This week in RCS Music News Weekly: Gigs now opening up in Ontario, Royal G Symphony drops their new EP “The King’s Highway,” RCS brings back open jams with Jamulus, Edmonton Rock Fest returns live in August, and Roger Waters tells Mark Zuckerberg, “f- you.” But first…

Twin Flames - Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards

Twin Flames Wins Big at the First Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards

Indigenous duo Twin Flames won three awards—Radio Single of the Year, Pop/Alternative/Rock Album of the Year, and Music in the Arts—at the inaugural Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards (SSIMAs) last Saturday in Ottawa. Silla and Rise were named Inuit Artist/Group of the Year, and won for Artistic Video with “Mother Roots,” and Ottawa-area artist Mary Bryton won Rising Star.

Produced by Mather Simard’s Indigenous entertainment and tourism firm,, the event (part of the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival) was co-hosted by Canadian Anishinaabe activist and broadcaster Sarain Fox and musician Jah’kota. After an opening prayer by Elder Annie Smith St. Georges, Fox acknowledged “difficult days for our communities following the discovery of the 215 children” on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and asked for a moment of silence before commencing the event.

Curtis Shingoose and Willie Dunn, recipients of the Legacy Award, were honored by memorial videos that showcased their lasting influence on the artistic and cultural heritage of the Indigenous community through their music and career contributions.

For the complete list of SSIMA winners, click here.

Royal G Symphony - The King's Highway

Royal G Symphony Drops The King’s Highway Tomorrow

Guelph alt-rock band Royal G Symphony drops their long-awaited EP, The King’s Highway.

Recorded at Royal City Studios, the EP (featuring the pre-released tracks “Juno” and “Don’t Look Now”) embodies the same distinct yet elusive Canadian sound as the Hip. Yet the music of Royal G Symphony echoes beyond Hip comparison with a far-reaching complexity (much like the cultural fabric of Canada), and each listen of their music is like discovering a new highway across a rich and expansive land.

Like most bands, Royal G Symphony looks forward to playing live again when restrictions lift. “COVID-19 has removed the personal connection that we crave from our music,” writes the band. “It has been a year since our final pre-pandemic shows. We miss the sweat, the reverb, and the energy of the live performance, but we have not been waiting quietly.” Restrictions have powered the band to create more music, and they can’t wait to share it with audiences.

Currently, Royal G Symphony’s live online release party for The King’s Highway is planned for Saturday, June 26th, at 8 p.m. from The Johnston Green (University of Guelph) as an acoustic performance.

To join the party, simply log in to Instagram before 8 p.m. on the 26th and tap on Royal G’s story.

COVID restrictions now dropping

COVID Restrictions Now Dropping Everywhere

A few days ago, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced all state-mandated COVID restrictions have been lifted now that 70% of the state’s adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Israel scrapped indoor mask orders to end one of the country’s last main restrictions. Slovenia allowed its COVID state of emergency to expire after eight months and lifted most restrictions. Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that face masks will no longer be required across the Netherlands as COVID cases drop, and Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez will lift a blanket obligation to wear masks outdoors beginning June 26th.

Given the stranglehold that lockdowns and restrictions have had on the music industry for the past 15 months, RCS Music News Weekly felt you may appreciate knowing this good news.

Guelph jam space - Royal City Studios

Clarification Re: Step One

Some of the wording in last week’s RCS Music News Weekly story about Step One reopening in Ontario may have given a few people the impression that limited outdoor performances are now allowed.

To clarify:

While Step One focuses on the resumption of more outdoor activities with small crowds up to 10 people, bands cannot perform outdoors for audiences until Step Two. So, Step One represents an optimal time to rehearse and prepare for shows.

Ontario will remain in Step One for at least 21 days to evaluate any impacts on key public health indicators. Once Step Two gets the green light, expanded activities should include:

  • Outdoor gatherings up to 25 people.
  • Indoor gatherings up to five people.
  • Outdoor cinemas and performing arts with capacity limits.

To prepare for all that, Royal City Studios’ rehearsal studios are now open under COVID safety protocols for limited numbers of people.

When Step Two happens (July 2nd at the earliest), RCS can have increased numbers in each rehearsal studio. When Step Three happens (July 23rd at the earliest), live indoor events with limited capacity can happen. Full capacity in RCS rehearsal studios during Step Three remains to be confirmed.

Mark Zuckerberg - RCS Music News Weekly

Roger Waters Rejects Zuck’s Money

People reported this week that Mark Zuckerberg recently offered legendary Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters “a huge, huge amount of money” to use “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)” in an ad for Instagram.

How did Waters reply?

“The answer is: f- you. No f-ing way,” Waters said to People. “I only mention that because this is an insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything. Those of us who do have power, and I do have a little bit in terms of the control of the publishing of my songs, I will not be party to this bulls—, Zuckerberg.”

Any you slice it, that’s a huge slap in the Facebook.

Guelph open jams - RCS Music News Weekly

RCS Brings Back Open Jams with Jamulus!

Before lockdowns, restrictions, and other pandemic-ness, Royal City Studios used to host open rock jams. RCS also ran an Open Student Jam and Acoustic Jam, and even jammed with Mayor Cam Guthrie when RCS first opened.

RCS misses open jams. If you do too, here’s the good news. RCS has set up an online Jamulus Server to bring people back together for the next few weeks while waiting for in-person jams to resume.

For more info, click here to read Jim Duffield’s blog.


Mixxim Kickstarts MIXXTAPE

This week, Dallas-based Mixxim announced a Kickstarter campaign to launch the fourth generation of MIXXTAPE. Merging old school nostalgia with modern playback technology, MIXXTAPE is an analog cassette that digitally plays music. Listeners can either listen directly from MIXXTAPE through headphones or drop MIXXTAPE into a boom box or cassette console.

Featuring 24-bit/192kHz audio, MIXXTAPE prides itself on providing a listening experience far superior to the highly compressed music formats of streaming services, where the details, texture, and richness of music often go unheard.

“I miss the days when music was more than just digital files and virtual avatars,” said MIXXTAPE inventor Paul Burns. “It was tangible, meaningful, and personal. MIXXTAPE brings that back in its own technolstagic was.”

The new MIXXTAPE will include a full-color, one-inch touch display and audio jack, and will be compatible with USB and Bluetooth. With 8GB of internal memory and external memory support of up to 512GB, MIXXTAPE comes with a rechargeable 300mAh battery for up to five hours of playback.

Historical Note: As far as RCS Music News Weekly can tell, music journalist Chi Ming Lai was the first person to use the word “technolstagic” in a March 2018 review of artist Katja von Kassel’s EP Walking in West Berlin for Electricity Club.

Tom Cochrane - RCS Music News Weekly

Edmonton Rock Fest Returns Live in August

As another sign of live-music life slowly returning to Canada, Edmonton Rock Fest celebrates its 10th anniversary live on August 14th at the historic Racetrack Infield on the Edmonton Exhibition Lands.

Presented by the Rock and Roll Society of Edmonton (in support of the Centre for Arts and Music program), the one-day festival will feature headliner Tom Cochrane and Red Ryder in a socially distanced outdoor concert that will include Glass Tiger, Prism, Toque, Chronic Rock, and performances by CAM students.

Port McNicoll - RCS Music News Weekly

Gigs Now Opening Up in Ontario

Last week, RCS Music News Weekly wrote that, with more Canadians planning on road-tripping this summer to explore nearby cities and towns, now may be a good time to think about an out-of-town gig—and it is.

Example: A few days ago, Treble Maker Music owner Donna Michele Minelli posted the following on the Facebook group Port McNicoll Music and Events:

“Calling out all local musicians and acts! Any ages please inquire for live music shows. Looking for various genres and ages to perform various shows. Forward information to myself. If you’re looking for live music for your venue or business or for some advertising, please also message.”

Unsurprisingly, with so many bands chomping at the bit to play live, available bookings (where currently available) may start filling up fast. So, if you’ve been hesitant to begin looking around for gigs because of uncertainties surrounding Ontario’s reopening plan, you may wish to start looking and making calls before it’s too late.

Cheers to Dylan Hennessy for Busking

RCS Music News Weekly salutes Mobius Radio singer/guitarist Dylan Hennessy for bringing live music back to Toronto. Working within COVID restrictions, Hennessy has spent the past few weeks busking solo in backyards, skate parks, and on the street to provide many people with the first live music they’ve heard since the pandemic began.

Here’s to a summer of much more live music for everyone everywhere.