Jamison Isaak has the music factory switched to overdrive, as he champions prolific output this year. From Abbotsford, BC, Isaak is the lad behind ambient project Teen Daze. His EP1 released in February harnessed a neoclassical piano-driven swish, while EP2 sees him swing back into the electronic serenity he is perhaps best known for. Cinematic and mood-conjuring, EP2 relaxes the mind while sharpening the senses. If nothing else, this brilliant work of art brings the Zen to the lounge and will have you feeling refreshed by its close. A great disc for 2018. iTunes
Catching up with … Depeche Mode? No, with the new Canadian artist releases, including the batches from July 20 and 27. Whether these are as savory as a Tim Hortons maple-dip doughnut or as unpalatable as Hope, BC truck-stop coffee is up to you. JUNO recognized artists include Raffi, one of the finest crafters of children’s music in the world. The two-time award winner returns with the folky Dog on the Floor. Find a choice cover of “Here Comes the Sun”.
JUNO winning rapper Jazz Cartier releases Fleurever available in both clean and filthy (i.e. “explicit”) versions. The Canadian media seems fixated on breaking Canuck urban artists in the United States these days, so expect lots of chatter surrounding this album.
Successful R&B star Massari (a JUNO nominee) treats fans to an EP; Tune In is heavily influenced by reggae vibes and includes featured guests like Shaggy and Beenie Man.
Twice nominated at the JUNO’s, Canadian producer Gus Van Go has a new personal project, band Megative (yes, with an M). We are presented with a very good reggae inspired self-titled disc by the band.
Goldilox is an up and comer championing the cause of alternative pop. From Cape Breton, she is perhaps Atlantic Canada’s answer to Grimes. Her album Very Best is a winner.
Ontario’s Claire Coupland contributes a beautifully done singer-songwriter EP called On the Other Side worth checking out for enthusiasts of the genre.
Find these and a few more in the table below.
|Dog on the Floor||Raffi||Children’s|
|Hypocritic Oath||Not Of||Alternative|
|Koba World||Prime Boys||Rap|
|On the Other Side (EP)||Claire Coupland||S-S/Folk|
|Sky Parallel (EP)||Sky Parallel||Pop|
|Tune In (EP)||Massari||Reggae|
More performers at the 2018 Much Music Video awards to take place August 26 have been announced:
Alessia Cara (Canadian)
The Beaches (Canadian)
Bebe Rexha (American)
Brett Kissel (Canadian)
5 Seconds of Summer (Australian)
Kris Wu (Chinese)
Meghan Trainor (American)
98 Degrees (American)
Shawn Mendes (Canadian)
This year’s co-host is American rapper, television personality, and actress Awkwafina. Presenters will include the following:
Alexandra Shipp (American actress)
Ashlee Simpson (American actress and recording artist)
Chrissy Metz (American actress)
Colton Haynes (American actor)
Derek Hough (American dancer and actor)
Evan Ross (American actor)
Gus Kenworthy (British American skier)
JWoww (American TV personality)
Kristin Cavallari (American TV personality)
Prince Michael Jackson
Sonequa Martin-Green (American actress)
Tyra Banks (American TV personality, former model)
Find all the nominees here: https://mmva.muchmusic.com/nominees/
Rising Canadian star Kelly Yu has scored a major Mandopop hit this year, theme song for Chinese romcom feature film The Ex-File 3: The Return of the Exes. The song is currently #3 at iTunes Taiwan, and a YouTube audio file has attracted 65 million “views”.
Kelly was born in the Chinese city of Dalian and emigrated to Canada when young. To further her musical pursuits, she attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Kelly is a singer, songwriter, accomplished guitarist (among the mastery of other instruments), and actress. After participating in televised singing competition reality show Duets, Kelly released her debut album Spirits in 2014 and starred in the Chinese-Korean romantic drama TV series One and a Half Summers.
We will keep happy tabs on this talented gal as her career flourishes. Watch the MV for The Ex-File 3 theme below.
It’s always nice to see Canadian recording artists triumph in foreign lands. Billboard US has compiled all-time charts in celebration of the magazine’s 60th anniversary. It would be difficult to compile all-time charts at home because a consistent official chart for Canada has not been in place over the years. They would tell a different story as musical tastes, releases, and content regulations differ among countries. Still, let’s take a look at what Canadian artists, songs, and albums became massive hits south of the border.
The all-time songs chart begins at #100 with synth-driven power ballad “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Britus act foreigner.
The first maple-glazed entry appears at #85 – “You’re Still the One” from country pop superstar Shania Twain, her crossover hit from 1998.
At #81, find “Sugar, Sugar” by virtual group The Archies, composed by Jeff Barry and Canada’s Andy Kim. The song was included on the “Stars on 45” medley which topped the year-end RPM chart in Canada for 1981.
Americanadian Robin Thicke beat out Elton John’s Princess Di tribute song and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” with “Blurred Lines” perched at #51.
Carly Rae Jepsen one-ups Robin at #50 with “Call Me Maybe” the most downloaded song in the world in 2012.
Alberta’s Nickelback lands at #45 with 2001’s smash “How You Remind Me”. It was apparently the most played song on US radio through the entire 2000s decade.
Justin Bieber’s feature in Fonsi & Yankee’s “Despacito” helps it climb up to #33 beating out Irene Cara’s “Flashdance”.
Percy Faith and His Orchestra edges out Chic’s “Le Freak” to grip the #23 spot with easy listening masterpiece “Theme from a Summer Place”.
Bryan Adams anchors himself at #21 with 1991’s “(Everything I Do) I Do It for You”. The song was featured in Kevin Costner’s feature film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”.
And that’s it! The number one song on the chart is Chubby Checker’s 1960 cover of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters’ “The Twist” in case you were wondering.
Were there Canadian songs you were surprised didn’t make the all-time Hot 100?
The all-time Hot 100 artists has Bryan Adams at #45, Paul Anka at #69, and Céline Dion at #87 (with The Beatles at #1).
The all-time Billboard 200 albums (with Adele’s 21 at #1) sees the following:
7. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette
9. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback
14. Come on Over, Shania Twain
21. Falling Into You, Céline Dion
58. Let Go, Avril Lavigne
78. My World 2.0, Justin Bieber
162. Silver Side Up, Nickelback
164. Let’s Talk About Love, Céline Dion
169. Reckless, Bryan Adams
177. Harvest, Neil Young
182. Dark Horse, Nickelback
Polaris Music Prize groupies are drooling, wringing hands, cringing, laughing, cheering, scratching heads, spewing forth opinionated commentary like tar suckers blow out smoke, and analyzing the blazes out of the recently released Short List. The award is for the musically most artistic album of the year (which is not necessarily the best). Of the 10 contenders, three artists are from Ontario, three from Quebec, two from New Brunswick, one from BC, and one is an American.
Daniel Caesar, Freudian
Hubert Lenoir, Darlène
Jean-Michel Blais, Dans ma main
Jeremy Dutcher, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
Partner, In Search Of Lost Time
Pierre Kwenders, MAKANDA…
Snotty Nose Rez Kids, The Average Savage
U.S. Girls, In A Poem Unlimited
Weaves, Wide Open
A full decade ago, July 17, 2008, the number one song in Canada was Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl”, while Kardinal Offishall was tops for CanCon thanks to “Dangerous” (#3). Coldplay had the biggest album, “Viva la Vida…” and Canadian gypsy jazz group The Lost Fingers was at #7 with Lost in the 80s. King at the box office was Hellboy II, but The Dark Knight was about to open. July 2008 was a fairly uneventful month both within and without the country. On the 21st, following a 12-year manhunt, Radovan Karadžić was arrested in Serbia on allegations of war crimes.
Returning 10 years to the present, Drake is perched on top of the Hot 100, but this week it is with “In My Feelings” which replaces his “Nonstop” from last week. “Body” by Loud Luxury featuring Brando is at #4. Alessia Cara’s “Growing Pains” vaults up to #48. The biggest surprise on the Hot 100 is the appearance of a Franco track which we haven’t seen for a while. It is “Toutes Les Femmes Savent Danser” from Montreal rapper Loud which squeaks in at #100. Drake’s Scorpion spends its second week at the zenith of the Albums chart. The Launch spawned supersingle “Ain’t Easy” from Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine strikes #1 at AC radio.
There were only a few releases last week, so we’ve combined them with this week’s. Before we get to them, some news.
As most of you have heard by now, Justin Bieber is engaged. The lucky lady is Hailey Baldwin. Which of the Baldwin brothers is her father you may ask? That would be Stephen. We hope the transition from soul mates to spouses, often a treacherous path for celebrities, is a smooth one.
Excitement is attempting to flare up en route to this year’s Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs), still a thing despite major funding cuts to Canadian music video makers and the mutations of the Much Music channel itself. You will have to wait a while for this year’s shindig which doesn’t go down until August 26. Alessia Cara is a locked in performer in addition to international artists Halsey (US) and Marshmello (US) ft. Anne-Marie (UK).
Shawn Mendes performed onstage for SiriusXM Live at The Roxy Theatre on July 13, 2018 in West Hollywood, California, USA. And guess who he bumped into?
As we mentioned previously, nominations are out of the bag for 2018’s CCMAs recognizing the best in English-language country music in Canada. Alberta’s Brett Kissel and Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke lead the pack with six nods each. Hosted by Shania Twain in Hamilton, the September 9 gala will feature performances by Dallas Smith, High Valley, Keith Urban, Lindsay Ell, Mason Ramsey, and Terri Clark. You can vote for the Fan Choice Award here: https://www.ccmafanvote.com/.
This week sees the release of country EP 20 Dollars in My Pocket from The Lovelocks. The title track is easily one of the catchiest country pop songs of the year. Eric Ethridge launched a popular country EP last week, a self-titled effort. For those of you who like the more traditional country, Thomas Stajcer contributed LP Will I Learn to Love Again? last week.
Vancouver’s Jessicka gifts the world with choice alternatives on EP Happy Place. Along similar avenues, Metric serves its latest single, the gritty “Dark Saturday”. Deadmau5 poofs out of the blue to drop the smooth EDM sparkler “Monophobia”.
As far as the full-lengths go, the highest profile release is certainly All That Reckoning from celebrated roots outfit Cowboy Junkies.
Find selected Canadian artist releases below from the past two weeks. We are now at over 300 LPs this year.
|Will I Learn to Love Again?||Thomas Stajcer||Country|
|All That Reckoning||Cowboy Junkies||Roots|
|Death Lust||Chastity||Alt Rock|
|In Our Time||AHI||S-S/Folk|
|Pain & Pleasure||Black Atlass||R&B|
|Reckless Ways||Alex Brown/Hepcats||Rock-a-billy|
|Reels d’en premier||Johnny Comeau||Folk|
|Sous la capuche||BRH||Rap|
|Spring Patterns 1||Jamison Isaak||Ambient|
|Dimmed In My Display (EP)||Vallens||Alternative|
|Eric Ethridge (EP)||Eric Ethridge||Country|
|Magic (EP)||Colin Weeks||AC|
|Happy Place (EP)||Jessicka||Alternative|
|20 Dollars in My Pocket (EP)||The Lovelocks||Country|
|La Zayte (EP)||FouKi||Rap|
Nominations for the 2018 CCMA Awards have been announced. This year’s gala will take place September 9 in Hamilton and is to be hosted by double-diamond megastar Shania Twain. There is marked improvement in the slate of potential female winners this year.
The 10 nominees for this year’s Fans’ choice award include two female artists which is … two more than last year. They are Jess Moskaluke and Shania Twain.
Three of the five Album of the Year nominees are from women: Jess Moskaluke, Lindsay Ell, and Meghan Patrick! Meghan and Jess are also up for Single of the Year and Video of the Year. View the nominations below. For musician and radio nominations, visit the CCMA website here.
FANS’ CHOICE AWARD
James Barker Band
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Country Music Made Me Do It – Meghan Patrick
Past The Past – Jess Moskaluke
The Project – Lindsay Ell
We Were That Song – Brett Kissel
What We’re Made Of – The Washboard Union
FEMALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
MALE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
GROUP OR DUO OF THE YEAR
James Barker Band
The Washboard Union
ROOTS ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Washboard Union
SINGLE OF THE YEAR
Chills – James Barker Band
Country Music Made Me Do It – Meghan Patrick
Drive Me Away – Jess Moskaluke
Lonely Drum – Aaron Goodvin
Side Effects – Dallas Smith
VIDEO OF THE YEAR
The Bad Guy – Meghan Patrick
Drive Me Away – Jess Moskaluke
Hometown Kids – The Reklaws
Sky Stays This Blue – Dallas Smith
We Were That Song – Brett Kissel
SONGWRITER(S) OF THE YEAR
Dean Brody, Matt Rovey
Song: 8th Day (Performed By: Dean Brody)
Dan Isbell, Meghan Patrick, Jeremy Stover
Song: Country Music Made Me Do It (Performed By: Meghan Patrick)
Zach Abend, Corey Crowder, Jess Moskaluke
Song: Drive Me Away (Performed By: Jess Moskaluke)
James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood
Song: It’s Working (Performed By: James Barker Band)
Alexander Black, Aaron Goodvin, Cathy Gravitt
Song: Lonely Drum (Performed By: Aaron Goodvin)
INTERACTIVE ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Billboard Canadian Hot 100 published its first chart at the spring equinox of 2007. It was a time that saw the film 300 on top of the box office. Statistics Canada had just announced that, for the first time in history, the three territories had officially surpassed a combined population of 100,000, via 2006 census data. Canadian artists held the top 3 spots on the Albums chart. Neil Young was #1 with his Live at Massey Hall 1971, Arcade Fire #2 with Neon Bible, and at #3 was Finger Eleven’s Them Vs. You Vs. Me. On that very first Hot 100 chart were a total of 33 Canadian artist songs, one-third of the chart, from 25 domestic artists (six authoring more than one entry). In those days, radio airplay was the dominant factor in determining the chart with digital downloads (a relatively new phenomenon) and the fading CD single holding a lesser sway. The #1 song on that chart was “Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne.
Times have changed.
Fast forwarding to July 10, 2018, tops at the cinemas is Ant-Man and the Wasp. Greyhound has announced shutting down operations in western Canada; apparently ticket sales have plummeted since the horrific incident in 2008 which we will not get into. The number one album in the land is Scorpion by Drake. Not yet available in physical format, streaming and digital downloads are the key determiners, and, as tracks from the album fare better on the Hot 100 than on the Digital chart, one can assume that the weighting falls mostly on the side of streaming for the former chart. Do record labels have warehouses filled with devices that stream albums 24/7 to drive up the numbers? Conspiracy theorists of the world unite!
Scorpion achieves 70,000 consumption units, the highest one-week total for an album so far in 2018. It breaks the record for a one-week streaming total at 70 million. Six of its tracks make the Top 50 on the Digital chart with only one in the Top 10 – “Don’t Matter to Me” featuring the late Michael Jackson. It’s a song that came to Drake by way of the founding father of Canadian rock and roll, Paul Anka. With the release of the album, Drake authors or is featured in a total of 27 entries on the Hot 100, 22 of which made the Top 40, and six the Top 10. “Non Stop” is the biggest song in the country, “Nice For What” #3, “Don’t Matter to Me” #4, “God’s Plan” #6, “I’m Upset” #7, and “In My Feelings” #9. Drake has broken a number of chart records in the United States, with the American Hot 100 dating back much further than the Canadian one.
Does the much stronger performance on the Hot 100 than the Digital chart suggest that, although people felt inclined to stream the album, plugged heavily by the media, few felt it, or its tracks, were good enough to purchase? Perhaps some are waiting for its release on CD.
Returning to our initial review of the first Canadian Hot 100 chart in the spring of 2007 with 25 Canadian artists populating, we can compare that to this week’s chart with only six artists. In just over a decade, there are no artists in common.
New releases are light this week, so you will have less to choose from in picking a theme album for your Canada Day weekend: four LPs and two EPs. Better Human is a really good singer-songwriter album from Ben Kunder. Besides penning some dapper tunes, he doesn’t shy away from adding some progressive touches here and there. For those who like things extremely progressive, Connection, the debut from Diversion – four years in the making – is, for lack of a better description, a shoe-in for frontrunning EDM album of the year. Besides amazing atmospheric pieces – some upbeat and others downtempo – he recruits some dazzling vocalists to add that extra charm. What a winner!
Swinging to the opposite end of the spectrum, hearty sing-along folk songs, in a traditional style, are very nicely done by Claude Cormier on the frolicking Garde ton accent. The fourth LP in the new releases batch is the one that is no doubt attracting all the media attention, the latest from Drake. Scorpion is released only on digital at this point. It’s a double album, the first “side” more rappy and the second more R&B-ish. Paul Anka assisted him in re-crafting an unreleased Michael Jackson song. Besides the late king of US pop, album guests include Jay-Z.
Find fine folk-rock on EP I Won’t Forget You by Steph Morin. And find the latest from JUNO winning rapper Classified, Tomorrow Could Be. Featured on this extended play disc is Anjulie.
A quarter century ago, June 26, 1993, typhoon Koryn was wreaking havoc on China and The Philippines. Canada received its first female Prime Minister whose initials had something to do with The Sunshine Band. To some, 25 years ago seems like yesterday, especially upon mentioning that Rod Stewart’s live record Unplugged … and Seated ruled the Albums Chart. As far as the singles went, Janet Jackson was tops with “That’s the Way Love Goes”. Sven Gali had the number one CanCon with the grammatically incorrect “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” (#9). Smashing box office records, the original Jurassic Park was king of the movies.
Fast forwarding to June 26, 2018, following the murder of US rapper, XXXTentacion, his album titled with a lone question mark, i.e. ?, vaults to the zenith of the Albums chart, and no Canadian artist album debuts in the top 25 this week.
“Growing Pains” by Alessia Cara debuts on the Billboard Hot 100 at #60. Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” spends its third week at the summit despite its debuting (#24) just this week at All-Format Airplay. “Born to Be Yours” by Norway’s Kygo and the USA’s Imagine Dragons debuts at #1 on Hot Digital Songs.
Top CanCon on the various radio formats are as follows:
CHR – “Body” by Loud Luxury featuring Brando (#1)
ROCK – “T-Shirt” by The Beaches (#1)
COUNTRY – “One Drink Ago” by Dallas Smith & Terri Clark (#3)
AC – “Ain’t Easy” by Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine (#2)
HOT AC – “Body” by Loud Luxury featuring Brando (#3)
FRANCO (Quebec Only) – “Empire” by Marie-Mai
ALL FORMAT – “Body” by Loud Luxury featuring Brando (#2)
Fun fact: On June 25, 1967, 400 million viewers from around the globe tuned in to watch Our World, the first live, international, satellite television production in history. It featured the live debut of The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love”. Among millions around the world who were born on that day, one, now celebrating his 51st birthday, boarded the SkyTrain from Metrotown station with his wife, and the two headed to the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Vancouver. Those were just two who attended a very special event: multiplatinum pop superstar Carly Rae Jepsen performing with The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO). Both are JUNO Award winners.
Working mainly with material from her Polaris short-listed album Emotion, Chris Mayo arranged the pieces for a full symphony orchestra. Carly had previously performed with the Toronto and Indianapolis Symphonies. Lucas Waldin was to conduct the VSO for Jepsen’s third symphonic collaboration.
The theatre filled to capacity, the lights dimmed, and the conductor emerged. Following an orchestral intro, Waldin asked the crowd to welcome a first-time performer with the symphony – Carly Rae Jepsen. When she appeared on stage, the crowd went nuts. All dolled up in a beautiful black and gold dress, and blonde locks, Carly belted out the words to “Run Away with Me” and followed it up with three more tracks from her critically acclaimed album. The arrangements were beefed up with strong drum beats and some fine guitar work from her right-hand man, Tavish Crowe. After the set, Jepsen announced she would take a break and allow the symphony to perform a piece of classical music, Debussy’s “Clair de Lune”. The conductor said it was Carly who had chosen it.
Jepsen re-emerged to offer two more tracks but this time in a lighter string quartet arrangement, and then, as is traditional with orchestral performances, a 20-minute intermission ensued.
A second classical piece was delivered beautifully by the orchestra, again chosen by Carly, Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet”. Jepsen re-emerged with a short fluffy bright red dress to begin her second set. The crowd was fairly even in terms of males and females, mostly millennials with some members of generation X and a few iGens and boomers. All in all, a nice mixture of ages. Apparently, some had travelled from other cities to be there.
Of the dozen or so songs Carly performed through the evening, one had the crowd cheer so loudly, it’s a wonder that the roof wasn’t blown off the theatre, and that song was “Cut to the Feeling”. By this time, all were on their feet swinging and dancing away. Carly had joked that all should feel free to stand up and boogie but teased she may respond by performing a ballad. She finished the final set with “Call Me Maybe” which had everyone singing along. She exited, and, of course, returned for an encore. The evening was capped off with her performance of gold single “I Really Like You”.
Afterwards, Carly Rae Jepsen commented, “A night I shall not soon forget!! Thanks to all who made it possible! @vsorchestra @tavishcrowe @lucaswaldin @Cjsmayo and every single heart in the Orpheum tonight!”
A baker’s dozen new maple-glazed discs hit the shelves this week: 12 LPs and an EP. Bravestation has managed to create a very impressive album of feel-good new wave entitled Goddess. Triple JUNO nominee Jill Barber contributes singer-songwriter extravaganza Metaphora. Also a three-time nominee at the JUNOs, hot country quick-draw Tim Hicks surfs up a sailor’s mark, New Tattoo; it includes a track featuring the sizzling Lindsay Ell. And if all that isn’t enough, BC’s JUNO nominated Yukon Blonde scores a Critical Hit, another new wavy album this week. Find these and more in the table below.
|Blues on the Brain||Frankie & Jimmy||Blues|
|Critical Hit||Yukon Blonde||Alternative|
|Emperor Twilight||The Autumn Stones||Alternative|
|Have a New Name||Wax Mannequin||S-S/Folk|
|New Tattoo||Tim Hicks||Country|
|Take Me||Sean Jones||R&B|
|The Becoming||Isla Craig||Alternative|
|Un dernier shooter||Sir Pathetik||Pop|
|Sweet Nothing (EP)||Summerteeth||Punk|
It was the start of summer 1978 only 40 years ago. Comic strip Garfield was brought into being. Heartbreak permeated youth culture as both The Six Million Dollar Man and Bionic Woman television series had recently been cancelled airing their final episodes. Cinema didn’t offer much of an alternative, as poorly received sequel Jaws 2 ruled the box office. The music at the time however was uninterruptedly excellent. The top album was the Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, and the late, great, somewhat forgotten Andy Gibb scored #1 hit “Shadow Dancing”.
Fast forwarding to the summer solstice of 2018, “Body” by Loud Luxury featuring Brando has achieved a new peak position on the Billboard Hot 100. The EDM charmer by the Canadian outfit now stands at #5. It is the new artist success story of the year, curiously overlooked by Canadian media which seems intent instead on hyping new artists that few seem to like. “Body” is #1 at Hot 100 Airplay, #1 at CHR/Top 40 Radio, and #5 at Hot Digital. Here’s an impressive stat from Nielsen music regarding the players: “They are the first Canadian act to top the CHR chart with their first charted song since Avril Lavigne’s ‘Complicated’ in 2002.”
Alessia Cara‘s “Growing Pains” and Delaney Jane‘s “Feel Good” enter the CHR Airplay chart at #33 and #35 respectively. It is Cara’s highest debut position to date on the radio format. Returning to #1 at Rock Radio is “T-Shirt” by The Beaches. Gord Bamford‘s “Dive Bar” dives into Country Airplay at #43.