Feature

Sky Terminal – “PARADISE” [Free Song Download]

Sky Terminal is a Toronto-based duo comprised of Marcel Preston and Scott Mason. With one Juno nomination under their belt, these guys specialize in melodic indie-pop that takes flight with sparkling instrumentals and Preston’s captivating vocals. They recently dropped their newest single “PARADISE” (check it out on Spotify and Apple Music), and they are now offering the new tune as a free high-quality MP3 download. If you love inspiring, hopeful power-pop that hits all the right top 40 spots you can ask for, Sky Terminal is right up your alley.

On “Paradise,” Marcus says, “The song really got started around an idea that was knocking around my brain. The idea that something better is waiting for us around each corner is great, but what does it look like to actually make what we currently have into our own little paradise. To fall in love with the present again, and to make the most out of the life that is right in front of us.”

The track is buoyed by a rippling bass line that gives way to the uplifting choruses while Preston calls for listeners to make their own paradise in the present. It never hurts to feel good every once in a while, so enjoy your own “Paradise” with the guys from Sky Terminal.

Paradise Track Listing:

01. PARADISE
02. Never Giving Up
03. Billion Stars

Here’s the track “Never Giving Up,” also from the Paradise release.

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Paradise dropped November 1st, 2019.

Artwork for ‘Paradise Art’ by Sky Terminal
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Jason Wilson Explains the Connections Between Folk, Reggae and Canadian History on Latest Project ‘Sumach Roots’

The brainchild of two-time JUNO nominee and best-selling historian Jason Wilson, Sumach Roots draws from a deep well of sounds—from traditional British folk to bebop jazz and classic reggae—in order to tell the stories of those who built Toronto, both literally and culturally.

With a top-flight cast of performers joining him on stage and in the studio—including Rupert “Ojiji” Harvey of Canadian reggae legends Messenjah, and guitarist Carl Harvey of Toots & The MaytalsSumach Roots tackles such subject matter as the late 18th Century diaries of Elizabeth Simcoe, the great Toronto fires of 1902 and 1904, the construction of the CN Tower in the early 1970s, and other crucial moments that illuminate the host and immigrant experience in Toronto.

Since the early 1990s, Jason Wilson has been able to balance his academic and writing pursuits with a musical career that began with the internationally successful reggae band Tabarruk, whose debut album featured a guest appearance by Alanis Morrissette. Wilson’s subsequent profile in the reggae field led him to work closely with Jamaican-Canadian reggae pioneer Jackie Mittoo, as well as recording and performing with UB40, the legendary Jamaican guitarist Ernest Ranglin and James Brown/Van Morrison saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis.

Although Wilson’s passion for reggae has also resulted in his new book King Alpha’s Song In A Strange Land—a history of Canadian reggae to published this February by UBC Press—his musical career has also crossed into the folk world through his past collaboration with the late, great British fiddler Dave Swarbrick. All of these elements come together on Sumach Roots, and we’re thrilled to have Jason Wilson further explain the real-life characters and events that inspired each song on the album.

01. “We”
“We acknowledge the land. We acknowledge that all of us in old Upper Canada are on the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples. We acknowledge each other and see the only way forward—together, we. Gabe Gaudet wrote lyrics in James Bay Cree:
‘Ah nooch/ Ni wi si ti no wak/ Kah ki wi kik chik/ Uh-tah ah skik/ Kah shi ni poo yuk/ An ni kik/ Mississauga of the New Credit/ Eh ko ma ka/ Haudenosaunee/ Eh ko ma ka/ Huron-Wendat’”

02. “Posthuma”
“Elizabeth Simcoe’s diaries, personal letters and watercolours captured the essence of early York from an English perspective. Her husband, the Governor, served Upper Canada during an age of slavery and when questions of land ownership were being contested. Unsurprisingly, Thayendanegea (Joseph Brant) had different ideas for his own people. While the Brants and Simcoes may have held contrasting perspectives on land, both families experienced loss.”

03. “Lads of Lombard Hall”
“Toronto’s Great Fire of 1904 fire cost a staggering $10,000,000, left 5,000 out of work and forever changed the city’s landscape. Two years previous, a fire at McIntosh & Son’s storage warehouse took the lives of five firefighters, three of whom were from Lombard Street Fire Hall. 75,000 Torontonians lined the streets to honour the five men. Fighting in the 1904 fire, we imagine James Potts addressing his fallen comrade David See.”

04. “KHAQQ (Hold On)”
Amelia Earhart served in the Voluntary Aid Detachment at Toronto’s Spadina Military Convalescent Hospital during the First World War. Toronto had, at the time, the most intensive flying corps in North America. The future flying ace became fully intoxicated with what she witnessed up above the clouds and later become the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic. With her sights set on circumnavigating the globe, Amelia disappeared over the Pacific in early July 1937 with her navigator Fred Noonan. Gertrude Crabbe, a “ham” radio operator on Ashdale Avenue, received perhaps the last message sent by KHAQQ, Amelia’s call sign.”

Artwork for ‘Sumach Roots’ by Jason Wilson

05. “Lynx Canadensis”
“The lynx have suffered greatly at the hands of humans. Like so many other species, they have lost vast tracts of their habitat due to human incursion. They have likewise been hunted unrelentingly for their prized skin. Our climate emergency has also taken its toll on the lives of the lynx. Sister and Brother consider these strange sapiens from what they believe is a safe distance away.”

06. “The Tall Tales of Lester Stuard”
“There were approximately twenty blacks in York in 1802. Some were slaves, others free. Some blacks had been freed as a result of fighting for the British in Loyalist units such as The Black Brigade, The Black Pioneers or The Ethiopian Regiment. We don’t know much about Lester Stuard, but we do know he played fiddle and told ‘tall tales’ at Ely Playter’s Tavern at King and Caroline (Toronto’s present-day Sherbourne Street). Perhaps Lester was one of the many blacks who had come from the West Indies, where Anancy the spider – the irascible and lovable star of west-African storytelling – featured prominently.”

07. “The Night We Won the War”
Theodocia Logvinoff led an extraordinary life. Born in Russia, Logvinoff met future Toronto Maple Leafs’ owner Conn Smythe while both men were in a German prisoner of war camp during the First World War. There, Logvinoff gave Smythe a pair of knee-high leather boots for which Smythe was forever grateful. Many years later, Smythe employed Logvinoff as the equipment manager of Maple Leaf Gardens. Logvinoff fought for the Whites against the Reds during the Russian Revolution; became a customs agent in China; met his wife Phyllis Moore at a Russian art exhibition at Toronto’s Grange while on leave in 1925; returned to China with his wife and children and suffered through the Rape of Nanjing and the Second World War. He eventually settled in Toronto in time to see Bill Barilko score his famous goal and see his daughter Maria dance with the National Ballet of Canada.”

08. “Happy Little Sisyphus”
“Our identities – shaped, refracted and warped by time and history – are both enriched and upended by genetic maps. Certainly, our DNA can validate a ‘sense of self,’ but a political requirement to prove our identity can also split us apart socially. Is identity a key that allows us to enjoy, consume and create culture, or is it a lock that prevents us from straying into realms not mapped by our genetics? Are we never to discuss where our imagined cultures and presumed traditions intersect? As artist-author Michalis Pichler aptly surmised: ‘Maybe the belief that an appropriation is always a conscious strategic decision made by an author is just as naive as believing in an ‘original’ author in the first place.’”

09. “Fort Rouillé”
Fort Rouillé was a French trading post in Toronto during the middle of the eighteenth century. Built near the mouth of the Humber River and along the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, the fort was established to intercept trade between indigenous traders and British fur-traders stationed at Fort Oswego. It was wildly successful, but also short-lived. Fort Rouillé was evacuated and burned down by the French in 1759 during the Seven Years’ War. The remains of the fort are now part of the public lands of Exhibition Place.”

10. “Eugene (No Fear of Flying)”
“Sixty people died during the construction of the World Trade Centre in Lower Manhattan, completed in 1973. That same year, construction began on Toronto’s CN Tower. Many Haudenosaunee and Mi’kmaq ironworkers were involved in both projects. Today, approximately 500 of Ontario’s 3,500 ironworkers are Haudenosaunee. Scaling CN’s tower, Eugene cannot help think about his father who likewise ‘walked the iron.’”

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Benjamin Tod Lists His 5 All-Time Most Influential Songs

Sure, you might know him as the founding vocalist and guitarist of dark country act, Lost Dog Street Band, but did you know that Benjamin Tod is also an accomplished solo musician who, on November 22nd, released his second full-length solo album? Yep, that’s a fact. Titled A Heart Of Gold Is Hard To Find and released via Anti-Corporate Music, Tod’s latest offering features ten new track teeming with gut-wrenching personal tales. The dark country/Americana mixture was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Black Matter Mastering/Anti-Corp label headquarters by Dan Emery.

A great example of the album’s tone and lyrical content can be found in the single “Sorry For The Things,” for which Tod recently released a music video. Speaking of the song and its accompanying visual, he noted:

“I wrote ‘Sorry For The Things’ about ten years ago and it almost got lost in a haphazard pile of songs written on napkins and record sleeves. This song has been a running joke with me and my sound engineer Dan Emery because I recorded it for at least five different albums and it never made the final cut. My wife Ashley and I went a few of years getting by on less than $400 bucks a month living on the streets, in ratty vehicles, and off-grid shanties. We played music on the streets, did migrant work and a few things that the statute of limitations forbids me to say. ‘Sorry For The Things’ encapsulated those times and the hardships we lived through. It’s shocking how long I continued drinking when I listen to it. It’s obvious that even back then I understood how badly my addictions were affecting my life, yet it would be almost a decade before I really tried to get sober. I am thankful for the grace she has for me still. I have not been an easy person to love.”

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Speaking of influences and things for which we can be grateful, not to mention paying homepage to those who helped along the way, Tod joins us today to discuss the some of the great American songwriters who inspired his sound in the first place. The following is a succinct list of five of the songs that have most influenced Benjamin Tod’s music. Be sure to enjoy this artist’s latest release (if not his full back-catalogue) and, while doing so, remind yourself that you’re absorbing art from one of America’s greatest modern-day singer-songwriters.

Benjamin Tod: “This is a list of the 5 most influential songs of my youth. I tried to narrow it down to songs that the greats actually wrote. Other songs may have been higher on this list, but obscure folks wrote them or they were traditional tunes arranged by songwriters I love. I’m not going to put this in any certain order. That would be too damn hard. I’ve included the version of these tunes I recommend being listened to. Like anything there are some really bad recordings of all of these songs so I thought I’d steer you in the right direction. I realized after making this that all of these songs are akin to each other in that they have elements of romantic longing of a traveler in them. I should have known…”

01. “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan (The Times They Are a-Changin’, released January 13, 1964, via Columbia)

“I first heard this album around the age of 14 and it became my Bible. For about three years pre-1965 Dylan was always on repeat in my mind. This song has special significance to me because my wife Ashley has over a quarter Spanish in here blood and made a trip to Spain without me once. I drunkenly played this tune over and over to the probable annoyance of Townes’ daughter Katie Bell, her boyfriend Chris, and Matt Heckler. This is truly one of the finest crafted songs in history.”

Sample Lyrics:
“But if I had the stars of the darkest night
And the diamonds from the deepest ocean
I’d forsake them all for your sweet kiss
For that’s all I’m wishin’ to be ownin’”

02. “Gentle On My Mind” by John Hartford, Live with Roy Husky Jr. (Gentle on My Mind, released August 1967, via Capitol)

“I heard this song a couple years before I first rode a freight train at the age of 17 and it gave me goosebumps unrelated to the drugs I had been taking. I’ve screamed the lines of this song many times with my legs dangling out of a boxcar door. It epitomizes the romantic sorrow of the American tramp.”

Sample Lyrics:
“I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin’
Cracklin’ caldron in some train yard
My beard a rustling, a cold towel,
A dirty hat pulled low across my face
Through cupped hands ’round the tin can
I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
That you’re waiting from the back roads
By the rivers of my memories
Ever smilin’ ever gentle on my mind
Gentle on my mind”

03. “Ballad of Spider John” by Willis Alan Ramsey (Willis Alan Ramsey, released May 1972, via Shelter)

“This is by far one of the best outlaw narratives ever written. It has been an inspiration throughout my songwriting journey and elements of this song have touched my use of words many times. The song’s use of chords is very unconventional given that it begins the verse on the 2nd.”

Sample Lyrics:
“Spider John is my name friends.
I’m in between freights and I sure would be obliged
If I could share your company.
I’m on my way to nowhere,
Been running from my past;
Running from the things I used to be.
Now, I know my words sound strange to you,
But, if you wait ’til the song is sung and the story’s told
You might come to understand.
Why I’m old and bent and devil sent,
Runnin’ out of time;
Not long ago held a royal flush in my hand.”

04. “Dublin Blues” by Guy Clark (Dublin Blues, released on April 4, 1995, via Elektra)

“This song has the absolute perfect combination of genius and grit. They are the yin and yang of songwriting in my opinion and no one does it better than Guy. I was introduced to Guy around the age of 16 from my friend Christian Tengelitsh whose father is an award-winning Nashville songwriter who worked with Townes, Guy and Steve back in the day. This song never gets old and feels like the first time every time I hear it. I feel like I have lived this song many times in my own marriage and have a close psychological connection with Guy and Susanna’s relationship.”

Sample Lyrics:
“Forgive me all my anger
Forgive me all my faults
There’s no need to forgive me
For thinking what I thought
I loved you from the git go
I’ll love you till I die
I loved you on the Spanish steps
The day you said goodbye”

05. “Return of the Grevious Angel” by Gram Parsons (Grevious Angel, released January 1974, via Reprise)

“This song is an anthem of sorts in my mind. Every part of the craft and production of it is flawless. In my opinion, Gram didn’t have a technically great voice, but the character in it carried him further than any amount of technique or exercise could have. I relate strongly with that in my own voice. This song tangles Cheyenne where I have spent a lot of time hopping trains through and my home state of Tennessee in the most eloquent way possible. This is also, in my opinion, Emmylou Harris’ greatest duet performance.”

Sample Lyrics:
“Oh and I remember something you once told me
And I’ll be damned if it did not come true
Twenty thousand roads I went down, down, down
And they all lead me straight back home to you
‘Cause I headed West to grow up with the country
Across those prairies with those waves of grain
And I saw my devil, and I saw my deep blue sea
And I thought about a calico bonnet from Cheyenne to Tennessee”

06. Honourable Mentions:

“Lungs” by Townes Van Zandt (Self-Titled)
“Landlocked Blues” by Conner Oberst (I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning)
“Tom Ames’ Prayer” by Steve Earle (Together Live At The Bluebird)

Artwork for ‘A Heart of Gold is Hard to Find’ by Benjamin Tod

Lost Street Dog Band 2020 Winter Tour Dates (w/ Casper Allen):

1/27/2020 – Bijou – Knoxville, TN
1/28/2020 – Songbirds – Chattanooga, TN
1/29/2020 – The Burl – Lexington, KY
1/30/2020 – V Club – Huntington, WV
1/31/2020 – Richmond Music Hall – Richmond, VA
2/01/2020 – Motorco – Durham, NC
2/04/2020 – The Pour House – Charleston, SC
2/05/2020 – Georgia Theatre – Athens, GA
2/06/2020 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
2/07/2020 – Victory North – Savannah, GA
2/08/2020 – 1904 Music Hall – Jacksonville, FL
2/09/2020 – Jannus Live – Saint Petersburg, FL
2/11/2020 – Vinyl Music Hall – Pensacola, FL
2/12/2020 – Alabama Music Box – Mobile, AL
2/13/2020 – Saturn – Birmingham, AL
2/14/2020 – Duling Hall – Jackson, MS
2/15/2020 – Spanish Moon – Baton Rouge, LA
2/16/2020 – The Heights Theater – Houston, TX
2/18/2020 – Antones – Austin, TX
2/19/2020 – Deep Ellum Art Co. – Dallas, TX
2/20/2020 – Tower Theatre – Oklahoma City, OK
2/21/2020 – 1884 Lounge – Memphis, TN
2/22/2020 – Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS
2/23/2020 – Basement East – Nashville, TN
3/11/2020 – Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
3/12/2020 – The Bluebird – Bloomington, IN
3/13/2020 – Southgate House Revival – Newport, KY
3/14/2020 – Musica – Akron, OH
3/15/2020 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
3/17/2020 – A&R Music Bar – Columbus, OH
3/18/2020 – The Club At Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA
3/19/2020 – Buffalo Iron Works – Buffalo, NY
3/20/2020 – Higher Ground – South Burlington, VT
3/21/2020 – Port City Music Hall – Portland, ME
3/22/2020 – Sinclair – Boston, MA
3/25/2020 – Rough Trade – Brooklyn, NY
3/26/2020 – Underground Arts – Philadelphia, PA
3/27/2020 – Union Stage – Washington, DC
3/28/2020 – Southern Café – Charlottesville, VA
4/01/2020 – Neighborhood Theatre – Charlotte, NC
4/02/2020 – Orange Peel – Asheville, NC

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John Byrne Shares His Top Tips for a Successful Life on Tour

You know, most of the time touring ain’t the glamorous, beer-crushing, city-hopping, hotel-sleeping extravaganza that most people assume. That said, while not all bad, it’s a good idea for any musician, especially those new to the road, to be armed with some tricks of the trade. Thankfully, we’re joined by Dublin native and Philadelphia resident, John Byrne for a detailed list of his five most important touring tips. From lodging and food to driving and merch, this seasoned road warrior delivers the goods in his short but valuable guidebook for a successful life on tour.

The John Byrne Band, Byrne’s eponymously-named group, released their latest studio recording A Shiver in the Sky on November 1st, and has been (and will be) gigging in support thereof for many months to come. The ten-track effort was recorded at Philadelphia’s Spice House Sound with producer and long-time collaborator Andy Keenan.

Commenting on the new tunes and themes thereof, Byrne said: “Things will happen to you, and they can be immensely painful, but they will pass. And if you don’t let them break you there will be a new version of yourself that emerges and has learned the skills to live with this pain. There are cautionary tales, songs about dealing with addiction, about immigration, about relationships of all kinds, about facing prejudice, about leaving things behind. They all ultimately carry a similar message, that living carries with it the possibility of balancing out regret or mistakes that you’ve made with a future that contains something brighter. The Shiver in the Sky is the past, it’s the remnants of trauma, it never fully leaves us, but it fades with time”

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01. Touring

“You have to do it. Unless you’re in a very privileged situation, you can only grow as an artist and build a fan base by bringing your music to as many corners as you can find gigs. Assuming that you’ve already booked the gigs, sorted out contract situations, and had your mechanic give your vehicle the once over, there are a few little things you can do on the road to make the long drives more palatable.”

02. Lodging

“This can be an expensive part of being on the road. Sometimes the most expensive. We play a lot of House Concerts which often come with a place to stay, with varying degrees of comfort. Many of these House Concert places have turned into places to stay even when not playing that particular venue. There are great folks out there who really want to help independent artists and it is important to develop relationships with them. As you build your House Concert/Venue list, take as much care over your Lodging list. It may even become the case that you can stay in the same spot while touring in a 150-200 mile radius of your accommodation.

It is really nice to be able to have a base for more than just the one night. Being able to stay three or four nights in the same spot can really alleviate a lot of stress, even if it means a couple of hours of driving after a gig. Be good to the folks putting you up. Give them some of your time. Leave a little gift even (they are saving you hundreds of dollars). Send them a Holiday Card. These are little things but having these kinds of relationships on the road are so precious. We’ve been so lucky to create friendships with some extraordinary supporters of independent music especially in Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Often these are folks who began as House Concert hosts and have become priceless friends.”

Artwork for ‘A Shiver in the Sky’ by The John Byrne Band

03. Food

“Yeah, you need that too. Often gigs come with food but you need a lot more than that. We hit the road with a cooler in the van full of healthy stuff but as the days on the road pile up it can be more and more difficult to maintain a good diet. A good idea is to swing by Supermarkets and try to keep that cooler full of good food, relying as little as possible on fast food from roadside rests, often the easiest option (sometimes the only).

Another cool idea is to use apps/sites like TVFoodMaps or ForknPlate which list Restaurants and Eateries that have been featured on your favorite tv shows. Sometimes they are a little out of the way but with some planning ahead it can be a real treat and add a little excitement to your 12-hour drive through the Midwest. We are also big proponents of bringing water bottles on the road with us – they can generally be filled for free using the water button on most gas station/fast food soda machines. You’ll stay hydrated and feel a little better about the carbon footprint you and your van are leaving all along your touring route.”

04. Driving

“Long hours on the road can be tiring, and definitely affect your performance. Until you can afford a driver, the band is most likely handling this chore. Some people actually like it, some are ok with it and some hate it. However, it is important to share this load and give even the person who says they don’t mind driving long hours a significant break where they can sleep, eat, fiddle around on their phone, read, or whatever else they like to do to shut their brain off for a while.

A quick conversation before a long drive can really be a good thing, deciding who’ll drive and for how long. There’ll often be some post-gig driving, and it is especially important to split these drives so that the same person is not white-knuckling it at the end of a long day. Another important part of driving is the right music or podcast or audiobook. Our rule of thumb is that the driver gets to choose what’s coming from the speakers in the van, but when you find a podcast, artist or audiobook that the whole band enjoys it can really make the hours melt away.”

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05. Merch

“This can often make or break a tour financially. Bring plenty of it and put it out. So many bands or performers hate having to be a salesperson at the end of a gig but you have to do it. The Merch table (and yes, we pack a fold-up table too) is the place where you leave your imprint on tour. It is where you give people a chance to meet you and support you further. People who don’t even have CD players or record players will pick up a physical copy of your music just to have something you can sign or simply just to support you. As fewer and fewer people pay for music, it is also important to have other stuff for sale. I know that space constraints can be a real issue but t-shirts, hats, tote bags and other such items give people other options to show their support.

There are lots of really good people out there on the road and the Merch table after your show is often where you’ll first meet them. Beyond that you have a relationship with someone who might be able to offer lodging, gig leads and, at very least, a friendly face next time you’re in town. I know sometimes you don’t want to do it, but you have to. Get your butt to the Merch table, smile, sell your stuff, sign it, and take photos. You might not think you are worthy of an autograph or a picture but to someone who has just spent their evening listening to your songs and being moved or inspired by them, you are worthy, and so are they. Make room in the van for Merch, hopefully, you’ll arrive home with much less of it.”

06. Conclusion (Booking):

“I’m going to wrap up with a little word about booking. I know that this is not the focus of this piece and that we are assuming you have done this already, but it is worth noting that we have found amazing success playing some of the smallest towns in the country. There are thousands of them. We have had some of the most wonderful nights playing towns of just six-hundred people or so. It can often be that a couple of hundred of them will show up because bands from out-of-town rarely swing through.

They can often be folks who might think very differently than you do socially or politically but they will more often be some of the warmest people you’ll ever come by and will leave you with an appreciation of a lifestyle of which you previously may have had very little knowledge. I could write for hours about touring and love chatting with other artists about their experiences, but I’ll leave it there for now. Enjoy the road. We’ll see you around!”

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Juhan Ongbrian Discusses the Five Tracks on His Jazz-Fusion EP ‘Mood Swings’

Fans of fusion bands the likes of Vulfpeck and Theon Cross, take note! There’s a relatively new cat in town and he goes by the name Juhan Ongbrian. The Los Angeles-based purveyor of formidable jazz-fusion unveiled his Mood Swings EP on November 15th and it is, to recycle poignant words we recently heard, “an absolute head-bobber.”

The album was initially teased on October 25th by the lead single and title track, “Mood Swings,” which was met with (and continues to receive) positive critical response. Ever since, the band—which consists of lead guitarist Juhan Ongbrian, bassist Sly Chong, and drummer Ech0—have been showing off their jazz, blues, and ambient beat combination anywhere and anytime they can. Mood Swings was produced and mixed by Ongbrian himself (except for the “Mood Swings” single which was mixed by Brian Malouf), mastered at Sterling Sounds by Joe LaPorta, engineered by Larry Goetz, and recorded at Culver City, California’s The Lair Recording.

Today, further supporting this incredible, must-hear five-track fusion fest, Juhan Ongbrian joins us for a snazzy track-by-track rundown of the terrific tunes on his creative concoction. Dig it!

01. “Mood Swings” (feat. Ech0 & Sly Chong)
“Single track – A good friend of mine told me that I have mood swings (bipolar, etc.). I don’t disagree with him. This track has some swings and the vibe changes from one section to another. Hence it’s perfect to be called that.”

02. “Wooza (feat. Ech0 & Sly Chong)”
“This track has such a different vibe than the other tracks on the EP. It’s very short and straightforward with a heavy driven guitar. It was initially called ‘Wowza’, but ‘Wooza’ has more oomph to it.”

03. “Moving On”
“This is my most favorite track, personally. I wrote this to remind me that I have to move on from the old things that were pulling me back; lover, experiences, trauma, bad thoughts, and anxieties. This track has a darker / mellower vibe, but I feel most calm listening to it.”

04. “Limelight”
“This track has an upbeat fun vibe to it, kind of reminds me of EDM. People might relate to this track more since it’s bouncier and happier. I feel that this track is conveying stories from one section to another.”

05. “Morten”
“This track is the last track in the EP. It has an ‘alien’ and experimental vibe and the composition helps a lot by conveying stories that are moving progressively from one section to another. I feel that this track is perfect to end this EP and opening up different sounds for the upcoming LP. Morten means ‘Death’ or ‘Martian.’”

Artwork for “Mood Swings” by Juhan Ongbrian
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Matthew Pinder – “Flooded” [Free Song Download]

Matthew Pinder, a Bahamas-based singer-songwriter, is offering a glimpse of his sincere, emotional brand of acoustic indie-folk with a free download of “Flooded,” [right click and ‘save link as‘] from the recent album Give Me Some Time. The record is Matthew’s full-length debut, and, building off of the foundation set by a previous EP, Too Young to Understand is a fresh and unrestrained collection of tracks that manages to sound naive and hopeful, yet, at the same time, refined and sure-footed.

On “Flooded,” Matthew brings us into the writing process by saying, “I had come to a point where I felt like I couldn’t write songs. I was frustrated and believed that songwriting just wasn’t for me. I called up an old English professor of mine and explained my dilemma. She challenged me to write a song a day for thirty days. She said not to overthink it, not to be overly critical with myself; just write a song each day and record it. So I made myself write each day. ‘Flooded’ came during those thirty days. In fact, several songs that are also on the album came out of that exercise. Sometimes you gotta go find the songs, they don’t always fall in your lap.”

Here’s a live performance of “Flooded” from Spanish Wells.

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The tune itself is a pensive, moody reflection on processing relationships through Pinder’s mould of sparse drums and soft acoustic strumming layered with eclectic lead melodies. The heart of “Flooded” though, is most definitely the earnest vocal delivery straight from Pinder’s heart and soul. If you’re looking for some thoughtful self-reflection, check out “Flooded” and the ten-track Give Me Some Time, which dropped on April 12, 2019.

Give Me Some Time Track Listing:

01. Golden Hour
02. St. Paul, MN
03. Break My Heart and Let Me Go (ft. Molly Bush)
04. Flooded
05. Give Me Some Time
06. My Demise
07. Compromise
08. Before the Fall
09. After the Fall
10. Rest

Artwork for ‘Give Me Some Time’ by Matthew Pinder
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Aussie Indie-Folk Artist Anna Cordell Lists Her Five Fave Albums

Fresh off the recent announcement of her new single “Nobody Knows Us” (stream it on Spotify and Apple Music) and first live show, Australian indie-folk artist Anna Cordell today joins us for a fun feature wherein she lists five of her absolute favourite albums. From the psych-folk of Linda Perchas to Melbourne local BATTS to Seattle staple Soundgarden, Cordell dishes on five varied but equally impressive records.

The Melbourne-based songstress is gearing up to release her full-length record, Nobody Knows Us, on February 14th, 2020 via Ditto Distribution, and it’s loaded with winding, elegant tunes propped up by her hypnotic vocals. The overall sound is a nuanced take on indie-folk which challenges the genre’s conventions and pushes ever so slightly into ambient, experimental realms. Should you be in the area, try and hit the “Nobody Knows Us” single launch party on November 24th at The Old Bar in Victoria (FB event and details here). If not, maybe head over to Pozible to support her album campaign.

Impressively, Cordell is coming off a nearly decade-long hiatus from music while she started a family and worked on her own clothing line. Now, with two singles released from the upcoming album – “You” being the debut single – Cordell is prepped to make a triumphant and successful return to music.

01. Midlake – The Trials Of Van Occupanther

“First of all, I love all the music Midlake claims to love – Radiohead and Jethro Tull for a start! Their harmonies coupled with driving bass and rhythm, the poetry of the lyrics, the unpredictability of some of the songs – I can listen to this record over and over and over.”

02. Linda Perchas – Parallelogram

“Once again. Those harmonies! The way she layers simple guitars and vocals and then adds her little psych-folk touches – it kills me! I adore her music.”

03. BATTS – The Grand Tour

“A Melbourne local – I first really got into this record when I was jealous of the fact Tanya Batts got to support Sharon Van Etten when she did her Australian tour. I got really into it and then thought – yeah. Actually. Fair enough. This is amazing! Haha. And then I saw her play solo live and was even more impressed. I can listen to this luscious record over and over as well. Now I’m not jealous, just a huge fan!”

04. Soundgarden – Superunknown

“It’s just my happy place ok? I know.”

05. Jefferson Airplane – Surrealist Pillow

“The warm ‘70s pop-rock – psychedelia – and the voice of Grace Slick – I just find so inspiring and energising, I would love to experiment more in this direction in the future. It’s raw and honest and has an immediacy and freedom about it that I love.”

Artwork for ‘Nobody Knows Us’ by Anna Cordell
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Stephen Fearing Goes Inside His Latest Album ‘The Unconquerable Past’

On his 13th solo album, The Unconquerable Past, multi-JUNO Award winner and co-founder of Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, Stephen Fearing continues to demonstrate why he’s been regarded as one of Canada’s great musical storytellers — not to mention one of its most acclaimed guitarists — for the past three decades. The Unconquerable Past, out November 15th on his own Fearing & Loathing label, adds some new twists to the plot and once again highlights his restless creative spirit.

While fans of his solo work may be more familiar with Fearing’s acoustic side, brilliantly displayed on his 2018 special vinyl-only release The Secret of Climbing, or his electric-trio work on 2017’s Every Soul’s A Sailor, The Unconquerable Past finds him stepping back into the wide-screen world of layered instruments and arrangements in collaboration with Winnipeg-based producer/songwriter Scott Nolan (William Prince, Mary Gauthier, Hayes Carll) and a superb group of players featuring acclaimed pianist Jeremy Rusu, bassist Julian Bradford, drummer Christian Dugas, vocalist Andrina Turrene, and Nashville’s legendary multi-instrumentalist Jim Hoke.

Like other artists who are loosely categorized as ‘folk’ and ‘Americana,’ Fearing questions what those terms really mean. The Unconquerable Past can be seen as embracing and transcending the labels and genres simultaneously. We’re thrilled that he was able to give us his own perspective on the album’s 10 tracks.

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01. “Born To Break Our Mother’s Heart”
“A co-write with Tom Wilson, I loved the first line—‘I left my hometown for salvation, came back banging on my drum’—and knew once I started writing the other tunes that this song would fit well. When Jim Hoke overdubbed his harmonica part, I felt like he brought something really special to the song, capturing more of the sweetness than the bitterness inherent in the lyric.”

02. “Gold On The River”
“This song is the second tune I worked on after writing the title cut. I knew that the phrase ‘the unconquerable past’ was going to influence the whole record somehow and I hear it in this tune. I don’t think any of us can ever pinpoint exactly where we turn from focusing on the future, to looking over our shoulder, we just become aware that we have crossed that river without even realizing it.”

03. “Stay With Me”
“I laugh when I think about this, but the biggest influence on this tune was Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me,’ a song I have loved since I first heard it. I was trying to get under the hood of that song and wrote this one; obviously the titles bear more than a passing resemblance but if you listen past the clatter you can hear echoes of that lovely song in between the lines. I was a teenager when punk and post-punk bands were stalking the land killing off the old blues-rock-boogie bands. I can hear that in this song too.”

04. “Marie”
“I am somehow shocked by the lens with which we see each other these days—post-Twitter, post-Facebook, the unvarnished, raw expression of opinions and often the degree of misogyny, racism and bigotry bubbling under a thick veneer of ignorance is breathtaking.”

05. “Someone Else’s Shoes”
“One of the especially notable thing about humans is our ability to love and to form very complex communities. Much of this comes from our understanding of each other, our empathy and our love. Without which, I believe we are well and truly fucked.”

Artwork for ‘The Unconquerable Past’ by Stephen Fearing

06. “The Unconquerable Past”
“That old quote, ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’ is often attributed to philosopher George Santayana in 1905. My sense is that currently, on so many ‘issues,’ we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater and the past will do what the past always does, namely kick us very hard and repeatedly for ignoring and forgetting the lessons we have already been taught.”

07. “Sunny”
“Another look at the overwhelming power of love. For ourselves, for each other, for our children—wherever their paths take them. Love is a lion.”

08. “Christine”
“This one basically asks the questions, is there love and rock ’n roll after 50?”

09. “Emigrant Song”
“I was born in Canada to an Irish mother and English father, and I am familiar with the relentless pull of ‘the old country’ on the emigrant’s heart. Just ask any Newfoundlander in Fort McMurray—you still love the place you had to leave. I wrote this with Andy White, and both of us, in our own way, found a place in this song.”

10. “No Country”
“Scott Nolan presented this song to me as a potential co-write idea. I pointed out to him that the song was already well and truly written(!) It’s such a great short statement and a perfect coda to the album. In the end, after all is said and done, we are entirely responsible for ourselves. All I have in this world is my word and my name.”

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Dream-Folk Duo Rosu Lup Share Their Top 10 Tour-Worthy Reads

Philadelphia, PA’s Rosu Lup meld orchestral instrumentation, electronic, ethereal and folk sounds into their own special sonic concoction. The two-piece consists of musicians Jonathan Stewart and Josh Marsh who met in late 2013 and eventually formed Rosu Lup, a moniker which means “red wolf” in Romanian and was inspired by a lyric from Sufjan Stevens’ song “The Sleeping Red Wolves.”

The band released its sophomore full-length album, The Ranger, on November 8, 2019, via Majestic Creature Records, and nine-track collection which was recorded between Philadelphia (Miner Street Recordings, Headroom Recordings) and Los Angeles (home studios). Hear it now via Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon. To enrich the album’s final product, the duo enlisted the collaborative help of drummer and producer James McAlister (Sufjan Stevens, The National) who performed drums, keys, and synth. Lyrically, The Ranger touches on various difficult phases of life, but with an underlying message of hope.

As for live performances, well the guys will play Boot & Saddle in Philadelphia on November 14th, and Burlington, VT’s Nightshade Kitchen on November 16th. With that being said, we were inspired by the album, its content, and these musicians to dig deeper, so we connected with both Stewart and Marsh for a special feature in which they each list the five (for a total of ten) must-have reads when they’re on the road, porting their subdued sonics to crowds everywhere.

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01. Between Here and the Yellow Sea by Nic Pizzolatto

Jonathan: “It’s a collection of fictional short stories. Pizzolatto is well-known for creating the hit HBO series “True Detective.” which I have really enjoyed. This book was published back in 2005, and I discovered it after “True Detective.” It’s a great companion while touring because you can finish a story in-between cities while traveling. Pizzolatto is a great storyteller.”

02. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Jonathan: “For fans of Harry Potter and “Stranger Things.” A few years ago a friend recommended Gaiman to me and after taking their advice, I wish I had read his works sooner. It was clear to me that the Duffer’s had to have read “Neverwhere” and found inspiration. Love reading fiction and the world and characters in this book that Gaiman has created are brilliant. Couldn’t put this one down!”

03. Wilderness Essays by John Muir

Jonathan: “Nature, the woods especially, is where I feel like I find myself best. I’ve always been drawn to the west coast since I was a kid. After hiking in Mt. Rainier National Park I came across the writings of John Muir. Muir emphasized the natural world being the place for some of our most euphoric experiences.”

Artwork of ‘The Ranger’ by Rosu Lup

04. The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Jonathan: “Obviously there are well-known works penned by Poe. But as a big fan of detective stories, see above, Poe is considered to be the founder. Where would Sherlock Holmes and perhaps Bruce Wayne be without Poe?”

05. The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Jonathan: “Extremely suspenseful read — dark, and a bit unsettling. Takes place in the Pacific Northwest, and follows a private investigator (Naomi) who searches for lost children. Another read that I simply couldn’t put down. It’s a pretty easy read, once you get past some of the content you’re engaging with.”

06. Rum Diary by Hunter S Thompson

Josh: “Set in the 1950s Puerto Rico, Rum Dairy is a story of love, American greed, and an insatiable lust for alcohol. Begs the question be answered: Is unbridled western progress a good thing? Does it damage cultures more than it benefits them? Sure to start some great conversation in those long drives between shows.”

07. Call Me by Your Name by Andre Aciman

Josh: “A love story set in 1980s Italy about a 17-year-old who falls in love with a 20-something-year-old scholar who comes to visit for the summer. When you’re away from home you often miss the ones you love. A love story is just what you need sometimes.”

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08. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Josh: “A memoir about self-discovery on the Pacific Crest Trail. When I travel, I feel like I always discover something new about myself. Sometimes that can be a really jarring and scary experience because what I discover often isn’t guaranteed to be something I particularly like about myself. Reading stories about people who have had similar journeys, coming face-to-face with theirselves, helps to bring peace and excitement to the process.”

09. Be Here Now by Ram Das

Josh: “Written in 1971, it’s a book about the beauty and pain of spiritual transformation. Sometimes the writing process has the tendency to get lost in ideals rather than in grounded-ness. Touring can have the same tendencies. It’s very easy to focus on the big picture: are the shows going well, are we on time, how are merch sales, where are we staying tonight etc. “Be Here Now” brilliantly reminds me to stay grounded in the moment, and to soak up the beauty that’s available right at my fingertips.”

10. The Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell

Josh: “Published in 1949, it’s a book that explores the common mythological structures that thread themselves through every religion, culture, and time period. I love driving through the night while talking about weird heady stuff. “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” is the sort of book I want to think about at 2 a.m. driving across the Midwest. It works out well ‘cause I can talk about it for hours without the need for any of my bandmates to contribute to the conversation. It keeps me awake and puts them to sleep. Win-win.”

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Jerry Leger Reveals the Secrets Behind His Latest Album ‘Time Out For Tomorrow’

Time Out For Tomorrow is Toronto singer/songwriter Jerry Leger’s latest collection, and continues a run of consistently high output that began in 2005 when he burst onto the roots music scene at age 19. Since then, he has earned the praise of peers such as Ron Sexsmith, Doug Paisley and Jim Cuddy, and it’s added up to a body of work that was recently celebrated with the European-only compilation Too Broke To Die, aimed at Leger’s growing fan base in Britain and the EU.

Most of those listeners didn’t discover Leger until his 2014 album Early Riser, his first with Michael Timmins of Cowboy Junkies handling production duties, as well as the first to be released on the Junkies’ label, Latent Recordings. The combination of Timmins’ capture-the-moment production aesthetic and the Rolling Thunder-esque chemistry of Leger’s longtime band The Situation (plus a few special guests) now appears unbeatable. And although Time Out For Tomorrow may not be as expansive as Leger’s previous Timmins-produced effort, the acclaimed 2017 double album Nonsense And Heartache, its more concentrated dose of everything Leger does best is just as potent.

As Leger prepared for Time Out For Tomorrow’s release on November 8, and the Toronto launch show at Lee’s Palace on November 28 (info and tickets here), he took some time to further illuminate each song on the new album, adding that he got the title from a 1960s science fiction paperback. He explains, “Everything around me seems like science fiction these days, and the phrase ‘Time Out For Tomorrow’ fit these songs and my mood in one way or another.”

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01. “Canvas Of Gold”
“Life can be a hustle and if you care enough about what you’re doing you’ll keep picking up the brush.”

02. “Justine”
“I started writing the song after reading the autobiography of early 1900’s burglar Jack Black. It’s not about him but some of the lines and feeling was inspired by his recollections. Who do you trust? Sometimes you can’t even trust yourself.”

03. “That Ain’t Here”
“Some people have thought this is a love song between two people but it’s a love for humanity. It upsets me seeing the way the world can be and the way some people will treat each other. How some leaders selfishly make poor decisions as long as it doesn’t affect them directly. As John Lennon once sang, ‘How do you sleep at night?’”

Artwork for ‘Time Out for Tomorrow’ by Jerry Leger

04. “Tell A Lie”
“I think this is the only time that I tried a song for a previous record and then we re-recorded and it actually made the final sequence. It has a good hook, catchy chorus and fit perfectly with the direction I wanted to go sound and arrangement-wise for this album.”

05. “Read Between The Lines”
“I wrote this for my side project The Del Fi’s but when I played it for my band The Situation they thought I was crazy that I wouldn’t keep it for ourselves. So here we are. It turned out exactly how it needed to. Perfect tempo and great builds until the end. Rolling Stone in Europe described it as being a cross between Marvin Gaye and early Beatles era John Lennon. It’s hard to believe that and I could never sing like those two but I definitely put the passion in it.”

06. “Burchell Lake”
“This is about a ghost town in Ontario that I read about in one of [historian] Ron Brown’s books. There’s some poetic license but has some facts in it too! I sent it to him and he thought it was catchy. Really nice guy.”

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07. “I Would”
“This might be my favourite track on the record ‘cause it’s just nice and simple. It would be a song I’d cover if I hadn’t written it. I just dig the feel, the lyrics and the simple beauty of it. It’s honest, doesn’t try to fake anything or convince you of anything. Actually, it’s admitting its faults and insecurities. I’d love to hear what Elvis Costello or Nick Lowe would think of it.”

08. “Survived Like A Stone”
“People, animals, plants, they come and go. The spirit sticks around and so do rocks and stones. They outlive everything.”

09. “Corner Light”
“This song felt special the moment I wrote it. I think it doesn’t hit some people right away but it has a lot to give if you return to it. I’m quite proud of it.”

10. “Tomorrow In My Mind”
“This song came very quickly. I wasn’t sure that it was gonna make the record, but Mike Timmins and the band kept rooting for it. It kinda made me reevaluate. The band plays great on this, the feel is beautiful. I think it’s take one, live in the studio.”

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