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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.



Ducks Ltd., “As Big As All Outside” (Toronto ON)

Toronto’s Ducks Ltd. (formerly known as Ducks Unlimited) released a wicked EP at the start of 2019 that garnered enough critical attention that the duo of Tom Mcgreevy and Evan Lewis is about to release an expanded version through Royal Mountain Records (for Canada; Carpark Records everywhere else). To celebrate, they’ve shared a brand new song, “As Big As All Outside,” a jangle-pop gem with hooks and melodies to rival the best among the sub-genre. • Jim Di Gioia

Clara Engel, A New Skin (Toronto ON)

On A New Skin, Clara Engel peels back the layers to find the essence at the core of their songwriting. Using only their voice, cigar box and electric guitars, melodica, and harmonica, Engel expands their moody musical world beyond noirish folk. Conceived, recorded and mixed while at home in Toronto during lockdown last fall, A New Skin feels like a new side of Engel’s multifaceted musical personality. • JD

Hello Vice, Songs for Cats EP (Toronto ON)

The duo formerly known as Siren rebranded and introduce themselves as Hello Vice with Songs for Cats, an EP that is impossible to classify as a single genre. The entrancing trap beats in the opening tracks soon give way to R&B and a more acoustic percussive arrangement, only to swing back into the EDM-pop realm with the oh-so-catchy “Idiot”. “Under the Water” then sends us off into the abyss with some intricate piano work from Kate Schroder. Perhaps one of the most diverse ‘pop’ albums of the year so far. • Michael Beda

Hobby, Weed (Toronto ON)

The aptly-named four-piece ensemble Hobby serves a bowl of raw country post-punk on their equally aptly-titled sophomore LP, Weed. Hidden within are delicious licks and savoury psychedelic grooves that can abruptly make the dish become a repeat fixture on your weekly meal prep. The goofy, slacker, stoner image mixed with the intricate lo-fi melodies make for a pleasant aftertaste, so long as you chew on it enough. Here’s to hoping “(We Can) Tough it Out (We Can Try)” becomes the COVID-19 pandemic’s anthem. • MB

Isaac Symonds and Yaehsun, Natura Sophia (Montreal QC / Toronto ON)

Isaac Symonds of the band Half Moon Run lives in Montreal; Yaehsun is Jason Haberman, a “one-man performance and engineering brain trust” based in Toronto. Natura Sophia is their collaborative debut, an instrumental album made with minimal discussion and without actually meeting. Each would craft their minimal ambient instrumental based on a specified key signature or a set song length, and the two resulting works would be combined to create a new satisfying whole. I could soak in their delicate textures and calming atmosphere for days on end. Lately, this is all I’ve been listening to. • JD

Rosier, Légèrement (Montreal, QC)

There’s an addictive quality about the measured march of Rosier‘s Légèrement. In their latest bilingual release, the Montreal-based band makes balmy folk-pop songs that wash over you like a warm waterside breeze (which makes the album art feel very apt). In these Uncertain Times, the steadiness of Légèrement is something you will frequently seek out. • Laura Stanley

Kelly Sloan, “I Wanna Wake Up” (Toronto ON)

If the name Kelly Sloan isn’t immediately familiar, her voice will be for anyone who fell under its rapturous spell on last year’s Alias Ensemble album, A Splendour of Heart, a collaboration with Daniel Romano and David Nardi. Sloan is working on some music of her own, the first single of which is “I Wanna Wake Up.”The piano-driven daydream is full of goodness, like a tasty dessert that leaves you feeling satisfied and satiated. • JD

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