We have 24 works to talk about this week which we will summarize alphabetically by title with the LPs first. First up is Frères D’ombre a rap duo from Rimouski, QC examining verbal attacks on album Attentat verbal. Vancouver’s Bear Mountain champions miscellany on very good new album Badu by giving us some jazzy electronica, funk, soul, and other spices. Fans of classical music, especially piano, will enjoy Charles Richard-Hamelin‘s live album Beethoven, Enescu & Chopin: Works for Piano. Toronto’s Harrison, clothes music mostly on the urban side with an electronic tuque on Checkpoint Titanium; guests include JUNO winner Ryan Hemsworth.
Country music is done with class and charm on Cœur sédentaire, the new disc from St-Tite, QC’s Cindy Bédard. Energetic folk reminding us at times of Lisa LeBlanc is done excellently by Dolbeau-Mistassini, QC’s Sara Dufour on album Dépanneur Pierrette. At first listen, you would think the new album from multiple JUNO winner Daniel Lanois (Hull, QC) was an electronic work, but with special effects, all the ambient instrumental pieces were made with pedal/lap steel only. Goodbye to Language is quite a remarkable work of art. One of the best progmetal works we’ve heard in a long time comes to us on LP The Human Paradox by Montreal’s Fractal Cypher; very nicely done!
La Chicane collaborator, the man who apparently plays every instrument except drums, Dany Bédar, a JUNO nominee, releases country tinged album Le meilleur de moi. He’s from Val-d’Or, QC. Manitoban platinum recording artist Daniel Lavoie returns with his 23rd album Mes longs voyages impressing us with tantalizing originals and handsomifying covers with his gruff vocal style. The music is just beautiful decked with puffs of nostalgic jazz and quiet rhythms. There are not too many female rappers, but thankfully Quebec City’s Marie-Chantale Mercure, known as McM, launches her debut album Militante, and it is one of the best hip hop albums of 2016. Montreal’s Sébastien Lacombe releases quite a good singer-songwriter album in which he kneads in various world music flavours; it is called Nous serons des milliers.
Progressive folk expert Catherine Durand of Montreal takes our breath away with hauntingly gorgeous album La pluie entre nous. Wistful singer-songwriter tunes are crafted expertly on Returning Current from Toronto duo Snowblink. Niagara Falls country swashbuckler Tim Hicks whips out a new batch of revved up tunes on his third album Shake These Walls; it debuted in the iTunes Top 10 upon release. Exalt is a four-man metal outfit from Kitchener, getting the distorted guitars splitting rocks on album The Shape You Took Before the Ache.
New Brunswick’s Annie Blanchard, a Star Academy finalist, gifts us with an album of covers showcasing her beautiful vocals. The songs are done in mainly a heartland style and include “The Rose”, “If You Could Read My Mind”, and album title track “Those Were the Days”. Toronto JUNO winning alternative rock band July Talk wants to Touch us with its new album; Tanya Tagaq guest stars and the album currently finds itself in the iTunes Top 10 along with Hicks’. Edmonton is shining thanks to recording artist Jesse & The Dandelions and alternative pop/rock work True Blue. Canadian artists, including Natasha St-Pier, Mario Pelchat, and Cindy Daniel, band together to make a tribute album to Roger Whittaker – Mon pays bleu. Another various artist album, though more on the R&B side than country, is Future Hits 2016 with tracks from Karl Wolf, Lukay, and more.
Teen Beamer Wigley of Penticton, BC is a new country artist and quite a prodigy judging by the quality of his EP Meteorite. Another EP worth checking out is Songs by Calgary raised wiL presenting welcome atmospheric alt rock. On a side note, Cœur de Pirate has teamed up with French artists Arthur H and Marc Lavoine for LP Les souliers rouges inspired by Michael Powell’s film The Red Shoes.