New Releases Early August 2019: Electric Youth, Drake…

The wait is over! Having dropped one of the finest albums of the decade, 2014’s Innerworld, Ontarian duo Electric Youth is back with new LP Memory Emotion. Bronwyn and Austin were busy a couple of years ago putting together the soundtrack for film Breathing, having become credible with their contribution to the soundtrack of Ryan Gosling’s Drive (“A Real Hero”). The new album is simply superb.

Raptors fanatic Drake dusted off some songs from the attic to present them in a Care Package to his fans. Theses were cuts that were shelved as they did not quite make … the cut.

Also notable … pop slayer Kayla Diamond dons her Henley with EP Dirty Laundry and JUNO nominee The Franklin Electric endeavours to get In Your Head with a shiny new disc.

Find these and more releases from August 2 – August 9 in the table below.

Care Package Drake (JW) Rap
Really Well Mauno Alternative
Sirène & Matelot  Sirène & Matelot  S-S/Folk
Transistor Sister, Vol. 2 Shotgun Jimmie Rock
Hard Time Jeremie Albino Country Blues
Hard to Say, Not Knowing Little You, Little Me Punk Rock
Memory Emotion Electric Youth Electronic Pop
Need You HMLT R&B
Diamonds & Dust (EP) Owen Barney Country
Dirty Laundry (EP) Kayla Diamond Pop
In Your Head (EP) The Franklin Electric (JN) Alternative

New Releases July 2019: Keys N Krates, Rezz, Sum 41…

New singles are all the buzz today. Among the high-profile artists dropping them are Alessia Cara (“Ready”), Chocolat (“Fou fou fou mon minou / Heavy”), Tegan and Sara (“I’ll Be Back Someday”), and Majid Jordan (“Caught Up”). Pop star Alyssa Reid is featured in new country track “Somebody Like You” from up and comer Owen Barney.

Oshawa’s Lennon Stella is featured in “Takeaway”, a track from global hitsters The Chainsmokers. It has scaled up to #5 at iTunes. The legend who is Buffy Sainte-Marie is included on the soundtrack for upcoming blockbuster feature film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The song in question is “The Circle Game”.

Some JUNO winners dropped albums in July, notably hard rock band Sum 41 with Order in Decline, EDM outfit Keys N Krates with A Beat Tape for Your Friends, and Beyond the Senses (EP) from Rezz, a more experimental offering from her. JUNO nominees dropping discs are rapper Tre Mission with Orphan Black and metal group Metz with Automat. Find these and more Canadian artist releases below.

A Beat Tape for Your Friends Keys N Krates (JW) Dance
What We Say in Private Ada Lea Alternative
Order in Decline Sum 41 (JW) Rock
Planetary Clairvoyance Tomb Mold Metal
Acadian Dream Cy S-S/Folk
Orphan Black Tre Mission (JN) Rap
Who Is the Baker? Laura Barrett S-S/Folk
Friday Monkey House Jazz
Black Dove (EP) Amaal R&B/Soul
Binary Garden (EP) Auras Metal
Automat (EP) Metz (JN) Metal
Saudade (EP) Chris LaRocca R&B/Soul
Beyond the Senses (EP) Rezz (JW) Alternative
Sweet Dreams till Sunbeams (EP) Neon Dreams Pop
Freddie Future (EP) Freddie Future Alternative
Sea Shells (EP) Soviets, Chaix & Jeff Spec Rap
Sonoglyph Pt. 1 (EP) Kotek Alternative
Into the Light (EP) Chris Assaad S-S/Folk

News and New Releases June – July 2019

Those who began watching Season 3 of hit television series Stranger Things were pleasantly surprised to see it open up with a Canadian song – Corey Hart‘s “Never Surrender”, the biggest hit of 1985. The characters in the show were even singing along to it! Corey was not the only Canadian icon featured in the season, as actor Michael J. Fox made an appearance of sorts; blockbuster feature film Back to the Future was showing on the cinema screen during an episode. It may also be news to some that the actor who plays star Mike Wheeler – Finn Wolfhard – is Canadian; Finn is from Vancouver. We should have learned by now, however, that there really are … stranger things … than CanCon in Hollywood.

There have not been a lot of releases the past couple of weeks as things slow down for the summer. JUNO award winner Daniel Caesar launched his album Case Study 01. An eponymous rock album appeared from Espanola. The Pearl of Bermuda, Heather Nova, a Canadian citizen, contributed a singer-songwriter disc. Navet Confit got very alternative on a prime ministerial kinda party. And punk band Necking advised, Cut Your Teeth. EPs included Adam Baxter‘s Infinity, Jonah Yano‘s Nervous, Andre Papanicolaou‘s Modern Pain, Part. 2, and Sons of DaughtersLove in a Bar.

New Releases Summer Solstice 2019: Daphni, BICHAÏ, …

The summer solstice 2019 sees a mixed bag of releases as we near 300 albums and 100 EPs for the year to date. A couple of popular band members have released solo albums, namely Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry with Vol. 2 of his Quiet River of Dust series – That Side of the River – as well as Walk Off the Earth’s (Ryan) Marshall with Layers (see the MV for his collaboration with Calgary’s Jocelyn Alice “Mr. Parachute” below). Both albums are solid and could be classified under the broad alternative category. Also pleasing within the category is Paul Cournoyer‘s Le détroit which has enough musical details to charm the listener.

Many of this week’s EPs are electronic works punctuated by JUNO nominee Daphni‘s Sizzling. Daphni is of course one of the projects (along with Caribou and Manitoba) of Dundas, Ontario’s talented Dan Snaith. We were quite taken with Mimosa Nova from BICHAÏ which has a more nocturnal, chillout jazzy feel, but all four of these electronic EPs are well done.

Find these and more in the table below.

New singles out include “Sweet Love” from Kiesza, perhaps her best song since her JUNO winning Sound of a Woman stuff. Red hot country artist Meghan Patrick contributes “Wild As Me”. Multiple JUNO nominee Coleman Hell delivers his latest – “Polite”.

À l’abri de la tempête  François Roy  S-S/Folk
Hiboux Nicolas Gémus  S-S/Folk
Layers Marshall Alternative
Le détroit  Paul Cournoyer  Alternative
Libre Amanda Martinez World
Liminal Spaces Simon Legault Trio  Jazz
Space Grade Assembly Possum Rock
That Side of the River Richard Reed Parry Alternative
Angels & Daemons (EP) Nautiluss Electronic
Beach Music (EP) Daniel Wesley S-S/Folk
Funny Girl (EP) Georgette Pop
Geneva Freeport (EP) Absolutely Free Alternative
Lost in Spirals (EP) Little Snake Electronic
Mimosa Nova (EP) BICHAÏ  Electronic
Sizzling (EP) Daphni (JN) Electronic
Wilde Eyes, Steady Hands (EP) JJ Wilde Rock

June 14, 2019 Releases: Old Man Luedecke, Claudia Bouvette

Nova Scotian folk slayer Old Man Luedecke, a multiple JUNO winner, returns with his latest disc, Easy Money. With three JUNO nominees, he commands the new releases this week. Electropop maestro Jérôme Minière offers his latest minion of fun, Une clairière. Rapper Killy kills it with a long play record entitled Light Path 8. Pop specialist Virginia to Vegas releases an EP on Hartland St.

Outselling all of these (digitally at least) is Cool It from pop newcomer Claudia Bouvette (see MV for track “Don’t Like It” below). Also worth checking out are alternative album Les vents violents from Phile and R&B flavoured house EP Corazón from BC’s Pat Lok. Find these and more in the table of new releases below.

Calm and Cents Kevin Hearn Alternative
Cool It Claudia Bouvette  Pop
Easy Money Old Man Luedecke (JW) S-S/Folk
Fates Conspire Glenn Milchem S-S/Folk
Hunters Trance Cat Clyde S-S/Folk
Les vents violents  Phile Alternative
Light Path 8 Killy (JN) Rap
Migrations Jacques Kuba Seguin  Jazz
Night Mirror New Swears Alternative
Quatre climats habitables feu doux Alternative
Times Nomadic Massive  Rap
Underneath It All Hein Cooper Alternative
Une clairiere Jerome Miniere (JN) Alternative
Corazon (EP) Pat Lok Dance
Cruel as the Grave (EP) Catacomb Saints Alternative
Hartland St. (EP) Virginia to Vegas (JN) Pop

June 7, 2019 Releases: Blitz/Berlin, Hollerado, Northern Pikes…

Three JUNO nominees pilot this week’s new Canadian artist releases. Instrumental outfit Blitz/Berlin offers its latest, There Will Be No Miracles Here. Alt-rock group Hollerado returns with Retaliation Vacation. And, sixteen years after the last studio album, Forest of Love appears from Saskatoon rock band The Northern Pikes.

Charmers include a self-titled work from Badge Époque Ensemble a collective of musicians that includes US Girls’ live band put together by Toronto’s Maximilian ‘Twig” Turnbull. It may remind some of 60s jazz-rock lengthy jams. Very cool stuff. Jacques Surette of Nova Scotia contributes a gorgeous album entitled Marche, Marche, Marche containing extremely catchy folk-rooted singer-songwriter nuggets. As far as EPs go, Jip LessCap sur l’éclaircie showcases a batch of pleasant songs that should hit the spot for music lovers.

Find these and more in the table below but first…

Some delectable singles and music videos have hit the shops. We will profile a couple of these later, but be sure not to miss the MV for radio hit “Love Me” by Felix Cartal & Lights. Award winning singer Alicia Moffet enjoys a shockingly spectacular comeback with R&B song “Take Control”. Believe it or not, it debuted on top of the iTunes chart and sits at #4 at this writing. Few do vocals better than Alicia. We haven’t heard from City and Colour for a while, but not to worry, he’s still got it as proven on his new single “Astronaut”. Country artist Jessica Mitchell features Tim Hicks on her new song, “Somebody Gonna Get Hurt”.

Badge Époque Ensemble Badge Époque Ensemble Rock
Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion Country
BloodMyth Ensign Broderick Alternative
Déséquilibre Marc-Antoine Beaudoin  Alternative
Dovetale Krief Alternative
Forest of Love The Northern Pikes (JN) Rock
Here Tonight Taylor Knox Rock
Marche, marche, marche Jacques Surette S-S/Folk
Monami Foreign Diplomats  Alternative
Retaliation Vacation Hollerado (JN) Alternative
Sainte-Foy KNLO Rap
Skye Consort & Emma Björling  Skye Consort & Emma Björling  World
Skye Wallace Skye Wallace Rock
There Will Be No Miracles Here Blitz/Berlin (JN) Alternative
Cap sur l’éclaircie (EP) Jip Less  S-S/Folk
Dark Cloud (EP) Jay Whiss Rap
Goodbye, Lightspeed (EP) JT Soul Rap
Kadooh (EP) Kadooh Country
Maybe – Side B (EP) Valley Pop
RoseGarage  (EP) RoseGarage  Rock
Vicelove (EP) Sam Drysdale Pop

May 31, 2019 Releases: Jim Cuddy, Tara Kannangara…

One of the nation’s best known roots artists launches new album Countrywide Soul; Jim Cuddy is a multiple JUNO winner. Along similar lines and also with a JUNO trophy on his shelf, Justin Rutledge releases Passages. A trio of JUNO nominees join them. Singer-songwriter Jenn Grant contributes Love, Inevitable. Also are a couple of jazz artists. Kevin Breit presents guitar-oriented album Stella Bella Strada, and our favourite album of the week belongs to Tara Kannangara with the very nicely done It’s Not Mine Anymore. Find a total of 20 new releases in the table below.

A contre-courant Pierrot Fournier  S-S/Folk
Agitpop Lowest of the Low Rock
Apres vous Alex Thériault  S-S/Folk
Baby You Can Free Your Mind Mind Bath  Alternative
Bangerz Brass Bangerz Brass Rap
Black Mamba Les Évadés  Jazz
Corps coquillage Laura Babin Alternative
Countrywide Soul Jim Cuddy (JW) Country
It’s Not Mine Anymore Tara Kannangara (JN) Jazz
Love Jean-Paul De Roover S-S/Folk
Love, Inevitable Jenn Grant (JN) S-S/Folk
More Harm Than Good Part 2… Nomvdslvnd Alternative
NightDrive The Liquor Store R&B/Soul
Passages Justin Rutledge (JW) S-S/Folk
Sky Patrick Ballantyne Rock
Stella Bella Strada Kevin Breit (JN) Jazz
Untl We’re Each Someone Else Stuck Out Here Rock
Les Heures maladives (EP) vice E roi S-S/Folk
Relaxe (EP) Emmanuel Travis  R&B/Soul
Rires jaunes (EP) Moutarde Baseball  Rap

Akua Flows from Those Spirits to Them Spirits

London, Ontario’s Akua Carson, a Canadian of Ghanaian descent, is a singer, producer, and songwriter whose rich brews of musical genius embrace R&B, pop, and electronic flavours. She released 7-track album Them Spirits in March 2019, a superb disc dressed handsomely with her silky vocals and spellbinding in terms of its dreamy atmospherics. The beautiful package flows gracefully. In fact, opening track “Righteous Way” would have lulled us into a perfect snooze, but the nice addition of carefully placed piano strokes kept consciousness alive. “Heaven” (see official audio below), the standout track, will blow your mind. It builds gradually from a velvety slow-burn to a shuffle of bass and soft cords, and finally to an exhilarating electronic heavy chorus. “My Body”, musically sophisticated, throws in some interesting sounds to drool over. Akua shows some vocal prowess on track “Queen” satisfyingly backed by orchestral tip-toes. Lyrically, Akua centers the album’s theme on the passing of her father. Count Them Spirits as one to check out.  iTunes

Spoons Dip into a New Day, New World

JUNO nominated Burlington, Ontario band Spoons, active since the early 80s, recently delighted us with its first disc in eight years, New Day New World, recorded in Guelph. The group’s last offering, 2011’s Static in Transmission, was well received. This one is just as solid from our reckoning. Before we get to our review of the 2019 album, let us take a look at Spoons’ chart history.

The first two albums from Spoons have been certified gold by Music Canada. The first, Arias & Symphonies (1982), spawned three Top 40 hits. “Nova Heart”, a masterpiece of synth-led new wave and one of the finest tracks of the genre ever released, made the year-end Top 100 of 1982. The album’s title track became a Top 20 hit, and “Smiling in Winter” the Top 30. “Old Emotions”, peaking at #28 on the RPM charts, helped followup album Talkback (1983) become the second disc to strike gold. 1984’s Listen to the City is responsible for the band’s final Top 40 hit, “Tell No Lies”. In an era when the charts were dominated by British new wave groups, Spoons’ success was remarkable.

While many have commented on the smart stylings of the album, of how it bridges 80s new wave with modern pop-rock and electro, what makes the album so good is the songwriting. Frontman Gordon Deppe, with assistance from Sandy Horne, continues to channel inspiration in penning catchy tunes. The atmospheric sweep and thundering booms of the album’s title track has chants from online fans mixed into the chorus. “All the Wrong Things” proves the band has still retained its energy. As has been pointed out, “Beautiful Trap” recalls the doot-doots of 1984 song “Romantic Traffic”, something the band says is in its DNA. It is one of the strongest tracks on the record. Find those nuggets of fun as well on “For the First and Last Time”. Another gem is “Repeatable” with some wonderful bass work, something lacking in today’s pop hits. The interplay among that playful bass plus, the synth pulses, and higher-pitched plucks, makes this track simply irresistible and, well, repeatable. “Life on Demand” progresses from simple piano keys to a very satisfying chorus. For those hungry for something heavier on the electronic side, “Landing Lights” should hit the spot. It has a great snare-beat as well. The charming “Paint by Number Day” is melodically similar to “For the First and Last Time” but with pleasant female-led vocals.

Spoons still got it, and New Day, New World is the front runner for 2019’s album of the year.

May 24, 2019 Releases: Jean Leloup, Loud…

This week’s releases are fewer in number, but ’tis hard to find a mediocre work among them. In fact, six out of the 14 are from JUNO nominees/winners. And those are not necessarily the most charming albums of the batch. With this week’s assortment of maple-glazed musical prim-bits, our running total for 2019 is 242 albums and 74 EPs.

For those who like their tunes raw, bare-boned, stripped down to bare nakedness, Jean Leloup is back to quench your thirst. L’étrange pays has him singing, rapping, bellowing over his finger licking guitar fondling proclivities. The album from the JUNO award winner is currently #1 at iTunes. Loud owns the distinction of being one of the few invited to perform a Franco tune at the JUNOs and this year won the trophy for Francophone Album of the Year. The sensational rapper follows up with new album Tout ça pour ça. Hard rock with some delicious synthesizers in the mix arrives via Black Mountain. The JUNO nominated BC group graces the slate with Destroyer. Also given a nod by the JUNOs is Colombian-Canadian Roberto Lopez who presents world music fest Kaleido strópico.

But we are just getting started here. Decked with multiple gold and platinum certifications on its singles, JUNO winning outfit of country music James Barker Band releases EP Singles Only. Also graced with a JUNO trophy is fabulous duo Milk & Bone teaming up with producer Alex Lustig on EP Dive, an electronic joy ride.

Also out this week is excellent pop album Exposed by Star Academy alumnus Olivier Dion; the folky, pleasing No Water, No Flowers from Geneviève Racette; the hauntingly beautiful Trying to Have It All from Misha Bower; the adult contemporary sparkle of Brûle sur mes lèvres by Isabelle Cyr; and this week’s pleasant surprise, boss grooved R&B EP Dangerous from Shay Lia!

Find these and more in the table below.

Brûle sur mes lèvres  Isabelle Cyr AC
Destroyer Black Mountain (JN) Rock
Exposed Olivier Dion Pop
Kaleido strópico  Roberto Lopez (JN) World
L’étrange pays Jean Leloup (JW) S-S/Folk
No Water, No Flowers Geneviève Racette S-S/Folk
Pays Philemon Cimon S-S/Folk
Soul Secret Agency  Soul Secret Agency  R&B/Soul
The Offering Thompson Egbo-Egbo Jazz
Tout ça pour ça Loud (JW) Rap
Trying to Have It All Misha Bower S-S/Folk
Dangerous (EP)
Shay Lia R&B/Soul
Dive (EP)
Milk & Bone (JW) & Alex Lustig Alternative
Singles Only (EP)
James Barker Band (JW) Country

Maybe I’ll Find You Again, Ruth B.

Alberta’s JUNO award winning Ruth B., best known for her quintuple platinum single “Lost Boy” (#14 in 2016), decorates 2019 with five-track EP Maybe I’ll Find You Again. The genre-defying disc contains elements of singer-songwriter, adult contemporary, pop, soul, alternative, and R&B. It opens with the hot, hazy summer afternoon breeze of “Don’t Disappoint Me”, a winner by its sophisticated orchestral arrangements alone. “Slow Fade” tricks the listener with sudden stops building from an easy-going piano-bass combo into a whirling chorus. “Crave”, perhaps the catchiest of the set, showcases Ruth’s stroke of creative genius. “Sycamore Tree” cranks up the feels, presenting Ruth’s trademark balladry. And, ending on a strong note, “Rare” benefits from nice vocal work, dazzling keys, and nifty percussion. iTunes

Sleepy Tom Awoken by Amateurs

In 2016, British Columbia’s Sleepy Tom (professional alias of Cam Tatham) scored a Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charting single and British Top 10 hit with Diplo called “Be Right There”. Sleepy is a JUNO nominated EDM creator, and graces 2019 with an EP entitled Amateurs. Featured are half a dozen singers through the six delicious cuts, the most prominent being platinum recording artist Lights who opens the disc with its electrifying title-track. Other highlights are “Wrap Around Your Heart”, bright, cheery, and a little jazzy, and the funky and saxified “Move”. Choppy charmer “The Times” should get you busting some moves in no time. Sleepy Tom’s Amateurs is loads of fun and not to be missed especially for EDM and pop enthusiasts.  iTunes

May 17, 2019 Releases: Carly Rae Jepsen, The Beaches…

Triple JUNO award winner Carly Rae Jepsen releases her fourth studio album this week; Dedicated has received critical acclaim. Also claiming a JUNO trophy is all-female rock group The Beaches delivering EP The Professional to dazzle your ear drums. Ever so talented Nova Scotian Rich Aucoin pleases with an alternative album of choice electro pop entitled Release. Also good and more on the post punk side is Radiant Dawn from Operators. Find these and more in the table of this week’s new releases below.

Beyou… Beeyoudee  Rap
Dark Beings LAL Alternative
Dedicated Carly Rae Jepsen (JW) Pop
Façade David Couture S-S/Folk
Le phenix… Dramatik Rap
Ocean sucre Razalaz  Jazz
Radiant Dawn Operators Alternative
Release Rich Aucoin Alternative
We Got This Delhi 2 Dublin Pop
Wonderland Gentiane MG Trio Jazz
The Moment (EP) Antony Carle Alternative
Partir a point, Vol. 2 (EP) Gaële  Alternative
The Professional (EP) The Beaches (JW) Rock

A Restless, Radiant Baby is Born

Synthpop specialist Radiant Baby released his debut full-length album in early 2019, Restless, opened by exquisite 80s themed song (it even has a saxophone solo!) “Firecracker”. Through the disc, he keeps things perky, funky, and danceable. You will, however, hear the album shifting gears at a couple of turning points. After the first four breezy tracks, he really gets the beats going on “Out Crowd”, and heightens the pace on “Funny Games”. He slows things down into some sentimentality on “Don’t Push” and closes out on a darker note with the spooky title-track. We need more music like this. Wonderful.  iTunes

Laurence-Anne Makes Her First Appearance

Singer-songwriter Laurence-Anne makes 2019 the year of her debut album, Première apparition, a nine-track excursion into indie rock territory, with shrubs of folk and the occasional dream cloud floating overhead. The songs are catchy and replete with little details; there are these fuzzy, plucky sounds plunking themselves into the mix here and there which keep the interest up. Her music has been described as early Karkwa, but it is arguably her delicate vocal delivery that makes everything gel together and sound very pleasant. Don’t miss out on this golden disc.  iTunes