Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for November 7, 2022: The Big Moon, Poolblood, Westerman

Photos (clockwise from top left): Poolblood by Jibril Yassin, The Big Moon by El Hardwick, Westerman by Pinelopi Gerasimou, Wallgrin by Mackenzie Walker

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Nov 7, 2022

With the US midterm elections happening tomorrow (November 8), CUPE on strike in Ontario and Elon Musk cracking down on his own Twitter trolls, it's safe to say things are feeling pretty tense right now. Fancy a little levity, or some anxious tunes to match the mood? Either way, another weekly edition of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks has you covered — with a couple of Vancouver's most weird and wonderful, the return of Westerman and the biggest soundtrack to tonight's Beaver Blood Moon eclipse. 

Find even more music to meet the moment in our reviews section.

Olivia Barton 
This Is a Good Sign

Armed with little more than a guitar and a microphone, Nashville-based singer-songwriter and Illuminati Hotties' Snack Shack Tracks signee Olivia Barton made her Canadian stage debut last month, supporting Sarah Tudzin and co. at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern. It was there that she introduced her new album This Is a Good Sign: 12 tracks that evoke the stark vulnerability of Waxahatchee's American Weekend, each taking perverse pleasure in telling it exactly as it is. In using her songs to explore, as Barton puts it, who she is "when no one else is around," emotions and judgements are laid bare, giving voice to the subconscious with cutthroat honesty, especially on mid-record heartbreaker "I Don't Do Anything." 
Allie Gregory

The Big Moon
Here Is Everything

Written throughout lead singer Juliette Jackson's pregnancy and transition into motherhood, the Big Moon's latest record is their most well-rounded. Easily digestible and soft, Here Is Everything is a more sophisticated continuation of the band's alt-pop leanings. This album is best listened to while cooking and on early morning walks where you can see your breath in the air.
Sydney Brasil


Taken from their forthcoming debut album mole, poolblood's "shabby" is an ode to friendship imbued with affection, with its tender alt-country picking and swelling sustained notes enveloping as a warm embrace. In this comfort, Toronto singer-songwriter Maryam Said affirms, "I'm trying to do right, right by your side / Thinking about how I could be," with further fondness drawn out in an included voice message at the single's end: "It's really great to hear from you, it's good to hear your voice."
Calum Slingerland

Sort of Damocles & Squints Palledorous
Throw Your Candle Out the Window / Try to Find Your Candle Again

Cryptic Vancouver experimenters Squints Palledorous and Sort of Damocles united this fall for two full-lengths of shadowy, gothic synthpop. Throw Your Candle Out the Window arrived in late September and Try to Find Your Candle Again a month later, both drenching SP's spooky vocals in reverb and smushing them into SoD's squelchy electronics.
Alex Hudson

Yet Again the Wheel Turns

"The halls I had known came down like a cleaver," swings the trapeze of Tegan Wahlgren's chiffon-draped lift into the open-for-business sky on "Yolk." The Vancouver-based Exclaim! New Faves alum's sophomore album as Wallgrin, Yet Again the Wheel Turns captures the collapse as well as the tethering to something familiar in its philosophical meditation on time's passage. Her brand of self-stylized "Weird Pop?" makes for a record that feels more like an arthouse film — wildly compelling for being both immediate and just beyond reach; full of zigzags that eventually reveal patterns.
Megan LaPierre

"Idol; RE-run" 

Ever since dropping the celestial, dewy (and near-perfect) breakthrough single "Confirmation" in 2018, Westerman's musical output has been a carefully cultivated slow drip. The London songwriter moves at his own gentle, painterly pace; there's no rushing in Westerman's universe. New single "Idol; RE-run" is a further distillation of his patient magic, looser and more richly detailed than the crackling minimalism that defined 2020's Your Hero is Not Dead. "People die waiting / For the lighting to come back / This way," he sings over the song's twinkling, horn-peppered groove — just when you think he's gone for good, Westerman strikes again. 
Kaelen Bell

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