Pale Black Eyes: Quarantine Review

By Kyle Sauve

This week we have a guest writer doing a review for us. Kyle Stumpo (our main writer/editor) released an album for his side project, Pale Black Eyes, and our good friend Kyle Sauve (of Social Suicide) sent him his analysis of the album. We got permission from Mr.Sauve to post his analysis on the blog, so a big thank you to Kyle from The Ottawa Sound team!

Jake (L) and Kyle (R) of Pale Black Eyes

Song 1: Quarantine Part 1

I really like how atmospheric it is, it kind of reminds me of Neil Young’s instrumental stuff.

Song 2: Pandemic

This one has really grown on me, it has more of an electronic feel, but really reminds me of the early 90’s with all the distortion in the vocals. The lyrics seem to be about the rich screwing over the poor. Working class vs upper class.

Song 3: Quarantine Part 2

Just a nice little interlude.

Song 4: Time

Maybe the most atmospheric song on the album, gives me a bit of hope in the darkness kind of feel.

Song 5: Crumbling

The lyrics have a theme of nostalgia, remembring back to before the complex subjects such as racism, sexism, and school shootings, as a kid you don’t often think about these things

With clean choruses and heavy verses, this song is maybe the most ambitious, I would have maybe liked some real drums to add to the electric drums for the heavy parts.

Song 6: Quarantine Part 3

A continuation of the speech by Rob Ford? The atmosphere keeps things tense; I love the rain and siren samples.

Song 7: Isolate

This is my favorite song on the album, the best mix of electronic, and punk, with even a bit of hardcore elements, I love the solo and lyrics, a really good piece of dance punk everything is mixed well and sounds great.

Song 8: Seize The Hour

Keeps things relevant and adds more emphasis on the anti racism theme seen throughout the album.

Song 9: Hindsight

This is my 3rd favorite, just a nice well executed sad ballad, gives some more variety to the album feels crushing lonely.


I would have likes maybe a little more of the Rob Ford speech to end out the album, but other than that I really enjoyed everything.


Album is available on all major streaming services and stores. Also available on Bandcamp



Local Teen, Releasing Powerful Ballad

“While looking for love, you lost mine”

Mia Kelly is a young singer-songwriter based in the national capital region. With her youthful spirit and fresh tunes, 17-year-old Mia Kelly is making her mark in the Canadian music scene. Listed as one of  Ottawa’s “Top 10 artists to watch in 2020” by Lynn Saxberg, Ottawa Citizen, Mia is releasing her new single, “Well, My Dear”, on Friday, July 3rd. 

Photo taken from Mia Kelly’s Facebook page, Mia Kelly Music.

“Well, My Dear” is a nostalgic ballad infused with toe-tapping hope. The song was recorded earlier this year and was produced by Arturo Portocarrero. The track is backed by incredible local musicians: Phillipe Charbonneau (Upright Bass); Jérémie Trépanier (electric guitar and backup vocals); and Jacob Milnes (drums). “Well, My Dear” was written while travelling in Taiwan and tells the fictional story of a neglected relationship that has gone awry. 

Her powerful vocals transcend her young years and she has impressive natural confidence that is rarely seen. Mia is without a doubt one of Ottawa’s most promising emerging artists.

Kelly Symes, Bluesfest & Festival of Small Halls

Despite the confinement, Mia is finding many ways to connect with audiences and push her new content. She has done numerous online shows, will be releasing music videos and is working on an album for 2021. Mia will be performing this song during multiple upcoming virtual performances (Musical Tuesdays with the Municipality of Chelsea, StudiOdyssée, etc).

In Releasing Their Ode to Isolation, Toronto’s BLANKS Has Found What They’re “Looking For”

Toronto-based power-pop quartet and Exclaim! Class of 2020 alums BLANKS (Dylan Taylor, Lewis Caunter, Toby Keymer, and Stanley Raul) are set to release their new single “Looking For”, alongside its accompanying music video on July 3rd. This is in support of their upcoming EP, Beyond These Walls, out August 9th.

Photo from the Facebook page of BLANKS
| Photo Credits Kurtis Watson |

When BLANKS sat down in December 2019 to record their four-song debut, they never could have predicted that soon, a new isolated, anxious normal would emerge. Forced apart, BLANKS knew only this was clear: no more rehearsals, no more concerts, and no release show. It is cosmic irony that Caunter’s melancholic anthem “Looking For” has become so relevant to their circumstance. Filmed in isolation, the video for “Looking For” mirrors these anxieties. Caunter appears in a narrow room, reflecting the ubiquitous mood of being trapped between four walls. With a sound hearkening back to the golden era of indie rock, “Looking For” merges the qualities of Wolf Parade with the desperate candor of post-punk. A plaintive ballad of love persevering in a time of chaos, “Looking For” is a love song for the end of the world.

Sonically reminiscent of New Order, The Stranglers, and Parquet Courts, BLANKS has captivated the Toronto scene since 2018. Their charismatic yet polished attitude is what earned them a spot in Exclaim!’s Class of 2020. After a streak of  shows supporting acts such as Young Guv, Dune Rats, Bad Waitress, and The King Kahn & BBQ Show, the band was blindsided when their March 26th show with Ireland’s The Murder Capital was postponed. Despite the unprecedented challenges of these times, BLANKS continues to adapt, creating videos, writing songs, and preparing for the release of Beyond These Walls. 

All revenue earned from “Looking For” will be donated to Toronto Prisoners’ Rights Project. Black lives matter. 

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. 

Music Industry Blackout

On Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020, thousands of musicians and other industry professionals across Canada will be taking a day off.

There will be radio silence from members of the music industry on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020 as they enact a Music Industry Blackout in solidarity with protesters across the world.

The blackout entails not performing, posting or talking about music for 24 hours on June 2nd. This is to give space for civil rights leaders and protesters against systemic racism and police brutality to air their demands.

Social media poster for the music industry blackout

We spoke with local musician Anndy Negative about why they’re participating in this black out, here is what he had to say:

Rock, punk, metal; all of these genres were built on the backs of black musicians. If you can’t pay the due respect to the people who made what we do possible, then you need to open a history book and rethink your understanding of music.

Anndy Negative

We as artists, are the gate keepers of culture and we have the power to shape society. Art is inherently political, whether you want to admit it or not. Most modern western music comes from the culture of slaves brought to North America. Without POC we wouldn’t have guitars, banjos, and many other instruments. We wouldn’t have blues, jazz, rap, metal, punk, rnb, etc. So, join me and many other artists on June 2nd for a total music industry black out. Do not talk about or post your music. You don’t have to talk out in support of the protests (you should but you don’t have to) you can just be silent for one day.

Kyle Stumpo (author of this piece) on Facebook

Held In Secret Drop New Album

Local metalcore/djent behemoths, Held In Secret have dropped their second EP, Nomads.

“Nomads” is, according to the band, an improvement from their debut EP. “Nomads” is a concept release with highly relatable subjects, set to clean and heavy metalcore. Moving away from “repetitive early 2010’s metalcore”, Held In Secret diverges into a more accessible sound, interesting to a broader public, incorporating choirs and piano, all while retaining all of the heaviness of the first EP. It also features guest vocals from Garrett Russell of Silent Planet on the title track.

The band comments on the release:

“‘Nomads’ is an EP that talks about what we believe to be five of the biggest problems in today’s society, Abuse, Racism, Depression, Pollution, Addiction. Five subjects to make the mood go dry at Thanksgiving dinner, but five incredibly important issues that we need to talk about. In each of these songs, you can find a world of emotion twirling into abstractness, the sheer heaviness of the music mixed with the intensity of the lyrics makes for a completely immersive experience. This EP is about the power we have if we stick together. Together, we can stand against abusive households, and improve the system that these poor beaten kids get thrown into. Together we can put an end to hate crimes and racism of all kinds and nature. Together we can beat this global depression, and just by caring a little bit more about one another. Together we can stop putting so much god damn plastic into our oceans. Together we can stand a chance against our opponent in this battle against the opioid crisis. Together we can fight this oppressive system and give a fair chance to all to reach for the stars and not be limited by social constructs such as “Social Class” and prejudice. 
Never One Left Behind

Recommended for fans of Silent Planet, Volumes, and Architects, “Nomads” is available on all digital platforms including BandcampSpotifyApple Music, and Amazon.

Local Country Musician Teams Up With Broadway Legend

Veteran country singer, songwriter and LGBTQ+ activist Drake Jensen teams up with Broadway legend Rob Preuss and award winning songwriter Jon Hemingway for the release his new single and equally sexy music video, “Burn The Floor.”

Burn The Floor”, is an innovative, modern country tune born out of the collaboration between Drake, Nova Scotia LBGTQ singer/songwriter/producer Jon Hemingway, and Rob Preuss, former keyboardist of The Spoons and Honeymoon Suite, and former Associate Musical Director for Mamma Mia on Broadway.

“Burn The Floor” is scheduled for release on May 29th!





Montreal, Quebec avant-garde rock group, The Maximum Chill, is releasing their new single on custom printed condoms to promote safe sex after gigs. The single, “Long Distance Friction,” will be available on latex and digitally on May 15, 2020 at along with their full discography. 

Long Distance Friction is a zany jazz-rock tune about emotional and sexual tensions that can arise during long distance relationships. The condoms will be housed in a custom printed wallet in Canada by Say It With A Condom and feature a psychedelic design with the lyrics to the song on the inside of the box. The condoms themselves will have a QR code on the outside packaging for quick access to the single.

The Maximum Chill will be donating 10% of proceeds from the single to Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights’s Sex-ed Saves Lives campaign which promotes the teaching of quality sex-ed in Canada and WILL work to promote consent, reduce STIs, create LGBTQ+ visibility and inclusion and generally make young people HAPPIER, HEALTHIER and SAFER!(

Elmsley: In Balance Review

Hey folks!

I know that these last few months have been stressful for everyone and I hope that you are all staying safe. We were recently contacted by local instrumental acoustic duo, Elmsley about doing a review of their upcoming singles, In Balance and Everything In Moderation, and I realized that it’s been a while since we did a review. So here we go!

To start the violin adds a very nice subtle ambiance to the song, the bassline is very nice and the tone is beautiful. The guitar work is complex but not overly complex. It’s very soothing to listen to. As the song continues you can feel some tension building and the bass becomes the driving factor for a few measures. I love the tapping and slapping of the guitar strings to add in some texture. For an acoustic bass the tone is absolutely beautiful and rich.

The production is very well done and the song is very soothing and relaxing to listen to. The piano and violin add some subtle texture and ambiance to the music.

Overall I think the song is very well written and produced. It sounds very cinematic and could easily be used as the intro to a high budget documentary or TV show. I honestly cannot wait for more from these very talented musicians.

The singles are due out very soon, and will be available very soon.

Follow Elmsley on Facebook for more updates.

Follow us on Facebook and check out our new livestream series featuring Elmsley and more!

TOSMA Winners

This year was our biggest year for TOSMA; we had more options for each category and, we had more votes than ever before. Over 3000 votes were cast and some categories were decided by less than 10 votes (4% of votes cast), others were won by more than 70% of the vote. On behalf of the team, and the scene, I want to thank you all for taking the time to show the scene your love and support.

Now, let’s get to what you’re all waiting for, the winners

Fan Vote

  • Rock Artist Of The Year: Sunday Riot Club
  • Rock Album Of The Year: They’ll Watch You Learn and Watch You Burn (Cody Smith)
  • Rock Song Of The Year: The Friendly Town (Cody Smith)
  • Pop Artist Of The Year: Kanaska
  • Pop Album Of The Year: The Answer Doesn’t Exist (Lessons In Crime)
  • Pop Song Of The Year: Suicide (Kanaska)
  • Metal Artist Of The Year: Fractures & Outlines
  • Metal Album Of The Year: Defenseless (Fractures & Outlines)
  • Metal Song Of The Year: Echoes (Fractures & Outlines)
  • Instrumental Artist Of The Year: Skybound
  • Instrumental Album Of The Year: Winter. Spring (Yarns)
  • Instrumental Song Of The Year: Liquid Courage (Skybound)
  • Live Act Of The Year: Sunday Riot Club
  • Producer Of The Year: Joe Lyko
  • Videographer Of The Year: Joe Lyko
  • Photographer Of The Year: Jessy Dwyer
  • Music Video Of The Year: Defenseless (Fractures & Outlines)

Editor’s Choice

These are awards chosen by me.

  • Artist Of The Year: Fractures & Outlines (For winning all 3 categories in the Metal genre and winning Music Video Of The Year, I believe they are the Artist Of The Year this year.)
  • Editor’s Choice: Cody Smith and Elementals (I usually use this award for an individual or group who has made an impact on the music scene. Last year Noi Ya won after announcing he was leaving Ottawa after years of involvement with us at The Ottawa Sound. Since Cody and his band Elementals had 2 sold out farewell shows, which were both cancelled due to the current state of emergency, and are leaving the Ottawa music scene, I decided they were my Editor’s Choice this year.)
  • Promoter Of The Year: Jessy Dwyer. (Jessy and his company Beyond The Pit, have exploded onto our scene as concert promoters this year, helping bring acts such as Hunt The Dinosaur, to the city. They hosted a battle of the bands to help promote and grow our scene, and did we mention they’re making a movie? This is why they are our Promoter Of The Year)

BandCamp Stopping Revenue Share For 24 Hours

To help artists affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, music platform will be stopping the revenue share system on March 20th starting at 12am (00:00 Hrs) Pacific (3am/03:00 Hrs EST) and ending 24 hours later.

What Is Revenue Sharing?

BandCamp makes their money through fees that artists pay on sales of their music, but, when an artist sells merchandise through BandCamp, the website can’t take their cut of the sale. To make up for this, they take an extra cut of your music sales, until you make up 10% of the revenue from your merchandise sales in music sales. They also take 15% of each digital sale to start.

For example, my band sold $80 worth of merchandise on the site, we will have to sell $8 worth of music in order to start being paid from music sales.

Artist accounts are free. We make money through our revenue share on sales, which is 15% for digital, 10% for merch. We also offer Bandcamp Pro (our premium tier for artists), and Bandcamp for Labels, both for a monthly fee. FAQ on Revenue Sharing

For more details on how sales will work on March 20th please follow this link.

For more information on fees click here

For more information on revenue sharing go here