Category Archives: Featured Artist


Calgary heavy rockers Miesha & The Spanks are back with their​ latest release entitled Singles EP. #CMIAE artist Miesha Louie spoke with CMI via email about the record’s origins, adapting from an ever touring live band to releasing music under lockdown, balancing creativity and new motherhood, and exploring what it means to be a “Mixed Blood Girl”.


A: The plan when we started (pre-pandemic) was to have 4-5 standalone singles, more like a compilation record than an album. But then we were interrupted, and suddenly there was this life-changing experience influencing the writing. When the EP should have been finished, more good songs kept popping out of us that fit together and we didn’t want to cut. So, we let more songs sneak on than maybe we would have otherwise, without the pandemic shifting things around.  

We released Singles EP with a series of pre-released singles starting back in July. When we started, we really weren’t sure what was going to happen with touring and festivals or anything. We figured our best move was just to start moving music and getting it out there. When “Unstoppable” came out, we hadn’t even finished recording the EP. The campaign became about radio pitching and music videos instead of tour dates, and even now I don’t think we’ll be on tour for real until next year. It’s been a different release cycle for us!


A:  I always feel unstoppable when I’m playing a really kick–butt super tour–tight set. About halfway through a tour, we like to challenge ourselves and play a game where we don’t stop between songs, and we just play the whole set in one go. When we pull that off, we are completely unstoppable.  


A:  Throughout lockdown, I’ve really been enjoying walks with my dog down to the river. I live close to Bowmont Park (in Calgary), and down the rocky beach there’s this spot where the Bow River splits, and I don’t know what it is but there are some special vibes there. A lot of my voice memo song ideas come when we’re out there. 


A: “Mixed Blood Girls” took a lot out of me and I’m happy with the music and the lyrics and the production. It’s also connected me with more of my community and that means so much to me and Steve Lamacq played it on BBC6! I had a clean version made, but because there was profanity, I didn’t really expect it to get much airtime. I was wrong! I’m proud that something I made is meaningful to other people while still getting some small critical acclaim.  

I’ve always written personal music and shared mostly from real-life experience, except for this huge part of who I am and where I come from. I’ve always identified as Indigenous, but I’ve never shared what that meant to me, or what my life was like being mixed, or what my relationship was with my culture, community, and family. I guess it was always in the back of my head that I would eventually get there, but when I heard a poem called “Mixedblood Girls” by Rain Prud’Homme, it really inspired me to get writing. Because her poem hit me so hard, it finally resonated with me that maybe my story would connect with someone else as well.

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After spending 2020 locked away in his creative space, Saint Idiot (Tomáš Andel) emerges from the incense smoke and potted plants with a new single, “Bubblewrap.” We met this Edmonton-based musician in the first virtual offering of our Artist Entrepreneur program last summer. To celebrate his latest release, we caught up (virtually) to talk about creating in quarantine, personal growth and what to expect next.


Totally. I used to think I’m not an angry person for a lot of my life, as in, I didn’t express anger in outbursts or aggression, but instead, in this frozen, low-key anxiety that I wasn’t even aware was there; slow poison. I read “Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames” by the Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh (it peered up at me from a thrift book store shelf at a totally synchronous moment), and it floored me to realize that it’s not that I didn’t get angry, I just wasn’t acknowledging or working with my anger. At the risk of sounding dramatic, this realization completely changed my life, and I’ve been incomparably happier since I decided to let anger into my life to work with it. 

Anger is also a form of trust. You have to really trust the other person to see you, hear you, and consider whatever issue you’re raising, otherwise it just becomes either a volatile explosion of bad energy that doesn’t help anyone or do anything, or this hidden-away festering wound. So how you broach your anger is a real test of character and a real test of boundaries. It’s OK to get angry, it’s unavoidable—what we do with that anger matters more. 


For me 2020 was about slowing down, indulging in being a little idealistic for the sake of creativity, and taking time to imagine a more harmonious world—especially since it seems like the popular imagination is so fascinated with dystopias lately. A huge component of my album (Alternate Utopias from a Nostalgic Future) was world-making. I think when it’s all out, it’ll be worth it to lie down with it and listen on headphones, because a lot of it was deliberately crafted to transport you. 

I’m already at my happiest when I’m spending endless nights shaping sounds in the studio. I love experimenting with colors, texture, and space, which has always been my favorite part of making music.  

I do like playing live, but given that it’s still unclear when we’ll be able to do that again, I’ve actually been more than happy to double-down on going deeper into being a “studio first” musician.  


My friend Doug Parth from The Den and With Dogs helped dial in the orchestral arrangements, and it was then mixed and iterated by Hill Kourkoutis, who added additional production, and carved this gorgeous lifeline through what was probably more of an enthusiastic muddle at that point. Kristian Montano breathed the final magic into it—his masters really deepened all the musical space.  

All along though, I’ve had so much help from everyone around me. Kelsey McMillan, who has done my photos also helped me workshop lyrics, and has often weighed in on the music and the art direction, as has my friend Holly Pickering aka sodium light. Working on my roommate Anthony Goertz’s documentary really humbled me and inspired a lot of the directions I went exploring after, plus he’s a wonderful, bright mind to bounce ideas off of. A very, very cool Twitter-famous visual artist did the album artwork (the only non-Canadian involved), but I wanna save that for later!  

I share my work in progress songs all the time, so I really see the final thing as an accomplishment shared with a pretty huge group of pals. I feel pretty lucky to be surrounded by so many wonderful, receptive people.

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The One to Watch: Declan Mckenna


EP after great EP, Declan McKenna will finally be releasing the debut album we’ve been waiting for. What Do You Think About the Car will be available July 21st and I’ll be counting down.

Declan-McKenna-Jan-2017-2-1500x1000Don’t know who McKenna is? Well, you should.  Brazil, is the addicting-sweet song I first heard. Contrasted with an honest depth that would never be expected from a 15-year old songwriter, it evokes emotion and makes you fall instantly in love by commanding your attention for something worthwhile. Now three years older, and wise beyond his years. His latest track, The Kids Don’t Want to Come Home, the first to be released off of his debut, is a wildly daring look at the world through the eyes of someone with a craving for change. The young kid from the UK, is the one to keep on your radar. You might be fooled by his boyish looks to think he was another sappy love songwriter but he creates beautiful music with meaning that some songwriters fail to achieve. In a world of meaningless generic pop it’s refreshing to see someone create something worthwhile.


CMW Show to See: WALRUS

A trance, a dream, or maybe a very pleasant trip. Whatever they may be, Halifax’s Walrus is a treat that’ll make your head spin. With a new video (below) and a CMW showcase that is sure to leave you breathless, starting off their festival circuit Walrus is making their way up.

Photo by Kate Griffin 

Who are they? The four piece is a timeless wonder that’ll throw you back to the ’60s. With surf riffs that dabble in moody land where Brian Wilson’s voice will lull you along like a close friend.

Catch them performing May 5th at The Silver Dollar.

The five stages you go through when your favorite band releases new music | July Talk


Thank everything that is holy. There is new July Talk. Let that sink in.

Everyone has that one band. No matter how chill you are, they come on and you lose your mind. They’re the most played on your iPod and when they release a new song you pretty much lose your mind. Deny it all you want, everyone has one. Today my favourite band, July Talk released a new single, Push + Pull, off of their upcoming follow up album to their self titled 2014 release.

Now there are five stages every fan goes through. All of which I experienced this morning.

Stare in disbelief


When the words “New Music” precede your favourite band’s name there aren’t words that can ever describe that euphoric feeling. Your face, body, and mind don’t exactly know how to process this quite yet.

Lose your shit

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Just pray you’re not in public like I was.

Try to contain yourself

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Because, you’re an adult right? This is just a band. You can handle yourself. Like you’ve been waiting forever for this day and it’s as perfect as you imagined it. You got this. Just calmly press play.

Fail at containing yourself

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Hitting play was mistakes because once it starts you’re already in love, head banging and gasping for air.

Listen to this glorious gift

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Again, and again…and again. A week passes and you’re still fully submerged in the new tune and counting down the days until the new album arrives.


Behind the Scenes with Garden Echo


Photos by Bethany Swanson

Are you looking for a new obsession? Well, meet San Diego’s Garden Echo. Made up of Alexia Villarino, Sara Swanson, Andrew Moberly (guitar) and Josh Edwards (drums), the band is an edgy treat with a euphoric sound. Their unique style and talent captures your attention at first look and listen. Currently performing around California, JS got an exclusive with the band. Before their show at Soda Bar, Garden Echo gave us a look at what goes on behind the scenes for a band on the rise.

Enjoy your backstage pass.





GE3Garden Echo formed in 2015 after Swanson moved from LA and reconnected with Villarino at a local show and added, Moberly and Edwards later on. Having mastered their daunting atmospheric sound early on the band released their debut EP Quiet Voices in October of last year. The strong debut secured them places supporting acts like Haunted Summer, Cobalt Cranes, the Gloomies and Potty Mouth, among others.

Take a listen to Nighthawk off of Quiet Voices and fall in love with Garden Echo. 

The Year’s Best Guitar Faces

Monster Truck - face

Everyone is releasing their end of year lists, so here’s one of mine. The best guitar faces of the year. What is a guitar face? Let me explain, you know that moment when the band is on stage, the crowd is overexcited and that song comes on and everyone just feels it? The togetherness, the bond, well if you spend all of your time watching the lead singer going to town you’re missing the real show. The guitarist the one to watch, the faces that appear are innocently  purely of someone in the moment, enjoying what they do and not caring about anything else. It’s that magical moment, and no one guitar face is quite like the other. So, enjoy the ones I’ve experienced thus far.

Straight Outta Nashville: Clear Plastic Masks

Clear Plastic Masks in Toronto

They take the stage looking as if they’ve stepped through a time-machine. The 70’s isn’t dead at a Clear Plastic Masks show. The crowd is either unfamiliar with them or die-hard fans pressed to the stage. For those who don’t know them, you’ll crave them by the end of a set. They drip rockstar despite how big or small the stage or crowd. They play with an honesty that makes it hard to look away, but as the nostalgic rock takes your mind a million miles away, you’re somehow right there in the moment with them.

There’s something special about Tennessee rock bands. They seem to posses something core about rock & roll. They may not have originally began in Nashville, but Clear Plastic Masks’ sound is definitely fused with that blues-soul-rock so beautifully heard in their album, Being There (2014). 

Beginning in New York City back in 2011 after Andrew Katz (Vocals) and Charles Garmendia (Drums) met in a dive bar, bonding over music and figuring out how to survive the NYC music scene, the two because fast friends despite their drastically different backgrounds. Katz grew up in Detriot, while Garmendia was born in the Dominican Republic. Matt Menold  (Guitar) and Eduardo DuQuesne (bass) were added to the unlikely group of friends, soon after Clear Plastic Masks was formed.

Playing shows around New York at the start, the band then found themselves on the road. After a little traveling in 2011 the Clear Plastic Masks found a new home, finally settling in Nashville in late 2012 after recording their first album there earlier on. CPM found a steady fan-base in the city, where their sound rooted and grew into a merging of genres, eras and a soulfulness that can’t be faked.

Releasing a self titled EP, Cpm, in 2013 the band showcased a droning dark sound with ’50s inspired elements. Drum and key heavy songs made up the album, which embodied everything great about the band. Each song offers a different side of the band and the promise to come from the new-ish band. A year later, Being there, their first official album came about. Featuring some modern-minimalistic psychedelic artwork, the cover sums up the band’s vibe. Being There,featured a faster, more concise sound with more focus on guitar, while still having a large focus on drums. Catchy rock paired with Katz’s hypnotizing voice made for a strong first album. Energy thrives throughout every track, even slow paced songs like Working Girl and When the Nightmare Comes. From start to finish there is a constantly changing consistency that is cohesive with the bands ability and talent to take on different eras of music and merge them flawlessly into something that can only be described as Clear Plastic Masks’.

All You Need To Know About The Casbys

Yukon Blonde – 2015 Performers

You voted, you decided, now we wait for the show. Thursday, massive names will pile into The Phoenix Concert centre to claim their awards at the 2015 CASBY Awards, presented by The Edge 102.1. But that’s not the only thing going down. The Zolas, Yukon Blonde  and USS are just a few of the bands that will be taking the stage for fans to put on breathtaking performances.

The Performers

There are some exciting names taking the stage! Just announced, Monster Truck will be opening the show. Amid the excitement, 2015 winners of The Edge’s Next Big Thing competition, Ivory Hours will get their chance to shine.

But I’m waiting to see Young Empires. With the recent release of their newest album, The Gates, the Toronto bound guys have showed off their new chops. And of course who isn’t excited to see one of the biggest bands in the country right now, Yukon Blonde?

Now check out some of the:

The Nominees

For weeks fans have been voting their favourite bands to glory. The Edge also gave away tickets to some of the lucky few who voted their way into the exclusive show. Tomorrow night we’ll find out the results.

Favourite New Record

Favourite New Song

 New Artist

Favourite Sugar Beach Session

Didn’t win tickets? No worries! You can catch the live stream tomorrow night at 8 on The!