Sentimental Sounds: June 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.


Zoe Ackah, This Hen


Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Zoe Ackah says that every song on her sophomore album, This Hen, has a story to tell. And while some come from personal experiences (like burning down her childhood cabin on “What’s a Little Fire?” and experiences with being unhoused on “Just a Trickle, Just a Nickel”) the title track, “This Hen (Is Starting to Hate Men)” is “an interrogation of the patriarchy” sung from a chicken’s perspective that’s “sure to draw the ire of the world’s roosters.” As light-hearted as that sounds, Ackah never downplays the seriousness of her subjects or settles for simple arrangements. Firmly rooted in country and folk traditions, This Hen is an eclectic and captivating listen whose stories appeal across genre lines. • Jim Di Gioia

YlangYlang, Only by moonlight


Since 2012, Catherine Debard has put out a couple dozen or so releases as YlangYlang. Playing with ambient, avant-pop, and neo-classical soundscapes, you’re never quite sure which sonic textures she will draw from on a particular release. Only by moonlight, Debard’s latest, is a synth-heavy recording that, not unlike when its a full moon, feels eerie but beautiful. • Laura Stanley

Soul Boner, God-Flavoured


Hark, the second coming of Soul Boner is upon us. The pop(?), punk(??), noise(???) duo’s second EP God​-​Flavoured is just as chaotic, hilarious, and loveable as their 2021 debut Liliana’s Divorce. But if you feel like your life has enough chaos in it, tracks like “Kaeli’s car” show a more accessible side to the band. • Laura Stanley

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Highwood Atlas, The Magic Hand of Chance


The Magic Hand of Chance by Ottawa-based Highwood Atlas is an ambient album full of found sounds and gentle meanderings. A wide selection of instrument tones, spoken vocals, and environmental samples creates an enchanted soundscape existing in the multiple realms of folk, jazz, and indie-pop. The Magic Hand of Chance demonstrates a strong intuition for cohesive songwriting while capturing the hybridity of competing feelings: “I curse and bless this life at once”. • Tia Julien

Winona Forever, Acrobat


Since releasing their 2015 EP Yacht Rock, Winona Forever has steadily ramped up the chillness, and dare I say, sexiness of their irresistible surfy pop-rock sound. Acrobat, the Vancouver band’s latest record, is a relaxed routine of quivering guitar riffs and pop melodies that embody the smiling face with sunglasses emoji ????. My favourite moment comes right at the end of the record when, on “Red Wine,” Rowan Webster-Shaw delivers a line that will make awkward lovers swoon, “You spilled red wine on my sweater but I just laughed and said it looks better.” • Laura Stanley


Time is an illusion and a lot of great music is always being released and so we gathered some standout releases from 2022 that deserve a little more attention.

Esmerine, Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More


Time is an illusion, indeed, and I’m thankful for a place like ICYMI in our newsletter to suspend time and return to albums like Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More. Esmerine’s 2022 album strikes the perfect balance between moments of delicate introspection and intense, climactic passages while showcasing their incredible musicianship and compositional prowess. Seamlessly blending classical and experimental music elements, Everything Was Forever Until It Was No More sparks a wide range of emotional responses in me every time I return to it, but mostly I’m left in awe of how each song unfolds like a narrative, every wisp of melody feeling perfectly placed.• Jim Di Gioia

Jesse Harding, Lingerers


Softness is what stands out to me about Jesse Harding’s Lingerers. Opening with a big swell of strings, “Dog” unfolds with bittersweet lyrics about the passing of time, while “If I Go” evokes an emo-esque nostalgia in me. Harding’s arrangements are layered and cinematic, making Lingerers easy to get lost in. • Tia Julien

“Mouth of the face of the sea”