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wheeler’s eight tracks


Issued two months ago to Soundcloud only, the track that samples Jay-Z’s Song Cry now gets a more widespread streamed release with its inclusion on Drake’s just-dropped mixtape, Dark Lane Demo Tapes. The owl-obsessed superstar is in existential crisis and vintage 2010 form, boast-rapping his way through the suffering with verses about Percocet, $33-million in rainy-day money and “500 weeks, I fill the charts with my pain.” One hopes he’s okay. (Listen on YouTube)

PENELOPE AND THE WOLF, by musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

From the TSO-stocked virtual orchestra that brought us a Zoom-roomed Appalachian Spring comes a modernized, localized and physically-distanced video version of Sergei Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale. The story is narrated, with melodious moments from an oboe, viola, flute, clarinet, bass and bassoon. All the players join together to voice the daunting villain, but there’s no reason be afraid of this particular wolf. (Listen on YouTube)

LEAN ON ME, by ArtistsCAN

In the philanthropic, multi-voiced spirit of Tears Are Not Enough and We Are The World, a video of the star-studded take on the late Bill Withers’ classic premiered on the nationally broadcast Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble special, where an emotive Justin Bieber hugged Auto-Tune and his pillow for dear life. The charity song is credited to ArtistsCan, a mob choir created by Tyler Shaw and Fefe Dobson that includes a Bieber and a Bublé, an Avril Lavigne and a Geddy Lee, and two-dozen more voices. (Stream it here)


I know what the Dears were thinking and it’s awful – and awfully good. According to Murray Lightburn, frontman of the Montreal alt-rock quintet, this darkly dreaming pop ballad was partly influenced by a nationwide manhunt for a pair of teenaged killers. Inspiration and the Dears work in wonderfully mysterious ways. (Listen on YouTube)

MESSAGE FROM MARS, by Mike Boguski

Slow-burning instrumental jazz-funk with a psychedelic kick and a Shuggie Otis manner, created by Blue Rodeo keyboardist Mike Boguski, with help from bass-playing bandmate Bazil Donovan, former Rodeo drummer Cleave Anderson and Cowboy Junkies guitarist Michael Timmins. Message From Mars first saw the light of night as a B-side a year ago. Now it gets its own release as a spacey single that’s outta-sight. (Listen on Bandcamp)

SEAT AT THE TABLE, by Harrow Fair

“I want a seat at the table; I want a garden to grow/ Both hands on the harrow, I want a harvest to sow.” Harrow Fair is the duo of Andrew Penner and Miranda Mulholland, who together do a bluesy kind of Americana that searches for a musical-theatre stage. Seat at the Table, off their new album Sins We Made, is an elegant moan for a rural, honest lifestyle. They made it with their own four hands. (Listen on YouTube)

V V V (THEY LIE), by Pantayo

Pantayo is a Toronto-based all-women ensemble who add vocals and electronic production to a sound influenced by Filipino gong music. Their sublimely brooding new single VVV (They Lie) is about mendacity. That’s the truth. (Listen on SoundCloud)

DAZE OF THE NIGHT, by Jeff Healey

There has never been a classic-rock collaboration between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kansas, and it’s not likely to happen any time soon. Which makes Jeff Healey’s Daze of the Night the closest we’ll ever get. It’s the scorching lead track on an upcoming reissue of the guitarist’s posthumous 2016 LP Heal My Soul. Consider it a Leftoverture meets Saturday Night Special sequel to Healey’s See the Light. (Listen on YouTube)

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