Look what you started: May 2021

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.

Glutenhead, “Spinal Cord” (Toronto ON)

Of the song “Spinal Cord,” this month’s free MP3 download for DOMINIONATED’s Patreon subscribers, Glutenhead songwriter Ben Shapiro says it’s: “…a song about divinity. Not to do with any particular religious denomination, but divinity in the personal sense. Some might call this “romance.” In the sense of breath, of motion, of colour. The song is meant to convey the same feeling as a brush dragging a line of paint across a canvas, of that moment, once in a while, when you can see clearly. Really clearly. And your whole life is there in front of you. And it makes sense. But anyway, maybe none of that comes across in the music! It’s also a love song. Make of it what you will. If you notice more than a little Leonard Cohen influence in this one, you’re definitely not off-base. I wrote this song in the summer of 2020, in a pool of my own sweat and in love with the romance of it all.”

CRi, Juvenile (Montreal QC)

Montreal producer/DJ CRi dropped his debut LP, Juvenile late last year, and it is the electro-pop album I didn’t know I’d been missing from my life. There’s a clean aesthetic to CRi’s style that’s also deeply warm and soulful. There’s no pretence or calculated cool about it. Juvenile is straight-up accessible electro-pop of the finest order. • Jim Di Gioia

Everything Is Geometry, three songs / spring 2021 (London ON)

Everything Is Geometry seems to appear exactly when I want them. They specialize in short bursts of fuzzy pop-rock energy that feel less like trying to tell a story than trying to represent a pure feeling. Though it’s been three years since they last put out an EP, they’ve not lost their touch. “what you expect” and “yr food” are short, fun, raucous affairs, but the band finds a new gear in the summery “so mad,” a song I could probably play infinitely, thanks to its ultra-simplicity. The whole three songs / spring 2021 EP clocks in at just under five minutes, so treat yourself to this little burst of joy. • Michael Thomas

Family Video, Phantom Island (St. Johns NL)

Listening to Family Video‘s (J. King) Phantom Island feels like you’re sitting in a small rowboat bobbing gently in a body of water, but you can’t see the shoreline because you are surrounded by dense fog. This collection of quiet bedroom-pop songs, which also feature Mallory Watje and Fog Lake’s Aaron Powell, emerge from the fog and cling to you like love or sadness. But you don’t feel lost or scared: King is guiding you to where you need to be. • Laura Stanley

Emma Hewson, “Mismatched” (Toronto ON)

As songwriter Emma Hewson was coming to terms with having to leave a relationship she was in, she found strength and resolve in working through her situation through song. Recalling “dramatic and mismatched moments” from previous relationships, “Mismatched” melds these experiences into a musical narrative set to a bouncy electro-pop track. She worked with animator Joanne Hoffmann for the song’s video, which follows the protagonist’s “journey identifying and then rebelling against patriarchal, white supremacist beauty ideals.” • JD

Michelle Mondesir, “Look What You Started (feat. pHoenix Pagliacci)” (Toronto ON)

Is it just me, or does this time of year get everyone’s groove going again? Though in Ontario it feels as if the weather has been slow to release from our winter hibernation, the arts scene has been instrumental in moving the thaw along with jolt after jolt of re-energizing kicks, much like “Look What You Started” from singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Michelle Mondesir. Featuring a guest spot from former Sorority member pHoenix Pagliacci, “Look What You Started” will not only melt away any lingering winter blahs, it’s a firestarter, kickstarting our re-entry into the world of social interaction and engagement.  Mondesir’s press material calls the song an “ear-gasm,” which is so spot-on: smooth, soulful atmospherics, playful and provocative wordplay, and a feel-good vibe that practically busts out of your speaker cabinets. • JD


Winnipeg’s VAN ALLEN has been quite the busy body this year, releasing two LPs and an EP chock-full of pulsating dance grooves. SMALL ECLIPSE gives you the notion that you’re coolly riding the crest of a wave, nonchalantly bobbing along to the sharp electronic rhythms. But then again, the abruptness in tempo changes in songs like “ALL THAT (SALT & PEPPA)” remind you that you haven’t mastered these currents just yet. Amongst all the juxtaposing twists, do you even know how to swim? • Michael Beda

Fog Lake
Tragedy Reel
“Sad Girls Club”