Posted on October 25, 2023
Amongst those who know me, I’m not known as someone who can supply music fit for every mood. If anything, I select a song list entirely against the tenor of the evening, the moving vehicle, or the dish pit. Slow sad burners when the night is ablaze and the inverse. Not to be contrarian, but more so oblivious.
Posted on July 31, 2023
Except for hip hop or the occasional R&B-inflected jazz, I don’t really listen to much music with vocals. Last year, though, I started listening to the jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant. Her latest album is Mélusine (2023) but I remain mired in and moved by Ghost Song (2022). I don’t just love her voice, its tone and timbre, I also love her intelligent lyricism, her confident pastiches of different musical eras, her jarring dissections of power in intimate relations, her masterful takes on great artists from Gregory Porter to Kate Bush.
Posted on June 27, 2023
Though it was only released a month ago as I write this, Kelela’s album Raven has been on constant rotation: whether it’s the summery “On the Run,” the piercingly erotic “Sorbet,” or the emotionally expansive “Enough for Love.” Her fusion of R&B, house, and electronica is like no one else. Unlike a lot of contemporary albums, I tend to listen to Raven from start to finish. It asks you to immerse yourself.
Posted on May 24, 2023
I often listen to the same album on repeat when I’m engaged in intense writing sessions – the rhythmic familiarity seems to provide the perfect level of inspiring-but-not-too-distracting background noise. The album I’ve listened to the most over the past couple of years, and that I always recommend to others, is my fellow Winnipegger, Begonia’s, Fear, which she released in 2019.
Posted on May 16, 2023
Every few years, I become fixated on an album and listen to it on repeat until my husband, children and cat are all desperate for reprieve. During the winter of 2021, Lotta Sea Lice was that album. A collaboration between speak-singing indie darlings Kurt Vile and Courtney Barnett, it’s a subtle, well-crafted album that’s perfect to write to — it plods along pleasantly in the background until, one day, you realize that the songs are sneaky earworms and you never feel like listening to anything else.
Posted on April 11, 2023
Peter Gabriel has described his song “Here Comes the Flood” as being metaphorical, about a washed-over, infiltrated state of mind more than an actual natural disaster. Nearly fifty years after its release on his self-titled 1977 album, and in the immediate wake of deadly mudslides in southern B.C., it seems like a literal prophecy. I first heard it while watching the TV series The Americans, in which it plays behind—and steals—a heartbreaking season-ending scene.
Posted on March 28, 2023
A year ago, I moved to another continent just as COVID-19 was finding its feet (sorry, Mum and Dad). Stuck indoors for months and unable to connect to my new surroundings, I found myself seeking out and appreciating Canadian content more than I had when I was home. I began listening more and more to young Canadian artists – Faouzia and Scott Helman, in particular.
Posted on January 24, 2023
Catherine A. O'Toole's Music Recommendation
Bakar is an artist and musician living and working in London, England. I tripped over his music early on in the pandemic and it was exactly what I needed and continues to be. He released this EP, Will You Be My Yellow? in September of 2019.
Posted on November 16, 2022
Jessamyn Hope is the author of the novel Safekeeping—winner of the J. I. Segal Award and a finalist for the Paterson Fiction Prize and the Ribalow Prize. Her short stories and essays—originally published in Ploughshares, PRISM International, Descant, and elsewhere—have been selected for Best Canadian Essays, two Pushcart Prize honorable mentions, and a Best American Notable. Her short story "Verified Purchase" is featured in the 2022 autumn issue of The Fiddlehead. She grew up in Montreal and lives in New York City.
Posted on November 10, 2022
Acadia Currah (She/They) is an essayist and poet residing in Vancouver, British Columbia. Their work explores her relationship with gender, sexuality, and religion. She is a leather-jacket-latte-toting lesbian, her work seeks to reach those who most need to hear it. Their work has appeared in The Spotlong Review and Defunkt Magazine and her essay "Femme Fatales and The Lavender Menace" was featured in the 2022 creative nonfiction issue of The Fiddlehead.