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Wes Allen, “Garden” (Toronto ON)

Wes Allen’s “Garden” is bountiful. Its effervescent folky/jazzy melody (featuring a real leaf as a shaker!) and backing vocals from @eliza.niemi and BADBADNOTGOOD’s Chester Hansen is the bedrock as Allen dreams about fatherhood and his future family. If seemingly everybody in your life is having a baby, “Garden” will make you cry. But mostly, it will fill you with love. ? • Laura Stanley

Riun Garner, “Still Thinking of Us” (Vancouver BC)

Riun Garner’s single “Still Thinking of Us” is about going with the flow of time even as expired feelings call us back to a moment passed. The indie pop arrangement is full of nostalgia, opening with a finger-picked acoustic guitar before the opening lyric picks up like an unfinished thought: “I just want to kiss you in the morning.” The phrasing alternates between the forward momentum of the present (“I just want to do what’s right”) and the glance back to the past (“I’m still thinking of you”). The melancholy is balanced with a bright and catchy melody fitting for the seasonal change of late summer. • Tia Julien

Tamara Grace, “Auburn” (Montréal, QC)

Summer is almost over (yikes!), but there’s something exciting about September: the air is crisp with possibilities. Possibility is also at the heart of Tamara Grace’s folk-pop single “Auburn.” Across the track, Grace processes how she feels about her crush, which is equal part heart eyes (” I think I’m falling for you,” she sings) and playful annoyance. The song is irresistibly upbeat, and it’s a nice nudge to be open… especially if somebody cute is involved. • Laura Stanely

Gunner & Smith, “Something More to Give” (Saskatoon SK)

Letter writing is a bit of a lost art in 2022, but in the case of Saskatoon’s Geoff Smith, the songwriter behind Gunner & Smith, a letter from a friend moved him to write “Something More to Give.” The new single off Smith’s upcoming album, Hear You In My Head, is a heartfelt ballad. It combines finger-picked guitar and mournful pedal steel with sparse percussion that, combined with the wistful lyrics, conveys a longing for an ever-receding past and connection with the people in our lives, no matter the distance and our limitations. • Sebastian Johnston-Lindsay

Premanition, “Worthy” (Calgary AB)

“Worthy” is but one small piece of a large and complex puzzle that Calgary-based Premanition has been brewing. The song, matched with a bright and hopeful music video, is the embodiment of a conversation most people have had with themselves — are we worthy? With layers upon layers of synths and vocals, it’s a song that fills your ears and heart with a simple but comfortable thought: “I’ll keep trying.” • Alyssa Gelata

Preoccupations, Arrangements (Calgaray AB)

As the story goes, after getting a good bulk of their new album, Arrangments, done in studio pre-COVID, once public health measures were in place, Preoccupations had to complete the record’s final — ahem — arrangements remotely. I don’t know why when I hear the title Arrangements I immediately think of funerals, but there is undeniably darkness and finality to these songs. Oppressive and harsh as they may be, they also find Preoccupations fully alive, sounding more themselves than ever. • Jim Di Gioia

Yes We Mystic, “Sit Down” (Winnipeg MB)

Winnipeg’s Yes We Mystic will cease to exist on October 22, 2022. But the day before that red mark on the calendar, they will release one final album, Trust Fall, featuring the recent single, “Sit Down.” Ominous strings form its brooding and tense throughline, and yet there are flashes of hope, longing, and love that pierce the song’s heavy curtain. Where in the recording and production process for this last album the band decided to call it quits is unclear, but “Sit Down” is a song that sounds resigned about a difficult decision but refuses to wallow in sorrow and pain. • Jim Di Gioia

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