The Emptiness, as Alex puts it, is "the music itself" and "Alex Bent is the Emptiness." In other words, it's the creative void that he feels as a singer-songwriter based out of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Last week, his newest single, "Vanilla Blue," was released alongside its very own music video directed by Riley Deacon. The song itself was inspired by different interpretations of the words "Vanilla Blue," one of which struggles with "a sweet kind of sadness." The video begins with a brief intro before it is properly interrupted with guitar-driven, occasionally barking production where Alex's voice cuts through. Enticingly, everything holds up and complements each other rather nicely (seriously, like my text to Riley said: “this ... is really fucking good”). From the song itself to the video, "Vanilla Blue" is a bona fide hit — the type of thing I show to others to try and put them on to an artist. That being said, I've definitely become a fan. Keep watch as Alex Bent + The Emptiness have an upcoming album releasing later this year. You can download and stream "Vanilla Blue" here.
"She see money all around me
I look like I'm the man, yeah
But I was down and out like last week
Tell me where have you been?
You came out of hiding, girl
Don't act like I'm your man
You just a fan, you don't hold rank
Don't hold no rank"
Last year, director Makoto Shinkai returned to the silver screen with his latest work entitled, Your Name, a film depicting two youths inexplicably switching bodies in a romantic fantasy drama. It received universal acclaim and I am still patiently waiting for a Western release or fansub to appear. However, in 2007, Shinkai released another emotionally-driven film, 5 Centimeters Per Second, and it focused on the relationship between a boy and a girl in Japan. The story itself reminds me of "On Seeing The 100% Perfect Girl One Beautiful April Morning" by Haruki Murakami—and the even more recent film La La Land (directed by Damien Chazelle) to an extent—wherein a man and woman end up passing each other by on the street, and ultimately, passing each other by in life.
While all of the aforementioned stories depict a bright, piercing romance, they perhaps even more so depict the disheartening inevitability of fate. Similarly, all of these stories and themes cry parallel to Frank Ocean's momentous release of Endless and Blonde last summer. On the former, a song called "Wither" plays after eight other excellently crafted tracks. The song's title itself is a homophone between "Wither" and "With Her"; while the subject matter describes the revivification of another relationship between two lovers. Frank sings about his time spent with his significant other, and as all good things must end, he reflects upon his time with her and how he has undeniably "enjoyed sunshine." In sum, the pairing of Makoto Shinkai and Frank Ocean is not that far of a reach at all.
The soundscape in Canada has unquestionably changed over the last decade and the music in Saskatchewan is no different. Based in Regina, groups like the Queen City Stoop Kids and affiliated collective, Out My Mind Music (OMM), have appeared and are affecting and changing what it means to be a rapper in the Canadian prairies. Although, being from the proverbial fringes of what's good in Canadian culture is usually considered a negative by insiders and outsiders alike—that's not the case here.
For instance, OKM (Okmoz) is one of the members of Queen City Stoop Kids and is also a part of OMM.
Mozzy has made it really easy for the listener; it only takes about 30 seconds to decide whether or not you like his song. Conceptually, "Oldfriends" pushes one of the truest of truisms—an aphorism: "when old friends surface / you know you doing work." It's a timeless saying, yes, but there's more to it than that. How do you deal with all the fakeness in the world? The thirst? The wackness? All of the people who switched up on you? "Fuck 'em / fuck 'em / fuck 'em"—that's how. Moz' immediate response sums it up perfectly. It's preemptive and an example of how to retaliate first. After all, you'll always need to cut certain people off.
Properly entitled, "Sade," Louis Val just put this out on Bevstmode a few moments ago. You might recognize the instrumental from the namesake's "Jezebel" record, or maybe you're like me, and SAFE's "Feel" came to mind first. Either way, Val does a fantastic job with the emotions in his voice and channeling his inner Sade. He moves gingerly—at a lover's pace—throughout the 5-minute runtime leaving the listener wanting more, as is his method operandi.