For all the new goings-on in the Halifax music scene this fall, we can start with the one thing that won’t be happening: The Halifax Pop Explosion appears to have shuttered, with no word yet of festival dates and no updates to the safer spaces survey it promised to deliver back in March 2021. The Atlantic Restorative Company—an outside consultant HPX hired to help mitigate its social media-fuelled firestorm and the underlying systemic racism it failed to address—has confirmed in emails to The Coast that it severed the festival as a client in late March 2021.
And while live music in general is back with a bang (notably Nova Scotia Music Week, lighting up Truro Nov 4-7 and Symphony Nova Scotia’s slated return in late October), the recent requirement of proof of vaccination to enter cultural gatherings means our dreams of mosh pits are one step closer to returning (the communal chip bowl at Gus’ Pub, however, will rest in power forever).
A stalwart of the scene and a frequent hand-up to about-to-break acts, producer, mixer and composer John Mullane (who you may know as the vocals and guitar of David Bowie-beloved band In-Flight Safety) recently launched a new studio space, called Future Dad, in Spryfield. We hope it comes with ample shelf space to show off Mullane’s past and future Nova Scotia Music Week and East Coast Music Award wins.
Joel Plaskett’s Dartmouth destination New Scotland Yard has changed its name (presumably to avoid any New Scotland-based confusion happening in the area). The spot now goes by Fang Recording and Morely’s Coffee. “We’re keeping it hi-fi,” studio engineer and alt-country king Thomas Stajcer promises in an email, a sentiment applicable to both the coffee and music. Alongside both (and alongside Taz Record’s Dartmouth foothold), a new bookshop will also squeeze into the location at 45 Portland Street, called Friction Books.
R&B scene mainstays (including North Preston singer-songwriter Keonté Beals) are putting their metaphorical money on Harmz, a Halifax-by-way-of-Nigeria musician, as a name of note. The artist dropped his debut album in late September, an effort infused with calypso and Top 40 vibes. Also file under one to watch? The honey-voiced Laviita Shanel, whose song ‘It Ends Today’ was one of the best tracks of 2020.
Halifax’s bearded balladeer Ben Caplan is releasing new music this fall ahead of a string of North American and European tour dates: Recollection will be landing on streaming services about when this issue hits newsstands. Meanwhile emo rocker No, It’s Fine. is putting the spit and polish on its second album of 2021, a to-be-named effort dropping in November. Other Halifax musicians of note in the studio right now? The realest rapper MAJE, triple-threat singer-songwriter-producer Zamani (see more on both at left) the ECMA-nominated aRENYE and high-energy hip hop sibling duo Advocates of Truth.