Buzzsaw Fog: April 2023

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joemadden – “rather play alone”


joemadden is a Winnipeg-based singer-songwriter whose presence on the internet, besides a Bandcamp page, is minimal. But on his lo-fi folky single “rather play alone,” Madden is anything but mysterious. Across the song, Madden is incredibly honest as he replays painful childhood moments including his whole class laughing at him when he reveals his crush. Madden uses the Bandcamp tags “devotional” and “trying” to characterize his track and there’s a tenderness here reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens.

PS. Check out Madden’s beautiful cover of the equally beautiful Richard Inman song “Sore Loser”. • Laura Stanley

Nickybaby, Nickybaby


Winnipeg’s Nicholas Goszer names Elliott Smith and Silver Jews among his influences for his debut self-titled LP as Nickybaby, which isn’t surprising given his lyrical themes and sometimes moody instrumentation. There’s plenty to recommend the release beyond these comparisons, though, as Nickybaby often feels like it’s winking at me, letting me know that Goszer is quite comfortable, content and in a happy place among the lo-fi twangs and gritty guitar work. • Jim Di Gioia

Blair Goudie, Move On


The Twitter bio of St. John’s-based musician and visual artist Blair Goudie reads: “I make music and melt things.” Where Goudie’s colourful illustrations portray familiar animated characters looking like ice cream under the summer sun, their latest album Move On is a melting pot of genres. Combining emo-inflected vocals and angsty lyrics with pop and synth-wave instrumentals (there’s a few acoustic tracks for good measure too) Move On falls somewhere between the Lofi Girl universe and my CD wallet circa 2006.• LS

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Ada Rook – Rookie’s Bustle


Rookie’s Bustle, the latest solo release from Black Dresses’ Ada Rook, is a surprisingly positive exploration of some not-so-chipper themes culled from our modern-day miasmic world. Still, as abrasive and brash as always, Rook finds room for her pop instincts and indelible dance rhythms to break through the buzzsaw fog and metallic clang on moments like opener “920LONDON’” and “UR GONNA LIVE.” I don’t know when I became such a noise-pop fan, but Rookie’s Bustle made it clear to me that I’m all-in on whatever Rook is hustling. • JD

FONTINE, Yarrow Lover


If you listened to Vol. 1 of Torch & Twang, you will already know that FONTINE’s Yarrow Lover is one of my favourite releases of the year so far. It is, simply, so! good! This EP seamlessly moves from one tender folk-pop track to the next, always moving gracefully whether FONTINE is singing about queer love or heartbreak. Co-produced by FONTINE and Kris Ulrich, the plush layers of vocals, guitar, keys, and banjo make even “the shittiest part of a rom-com” sound sweet. • LS

Paste, “All That You Came For”


You can’t help but love the pop-heavy vibe of “All That You Came For” from Toronto indie rockers, Paste. The track is cut from the same cloth as “This Heart’s on Fire” from Wolf Parade: glossy and a little glammy without losing any grit. With warmer weather around the corner, “All That You Came For” is all you’ll need to get your weekend barbecue parties cooking. • JD

In case you missed it

Time is an illusion and a lot of great music is always being released and so we gathered some standout releases from 2022 that deserve a little more attention.

Ian William Craig, Music For Magnesium_173


Vancouver-based singer and composer Ian William Craig was commissioned to write the soundtrack for Magnesium_173, a puzzle game inspired by quantum mechanics. But what on earth does a puzzle game inspired by quantum mechanics sound like? For Craig, it’s a torrent of distorted tape loops and electronics, synths, and choral singing. Not unlike the best puzzles, Music for Magnesium_173 is both challenging and relaxing. It’s bizarre and beautiful probably like quantum mechanics if I could ever understand what that is. • LS

Dump Babes, niya k​î​min​î​c​â​kan


For their latest album niya k​î​min​î​c​â​kan, Saskatoon-based “trash pop” band Dump Babes sing about colonialism, Indigeneity, and so much more and litter their record with psych-rock and disco-influenced grooves. Like a plastic bag caught in the wind, this trash is entrancingly beautiful. • LS

Alicia Clara, Velveteen


Sometimes you hear a release for the first time exactly when you are meant to. When I listen to Alicia Clara’s latest EP Velveteen – released in October – her plush bedroom-pop drifts in on the back of spring rain and is coupled with flowers gently emerging The first words you hear on Velveteen, from its standout track “I Let My Plant Die,” are “time to put winter behind me.” But no matter the season, Velveteen’s velvety sound is always welcome. • LS

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Nicole Ariana