Tag: Stars

Back in 2016, the Toronto-based pop rock act Jane’s Party — comprised of Devon Richardson (bass, vocals), Tom Ionescu (guitar, vocals), Jeff Giles (keys, vocals) and Zach Sutton (drums)  — opened for Tom Odell during the singer/songwriter’s 2016 No Bad Days Tour across Europe. The experiences the band had while on the road wound up inspiring a set of home studio demos that would eventually become the backbone to their latest album Casual Island. As the story goes, after returning home, the members of the band called up producer Derek Hoffman, who’s known for his work with likes of The Trews, Arkells, The Elwins, Willa and others, to set up the recording sessions for their latest album.

Casual Island finds the band collaborating with a handful of acclaimed Toronto-based artists including DJ Skratch Bastid, BADBADNOTGOOD‘s Leland Whitty and Fast Romantics‘ Kirty and Matt Angus. “For the four of us, writing and recording music has always been a collaborative process,” the band’s Zach Sutton says in press notes. “Bringing in Skratch, Leland and Kirty is our way of expanding the family and getting fresh creative juices into the mix. Every collaboration has been a huge source of inspiration that challenges the way we approach music making.” The band’s Jeff Giles adds, “This album feels very personal to us, like we’re sharing that initial intimate experience when you’re first coming up with the song and recording it in your bedroom.”

The up-and-coming Canadian act, which has played with Arkells, LIGHTS, Blue Rodeo, Stars, The Trews, Sam Roberts Band, Lowest of The Low, Matt Mays, Tom Odell, Manic Street Preachers and Lord Huron recently released a re-imagined and subtly re-worked version of “Straight from the Heart.”  The re-worked version, which features Skye Wallace as a lead vocalist and backing vocalist manages to retain the original’s hook while being a slow-burning and ethereal fever dream that’s one part yacht rock, one part R&B and one part pop.

Interestingly, the reworked version finds the thematically content shifted a bit, with the song exploring love from balancing the excitement and mundanity of being with someone, and the compromise and empathy required to sustain any relationship whether romantic or plutonic. And as the band notes, the duet strives to evoke the feeling one should get, knowing that the little things in a relationship are ultimately there to teach us about the importance of empathy, love and partnership.






Although he’s probably best known as the keyboardist of the acclaimed Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada-based indie rock act Wintersleep, Jon Samuel is also a solo artist and multi-instrumentalist in his own right, releasing his debut album First Transmissions back in 2012. His forthcoming solo record Dead Melodies is slated for a February 1, 2019 release through Hidden Pony Records/Believe Digital, and the album is reportedly a much more collaborative effort than First Transmissions as Samuel and his Wintersleep bandmate/producer Loel Campbell recruited Wintersleep’s Tim D’Eon (guitar), Halifax-based roots rocker Matt Hays (guitars), Stars‘ Chris Seligman (French horn) and Walrus‘ Keith Doiron (bass) as the Dead Melodies session band. Sonically, the album is reportedly centered around adventurous musical eclecticism and an emboldened songwriting process, revealing an artist, who is willing to wade into difficult subject mater; but more important, the album is Samuel’s pledge to do better — both as an artist and as a human being with the hopes that the album and its material will inspire you as a listener to do the same. (Lord only knows, we all should be doing so much better.)

Dead Melodies latest single, album title track “Dead Melodies” is a rousingly anthemic track based around arena rock-like power chords, a propulsive rhythm section and a soaring, shout along worthy hook that actually turns the song’s title into a proud, defiant badge of stubborn defiance and survival rather than defeat. “When I wrote the song, it was a couple of years after I had finished making a record that nobody listened to,” Samuel explains in press notes. “I just wanted to write a song about how art and music are undervalued—it’s literally worth nothing in a lot of cases. You make a record, spend a lot of time and money on it… and then it’s basically just free. And disposable, too, because there’s just so much of it. So that was the basic idea of ‘Dead Melodies’—I’m going to put this out there, and maybe nobody hears it, and it might be worth nothing!”