The year 2016 has finally hit its stride with the great releases this week. Find our capsule reviews below.
Vancouver’s The Zolas release a really good synth pop album under Light Organ Records, a specialist of the genre. Of significant note is that the band’s Zachary Gray worked with Carly Rae Jepsen on song “LA Hallucinations”, one of our favourites from her Emotion album. Swooner is the group’s third LP and is a bona fide ride throughout with cutting edge vibes and superb writing. iTunes
Alternative music that swings from the dreamy subdued side to the driving upbeats of cool comes to us from Granby, QC’s Marie-Eve Roy and new album Bleu Nelson. She was a member of Vulgaires Machins, a popular band which announced an “indefinite break”. That group performed a punky style of indie rock, so it stands to reason that Roy’s album harbours some new waves of post-punk. Bleu Nelson is so good, we wonder why she waiting so long to go solo! The album title was inspired by a city in New Zealand by the blue ocean where she began writing. Teaser embedded below. iTunes
Montreal’s Tiga, one of our best when it comes to EDM, or simply electronic music, launches his third album, No Fantasy Required. Bubbling over with all sorts of invigorating grooves and a variety of fresh sounds, this is a must for enthusiasts of the genre. Tiga won the Dance Recording of the Year JUNO in 2007 for debut album Sexor. iTunes
As spring is around the corner, Halifax’s Wintersleep has emerged from hibernation to delight us with alternative rock album The Great Detachment. This Best New Group JUNO winning band made the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008 with “Weighty Ghost” (#54). The new album is tops for sales among all Canadian releases this week landing in the iTunes Top 10. iTunes
For those into bluesy roots rock, few do it better than Trois-Rivières’ Steve Hill. His previous album, Solo Recordings, Vol. 2, won the JUNO award for blues album of the year in 2015. We think Hill’s new work is even better. In Solo Recordings, Vol. 3, ol’ Stevie is just givin’er. Not only does he rock out but also throws in some easier pieces to yield a nice variety. iTunes
Described as Canada’s answer to Shirley Bassey, our lucky import from France Betty Bonifassi goes for the jugular with standout new blues album Lomax. Like a bulldog, you can literally hear Betty’s vocals rip the chains to pieces and lunge forth providing a spine-tingling experience. Lomax follows her debut self-titled album in 2014 which was dedicated to Black songs from the 1920s. iTunes
We can’t get enough of the beautiful self-titled singer-songwriter album from Montreal’s Catherine Servedio. The gentle but rich music does a fine job in underscoring her fabulous vocals, and there are unexpected twists in the instrumentation which keep the ears engaged. The album effectively elicits a nostalgic mood with its delicate melancholy. iTunes
As far as folk goes, Montreal’s Ian Kelly strikes again. SuperFolk is the name of the LP. Soft and soothing, with some knee-slapping moments, Ian’s pleasant vocals and great playing make this one grand. A break from the strumming is provided with some pretty piano as well. Ian’s last album in 2013 managed to reach the iTunes Top 10 amidst some hefty competition. iTunes
Ali Raney and Zoe Neuman from Toronto are The Lovelocks, and from the urban metropolis, they do country well. Born to Love is the new EP following the well-received self-titled debut in 2014. These gals are just awesome as you can see and hear in the MV below for track “Home Sweet Home”. iTunes
Urban music fans ought to check out rhythm and blues extended play record The Heartbreak Experience from Toronto’s Jhyve. It contains an eclectic mix of downtempo soul, hip hop, and electronica, all seamlessly woven together. Injected with creative juices and The Weeknd-like crooning, this guy’s got good grooves in spades and should quickly make moves up the ladder. iTunes
The is rap with some dreamy undercurrents. Described by the outfit as experimental hip hop the overall effect is one generating an impressive sound. Dead Obies is a popular collective from the south shore suburbs of Montreal. New full-length album is Gesamtkunstwerk, and it is certainly generating some buzz among the lovers of the genre. iTunes
Classical works this week, all from Quebec, include instrumentation over bird sounds by Gil Collin in album Les oiseaux d’amour chantent (iTunes), gorgeous work Orbis from Canadian award winning harpist Valerie Milot (iTunes), and a live album of works by Honegger and Ibert from the OSM (iTunes).