Canadian Music Corner: Rah Rah & Madchild

Brendan Kergin, Arts & Entertainment Editor Ω

While much of Canada’s musical media points it’s spotlight in one of four places (Toronto, Montreal, St. John’s/ the Maritimes and Vancouver/ the islands) the prairies are no slouch. Currently one of the biggest names of the region is Regina’s Rah Rah, bringing a mixture of indie fun and folksy twang to stages and speakers.

The seven-piece combines male and female vocals, involves the whole group in leading and songwriting and has made a name for themselves as a group where everyone switches it up. As in, two members switch off on the drums, almost everyone takes a shot at lead vocals at some point and adding musicians (they started off as a trio).

One of the early singles, titled “Duet for Emmylou and the Grievous Angel,” references the short but brilliant career of Gram Parsons, an artist who still influences songwriters today, including Rah Rah, despite having passed away nearly 40 years ago. This includes the co-lead female and male vocals on country-tinged tracks.

For a taste, the newest album The Poet’s Dead came out in the fall and the track “Art and A Wife” did pretty well indie music critics.

Taylor Rocca, Copy/Web Editor Ω

Once upon a time, Madchild was a heavy-hitter in the world of Canadian hip-hop as a part of the aggressive, witty and intelligent collective, Swollen Members.

Just as the Battle Axe powerhouse was hitting the pinnacle of its career, life spiraled out of control for Madchild who struggled with an oxycontin addiction, burning through $3 million in assets to feed his addiction over a four-year span, according to CBC Music.

After fighting to earn back his life, an arduous war that brought him back from the depths of a personal hell, Madchild dropped the album Dope Sick on Aug. 28, 2012.

The record chronicles the personal battle for Madchild’s life, a clash that saw him lock horns with a variety of demons, including himself. A native of North Vancouver, B.C., Madchild wrote and recorded the entire album during a 10-month period in which he was locked away recovering from a near-death bout with oxycontin that finally pushed his body, mind and spirit to the brink.

While this is the first full-length solo album from Madchild, the gritty, blonde-haired spitter has previously released five EPs, including the 2012 Little Monster EP, a precursor to Dope Sick.

An introspective and chilling look into the life of a man overtaken by drug abuse, Dope Sick is an admirable work of Canadian hip-hop worth checking out, especially for old fans of Swollen Members.

Tracks that should be first in your listening queue include, “Grenade Launcher,” “Runaway,” “Wake Up,” “Judgement Day” and “Wanted.”

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