The Strumbellas – Greatest Enemy

One of the first bands featured here, The Strumbellas, released a new single earlier this year that is just great. While the band was on hiatus during 2020, lead singer Simon Ward wrote Greatest Enemy as a way to reflect on his internal battles during a rough year that involved a cancelled tour even before the pandemic started. Not only has this song a great message, but it also is anthemic as hell. It’s impossible to listen to that chorus and resist the urge to sing or hum along. What I really love about this tune is that it doesn’t sound like I’ll Wait at all while being just as good. They weren’t just trying to repeat the same formula.

Greatest Enemy‘s music video is worth a watch as well. It was created by Toronto-based animator  Luca Tarantini and it is aligned with the song’s concept of battling your own demons. Watch it below.

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Lost In Japan – Lonely

Lost In Japan is a Canadian band whose members have never actually being lost in that Asian country. That being said, I dig that band’s name and, more importantly, their indie rock music. With a sound reminiscing of Arkells and My Favorite Highway (obscure reference), Lost In Japan have received plenty of support in their hometown of London, Ontario, and even amassed over 500k streams for their debut album (2018). They’re getting ready to release a sophomore EP and Lonely is its latest leading single.

Frontman Addison Johnson wrote Lonely three years ago while he was on tour. He wanted to channel the loneliness he was feeling while away from his family. Eventually, after other band members added their input to it, the tune morphed into the version we can listen to now. What I really love about Lonely is the infectious chorus that Addison delivers flawlessly. It’s a really catchy tune that I’m sure you will enjoy.

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Sum 41 – With Me

To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.

That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.

Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.

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We Wander – Rock And A Hard Place

I talked about Canadian #indiefolk act We Wander back in November (time flies), and they are back now with a new single, Rock And A Hard Place, that’s just as good, if not better. Drums and strings take a more prominent place on this song, which is nice, but just as with Can’t Save You, the secret weapon here is Maddie Little‘s vocals. She’s able to transmit emotions of longing, anger or despair in line with the lyrics, which are about a relationship falling apart. I particularly like the chorus because that’s where the songwriter is coming to terms with what is going on and, in some way, that’s exactly how that section of the tune makes you feel.

I would also say Rock And A Hard Place is a grower: a song that you enjoy more and more each time you listen to it. And if you needed further proof that We Wander was going places, watch the song’s music video below . It’s really well made and worth watching.

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Steve Kroeger & Skye Holland – Home

Steve Kroeger is an electronic music composer and producer who has had 5 singles on the Billboard Dance charts. He often teams up with singer-songwriter Skye Holland, as was the case in Home, a chill spellbinding tune that feels like summer. Skye, who got Japanese, Dutch and Canadian roots, started her music career at 10 when she joined a Japanese teen pop group. Her sweet voice shimmers all over this track and complements Steve’s smooth production really well.

Home is the perfect track to listen to when you want to lighten your mood. It’s fun and catchy as hell. As far as house/pop songs go, it cannot get any better than this. Enjoy!

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Sean Watson Graham – Your Life Is A Story

Your Life Is A Story is the debut single of Toronto-based musician Sean Watson Graham as a solo artist. His first band, Modern Space, got a deal with Warner Music Canada but unfortunately, that didn’t last. Now, he’s getting ready to release his first EP under his own name, for which this track is the lead single.

Sean wrote Your Life Is A Story after thee major life changes as a way to give himself some closure. It is a song about giving yourself another chance to start over again. The result was an uplifting indie folk track with great harmonies and a very compelling chorus. Good luck getting it out of your head afterwards. You’ll need it. Listen to it at your own peril.

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Sacropolis – The Sinner

The Sinner is the third single from Frankfurt-based four-piece band: Sacropolis. Part of their debut album to be released later this year, it is the quintessential light indie rock song with memorable hooks and catchy guitar lines. The Sinner is a graceful and compelling track about redemption that you would swear was written and performed by an established and popular band, not an independent act from Germany that is just getting started.

Sacropolis consists of two brothers, Jean (guitar) and Leon (bass), and two longtime friends: Ben (vocals & guitar) and Tom (drums). They actually met Ben back in 2013 when he caught their attention during one of his busking performances in Frankfurt. They ended up forming this band with the intention of creating simple and guitar-driven indie pop-rock. As it is more than evident with The Sinner, they accomplished that mission and then some. Check it out below.

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NERiMA – Home

I had been looking forward to writing about this song from the moment I added it to my backlog. Not only is it really good, but I also see a lot of potential on this little young band from Toronto, NERiMA. It consists of Alexi, Alex, and Connor and i doubt any of them is over 20. They claim to love both classic punk-rock and modern alternative music and somehow you can feel that in their tunes. Even Home, which they catalogue as soft-rock, got that blend in a perfect way, which is amazing considering their youth. It’s not easy to get that balance right.

And did I mention that Home is just their second single? They are currently preparing their debut album which will hopefully be released soon. As most bands, they faced difficulties during Covid, being so young and having no income from live shows. Fortunately, they survived the worst part but this is where we should step in and give them all the support we can. NERiMA‘s members are really talented and knowing that their music is connecting with people will let them know that they are on the right path and their sacrifices in terms of time, effort, and money have not been in vain. The last thing we want is a bright and talented band breaking up because they didn’t find an audience. Please buy or stream their music, follow them on social media (FB | IG | TW | YT) and let them know that you want them to keep making great music. Don’t do it for them, do it for your future self.

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Munroe – Don’t Rush To Get Old

Don’t Rush To Get Old is a warm and delicate track. A perfect folksy song to listen to while sipping a hot beverage in a winter afternoon. Kathleen Munroe, aka Munroe, sat down to write it after something important to her ended, thinking that something edgy or even bitter would come out of it. Instead, the result was this well-wishing and gorgeous song about slowing down to appreciate what we have, good or bad.

This Canadian artist started releasing music in 2015, with her debut full-length album, Oblivion, coming to light in 2017. She has teamed up with producer Benjamin Schwab to prepare her sophomore LP and Don’t Rush To Get Old is the second single to come out of that collaboration. In addition to being a songstress, Munroe is also an actor and filmmaker, skills she used on the single’s music video (see below), which she co-directed with her girlfriend Sophie Blumenthal. It was filmed on a field in King City, Ontario, while searching for the Richard Serra sculpture, Shift.

Without a doubt, Don’t Rush To Get Old is a deserving addition to our mixtapes below. Enjoy!

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MONOWHALES – Out With The Old

Monowhales is a 3-piece rock band from Canada that came to light in 2017 and achieved impressive success in the Canadian music scene for a DIY, independent band. They even got supporting slots for bands like Marianas Trench. The band released a few singles last year and started 2021 with a bang with the explosive Out With The Old. The hook-ridden tune got all the elements to get you to move from the moment the first chorus hits your ears.

Monowhales wrote this track about today’s world and feeling that we are given the illusion of choice when there is no choice at all, but staying hopeful for a better future. They got a new single lined up bot this Friday and if Out With The Old is any indication, we should really pay attention to it. They obviously know how to compose a great track.

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