Editor’s Note: Issue 12 – Breaking Point

A black and white image of a broken, shattered record. In the foreground is some shattered, black text outlined in red that reads: "BREAKING POINT"


By: Leslie Ken Chu | Art by: Michael Rancic

‘Let’s look at that old sky while we’re spinning.’ We took each other’s hands in the center of the clearing and began turning around. Very slowly at first. We raised our chins and looked straight at the seductive patch of blue. Faster, just a little faster, then faster, faster yet. Yes, help, we were falling. Then eternity won, after all. We couldn’t stop spinning or falling until I was jerked out of her grasp by greedy gravity and thrown to my fate below—no, above, not below. I found myself safe and dizzy at the foot of a sycamore tree. Louise had ended on her knees at the other side of the grove.

This was surely the time to laugh. We lost but we hadn’t lost anything. First we were giggling and crawling drunkenly towards each other and then we were laughing out loud uproariously. We slapped each other on the back and shoulders and laughed some more. We had made a fool or a liar out of something, and didn’t that just beat it all?”

Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

From the titans of the mainstream to the underdogs of the underground, every new headline about consolidation within the music industry; skyrocketing international visa fees; the elimination of a major revenue stream; and yet another tour getting cancelled induces a pained collective sigh like the whine of an ever-tightening ungreased winch. Eventually, that winch will snap, and the crash will be disastrous.

In Issue 12 of New Feeling, “Breaking Point,” we consider what it will take for things to change, given that they weren’t working before the pandemic, and they certainly aren’t working now. Cierra Bettens speaks with Vancouver alt-rocker FKA Rayne and Montréal indie pop musician/comedian Eva Parker Finley about the pressures artists feel to become relentless TikTok content creators. In a candid personal essay, Daniel G. Wilson opens up about the displacement immunocompromised musicians feel when society prioritizes personal convenience and the economy’s health over their own. Tabassum Siddiqui catches up with Fucked Up to discuss how the pandemic’s isolating and uncertain conditions inspired the Toronto hardcore legends to experiment with the creative approach to their sixth full-length, One Day. Tom Beedham examines how the recent acceleration around song catalogue acquisitions further concentrates music industry wealth between only a few megacorporations and pushes smaller musicians to the brink of precarity. Michael Rancic calls for solidarity between musicians and music journalists, who share a delicate and complex relationship. 

“Breaking Point” is my final issue as New Feeling’s Features Editor, though I will continue to be involved in other aspects of the co-op. Michael Rancic has stepped in, and he and the rest of the editorial team are already hard at work planning Issue 13. This role has been one of my fondest and most valuable learning experiences, and it would not have been possible without the editorial team’s support. Thank you Tabassum, Michael, Laura, Daniel, Tom, Sarah, and everyone else who has been part of this team over the last two years.

The pandemic has been an opportunity for individuals, industries, and institutions to create empathetic and sustainable changes. The seed for New Feeling was sown during the pandemic’s early months as a means for music journalists across Canada to support each other in a precarious time. We have lost much, to be sure, but we have not lost completely. As each writer, musician, and academic makes clear in “Breaking Point,” whether practical or theoretical, solutions to the music industry’s problems exist. With these actions in mind, I get off my knees, raise my chin, and look forward with optimism.

Editor’s Note – Issue 7: Legacy


Art by: Galen Milne-Hines

The word “legacy” is always in the back of our minds when we discuss the co-op’s plans, hopes, and ambitions, as well as the lasting impact we want to have on our community. We’re always mindful of legacies when we consider the follies, fumbles, toxic patterns, and pitfalls of corporate models that we want to challenge, as well as like-minded organizations past and present, such as Weird Canada, whose spirits serve as a guiding star for our own. Looking forward, we also have aspirations for archival projects that would seek to preserve the work of music-focused websites that have folded or since disappeared entirely. As platforms are constantly bought and sold, the vast amount of work they produce is often an afterthought, and it’s here that we see an opportunity for an intervention: working to ensure that work is not lost and can be accessed by generations to come.

As we’ve mentioned numerous times before, one of our goals is to share knowledge and ensure the viability and vibrancy of future generations of music media professionals. As we see it, that requires ensuring that our future—or legacy, if you will—remains in the hands of our co-op’s members and the communities we serve rather than those of an opportunistic vulture venture capitalist waiting for the right time to sell their investment to a conglomerate concerned only with overhead and bottom lines.

Looking outside of our co-op, we wanted to consider what legacy means in music and how it impacts artists. In our latest issue, Legacy, the always insightful Daniel G. Wilson speaks with Inuit folk-rock legend Willie Thrasher and York University ethnomusicologist Rob Bowman in examining the evolution of music reissues and its impact on musicians’ artistry, audience reach, career trajectories, and the communities those musicians represent. Jesse Locke facilitates a conversation between Adam Sturgeon (Status/Non-Status, OMBIIGIZI) and a member of his childhood heroes Eric’s Trip, East Coast music icon Julie Doiron. Their chat is the first in a new series called Generation Wise where artists from different eras commiserate about and delight in their varying and mutual experiences.

Our seventh issue also welcomes four freelancers who are making their New Feeling debut: Jordan Currie, Reina Cowan, Sun Noor, and Karen K. Tran. Along with Locke and Tom Beedham, they complete the roundtable for New Feeling’s Group Chat, another new feature where we invite a panel of writers to give their takes on two songs selected by our editorial team, with the goal of offering a variety of perspectives of each track and discovering common threads of interest, analysis, and interpretation.

For those of you already helping us build something new, for the present and for the future, by subscribing to New Feeling, our utmost thank-you. For regular readers or those checking us out for the first time, we thank you too and hope you’ll consider supporting New Feeling by becoming a member and helping us build a healthy, equitable playing field for emerging and future writers while simultaneously working to preserve the past that inspires our mission and values.

Leslie Ken Chu, co-founder, New Feeling


EDITOR’S NOTE – ISSUE 6: remodel

Art by: Laura Stanley

2021 was a year of give and take. At long last, vaccines became available, but as countries like Canada both hoarded them and opposed patent waivers, new variants of COVID-19 threatened their efficacy, derailing our hopes—our confidence—that life would reach some semblance of functional normalcy. Schools and gyms reopened their doors before closing them once again. Live shows returned, and venues eagerly filled their calendars into spring, but capacity limits oscillated, forcing another wave of postponed dates and full-stop-canceled tours.

This most recent surge of cases affirms that we are not out of the woods yet. With the near two years of living in this pandemic weighing on us, and the future left so clouded and uncertain, it can feel next to impossible to want to look ahead, to make long term plans, or imagine alternatives. 

It is important that we remind ourselves that while our present reality isn’t desirable, for many folks that’s been the case for much longer than the pandemic. So when we decided to take stock of our favourite music from 2021 to close out the year with our sixth issue, it also felt necessary to look forward, to think about what we’ve learned so far and how we can bring those lessons and knowledge into the future with us. 

Kicking off this first issue of 2022, Remodel features a look back on New Feeling’s Favourite Songs of 2021 from both organizing members and freelancers who helped make the year such a success for us. Co-op member Tabassum Siddiqui makes her New Feeling debut in conversation with Cadence Weapon. Together, they reflect on the Edmonton-born rapper’s whirlwind year including his Polaris Music Prize victory and upcoming first book. In another thoughtful piece, Tom Beedham contemplates how the live music industry can rebound from so many months without revenue while addressing longstanding accessibility issues.

Last year our biggest challenge was in laying the groundwork for the organization and doing so in such a way that meant not replicating the systems of harm and exploitation that we’re organizing against. This work is ongoing and continual, but now that it’s under way, we can set our sights on new challenges.

In 2022 we want to publish more work by writers not currently affiliated with the co-op, make future issues more robust by increasing the number of pieces each contains, and increase the rates that we can offer as compensation to the writers and artists we work with. For this to happen, we need to enlist the help of more subscribers and members. 

Expect to see us engaging in more community-focused work this year, as we work to build trust with both the literary and music communities we’re a part of. We’re also excited to do some remodeling behind the scenes, adding some new faces to the organizing members of the co-op in the coming months. Onboarding these new members is critical for New Feeling’s growth as a co-op. It will also allow us to spread out labour and avoid burnout, share skills, and welcome new ideas and perspectives from folks of varied backgrounds and expertise.

Thank you for supporting New Feeling into the new year. Here’s to many more.

Leslie Ken Chu, co-founder, New Feeling


Vancouver, BC
RIYL: SZA; Homeshake; Reverie Sound Revue

Heartbreak abounds on DACEY’s debut EP, SATIN PLAYGROUND, but the Vancouver quintet lift themselves up with a breezy mix of jazz, pop, hip-hop, and R&B. The members’ background as trained producers comes out in the seven songs’ warm, silky sound. Singer Dacey Andrada adds even more finesse as a jazz vocalist who grew up on Motown.

The buoyant “I’ll Be There” is perfect for walking away from a bad situation with your head held high; listening to the song, you can almost feel the sun in your eyes. And though Andrada gets hung up on memories of the good times on “See Thru Me” (“I keep on reminiscing what we had is gone,” she sings), slow jams like this will make you want to light a scented candle, spark up a joint, and chill out on your couch. And speaking of vibes, the fluid “SUMMERTIMEISDONE” could be an outtake from SZA’s Ctrl.

As Andrada sings on the groovy “Sidewalks,” “I’m only getting started.” SATIN PLAYGROUND is a confident first step for DACEY towards coming into their own.

– Leslie Ken Chu

Air Creature – Every Emotion

Air Creature
Every Emotion
Vancouver, BC
RIYL: engine failure; broken propellers; electrical storms

Spencer Schoening might be best known as the former drummer in JUNO Award-winning indie rock band Said the Whale, but few people know that within him lies a different beast. He himself didn’t know, until he heard Pulse Demon by harsh noise legend Merzbow. Roused by the demon’s call, what once lay dormant has now reared its head, and Schoening has given it a name: Air Creature.

The four pulverizing tracks on Air Creature’s Every Emotion crackle with electrical buzz. The churning “Hiddenness” will make you seasick on land. The distorted “Wilderness Pup” screeches and thrashes like T-1000 meeting its demise. “Poorest in the Forest” sputters and never lifts off, like a helicopter shooting smoke from its engine. When Air Creature pulls the plug on livewire shocker “Massive Aggressive,” the abrupt ending leaves you reeling.

You won’t find the bright, melodic sounds typically associated with ecstatic joy on Every Emotion—in fact, you might not be able to pinpoint what you feel. But disorientation elicits a peculiar bliss, perhaps one of numbness. Listening to Every Emotion, you will feel something, and sometimes, it’s better to wonder than to know for sure.

Leslie Ken Chu

Editor’s Note – Issue 4: Economics

EDITOR’S NOTE – Issue 4: economics

Art by: Amy Ash

The cover for New Feeling’s fourth issue, Economics, comes courtesy of Saint John artist Amy Ash. Her 2016 piece, Factory Girls (Time Change), features a photo of Hershey Co.’s last Canadian manufacturing plant, the Moirs factory. The facility operated out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia until it shuttered in 2007. The piece also depicts two girls from a collection of photo negatives dating back to the early 20th Century in Atlantic Canada. “[Factory Girls] is from a project that explored the changing nature of families in Halifax when the Moirs factory opened because it made working outside the home both appealing and normalised for women, ultimately changing not only the economy but family dynamics,” Ash explains in a statement. New Feeling aspires to likewise change the music economy by prioritizing equity in our co-op membership, the freelance writers and visual artists we contract, and the music we cover.

Ironically, New Feeling originally planned our Economics issue for December 2020, the same month we decided to pause publication to focus on organizational matters including remuneration for writers. (You can read more about New Feeling’s development as a cooperative here.)

Fast forward to today. New Feeling has been pre-approved for a SOCAN grant to fund our fourth issue. Though we are thankful this grant allows us to continue publishing and upholds our goal of paying writers and visual artists, relying on grants creates a precarious existence. Going forward, we are launching a membership drive. We hope everything New Feeling has managed to accomplish thus far—without a steady income stream—will encourage our readers to join the co-op and directly support us in our ongoing work towards equity in music journalism.

The SOCAN grant has allowed New Feeling to open our call for story pitches to writers outside the co-op for the first time. Aly Laube takes a deep dive into Canada’s inequitable grant system as it pertains to operations funding for non-profits. Roshanie weighs the risks and benefits of crowdfunding platforms for both artists and fans. Sumiko Wilson speaks with a money expert who teaches financial literacy through the lens of healing trauma. Kaelen Bell illuminates the psychedelic brilliance of the Poppy Family’s 1969 record, Which Way You Goin’ Billy?

As for our organizing members, Tom Beedham extols Guelph’s most exciting new artists. He also explains how playlist algorithms and the pay-per-stream model devalues the labour—and craft—behind tracks that exceed the standard length of hits.

New Feeling is excited to be back, and we hope you are just as excited to see us.

Leslie Ken Chu, co-founder, New Feeling

special delivery – 人生的配樂 vol. 1

special delivery
人生的配樂 vol. 1
Montréal, QC
RIYL: sitting outside a recital hall during practice; stumbling through language lessons; home appliances

Montréal composer special delivery uses found sound and spoken recordings to draw attention to the musicality of everyday life. The nine tracks on 人生的配樂 vol. 1 (which means Soundtrack of a Lifetime) are exercises in patience and focus, for listeners and herself. She hones her harp skills for five minutes on “practicing repetition” and fumbles and stumbles through Mandarin lessons on “am i saying it right?.”

人生的配樂 vol. 1 is a sensory experience beyond the ears. The scent of flowers rises as birds chirp on “nature and machinerie.” And whatever is being pried apart on “breaking pranks,” you can feel thin pieces of wood splintering in your hands.

On “fridge musich,” special delivery realizes her fridge is an orchestra. She imitates its droning, oscillating noises in a croaking voice. “I wish I had recorded it, but if I went to get my phone, I would have missed the whole thing,” she laments.

The fleeting nature of her fridge’s music sums up 人生的配樂 vol. 1‘s emphasis on the present moment. She captures snippets of subtle time as they occur or recounts them because they’ve eluded her. Concentrate on 人生的配樂 vol. 1 as diligently as special delivery practices harp and Mandarin, and revelation will be your reward.

Leslie Ken Chu

blueberry lemon – The Blue-Winged Warbler

blueberry lemon
The Blue-Winged Warbler
Self Released
Halifax, NS
RIYL: John Fahey; Vashti Bunyan; migration season

Gloom presides over the eight ambient, folky guitar instrumentals on blueberry lemon’s The Blue-Winged Warbler. “Northern Cardinal, Flightless” namechecks a species that nests in shrubs, but why is this one flightless? What ran through blueberry lemon’s head or heart while writing “Crow’s Tears?” Did blueberry lemon witness the literal “Death of an Osprey”?

“Blue Jay, Where Have You Gone?” and “Blue Jay and the Hawk” prompt less grim questions, about the colourful bird’s mysterious migration patterns and penchant for mimicking hawk calls.

Like birding, listening to instrumental music is an exercise in patience and a way to lose yourself in thought. Sightings aren’t guaranteed, and neither are revelations about your deepest questions; they might flicker past you, if they come to you at all. “I spend hours trying to spot tiny distant creatures that don’t give a shit if I see them or not,” musician Jack Breakfast told Kyo Maclear in her book, Birds Art Life. “I spend most of my time loving something that won’t ever love me back. Talk about a lesson in insignificance.” 

Don’t get hung up on your smalless, though. Get lost in wonder about the world around you with The Blue-Winged Warbler.

Leslie Ken Chu

Sadé Awele
Time Love Journey
Vancouver, BC
RIYL: Jamila Woods; Aquakultre; Natalie Slade

Self-care takes time and love. For some people, it’s a journey. Nigerian-born singer Sadé Awele maps her path to self-preservation on her groovy, nocturnal EP, Time Love Journey. “You have to walk that road on your own / … / Are you even willing to try?” she asks on “Care.” Along with committing your own emotional labour, you have to be open to critical reflection: “How can you be so guarded? / I don’t understand it,” her interrogation continues.

Awele commands a breathless cool on the self-assured “No Love Lost.” Faint background horns mingle with pattering percussive brushes, creating a restrained energy on “Peak.” “These are my emotions,” she sings on this humid song, baring her vulnerability as she tries to conquer her anxiety and stay on top of her game.

“Take it easy, take it slow / We’ve got so far to go,” she repeats as thick bass, overhanging brass, and warm, smooth keys propel “Take It Easy” towards a crescendo. Sadé Awele proves self-care is worth the labour. She’s playing the long game, and I have a feeling she’s going to stick it out.

Leslie Ken Chu