Sometimes isolation and social withdrawal isn’t conducive to healing from our cumulated hardships. Building up communities that share pain, frustrations, and disappointments is an act of reslience.

The latest release from Lo Siento, Brujas (translation: witches), is a narrative of finding strength and solidarity through femme friendship during times of distress. Based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Lo Siento is Pepa Chan (guitar/vocals), Andrea Mcguire (bass/backing vocals), Allison Graves (drums), and newest member Jake Nicoll (keys/synth).

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Lo Siento: Pepa Chan, Allison Graves, Andrea McGuire
Photo by Knoah Bender

Brujas delivers the same spanish naive punk as their first release, Bingo Bango, but with the addition of pop melodies from Nicoll on keys and synth.

While Brujas delivers a sound that is light, enthusiastic, and cheerful, a deeper look into Chan’s lyrics will reveal that Lo Siento is a very political project that isn’t afraid to talk about all the hard things with all their complexities. Her voice, scrappy yet sweet, sings to us about coping, grieving, and resisting.

Brujas offers consistency. Together, Chan, McGuire, Graves, and Nicoll have developed song-writing that is cohesive and specific to Lo Siento. A standout track, for me, would be Despierta-aahhh, a song about struggling with insomnia (“si me acuesto me desvelo” translation: if I go to bed I wake up). The guitar walk-down that is punctuated by three snare hits really mirrors the way that restlessness can feel.

I think it’s okay to name that Lo Siento is an outlet, and a place of refuge, for when everything you are living is becoming too tough to manage alone.

See Lo Siento live:

March 15th – Brujas release w/ Pillowcount, Black Market Hard-Tack, and Hay Carbon! @ Peter Easton Pub, St. Johns, NFLD.

March 16th – Brujas release @ Fred’s Records, St. John’s, NFLD.

April 13th – Kazoo! Fest, Guelph, ON.

April 15th – w/ Property @ Burdock, Toronto, ON.

April 17th – w/ Property @ TBD, Kitchener, ON.

April 19th – w/ Property @ Black Squirrel Books, Ottawa, ON.

April 20th – Presented by Out of Earshot w/ Property @ La Plante, Montreal, QC.

Contribution by: Nikki A Basset


Coy’s two song demo “Bury Me/Imposter” (released December 14) has elements of pop, elements of punk, and most immediately, a perfect 90s grunge vibe with mellow harmonies that remind me of That Dog.

It’s a well blended good music smoothie. Story Sheidow (guitar and lead vocals) and Jesara Sinclair Friesen (bass and backing vocals) bring institutional punk knowledge (Sheidow drums in Uncle) to Emilee Sorrey’s (drums and backing vocals) pop experience (Sorrey is the front person in Sorrey) and these catchy songs are our reward.

Bury Me’s fuzzy jangle leads to a cool call and response bridge and ends with a brief but crashing finale. Lyrically it’s heavy too, but pleasantly foggy to decipher. I’m applying this song to any falling out I’ve ever had.

Blasting Imposter would do the trick when imposter syndrome creeps in and threatens to ruin a good thing. The driving chorus is a pump up and catchy as hell so get out the way, anyone/thing that’s holding you back.

The demo is like a little taste of what’s to come—the PEI band will record an EP in January, to be released in the spring, which will also mark a year of Coy playing together.


Contribution by: Stephanie Johns (she/her). Stephanie plays guitar in Not You and bass in Moon and has been writing about music for 20 years. She made two cute people that she spends a lot of time with these days.


Veneer (WPG) is the vulnerable pop project of friends Talula Schlegel (guitar, saxophone, vocals), Sam Sarty (bass, casio, trombone, vocals), and Claire Bones (drums, vocals).


Photo by Chelsea Neufeld

Talula and Sam have been playing, making, and performing music together over the last decade – even posting covers on YouTube that they filmed in their neighbourhood bushes. When they met Claire, their friendship and musical partnership became a triad, and in the summer of 2017, Veneer was formed.

I can attest that their love, caring, and reciprocating friendship translates into their live performance. In bearing witness to their set, you are offered a window into the ways they support and prop each other up to experiment, play, and explore: a truly magical experience.

Since their formation, they have been busy gaining attention and winning over the hearts of anyone who has a chance to see and hear them. In the last year, their first single, Unsure, was premiered by Stylus Magazine, they toured Western Canada, and did a live set at CJSW in Calgary.

Today, I am honoured to present Veneer’s first music video for Don’t Get My Hair Wet created by Allegra Chiarella (director) and Jesse de Rocquigny (cinematography).

The video perfectly compliments the audio as both starting points are tender, slow, and unassuming. When it builds musically in volume and intensity, it builds visually through the use of choreography, colour, and sparkle.

Don’t Get My Hair Wet is about consent – a topic that Veneer takes seriously, but doesn’t hold to one rigid standard:

“we wanted to write a song that reinforced the necessity of consent being taken seriously in any way it’s presented and which challenges and eliminates any notion of how consent is “supposed to be” delivered”.

Their intent through this song, and video, is to breach the topic of consent in a way that is accessible and to acknowledge that consent isn’t always given explicitly or sternly – however you assert your boundaries is valid and should be respected.

The opening of the song is reflexive and serious as you can see in their outfits, their expressions, and their actions, but playfulness quickly starts to build. They consistently introduce more colour and choreography until the canon (“even if you wanted to / please don’t get my hair wet”) which leads you to a staircase where they, now sparkly, are urgently climbing to get to a rooftop in downtown Winnipeg.

On this rooftop, they are dancing completely free and safe in their own bodies. When the song drops, you are left with their shadows playing against the building behind them – a closing as tender as its opening.

Veneer is a band worth watching – they might even be releasing their first EP in early 2019 😉

Contribution by: Nikki A Basset


Mary Dear’s Absentee is 10 tracks packed with diaphanous harmonies floating over mellow and severely locked in grooves. The band delivers complex lyrics that seem to touch on themes of being fed the fuck up, dreamy narratives and (sometimes painful) realizations.

Recorded in St. John’s in January 2017 with Jake Nicoll, keyboardist and vocalist Esmée Gilbert and guitarist and vocalist Leslie Amminson had collected most of the 10 tracks for Absentee over a few years from demos and RPM Challenge projects. Throughout their 6+ year career, the band grew from a two-piece to a five-piece band (Sarah Harris on bass, Peter Lannon on guitar and Jack Etch on drums), Gilbert says that many of the tracks hadn’t been backed by a full band before. You’d be hard pressed to guess that if you weren’t familiar with the band’s history as the album sounds very cohesive and very clean.

Spare instrumentalism (I say spare but it leads up to a really bomb guitar solo that really rips the hell out of er so don’t like crank it first thing) on “Nothing” showcases almost Baroque-ish harmonies. “Please Don’t Lie To Me” absolutely crushes some poor dork with a “simple mind” (ow) but like in the sweetest sounding way possible? Like you’d obviously perish if this song was about you but you’d also have to hand it to them because it also owns. “Strange Sort of Joy” has some real strong Plumtree vibes, noted and appreciated. And what a goddamned BOP is “Backbiting”—the bass bumps all to hell and back, just try and stop it. You can’t, so don’t try.


Photo by: Heather Nolan

Amminson and Gilbert’s vocal skills alone could carry Absentee, but thoughtful lyrics and dynamic musicianship make the album super lovely.

Contribution by: Stephanie Johns (she/her) plays guitar in Not You and bass in Moon and has been writing about music for 20 years. She made two cute people that she spends a lot of time with these days.


While working at a juice bar together in Halifax, Kirsten Todd (guitar/vocals) and Michelle Moraitis (lead vocals/harmonica) bonded over their love for shoegaze, the diy-ness of the riot grrrl movement, and their lived experiences of misogyny in their music community. At first, singing out their frustrations while chopping fruit was just their emotional outlet, but this inevitably planted the seed for the all-femme band, Juice Girls.

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Michelle Moraitis, Kirsten Todd, Kelsey Crewson, Lauren Randles, Robin Fraser
Photo by Scott Randles

They rejected gate-keeping in their music community and encouraged each other to learn, create, and take up space. After playing as a two-piece for a while, they later invited femmes, Lauren Randles (keyboard), Kelsey Crewson (bass), and Robin Fraser (drums), who shared their frustrations to nurture and water this baby seedling with them.

Their first full length album, Juice Girls, is a shoe-gazy, slacker-pop, dreamscape. Each song creates a sort of uncertainty with it’s direction through the way they play with tempo, dynamics, space, and emotion. Like the tides, the drum parts pull you in and push you back. This album lulls you – it can pass you by, blurry and unaware. The jangly guitar, harmonica melodies, and delicate vocals offer listeners the opportunity to be introspective, yet it would be a shame to miss what they are saying.

Michelle and Kirsten’s songwriting is poetic and tender while playful and empowering – the imagery they create is both vague and dream-like while vivid and relatable. In ghoul gal, fish eye, and my baby, you’re offered stories about cute, maybe frightening, and potentially heroic creatures. milk me tall and castor soap are love songs for femmes while grapefruit is about disappointing boy-crushes. blueberry, watermelon, and when she comes offer insight into appreciating the duality of things, anxiety, and pivotal spaces that can be both difficult and exciting. They use gentle, affirming, and welcoming language in their songwriting to describe these mundane, idealistic, and even magical themes.

Juice Girls is a product of sweetness, femme resilience, and ripened friendship. While their tenderness is their greatest strength, they aren’t waiting for an invite into spaces dominated by men – they are taking up the space that they need.

Contribution by: Nikki A Basset