5 ON THE FLY Five mini reviews from all across Canada.

Child Actress [Calgary] – Milking a Dead Cow

Child Actress is Rena Nicole Kozak, and ‘Milking a Dead Cow’ is entirely performed by her (with only two exceptions on drums and backing vocals). The album occupies that space that is considered too adventurous to be pop but too traditionally structured to be experimental. It is, however, a very creative space. “Danzig’s Kitten” crackles with The Pretenders-style excitement, but also features sparkling synth parts and artsy edges. “Men Without Homes”, on the other hand, is almost ghostly with its timeless baroque vocals, even though the track is played with oddly blunt punk instrumentation (we totally approve). And there are lots of other goodies in between as well.

Prime cut: “Black Soap”

Yoo Doo Right [Montreal] – EP2

Yoo Doo Right’s post-rock blows in like an electric plague but then morphs into something more melodic but unpredictable. This is the opening salvo from an EP that is a constant onslaught of freely flowing yet cleverly arranged musical ideas. It can be explosive at times and quite loud, but Yoo Doo Right are not punk in attitude because nihilism is not in their nature. The dark excitement they create comes from the anticipation built into the evolutions in their arrangements. There is a constant sense of upcoming danger (that never arrives) that is simply irresistible.

Prime cut: “Marche des Squelettes”

DenMother [Fredericton]- Blood: a memoir | 2016

Fredericton singer-songwriter DenMother makes a bold and personal statement with ‘Blood: a memoir | 2016′ and yet the appeal is universal. As strange and unforgiving as her music can be, one cannot help but be entranced by the haunting beauty of it all. “Prologue: Ophelia” opens things with minimal synths backing a very off-beat but intriguing harmony of vocals. The phrase “I have never thought of you about this way” initially makes lyrical sense, but upon repeated plays it becomes a mesmerizing musical rhythm. Elsewhere DenMother provides equally intriguing flights of electronic mystery, peppered with poetic spurts of spoken word, near-spoken and sung parts that echo like ghosts.

Prime cut: “Chapter Four: Cold Hands”

bobbitopickles [Edmonton] – kava kava

There’s no room for boredom on ‘kava kava’ as bobbitopickles keeps the snatches of hip-hop, glitch, off-kilter beats coming in rapid-fire bursts of around 40 seconds per track. Some are less substantive than others, but they are all highly entertaining. “dog”, for instance, has slacker spoken word set to a delightfully jazzy xylophone backdrop, while “bye-bye” features a “natural” drumkit alongside some inventive trip-hop. The title track is probably the highlight, where a warped and glitchy soundscape contains a wonderfully melodic vibe.

Prime cut: “kava kava”

Holy Fuck [Toronto] – Bird Brains EP

Holy Fuck pretty well outdo themselves with this beauty of an EP, where each of the four tracks is just bursting with creative brilliance. After the rambunctious opening track things get a little post-punk and creepy on “Chains” until it finally breaks out into a pounding beat. This is no dance album though, there’s no mistaking that. “Chains” continues to evolve throughout, and then “Raymond” goes wildly experimental, although maintaining a groove at all times. The closing track gets us back into electro/house territory, but there are still inventive swoops in the subdued vocal arrangement and the ever-changing backdrop.

Prime cut: “Chains”