• By: Owen Maxwell

Album Reviews: Hannah Georgas, Dizzy, Hiss Golden Messenger

Hannah Georgas – I’d Be Lying If I Said I Didn’t Care
(Newmarket, Ontario/Vancouver, British Columbia)

Ever since her second record, Hannah Georgas has infused her music with a kind of galactic level of mesmerizing sonics, making each album a kind of emotion-driven trip to the stars. Amidst her most personal and introspective album yet, Georgas focuses on songs that tap into deep feelings that reverberate back into the arrangements for a career highlight. The layering of “Better Somehow” enhances the feeling of the “what-if” in Georgas’ story, as the song beautifully shifts between its mellow side and a cosmic magic in its choruses, and even eventually its verses in parts. “Beautiful View” takes a more lo-fi sound and dazzles us by the sheer scope of its noticeably filtered tones. It’s shocking how well the mix of electronic and watery pianos play off each other on “Not the Name You Say,” as the track crafts a dance ballad out of sounds and timbres clearly very personal to Georgas. “Home” brings us into a catchy ode to finding that place/person that centres you, and how worn down you can feel trying to get to that spot, while the music seems to emulate the glowing happiness that comes with it and also a cold sense of desperation.

The Penske File Half Glow
(Burlington, Ontario)

Rushing out in a blaze of glory, The Penske File bring the fury on their latest record. “Bad Dreams” starts things off on an explosive note, with the belted choral lines and larger-than-life riffs slamming your ears with the weight of a stadium show. The euphoric oo’s of “Chorus Girl” rack in your focus right away, setting the stage for a stomping track that hits with a mix of 90s pop rock and Green Day. The band’s knack for infectious intros keeps rolling on “Ride It Out,” though here the drums take the lead in mix to turn the song into a torrential ride of mountainous beats. The more anxious and tense tones of “Wolves Gather” lends a more fleshed out emotional palette to the track, and the addictive calls of “Suzanna” will have you chanting them out along with the record.

Dizzy – Dizzy
(Oshawa, Ontario)

“Small story, big feeling” is a great distillation of how Dizzy shoots for the moon while keeping it their own. On their latest album, the Oshawa band hits a production high with finessed details in their sound, but never lose the soul that made us love them in the first place. Seemingly at the peak of their game with the pop production and dynamic punches on the track, “Birthmark” oscillates between a sweet indie sound and enough small moments rarely used outside the Top 40 that it wonderfully drives the song into something higher. “Open Up Wide” focuses in on a more dream-pop feeling, with the glossier ends of the production opening it up to a fully evolved radio-ready banger. Still tender and down to earth on “Knock the Wind,” Dizzy focus this quiet track around Katie Munshaw’s vocals, with the more textural tones fleshing out its overall story. The sense of tension in those massive chords on “Barking Dog” create the space for the band to slowly drip in, until the song reaches this smoky and fiery back-half where they’re crying out into a neon haze.

Gov’t Mule Made My Peace
(Atlanta, GA)

The sense of grandeur and the scope of a life comes into focus on “Made My Peace,” the latest single from Gov’t Mule. With many of the theatrical sweeping melodies that made the seventies stand out, the song feels big enough for orchestration before any even actually joins the song. All those swinging guitar lines and booming vocals hit like a wrecking ball, with the drums stomping through like the rest of the demolition crew. Once those strings cut through and the guitars fly off, it brings the song to a whole other level, ramping up a sense of epic excitement and drama as the solo wraps up. Even though the song doesn’t morph that much across its nine-minute run, the way the pianos and guitars have their timbres evolve and shift in use in the song adds a great dimension to round out the song’s already deep range.

Hiss Golden Messenger Jump for Joy
(Durham, NC)

Rather than fall into a nice little niche, Hiss Golden Messenger prove that some of the best “genre music” actually breaks the mould. Full of great tales and rich vocals that will brighten your day, this record goes down smooth without feeling too easy. The slow charge of “20 Years and a Nickel” hones in on its story, as MC Taylor leads you through a winding decades-long journey. The stellar bass of “Shinbone” invites you in, letting its sublime energy get you dancing and riding every eerie synth hook to a higher moment. Between the more traditional country charge and the soul tracks of the album lie “Nu-Grape,” a track that sinks you into its sunny mood and begs you add your own harmonies on its heavenly chorus. The layers to “The Wondering” weave so many unique grooves into each other that you’ll be lost in its intoxicating glow in seconds, while the pianos and belted chorus lines fall in to create an instant ear worm track.