Talkhouse Weekend Playlist: Happy Holidays, From swim good now

Jon Jasper-Lawless shares a few favorite tracks by each of his collaborators on his new holiday song.

swim good now is the recording project of Toronto-based artist Jon Jasper-Lawless. This week, he put out an original holiday song — “The Blinding Light” — featuring contributions from a ton of musical friends. In the spirit of the season, Jon is sharing some of his favorite tracks by each of his collaborators. Check them out below!
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music 

Stars — “What the Snowman Learned About Love”

This song is everything I want in a Stars song. Not only are there two (!) fake-outs before getting to the absolutely stunning part, but there is no way I can listen to this song without hitting repeat (and that’s saying something considering the next song on the Heart album is their classic “Elevator Love Letter”). 

Gia Margaret — “Solid Heart”

Gia Margaret’s first two records were so good I had no idea where she’d go next. Turns out, she’s gone a lot of places, but perhaps none greater than this. I remember Sufjan in an interview saying something like “at the end of the day, I’m a folk singer,” and I feel like the exact same is true with Gia. She can do it all — but when she wants to return to folkier stuff, it feels like such a homecoming.

Ryan Hemsworth — “Defend + Defund”

Honestly, my favorite Ryan Hemsworth song is probably on some hard drive somewhere (I would guess that maybe only about 10% of the music he makes is released) — but if I were forced to choose a musical highlight, it might be this.

PKEW PKEW PKEW — “Prequel To Asshole Pandemic”

I met Emmett O’Reilly at the camp I worked at when we were super young. Emmett remains one the kindest people I’ve ever met, but to be honest, I was surprised when I found out he loved to make loud music. Seems kind of opposite to his personality in a way, but when it’s this good, I’m all in.

Hanora — “Three Wreaths”

Ivan and Scarlett Raczycki have both spoken to me about their dad Jan’s record collection which sounds super impressive. What I did not know until super recently is that their dad was a writer too. Here is a collaboration of sorts between generations; it’s really beautiful and makes me understand why Ivan is such a sucker for the holidays and the perfect guest to ask to be on a holiday song.

Nic Jasper — “speaking of cognitive dissonance”

Nic Jasper has been writing poetry for a long time but only recently started sharing her work publicly. I think she’s amazing, thoughtful and brilliant. Like David Berman, she has such a natural gift for words and their quiet yet intense power. Here’s a brand new spoken word piece of hers.

Alan Doyle — “Heave Away”

Ali Momen used to host a great podcast called Soft Revolution with Torquil from Stars and is one of the first people I thought of to recruit for this choir. He’s been in Star Trek: Discovery as well as the hit musical Come From Away. Here’s a really great song from that musical.

Old English — “Anchors”

Daniel Halyburton is one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met. He used to play in this great band called Old English featuring, in true Broken Social Scene fashion, approximately a million people. This song is so underrated.

Matt Brubeck and Caylie Staples — “Not the Same”

Matt Brubeck is fairly new to me (socially) but his music runs deep in my life. Not only has he played on one of my most cherished albums (Alice by Tom Waits), he took what should have been an intimidating encounter and made it a warm one. It’s impossible to single out one Matt project, but here he is improvising with a former student Caylie Staples.

Jon Jasper-Lawless — “Capital (ft. Daniela Andrade)”

Linsey Beckett is from the same hometown as me and one of my favorite musicians of all time. Her versatility and professionalism honestly makes me want to work harder. This is one of the many songs of mine that she has vastly improved.

Rosy Glow — “Soft Movements”

Aaron Mohr is a brilliant designer, musician, producer, and so much more. His project Rosy Glow is such a triumph; here’s one of the highlights, if you ask me.

(Photo Credit: left, Gary Lawless; right, Aaron Mohr)

swim good now & The Techno Hall of Fame is a collaborative project a long time in the making. The project began in 2018 with no direction in mind, continuing a 10 year tradition of off-and-on collaboration between the two friends. One was experiencing a sea change in Toronto’s West End and channeling it into his songwriting; the other was settling into life as a producer in small town Ontario and expecting his first child. Both had recently turned the corner into their 30s, dealing with a tension that began to express itself in intimate, cinematic songs about uncertainty and love.

swim good now released his debut album in 2018 with Toronto’s Secret Songs collective. In the past, he has worked with members of Bon Iver, Stars, and The Avalanches.

The Techno Hall of Fame has been involved in Toronto’s DIY music scene through a collective he founded in 2014 (Bedroomer) and making his living as a graphic designer.

(Photo Credit: Daniel Reardon)