News and New Releases: February 16, 2018

Canadian Athletes Rock

A couple more Olympic medals from Canadian athletes were added to the tally yesterday as follows:

Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 1,500m
Samuel Girard – Gold – Short Track Speed Skating: Men’s 1,000m

They join 13 medals previously won as per below.

Justine Dufour-Lapointe – Silver – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Moguls
Max Parrot – Silver – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Mark McMorris – Bronze – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Silver – Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m
Team Canada – Gold – Figure Skating: Team Event
Mikael Kingsbury – Gold – Freestyle Skiing: Men’s Moguls
Laurie Blouin – Silver – Snowboard: Ladies’ Slopestyle
Team Canada – Gold – Curling: Mixed Doubles
Alex Gough – Bronze – Luge – Women’s Singles
Kim Boutin – Bronze – Short Track Speed Skating: Ladies’ 500m
Team Canada – Bronze – Figure Skating: Pair Skating
Team Canada – Silver – Luge: Team Relay
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Gold – Speed Skating: Men’s 10,000m

Canada, in third place with 15 medals, has 5 gold, 5 silver, and 5 bronze.

Support for Hedley Pulled from Many Sides

Based on insinuations posted on social media where identity is concealed, where males can pose as females, where a single individual can, through the creation of multiple accounts, pose as many, support for Hedley has been pulled quickly on many fronts.

Watchdog Management and the Feldman Agency have both terminated their business relationships with the band. Both opening acts on the Cageless tour Shawn Hook and Neon Dreams have pulled out. Many radio stations have stopped spinning Hedley’s records.

The pop group will be continuing on with its tour with many fans refusing to be swayed by the defamatory rumours and gossip.

If such rumours are true, the repercussions would be unsettling and may serve as a catalyst for change. We have seen the consequences of society’s choice to accommodate alcohol consumption – marriage and family breakdown, millions of automobile deaths – and choice, since the 1960s, to revert back to the old ways of fornication – destabilizing human relationships and the foundation on which raising the next generation rests. Both are written off as justified in the so-called rock and roll lifestyle. Many male artists and bands promote alcohol consumption in their song lyrics and then use alcohol to take advantage of young women. How convenient. There is no doubt that such practices have happened and are still happening.

It is unfortunate too that speculation over Hedley’s affairs has resulted in division, pitting people into two camps of opposing opinions, something that would please the likes of Russia’s beloved Internet Research Agency.

Drake Comes Up with a New Plan

Drake has put smiles on many faces and maybe caused the odd teardrop to appear with his newly released MV for “God’s Plan”, the current number one single in the land.

Unnerved by a school shooting – the 290th in the U.S. since 2013 – an incident that killed 17, Florida was the recipient of something from Drake a little more practical than thoughts and prayers.

The video opens by saying that its budget was $996,631.90 and that Drake decided to give it all away to the needy. It shows him surprising local residents of the city of Miami with wads of cash. He tells shoppers that anything they buy in the store is on him. He donates $25,000 to a high school. And there are some other surprises. On Instagram he commented that it was “the most important thing I have ever done in my career.”

You can find and watch the video on the usual platforms.

New Releases

Not a huge amount but a fair number of new releases are out this week. Find the Canadian artist works in the table below.

Avant de crever Olivier Couture Rock
Fiesta Étienne Drapeau World
Grosso-Modo Séba et Horg Rap
Playing Chess Elise LeGrow Blues
Robert de Visée à Versailles Duo Baroque La Tour Classical
Room Inside the World Ought Alternative
Rule 62 Whitney Rose Country
Uncle, Duke & The Chief Born Ruffians Alternative
Weatherman Blaze Velluto Collection Alternative
Long Live the Night (EP) The Reklaws Country
The Projektor III (EP) Alex St. Kitts R&B
Le sens perd le nord (EP) Les DeadZ Alternative
Trouble (EP) Robby Johnson Country

Adrian Underhill Wants to C U Again

Adrian Underhill launches his debut album C U Again. It is smooth, mellow R&B inflected adult contemporary with splashes of alternative. Adrian is originally from Vancouver but now based in Toronto via Montreal. Pastel grooves swish through the disc ever so naturally. The gentle earworm “I Want It All” harnesses a simple melody that is oh so catchy. “Cruel” flows along nicely before breaking out into a funky conclusion. “As I Think of Something Different” makes effective use of vocal harmonies, and “How to Make a Life Count” includes some dazzling keyboard work. Find pleasant reggae peppering on “I Could”. Adrian Underhill’s C U Again album is the surprise charmer of early 2018! Music video for album opener “Not Good Enough” embedded below.  iTunes

The Good Lovelies and Shapeshifters

Toronto roots harmony trio Good Lovelies consists of Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough, and Sue Passmore. The group won the JUNO Award in 2010 for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. 2015 saw the release of the band’s last LP, Burn the Plan, and the good gals glide back with new album Shapeshifters. It opens with popular saccharine ditty “I See Gold”. The hooky melody of wistful “I Had a Dream” will carry you away while “When We Were Young” sounds as if Leonard Cohen wrote a song with Lennon & McCartney and decked it with the voices of angels. Other highlights are the earthy “Move Away Clouds” and the pensive “Daylight” co-written by Peter Katz. The music video for “I See Gold” is embedded below.  iTunes

New Releases for Valentine’s Day 2018

There are not many new releases this week; perhaps some were held off due to the big draw of the opening of the Winter Olympic Games. Speaking of the games, congratulations are in order to the following athletes:

Justine Dufour-Lapointe – Silver – Freestyle Skiing: Ladies’ Moguls
Max Parrot – Silver – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Mark McMorris – Bronze – Snowboard: Men’s Slopestyle
Ted-Jan Bloemen – Silver – Speed Skating: Men’s 5,000m

New music is out from Toronto newcomer Adrian Underhill; C U Again is a mellow mishmash of R&B, adult contemporary, and alternative. JUNO winning roots trio Good Lovelies contributes new album Shapeshifters. Two-time JUNO winning jazz pizzazzer Holly Cole is back with Holly. Folkifying the landscape is Games We Play from Jen Schaffer and The Shiners. New Brunswick’s The Olympic Symphonium describes the Beauty in the Tension in its alternative disc. And last but not least is very well-crafted Pulsing Colours from Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Ryan Hicks.

As always, we’ll pen some more in-depth reviews of a couple of these.

Grounders, Sipping Coffee, Prepares to Jam

Toronto alternative rock band Grounders gears up for a new album release on February 23 through Nevado. This is an early review.

A followup to the band’s solid eponymous LP from 2015, the upcoming Coffee & Jam sees Grounders effectively hone its delicious postpunk leaning style. From a palette of various sounds, the music is filled with captivating details. The disc was heralded by single “Bringing It In” (track #2) and opens with the groovy “Mickey Can’t Move” which ironically will get you moving. From the sound of it, the band had an absolute blast making this record. An anchored vocal style contrasts nicely with swaying and funky musical fun. Interspersed among the plucky jams like “Here It Comes Again” and (what a great title) “The Judge, The Cook, and The Clown” are smoother coffeehouse brews like “Perfect” and “The Bitter End”. Grounders’ Coffee & Jam is nothing short of a winner.  iTunes

Ontarians can look forward to seeing the band perform with The Wooden Sky across the province this month. Dates below.

Feb. 15 – St. Catherines, ON – Warehouse
Feb. 16 – Sudbury, ON – The Townehouse
Feb. 20 – Hamilton, ON – The Casbah
Feb. 22 – London, ON – Call the Office
Feb. 23 – Sarnia, ON – Paddy Flaherty
Feb. 24 – Oshawa, ON – Moustache Club
Feb. 25 – Peterborough, ON – Market Hall

Éric Charland Says Grief Is Just a Season

Canada’s Éric Charland is relatively new at the game. He released an EP of raw sounding music in 2014, and now after four years returns with La tristesse n’est qu’une saison (Grief Is Just a Season), and we must admit we are at quite a loss of words because it is so good. Produced by Éric Goulet, it is a much richer effort than his previous disc: finely crafted, catchy, and coherent adult electropop. He reminds us a little of Jason Bajada – very pleasant to listen to. Here are five songs, all perfectly constructed and expertly delivered. It is very early in 2018, but Éric Charland has the frontrunner for EP of the year. What a wonderful little gem!  iTunes

Birthday Boy and Trish Team Up on EP Joseph

Following singles “Magic” and “Chance to Go Far”, Toronto producer Birthday Boy and singer Trish release EP Joseph. The disc paves a dreamy ride through chillout R&B house terrain with some occasional funk, feel-good beats, sunny horns, and electronic bells and whistles. It is both retro and current – King meets Majid Jordan perhaps. Both Complex and Noisey gave the work glowing reviews; you can add CMB to the list. We have embedded the official audio for track “Magic” below.  iTunes

Feb 2, 2018 Releases: Galaxie, Milk & Bone, The Sheepdogs…

More than 20 Canadian artist albums and EPs are out this week. Dogs tend to fancy Milkbone brand biscuits (no product placement intended) and as of now, Saskatchewan boogie rock group The Sheepdogs (Changing Colours) and Quebec sparse synth pop duo Milk & Bone (Deception Bay) are battling it out with Justin Timberlake at the top of the iTunes albums chart. Three Juno awards decorate The Sheepdogs’ shelf, while one nomination has thus far been bestowed upon Milk & Bone.

With a Juno win each are jazz expert Robi Botos with new album Old Soul and electronic weaver Keys N Krates with the curiously titled Cura.

With a Juno nomination each are garage rock specialist Galaxie with new record Super Lynx Deluxe and R&B ace Zaki Ibrahim with The Secret Life of Planets.

EPs out include Juno nominee Caracol with delicious alternative pop album Les yeux transparents. Find a list of this week’s albums below.

Access to Infinity Jesse Roper Rock
Alternate Takes, Vol. 1  Mike Goudreau  Blues
Blood Rhye Alt
Changing Colours The Sheepdogs Rock
Couleurs  Laurie LeBlanc  Country
Cura Keys N Krates Electronic
Darlène Hubert Lenoir Alt
Deception Bay Milk & Bone Alt
Electric Love Angel Forrest Blues
Heartbreak Song… The Lynnes S-S/Folk
The Moonlight Club The Moonlight Club Rock
Nameless Dominique Fils-Aimé R&B
Old Soul Robi Botos Jazz
Plato Zay FouKi Rap
The Secret Life of Planets  Zaki Ibrahim  R&B
Super Lynx Deluxe Galaxie Rock
The Wilder Beyond Hillsburn S-S/Folk
Waves  Story Untold  Pop Punk
Chills & Thrills (EP) Saya R&B
Songs for Flight Delays (EP) Sebell Pop
Les yeux transparents (EP) Caracol Alt

New Releases 26 January 2018: LIGHTS Tackles 4 Tongues

Eleven new albums plus four extended plays materialize on the markets this week, as Canadian artists ignite the year in song. We predict 2018 will see more Anglophone artists release music in different languages and decorate their lyrics with choice phrases in foreign tongues. In parallel, music in their native tongues from Allophones around the world will be consumed in greater volumes by the 58% of Canadians who can claim English as their mother tongue. Francophones, while continuing to make breathtaking singer-songwriter and adult contemporary delicacies with gorgeous French poetry, will step up their game in creating some successful pop and dance songs. All three processes will have a handful of vocal naysayers, but these will ultimately fail in stymieing the trend.

LIGHTS unlocks the gates

The platinum recording artist re-releases her 2017 song “Giants” in four additional language versions. And some of the languages she has chosen might surprise you: French, Japanese, Spanish, and Tagalog. LIGHTS shared on social media why she chose those particular languages – French because she is Canadian and believes it is therefore essential; Japanese because she’s a massive fan of manga and anime; Spanish because her mom grew up in Colombia and her husband’s family is Mexican; and she says Tagalog has a huge place in her heart because she grew up in the Philippines. LIGHTS offers that it was really hard to perfect her pronunciation during the recording process and that Japanese was the most difficult to master.

Jim Cuddy and the new albums

Two-time JUNO winning Torontonian Jim Cuddy, a roots music specialist, drops album Constellation which has been well received. Successful as a soloist, Jim of course has also served as a member of multiplatinum group Blue Rodeo.

Vancouver’s Laila Biali is a JUNO nominated ace of vocal jazz. Her new album is a self-titled disc and features a savory cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow” among other treats.

A standout among the LPs is most certainly Jonathan Kawchuk‘s North, a mishmash of classical and ambient (we’ll call it “clambient”). He recorded sounds all around the world on this amazing work.

This week’s EPs include The Feels, latest from Vancouver JUNO nominated electronic project Humans as well as a standout pop disc from Emma-Lee (Fantasies, Vol. 2).

Find a table of new Canadian artist releases after the MV for Emma-Lee’s “Driving” below.

Un abri contre le vent David Portelance S-S QC
All the Tings I’ll Forget Corey Gulkin S-S QC
Collette Savard & the Savants Collette Savard S-S ON
Constellation Jim Cuddy Folk Rock ON
Eye to Eye Omhouse Rock ON
Keep on Walking 54-40 Rock BC
Laila Biali Laila Biali Jazz BC
Leaving Thomas Leaving Thomas Country AB
Lose It Danielle Duval Alt-Pop QC
North Jonathan Kawchuk Clambient AB
Survival Grand Analog Rap ON
Chansons de laine (EP) Marjolaine Morasse AC QC
Fantasies, Vol. 2 (EP) Emma-Lee Pop ON
The Feels (EP) Humans Electronic BC
River Saw Everything (EP) Hollow Twin Folk BC

The Launch of 2018, Part 2

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine Pin a Number One

With Logan Staats taking care of business last week, the second semaine of CTV’s The Launch saw a pair from Ottawa take the tiara. Mentors Scott Borchetta of Big Machine Group (tent of Taylor Swift), OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, and Sugarland singer-songwriter Jennifer Nettles oversaw the launch of electro-pop music master Elijah Woods and singer Jamie Fine with their treatment of the Tedder-penned song “Ain’t Easy”. Borchetta was completely bowled over by Fine’s vocals describing her as a “street Adele”. Woods discovered her four years ago hearing her sing over a friend’s smartphone, and the two began working together a few days later. The song topped iTunes immediately upon release. Watch how things came together in the studio via the video embedded below.

Drake Bowls a Spare

There is only one thing that can knock out a pinned number one – a perfectly aimed bowling ball, and Drake let one loose. The above “Ain’t Easy” was knocked to #2 at iTunes by the Drake fastball, a new song entitled “God’s Plan”, part of a traditional (i.e. two-track) single. (“Diplomatic Immunity” sits on the B-Side.) In the new #1 song in Canada, Drake raps about how he thinks a higher power will not let him fail despite ill-will from his haters.

The JUNOs Get Bare Naked

The JUNO Awards recently announced this year’s inductee into the Music Hall of Fame – Barenaked Ladies along with ex-member Steven Page. BNL became extremely popular in Toronto long before breaking out nationally, and then internationally. The collective, that initially received some heat for its name, scored two Top 40 hits in Britain including “One Week” which made it to #5 there. Album Gordon was certified Diamond in Canada. BNL has won eight JUNO Awards to date. The group’s popularity was at its peak in the 1990s.

Gord Bamford and the New releases

Albertan platinum country star Gord Bamford releases his latest album Neon Smoke this week. JUNO winner Dubmatix joins Jamaican act Sly & Robbie for some reggae on Overdubbed. Heavy metal group Anvil is still rockin’ releasing its 17th studio album Pounding the Pavement. Singer-songwriter discs this week include one from two-time JUNO winner Bahamas (Earthtone) and newcomer Sarah Cripps, a self-titled work. A couple of sumptuous jazz albums are out. Chillout instrumental city jazz comes by way of The Francois Richard Quartet and Liberation. A New Standard from Thompson Egbo-Egbo is a bright piano-led sizzler. Rap LPs include Oddball Slang from Ontarian Fresh Air and an eponymous disc from Alberta’s Cadence Weapon.

Chillout R&B is at its finest on EP Joseph from Birthday Boy & Trish. Indie rock flies on Cycles deux from L’Indice. In the kingdom of pop, find excellence on La tristesse n’est qu’une saison by Eric Charland and T’écrire by Mégane Cyr.

We leave you with the brand new single/MV from good ol’ Coeur de pirate, “Prémonition”.

Sykamore Opens 2018 with An Ace EP

It’s pouring rain right now in Vancouver, as we read some news stories that got 2018 off to a bizarre start. But we came across some very good news and a portent of wonderful things to come in terms of the year’s music. Calgarian singer and songwriter Sykamore has opened 2018 in music with a wonderful new EP called Self + Medicine. It is essentially country, but she also sifts in some pop and adult contemporary. Hear her syrupy vocals on track “Better Half” in the new MV embedded below. The new disc follows 2013 album Petal which was more on the folk side.  iTunes

Ashes and Dreams Take Us on a Trip to Havana

WINNIPEG – Portage and Main is often regarded as the coldest spot in The Great White North with the wind chill’s awesome gravitational pull on the mercury; however, local duo Ashes and Dreams wants the locals and the rest of Canada to feel lots of warmth. Introducing new album Havana, a sumptuous work of electro chillout pop. On the disc, hear singer Lisa Saunders’ smooth vocals reminisce of her former trip to the Cuban isle reclining on warm, sunny beaches beneath the shade of towering palm trees. The album is given a generous dose of feel-good beats and ethnic flavours. “Hang Low” is an irresistible clap-along jam while one can vividly see coconuts dance in “Voice Inside”. Feel the boat jump the waves on its way south with opener “Havana”. Ashes and Dreams’ Havana is a pure delight that folks of all ages – from children through to seniors – can enjoy.  iTunes

The 25 Best Albums of 2017

We tracked a total of 678 Canadian artist albums released in 2017. Of these, 55 were greatest hits, various artist compilations, live albums, or holiday releases, and we did not count them towards contention for our Top 25 of the year. We ranked our favourite 25 of the remaining 623 after many listens regardless of genre, language, region, and relative popularity of the artist. These 25 represent an elite 4% of 2017 Canadian artist studio albums. At Canadian Music Blog, we like music that is sophisticated with catchy melodies and pleasing vocals (unless it is instrumental). Find below our 25 favourite Canadian artist albums of 2017 including our Album of the Year!.

258 of Hearts by Blinker the Star

Since the mid-90s, Pembroke, Ontario’s Blinker the Star has been concocting some delicious music. 2017’s 8 of Hearts could be classified as alternative rock; in addition, you will hear a good dose of a retro progressive rock kneaded into the dough. At times, there are surprises, like a banjo on track “Heather” and haunting piano with fluttering analog synth on “Caves and Shadows”. Here are well written songs that are highly enjoyable to listen to. We’re lucky to have this great band aboard Team Canada.  iTunes

24The Space Between by Majid Jordan

It’s the Canadian duo that does R&B right. Majid Jordan brought us sophomore effort The Space Between. The Toronto pair is best known for giving Drake his first Top 5 hit as a main artist – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”. The Space Between sees Majid crooning smoothly over Jordan’s downtempo musicianship. It is chillout music with ground-shaking bass, addictive beats, cool grooves, and (thankfully) clean lyrics. Both those heavily into R&B and those not typically taken by the genre will find this little nugget diggable. The album features well-known artists dvsn and PartyNextDoor.  iTunes

23A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone by Mappe Of

Whitby, Ontario’s Tom Meikle, through Paper Bag Records, presented his debut album A Northern Star, A Perfect Stone under moniker Mappe Of. Lyrically, he populates the disc with an interesting gang of characters: a disturbed boy setting fire to his family’s home, a vagabond in Australia who’s disavowed all family ties, a Canadian youth figuring life out overseas, and an elder dying from Alzheimer’s who can’t recognize his family. Musically, the album is a dreamy, meta-dimensional sequence of alternative folk masterpieces. Mappe Of blends synthesizers with organic instruments including guitars (both acoustic and electric), trumpets, violins, kalimba, and autoharp. Where you allow this album to take you is entirely up to you; it’s filled with sonic magic.  iTunes

22LLL (Love, Loss, Latitude) by Wanting

Vancouver based Wanting released this, her third album. While keeping her singer-songwriter and adult contemporary sensibilities, she dressed some of the songs up with a slicker, more upbeat, electronic pop sound. Assisting her with this was producer Justin Gray whose impressive CV includes work with two MCs – Miley Cyrus and Mariah Carey. As a result, we get a nice blend of flavours. One of the things that makes LLL so enjoyable is that Wanting’s clear vocals shine though the music in such a way that you get drawn into the lyrics, and as far as lyrics go, she holds nothing back and tells it as it is. Check out especially tracks “You Can’t Hurt Me Anymore” and “Set You Free”. Wanting expresses without reservation the euphoric throes of love and the paralyzing sting of loss. Her skills at songwriting have never been stronger, and her vocals seem to have gotten even better. Every track here is enjoyable, and LLL is a beautiful album.  iTunes

21Love Is Gold by Ryan Kennedy

A singular voice and beautifully written smooth folk-pop songs deck this one. Last year, Ryan Kennedy‘s “Honest Song” stirred up some buzz and graced the airwaves in certain regions of the country; its MV has racked up over 100,000 views. He composed all tracks on the 2017 album, and there isn’t a single bland one in the batch. As both a singer and a songwriter, Kennedy aces both which is uncommon. Count this album a winner.  iTunes

20Midnight for a While by Walkwaves

Walkwaves, a Markham, Ontario group goes beyond the popular pool of smooth synth pop into the rougher seas of new wave here and succeeds. At times funky, at others gritty, but always with catchy beats and expressive vocals, Walwaves strikes us as a more organic Depeche Mode. Opener “Get You Out” burbles along carefully before switching on some rumbling bass pulses; it’s a delicious track. The catchy “Girls on Snapchat” combines vocal crooning with detailed instrumentation. While modern electronic musicians seem to perpetually use the same few synth/computer voices when there are thousands available, you’ll find a nice variety through the Walkwaves disc; find many on track “T.T.T.L.”. For something different, check out the atmospheric “Friend” one of the more experimental tracks which satisfies by throwing in unexpected musical twists. Closer “Nightfall” packs a nice punch to cap things off with a bang.  iTunes

19La grande nuit vidéo by Philippe B

Everybody enjoys a big video night. JUNO nominee and collaborator of such aces as Pierre Lapointe, Groenland, and Salomé Leclerc, Philippe B dazzles on fifth album, La grande nuit vidéo. Find meticulous attention to detail and a knack for penning masterful tunes with immaculate arrangements. Philippe is the sort of fellow who makes music critics drool copiously, a true champion of folk or singer-songwriter styles. On the album, he explores the bygone age when couples would spend the night together before cathode-ray screens watching television series, movies, and everything presented by the intelligent box of communication. The nostalgia abounds with superb orchestral arrangements and is augmented by the sweet guest vocals of Milk & Bone’s Laurence Lafond-Beaulne. If you want a work of art, this is it.  iTunes

18Antisocialites by Alvvays

Toronto group Alvvays pressed its sophomore album, Antisocialites. The band is helmed by Nova Scotian raised Molly Rankin. The smart mixing job appropriately obscures the vocals slightly on the shoegaze tracks, such as delicious opener “In Undertow”. And on jangly pop tracks, like “Dreams Tonight,” they shine through. Molly purposefully sings in a deadpan style which works well with the Alvvays design. The writing is strong and the fusion of flavours is seamless, as heard on songs like decade defying “Plimsoll Punks”. Although the cubby-hole genre does not have broad spectrum appeal, the musical composition here will waft onto many wanderers its charms. No one can resist a good tune, and Alvvays has the savvy to craft more than a few. Nicely done!  iTunes

17Finale by Mike Rocha

Toronto-based producer Mike Rocha surfed up a pleasant surprise, his debut album Finale. His past production credits include works from Greys, Electric Youth, Ivana Santilli, and Black Pistol Fire. The instrumental electronica, led by the Prophet ’08 synthesizer, at times amusing and at others dark, is highly cinematic and rich enough to please fans of both classic and modern sides of the field of time. The weaves of sound succeed in eliciting tension, urgency, thrills, suspense, and all emotional rollercoaster effects required for an entertaining film experience. At times, you will feel like you’re listening to a therapeutic mixtape in The Unborn, being hunted by the terminator, or inside the complex of Ex Machina. Finale is as good as anything done by Markus Guentner or any of the other acclaimed crafters of the genre.  iTunes

16There Is No Love in Fluorescent Light by Stars

Twinkling ever so brightly is this one by Quebec group Stars, produced by Peter Katis who has done an excellent job blending orchestral manoeuvres with upbeat synth pop. As always, Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell take turns at the mic delivering sensitive lyrics. The album was heralded by single “Privilege” which opens the disc. Playful B-side “We Call It Love” is included. “Losing to You”, at over 6 minutes, is packed with enough goodies to keep you captivated: a nocturnal shimmer that breaks into slapping beats and burbling bass. Another standout is “Hope Avenue” suggesting a place to go for Strange Advance’s “We Run”. “Real Thing” seals the deal for a great album, a synth pop ace. Even on the mellower tracks, genius is present, an example being “California, I Love That Name”. “Wanderers” is the perfect closer, dramatic and feel-goody. Three JUNO nominations, all for Alternative Album of the Year, are among Stars’ achievements.  iTunes

15Cindy Doire présente: Panorama by Cindy Doire

With origins in Timmins, Ontario, and serving as one-half of popular singer-songwriter duo Scarlett Jane, Cindy Doire presents her fourth solo album Panorama. The disc is a genre-defying collection of carefully calculated catchy compositions encompassing measured grooves. The panoramic sound is both ethereal and delicate, as Cindy concocts a new style for this work, an amalgam of dream pop and Moog synthesizer inflected folk all wrapped up in a silvery sheath of angelic vocals. On production detail is Mark Howard (Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, and Tom Waits). Cindy Doire présente: Panorama is an album for the intelligent who love to dream. It soothes, captivates, and rearranges frayed emotions into perfect order.  iTunes

14Hug of Thunder by Broken Social Scene

Toronto collective Broken Social Scene (a.k.a. BSS) has scored two gold albums each of which won a JUNO (Alternative Album of the Year). At the core of the lineup which has gone anywhere from six to nineteen members were founders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. Though a hit single has eluded the group, critical acclaim has poured in. BSS failed to stay afloat announcing a hiatus in 2010, but in 2017 experienced a strong return via this fab new album. Onboard are such notables as Feist and Metric’s Emily Haines & Jimmy Shaw; 15 members are on the disc. Track “Halfway Home”, absolutely epic, combines a towering Coldplay anthem with intelligent Arcade Fire facets; this was our favourite cut. Metric’s Emily Haines seems to have set off on a ski jump with a gliding vocal delivery while guitars pump the air beneath her in “Protest Song”. “Skyline” blends the cinematic folk of Grapes of Wrath with the alternative atmospherics of Love & Rockets; we dig the guitar work yielding to boss percussion halfway through. The popular “Stay Happy” is funky, quirky, and bold. Feist takes the mic in title-track “Hug of Thunder” drenched with her signature choppy approach, flickering bass, and subdued boom.  iTunes

13Black Moon by AMAARA

Triple threat Kaelen Ohm, recording artist, actress, and award-winning filmmaker, released album Black Moon under moniker Amaara. Technically an LP (with six tracks, it has a run time of 27 minutes), the album is drenched in dream pop atmospherics. Amaara, having served as a member of Reuben and the Dark, proves she can make just as satisfying music as a soloist. The music frolics airily through lullabies, fantasies, and fairy tale magic. The exceptional title-track perfectly delivers her style. “Dreamcatcher” blends the ominous with the soothing before breaking into a soft flow. Amaara’s Black Moon is a hauntingly beautiful album for those seeking something magical.  iTunes

12L’appartement by Ludovic Alarie

Handsome Canadian singer-songwriter Ludovic Alarie of Montreal gave us his second album L’appartement. Essentially an alternative work, Ludovic writes beautiful folky songs and dresses them with sparkles of electronic hooks. In mood, L’appartement drips with pacifying melancholy. Alarie says the music embodies the “feeling of an apartment in which you lived, how you were, how you evolved, and all the feelings and memories that are attached to it”. He says the musical composition came to him quite quickly but the lyrics not so much, explaining that it took him only 3 or 4 days to finish the music but 3 or 4 months to complete the poetry. Of lyrics, he feels he is completing a puzzle where each word has a precise spot. Overall album production was handled by Warren C. Spicer of locally based group Plants and Animals. Whether you live in an apartment, a condo, or a house, Ludovic Alarie’s L’appartement will fill the rooms with alluring songs. This one’s a keeper.  iTunes

11Human Voicing by The Luyas

Montreal indie alt-rock group The Luyas hit the scene in 2006 and saw a Polaris Prize nomination for third studio album Animator in 2013. The band is known for including some unusual instruments in its recordings. Human Voicing is album number four. The Luyas, currently signed to Paper Bag Records, are four members including lead singer Jessie Stein. The vocals hit the spot, and the music is well-written and intelligent. Our ears remained engaged throughout most of the album. There’s a nice wall of sound, dynamic and stimulating, and edgy without being too noisy. An enjoyable listening experience from one of the world’s better indie bands.  iTunes

10Themes for Dying Earth by Teen Daze

Teen Daze, i.e. B.C. Fraser Valley’s Jamison Isaak, has a formidable work ethic releasing two albums this year. We loved both but were quite taken with this, the earlier disc. It features contributions from Jon Anderson, Sean Carey, Nadia Hulett, Sound of Ceres, and Dustin Wong. The album is a fine banquet of electronic ambient pop that explores themes of nature as a respite from the concrete forest, and the environment as something to be conserved. The album opens with “Cycle,” which begins an exploration of the artist’s personal experience dealing with anxiety and depression, and branches out to examine external forces, like climate change, that affect those moods. Another standout track, “Lost,” gently flutters in like a colourful butterfly before opening up droning vocal harmonies and bringing in Nadia Hulett’s twinkling serenade toward the close. Teen Daze’s Themes for Dying Earth expertly spins a crystalline web of dream and euphoria.  iTunes

9You Don’t Know by Jenna Nation

As far as R&B goes, it doesn’t get much better than Toronto’s Jenna Nation. You Don’t Know was the best album of the genre through the year. It includes her stunning vocal work, ground shaking beats, and a ton of atmosphere, with melodies, sky-scraping choruses, and all the trimmings of a masterful recording. The album’s standout track if there is one is “Can’t Get Over You” with bass to drool over. Electronic pizzazz abounds on “I Love It” and mysterious grooves animate the title track.  iTunes

8La vie qu’il nous reste by Marc Dupré

Canadian superstar Marc Dupré launched his sixth album in 2017 – La vie qu’il nous reste. It swiftly scrambled into the iTunes Top 10. Two of Marc’s previous albums have gone gold. Five of his songs have appeared in the Billboard Hot 100 including Félix song of the year winner “Nous sommes les mêmes” at #47. This album is one of the best pop albums of 2017, chock full of very enticing tracks enhanced by sharp production and an uplifting delivery.  iTunes

7Departures, Vol. I by North Atlantic Drift

When we think of ambient electronica, the Germans come to mind as being world leaders of the genre. Well, guess what, Canadians rank right up there too. You will not believe your ears when you take in the sounds of North Atlantic Drift‘s Departures, Vol. I. This is a duo from Toronto, and it was one of the best albums in the genre that we’d heard in a long time. “Temperance” is an instant classic.  iTunes


With this album, Oakville, Ontario’s Allie X earned a pass into the league of extraordinary pop music pros. She hit her stride and is now in a position to charm the masses with her brand of catchy synth pop. A Billboard Hot 100 charting artist, thanks to “Catch” (#55), Alexandra Ashley Hughes launched a career in indie pop from Toronto. Four years ago, her talents took her to Los Angeles, US where she worked as a songwriter and on her own music, often collaborating with JUNO award winning Canadian producer Cirkut. CollXtion II is her first formal full-length album. Choice cuts include ripe-for-radio whistling and plucky opener “Paper Love”. Slow-burning “Need You” combines seductive flickering percussion with an effective processed vocal feature of Valley Girl. “Lifted” crescendos into an exhilarating reggae-tinged chorus. A similar effect envelops the slightly eerie “Simon Says” which creeps into a synth-spicy chorus. Giving the album a large wattage of shimmer is “Old Habits Die Hard”. Previously released as a single, “That’s So Us” has perhaps the album’s winning melody. Strong writing for CollXtion II is enhanced by pristine production. Ideas have been carefully cultivated into perfect fruition.  iTunes

5Future Politics by Austra

Austra is a JUNO nominated electronic pop project from Toronto, created by Katie Stelmanis in 2009 and includes three other players. Future Politics is album number three. It offers a tighter, punchier sound than the previous two with addictive beats and instant likeability. Lyrically, the songs are smart in not offering specific political ideas in a world where a cacophony of entrenched opinions and opposing interests is flourishing fiercely, scattering humanity into different antagonistic camps. Universal themes are touched upon, for example that both exploitation and mendicancy are undeserving of praise. Katie also re-introduces the subject of alienation by technology, certainly truer in today’s world with ubiquitous cell phone finger tapping. She does this, however, with a warmer presentation than grim visions presented by say Ultravox in “Dislocation”. As such, the album has more of a hopeful vision of the future and inspires us to be creative in conjuring up new and better systems of society than the worn-out models of today. And amidst the chaos and the hostile arguments, it reminds us too, via the cover, that you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Austra’s Future Politics offers a refreshing cleanse for wearied minds.  iTunes

4Fear/Nothing by The Belle Game

Vancouver group The Belle Game launched Fear / Nothing, its second LP. While the debut was an adventurous trek of a band trying out different things, everything gels on #2, and the group hits its stride. The music packs quite a punch, with its appreciable energy, dreamy crooning from lead singer Andrea Lo, rich, piercing synthesizers, and addictive percussion. Track “Spirit” is one of best songs of 2017 released anywhere in the world; it’s the kind of uplifting number with which any artist would love to close out a show. Onboard the Belle Game team for this album are producers Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene) and Dave Hamelin (The Stills). Fear / Nothing is both dynamic and dramatic encompassing a sound described by the band as “crush pop”.  iTunes

3Noir Éden by Peter Peter

Peter Peter, a synthpop specialist, Quebec City native, and multiple Polaris Prize nominee, cast forth his third studio album, Noir éden. He proves on this record that he is especially good at crafting a catchy and satisfying chorus. We highlight some standout tracks such as delightful keys dancing along in “Damien,” reminiscent of say Gazebo’s “I Like Chopin” or Double’s “The Captain of Her Heart”. “Allégresse” includes a nice touch of aloof vocal work that Phèdre did so well on “Ancient Nouveau”. Hear captivating bass synth on the title track adding nicely to other detailed touches in a very well put-together song. “Loving Game” is pure 80s, a bilingual, pulse-driven standout with French verses and an English chorus. Noir éden is Peter Peter’s best work yet and so much worth checking out for fans of the genre.  iTunes

2The Courtneys II by The Courtneys

Vancouver indie fuzz rock trio The Courtneys debuted in 2013 with a set that impressed on an international scale. In fact, New Zealand’s Flying Nun Records signed the group to oversee the sequel, The Courtneys II. The aloof, sugary singing from drummer “Cute Courtney” binds nicely with “Classic Courtney’s” exciting phaneritic guitar work. Together with “Crazy Courtney” on bass, the trio takes us on a highly engaging ride through lo-fi slacker culture and bubble-gum garage punk. The disc opens with “Silver Velvet”. “Country Song” bursts with a wall of guitars, the album’s standout jam. “Lost Boys” pays tribute to the 80s’ vampire craze while surf rock dresses up “Mars Attacks”. This was easily 2017’s best rock album. No contest.  iTunes


Canadian Music Blog’s 2017 Album of the Year

Our 2017 album of the year artist is from Cranbrook, BC. When she was just 15, she was signed to Madonna’s Maverick label as bass player of all-girl JUNO nominated rock group Lillix. Now based in Vancouver and signed as a soloist to Light Organ Records, always ready to participate in various projects including new wave band Gold and Youth, this slayer released her third solo record in early 2017. It earned a Polaris Prize nomination. The album is introspective, guitar-oriented new wave with some strokes of synth, New Orderesque high-pitched bass pulses, and tight drumming. But there’s more to the opus. Track “Strange Weather” sees her master the country-inspired genre, complete with lap steel! The tunes are deliciously shadowy, and her bright vocals and energetic delivery give it a sunny glaze. There’s the charming “Pharaoh”, the delicious “Moonlight Shadow”, the dreamy and dazzling “Hyesteria”, and the gliding surf of “Who’s the Madman”, the latter as good as anything done by Echo and the Bunnymen. This is yet another ace for one of Canada’s most underrated talents, and her best work to date: great singer, songwriter, and musician. The Canadian Music Blog declares Young Mopes by Louise Burns as 2017’s Album of the Year!  iTunes

The 10 Best EPs of 2017

An extended play record (EP), as far as we are concerned, is one with at least three original tracks that have a combined run time of less than 25 minutes. Sometimes remixes of one or more tracks on the EP result in a disc run time of over 25 minutes. We still consider these to be EPs. We do not count as an EP a disc with only one or two original songs plus various remixes of them. We may consider as an EP a collection of bonus tracks released as an addendum to a studio album even if it runs over the 25-minute mark.

Canadian music blog editors tracked 128 qualifying extended play records from Canadian artists released in 2017. We listened to all and settled upon a year-end ranking of the 10 best regardless of genre. Find below our 10 favourite Canadian artist EPs of 2017 including our 2017 Extended Play Record of the Year! 

10Joseph of Mercury by Joseph of Mercury

Toronto’s Joseph Salusbury, under stage name Joseph of Mercury, had the thermometer visibly rising with the release of his superb 2017 EP. It’s 80s synth pop combined with 50s velvety crooning. He has the theatrical good sense of Freddie Mercury, captures the excitement of Future Islands, and dishes out the echo heavy proclivities of Roy Orbison. With the Joseph of Mercury disc, the man was named artist of the week by Apple Music in both The United States and Canada. The beats are well done, and the ride is one of unexpected twists; the whole package sounds fresh and is as engaging as fireworks on the 1st of July. This is quite the ace in the hole and we look forward to a full-length from this super talented artist in the future.  iTunes

9Beautiful Chaos by Kayla Diamond

Toronto’s Kayla Diamond dropped her debut mini album Beautiful Chaos which contains some of the finest pop music of 2017. Kayla’s academic pursuits in law school were interrupted when she won Slaight Music’s It’s Your Shot Contest and was offered a recording contract with Cadence Music. Leading up to the EP release was her delicious single “Carnival Hearts” which got her named iHeartRadio’s Future Star for the month of July. The song did well hitting airwaves across the country, getting spun into the hundreds of thousands on Spotify, and charting on Shazam. But the EP has much more to offer with well crafted charmers dressed with her glittery vocals.  iTunes

8Maps on the Palms by Aléatoire ft. Alina Libkind

Though he started out on guitar, Montreal’s Charles-Alain Roy expertly crafts chillout electronic music under the moniker Aléatoire (French for random) and presented EP Maps on the Palms containing four tracks all featuring the exquisite vocal talents of Toronto’s Alina Libkind. “Immune”, previously released as a single, received a nice writeup in Fader Magazine which stated the song “weaves a crushing set of circumstances into a warm and blissful light at the end of the tunnel”. Indeed, the tracks are each a comfortable cushioned sofa and serve as hypnotic neon lights pushing away the darkness of night with sonic flashes and shimmers all dressed with Alina’s mesmerizing coos.  iTunes

7Electric Heart by Emily Rowed

Vancouver’s Emily Rowed was heavily into folk music when EDM wizard Tiësto chose her as the voice on “Say Something”, a reworking of the song by A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera. She found the progressive currents exciting and decided to make music that was bigger, more energetic, colourful, and electric. Signed to world renowned label 604 Records, Emily launched her single “Arrows” in May. Presenting a warm vocal delivery, the song is rooted in her acoustic songwriting while brought into fruition by smart alt-pop production. The La+ch remix of the track dresses the music with more ornate electronics. Rowed heralded her EP Electric Heart with the exquisite song “Electric”. Beginning as a boot-stomping bluesy number, it morphs into an advanced sculpture with both electric and electronic grooves. The other tracks on the disc are just as popular: “Burn” flickers, “Swords” cuts to the chase, and “Rubies” dances brightly.  iTunes

6Natasha Zimbaro by Natasha Zimbaro

From the Metro Vancouver city of Maple Ridge is this country newcomer who decked 2017 with her debut EP, an eponymous one. The six-track disc followed the release of single “Rebound” last October. Her name is Natasha Zimbaro, and if her name or face seems familiar, that may be because she was a finalist in Simon Cowell’s X Factor UK in 2011. Moreover, she was one of three in pop group Prty H3ro who placed two singles in the Billboard Hot 100, “Life of the Party” and “Young & Shameless”. As a soloist, Natasha has decided to return to her country roots, the genre she embraced when she became a teenager. Natasha gives the country music scene what it needs – a fresh, vibrant, youthful style, and she injects a wallop of confident energy into the genre. Picture Back to the Future III’s Doc Brown tossing some Presto logs into the locomotive boiler. That’s what Natasha does here. She elevates country music to a dynamic realm. She has a great voice and the music on this is fab.  iTunes

5Relax by Kashka

Kashka is the project name of Toronto’s Kat Burns who had us all smiles with synthpop EP Relax. Standout tracks include the burbling, glittery “Holding Steady”; funky, chiming “Wild Things”; and trippy yet sobering “Reset/Outro” propelled by eerie synths and backed by grieving strings. As the EP’s title suggests, this is music to relax to with unprocessed, crystal clear vocals, haunting electronica, and superb songwriting, in short everything a fan of progressive music can ask for.  iTunes

4In Comes the Night by Bobby Wills

Calgary’s Bobby Wills released a stellar EP in 2017, In Comes the Night, heralded by two singles, “Get While the Gettin’s Good” and the title-track. The writing, vocal delivery, and production are all top-notch making this 7-track disc a gem among the year’s country music releases. The EP soothes, exhilarates, and has us cheering as great track follows great track. It was a fabulous late summer release that had us welcoming the fall. Bobby Wills won the CCMA Rising Star Award in 2013 and the following year released his music through MDM Recordings.  iTunes

3Lolaa by Lolaa

Sisters Lex Valentine and Nadia Valerie King formed pop duo LOLAA last year launching debut single “Always Been” with backing vocals by Love Inc.’s Simone Denny. The duo put on some live shows around the GTA supporting such acts as MSTRKRFT. Lex and Nadia are not necessarily new to the game; they were part of rock trio Magneta Lane which has put out some albums. On board the LOLAA project is producer Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club). The duo cites Gloria Estefan, Kim Carnes, Laura Branigan, Debbie Harry, and Donna Summer as influences. On the EP, find six radio quality pop charmers with memorable melodies, pleasant vocals, and addictive beats. This one has a nice bite to it.  iTunes

2First Move by Stacey

Toronto’s Stacey is surfing at the forefront of a new wave of music we can describe as “nuage-pop” being made right here in Canada. Canadian women such as Stacey, Rosemary Fairweather, and Amaara are world leaders in making ambient pop music with crystal clear vocals and dreamy keyboard sequences. It’s all very exciting. Stacey offers a style that is at times a little more vigorous. Her latest EP is entitled First Move, and it comes with five exquisite tracks. They take on a nice balance between soothing background mood music and surging foreground suds of captivation.  iTunes

1Canadian Music Blog’s 2017 EP of the Year

The quality of progressive pop music kept bubbling up to new heights through 2017. The best extended play record of the year harnesses the sound of the decade that began with the release of Atari’s Missile Command and closed out with the introduction of the first Game Boys. Fresh 2017 synthpop was crafted by a Toronto slick stylist of cool who found herself signed to prestigious label 604 Records. The EP borders on the excellence delivered by Tegan & Sara on the duo’s last two LPs. And in fact the Quin twins became fans of this disc, a pretty big endorsement. Find half a dozen bright, burbling, and melodic gems that conjure up scenes of playing Tomy’s Waterful Ring-Toss. If nothing else, track “Tease” should make your day. Canadian Music Blog declares Ralph by Ralph as 2017’s Extended Play Record of the Year!  iTunes

Ten 2017 Christmas Albums Worth Checking Out

It’s been proven that a good Christmas album, even though it contains songs that have been covered hundreds of times over the years, can sell very well. As the folks who celebrate the holiday yearn for fresh interpretations by their favourite artists to listen to while they wrap gifts and decorate the tree, we present 10 Canadian artist Christmas albums released in the past couple of months. These are listed alphabetically by title. Hopefully one of these will appeal to you.

Christmas Caravan by Sultans of String

A trio of JUNO nominations grace this Ontarian string quintet. Beyond string arrangements, the world music group combines shards of traditional Arabic, Cuban, French, and Spanish styles: everything from Flamenco to Gypsy jazz. Christmas Caravan includes a number of prominent vocalists: Crystal Shawanda, Nikki Yanofsky, and Alex Cuba among them. Well-known holiday treats include “Little Drummer Boy” and “Jingle Bells”. Also find Turkishified “Greensleeves”. A culturally rich masterwork. iTunes

Christmas Together by The Tenors

Triple platinum JUNO winning group The Tenors originated from Victoria, BC. The trio is comprised of humble gentlemen with pristine, handsome vocals. This is the second Christmas album to appear from the group. The disc includes two originals and eight classics, the latter including “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”. A beautiful production.  iTunes

Coconut Christmas by The Lost Fingers

For something more on the upbeat side, comes this world-flavoured pop charmer. The Lost Fingers struck platinum and attracted a pair of JUNO nominations. It’s interesting listening to the Christmas songs done in tropical style but remember that many people celebrate the holiday in the tropics. It’s only about snow and cold weather in the north. There’s also some Indian folk; check out “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. Find “Sleigh Ride” and “Blue Christmas” but also some comical tracks like Austin-Powers approved “Santa’s Lost His Mojo”. Enjoy as well a cover of U2’s “New Years Day”. This is a fun one. iTunes

Les Gars Du Nord by Les Gars Du Nord

The Acadians are coming! The Acadians are coming! Four popular singers from New Brunswick band together to form this group and create a Christmas album in Acadian folk style. The singers are 2003 Star Academy winner Wilfred Le Bouthillier, Maxime McGraw, Jean-Marc Couture, and Danny Boudreau. Find John Lennon’s “War Is Over (Happy Xmas)” and “Minuit, chrétiens” (“O Holy Night”). Get down to earth in the heartland with this one.  iTunes

Imagine by Heather Rankin

While in the Atlantic, let’s swing over to Nova Scotia to find the hometown of Heather Rankin, a JUNO nominee. With candy cane vocals, she gifts us with this very soothing and peaceful holiday record. The album contains lots of originals and a few covers. “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Picture Perfect” are very well done. Also find an exquisite cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine”. Relax and let this album remove all stress away.  iTunes

Lumieres d’hiver by Emilie-Claire Barlow

This two-time Ontarian JUNO winning jazz vocalist dresses up jazzy piano driven songs with her sumptuous vocals. Find nice string and percussion arrangements on “Le dernier Noël”. Popular singer Ingrid St-Pierre joins her on “Hey Santa” and Mitsou (of “Bye Bye Mon Cowboy” fame) on “As-tu vu le Père Noël?” The latter track has a righteous saxophone solo. If nothing else, this album is the female counterpart to Michael Bublé’s Christmas record. Invigorating.  iTunes

Lux by Choir of the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, Jonathan Oldengarm & Jean-Sébastien Vallée

For those who like their Christmas music more on the spiritual side, this work should do the trick. Gorgeous human voices in choir with a church organ is always magical. The album impressed staff at iTunes who put it best: “Imagine a large snow-covered church at Christmas, lit only by candles, the voices of a well-trained choir curling up into the roof.” The album reminds us that the world’s most beautiful instrument is the human voice. “What Child Is This?” just may make you cry. Warm and glowing with cushions of comfort.  iTunes

Noël Ensemble by Mario Pelchat and Les Prêtres

Gifted vocalist, platinum recording artist, and four-time JUNO nominee Mario Pelchat scored a gold album this year when he teamed up with Les Prêtres on Agnus Dei. This holiday season, he presents Les Prêtres in Christmas album Noël Ensemble. A legion of popular singers, besides Mario, guest including legendary Joe Bocan, Cindy Daniel, popular folk duo 2Frères, and Tocadéo. The album has a nice blending of classical and folk flavours.  iTunes

Old School Yule! By Matt Dusk

Triple JUNO nominee Matt Dusk has a gold record among his achievements. The Ontarian serves a swing jazz Christmas album that should do it for fans of old blue eyes and the rat pack. It’s bright and cheerful. Enjoy the perky “Sleigh Ride” and smooth “Do You Hear What I Hear?” For those who like old school adult pop vocal, Matt’s the man – forthright and confident.  iTunes

Peace, Love and Opera by Julien Brody

Twelve-year-olds rejoice! One of your own has become a star. Julien Body’s dream is to become an opera singer, and he’s off to a splendid start. The dapper fellow with the assistance of Giancarlo Scalia drops a real winner that will inspire desires for peace on earth. This is a sweet one.  iTunes