J. Eygenraam’s Brutal Love opens on a lone tambourine, frothing for a tick like an anxious bottle of champagne before its cork pops on the irresistible cascade of guitar trickery that is ‘What’s Hip?’ It’s the kind of song and album opener that people are shushed for talking over, as the volume knob strikes six o’clock and eyes close in appreciation. It’s the only possible way to introduce the world to a songwriter as brave as Eygenraam and his collection of fun and daring songs.
Immediately thereafter lands the helpful and hilarious ‘Don’t Be Sad’, a dead-on New Wave therapy session where we’re told plainly that “pain is lame…” and that “…feeling bad is dumb.”
From that point Eygenraam and his band – whose own contributions are confident and lucid throughout – expand over hills of ripped denim rock and contract through keyholes into intimate places of tenderness and hurt.
It’s when these threads meet and run through the title track that J. is at his most eviscerating. ‘Brutal Love’ bursts through the batwing doors, a staggering, bruised piece, stabbing the organ cathartically on the 8ths, stumbling to regain its footing at the ends of phrases. Our bloodied narrator stomps through the song’s whirling mood, stopping only to ask “was my love not worth more than sex and dirt?” only to satisfy the hanging query when, as a refrain, he confesses: “I’ve been played the fool by brutal love.”
It’s a perfect and poignant climax to a tidy album whose short span you won’t need prompting to spin again and again.
Lexander James is the newest name of Castledrum Records electronica producer Rob Ross. You can hear the prettiness of Flora and the knuckle-cracking chaos of itsagamble! in there, but there’s really whole a new emotion I haven’t heard in his music until now. A cooling resolution. A hymn for doing the hard thing. That song that plays in someone’s car as they calmly drive themselves and a hundred thou’ in drug money off the bridge and into the river.
Music for people who want to feel totally BA while running errands.
‘Steady Glazed Eyes’, the first of a two song offering from Winnipeg’s The Hours, boasts a kind of primeval melody. The kind that has always just been – has quivered with protozoa, stomped with the sauropods, been gargled in unsteady medieval throats of those who first tried to crystallize emotions this immense, this wide, in soundwaves only. The lyrics of this cosmic number are nearly lost in halls of reverb. The boulder-sure rhythm guitar and drumming also disappear into fissures of skittering delay.
It’s not until the second track, ‘Horse Field Mansion Parties’, that singer Samantha Sarty’s woozy intonations focus and incant quite clearly the words “I’ve been doing this since before you were even born” and – reflecting on the monolithic seamlessness of this release – it’s very easy to believe her.
The Canadian prairies are as difficult to describe as they are to capture in music. To capture the feeling of the people of the prairies is an even more complex feat. The magnificence of Local Haunt’s debut, the self-titled EP Local Haunts, is his ability to do just that. David Janzen, the artist behind Local Haunts, combines his song writing talents with a distinct mix of folk, country, and alternative country melodies. Musically, Local Haunts is ever rhythmic and inoffensive. The clear combination of genres makes it feel that the “haunts” Janzen writes about could be anywhere from the Rocky Mountains to the lakes of Manitoba. His lyrics are ever intriguing and ever complex. Inspired by feels of leaving and longing, of desire and disorder, Local Haunts draws up strong memories of life in the land of endless fields and expansive skies. Whether you were raised a prairie child, or have only seen the endlessness of Central Canada on a map, Local Haunts will give you clear insight into the emotions of the area.
Laying in bed with dreams of love this winter? Or perhaps with your loved one in your grasp? Snow Mantled Love has made music for this. Chamber pop—molasses sweet, molasses hue, molasses slow.