Welcome back to Local Spotlight, where we profile great local talent from across Alberta – but this time, I’m shaking things up a bit.
This is Local Spotlight.
So, as you may notice, this latest edition of Local Spotlight is a little different than the others; instead of one artist I will be discussing many, and I’m a few dollars richer after not having to buy a set of “interview drinks” – though that’s not something I expect you to know. Regardless, good music doesn’t only reside in Edmonton, and that’s what the goal of today is. We will be traveling across Canada as I bring you some of my favourite home-grown tracks from around the block. So, grab your crispest pair of headphones, sit back, relax, and get ready to enjoy some good music by good people. At the end, you’ll have a chance to pick your favourite, too!
Local Spotlight: Cross Canada Edition █♣█
Radiation Flowers (Saskatoon)
With a band like Radiation Flowers, it’s difficult to not try too hard when explaining how their music makes you feel. It’s even harder yet to then put into words those feelings that are subsequently evoked by not knowing how to properly address how the music makes you feel. So, I’m going to get that part out of the way and make it simple; the music makes you feel good. Hints of psychedelic rock and subtle guitar riffs are the basic ingredients for a Radiation Flowers song – that and the airy vocals of lead singer Shelby Gaudet. Formerly known as Powder Blue, the Saskatoon band was founded in 2011, and consider themselves to have a “sci-fi-hurricane kinda groove” – which is something I can attest to. The album artwork alone sets the mood for the impending vibe, with the epic 7 minute opening song driving it home before the album really starts. For those long summer days that require you to do nothing more than sit and stare at the sky, then this is what should be accompanying you on your journey to a greater meaning – or a hazy Saturday.
I don’t really get Austra – instead of a website, they have a Tumblr page; and instead of Soundcloud or Bandcamp, they have an empty MySpace page. Now, it probably doesn’t help that I’m too technologically illiterate to fully understand Tumblr, or that my mom never let me get a MySpace account when I was younger. But aside from having a sheltered youth, Austra is a band worth searching for. For their first full length debut, Feel It Break, they were originally only a trio – but, come album number two, Olympia, the Toronto based band found themselves as a group of six talented musicians with a shared love for electronic music. Plus, lead singer Katie Stelmanis sounds like she could be the long lost sister of Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine, and don’t we need more of that in our lives? If you’re looking for a taste of electro-pop, then Austra is the band for you.
Jimmy Prime (Toronto)
This next artist is a no-brainer, and let me explain why; have you by chance heard of another local Toronto artist by the name of Drake? Oh, you have? Well, Jimmy Prime just happens to be an artist that has not only shown up on OVO radio in the past, but was also accredited with coining the name “the 6” for Toronto from the king of Canada himself (yes, I’m still talking about that local boy Drake). Almost always accompanied with a smooth beat, Jimmy Prime isn’t the new poster boy for gangster rap, but he just might be the new poster boy for the dreamy, crooning rap scene that seems to be cool again thanks to artists like Drake and the Weeknd. In an interview with Oyster last November, the artist spoke about how he is building off of what Drake created for artists in Toronto, and eventually how he will do the same for up and comers after him. Could this finally be Jimmy Prime’s year?
If you want to talk about impeccable flow with a spacey feel, then you should definitely talk to Teoni “Aqua” Smith and Aminata “Blak Matilda” Mathews, the duo that make up the surreal bizZarh, fitfully placing themselves under the “spacewave” genre. Did they make that genre up? Probably. But after listening to just a few tracks, I couldn’t think of a single genre that would sound more appropriate than that of the galactic nature. They have a track on Soundcloud that was released about 8 months ago that consists of a 2 minute freestyle over a steezy beat – and it could not sound more effortless, as if they are having a conversation with each other over a quick bite to eat. And that feeling resonates through all of their tracks, almost like they are mocking you with how easy the music comes to them. Chances are they are actually aliens from another galaxy, but that’s fine; if that’s what music sounds like over there, then please send more.
Young Galaxy (Montreal)
Young Galaxy’s song Ready To Shine is going to be the soundtrack to my summer, I’m calling it right now. Easily one of the more uplifting tracks I have heard in a while, this Montreal band has been making glorious noise since 2004. And I don’t say “noise” simply as some descriptor word; if you check out their Facebook page you will notice that under genre they simply state “music” – which couldn’t be more accurate. Each song has a different feel, lending to the bands eclectic vibe while still maintaining hints of unity. Their latest album, Falsework, takes you on a roller coaster of electronic, busy tracks that pretty much flow seamlessly. It’s fun, it’s fresh, and it needs to be in your music library – stop taking yourself so seriously.
Vogue Dots (Halifax)
I have been listening to Vogue Dots for a little while now, so you can image my happiness when I found out recently that they have finally released their latest single, If You Stay, which actually gave me the idea to write this piece. Known for their chill music, this Halifax based band has broken the “chill-barrier” with their latest track, and it’s definitely something you’re going to want to listen to loudly. They remind me of the xx, but better – and not just because they’re from Canada. They have a substance to their songs that works to fill up every hole and crevice in the world. They leave you with the feeling you get after eating Thanksgiving dinner – satisfied and full. Ok, maybe that was a weird example, but you get what I’m trying to say. I had to link two songs for this band because I simply couldn’t decide which one would do them justice the most. So have a listen – you will feel all the feels, and it will feel surprisingly good.
Local Spotlight at RLGT is all about showing off Canadian talent. Stepping away from artists here in Alberta, we wanted to hear about which ones you vibed with the most this week. Vote for your favourite track below, or just the artist that you want to know more about, and the winner will get a full-feature article here in the very near future! If you’ve got another Canadian artist you’d like to showcase, comment below, or hit our submissions inbox. Voting will be open for 1 week, and you can vote up to once per day!