After an extended break, we are proud to present the return of the Oh! Canada series to The Line of Best Fit. The series seeks to uncover and expose some of the great new music being made in Canada, be it debut releases, basement recordings or new releases from bands with illustrious careers, we hope that you might just discover something you love. In the coming months we will be looking back at recently released records, previewing new ones and unveiling a series of tracks recorded exclusively for the series.
As ever a huge thanks to everybody who has made Oh! Canada possible. We hope you enjoy the tracks. For more information, and more music from each artist, click on their name in the section below the player.
KASHKA – “Smoke It Out” (Exclusive Track for The Line of Best Fit)
As we mentioned above, when we decided to relaunch the Oh! Canada series we wanted to include a space for brand new music, a place where we could invite musicians to share something new, to collaborate or try something a bit different. We are delighted that Kat Burns, formerly of Forest City Lovers and now of KASHKA was the first to rise to the challenge! Here’s what Kat had to say about the track: “This is a sequel to an unreleased song that follows a mountain monster on her quest for finding a child to call her own, through her pillaging of the village. In this new song we follow a young villager who is determined to find the mysterious beast that lurks deep in the woods.”
Valery Gore – “Lungs”
Toronto’s Valery Gore gives us a preview of her upcoming album Idols In The Dark. While her acclaimed piano playing still features, the record finds Gore moving in a different direction, augmenting the intricate arrangements with electronic textures, synths and an electro-pop sheen.
Wet Denim – “Surf Song”
If their Tumblr is to be believed Wet Denim specialise in “sincere between the sheets pop”. Despite the fuzzy, warm pop sounds it contains, the Halifax based band recorded their self-titled debut direct from the floor while snowed in somewhere in rural Nova Scotia.
Freelove Fenner – “Last Summer”
At the tail end of last year Montreal’s Fixture Records continued their run of fantastic releases when they put out Do Not Affect A Breezy Manner, the long awaited debut album from Freelove Fenner. Recorded to analog tape in their own hand-built Bottle Garden studio, the record rattles through 18 tracks full of twisting post-punk rhythms and jangling guitar lines while singer Caitlin Loney’s vocals float slightly above it all, bringing to mind the work of the late Trish Keenan.
Fresh Snow – “Your Thirst For Magic Has Been Quenched By Death!”
Toronto’s Fresh Snow know the power of an exclamation mark, a snappy title and how to build tension. In “You Thirst For Magic Has Been Quenched By Death!” they demonstrate all of these things – the track slowly growing and building layer upon layer into a swirl of noise and feedback. Having released a split single with Metz and their debut album I in 2013, 2014 will see the band working on a new EP and another split single, this time with fellow Torontonian’s Mimico.
Tough Age – “Sea of White”
Tough Age are the latest project of Vancouver’s Jarrett K, a familiar face on the Vancouver scene from his days in Korean Gut, Apollo Ghosts and Role Mach to name but a few. On their self-titled debut for Mint Records, Tough Age present rampaging garage punk riffs, handclaps, gang vocals, catchy melodic hooks with a whole heap of surf-rock thrown in for good measure. What’s not to love?
The Moas – “Blue Light”
Comprised of Saskatoon scene veterans Chad Munson, Sonia Dickin ( also of the excellent Powder Blue, who will be heading to the UK for The Great Escape), Sarah Rutley, Scott Gowen and Jim Ginther, swirling guitars, farfisa, fuzzed out shoegaze and dream-pop are the order of the day on The Moas self-titled assured debut.
MAICAMIA – “Eugene”
Hailing from Montreal, MAICAMIA have just released their second album des era. Formerly a duo fusing Maica Armata’s minimal, heavy guitar and plaintive reverbed vocals with Jonny Paradise’s occasionally explosive drumming and samples with organ drones and feedback, the album finds them joined by Mauro Pezzente of Godspeed You! Black Emperor on Bass.
Light Rail Coyote – “Ohio”
Light Rail Coyote kicked off 2013′s Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada compilation with his take on Wassailing song “Good Ale”. The project of Montreal’s Shaun Weadick, last years self-titled album combines minimally picked devotionals, occasionally adding slide guitar or folk harmonies. The recordings capture the tape hisses, crackles and breaths of the record’s production, adding a layer of intimacy, whilst calling to mind Days In The Wake-era Palace Brothers. The album is available on a donations basis over at Bandcamp.
Picastro – “Two Women”
Liz Hysen’s self described “sleep-rock” band Picastro returns in 2014 with You, out 10 February. The album finds the trio of Hysen, cellist Nick Storring and drummer Brandon Valdivia continuing to work in the stark, often discordant realms in which Hysen has operated since the release of Red Your Blues back in 2002. On “Two Women” Hysen’s voice, full of foreboding, weaves around swooping strings and cymbal clangs, whispers and quivers before giving way to the interplay between the guitar and sliding strings.
The Burning Hell – “Sentimentalists”
The Burning Hell is the project of Mathais Kom, a man who over the past years has given his own definition to the phrase “hard touring”. In 2012 Kom and his band set the world record for most shows played in 24 hours, playing 10 shows between the Netherlands and Slovenia. He’ll be heading to the UK to share the wit and wisdom of his latest album People in April for 11 dates (spread over a slightly more traditional period of 11 days).
Alden Penner – “Precession”
2014 marks the release of Exegesis, the debut album from Alden Penner, a founder member of both The Unicorns and Clues. Once again working with engineer Mark Lawson, who worked with him on Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone, the first signs of the new album came in the form of the Precession EP, which emerged online on 17 December last year. All four tracks from the EP will feature on Exegesis, with this song, the EP’s sombre, fuzzed out title track acting as the album’s lead off.
Fiver – “Undertaker”
Another artist that featured on last years Ho! Ho! Ho! Canada compilation, Fiver is the solo project of Toronto’s Simone Schmidt, who has built something of a reputation for herself as the voice of One Hundred Dollars and her psychedelic country The Highest Order. Fiver finds her continuing to expand and develop on the sonic palette of these acts, her striking voice, at once strong and vulnerable, central to the series of dark, atmospheric, character based song-stories and social commentaries the album delivers.
Doug Paisley – “Song My Love Can Sing”
Taken from his new Strong Feelings album, released earlier this month, “Song My Love Can Sing” finds Paisley’s trademark reflective fingerpicked country building around a fantastically warm organ part courtesy of The Band’s Garth Hudson, who returns after his guest spot on 2010’s Constant Companion. The album also sees a guest appearance from another Canadian legend, Mary Margaret O’Hara.
Blue Rodeo – “Wondering”
Speaking of Canadian legends, Blue Rodeo certainly qualify as that: in 2012 the band were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and last year songwriters Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor were awarded the Order of Canada. Last year saw the band embark on a Twenty Fifth Year Anniversary tour WHICH was followed by the release of In Our Nature, the band’s thirteenth full length album. Harmonies, delicate organ and soaring pedal steel combine on ‘Wondering’, one of the album highlights.
Barzin – “In The Morning”
Barzin isn’t one to rush things. 4 years after releasing the acclaimed Notes To An Absent Lover, and 8 years after My Life In Rooms he is finally ready to return in February with To Live Alone In That Long Summer. Although it has been a long wait, once again he has clearly spent the time honing these intimate and personal songs. The album features contributions from the likes of Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers (with whom Barzin toured Europe in 2012), Daniela Gesundheit of Snowblink and The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman while long time collaborator Amy Manusov provides the delicate vibraphone on “In The Morning”.
Silkken Laumann – “Not Forever Enough”
Taking their name from a Canadian champion rower, Ottawa’s Silkken Laumann is a collaboration between The Acorn’s Rolf Klausener and Pat Johnson and electronic artist and composer Adam Saikaley. Having released one track back in 2012, the band released the album into the world on January 1st as a free download on their website. For 7 songs the album brings the all night dance party, until collapsing into a sweaty heap on the floor, before delivering this, the album’s heartbreaking title track.