Author Archives: shawnpt
Arcade Fire made an appearance on the UK’s top chat show, Graham Norton on BBC One November 29, 2013. “Afterlife” is the new single from the band’s latest album, Reflektor. Keep an eye out for the skeleton.
Garou, born Pierre Garand, is from Sherbrooke, QC. Known best as a soul singer complete with a hoarse voice (think of Michael Bolton), he became an overnight sensation by singing “Belle” from the musical Notre Dame de Paris with fellow Canadian Daniel Lavoie and France’s Patrick Fiori. The song became the third best-selling single of all-time in France. His followup debut album Seul was certified diamond in France and triple platinum in Canada. Its title track and “Sous le vent” with Céline Dion topped the charts in Francophone realms. Garou released an English album in 2008 called Piece of My Soul. “Stand Up” and “Heaven’s Table” made the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Some have commented that he is one who elevates the station of women in his songs. He performed during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
As of late, Garou has been dabbling in another love of his—blues music. Last year, his acclaimed bilingual album Rhythm and Blues, made in London UK, did well, peaking at #2 on the French albums chart. He has just released his eighth studio album, Milieu de ma vie currently at #5 on the French Albums Chart. Those of you acquainted with French music will be impressed that working with Garou on the album is none other than legend Francis Cabrel. The album’s tracks contain a nice mix of classic soulful Garou as well as some blues numbers. In fact, in our opinion this is Garou’s finest album. His voice has undergone some refinement from the gruffness of its past without losing its soulful charm and is at top form on this disc. He pays tribute to his current love interest, supermodel Stephanie Fournier, on “Seule une femme”. He performs a sweet duet with Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin in “Du vent des mots” and delivers spot-on blues greatness on both “L’ange gardien” and “Le blues dans le sang”. “Avancer” sees the man at the peak of his game. Garou could well be the best soul singer ever to come out of Canada. iTunes
JUNO-nominated Elise Estrada, who has landed eight songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100, was set to release her first major single in three years when news reached her about the devastation Typhoon Haiyan wreaked upon The Philippines. Take a good hard look at the photo above. Before the typhoon struck, this was a happy, bustling city, named Tacloban, of hard working people and families raising children. Look at it now. Elise consulted with her team and they decided to write and record a charity single, every penny of which is going directly to help the victims of this horrific disaster. “All It Takes Is a Moment” debuted today on Vancouver radio station SONiC, and is now available for download on iTunes at 99 cents. iTunes
Toronto’s electronic act River Tiber is the project of Tommy Paxton-Beesley and has recently released 5-track EP The Star Falls. This is the soundtrack for which every big budget science fiction motion picture cries out. Hypnotic beats pulsate beneath Tommy’s droning croon of cool. Synthesizers shimmer like flickering lights in a city trapped by the gloomy darkness of night. Those of you eager for some downtempo, chillout vibes will dig this little star. We have embedded music video of “The City” below. iTunes
Valérie Carpentier released an amazing album in 2010 called Du Parc Belmont à hôtesse de l’air showcasing classic-style French pop when she was 16. Earlier this year she participated as a contestant on La Voix which is part of the international television franchise The Voice. Before getting to Valérie, here’s a little background on La Voix. The first season ran from January to April 2013. Every Sunday night, the show drew an audience of 2.5 million. Four “coaches” were assigned to teams of 14 aspiring talents. As with most talent search shows, participants are gradually eliminated. Throughout the season, additional assistance was offered from “mentors”, one for each team. In the end, four finalists (one from each team) competed for the title of champion. The four finalists and their coaches and mentors are outlined in the table below.
|Marie-Mai||Fred St-Gelais||Charlotte Cardin-Goyer|
|Jean-Pierre Ferland||Claude Dubois||Étienne Cotton|
|Marc Dupré||Annie Villeneuve||Jérôme Couture|
|Ariane Moffat||Daniel Bélanger||Valérie Carpentier|
Valérie Carpentier was declared the winner. With that, she worked on her second album which was released recently under the title L’été des orages. It has thus far been a huge success, debuting at #4 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. We have embedded the music video of track “Le rendez-vous”.
Couple Roberta Carter and Ken Harrison are health care professionals who make music on the side as duo The Wild Strawberries. They received a JUNO nomination back in 1995 for Best New Group and their album Heroine released through Nettwerk Records the same year struck gold. Go Project is their first full-length album in eight years and an independent release of alternative pop/rock. The 12 tracks bear the titles of Go Transit station names from Hamilton to Union Station in Toronto. iTunes
In 2012, “Curiosity”, Carly Rae Jepsen’s Top 20 followup hit to “Call Me Maybe” was the 55th biggest song of the year and went gold. It originally appeared on her Valentine’s Day Curiosity EP. Carly shot a music video for the song on June 5, but it was never officially released. According to MuchMusic, it was shelved due to the rising success of “Good Time” and “This Kiss”. Also, a remix version of the song was being made to be included on her JUNO-award winning LP Kiss. The MV eventually leaked but is unavailable on YouTube. It can currently be viewed on vimeo (see below).
Canadian rocker Éric Lapointe has done extremely well over the course of his now 20 year career. Fourteen of his songs have made the year-end CKOI Top 50, two of his albums have attained multiplatinum status, he has seen a pair of JUNO nominations, and won a number of Félix awards. His song “Tattoo” was featured in the beloved Canadian movie Bon Cop, Bad Cop. Throaty voiced Éric has launched his seventh studio album, Jour de nuit. This is bare-bones, no nonsense rock that tosses aside the filters and exhales smoky flames at every turn. He also throws some roots and country coals into the mix in a couple of tunes. Be careful it doesn’t cook your music player.
It’s been an amazing two weeks for country music. Last week, Gord Bamford’s “When Your Lips Are So Close” hit #1 on country radio and this week Dean Brody’s “Bounty” featuring Lindi Ortega hits #1. Dallas Smith’s “Tippin’ Point” has entered the Hot 100 Top 40 which is a remarkable feat for a country song. Classified’s “Pay Day” has vaulted from #100 last week to #75 this week. Justin Bieber scores his latest hit “PYD” and “Tsunami” by EDM duo DVBBS debuts on the chart at #90.
A visual presentation of the current Billboard Canadian Hot 100 is HERE
Nielsen compiles weekly data on sales and radio airplay of singles and ranks them in the Canadian Hot 100 which is published by Billboard. Here we list all entries from the chart that are in whole or in part by Canadian artists.
RK = Rank. OR = Provincial origin of the artist. PS = Position on the Canadian Hot 100. CG = Change from last week’s position. WC = Weeks on the chart. PP = Peak position. Foreign artist in grey. RE = Re-entry. Most impressive numbers in last columns appear in red.
Note: The date of the chart corresponds to the release of Nielsen Music’s Canadian Update newsletter which is normally 10 days less than on the online Billboard chart.
Despite the success in the recent past of Shania Twain and in the distant past of Anne Murray, getting the songs of a Canadian female artist played on domestic country radio these days is a longshot at best. Consider that among the Top 50 country songs of 2012, there was not a single one performed by a Canadian female artist. As of late, female artists represent only 11% of total spins on country radio, and most of these are Americans. This grieves us, especially when we hear such marvels like Lindi Ortega. This Toronto-born JUNO-nominee recently released her fifth album, Tin Star, to rave reviews. In fact, rather than write a review ourselves, we would rather quote US magazine Entertainment Weekly which said, “…it’s one of the very finest albums of the year in any genre. And in this writer’s opinion, it’s the best country album of 2013.” As we said before, Lindi is a marvel. We have embedded the live video of the title-track below. The official music video can be viewed HERE.
Below is a selection of some of the new Christmas albums that have been recently released. If you haven’t already picked up a copy of Suzie McNeil’s This Is Christmas from last year, we highly recommend it. It is quite possibly the best pop/rock Christmas record ever to come out of Canada. Michael Bublé’s Christmas is an absolute must for those of you desiring more traditional vibes. As not everyone celebrates Christmas, we have thrown in some albums showcasing a wintry spirit of sorts. We have represented each album by a flavour of the season.
2013 Canadian Christmas Single
“A Country Boy For Christmas” by Kira Isabella. Ottawa’s fresh, young starlet blessed with the voice of an angel nabbed the coveted Female Vocalist of the Year award at this year’s Canadian Country Music Association gala. She also won a Canadian Radio Music Award and was nominated for a JUNO. Her awards and the success of her singles have recently led to a signing in Nashville to release her music in the United States. Kira’s Christmas single is a beautiful song well worth the purchase. iTunes
2013 Canadian Christmas Albums
The Gingerbread Album: A Christmas Gift to You by Johnny Reid. This is the second Christmas album from the husky voiced import from Scotland and recently debuted at #6 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. Although Johnny normally records country music, this album is more generic. The tunes (mostly covers) are very intense and emotionally powerful. Johnny is backed by a choir on most tracks, and the album was produced by Bob Ezrin. Peter Frampton appears on one of the songs, and Isabelle Boulay joins Johnny on a bilingual version of “Silent Night”. iTunes
The Cinnamon Album: Noël Blanc by Maxime Landry. Even if the Canadian education system failed to bilingualize you by high school graduation, Maxime’s mesmerizing voice will win you over to the Francophone side. In fact, it comes as no surprise that he was declared champion of the 2009 season of Star Académie, was nominated for a JUNO Fan Choice Award, and has scored a multiplatinum album. Noël Blanc debuted at #9 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. The (Canadian) Tenors are featured on “L’enfant au tambour” (i.e. “The Little Drummer Boy”). iTunes
The Cranberry Album: Ces Noëls d’autrefois by Paul Daraîche. Paul is a country artist, and this is a country style Christmas album which features a few guests including Charles Aznavour, members of the Daraîche family, Shawn Barker, Marie-Michèle Desrosiers, Michel Rivard, and Tex Lecor. Paul’s studio album last year was certified platinum, and it sounds like he had fun making this Christmas record. He sounds great including on the lone Anglo track, “Blue Christmas”, and this album will fill the room with warmth and cheer especially to rural dwellers. iTunes
The Eggnog Album: Christmas in Canada by Gord Bamford. Gord sure is working hard. He just recently released his sixth studio album, has topped the country radio charts, donated $100,000 to children’s hospitals across the country, and now he launches his first Christmas album. Albertans will adore the opening track and all Canadians will love the seventh. Like many country artists, Gord pens delightful lyrics on the album’s original tracks. This is a playful work that can be enjoyed by the whole family. Anna Maria Kaufmann joins him on “The Christmas Song”. iTunes
The Mint Album: Get Back to Christmas by 604 Records. The Vancouver record label has established somewhat of a tradition by releasing Christmas albums every year with tracks by their signed artists. The latest Christmas record contains six tracks, plus a bonus radio version of one of them, by Cassica, Paige Morgan, Kieran Mercer, AJ Woodworth, Kate Kurdyak, and Autumns Cannon. All the tracks appear to be original songs and sound fantastic. You can check out all the label’s Christmas albums with the search term “604 Records” in iTunes Canada. iTunes
2013 Canadian Classical Albums For the Season
Panettone and Struffoli: Serata d’amore by Gino Quilico, OC. Gino is a Canadian baritone of Italian descent who was born in New York. He is the son of world-famous Louis Quilico and pianist Carolina Pizzolongo. Gino released a Christmas album back in 2002 that went gold. This new album is a collection of famous Italian love songs. Italian really is the ideal language to sing songs in any genre. His exquisite voice is backed by the musicians of TrioSphère (piano, cello, and violin) as well as a guitarist and accordionist. The album received a feature on CBC Music. iTunes
The Chocolate Fondue: Vie et souvenirs by Nelson Page. This is not a Christmas album but one that can certainly be enjoyed during the season. Nelson Page is a classically trained pianist, singer, author, composer and arranger straight from the Conservatory of Music and Laval University. Beautiful and passionate instrumental music abounds on this disc. All tracks are original compositions from this talented artist showcasing a piano and string quartet and feature prestigious Australian artist James Morrison. iTunes
Although they have yet to win a JUNO award (they have been nominated four times) and have not been awarded with any gold/platinum certifications on a record, some consider Downchild Canada’s premier blues band. Part of the reason is that they have been making music for such a long time. If we go all the way back to 1973, we see that their adaptation of “Flip Flop & Fly” broke into the Top 40. Another reason is that, while many acts simply cover blues tunes, Downchild continues writing their own originals. Donnie Walsh and associates have cooked up their 17th album replete with all the dressings of bright, shiny horns, piano jumps, and ballroom swings. Though a minor point, we love the album cover. It is a depiction of the flagship store of the now defunct Sam the Record Man at Yonge Street in Toronto. The album can currently be streamed at the band’s website (link below).
Punk band Death From Above 1979 was a duo consisting of Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler. They released only one album before parting ways. That album, 2004′s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, went gold, and the duo received a JUNO nomination for New Group of the Year. Saugan Sebastien, rather than partaking in post-breakup thumb twiddling activities, busied himself by releasing the odd single as a soloist, works under various aliases, and lending his vocals to tunes by other acts like Felix Cartal and k-os. After reddening himself and polishing his Ron Burgundy ‘stache, he has released his first LP entirely under his own John Henry. The album contains few hints of his punk past but embraces full-blown pop-rock of an alternative nature. Yours to Discover whisks us off on a journey of fascination right from the get-go with epic creations from the sonic wizard who is Sebastien Grainger. iTunes
We’re not sure if he spent his days hanging at Le Contact disco-lounge in Alma, QC, a cozy town near Lac Saint-Jean where he grew up, but François Lachance became one of the 14 finalists in the 2012 season of Star Académie and one of the few (so far) to launch a full-scale long-play record he can call his own. This may in part be due to his being a composer. The album is called J’suis là, and Lachance wrote most of the songs which are done in standard Franco heartland folk pop. Assisting him on the album were Marc Dupré and Jean-Sébastien Fournier. We have embedded the studio MV for the album opener “À Deux” below. The 21-year-old says that it is a love song to let girls know that there are still good boys out there and gives a message of hope that they will find the right one. The album is spectacular.