This weekend, The Great Escape takes over Brighton, with over 450 artists playing across countless venues, showcasing the best in new and emerging talent. As well as showing off individual acts with doubtless potential, the festival also allows the spotlight be shone on individual nations, bringing the best of their domestic talent to a global audience.
When it comes to musical powerhouses, you don’t get much more brilliant than Canada, so Dork is delighted to announce we’re teaming up with CIMA – that’s the Canadian Independent Music Association, ‘FYI’ – for the return of their Canada House showcase at this year’s The Great Escape.
Following on from last year’s virtual edition, it’ll take over the daytime hours at Brighton’s iconic Green Door Store between 12th and 14th May, presenting eighteen of Canada’s hottest rising independent artists.
Over the course of the three days, you’ll be able to catch Art d’Ecco, Bad Waitress, JayWood, JESSIA, Keeper E, Loviet, Magi Merlin, Mauvey, Naya Ali, Samantha Savage Smith, Shanii22, Slow Down Molasses, Softcult, Super Duty Tough Work, The Boddy Tenderloin Universe, The Garrys and Wild Rivers.
Not bad, eh?
Keep reading for five of our top recommendations from this year’s Canada House, plus the full schedule and an easy to stream playlist. We’ll be bringing you coverage from The Great Escape across the weekend and beyond, so keep locked to Dork’s socials and readdork.com for more.
Softcult are brilliant. Honestly – long on the radar of anyone who keeps an eye on the rockier side of the musical stratosphere, their recent EP ‘Year Of The Snake’ is packed with solid gold bangers and front to back quality. Made up of twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn-Horn, they kicked off their musical journey in the local scene of their hometown Kitchener, Ontario. Their horizons are way, way broader now. If you want a taster, check out their debut track – 2021’s ‘Another Bish’. You’ll be hooked. Promise.
Everyone likes a good blast of art punk energy. That’s what you’re getting from Bad Waitress. Dropping their debut album ‘No Taste’ last year, they’ve not stopped for anyone. Their only just released single ‘Spit It Out’ is an in your face fit of raw fury – and addictive as hell. They describe it as “a classic tongue in cheek banger advocating a brattish yet genuine world for all”. Can’t say fairer than that.
The moniker of Captured Tracks inked Winnipeg musician & songwriter Jeremy Haywood-Smith, JayWood has a new album ‘Slingshot’ coming this July. With a narrative set across the span of a single day, from front to back it’s a journey that touches on childhood, religion and identity, put together from a complex script mapping out plot points, environments and characters. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work on a track-by-track basis, though. Recent single ‘Slingshot’ goes off in style; a textured, bubbling bop with pop sensibilities and wider, deeper influences. Written about “creating equal opportunity for people in need, and lending a helping hand if you can”, it even packs a good message. What more could you want?
You might already know of JESSIA. After all, last year’s ‘I’m not Pretty’ has wracked up only just short of 100 million streams to date. A TikTok smash – yeah, isn’t everything these days? – she was snapped up by pop royalty Ryan Tedder to his Artist Driven Records imprint, and has since worked on a remix with Bebe Rexha. Those are the kind of one sheet bullet points that demand attention.
With tips from all the right places and underground EPs ‘Drug Music’ and ‘On My Way to the Listening Party’ doing the proverbial ‘bits’, Magi Merlin (that’s pronounced MADGE-eye, ‘FYI) is a prospect perfectly poised for big things. Recent single ‘Pissed Black Girls’ runs front to back with fizzing energy, pulling influences together to make the sort of modern music that cuts through the noise. One to watch.
The full schedule for this year’s Canada House at The Great Escape reads:
Thursday 12th May
Samantha Savage Smith (AB) 12:15 – 12:45
The Bobby Tenderloin Universe (AB) 13:00 – 13:30
Mauvey (BC) 13:45 – 14:15
Jeremie Albino (ON) 14:30 – 15:00
JESSIA (BC) 15:15 – 15:45
Wild Rivers (ON) 16:00 – 16:30
Friday 13th May
Slow Down Molasses (SK) 12:15 – 12:45
The Garrys (SK) 13:00 – 13:30
Supper Duty Tough Work (MB) 13:45 – 14:15
JayWood (MB) 14:30 – 15:00
Naya Ali (QC) 15:15 – 15:45
Bad Waitress (ON) 16:00 – 16:30
Saturday 14th May
Loviet (NS) 12:15 – 12:45
Keeper E (NS) 13:00 – 13:30
Shanii22 (NS) 13:45 – 14:15
Softcult (ON) 14:30 – 15:00
Magi Merlin (QC) 15:15 – 15:45
Art d’Ecco (BC) 16:00 – 16:30
Check out our TGE Canada House playlist below for more.