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Squirrel Flower

The opening lines of Squirrel Flower’s “I-80” find songwriter Ella O’Connor Williams unsure of her drive, relaying over a lithe, detuned acoustic strum, “lyrics failed me, so I gave up poetry and ran west on I-80”. It’s worth noting, however, that this exists as the opening track from sophomore collection I Was Born Swimming—Squirrel Flower’s first for iconic indie hub Polyvinyl Records. In actuality, Williams’ songbook is overflowing, with the artist explaining in a call with ION that demos are currently pouring out of her in the lead-up to a European tour.


No matter what you are into or where you live, there’s always a certain pressure to find where you fit in. In this tough musical climate this is especially true. For sisters Eboshi and Contra, who are also bandmates in Cartel Madras, this was the case. Born in Chennai in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and raised in Calgary, Alberta, the sisters discovered a shared love of hip hop and, through this love, found their places and how they are able to fit into them.


Bold words from Katayoon Y., guitarist/vocalist for scuzz rock combo Puzzlehead, but considering she’s currently got a sprawling list of collaborators lined up in her hometown of Vancouver, as well as in Montreal and Olympia, WA, the project is already on its way towards enveloping scenes across the map.


Sometimes there’s a disconnect in our heads regarding things that seem more difficult than they actually are. When we reach Amber Webber, the very engaging front person of psychedelic pop purveyors Lightning Dust, she’s in the West End of Vancouver in between appointments. “I don’t find myself down here very much at all. It’s always one of those parts of the city that seem out of the way,” she laughs, “but it’s right there.


Nostalgia’s a hell of a drug. At its best, getting wrapped up in a sentimental memory makes us appreciative of the events that have shaped us into who we are today. Other times it makes us hoarders, unable or unwilling to let go of the past. It’s a rainy Monday in Dartmouth when ION reaches Joel Plaskett at home, and despite being neck-deep in old birthday cards and other assorted ephemera, the Maritimes-based singer-songwriter is doing his best to keep his head above the deluge of personal history.


Indigenous people living in Canada have continually found themselves underrepresented in so many aspects of modern culture. When A Tribe Called Red got together in Ottawa just over a decade ago, one of the main reasons was to help shine a light on indigenous culture and to be positive role models to those who have been misrepresented and, in many cases, those who have been systematically devalued. The collective has been lighting up stages ever since with their unique take on hip hop and electronic music mixed with traditional pow wow drums and vocals.