Love and Affection: February 2023

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.

Hello, dear reader!

Since the DOMINIONATED Newsletter launched a few years ago, co-founder Jim Di Gioia has been working tirelessly behind the scenes to gather and edit all of the wonderful content that arrives in your inbox every month. I’m writing to let you know that over the next year, DOMINIONATED newsletters will be managed by three different DOMINIONATED team members starting with me, Laura Stanley.

Maybe you’ll notice a few changes to the newsletter, or maybe you won’t. In either case, we are happy to be in your crowded inbox and thank you for reading!


Cloveback, Where the Middle of Nowhere Is Somewhere


If you live in a big city, you’re likely bombarded with the harsh sounding choir of people, traffic, construction, construction, and somehow even more construction. The “rural ambience” Cloveback’s Where the Middle of Nowhere Is Somewhere is a respite from all this noise and the relief that city dwellers seek. Alex Helperin’s (Cloveback) guitars and synths are layered with tape hiss and waver like a wheat field. It’s an eerie sounding EP overall but the middle of nowhere is still pretty gorgeous. • Laura Stanley

Empty Nesters, “Going Bye”


Spring can’t come fast enough for me, and the more I listen to “Going Bye” from Montreal’s Empty Nesters, I feel the world thawing and my mood growing sunnier and sweeter. The project is spearheaded by Eric Liao, whose fertile blend of angular post-punk, gauzy shoegaze, and DIY sensibilities is pitch-perfect. “Going Bye” is the perfect kiss-off to winter’s blahs and a welcome wave to warmer vibes. Even though Liao says “Going Bye” is about being “suspended in a perpetual state of coming soon and wanting more,” Empty Nesters are quickly moving with momentum and speed out from under the music community’s radar. • Jim Di Gioia

Miguel Maravilla, Always


In 2016, Miguel Maravilla wrote a song called “Always” and then over the next six years he, in his own words, “inadvertently made the same song over 50 times.” Always is a collection of 14 different iterations of “Always” that the Vancouver-based artist is still tinkering with. The lyrics differ and the album is a collage of sounds with tracks that incorporate pop and folktronica. But Maravilla’s mix of songs and ideas are grounded in the same belief: we are constantly changing and growing. Always. • LS

Miss Emvy, Invisible Fiends


Fredricton-based singer-songwriter Miss Emvy’s debut solo album, Invisible Fiends, is non-stop spooky fun. The album is packed with occult references and follows the adventures of a rock band as they deal with witches, ghouls, and ghosts. Elements from garage-rock, rockabilly, horror-punk, and psychedelic-rock, are combined to create the perfect soundtrack for dancing in graveyards. • Em Moore

Nameless Ghost, Under the Surface


There’s a lot happening under the hood of Under the Surface, the debut from Toronto project Nameless Ghost. The sound is a blend of pop haunted by the spirits of peak Radiohead and Wilco, with singer-songwriter Dave Coleman providing a tender and vulnerable human counterpoint to the sweeping melodicism of the music. You can take Under the Surface at face value as a sound and competent early-aughts alt-rock record, but in exploring loss, mental illness, and various shades of grief, Nameless Ghost brings a humanity to their music that was sorely missing from the genre twenty years ago. • JD

Single Mothers, Everything You Need


Each album that Single Mothers puts out builds on the last and sees them seeking new territory. Everything You Need is very experimental and is full of anger, humour, sarcasm, intense emotion, and pure punk spirit. There’s even a mini Sublime cover on “Things”, what more do you need? • EM

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 spring/summer 2022 that deserve a little more attention.

Affiliate Links, Enough Light


The melody-drenched reverb and hook-ladened atmosphere of Affiliate Links‘ debut, Enough Light, is a love letter to the 90s from Bradley Davis (formerly of prog-rocking instrumentalists Fresh Snow). I had the privilege of immersing myself in Davis’s layered and lush melodies when writing the bio for Enough Light early last year. Since then, it’s been a record I turn to often when the darkness and dreariness needs a good swift kick in the derriere. • JD

Future Girls, Year Long Winter


Sometimes music comes along right when you need it most and that is certainly the case with Halifax bummer punk band Future Girls’ EP Year Long Winter. The five songs are heart-wrenchingly honest, incredibly catchy, and listening to them feels like applying a much-needed healing balm on your soul. • EM

Matthew Bailey, Peachfruit


Peachfruit is soft-pop offering from Toronto-based singer-songwriter and producer Matthew Bailey. Mixed by Sandro Perri and featuring contributions from Ivy Mairi (vocals) and Karen Ng (saxophone & clarinet), Peachfruit is playful and sweet but it’s also filled with, as Bailey sings, “frustrating tears and percolating fears.” The pit of Peachfruit lies in the title track: “Love and affection is all we really need.” • LS

Well Sister, katabasis


Dedicated to “anyone who has descended into an underworld,” Well Sister’s katabasis is a beautifully hopeful folky rock record despite its somber tones. It’s like diving into a lake, opening your eyes while submerged, and being confronted with the water’s murky mysteries. But when you resurface, gasping for breath, the world looks dazzling. • LS