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Music Toronto’s Weaves takes a wide open approach to making music

Weaves’ singer-lyricist Jasmyn Burke says the band’s goal is to grow and make bigger and better music.

Brendan George Ko

Just weeks after performing its short-listed self-titled debut album at this year's Polaris Music Prize gala, the high-octane Toronto art-rock crew Weaves is back with a strong follow-up, Wide Open.

Singer-lyricist Jasmyn Burke spoke to The Globe and Mail about the pressure of sophomore-album expectations.

As well as your debut album was received, I got the sense from talking to people that they saw the record as just a first step. Given that the record was short-listed for the Polaris Music Prize, are those expectations unfair?

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We're not worried. We're hard workers. We were short-listed for the Polaris Prize, and we were honoured. But we all feel we can do better. That's the goal, to grow and make bigger and better music.

Did you feel any pressure?

We've been on the road. We had no outsider perspective. And then we came home and were nominated for a Juno and the Polaris. But we had already worked on the album.

What about internal pressure, then, as opposed to external?

We're more excited about this album. We actually felt a sense of calmness. We jumped into it. When we made the first album, we were just trying to make noise amongst all of the other music that comes out.

The new song Scream, with a guest spot by Tanya Tagaq, is getting some attention. "Get up on the table and scream your name," you sing.

A lot happened over this last year for us – personally, and also politically, we saw a lot of changes. Here and in the U.K. with Brexit. We were in the United States during the election. They were heavy times. We encountered a lot of young people feeling dejected. With Scream, the song was very raw. The lyrics came out pretty quickly.

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I was excited to bring it to the band, and to have Tanya Tagaq sing on it. I just wanted to make a song that said "Be proud of who you are."

Something you're dealing with?

I'm a woman of colour making music in a rock band. It's not something you see often. I just want to show young girls they can do whatever they want to do, whether it's music or art or just applying to school. It's about confidence.

Where are you at now, as opposed to where you were on the first album?

Touring affected me. I was affected by the people that we met. We made amazing connections with kids who like our music. This album comes from a humble place. I wanted to be honest with people about how I feel and my struggles as a musician and a human being. That's it.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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A short fall tour by Weaves includes dates in Guelph, Ont., Oct. 6, and Hamilton, Oct. 8.

The fall-music calendar is flooded with LPs from artists and bands building on the hype that came as a result of their preceding breakthrough albums. Here's four more posthype records recently released, or soon to come

The Weather Station (a.k.a. singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman) follows up 2015's Loyalty with a self-titled fourth album (out Oct. 6) that departs from her signature willowy neo-folk to something more rock-orientated. Nov. 25, The Great Hall

Mo Kenney has teamed with Joel Plaskett to co-produce The Details, a 14-song concept record, which, like the Weather Station's new disc, moves away from the singer-songwriter scene to a heavier aesthetic, with the Halifax artist lyrically working out depressive conditions and disintegrating relationships. Oct. 5, Horseshoe Tavern

Cold Specks marks its third album, Fool's Paradise, by putting an actual name to the singer-songwriter behind the music. Formerly identified by the band name or a pseudonym (Al Spyx), Toronto's Ladan Hussein further puts her personal stamp on the record by singing in Somali for the first time. Nov. 30, Mod Club

Terra Lightfoot took enough time from her crazy touring schedule to record New Mistakes (Oct. 13), the follow-up to 2015's Every Time My Mind Runs Wild. The new disc includes Norma Gale, a song the tuneful Hamilton rocker considers to be her first "songwriter's song." Dec. 8, Massey Hall, opening for Bruce Cockburn

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