Walt Disco drops you into a smoky, electronica cloud to dance your pains away

Pup – The Unraveling of Puptheband (Toronto)

Pup has noticeably honed their punk and pop with every album, constantly satisfying both ends of their fandom with their sharp sensibilities on both ends. With The Unraveling of Puptheband, they truly have it finessed to an art, as they elevate it once again to occasionally orchestral-like heights. The opening thematic sprawl of “Four Chords” sets a more theatrical tone for the record, with a sweeping and borderline symphonic feel that shows Pup at a true creative peak, and really playing with their sound and craft beautifully. Despite its intensely abrasive approach, “Totally Fine” comes so rough that you can’t help but shake listening to it, and then screaming along once it hits its catchier chorus chants. All their most addictive hooks come together in “Matilda” for a true gem of a song, even in Pup’s impressive catalogue, and one that easily meshes its bright riffs, and heartbreaking lyrics into a powerful experience with true grit. The viscera in the noise on “Grim Reaping” adds to the rush of speed and rather kinetic playing on the track, as the whole thing has a danger and fear in its wailing.

Sun Freezing Cold – Sun Freezing Cold (Montreal)

Parts reggae group and parts dance-pop powerhouse, Sun Freezing Cold craft a two-flavoured album that really knows how to bring the energy. The duo craft a dance dream on “Private Personal Hell (Remix)” with vintage techno power, a jagged bassline that calls to J-rock, and a unique vocal approach that sets the whole thing in a world of its own. The delicate back and forth in the beats of “Comfortable Lust” leaves the whole track in a sunny and yet mysterious haze, as the track ponders exactly who they are and what they want. The groove of “Monday Morning” recalls New Order and Erasure, and the whole song glows in its electrical dance high, especially as it moves to an almost wordless swirl of chants. The disco rounds out the pop-heavy listen on “Fall For You” as the duo layer vocal upon vocal, and build their anthem here into a fiery melange of drums and vicious guitars.

Walt Disco – Unlearning (Glasgow, Scotland)

Somewhere between Panic! at the Disco and a half-dozen experimental electronic acts lies the wonderful curiosity of Walt Disco. 

With a larger-than-life energy, “Weightless” drops you in a smoky, electronica cloud to get lost and dance your pains away into something powerful and heavy, especially with the heft of its bass. With its demented charge, “How Cool Are You” swings with an unforgettable aesthetic and comments on popularity with a truly ballistic sonic approach. The floaty bliss of “Be An Actor” masks its more worried energy, letting you sink into its funky grooves before you realize the true  anxiety its exploring. Few songs get quite as biting and haunting as “Macilent,” and the raw fury in its guitar lines can be grungy enough to sound like a crying beast.

Sam Casey – I’d Rather Go Blind (Single)  (Toronto)

Exploring their art through an Etta James cover, Sam Casey crafts a whole new soul into the track that one wouldn’t think possible. It’s palpable how much the track means to Casey almost immediately, whether by the vocal affectations she adds, or the sense of deep emotion she drips into every word of the song. However it’s the slowly expanding soundscape she leads us through that really sets it apart, with the growly guitar leading to mountainous bass, and then a glitched-out production. Take this and the true belt-out moments that Casey lets out, and it’s clear they’ve spent a lot of time with this track both as a performer and listener, to the point that they’re focusing so deeply on these singular moments to morph the track into a new form of its pure heart-wrenching core.  

Erin Rae – Lighten Up (Nashville, TN)

Not every artist can craft an ethereal and unplaceable sound in a solo record, but Erin Rae comes out with a cosmic quality right out the gate. Charming in its most straightforward moments and majestic at its heights, this shows an artist fully formed and ready to take the industry by storm. The calm and serene beauty of “Candy & Curry” entrances you, and lures you through a rather galactic wash of synths, while her guitar playing guides you forward with a hypnotic quality. With Kevin Morby fleshing out the vocals, “Can’t See Stars” takes a more classically Nashville sound, while Rae’s poetic storytelling lets the simple bounce of the track just take you away. The vintage, crooner sheen to “Cosmic Sigh” makes for a breathtaking listen, as Rae’s strings add a truly magical and romantic feeling to the music, and once it hits its instrumental break, the dance-like feeling just makes your heart soar more.  Even in her most indie-pop core, “Modern Woman” sees Rae’s voice creating an easily enjoyable track, though one that more iconic with each of the mini post-chorus riffs you get.