By: Staff –
To celebrate the release of JEEN’s new album Dog Bite (out now), the Canadian indie alt-pop/rock artist curated a brand new Spotify playlist featuring songs and albums that have inspired her over the years.
What started as an EP quickly grew to a full-length LP with 11 songs, including a knockout cover of a Sepultura jam. Recorded while demoing at home and jumping into Pro Gold Studio in the brief moments between lockdowns, it’s hard to not read the impact of COVID-19 into every line. Dog Bite goes beyond a pandemic record, bursting at the seams with the desire for more, peeling back the layers of isolation and exposing a yearning for connection, for love and all the parts of our lives we’ve had to put away. Evoking the spirit of everything from the best fuzzy guitar riffs in The Breeders catalogue to the indie-rock pop of The New Pornographers and all the stops in between, JEEN puts it all on display. “Maybe I’ll Be Gone” is a gritty pop kickoff to the record, the sound of dancing in the pit with reckless abandon. “Don’t Wait” is a sonic road trip featuring vocals from Blurton, a winding road of breezy guitars and boisterous choruses. “Better Drugs” wonders why we are always searching for something more while “Fair to Move On” looks at a mutual drifting apart and a slightly regretted goodbye.
An established and successful songwriter with a penchant for crafting hooky, sync-worthy songs, JEEN became the vocalist and co-writer for Cookie Duster, the side project from Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene) and appears on their 2012 album When Flying Was Easy. In 2014, JEEN released her debut solo LP Tourist, which landed her a feature showcase slot at TIFF’s 2015 Canadian Music Café extensively broadening her reach in a sync market. JEEN’s 2016 sophomore LP Modern Life continued to build on her debut success. Both albums resulted in significant success for JEEN with song placements in various commercials, as well as notable movies and televisions shows. JEEN has also written for many recording artists including Great Big Sea, Serena Ryder, Res, Hawksley Workman, Brendan Canning, FUWA FUWA (j-pop) and Martin “Doc” McKinney. In September 2018, JEEN released a self-produced LP Gift Shop, mixed by Ian Blurton, through which she honed her unique, vintage sound. In October 2020, JEEN released self-titled album JEEN, produced with Blurton and featuring him on lead guitar, along with Stephan Szczesniak on drums, Brendan Canning (Broken Social Scene, Cookie Duster) & Ben O’Brien on bass, Jeff Heisholt on synths, and Kevin Fox on cello.
The Who – “The Kids Are Alright”
I watched Quadrophenia with my first real boyfriend in grade 9 and fell in love (with the movie I mean). They took chances, Keith Moon was a god and the playing/writing is perfectly unhinged at times. I had to sing “I Can See For Miles” in a school play once (which I can tell you really doesn’t translate haha) but it helped fuel my obsession at the time. So many killer songs and vibes and I think “ The Kids Are Alright” helped me realized I wanted to make music forever.
The Beatles – “Helter Skelter”
My parents had The White Album on vinyl and I consumed it as a kid. It doesn’t really follow any rules, it’s super long and spans genres. Shortly after, I bought Sgt. Pepper and it really solidified my appreciation for their more eclectic song/album approaches…That you don’t have to make every song sound like they match just cause it’s the same band/same album.
Pink Floyd – “Wish You Were Here”
Pink Floyd are an island, I can’t even. David Gilmour is prob one of my biggest music crushes and their albums just transcend, practically religious. “Wish You Were Here” is a daydream and every guitar melts me.
Beastie Boys – “So What’Cha Want”
Also an island of their own. MCA, also my music crush. I’ve loved the Beastie Boys since I was a little girl. Like we had Licensed To Ill blasting at recess while we played soccer. Literally felt like the soundtrack of my life at times. And then they release Check Your Head in the nineties on top of everything. They’re icons and just a part of my fabric. When MCA died in 2012 I did a cover of “Slow And Low”. It ended up on my self-titled 2020 LP.
Jane’s Addiction – “Summertime Rolls”
I was mainly introduced to Jane’s by my first band where we did a cover of “Pigs In Zen”(eek). Perry Farrell is other worldly and one of my fav front men. I picked “Summertime Rolls” here because I love how it drifts. The lyrics are just stream of consciousness and it feels like a summer day/night.
Nirvana – “On A Plain”
Weird how this all got almost cliche but I could never bypass this band. They defined a lot of my musical senses and have some sway over almost all of my writing. I remember where I was when I heard “Smells like Teen Spirit” for the first time and where I was when my friend called to tell me he had died. Just a massive influence on me.
Corrosion of Conformity – “Shallow Ground”
Ok maybe more album love than everything they ever put out but Corosion’s album Blind had a big impact on me. Super moody and dirty and Pepper Keenan did it for me. Also an excellent band name. I loved the whole record but the track “Shallow Ground” (even though it’s an instrumental) had me the second I heard it and everyday since. I always wondered what it would sound like with vocals but I guess that’s the beauty of it.
Bob Dylan – “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right”
His lyrics are pretty untouchable and I remember finding him on some vinyl my mom had and falling in love. He just broke my heart and put it back together at the same time. A truly beautiful writer. So many songs to choose from but I always loved the mixed vibe of “Don’t Think Twice It’s All Right”…like when you say everything’s cool but it’s kind of not. He is one of a kind.
Underworld – “Born Slippy”
Also not exactly a band influence here but this song has been huge for me. No clue exactly why but it is never too far out of my mind. It hits me on a visceral level and its raw authenticity sets a bar for me. It’s the intensity and tension, or like the constant anticipation I love. It’s sort of everything I want to feel when I hear a song.
Sepultura – either “Refuse Resist” or my cover of “Inner Self”
I can’t exactly say I was influenced by Sepultura, but I was introduced to them by some old roommates and got into their album Chaos A.D. I’m not huge into this genre but have a great respect for it and this album/band is so perfectly heavy to me. Just felt like they put everything they had into it and at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about regardless of what kind of music you play. Pure energy. I did a slowed down Sepultura cover (an older song of theirs called “Inner Self”) on my new record Dog Bite too.