Weird Frequencies: March 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.


Imaginary North Transmission 004


When our team member Daniel Field is not working on curating an episode of our program, Northern Refractions, he’s hard at work curating incredible ambient compilations for his label, Imaginary North. The label recently released its fourth Transmission compilation, featuring Daniel’s work as Kilometre Club alongside Shamik, Pick a Piper, Ceramic, Marie, and more. For a compilation, Imaginary North Transmission 004 is an enveloping cohesive whole that feels as if each artist is picking up on a thread or idea left lingering in the ether by the last one. • Jim Di Gioia

Les Shirley, More is More


Montreal-based power trio Les Shirley are the very definition of rock on their second album More is More. The album is chock-full of killer riffs, plenty of sing-a-long opportunities (especially on “Get A Grip” and “Do It Again”), and infectious energy. More is More is a perfect mix of punchy punk songs, balanced rock ballads, and grunge rock tracks that will keep you coming back time and time again. To paraphrase a lyric from “It’s Time”, take this as your wake-up call to listen to Les Shirley. • Em Moore

Thom Gill, Eat The Wind


Multi-instrumentalist, Tranzac Club staple, and Bernice member Thom Gill is painting with colours here. Eat The Wind features psychedelic lyrics by Ryan Driver, sung by Gill and other Tone Bonk-ers (Robin Dann, Luka Kuplowsky, Ben Gunning + many more). The result is jazzed-up hymns containing the same contradictions Bernice have: skittering but rhythmically rock solid, ethereal yet human. • Mackenzie Cameron

Kaya Ko, start somewhere ep


Start somewhere ep by Vancouver’s Kaya Ko is their first self-produced recording. It’s equal parts glitchy, spacey sounding hip-hop and motivational speeches that encourage you to put your head down and get shit done. The hardest part of undertaking any project, especially a creative one, is starting it but as Ko raps on EP highlight “stay in d minor,” “the thing with manifesting what you dream is you need to take steps to achieve anything.” • Laura Stanley

Atsuko Chiba, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing


On their third full-length album, Water, It Feels Like It’s Growing, Montreal five-piece Atsuko Chiba explore their relationship with and reaction to their environment. Though they say the album is “not meant to be strictly political,” it is a product of our current place and time, where the struggle for change in the face of polarization and cataclysmic inaction feels more urgent than ever. The band’s experimental recording and performance — a mix of dense drones, weird frequencies, and slow, hypnotic rhythms — runs counter to that urgency. It is a slow, steady, and precise collision of angular and passionate playing, befitting the challenging times inspiring the music. • JD

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NOVEMBER (Gregory-Yves Fénélon) has no interest in being coy on his latest release SAD​.​SLOW​.​SEXY. I mean, he’s literally naked on the EP’s cover. But the six ’80s-ish electro-pop songs are also everything that the EP’s title says they are: sad, slow, and sexy. With Fénélon’s distinctively deep vocals heightening the songs’ sultriness, listening to SAD​.​SLOW​.​SEXY. may prompt you to put on some silk sheets, light a candle, and send a “you up?” text. • LS

Wampums, Rainbow Beam


Press play on Wampums’ new EP Rainbow Beam and be transported to an ethereal psych-rock world that prioritizes peace and love. The Toronto-based duo craft songs that are relaxing and thought-provoking with softly sung lyrics and instrumentation that make you feel like you’re floating high above the earth. Rainbow Beam is one of those rare EPs that wraps around you like a hug and fills you with hope every time you listen to it. • EM

Rooms, Don’t Be Yourself


Don’t Be Yourself, the third album from Vancouver band Rooms (formerly I Make Earthquakes) is a cozy mix of bedroom-pop, soft-rock, and love songs. But don’t think that all of these songs are akin to being swaddled in a fleece blanket. Lead singer Beshele Caron also wrestles with grief, capitalism, and in my favourite moment, delivers this scathing line to a finance-bro: “fuck you and your MBA and get out of my room.” The raw feelings usually only processed in your bedroom are out in the open on Don’t Be Yourself and that makes for a pretty special record. • LS

Cell Deth, Demo


PEI-based Cell Deth (made up of members of Coy, Antibodies, Tin-Ear, and Warsh) is hands-down one of the most exciting Canadian hardcore bands right now. The band’s six song demo (released on Nova Scotia’s Sewerside Records) sees them ripping into climate change, capitalism, religious conservatism, and so much more in just under four minutes. Mixing classic hardcore punk with more contemporary elements, Cell Deth deliver fast, fuzzy, and furious goodness on their demo that will have you eagerly awaiting more. • 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 2022 that deserve a little more attention.

Jetsam, Powerviolence is for Lovers


Montreal-based queer powerviolence band Jetsam are a force to be reckoned with on their debut EP Powerviolence is for Lovers. The songs are hard-hitting with deep bass that you can feel in your chest, strong and chaotic drumming, and superb vocal delivery that ranges from an explosion of pure fury to clear spoken word and back again within seconds. Powerviolence is for Lovers is one of the most cathartic and poetic debuts in recent history. • EM

Whitney K, Hard To Be A God


Whitney K (Konner Whitney) acutely contemplates past lives, colonial violence, friends, and ex-lovers while mixing psych-rock, folk, and poetry on his varied and intricately composed mini-album Hard To Be A God. Listening to it feels completely trippy and deeply rooted in reality. • LS

Gutser, Spill Everything


Gutser have created a perfect blend of metal and punk on Spill Everything. The Montreal-based band take pinches of black metal, hardcore and crust punk, powerviolence, and death metal, to create a riff-filled sound that never loses sight of fun. Spill Everything will have you banging your head in no time at all.• EM

Rich Aucoin, Synthetic: Season One


It’s basically a done deal that Sufjan Stevens is never going to finish his 51 States projects, right? But odds are high that Halifax’s Rich Aucoin is going to make good on his planned quadruple album synthesizer-based project, Synthetic. The first “season” dropped late in 2022, and features TONTO, the massive instrument housed at the National Music Centre in Calgary, where Aucoin served as Artist in Residence. The mostly instrumental collection is a velvety, lush, solo exploration of technology-turned-art and is hopefully being followed up with a second season very soon. – Jim Di Gioia

Crisis Party, Welcome to the Party


What do you get when you combine amazing musicians such as Matty Grace of Cluttered (and a million other awesome bands), Anthony Cardozo of The Flying Hellfish, and “Ska” Jeff of Dogma? You get the fantastic garage-y, doom-y, punk-y goodness that is Crisis Party. The Ottawa-based trio’s heart-felt, personal lyrics dive into mental health struggles in a way that reminds us that it’s ok not to be ok all the time. Accept the invitation and join the party. • EM

NOBRO, Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar


Montreal-based rockers NOBRO are one of the most high-energy bands going today and nowhere is that more apparent than on Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar. Each of the seven songs is guaranteed to have you dancing and singing along in record time. Are you in the mood for something upbeat and uplifting? Then listen to “Better Each Day”. Feel like something more punky? Turn both “Eat Slay Chardonnay” and “Bye Bye Baby” up loud. Live Your Truth Shred Some Gnar has something for everyone so don’t wait to give it a spin and rock out with NORBO. • EM

“Fuck Around Phase”