Katie McBride – 08215

Toronto‘s Katie McBride has grown from making soft bedroom pop on 2014’s Castle Frank to a more lush sound produced by Leon Taheny, and the results are glorious, contemplative and beautiful.

She’s kept a quality of her previous sound: the hushed, reserved vocal style. But it doesn’t sound like she’s holding back; instead it’s more like sitting right across from an old friend as she quietly tells you about her life. Based on these three songs, that life is full of waiting. Each song has lyrics about waiting up, waiting for, waiting all day. Together, they’re the musical version of sitting in your room for hours, watching as the sun turns into shadows. It’s a little lonely, but also really magical.

Those are the qualities she captures in the music, from the light and sparkly arpeggios on “Saul” to the simmering guitar reverb on the latter two songs. It’s a delicately crafted, emotionally cathartic EP, and quite an accomplishment. You can find it on McBride’s Bandcamp (pay what you can).

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Adria Kain – Reverse Psychology

Toronto future-R&B visionary Adria Kain was mighty impressive on her debut album Island in my Mind last year, but she’s entered a whole new world of sound on brand new EP Reverse Psychology. Working with cutting-edge producers like Chicago’s Monte Booker and Guelph’s Elaquent, it’s a genre-smashing work of genius that tantalizes with its mere three tracks, which we found ourselves replaying over and over.

Standout single and lead track “Kainthem” is a celebratory track that effectively acts as her theme song, which makes sense considering the title. Through many twists and turns, clattering percussion, carefully placed synths, it features Kain’s voice front and center, soaring, announcing her arrival. It’s an idiosyncratic pop hit that deserves to be worldwide smash. The downtempo sample-heavy “Colours” features some lovely harmonies and spare guitars, just another effortlessly cool production by Elaquent. And closer “Dawn” is a beautiful ambient pop ballad, very heavy on the reverb, and with some very minimal and muffled drums, allowing plenty of space for the other instruments.

Three tracks, three completely different sides to a tremendous new talent. We’ve got a feeling that Adria Kain is in for a huge 2016. Can’t wait to hear what’s next! Reverse Psychology is available now as a free download from Bandcamp. If you’re in Toronto, check her out with LAL and others this Tuesday for International Women’s Day.

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Coarse Language – Worried Man

Toronto’s Coarse Language announced the Worried Man EP in a big way with their already-gushed over debut single “Better Days” in 2015. The succinct five song EP from the goth-infused EBM project is a journey of a listen, with the agro-appeggiation of “See You Never,” to the subdued pulsing of “Dead Radio”, a Roland S. Howard cover. Throughout it all are immaculately programmed and played analog synths and drum machines creating the kind of soundtrack you’d expect to find at an abandoned warehouse filled with aliens concealing their appearance and manipulating people to spend money, breed, and accept the status quo with subliminal messages in mass media.

Coarse Language is the solo project of Telephone Explosion founder and Teenanger guitarist Jon Schouten, who here, as we said before, could be the spiritual successor of Silent Shout fave Kontravoid, who had a hand in mixing this record. Now with the release of Worried Man, Coarse Language joins him in the Hall of Fame of truly original mood manipulators.

Information on the availability of the record is scarce, but for now you can listen via Soundcloud. For those who enjoy the physical things in life, you may be able to grab a copy of this via their label Artificial Sounds, but no word about that just yet.

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