Saskatchewan artists are a big part of the party this week, as Ontarians take a rest. We begin with the expectedly marvellous Effets spéciaux from Montreal’s Avec pas d’casque. Beyond its debut in the iTunes Top 10 and what is destined to become a classic album cover, this sixth entry in the quartet’s repertoire is a beautiful work of art, essentially country but mixing in some folk and alternative with a strong attention to detail.
Saskatoon’s Ross Neilsen crafts some excellent blues-rock on delicious album Elemental, as he tells tales of chesterfield surfing and black coffee. Alaclair Ensemble from Montreal gives us some good quality hip hop with psychedelic elements; the new album Les frères cueilleurs is a bilingual effort that has charmed staff at iTunes and is deservedly selling well. Critically respected Patrick Watson is back. This time around, he has created a soundtrack for the film The 9th Life of Louis Drax which concerns a neurologist exploring a boy’s unconscious mind.
It is hard to believe that Dallas Smith‘s Side Effects is only his third studio album as a country soloist. The former frontman of successful rock band Default is now one of the leading gents of Canadian country. With both a CCMA award and a JUNO bolstering his rep, the new album from the British Columbian debuted at the top of iTunes and is also making some splashes south of the border. Montreal duo Les Deuxluxes join the aforementioned Ross Neilsen with bluesy rock on album Springtime Devil. This one has more of a smoky, barstool 60s vibe to it and is just superb. Wrapping up the LPs is Regina’s Snake River who presents some dazzling atmospheric rock on disc Sun Will Rise.
EPs worth mentioning are the aptly titled Ep from Ada Lea, a richly creative brew of alternative music. Also fab is Sorry Eyes by Aliocha, half of the tracks being alt-rock and half more on the singer-songwriter side. Both artists are from Quebec.