Are you listening?: October 2022

The DOMINIONATED Newsletter is a monthly(ish) round-up of music and creativity from across the country, bringing reviews and recommendations from our writers right to your inbox. Enter your email address below to subscribe now.

Alvvays, Blue Rev

I will always find the fervent and abiding love of Alvvays fans a bit of a headscratcher. It seems if you love Alvvays, you really love Alvvays. I never got to that level of devotion myself, but their third album, Blue Rev, could be a turning point for my Alvvays fandom. Through hazy guitars, warped melodies, and a healthy dose of mind-melting distortion, the fourteen tracks on Blue Rev find Alvvays fierce and on fire, ready to take on all challengers. They do so not by totally upending their jangle-pop sound and style but by refining and recalibrating it with multiple layers of pop, punk, and shoegaze. It’s a familiar yet wildly engaging album and a welcome return. • Jim Di Gioia

Adam Mah, No More Late Nights EP

While listening to Adam Mah’s No More Late Nights you’ll find yourself saying “same.” The Vancouver singer-songwriter has a lot of relatable lines on his EP like, “Fuck this world, I want a new planet” or “I’m having trouble focussing on anything,” or, from his fantastic examination of messed up music industry expectations, “Playlist Music,” “don’t want to make singles, just want to make records.” These synth-pop/rock songs are also danceable as hell, so you can move your body while feeling angsty. • Laura Stanley

meadows, joyful EP

The three tracks of joyful from Winnipeg band meadows have a hypnotically wandering pace about them. Slowcore fans will immediately grab hold of this release, but even if slowcore doesn’t spark joy, there’s an alt-country twang at play here too – especially on “run around” – that adds another dimension. The band describes their style best: “walking music.” For more, check out two new songs the band released last month. • Laura Stanley

Elissa Mielke, Mouse EP

There are no distractions on Elissa Mielke’s Mouse. There’s mostly just Mielke with a guitar or piano and a direct line from her heart to yours. The EP’s five tracks are bare-bones but emotionally heavy. Mielke focuses on love (romantic and self-love), heartbreak (“Holy shit, I’m tired of loving a man who acts like a child,” she sings on “Woman’s Worth”), and she wonders how the hell we are supposed to get through every day. Mouse is one of those releases that makes you stop what you are doing just to listen. • Laura Stanley

Nora Kelly Band, Some Pig EP

Nora Kelly exchanges the scrunge of former band DISHPIT for the rhinestone shine of alt-country on Perfect Pig, the debut EP from the Montreal-based four-piece Nora Kelly Band. Big feelings, heartbreak, celebrating your ride-or-die person, it’s all here and the twang is irresistible. To quote Charlotte (the spider from Charlotte’s Web, duh): Some pig! • Laura Stanley

Ordinary // Colours, “Pacific Division”

The first single “Pacific Division” from Ordinary // Colours is a charmingly bittersweet monologue about ambitions eroding beneath the wear of a capitalist current. Ordinary // Colours is a new project from Toronto artist Justin Chee, returning to unfinished work. The lyrics and instrumentals on “Pacific Division” both flow from beginning to end without rest. Despite the burnout eluded to in the lyrics, the glockenspiel lights up nostalgia for mid-to-late-2000s indie sounds. The tonal variation with steady pacing creates a nice balance, catchy and meditative, that recalls eras of discovery and the disillusionment that so often comes with it. • Tia Julien

Zoon, A Sterling Murmuration EP

Zoon‘s new EP, A Sterling Murmuration, is built around themes of preserving community and strengthening bonds, with “Play Ground” about the duality of wanting to hold on to memories and the way things were while simultaneously working towards rebuilding and redefining the world, our environment, and our community. In going back to songs written around 2010, Daniel Monkman traces his own development as a songwriter and musician, making A Sterling Murmuration both a tender look back and a tenacious step forward. • Jim Di Gioia

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Artwork of Quinton Barnes' album For the Love of Drugs
Quinton Barnes 
For the Love of Drugs 
Artwork of Dawn to Dawn's album, Postcards from the Sun to the Moon.
Dawn to Dawn 
Postcards from the Sun to the Moon