined than in his previous album two years ago. There also seems to be more natural emotion in his new songs which I really enjoy. “Texas Moon” is an instant country classic, but my favourite songs are “The Ballad of the Choctaw-Apache”, “High on Gettin’ By”, and “Learnin’ to Drown”. His tales about enduring through the hard times make him easy to connect with. I love the line, “Every time the well runs dry I tell myself, ‘if it don’t kill me then I guess I’ll never die.’”
You might notice a tie in to Colter Wall here as well. Colter has taken the East Texas product on tour with him and they also share a label, La Honda Records.
Said the whale – “Show Me Everything”
I remember buying Islands Disappear in 2009 because I loved the song “Camilo (The Magician)” so much. That song reminds me of my first summer after high school. Since then I have been a little hot and cold on Said the Whale. There are things I really like and others I struggle to be into. I’m hot on their three new songs. “Show Me Everything” has some Win Butler/Arcade Fire vibes and I dig the hell out of that.
Wavves – hideaway
Anyone need some surfer rock for the summer? This is exactly that. A little rough, upbeat, garage pop/rock. “Sinking Feeling” is full of that offbeat surfer sound that makes you feel like you’re watching people catching big waves off the coast. Get it while the weather is hot!
Lucy dacus – home video
Nick touched on Lucy in his recent post for me but I needed to mention her again. This new album is wonderful and I’m starting to listen to it a lot. This is right in my wheelhouse for everyday listening. Just another of the many many female artists that I admire so much. She’s cool and immensely talented. I love both of these songs so I had to link both.
boy golden – Church of better daze
Another random find in my recent searches. I couldn’t go past a song called, “KD and Lunch Meat”. If that doesn’t tell you someone is from Winnipeg, I don’t know what will. Do yourself a favour and google this band or the Church of Better Daze. Classic. Spread that gospel, Boy Golden.