by Tyler Bedford
EDMONTON – In the years since Cassia Hardy’s project Wares surfaced, admiration for the 25-year-old’s music has grown with every recording and performance.
In fact, the praise she received following the release of her 7-inch on Sweety Pie Records
in March 2016, and the accompanying jaw-dropping Edmonton release show at the
Needle Vinyl Tavern, could almost come across as hyperbole because of the sheer
number of positive adjectives thrown around.
However the esteem is warranted and the proof is in the way Wares’ music has exploded
over the last year-and- a-half.
In the first eight months of 2017 alone, a winter tour took Hardy around the west,
including stops at Calgary’s Big Winter Classic and Winnipeg’s Big Fun. She performed
at Vancouver’s Music Waste, Sled Island in Calgary and FLIP, a femme and gender non-
conforming festival in Lethbridge over the summer. She was also nominated for two
2017 Edmonton Music Awards for Indie Rock Recording of the Year and People’s
But it’s not just the music scene that’s taken note of Wares this year. She performed at
the Mayor’s Pride Brunch in Edmonton, played Calgary’s Fairy Tales Queer Film
Festival and led workshops at Camp fYrefly, which is Canada’s only national leadership
retreat for LGBT youth. The camp helps youth discover themselves and their identities in
what she called, “the coolest thing I’ve ever been asked to be a part of in my artistic life.”
Now, with Cassia’s solo endeavor turned three-piece band’s latest self-titled album,
recorded by Calgary indie-stalwart Lorrie Matheson (Napalmpom, Rae Spoon), it’s clear
the future belongs to Wares.
BeatRoute caught up with Hardy to talk about the new record, the inspirations guiding it
and the musicians who helped birth it.
“The songs were all written by me over the last three or four years. Those years were
very important years for my growth,” she says. “I call this my meteor record, because if I
get smitten from the heavens the day this album comes out, at least the world will have a
cohesive collection of songs that express the art I want to make, tested over years of
shows and tours.”
These years clearly provided Cassia with a genuine sense of awareness and confidence
and that’s uncovered as soon as the record begins with the twang and whistle of soulful
opener “City Kids.”
It’s this sense of city, her surroundings and some local artists within it like I Hate Sex,
Faith Healer and Marlaena Moore, that helped shape the album’s sound.
“I have a complicated relationship with [Edmonton] and the stolen land it’s built on,”
“But it’s my home and I love the people here very much. That’s this record.”
The love she feels is palpable throughout, translating to varied offerings. There’s the
suave, jazzy feel of “Sleepwalker,” punk-infused toe tappers like “What You Want,”
“Mission Hill,” and “Die Here” (all of which have a New Pornographers/Superchunk
feel), acoustic ditty “Out All Night,” and the haunting “Dirt.” This is a record of a
matured, developed composer.
According to Hardy, it was the addition of bass (Matthew Gooding) and drums (Holly
Greaves) by some of Alberta’s best and busiest session musicians that helped cultivate
the songs and brought her music to life.
“I’m excited for everyone to hear how Wares adapts and evolves with the new rhythm
Wares’ self-titled full-length is out on October 6 via Double Lunch Productions. See the three-piece band on October 18 at Local 510 (Calgary), October 19 at Blueprint
Productions (Lethbridge), and on October 22 at the Good Will – Social Club (Winnipeg).
The “big release show” is scheduled for October 26 at 9910 with Blessed and Sister Ray.