Every great story is like a long winding road, no matter where it leads, it has to start somewhere.

It’s been a decade since singer Matt Layzell and guitarist Matt Rose spent a few hazy days writing songs in a rustic cabin on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Since then, The Matinée has evolved from its humble origins, navigating their own route, to become a powerhouse roots rock band with a following spread across North America. Having spent years logging miles in the tour van and dropping sweat on stages near and far, the four-piece — which also includes drummer Peter Lemon and guitarist Geoff Petrie — is making its most electrifying statement yet with their sophomore album Dancing on Your Grave.

The four friends, who were high school cohorts before their musical paths intertwined, spent their first few years as a band cutting their teeth on the road. They become familiar faces at every small bar and venue around their hometown of Vancouver, and they honed their chops playing small clubs nationwide. “It was a means for all of us to travel across the country, throw a tent along the road, and get some free beer,” remembers Layzell.

Things changed in 2013, when the group signed to Light Organ Records and released its debut album, We Swore We’d See the Sunrise. Recorded at the prestigious Armoury Studios with Grammy award-winning producer Steve Berlin, (The Tragically Hip, Los Lobos), the record’s salt-of-the-earth rock sound made a splash on radio across North America and earned the outfit a string of prominent festival bookings across Canada and the U.S.A.

In 2015, they linked up with Mounties members Steve Bays (Hot Hot Heat) and Ryan Dahle (Limblifter), who produced the 2015 EP Broken Arrows and helped to nurture the ensemble’s gritty rock influences. The result; the first single off the record, Temper Temper, hit #1 on the CBC Radio 3 national charts.

The Matinée’s latest full-length represents the triumphant culmination of its achievements to date. A heart-swelling collision of hook-infused rock and earthy roots influences, the album was produced by Jamie Candiloro (R.E.M., Ryan Adams) and recorded at Light Organ’s own 604 Studios. The sessions took place in the wake of a series of personal upheavals within the group: marriages, children, and an emotional breakup saw each member take time away from the band to gain some much needed perspective. “We were all going through big life changes,” he recalls. “After a difficult split, I found myself disappearing on solo road trips into the wild with my dog, trying to clear my head.”
When the guys finally got back to work, the connection was instantaneous. Songs began pouring out of them, and they continued writing in the midst of the three weeks they spent in the studio. “We wrote over 40 songs for this record,” adds Layzell. “Of the 11 that are on the record, more than half of them were written in the studio while we were doing the session. The songs were so fresh. We were learning them as we were playing them.” They captured most of the parts live off the floor, channeling the magnetic energy of their explosive shows into the recordings.

Currently gearing up to release their sophomore full length, Stefanie Blondal Johnson and Jodi Dunlop of Winnipeg rock outfit Mise en Scene have seen some slow and steady changes, but the metamorphosis is well worth the wait. Titled Still Life On Fire (Light Organ Records), the al-bum is a burning holler, a swelling rumble indicative of the talented forces behind the monitors.

Johnson began writing the album while taking part in a musicians residency at the renowned Banff Arts Centre in the winter of 2014. “With songwriting, inspiration comes to you and you have to articulate that emotion and that feeling,” Johnson explains of desiring to create a cohesive, conceptual album. “We’re trying to crack the code of what we’re trying to say.”

Beginning with the expansive “Intro (Nothing)”, the album builds through layers of hard hitting percussion, powerful vocals and catchy riffs. By “True”, your head is bopping and you can’t even believe how you came from light, folky jams to driving, resonant rhythms. The progression takes its time and pulls you along with it.

Recorded in Winnipeg and produced by Montréal-based mastermind Mike Nash (who has worked with everyone from members of The Dears, Blue Rodeo and Ladies of the Canyon) the album is a full, sonic delight capturing a full portrayal of the band’s journey.

Mise en Scene’s breakout album, Desire’s Despair (Pipe & Hat, 2012), was a rallying call that got the female forces noticed, and more importantly, heard. Produced by Howard Redekopp (Tegan & Sara), Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire) and Tony Berg (Beck), the album took them on a roller coaster of a career kick-off. It lived on the !earshot Top 50 national charts in Canada for weeks, received a 2014 Sirius XM Indies Award nomination, as well as touring across Canada, to infamous American music hubs such as SXSW, and to the prestigious Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, Spain.

It was while playing at Canadian Music Week in Toronto that Mise en Scene was noticed by Dyllan Towle of Light Organ Records. Based in Vancouver, Light Organ represents Canadian talent with an independent edge, such as The Zolas and Mounties, a group featuring Hawksley Workman and members of Hot Hot Heat.

After going through a rotating cast of bassists while touring Desire’s Despair, they finally came across Cory Hykawy. After Hykawy, the band began performing with a second guitar, adding an even fuller sound to their cool-kid buzz. Mise en Scene is set to release Still Life On Fire this year, and it couldn’t be a moment too soon. The energy is infectious, caged and ready.

“Still Life On Fire is the name of the album and that whole world…the songs, the band members, the album art, it’s a living thing,” Johnson says. “It’s not just the music. What is our intention. What do we want to say. ”

mongst the blanket-covered walls and strung lights of a basement in Windsor, Ontario, an indie rock power trio known as Huttch was formed in 2014. Drawing influences from bands such as Hollerado and Yukon Blonde, their music is a blend of psychedelic and fast paced rock. If their well-crafted guitar riffs and solid rhythm section complete with driving bass lines doesn’t ignite an adrenaline rush, their act also includes acrobatic stunts mid guitar solo. With gear spiffed up in vibrant aztec patterns, and outfits adorned with sea-shell necklaces, the band could easily be mistaken for California strays; softly reminding their audience to relish in life’s simple, audio pleasures.

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