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Canadian rapper K-Mic is keeping on the grind in his hustler hip hop track, Money Money

With the intricate and intimate indie guitars melodiously meeting the smooth backbeat, the perfect platform was constructed for the Canadian rapper K-Mic’s rap bars in his latest hustler hip-hop track, Money Money.

Old school attitude meets modern production styles in the convictive hit that stands as a testament to how money is far more than currency; it is status, your ticket to freedom, an indicator of your worth, and an ever-pervasive thought that wraps around the psyche. All of this was nuancedly relayed in the track that will add fire to your vibe-out playlists.

K-Mic, has been honing his writing talent since the age of eight and has been on the rap scene since fifteen; in addition to reigning supreme on the airwaves, he’s gone down a storm in the live circuit with several high-profile gigs under his belt, including being one of the opening acts on the Baptized in Fire Tour in 2018.

Check out the official lyric video for Money Money on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Oliver James Brooks synthesised contemporary sickness with the fever of the 70s in ‘Technologically Stoned.

To hold a mirror to the dystopic sickness of the day, the critically acclaimed Toronto singer-songwriter, Oliver James Brooks, lyrically narrated our iPhone co-dependency issues in stark contrast to the 70s fever of psych-folk timbres with his alt-folk-rock single, Technologically Stoned.

Illuminating the reality of the evolution of technology which is spurring the regression of society while orchestrating a lava lamp warm soundscape that consoles through the dusky hues couldn’t have been an easy feat; the resolving raconteur succeeded nonetheless.

The accompanying music video, shot on super 8mm film along the Humber River Valley, also acts as a compelling visual exposition of how the chokehold of our phones is blinding us to the natural beauty that is everywhere we turn. If any single is going to convince you to get your dopamine fix in a more organic way, it is Technologically Stoned; the organic and raw production leads by efficacious example.

Technologically Stoned was officially released on September 22; it will also feature in the artist’s third studio LP, A Little Long While, which will be available to stream on all major platforms from November 24.

Watch the official music video for Technologically Stone on YouTube now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Arrive at the brink of bliss with ACTHEKIDFROMSPACE’s euphoria-fuelled summer cocktail, POR Ti, ft Martina

Proving that summer is as much of a vibe as it is a season is the latest in a long string of seminal singles from Montreal’s brightest RnB luminary, ACTHEKIDFROMSPACE.

POR Ti, which features sun-kissed harmonies from the Argentina-born singer and composer Martina, who has been elevating the RnB, trap, and soul genres with her mesmerising vocal register, is an intoxicating tropic melting pot of genre-fluid culture.

With a few salacious lines worked into the production that boasts the same sweet, sugared, and polished sound of Owl City, POR Ti ticks all the Afro-pop RnB boxes while transcending the contemporary curve and driving you to the brink of bliss and allowing you to drift through it on cruise control.

With over 17k monthly listeners locking into his expertly rendered rhythms, the self-made Canadian artist and sound engineer has easily reached his goal of visualising his memories and feelings and allowing his staunch fanbase to vicariously live in the rapture of them.

Stream POR Ti on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Specyal T pioneered nostalgia for her boundary-breaking boom-bap RnB pop track, Double Take

Canada’s hottest RnB artist, Specyal T, brought enough heat in her LP, Foresight, to start an inferno. The standout single, Double Take, runs through with funk-laced retro synths to carve the grooves and boom-bap beats to deliver rhythms that will intoxicate your rhythmic pulses.

With the fiery old school rap bars in the verses and lashings of luxe soul in the harmonised vocal lines, Specyal T ensured their seminal hit was dripping in dynamism to accentuate the pioneered and manicured nostalgia.

The Caribbean-Canadian artist splits her talents between her vocations as a pro musician, actor and executive; her multi-award-winning tracks have featured on several popular TV channels, and her hits have been heard on commercial radio stations across Europe and North America. After working its way into her boundary-pushing LP, Double Take will also feature in the soundtrack to the 2023 film Alarmed. 

Stream the Album Version of Double Take for yourselves by heading over to Soundcloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bask in the indie pop ‘Afterglow’ of EMA’s growing pains

To prove that it isn’t just Taylor Swift who can weave romantic daydreams into her pop melodies, the breakthrough indie pop artist EMA allowed her latest intimate vignette, Afterglow, to deliver dreamy yet panoramically visceral emotion. Getting caught up in the earwormy tides of the single that captures the bitter-sweet sensation of growing pains and leaving everything behind to come into your own is absolutely non-optional.

The synth-rock melodies towards the outro spike the sticky-sweet hit with emboldening energy while bursting the bubblegum pop bubble and establishing EMA as a trailblazer who didn’t have to completely rip up the indie pop rulebook to assert her originality.

The Toronto-residing singer-songwriter has been honing her talents by performing at open mics and festivals since she was eight years old. After she released her debut single, Get It, in February this year, it wasn’t long before she reached the one million fans mark. Staggeringly, when she covered Heather by Conan Gray, she graced Spotify’s Top Viral 50 playlist and surpassed the streaming count of the original, which tells you all you need to know about her ability to breathe life into explorations of emotion.

Afterglow lit up the airwaves on August 11th; bask in it yourself by joining EMA’s 30k monthly listeners and heading over to Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Interview: Propter Hawk tell us all about Toronto life and the anticipation building for their epic 12-track album

Ripping a hugely likeable sound into our lives with a friendly kick to the soul and a smile to follow, Propter Hawk reminds us of that old-school sound that drives our hearts into doughnuts outside the local drive-through at 2 am. They tell us their debut self-titled debut record while sipping on sherry flips and might change your mood for the better. Real music with purpose still exists you see? You just have to look for it and dig a little deeper to find the treasure. Look no further.

Llewelyn: Hello Propter Hawk. Please take a seat on our cosy virtual couch (excuse the snoring cat there) and may we provide you with any snacks or beverages? Alrighty, let’s get into it. Firstly, how did you get this incredible name and who is the cleanest member of the band, who’s the most organised, the most serious, the friendliest and who is the messiest?

Andrew: I came up with the name a while ago and this question has been haunting me ever since. It’s a play on “Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc” which is one of Socrates’ informal fallacies. I often find myself trying to explain this to people in loud, packed clubs and it is the most difficult part of my entire life.

Malorie: I’m definitely the most organised, Alec’s the most serious and Jimmy is the friendliest person on earth. Andy and Brian can fight over who is the messiest. They’re both…you know.

Llewelyn: Secondly, we’re super thrilled about your upcoming debut release on the 18th of August 2023. You were kind enough to send us a pre-listen..and wow..we love it. Sherry Flip especially is special. How did the whole album come together and how would you describe the vision and your sound on this one?

Andrew: In many ways, the album came together because of Covid and lockdowns. Mal and I had a lot of song ideas going into the pandemic and we wanted to write songs that really expressed some of the feelings that, I think, a lot of people have been having for a long time. Since we couldn’t play shows, we really used it as an opportunity to work them out with the boys and by the time restrictions were lifted, we had a whole album of songs ready to go before we ever had the chance to play live.

Jimmy: We were toying with the idea of recording the album ourselves but when we got the opportunity to record at Pineship Sound in Toronto with Carlin and Mike of Zeus, that settled it for us. We grew up watching those guys in Zeus and it was a thrill to get the chance to work with them. They’ve contributed to so many records that we love.

Alec: There are a lot of overlapping influences between all of us, so musically we are all headed towards the same goal, but the album certainly showcases everyone’s individual approach and it became kind of our own unique take on rock and roll. For me, a lot of it came down to us recording live off the floor and making sure we kept things loose and organic. I think you can hear that rawness in the tracks.

Llewelyn: Please tell us all about your upcoming album release show at The Cameron House (408 Queen St W, Toronto, ON) on 18th August. Who’s on the lineup and what should fans expect, where can they buy tickets, why did you choose this particular venue, times etc?

Brian: This is a really special show for us. We’ve been sitting on this album for a while now and are really ready to get it out there. We’re playing with The Young Scones, a supergroup made up of some of our favourite Toronto musicians that we’ve been playing with right from the start. Moondoggy is the other act on the bill and another one we’ve played with before; they’re always great. We’ve played at The Cameron House a few times before and it’s always a really exciting spot to play. The room comes with a lot of energy.

Llewelyn: Toronto, Ontario is your hometown and is a place we want to visit. What parts do you love and where do you personally go and watch live music? Is the scene thriving and where do upcoming original solo musicians and bands head to perform?

Brian: I think the live music scene, especially for rock and roll, has changed a lot in recent years all over the world…but Toronto is still holding on like it always has. We grew up going to places like Lee’s Palace, The Horseshoe Tavern, El Mocambo and The Dakota Tavern, and all of them are still going strong and are still home to the best upcoming rock bands in Toronto. I don’t think a lot of these legendary clubs survived the pandemic in other cities. In fact, we have seen more clubs popping up here and there recently. Anyone looking to start playing in Toronto has a lot of options to choose from.

Llewelyn: Ah yes. How did the band form? We have a feeling this is an interesting story…actually…you have told us but we don’t want to spoil it. Please tell our readers about how your band actually got together and now makes beautiful music together.

Malorie: Well…I married a guitar player (Andrew) and he was in a band called New Commuters with Jimmy. I have been singing for years and wanted to start my own music project and Andy was an obvious choice. Since Jimmy is Andy’s most trusted musical collaborator, he was also an obvious choice. Our original idea was going to be the three of us and Andy was working on…a bass-playing robot. Not a joke. He actually got close, but the logistics were a nightmare. So we sent out a desperate classified ad looking for a bass player. Our only reasonable response was from Alec, who played guitar and had no interest in playing bass at all. For some reason, we invited him to come play with us anyway and after a few minutes, it was clear that we could exploit him for his outrageous talent. Shortly after, Alec brought in his seasoned musical collaborator, Brian, to play bass and sing harmony and he fit in right away. And here we are.

Llewelyn: What’s it like when you close your eyes and see that live crowd? Does it excite you and do any parts of the process scare you at all? It must be such a rush feeling the anticipation and seeing sweaty faces staring closely, singing your songs and rocking out to get work-life stresses out of their system.

Alec: It’s definitely a rush to get up there in front of people and give it your all. For me, once you play that first chord through a loud amp we’re off to the races and any nerves turn into excitement. Seeing people get into it and pass that energy back to us might just be the best part.

Llewelyn: Last one. Once again, thank you for your time today. What do you usually eat/drink before a show or is there a pre-gig ritual or do you just have a lil chat and get on with it? Also, is there one song of yours in particular that you all love wholeheartedly and can never get sick of playing?

Jimmy: We kind of do our own thing for the most part and we’re pretty low-key. Right before going on stage, Malorie, Brian and I find a quiet place somewhere and warm up our vocals. The Yawn-Sigh Technique, The Tongue Trill Exercise…lip buzz warm-ups…all of them.

We released Theatre Of The Whole World a while ago and it seems to have caught on really well in Toronto. It’s always a rush to see a crowd of people that you’ve never seen before singing along to every word.

Do some warm-ups for the soul via the album link on Spotify.

See where they fly next on IG.

Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Interview: Kyle Richardson keeps it golden on the heart-wide open chat about his cosy new release Anything

Vancouver-based pop artist and renowned writer Kyle Richardson recently dropped his brand new single Anything and we wanted to know more about it. We sat down with Kyle and learned more about the Canadian music landscape, his career, the creative process, diversity and representation in music, gaming, and his ideal pre-gig routine.

Hi Kyle, thanks so much for blessing us with your valuable time. How is Vancouver today and how do you normally start your day? A cuppa coffee or a long walk? Or straight to the studio for some vocal warm-ups?

Thanks for chatting with me! Today is a very nice, warm summer day here in Vancouver. Usually I sleep pretty late (I’m a night owl), start the day with some form of caffeine, watch some entertainment business related stuff on YouTube, listen to some music, and either chill before heading into my job, or work on some music (either learn a cover song, practice singing something of mine, work on new song ideas).

Anything. This is your hot new single and we love the vibe. Who have you made the track for and what does it all mean to you? Also the video was tremendous. Who was the team behind it all?

Thank you for the kind words! I’m so happy with how Anything turned out.

It’s truly been a labor of love, and time. I wrote the song many years ago before I ever even moved to Vancouver. I had shown collaborators the demo I made at the time, and no one really took the bait in terms of turning it into a full production. Years later, I circled back to the demo and again showed it to collaborators as I still loved the song. This time, producer Jeff Dawson loved the demo and we quickly finished the single version you hear today!

I wrote the song about the belief that small moments of kindness can really make all the difference in your relationships, whether it’s a romantic relationship, or a friendship. It’s also about making sure you take the time to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you.

The video was directed by AJ Astle of Roadhouse Productions in Toronto. It was a really fun day of shooting. We had a very limited window of time to get those beautiful beams of light through the windows you see during the chorus of the song, but I really wanted that bright, ethereal kind of look to bring out the vibe that the choruses are delivering.

Louder Than Words is your debut album that is due to be dropped into our awaiting ears this fall. What can fans expect and what was the process like to create something you’re proud of? It must be quite the journey. What have you learnt along the way?

It was a really fun process to create the album. We really went song by song. I basically had a period of time in which I wanted to commit to writing and recording one song at a time. I really wanted to focus on vocals and melody, and create some beautiful and heartfelt songs to comprise the album. Doing the album one song at a time – and truly taking time with each one to make sure they were perfect – really meant no songs were wasted. We really only wrote and recorded exactly what’s being presented on the album, and towards the end of the process we looked back at some older demos I had worked on throughout the years (for example, Anything, Can You Hear Me, and Keep The Faith were all older songs I had always wanted to do something special with), and filled out the project with the best songs that I had never given proper time to finish and get fully produced.

We see that you love your gaming. What kind of games do you like and which is the best platform, PC, Playstation or XBox?

Honestly I am pretty diverse in terms of which platform I choose to game on, except PC. I’m not really into PC gaming as I’m more of a Mac user. My favorite gaming platform is Nintendo Switch, as I’m a huge Mario junkie. I love basically all the major Nintendo franchises like of course Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Splatoon, Yoshi, and the party games like Mario Kart, Mario Party, and fun stuff like that to play with friends. I do really enjoy Playstation 5 and the Xbox platforms as well for games like the recent (and upcoming) Spider-Man games as I love Marvel comics, also games like Uncharted and Tomb Raider. The Lego games are fun takes on some of my favorite franchises, and the recent Star Wars Jedi games are also incredible and have such good storylines!

What are your top 5 favourite movies ever and why? In any order. You can even sneak in a few more if you like, we don’t mind. 

I love movies. I go to the theatre almost every week and sometimes more than once in a week. So a favorites list is tough! I will say my fave movie trilogy of all time is Back To The Future. I love pretty much the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe and all the older Spider-Man movies (even the infamous Spider-Man 3). I love The Conjuring franchise, even if all the spin-off movies aren’t necessarily as good as the first two original movies. The two Sister Act movies starring Whoopi Goldberg are movies I’ve turned to my entire life as fun, musical, escapist movies and I probably watch them both once a year when I need a good cheer-up.

Carly Rae Jepsen, DYLN, and Garrett Neiles. You’ve written songs for these outstanding artists. What makes a great hit song and what does it feel like when one of the songs you write makes it onto TV or into the mainstream so successfully? It must make all the hard work worth it surely? How do you stay humble throughout this discovery?

Well in terms of Carly Rae Jepsen and DYLN,I wrote songs with them that were intended to be released by me! These two songs haven’t ever seen the light of day as fully-finished tracks but never say never. I was writing with a lot of artists to get a better grip on who I am myself as an artist, and collaboration is such a good chance to really see what works and what doesn’t work. I did write a song with Jeff Dawson and Garrett Neiles for Garrett’s project, and I am not sure if he’s recorded the tune yet, but it was a lovely ballad as he wanted to write a more emotional song.

It’s really cool when I see a song I’ve been a part of get picked up for a placement on a TV show, it really does give a sense of being on the right track, and it makes me want to create more songs that are even better and can have an even broader scope to reach more people! Creating a hit song is not something that can always be planned. I find I just want to create something honest and fun that I would want to listen to myself, and see how that can resonate with others.

Lastly, how do you feel the music industry can be better with diversity and representation in the industry? Also, does Ai music scare you and do you feel it threatens the long-term future of musicians?

The music industry, and any industry whether creative or otherwise, can only be improved with more diversity and inclusiveness for all people. Everyone has a different background, a different story, and a different perspective. I think everyone wants to feel represented in the media they consume, and I think the more diverse that art and media gets, the more potential audience it can reach. I am not sure how I feel about AI music, I think the human touch and perspective, and talent is important to create something emotional that will have a better chance of really connecting with an audience.

Check out this fine new single on YouTube.

See more of this journey on IG.

Interviewed by Llewelyn Screen

IMMORTALIZER unified a legion of metal fans with ‘We Were Born for Metal’, featuring Ralf Scheepers

The one-man metal powerhouse Dave D.R. has been storming through the Ontario rock and metal scene with his project, IMMORTALIZER, especially after the release of his debut LP, Born for Metal, produced by none other than Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear fame.

The standout single, We Were Born for Metal, sees IMMORTALIZER wear their influences on their sleeve, but there was plenty of room for the originality engineered by their determination to bring something new to the metal genre. Giving Black Sabbath and Metallica fans a reason to turn away from their favourite records is no easy feat. By breeding something devilishly distinctive in the atmosphere of his seminal single, attention was soon piqued by the tune of fresh blood entering the territory.

The phenomenon that We Were Born for Metal became after its debut earlier this year goes to show how intrinsically linked identity and music are. Scenes are more than tribes; they’re lifeblood, and if anyone can mainline metal into your veins, it is IMMORTALIZER with their classic metal riffs and vocals that galvanise as they unify and defy expectation.

The official music video has garnered over 321k streams. Indulge in the furore by heading to YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Move Over Eilish, Rallen is Reigning Supreme as the Ultimate Bad Guy in His New RnB Hit, Berserk

Winnipeg-born, Toronto-based singer-songwriter Rallen caressed the roots of RnB with the dreamily nostalgic melodicism in his latest single, Berserk.

Much like the rest of his discography, the short and salaciously sweet release gives an intimate view into his psyche around the soaring sax notes and 80s-esque synth lines. The contrast between his candour and honeyed harmonies gives the release an oceanic depth as he attests to choosing pleasure over peace and professes to be anything but the perfect romantic protagonist.

If any single proves that we’re all just tormented people trying to get by, using sexual currency to find our worth, it is Berserk. Rallen’s commitment to sonically visualising his experience of adversity and affliction has established him as one of the most authentic acts on the RnB scene. It is only a matter of time before he reigns as supreme as the Weeknd.

Berserk was officially released on July 14th; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast