Give Me Time, Céleste Lévis

Timmins, Ontario recording artist Céleste Lévis is an ADISQ nominated finalist of The Voice Season 3. Her debut album emerged in 2015, and she recently followed it up with sophomore effort Donne-moi le temps (Give Me Time). A member of the successful House of Joly served as artistic director – Marc-Antoine Joly. The superb disc opens with the title-track hitting us with wallops of electric guitars before taking off in satisfying frolic. Céleste’s vocals strike us as fairly unique – thick and honeyed – reminding us a little of Cat Thomson’s. “Je n’arrive pas à revenir” (I Can’t Come Back) is a standout in music making, presenting delicate arrangements that build into a towering climax complete with some delicious synthesizers. “Laissé aller” (Let It Go), another gem, encompasses classic punky flickering guitar plucks and sonorous cooing. Popular track “Je vis” (I Live) gives us a haunting piano-opened soundscape with some nice percussion work.

Céleste Lévis’ Donne-moi le temps is an improvement over her solid debut album and is not to be missed. Find below a teaser of track “Je serai là” which will give you a taste.  iTunes

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Oct 19, 2018 Releases: Ginette Reno, Arkells, Ariane Moffatt

A total of 23 albums and six EPs released this week have come to our attention and are listed below. Our year-to-date tally is up to 470 LPs and 128 EPs. Highlights of October 19, 2018 releases are as follows.

What’s Hot

Vancouver Island blues rocker David Gogo, recipient of 5 JUNO nominations, serves his latest platter of nuggets in 17 Vultures.

In the early lead for this week’s top seller is legendary adult contemporary singer Ginette Reno, decked with four JUNO trophies, and new album À jamais.

Just in time for Halloween is … a Christmas album from multiplatinum folk-rock superstar Serena Ryder. Christmas Kisses includes all the favourites of the season.

Originally from Calgary, alternative JUNO nominated concocter of cool, Kinnie Starr is back with Feed the Fire.

JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt who has never run dry of fresh, satisfying ideas contributes Petites mains précieuses.

Alternative rock band Arkells, enjoying rallies of success unleashes Rally Cry; the group has won four JUNO awards to date.

New urban music star who has managed to tickle the critics pink Jessie Reyez presents EP Being Human in Public.

Four JUNO noms for Scott Helman, and the youngster furthers his engaging repertoire with new EP Hang Ups.

What’s Cool

A pair of impressive country albums more on the traditional side have appeared. Upbeat and catchy is Melanie Brulée‘s Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind. We forgot how much we missed boot-stomping bass done right in country music, and it is brought back in all its glory on Belle Plaine‘s superb Malice, Mercy, Grief & Wrath. Alternative singer-songwriter, if we can call it a genre, is done with soothing grace on Scott Orr‘s excellent Worried Mind.

On the more progressive side of the scale are at least three standouts. Beefing up an earlier EP, electropop outfit Brave Shores makes it a full-length with the release of La Hoo La La. In the realm of alternative pop, Plus que vive from Maïa is very impressive. And, with a foot inside the kingdom of new wave, Vancouver’s Blonde Diamond does a fine job on EP Fantasy Love.

Find these and lots more in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
17 Vultures David Gogo (5JN) Blues Rock
À jamais Ginette Reno (4JW) AC
Bleeding Hearts  Sun K Rock
Christmas Kisses Serena Ryder (6JW) Christmas
Feed the Fire Kinnie Starr (1JN) Alt
Fires, Floods… Melanie Brulée Trad country
Le grand nulle part   Monsieur Mono   S-S
Jusqu’au bout   Robby Johnson   Pop
La Hoo La La Brave Shores Electropop
Ma jeunesse   Gilles Vigneault   AC
Maladie d’écran   Vincent Appelby Alt
Malice, Mercy, Grief… Belle Plaine Trad country
Miles We Put Behind T. Buckley S-S
Mon arc est une guitare   Hugo Lapointe   Rock
Petites mains précieuses Ariane Moffatt (1JW) Alt Pop
Plus que vive   Maïa   Alt Pop
Rally Cry Arkells (4JW) Alt Rock
Sweet Marie Erin Costelo R&B
Time Travel Graham Van Pelt Electronic
Victoria Birds of Bellwoods Alt
Le viking de l’ouest   Boutot Rap
Want, For Nothing Danger Grove Rap
Worried Mind Scott Orr Alt-S-S
Being Human in Public (EP) Jessie Reyez (1JW) R&B
Cain (EP) Andrew Hyatt Country
Fantasy Love (EP) Blonde Diamond New Wave
Hang Ups (EP) Scott Helman (4JN) Pop
Jade Eagleson (EP) Jade Eagleson Country
Unaccompanied III (EP) Helena Deland  Alt

Simon Daniel Launches Nightcrawler

After launching an EP in 2015, which allowed him to play more than a hundred shows in Canada and Europe and to win numerous prizes and accolades, Moncton, New Brunswick’s Simon Daniel has launched full-length album Nightcrawler, and it’s a beauty. Of the disc’s title and theme, Daniel states, “Myself, being a night owl, that’s when my imagination lets loose and when I’m most creative.” Nightcrawler exposes his creative genius in concocting a fresh sound with funky bass grooves and punchy trip hop beats intertwined with crackling guitars and whirls of analog synthesizers. The tracks lead off with simplicity and gradually evolve into sophisticated soundscapes, often with towering choruses. It’s both a nocturnal road trip and an intergalactic odyssey. Simon Daniel’s Nightcrawler could well be 2018 alternative pop’s finest hour. Find below a video of a live version of the album’s title track which will give you a taste.  iTunes

North Atlantic Drift Releases Departures, Vol. 2

Toronto based Mike Abercrombie and Brad Deschamps are back again with another stellar album of ambient electronica. Recording under project name North Atlantic Drift, the followup to last year’s excellent Departures Vol. 1 was recently released, the second volume. If you ever wanted to depart for a seafaring adventure in the North Atlantic but felt it was too dangerous, the waves of electronic drones and shimmers on this disc will transport you into a dreamworld that involves basking in the sun on the deck of some modest craft, adrift in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by nothing but dark blue water. With Departures Vol. 2, North Atlantic Drift is on its way of becoming one of Canada’s finest acts of the genre that include Tim Hecker, Loscil, and The Coriolis Project.  iTunes

Oct 12, 2018 Releases: Pascale Picard, Harrison, Salomé Leclerc

Find below a table of this week’s Canadian artist releases. Though some could be considered a step inside the genre, there are no definite alternative releases this week. Standouts include a couple of electronic releases from The Coriolis Project and JUNO nominee Harrison. Other JUNO saluted artists are Pascale Picard and rappers Belly and Classified. Critically acclaimed Francophone artists are onboard; be sure to check out the new disc from Salomé Leclerc which is excellent. Felix Dyotte contributes an extended version of his great 2017 album Politesses. This week’s batch of new releases involves artists from seven provinces.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
Apricity Harrison (1JN) Electronic
Les choses exterieures Salome Leclerc S-S
Demagogue The Coriolis Project Electronic
Disparition Guillaume Beauregard S-S
Exces de Politesses Felix Dyotte S-S
Goin’ Gone Kat Danser Blues
La hierarchill Jerome 50 S-S
Immigrant Belly (1JW) Rap
Loin Mathieu Provençal  Rock
Mon paradis Jerome Couture Pop
Songs of the Plains Colter Wall Country
The Beauty We’ve Found Pascale Picard (1JN) S-S
Tomorrow Could Be the Day… Classified (1JW) Rap
Tough as Love Lindsay Beaver Blues
Trespasser Art d’Ecco Rock
Violet, Gold + Rose David Ward R&B
Wilfred Wilfred LeBouthillier S-S
6° (EP) Nate Husser Rap
Disparition des lucioles (EP) Philippe Brault Soundtrack
God kid (EP) Jig Rap
No Wanga 3 (EP) Fwonte  World

2018 Thanksgiving Releases

Releases are a little lighter this week. Find below a table of 11 LPs and 3 EPs.

Higher profile artists include Newmarket, ON alt-rock group Tokyo Police Club and album TPC and punk band F-d Up with Dose Your Dreams. Both are multiple JUNO nominees.

There are a number of electronic and experimental discs out. More on the synth pop side is 3-track EP Delmano from Munya. On a side note and speaking of the genre, German duo HAERTS, who released one of the finest works of the decade (self-titled) in 2014, signed onto Canadian record label Arts & Crafts for new full-length New Compassion.

Pianist and composer Alexandra Stréliski contributes the wonderful Inscape, and incomparable singer-songwriter Catherine Durand is back with Vingt. Safia Nolin who has created tremendous buzz on the folk music scene returns with Dans le noir.

Find these and more below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
At Night We Are the City Experimental
Dans le noir Safia Nolin S-S
Disappearance Exhibitions Corinthian & Limacher Electronic
Dose Your Dreams F-d Up (2JN) Punk
Inscape Alexandra Streliski Classical
Meditations I-II-III Foxtrott Electronic
A Million Lives Bears of Legend  Alternative
TPC Tokyo Police Club (3JN) Alt Rock
Tuer la bete jusqu’a dimanche Pierre Guitard  Alternative
Vingt Catherine Durand S-S
Working Class Woman Marie Davidson Electronic
Delmano (EP) Munya Synth Pop
Falling Apart (EP) Babe Rainbow Electronic
Playhouse (EP) Domanique Grant Pop

Sep 28, 2018 Releases: Tyler Shaw, Florent Vollant, Jimmy Rankin…

The quality of this week’s releases is impressive. We have listened through all of them and are proud to be Canadian and involved with promoting Canadian music. Since the beginning of the year, we have tracked 416 Canadian artist LPs and 114 EPs. Albums from some big names coming up include Michael Bublé, Safia Nolin, Arkells, Catherine Durand, Wilfred LeBouthillier, Ariane Moffatt, Shad, and more. Find a table below of this week’s releases.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
L’amour alpha  Yelo Molo  Ska Pop
Black Soap Waahli  Reggae
Donne-moi le temps  Céleste Lévis  S-S
Drink You In Steven Taetz Jazz
A Good Girl Ralph Pop
Have a Nice Day Nick Ferrio Rock
Holy Smoke Kandle (1JN) Alt
In Limbo Chersea Pop
Intuition Tyler Shaw (1JN) Pop
Mishta Meshkenu  Florent Vollant (1JW) Folk
Mountain that We Live Upon Thus Owls Alt
Moving East Jimmy Rankin (2JN) Folk
Nightcrawler  Simon Daniel  Alt
The Reckoning Jennifer Holub Alt
16/17 Ryan Playground Electronic
Testament Anatole  Alt
Traînée de poudre  Moh Rap
Undertones Al Muirhead (1JN) Jazz
Clear  (EP) Annie Sama  New Wave
Ex Vita Morte  (EP) Tragic Hearts Pop Punk
Le sens des paroles  (EP) Alaclair Ensemble  Rap
Tison (EP) Allyson Pétrin  S-S
We Share Our Blood (EP) Ouri Electronic

KEY:

S-S – singer-songwriter

Alt – Alternative

JN – JUNO award nominations

JW – JUNO award wins

Autumn Equinox 2018 Releases: Metric, James, Hemsworth…

New Canadian artist releases this week include three JUNO award winners plus an additional five nominees. Saskatchewan’s captain of blues, Colin James, a 6x winner, fires off his latest studio album, Miles to Go. Winning three trophies is electronic rock group Metric and Art of Doubt. Nova Scotian electronic urban music ace Ryan Hemsworth, with one award on his mantel so far, contributes Elsewhere.

The nominees include heavy metal act Voivod and album The Wake. World music champ Socalled churns out Di Frosh which features the Kaiser Quartett. Jazz outfit Myriad3 is all about Vera. Rapper Lou Phelps is in for 002 / Love Me. Roxanne Potvin serves EP All It Was.

Albums which sound particularly good to us number at three. Les Louanges quickly follows up an EP with a full-length album, La nuit est une panthere, which should hit the spot for alternative music fans. Samuel Blais soothes with beautifully done jazz album Equilibrium. The as talented as they come crafter of singer-songwriter excellence Tremblay is back with album Bleu septembre.

Find these and more in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
002 / Love Me Lou Phelps (1JN) Rap
Art of Doubt Metric (3JW) Alt
Bleu septembre Tremblay  S-S
Cry Baby Joe Nolan Alt
Di Frosh Socalled (2JN) World
Elsewhere Ryan Hemsworth (1JW) R&B
Equilibrium Samuel Blais  Jazz
La grande migration Emilie Clepper S-S
La nuit est une panthere Les Louanges Alt
Matches Tragedy Ann Folk
Miles to Go Colin James (6JW) Blues
Paradox Plaza Paradox Plaza Jazz
Pascal Allard Pascal Allard Country
Quiet River of Dust Richard Reed Parry Alt
The Wake Voivod (2JN) Metal
Vera Myriad3 (1JN) Jazz
All It Was (EP) Roxanne Potvin (1JN) Alt
hold A: act 2 (EP) lemin. Pop
Seaview (EP) Innes Wilson S-S
Sessiion (EP) Lais Rap

KEY:

S-S – singer-songwriter

Alt – Alternative

JN – JUNO award nominations

JW – JUNO award wins

Chilly Gonzales: Third Time’s the Charm

Jason Charles Beck graduated from independent boys’ facility Crescent School in Toronto before honing his piano skills at McGill University. He was to take a lengthy picturesque detour before returning to hammering groups of strings in solitude. The prolonged stints involved leading alternative rock band Son and relocating to Germany in 1999 to try his luck as a rapper. In 2004, a star was born aliased Chilly Gonzales who dazzled with his instrumental piano pieces. Recently released Solo Piano III is arguably his crowning achievement.

While considered originals, you may find some bits familiar. This is Chilly’s intention – to pay homage to some of the artists and tracks he finds pleasing. He takes a riff here and there and reinvents it, folding it seamlessly into his master craftsmanship (e.g. Bach, Beach House, Daft Punk). Other tricks of his involve taking a piece written in a minor key and switching it to a major one (or vice versa). Gonzales’ style on the keys is crisp and clear, an immediate entry into a territory, conquering it, and quickly exiting, often done playfully. Such amusing precision ices the cake on this fabulous work, a must-listen especially for those who love instrumental piano.  iTunes

Sep 14, 2018 News and Releases: Terri Clark, Dirty Nil, Monster Truck…

Below, we list 19 albums and a trio of EPs that hit the shops this week. Among them are four JUNO winners plus an additional seven nominees. The heavyweights are beginning to contribute to 2018’s catalogue of cacophony. Some eyes will be fixed on the outcome of the Polaris Music Prize on Monday. Excitement brews in various pockets of people concerning promised autumn releases from Metric, Avril Lavigne, Allie X, Alessia Cara, Arkells, Safia Nolin, Tyler Shaw, and many more.

It has been a snowmobile-over-moguls kind of week for Canadian news stories.

Syrian refugee Ibrahim Ali has been charged with the murder of 13-year-old Marrisa Shen in Burnaby, BC’s Central Park, near the heart of the city’s demoviction program. The murder investigation was the largest in Burnaby history with 600 interviews, 1,000 hours of video footage, and 2,000 persons of interest.

Toronto city council found itself at the storm center of politicolegal battles regarding its size. The latest outcome is that the number of councillors is to be shrunk in half. We cannot offer comment on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, as we are not from Toronto.

Canadian curlers have broken the world record for the length of a game with a 105-hour tussle of sweeping together.

With the folding up of the MuchFACT music video funding program, 2018 has definitely seen a decline of quality MVs from even domestic A-listers. The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television with some partnerships is offering a new program for emerging artists dubbed the Music Video Production Project.

Justin Bieber has apparently tied the knot with Hailey Baldwin in the so-called Big Apple. It has also been reported that he is seeking to become a dual citizen of both Canada and The United States.

With a lack of new music from the AmeriCanadian to be, The Biebs has not received any 2018 American Music Award nominations; however, Drake populates the slate with eight! Shawn Mendes receives two and The Weeknd one. The annual awards show will take place in Los Angeles, USA October 9.

Finally, 80s enthusiasts will cheer, as 1985 hit single “A Criminal Mind” from Gowan was recently certified Platinum by Music Canada (speaking of nifty music videos…).

Find a list of this week’s new releases in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
Ballad of Runaway Girl  Elisapie (1JN) Folk
Battle Lines Bob Moses (2JN) Electronic
Civilianaires The Trews (5JN) Rock
Discipline: Heal Thyself II Steven Page (1JN) AC
Fusils et des roses Farfadet  Rap
Gave In Rest Sarah Davachi Electronic
Gift Shop Jeen Alt Rock
Grand depart David Myles (1JW) S-S
Heaven Dilly Dally (1JN) Alt
Horizons Vishtèn  Folk
Kenny Wheeler: Suite… Hard Rubber Orch. (1JN) Jazz
Ma maison favorite  Paul Daraîche  Country
Master Volume The Dirty Nil (1JW) Rock
Nouvelle maison Mountain Daisies  Country
Nuit des longs couteaux Koriass (1JN) Rap
Raising the Bar Terri Clark (3JW) Country
Sabrina Sabotage Sabrina Sabotage Alt Pop
True Rockers Monster Truck (1JW) Rock
Verites intemporelles Paradox  Rap
Killstreak (EP) Killy Rap
Mercure (EP) Les Louanges Alt
Soran (EP) Soran Pop

Key:

JN – JUNO Award Nominations

JW – JUNO Award Wins

S-S – Singer-Songwriter

AC – Adult Contemporary

Sep 7, 2018 Releases – Magic, Richard Séguin, Karl Wolf…

Below we list 16 new Canadian artist LPs and 3 EPs with highlights on six of them. Our count is 362 major Canadian artist albums for 2018 thus far plus 102 extended plays.

Reggae pop group Magic holds the overlooked distinction of being the first Canadian band to top the British charts … ever! Two JUNO wins punctuate its status, plus of course global smash hit “Rude”. Expectations is the outfit’s third studio album. Although there is still some reggae seasoning, the players have shifted to a more mainstream pop sound that is richer than on previous discs. The album is one of the finest pop releases of the year.

Quebec bluesman Ray Bonneville, a JUNO winner, offers his latest work, At King Electric while R&B specialist Karl Wolf, a triple JUNO nominee, contributes Blacklight (The Export, Vol. 2) via Victoria record label Cordova Bay. JUNO nominees also include legendary singer-songwriter Richard Séguin who pays homage to the philosopher Henry David Thoreau on Retour à Walden – Sur les pas de Thoreau. The LP features a couple of guest vocalists including Jorane. Also nominated for a JUNO trophy is dazzling pianist Chilly Gonzales who completes his Solo Piano series with the third installment, a very beautifully done work for those who love instrumental piano. Ottawa’s Kalle Mattson, winner of the Prism Prize, releases his latest alternative music album Youth proving once again that he is among the most talented crafters of the genre.

Find these and lots more in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
At King Electric Ray Bonneville Blues
Blacklight (The Export, Vol. 2) Karl Wolf R&B
Bodies of Water Rae Spoon Alt
Countri Boi Kingston Melodic Yoza Reggae
Design interieur Brigitte Saint-Aubin  S-S/Folk
Expectations Magic Pop
Fou furieux / Le reglement Fou Furieux  Rap
Icebreaker Lil Berete Rap
Klaus Klaus Alt
La Force La Force Alt
My Flag Is A Burning Rag Of Love Petra Glynt Alt
No Codes No Codes Jazz
Retour à Walden… Richard Séguin  S-S/Folk
Solo Piano III Chilly Gonzales Classical
Vian dans les dents Misses Satchmo  Jazz
Youth Kalle Mattson Alt
All Good (EP) Beat Market  Dance
Matt Lang (EP) Matt Lang Country
Private Room (EP) Counterparts Metal

Back-to-School Releases: Don Amero, Bobylones, The Reklaws

We have 19 “back-to-school” releases to list, combining last week and this week’s discs. Highlights include four-time JUNO nominee Pierre Lapointe who revs things up on Ton corps est déjà froid with assistance from Les Beaux Sans-Coeur. Manitoban three-time JUNO nominee Don Amero returns in top shape on Evolution, a feel-good country tinged work. For those who live for abrasion and all things hard, JUNO winning metal outfit KEN mode lets loose on Loved. Some choice alternative efforts appear, chief among them perhaps alt-rock extravaganza Le désordre pour le style from Babylones. A few EPs hit the shelves including Feels Like That from emerging country duo The Reklaws as well as the nicely done slice of pop Illusion from Catherine Vezeau. Find these and lots more in the table below.

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
L’Ere Du Vide Jet Black Alt Rock
Evolution Don Amero 3JN Country
Major Love Major Love Rock
Might As Well with My Soul Little Kid Alt
Ryobra Orkestar Kriminal World
Ton corps est deja froid Pierre Lapointe 4JN Alt
Ne parle pas aux etranges Marie Claudel Folk
The Black Sea Talleen Punk
Choses sauvages Choses sauvages Alt
Le desordre pour le style Babylones Alt Rock
Les Flots Arthur Comeau Soundtrack
Honey & Rust Lesley Pike S-S
Looking Through Your Window Rob Dickson Folk
Loved KEN mode 1JW Metal
OUI (tout, tout, tout, toutttte) Yes Mccan Rap
Teen Ravine Teen Ravine Alt
Illusion Catherine Vezeau Pop
Paradiso Andrew Pololos Dance
Feels Like That The Reklaws Country

Surfaced Treasure: Connection by Diversion

When you dive for treasures, often you end up with a rusted hubcap. But sometimes, you actually do find valuable treasure, buried deeply and concealed from … the ears of the land. A priceless jewel among albums released in 2018 is entitled Connection by Diversion, the latter a new project name of a Canadian EDM wizard who has operated under the moniker Solid Stone. While his past releases embraced more techno and trance leaning vibes, the Diversion project, released through Colorize, delves into trippy, chillout electronica. Think of Kaskade’s early stuff but a little richer, dreamier, and more ethereal. The Connection album mixes instrumentals with some vocalized pieces. While the soothing ambient surf of tracks like “Get Closer” caresses the soul, the disc also bristles with energetic beats heard on cuts like “Knockdown” and “Would You Just”. Importantly, hypnosis is also a factor, most evident on “Falling”. Four years in the making, this masterpiece contains not a single weak moment; it is a solid joyride from start to finish. Connection by Diversion comes with Canadian Music Blog’s highest recommendations and makes us proud to be Canadian. We are speechless.  iTunes

Early August Releases: Rezz, Dizzy, Forest Blakk

We have had three weeks of releases thus far in August 2018. A baker’s dozen shiny new discs are listed below. Leading the pack is JUNO winning crafter of electronica, Rezz, and spooky sensation Certain Kind of Magic. Nadie Loudi pleases with her inspirational adult contemporary effort Libre. Double JUNO nominee Great Lake Swimmers … swims … on The Waves, The Wake. Oshawa’s Dizzy has the critics teething gleefully with Baby Teeth. A stand out for the EPs is Minutes by Forest Blakk; track “Love Me” is a must-hear (see 400k viewed MV below).

TITLE ARTIST GENRE
Atlanada 2 CMDWN, Ca$troGuapo & FIJI Rap
Certain Kind of Magic Rezz (JW) Electronic
4Milli Baka Not Nice Rap
Libre Nadie Loudi  AC
Swim Paul Manchin Dance
Baby Teeth Dizzy Alt Pop
Colada Barrasso Indie Rock
Daydreamers Marla & David Celia Folk
The Waves, The Wake Great Lake Swimmers (JN) S-S
Minutes (EP) Forest Blakk Folky R&B
Meditations II (EP) Foxtrott  Electronic
Misstape (EP) Zach Zoya & High Klassified Rap
Athletes (EP) Moneyphone Rap

AC – Adult Contemporary

S-S – Singer-Songwriter

JN – JUNO Nominee

JW – JUNO Winner

Jamison Isaak in Top Form on EP2

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