Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for August 8, 2022: ELIO, Channel Tres, the Zolas

Photos (clockwise from top left): Channel Tres by Leeay, the Zolas by Conor Cunningham, Rachel Bobbitt by Paige Paton, ELIO by Becca Hamel

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Aug 8, 2022

No animals were harmed in the making of this week's batch of Staff Picks, but read on for the cuteness of a punk rock goat and a "spacey" cat. If that precious pair isn't enough to multiply your intrigue, we've got some more twinning in our midst, including two Rachels to remember, a couple of Exclaim! New Faves alumni and a double single — one of our favourite oxymorons!

Don't forget to check out our album reviews section for more of the latest and greatest new music.

Rachel Bobbitt
The Ceiling Could Collapse
(Fantasy / Concord)

Sure, the ceiling could collapse — but if it does, at least we'll be listening to the melancholic folk rock songs from this Nova Scotia-raised, Toronto-based songwriter. Choral-style harmonies and elegiac strings create an elegant, baroque atmosphere that's occasionally sliced through by electric guitar courtesy of Justice Der.
Alex Hudson

Doll Spirit Vessel 
"Something Small" 
(Disposable America)

Doll Spirit Vessel's "Something Small" starts like, well, something small: Kati Malison's voice settles heavily over a faceless beat and some tendrils of sleepy-eyed guitar, calling to mind so many anodyne pieces of insomniatic indie-pop. It's when the song's collapsing jigsaw of a chorus arrives that the Philly trio's magic truly reveals itself. Understated but complex, quiet with something louder roiling just below the surface, "Something Small" is much larger than it first appears.
Kaelen Bell


The title of Charli XCX's protégé might be a damning scarlet A, but ELIO is fully in control of her own paintbrush on the descent into hell's nine circles. ELIO'S INFERNO sees the Toronto pop futurist's confident vision ("Brain's like Aristotle / Face like Harry Styles") at its most cohesive, largely eschewing the dreamier balladry of Can You Hear Me Now? standout "@elio.irl" to embrace a compressed dance-pop bent. She fluidly inflects her voice for angsty, enfant-terrible kiss-offs ("9 Lives," "Godly Behaviour") and breathless, lovestruck sugar-rushes ("SUPERIMPOSE," "Vitamins"), even managing to cleverly reframe her struggles with anxiety ("I LUV MY BRAIN!," "Off my chest").
Megan LaPierre

Rachel Hickey
So Long

Following her 2021 debut Getting By, Kitchener-Waterloo singer-songwriter Rachel Hickey's sophomore EP leaves nothing unwritten. Featuring guest appearances from Toronto's Marshall Veroni and Barrie's Jessie Gosling and Jessica Spurrell, the Collegiate A Cappella champion's effortless, moonlight-soaked vocals radiate luminescence from the centre of each track's melancholic atmospherics, over a pared-back palette of brushed percussion, acoustic guitar and twinkling piano.
Megan LaPierre

Channel Tres
"Just Can't Get Enough"

It's no secret that the house renaissance (no pun intended) is here. Though effortless in feel, the genre's resurgence has been creeping up on us for a hot minute. After soundtracking many of my days in the throes of the pandemic, Channel Tres may finally be catching his mainstream moment with "Just Can't Get Enough." A stellar sample of Teddy Pendergrass's "The More I Get, The More I Want" and Tres's signature deadpan yet sultry vocals make for an endlessly grooveable track that does not let up.
Sydney Brasil


​​Remember Biquette, the "punk rock goat" that was photographed front row at a Wormrot show hosted in France? She clearly made a lasting impression on the Singaporean group, who have firmly established themselves as grindcore GOATs on furious fourth studio LP Hiss, an effort with unbridled viciousness coursing through every one of its musical twists and turns. A highlight performance from vocalist and co-founder Arif Suhaimi unfortunately also marks his last with the trio.
Calum Slingerland

The Zolas
"Craigslist Killer" / "My Limitations" 
(Light Organ)

Last year's Come Back to Life was a career-best for the long-running Vancouver indie rock band (and one of Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2021), so they wisely went back to those sessions to dig up these stellar outtakes, which reveal new layers of the album's electro-Britpop sound. Read our Questionnaire interview with frontman Zach Gray.
Alex Hudson

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