Half/Time (New Zealand)

Based in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) Aotearoa.

Half/Time is a post-punk solo project started during the cosmic hellscape that was 2020 by Wairehu Grant (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tūwharetoa). The music is a combo of fuzzed out guitar and outdated drum machines. The lyrics are affirmations from a loud and proud brown boi.

Boy With Apple (Sweden)

It’s like Boy With Apple tries to transport you to another universe with their dreamlike pop. A mesmerizing world of eternal sunlight touching your face, long embraces from someone you love, and unconditional comfort. The band’s emotionally charged glittershoegaze manages to convey all that and much more, perhaps more now than ever before. Their latest single “Brighter Than the Sun” is a vibrant message of what the members are capable of and ends up somewhere in between Beach House and DIIV, with a distinctive electronic touch. After their first self released single they’ve continued to release music under the DIY indie label Vårø Records.

Mouraine (AB, Canada)

Born in Sudan, bred in Edmonton Canada, destined for stages around the world; Mouraine is a name to pay attention to. His debut EP Bigger Dreams, released via Birthday Cake Records in 2021 received props from Complex, The Source, CBC, Earmilk, Exclaim!, RANGE, If It’s Too Loud, Hip Hop Canada and more. After hustling in the underground for the past few years, Mouraine is quickly making moves to emerge into the limelight on the brink of his breakthrough full-length album, In Search of Gold. Slated for release in the spring of 2023, the project is a collaboration with producer duo deadmen (Begonia, Royal Canoe, Ashleigh Ball, Ian Sweet), with features from his brother MOTO, Canadian R&B icon JRDN, and a few surprise appearances. The songs delve into Mouraine’s personal life story and deliver an intimate vulnerability complemented by captivating stories, bold lyricism and colossal beats.

“There comes a time in every artist’s career to pursue their unimaginable creativity, to find themselves and their sound. “In Search of Gold” is metaphorically a representation of my life journey. I’ve always thought that chasing possessions was going to fulfill me. But I realized that to find gold is to find your purpose, peace, and happiness, and that’s what this album means to me.” – Mouraine

As a young, first-generation immigrant to Canada, Mouraine first learned to speak English through his insatiable appetite for music. Hip Hop, Rap and R&B lyrics became his teacher, his solace, and his inspiration to use this language as a tool for self expression and survival. By the age of 11 he began writing, recording and performing original music that would lead to sharing stages with the likes of Mac Miller, J.Cole, T-Pain, Big Sean, Pusha T, Classified, and Shad. Mouraine’s music has been placed in Footlocker Ads, played live at Toronto Raptors NBA games, awarded him accolades from his community and peers, and continues to infect audiences around the world. A seemingly endless source of energy, there’s no denying that Mouraine has a magnetic ability to pull people in and make them feel a part of his music and message.

Haley Blais (BC, Canada)

Haley Blais is a Vancouver based singer-songwriter and musician. Haley has been DIY-ing it since 2014, turning out song after song of defiant scream-into-your-pillow bedroom pop anthems recorded in her actual bedroom. Below the Salt, the debut studio LP from the up and comer, is a coming of age story that recognizes that there is no real ‘coming of age.’ Featuring production from indie favourites Tennis (Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley) and fellow Vancouver artist Louise Burns, Haley’s signature sound has matured into a distinct new voice. Her lyrics riff on the joys and banalities of the every day, on the need to break apart and away from an uninspiring life, on radical acceptance, and manifesting a world where you feel proud of yourself and who you’re surrounded by. “Canada’s nostalgia pop queen” – i-D Magazine

Cassidy Mann (MB, Canada)

As a lyricist, singer-songwriter Cassidy Mann often reshapes a small moment into a powerful and poetic song that feels both personal and relatable.

“My favorite thing is to write about tiny things that make the bigger picture more important somehow,” she says. “It’s interesting to me how memories are interpretable.”

Mann’s latest EP “If It’s Not Forever” served as a catalogue of how her early relationships ended and why – and she hopes that other people feel seen and comforted by her stories.

Certain moments in a relationship are almost always at the core of her songs, whether it’s the potential start of something special (“Since I Met You”) or the inevitable end (“Stop a Heart”).

Her latest offering is the new single “Along For the Ride” – a song she wrote alone in her bedroom and then co-produced with Kris Ulrich and long time collaborator Roman Clarke. The track features back up vocals and harmonies by Georgia Harmer, a choice Mann says is “a musical symbol of the people in your life who support you.”

“This song is about getting caught up in someone else’s life and losing your agency for a while, which is always destabilizing. I hope it can be a reminder that our own goals are worthy of pursuing and the right people will encourage them, not try to bury them.”

Grimelda (SK, Canada)

Grimelda (fka The Faps) has re-birthed as a really really really good band with unhinged rock songs that take art and punk to weird levels of amazing awesomeness. While their “New Daft Punk” EP (2021, Transistor 66) highlighted collaboration and genre-bending like the world had never seen, “It’s So Feeling When You Rock” (2023, Transistor 66) is a collection of absurd classics inspired by the need to claw your way through the dumpster fire in search of F U N.

Wow. Just wow. Is this the future of music? Could these two skids from the Canadian prairies be transcending sound? Or is this a regression into dank riffs? Find out by catching this ineffable aural monster in every single town on Earth for the rest of eternity.

XL the Band (BC, Canada)

XL The Band is a Western Canadian Music Award nominated hip hop/ jazz/ alternative fusion project featuring 2/3rds of 4x JUNO Award winning Vancouver group Swollen Members. The members of XL have decades of live experience rocking audiences of tens of thousands on festival main stages, playing in orchestras, and winding up jazz clubs.

XL have had their songs and music videos streamed over 3,000,000 times, have been selected to perform at multiple prominent festivals, and have European and North American touring lined up in support of their debut album release Opus No. 1.

Ellen Froese (SK, Canada)

Ellen Froese is what you’d call a “prolific artist”; committed, too. For someone who only just passed the threshold of their mid-20s, she’s amassed a resolutely solid body of work and, with a variety of projects, achieved more than some many years her senior. For Each Flower Growing, Froese’s fourth full-length, produced in collaboration with the Sheepdogs’ Sam Corbett, is her most accomplished statement to date, drawing on her established sound as a folk & country-based singer/songwriter while incorporating a wider frame of reference in the rich production, supple instrumentation, and overall sonic soundworld. It’s much harder to pin down than any simple description can convey, making it all the more worthwhile to check out.

The impressive scope of this rich, imaginative amalgam of an album is largely due to the expansive creative vision of Froese herself, who says the album is “based around ideas of 1970s science exploration via Carl Sagan’s series Cosmos, Arthur Russell’s drum machine folk music, finding humour in sadness, and analyzing past relationship choices”. Some of these guiding elements can be attributed simply to the continuing growth of a serious artist, but others lie in less sunny realities. Jill Mack, Froese’s original recording engineer and close friend, sadly passed away during the making of For Each Flower Growing, and subsequently the album became, as she puts it, “something different – it is now an homage to her and will always hold memories of my time in the studio with her”.

Despite this deep sadness underpinning the album’s creation, Froese was lucky to find a wonderful creative foil in Sam Corbett, helping her move past old ideas and reimagine her conception of what “folk music” can be. With the addition of drum machines, synths, and more intricate vocal production techniques, Froese reflects that “folk music can be anything I want it to be; I don’t have to be stuck in an antiquated mindset to hold strong musical ties to the past”. And the results of that mindset are stellar; For Each Flower Growing is exquisitely warm and inviting, foregrounding the singer’s lilting, ethereal vocals atop right-in-the-pocket, pillow-y drumming, melodic bass lines, ripples of Hammond organ layers, and – for the headphone listener – a bevvy of expertly-placed sonic details tucked into the margins of this highly accomplished album.

The album is an easy listen, immediately inviting and begging for repeat listens. And while it sits nicely alongside contemporary songsmiths such as Angel Olsen, Laura Veirs, Jessica Pratt, and Adrienne Lenker (Big Thief), Froese’s sound moves beyond those realms, also recalling the aforementioned Arthur Russell, an iconoclastic songwriter and producer whose songs traded in similar contemplative, horizon-gazing moods, and even the more relaxed moments of Jeff Tweedy and Wilco. In other moments, Froese’s roots in the trad-folk world shine through, revealing an affinity for ’60s British folk trailblazers such as Fairport Convention and Nick Drake, as well as under the radar gems like Judee Sill and Sybille Baier. Froese recently completed a string of live dates with beloved fellow Saskatchewanians Deep Dark Woods, and she is gearing up for a residency at the legendary Cameron House in Toronto for the month of November. The album is due out on November 10 via Victory Pool Records, and appreciators of fine music would be well-advised to check it out.

Wedance (South Korea)

Wedance. It’s a statement and a warning. The duo spends a great majority of their time on stage living up to the name wearing outfits that might be described, with the greatest amount of love possible, as retirement-community-inspired. Wedance, is a singularly difficult band to describe.

With songs about everyday life, a penchant for banging on a single cymbal in between dance breaks, dissonant vocals and dissonant guitars it’s hard to talk about this band without any musically-seasoned listener narrowing their eyes sceptically and possibly thinking they don’’t know well. But these features come together to form a glorious confluence of a-tonal, spasmodic pop bliss that can feel at once anthemic and, of course, make you move in whatever weirdo way these unique compositions compel you.

There’s not enough proudly odd stuff in this world, and so a Wedance set seems to speak to that feeling and acts then as a challenge and invitation; Wedance, do you?

NADUH (BC, Canada)

5 piece femme powered hip hop group, NADUH, write, engineer, and produce all of their music – meaning they have crafted a sound that’s truly representative of their collective energy – spreading unity consciousness through R&B infused beats that hit every chakra, laced with buttery-smooth vocals and herstorical lyrics. This one-of-a-kind group aims to shatter earthly constructs and help their audience access higher realms of consciousness while entertaining their urge to twerk.

Go Go Machine Orchestra (Taiwan)

Go Go Machine Orchestra was established in 2017 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. The artists who create the group’s hypnotic collage of music and sound are Ni-Li Tang (piano), Pin-Hsin Wang (synthesizer), Kuan-Yin Chen (guitar) and Ting-Chun Yeh (percussion).

The group takes elements from many different musical styles (minimalism, electronica, slowcore, percussion-based music) and creates a sound that could be compared to a sight seeing tour: much like each stop along the way provides different scenery, each composition provides a completely different aural landscape. By the journey’s end the listener’s senses have been profoundly affected.

Each band member studied and perfected their musical craft at various international locales (LA, New York, Chicago), and after returning to Taiwan formed Go Go Machine Orchestra. They have performed at major music festivals and music industry events all over Taiwan, and now they will embark on their first European tour, with North American and Asian tours to follow. The group is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to share their music with a global audience.

Dresden Wolves (Mexico)

Introducing Dresden Wolves, an explosive post punk duo all the way from Mexico.

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