Continuing my series of round-up reviews, I decided this time to venture down the rabbit hole of Canadian artists. Canada has produced a range of successful musicians over the years, but there are lots of artists within the underground scene that are worthy of your attention, several of which are listed in this article. As always, there is a full playlist at the bottom.
Review by Jane Howkins
Picture by Markus Murphy
Markus Murphy – ROLLING
The first track on my list is ROLLING by Markus Murphy. The track starts out with a bass melody and a dreamy keyboard theme, giving the song an overall dream pop vibe. I also felt the song had an old school quality to it, with elements of R&B, Motown and soul present in the mix. Markus’ vocals are very soulful, mixing with the music well. The track sounds very unique in the modern era, making it a must listen!
nasmore – Let’s Get Freaky
Let’s Get Freaky opens up with a really diverse percussion style, bringing a huge burst of energy to nasmore’s newest release. The track is a pop song, with elements of electronic music and R&B also present – the rhythm makes it all sound really funky, making you want to get up and dance straight away. The vocals sound fantastic and the electric guitar riffs that appeared later on in the track were a lovely surprise for this style of song.
nasmore – Say Goodbye
Say Goodbye is another song by the aforementioned artist nasmore, starting off with some interesting sound effects. The track has a similar sound to Let’s Get Freaky, with some Latin style guitar melodies mixing with the unique drum style. The vocals sound just as amazing here, although the song has more of a rock feel to it than the previous song – the rapped vocals that occasionally appear add a different flavour to the tune.
nasmore – Adrenaline Storm
Adrenaline Storm is yet another song from nasmore, with this track having a more intense vibe to it. The opening of the song instantly creates an atmosphere, with an eerie piano melody and strings building the tension up immediately. The guitar melodies and rhythm follow this pattern, with the switch between singing and rapping also working well to create a certain ambience, although it’s still rather catchy as a whole.
nasmore – Mind In A Maze
I loved nasmore’s music so much that I wanted to include a fourth song on this list, this time titled Mind In A Maze. This song is a little mellower than the other two here, with a more traditional acoustic guitar melody opening the track up. It sounds more like a ballad, showing another aspect of nasmore’s excellent sound. The vocals are still really smooth though, mixing well with the subtle acoustic guitar stylings.
cherishes – Ghost/Mirror
Ghost/Mirror starts with a gorgeous melody created on an clean sounding electric guitar – the guitar lines meld in lovely style with the soft vocals added by cherishes on this track. It’s quite a subtle song, as the music doesn’t really stray much from the soft guitar stylings, but this only serves to make the music sound even more beautiful, in its own dreamy way. I even liked the autotune that’s added later on, something I’m not normally a fan of.
Victoria Dodson – Homesick
Victoria Dodson creates beautiful folky ballads, with Homesick being no exception to the rule. The main stand out for this song is the gorgeous vocal harmonies that Victoria utilises in the track, overlapping her own vocals over each other. The main instrumentation for the piece comes from a quiet acoustic guitar melody, meaning her vocals can really shine through, and shine they sure do!
Brianne Matthews – Someday
Brianne Matthews is a 22 year old singer-songwriter and musician, making it all the more impressive how good her music is, despite her young age. She’s been performing since she was a child, and you can really feel the depth of her musical history in latest song, Someday. It’s a dreamy alt-pop song, with a gorgeous guitar and piano melody running through it. Her vocals sound great – the production quality is also very clean!
Brianne Matthews – Piece Of You
I loved Brianne Matthews’ music so much that I wanted to share another one of her songs here, this time called Piece Of You. This song is a little slower than the previous one, being a slow piano ballad that is full of emotional depth. The only instrumentation on the song is the piano, showing that Brianne is an artist capable of performing many styles of music, to her credit.
Aversions – Sharp Left Turns
Sharp Left Turns is one of the heaviest songs on this list, kicking off immediately with an intense drumming pattern and some ferocious guitar riffs. It’s more of a hard rock song, but there are some classic rock elements in there – the vocals also reminded me a lot of James Hetfield from Metallica, which is high praise indeed! If you’re looking for something a little heavier, make sure you check out Aversions!
Duff Kelly – Lace My Kicks
Duff Kelly is a musician and singer-songwriter who has had quite an interesting life, having to learn how to play the guitar upside down, due to some health issues sustained in a plane crash in 2007. It’s a testament to his dedication and talent that he was able to do this, especially with his music sounding so good! Lace My Kicks is a catchy pop-rock song laden with synths – Duff’s vocals sound really emotive, making the track sound really beautiful! The synths give the track an 80s sound at time, with the percussion laying down a driving rhythm.
Under Neptune – Disappear
Disappear is a new song from Under Neptune, an original music project created by Daniel Monteiro of Canada. The track is a modern rock song with an epic feel to it – the verses are rather quiet, building the tension up until the huge chorus kicks in. I loved the change of dynamics present in the song – the little noodly guitar melodies sound absolutely gorgeous too.
Spence Paull – When I’m Lonely
Canadian singer/songwriter and music producer Spence Paull has released an addictive pop single titled When I’m Lonely. The vocals have a soulful quality to them, wavering over the bouncy rhythm and catchy melodies contained within the track. It’s a poppy song, but it also has moments of jazz, R&B, funk and rock present within it, making for a lovely overall mix. The brass instruments sound great, with the prominent bass melody making it all sound very funky indeed!
Jordan Jones – Break My Heart
Break My Heart is a poppy song from Jordan Jones, a musician and singer-songwriter who has used his travelling experience as inspiration for his music. Break My Heart is very catchy, although it has a slow rhythm to it, suiting the modern R&B genre down to the ground. The production quality sounds great, with loads of little things going on in the background, with his profound vocals also containing a lot of emotion.
Pyano II – Way I See It
Way I See It is a rap/hip-hop song with moments of trap music also present. Pyano II has an amazing rapping style – he raps in a very fast manner, showing an amazing flow to his vocals. The beats are also fast, with some impressive percussive beats underpinning the music, until it breaks down in an eerie fashion into the spoken word chorus. The piano melody runs underneath the piece, giving it a haunting feel.
wotts – Return Flight
wotts are a Canadian alt-pop band with a very funky sound to their music – Return Flight has quite a positive energy to it, making you want to dance along in cool style straight away. It’s poppy, but sounds different from anything in the charts at the moment, making the band really stand out from the crowd. The vocal effects are used to great effect over the top of the music – you’ll really have to listen to the song a few times to be able to appreciate everything fully.
Mazyn – Already Made It
Wrapping this round-up review up is Mazyn’s Already Made It, another rap/hip-hop song with trap elements. The main melody comes from an eerie piano melody that also sounds beautiful at times, with some dark sounding strings and a heavy bass melody underpinning the rhythm of the song. Mazyn’s rapping sounds perfect with the music – his vocals have a real intensity to them that helps to make it sound all the more mysterious.