Fruit Cocktail In Heavy Syrup

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.

adult recreation centre, artifacts (Kitchener ON)

There’s something pleasantly refreshing about Kitchener sextet adult recreation centre’s debut release, artifacts. The common lyrical themes of languishing over lost time from the wrath of the pandemic and starting anew aren’t stale, especially with the driving, upbeat nature of the instrumentals. Rajaei Qubrosi’s baritone vocals croon sweet nothings in my ear, and Hannah Sloot’s guest vocals on “Dear Sam” fit snugly like fingers in a glove. The longing for a good ol’ sweaty garage show with your close friends is heavily apparent here. • Michael Beda

Artifiseer, “Geasan” (Saint John NB)

Saint John, NB-based artist Artifiseer (Ian Livingstone) made an internet connection across the ocean with Germany’s I Divorced Life for a split release that sees both artists exploring common musical ground. Artifiseer’s contribution, “Geasan” (pronounced gesh-en) is a haunted house of hallucinogenic highs and lows. Building bass, swirling psychedelia, and a steady and solid beat lend the track a surreal eerieness. “Geasan” is part of Artifiseer and I Divorced Life’s split release, Speak No More Of This,_ out now on Moondrip Collective, a queer label/artist collective co-founded by Livingstone. • _Jim Di Gioia

Badge Epoch, Scroll (Toronto ON)

Like an artifact locked in an air-tight time capsule, unearthed after a nuclear winter has wiped clean of any fresh, fun, and funky music, Scroll is a genuinely epic accounting of Toronto-based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Max ‘Twig’ Turnbull’s last ten years of music-making. Released under the moniker Badge Epoch, *Scroll* collects songs and sessions from Turnbull’s archives, including work with Badge Époque Ensemble, the Cosmic Range, and more artists in his orbit. In a way, it’s like the musical equivalent of an Instagram photo dump, except, instead of swiping through blurry, unstructured photos, you get attention-grabbing, fully fleshed-out funk bombs that hold your attention for a whooping ninety minutes. Yes, please. • JD

Body of Intrigue, In Some Places (Winnipeg MB)

On Body of Intrigue’s (the ambient/electronic project of Adara Moreau) In Some Places, you can hear birds chirping, running water, children playing, footsteps in the snow, and much more if you have a keen ear, as Moreau slowly draws out synth notes. It’s a gorgeous combination of placid sounds to usher out the summer.• Laura Stanley

Laurent Bourque, “Easy” (Toronto ON)

Looking for an easy-listening, easy-going song? Look no further than “Easy” by Laurent Bourque. Bourque’s latest single is the perfect feel-good track to end your summer with. A mix of everything from 90s hip-hop, 70s pop-rock and contemporary pop, this song is a perfect mélange of an upbeat tune, catchy piano melody and fun beat. Described by Bourque as “inspired by a lighthearted danceable groove,” “Easy” is the perfect song to put a skip in your step. • Valie

Magic Duck, Watch My Movie (Hamilton ON)

Hamilton’s Magic Duck was very productive during the early months of the pandemic, releasing half-a-dozen quirky nuggets that best belong in psychedelic films. Their latest piece of work, Watch My Movie, is anything but strewn together despite said quirkiness. The eight-song, thirty-five-minute LP (that I would humbly label a “theatrical concept soundtrack”), twists and turns more dizzyingly than a strobe-lit kaleidoscope. There are heroes, villains, plot twists, and the thirst for more upon its climatic “Heart of the City”. • MB

Mathilde Diotte, 30 juillet (Montreal QC)

Mathilde Diotte’s bio on Bandcamp reads “Je voudrais nourrir les animaux à temps plein” [I would like to feed the animals full time] and on the cover of her debut EP 30 juillet, a bird eats seeds from atop of her head. The sonic temperate of the EP’s five folk songs is exactly like that of somebody who is able to have birds eat on top of their head: calm, quiet, and patient. And like a bird in flight, these songs are hypnotic and beautiful. • LS

JSP, “Questions” (Toronto ON)

Proving that smooth and laidback R&B doesn’t mean a lack of energy, Toronto-based artist JSP is provoking a lot of feelings with his latest single, “Questions.” He says the song is “about the inner workings of certain relationships” and how “as time passes by past the honeymoon phase, you both start questioning each other just a little too much.” Musically, he builds tension and suggests that the unknown and unfamiliar are right around the next verse. It’s a tactic that keeps you on your toes and engaged the entire way through “Questions,” like you’re about to be called upon to answer to a higher power. • JD

QUARTERBACK, “Angels” (Victoria BC)

In a recent tweet, BC-based singer Quinn Bates — aka QUARTERBACK — lamented that he “[wished] people enjoyed my music more than my booty and comedy.” While his social feeds are full of wit and humour, and his booty is definitely [peach emoji] worthy, I have to agree that his music, a smooth and stylish hybrid of R&B, pop, and elements of folk is deserving of your time and attention. Recent single “Angels” is heavenly. Set to a slick and straightforward beat, Quarterback lays down a solid and sincere vocal performance that demands he be taken as the serious musical threat he is. • JD

Jay Swinn, Deep In The Lab, Vol. 1 (Toronto ON)

Jay Swinn has been a journeyman in Canadian music for a number of years now, playing with the like of Tarantuela, Al Tuck, the Silver Hearts, and Sun Ra Ra Ra. For Deep In The Lab, Vol. 1, his first release under his own name, Swinn pulled together a cast of friends to create a country fair kind of record: crisp percussion, dry guitars, dusty singing and aromatically earthy compositions. Deep In The Lab, Vol. 1 is authentic to the point where the twangs tug just a little bit higher, the piano cords cut to the marrow of the matter, and Swinn’s songs are all blue ribbon-worthy. • JD

Westelaken, Shout Out Alex! (Toronto ON)

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the release of The Golden Days are Hard, Westelaken has released a rough and tumble live recording, Shout Out Alex! Recorded on reel-to-reel tape, the lo-fi album captures Westelaken’s lead singer Jordan Seccareccia performing live on Twitch a nice mix of old tracks and some from The Golden Days are Hard. The stripped-down album showcases the rich emotions of Westelaken’s songs but also the very strange experience of gathering around a computer to experience a show. Oh, and shout out to Alex. • LS

Alex Southey
My Nights on the Island
Men I Trust
Untourable Album