Newmarket, Ontario’s Bordeen has a trio of siblings – Ryan (lead vocals, guitar), Brianna (keys, vocals), and Daniel (drums). The band released its self-titled, debut album last year. Musically, we hear a fresh, eclectic, sunshine wave mix. The band has launched a music video for “Broken Bones” that includes all the choice requisites: a sound stage the colour to which Great White North residents can most relate, band logo on the bass drum, male/female vocal combo, some on-screen lyrics, revved up synth for extra flair, video footage from a projector, and a furry thing that falls to the floor. iTunes
Alexa Ferr is a new exquisite rhythm & blues singer from Toronto whose debut EP Lipstick On the Glass appeared in September 2013. Her style incorporates urban beats, electrifying effects, rich ambiance, and hearty vocals. As a triple threat, Alexa’s music career is gaining momentum, and is being sculpted by the competent hands of production duo The Invaders who have worked with Blake McGrath and Ashley Roberts of The Pussycat Dolls. Alexa has recently released an acoustic session of “So Hard (To Love You)” (embedded below) which uncovers just how fine her singing is.
When she was just 19 years old, Jacynthe became Canada’s Madonna making the best dance music north of the 49th. Her 1998 debut album I Got What It Takes was nominated for the Best Dance Recording JUNO with its “Give It Up” reaching #27 on the charts. In 2000, “Listen to My Heart” became her second Top 40 hit. With Canada swept up in punk music in the noughties decade, Jacynthe was nudged over to the edge of the spotlight. Now into the 2010s, however, with dance pop and EDM ruling the airwaves, she is making a significant comeback. Being fluent in French (she has also recorded songs in Italian), the Québec City native was featured in the bilingual version of Victoria Duffield’s “Feel”.
In December 2013, Jacynthe released fifth album Music to the Sound which contains nationwide airplay hit “Locked Down”, a hit which has been nominated for Dance Recording of the Year at the 2014 JUNOs. It is thus her first JUNO nomination in 15 years! The album lays down a bridge that effectively links classic dance music with modern EDM. Emerging Canadian rapper iSH is featured on one of the tracks. The LP also offers some ballads and downtempo anthems. Ground-shaking beats, bright keyboards, and invigorating vocals merge together to form a beacon of ecstasy on this excellent dance album. iTunes
We begin our series of profiles on the JUNO nominees with the most important of all JUNO categories: Aboriginal Album of the Year. If you were to hear all five of these masterpieces, you would declare that Aboriginal musicians can match and even better the rest of us in all genres of music.
♥ Fact #1: Four of the five artists in this category are first-time JUNO nominees.
♥ Fact #2: All five artists in the category are among Canada’s most beautiful people.
Keep a Fire by Amanda Rheaume (Ottawa)
Sowing the seeds of roots music that blossom with captivating stories, this talented singer-songwriter has toured around the globe. She has a beautiful voice that delivers the poetry with clarity, and the musicianship is first-rate; you will hear some great guitar work, both acoustic and electrified. The album effectively ties the epic journey of Amanda’s ancestors into Canadian history, daubing personal intricacy onto a broad national canvas. The result is a breathtaking mural of emotion and intelligence that amazes and inspires.
Small Town Stories by Desiree Dorion (Dauphin, MB)
This is high-powered country music that exudes energy and perky poise. One stomp from this cowgirl, and the echo would disarm a ring of bandits. In terms of songwriting, Desiree is among the elite. “Turn to Me”, about her daughter, received an honourable mention at the 2012 International Songwriting Competition. A vocal quality which has been compared to Dolly Parton’s is underscored with stellar instrumentation (check out the guitar solo on “Mama Got a Shotgun”). Forget the caffeine, this album will rev up your heart.
Surrender by George Leach (Lillooet, BC)
This is rock, and in terms of the eclectic, George is at the forefront of the game. In fact, we think Hendrix and AC/DC could learn a few things from him. With the flip of a guitar pick, he eases from the classic to the modern, from the bluesy to the funkadelic, and from the powerful to the gentle. George can use his voice to shatter mountains but also to elicit blood from a stone via tenderness and sincerity. Every, single track on this gem is an original masterpiece of writing and delivery, and George Leach is one of Canada’s finest talents.
Burn Me Down by Inez Jasper (Chilliwack, BC)
Inez Jasper is arguably the leading Aboriginal artist in the realm of popular music. Her debut release in 2009 won four Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards and was nominated for a JUNO. She is able to sculpt ridges of dance beats and R&B grooves, feature the occasional rapper, First Nations chanter, and sprinkle the savoury result with a pinch of Aboriginal spice giving it that extra edge over run-of-the-mill CHR fare. Whether you dish up the cupcakes or fire up the bannock, Burn Me Down will get your body bouncing and the party started.
Road Renditions by Nathan Cunningham (Edmonton)
Nathan is a country artist and has performed with Rita Coolidge, Dwight Yoakam, and Nazareth. He has also taken part in Johnny Reid’s choir. He has won Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards and his songs have topped the National Aboriginal charts. Road Renditions contains beautiful compositions, and he features a number of guest singers on the album. He gets inspirational on “Sent For an Angel”, performs country-rap on “3 Wisemen”, country-dance on “Saturday Night Angel”, and closes with crooning splendour on “Warriors”.
It is rare to find an honest year-end album list. There are vested interests involved in those published by both online and print media. Individual people tend to be biased in favour of certain genres of music, musical instruments used, or types of artists, rendering their lists narrow. Blogs tend to discriminate against albums from popular artists because they use these lists to promote the obscure ones rather than simply state a true list of their favourites. We also wonder why any list of domestic albums which excludes Francophone releases calls itself Canadian. In compiling our list, we did not care about the genre or style of music or the relative popularity of the artist. We simply listened to all several hundred of the Canadian albums that were released in 2013. If the album held our attention throughout, and we found ourselves enjoying song after song, we shortlisted it (11% of the albums made the list). At the end of the year, we listened to the shortlisted albums several times and ranked them. Below is a roll of the top 15 albums from that list, our 15 favourite Canadian albums of 2013.
#15. Golden Age by Phèdre
Phèdre is an offshoot of Toronto’s Hooded Fang. Legend has it that Daniel Lee and April Aliermo entered an attic of an unknown location over three summer nights. What they found lurking within must have been profound, for the results present cutting edge material, the vibrations of which seem capable of transmuting copper into gold. Golden Age is a celebration of experimental (think Grimes, Bjork, Moev) and very catchy electronica. The vocals, intentionally at times slightly off-key and delivered in a spirit of boredom, add an extra dimension. In fact, the entire package seems to have been borne by the winds of a tesseract. Phèdre reminds us of music’s great potential to excite, and they have succeeded in tapping into a gold mine unleashing the magic sparklers of all things weird and wonderful.
#14. En love majeur by France d’Amour
Growing up just north of Montréal, France D’Amour took up the guitar and piano. Since her breakthrough in 1993, she has scored eight hit singles that made the CKOI year-end Top 50. Two of her albums have gone gold, and she has received two JUNO nominations. In 1998, out of admiration for Vancouver’s The Odds, she called up their guitarist Steven Drake and they ended up collaborating. En love majeur is France’s tenth album, an exceptionally rich production of gorgeous and intimate adult contemporary confections, dipped at times in heartland folk, blues, and jazz, and delivered by one of the sweetest voices in the country. The diversity of instruments played, complex instrumentation, and sunny style provide an even backbone of grandeur to such a heart-soothing voice.
#13. Fusée by Ariane Brunet
Kirkland is a residential community of about 20,000 on the island of Montréal, and it is where recording artist Ariane Brunet was born. With childhood piano and singing lessons underway, she won contests and awards, took up the guitar, and studied jazz. Her first album appeared in 2010 for which she was nominated for the Newcomer of the Year ADISQ Félix award in 2011. Brunet released her second album Fusée in 2013. It contains an assortment of delicacies like beautiful adult contemporary “Le temps de vivre”, the rousing “Vertige”, melancholy “Mon plus beau naufrage”, and funky “L’évidence”. Lead single, “Bagatelle” rocketed its way up into the iTunes Francophone Top 10. The music is soft, graceful, and smartly decked with strings.
#12. Echogenetic by Front Line Assembly
Austrian-born Bill Leeb, who settled in Kitimat, BC when he was 13, was attracted to industrial music (i.e. electronic metal) and joined the Vancouver band Skinny Puppy playing bass synth. He left the band a year later to launch his own projects, the best-known of these being Delerium which enshrined a more moonlit new age electronica. On the dark side of the moon, Leeb created Front Line Assembly as a more aggressive venture. After some 26 years of FLA releases, appeared Echogenetic in 2013. FLA sheds its off-and-on use of guitars over the years for a pure, all-synth brand of spook. Menacing, mangled vocals, brick-smashing electronic bass, razor-sharp percussion, and an ethereal orchestra of synthesizers punch craters in the floor and blast the listener up to cast-iron clouds of emotion and dream.
#11. Mitan by Tire le Coyote
Sophomore work Mitan from Tire le Coyote, or Benoit Pinette, sounds like a dark but vibrant spaghetti western soundtrack that could add some panache to films scored by Ennio Morricone. It even opens with the haunting peal of a harmonica and slow-motion strum with deliberately beefed-up reverb. It builds from a hot dusty tumbleweed bouncing around and shutter flapping in a vacated ranch house into an ensemble of determined instruments each doing its bit on a bandstand where the townsfolk sit listening in a transfixed state. Pinette’s twangy delivery of beautiful French poetry adds to the delight as does the odd pouncing of sad piano. Tire le Coyote has more tricks up his musical sleeve than a card shark in a poker saloon.
#10. Avril Lavigne by Avril Lavigne
Tapping into the spirit of rock and roll, Avril Lavigne’s 5th studio album opens with a revved up stick-it-to-the-man piece of battling bearsharks with band-saw guitars and world salvation. Party pop anthem “Here’s to Never Growing Up” follows, a nostalgic celebration of youth. Ghostly irony swings forth on a piano string in the hygienic, breakup-themed “Let Me Go”, a duet with husband Chad Kroeger of the world’s finest and most successful grunge band, Nickelback. A decadent and delicious collaboration with goth growler Marilyn Manson precedes homage to Japanese cartoon icon Hello Kitty which receives the electropunk treatment it deserves. The album closes with a pair of slow songs reminding us that Avril Lavigne can do it all and remains one of the world’s most talented superstars.
#9. The Midnight Mass by Louise Burns
Louise Burns’ newest album reminds us of Siouxsie and the Banshees with some added synth textures. Most importantly, it effectively showcases her songwriting genius. “Emeralds Shatter” unseals the album with a cinematic, nighttime opening followed by twangy, Twin Peaks’ bass, jamboree percussion, and heightened vocal reverb. The sweeping, melodic “Ruby” follows. A driving beat opens “San Andreas” where matter-of-fact, ominous storytelling bursts into an irresistible, perfectly-constructed chorus. A rocking chair on a hot, dusty porch at a country home comes to mind with spaghetti western influenced “He’s My Woman”. “Jasper’s” determined beat breeds addiction, while “Heaven” glides gracefully, leading up to the slow burning glory of “The Lodger”.
#8. Oothèque by Oothèque
Francis Mineau, the drummer of JUNO winning progressive rock band Malajube, released this album under the moniker Oothèque. Through these colourful tracks, you will hear ever so subtly the sweeping synths of The Cure, the theatrical rock of Prism, the perky new wave guitars of the Go-Go’s, and even the alternative thrashes of The Smashing Pumpkins. Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau is on the prowl bouncing around playfully as the opening bass-carried tune would suggest. The jazzy laid-back electro ballad “Secrétaire” yields to a sparkling power burst in its chorus, and “Spiegelbild” tips its toque to post punk sensibilities and dials up the party hotline, “Ligne ouverte,” which takes us to the funky fun of “Lycanthrope”. Going downtown, things get harder, faster, and alas we discover the whole time, we have been strolling through the shimmering thoroughfares of Kuala Lumpur.
#7. Escapology by Maylee Todd
Maylee is from Toronto and released her debut LP in 2010, an experimental dabbling in a switchboard of styles. Fusing the organic with the electronic, kneading in elements of 70s boogie, funk, bossa nova, and soul, she has honed her craft and channelled a torrent of mastery into her sophomore record. While a number of artists have attempted to recreate both the style and essence of yesterday’s grooves, Maylee has not only nailed it, she has actually managed to improve upon it. An overlooked key indicator to an album’s genius is when reviewers each cite a different track as their favourite. And this is what has happened here. The irresistible “Baby’s Got It” and “Hieroglyphics” were released as singles. The songwriting, instrumentation, production, and singing are all first rate. Maylee Todd is the real deal, folks.
#6. Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion
Like all superstars who manage to continue their success, the most successful Canadian recording artist of all-time is able to keep up with the changing trends in musical style while never losing her foothold on the foundation of her persona. We are quite amazed at the quality of this work, the year’s best-selling album at quadruple platinum sales. The vocal excellence is a given (check out “Breakaway”) but here Celine pulls off a surprisingly masterful handling of genuine modern pop music while at the same time never losing sight of her AC roots, and she gives the R&B tracks a more classy treatment than what we are accustomed to these days. Simply put, Loved Me Back to Life is Celine’s finest album of the new millennium.
#5. Live Out Loud by Jonas & the Massive Attraction
As the album opens, it is as if a massive boulder was launched from a catapult knocking the moon out of orbit. “Ultimate Low” is such a power-packed jam, it’ll have every muscle in your body convulsing involuntarily with its soaring, sky scratching chorus. “Riot” makes effective use of back and forth vocals, not to mention its chugging guitars and menacing drums. “Cover Me” contains some killer keyboards hoisting us into the 5th dimension. You know those days when you sleep through your alarm and have five minutes to get ready for work? Put on “Breathing” and you’ll accomplish it in four. Power ballad “Good Life” will inject you with such elation, you’ll be dancing on a tightrope … in a pair of skates. “Too Young to Be Broken” has the group getting creative with fresh sounds and an addictive beat to boot. All in all, Live Out Loud is one of the best rock releases of 2013.
#4. The Hurry and the Harm by City and Colour
Melancholy, dreamy, melodic, vocals as soft as flannel, poetic lyrics bold enough to be felt-markered onto Bristol board, and music so inspired it would distract Gretzky in the middle of a breakaway is City and Colour’s 2013 gold-certified, chart-topping album. Teaming up again with producer Alex Newport, The Hurry and the Harm was recorded in Nashville, USA. Though you will be swept away by the warm, ambient music on this disc, if you pause to listen in on (or read) the lyrics you will find subjects of internet trolls and online gossip, a big thumbs down to the US State of California, and grief over leaving the band Alexisonfire.
#3. Schizophrène by Anik Jean
Anik Jean is without a doubt Canada’s Joan Jett. She simply rocks. The album opener rolls in like a cartwheel of demons and sets up a disc packed full of grinding guitars, exciting rock drumming, and piano pouncing. “Minable” places Anik’s voice atop an iron pedestal circumambulated by the echo of a yowling guitar. “À la vie, à la mort” is a larger-than-life rock anthem and “Liste noir” soars as if the band is playing atop a junkyard pile of rusted, wheel-deprived cars without a care in the world. The album’s lone English tune “Bad Bad Girl” is the hardest rock piece offered. “Tu es mon enfer” presents some of the spicy alternative rock of Placebo. Schizophrène ends with a ballad, capping off a great masterpiece, which stands dangerously close to being overlooked by a populace fixed on male-bonding rock bands and female dance-pop soloists.
#2. Forêt by Forêt
Classically trained vocalist Émilie Laforest and guitarist Joseph Marchand, formerly associates of Karkwa, Pierre Lapointe, and Ariane Moffatt, let loose one of the finest albums of 2013, a pop mélancolico-romantique Félix-nominated tour de force with contributions made by several high-profile musicians. Creative beauty, songwriting prowess, and masterful instrumentation abound on this masterpiece. Emilie’s delicate, haunting vocals blended with music of mystery and charm imbues listeners with magic power. We are transported into a dream in which omens soothe, allure warns, and everything is not what it appears. Plants dance, animals talk, and pebbles cast themselves into brooms sweeping away all tangled twigs and mud traps from the forest floor.
Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Album of the Year
Certified gold by the end of the year, spawning three hit singles to date, one of which went platinum, this album was praised by both indie lovers and pop enthusiasts as well as fellow professional musicians including British band Keane. But this is not the reason we chose it as the year’s best album. We selected it simply because the music is oh, so very, very good. It was a slow and steady climb before this act, who grew up beneath the shadow of the Saddledome, reached the playing field of the elite, as this is their seventh studio album. Leaving behind the blackboard scratching squeaks of acoustic guitars as a folk duo, they wove expert songwriting into a masterpiece of smoothly produced, electronic pop with a subtle 80s alternative vibe. And there is a twist. They express the emotion, be it bubbly or swaggering, through the music rather than their vocals which are usually delivered with Vulcan cool, not to mention natural stereo sound given that they are … identical twin sisters. From start to finish the tracks on the disc are consistently infectious. The Canadian Music Blog declares Heartthrob by Tegan and Sara as 2013’s Album of the Year.
Whether or not the Canadian music industry has a strict definition for an EP (extended play record), it does not seem to be the case in practice, as for any given work, some sources cite it an EP and others do not. In the United Kingdom, an EP is any work with a total run time of less than 25 minutes. To make things less contentious, we will distinguish EPs from LPs by calling them “EPs and mini albums”. It is difficult to compare them because they can have anywhere from three to nine tracks of sharply varying lengths. We did not include remix EPs (i.e. a disc containing several remixes of one song). Below are our five favourite EPs and mini albums of 2013.
#5. The Star Falls by River Tiber
Toronto’s electronic act River Tiber is the project of Tommy Paxton-Beesley and in 2013 released 5-track EP The Star Falls. This is the soundtrack for which every science fiction motion picture—whether indie or big budget—cries out. Hypnotic beats pulsate beneath Paxton-Beesley’s droning croon of cool. Synthesizers shimmer like flickering lights in a city trapped by the gloomy darkness of night. While the city sleeps, we are wide awake, watching the stars fall and listening to this masterpiece of downtempo, chillout vibes.
#4. Falls by Falls
Forget Niagara, as of 2013, Toronto has its Falls too. This is an electronic rock band who released their debut EP which blends the richness of 80s acts like Brian Eno, U2, and the Eurythmics with the sophisticated moods of today. The quartet uses real drums, electric guitars, and bass along with analogue synthesizers to give their music a solid, genuine, and dynamic feel. Dashes of violin, cello, and glockenspiel appear at times adding to the textural depth. The EP contains six tracks, five originals plus an excellent new wave cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”. This is a very, very good band and we can’t wait to hear what they’ll do next.
#3. Wishing Well by Sophia Danai
Sophia Danai is a fabulous, multi-faceted new singer from Langley, BC who started out by writing songs for Purity Ring, Shad, and DJ Khalil. Recently, she was featured in Madchild’s popular track “Judgement Day” off his JUNO-nominated Dope Sick album. In 2013, Sophia released her stunning debut mini-album, Wishing Well, produced by two-time Grammy winner Chin Injeti (Pink, Eminem). Danai’s smooth, richly delivered singing takes us on a joyride through claustrophobic suspense and mystery. She replaces the jukebox in the lounge with a wishing well where defunct pennies are tossed in and diamond-studded tunes pour out the speakers along with some portentous fog-cloaked phantoms. With a breathtaking sound that combines vintage soul, the vapours of classic reggae, 1960s spy music, summertime ambiance, an addictive potpourri of beats, and movie house magic, this sophisticated work of art stands as one of 2013′s finest releases.
#2. Indian Summer by Lyon
At the core of brand new Toronto new wave act Lyon is Toronto’s Lauren Malyon whose debut 5-track indietronic EP Indian Summer sets the stage for a dazzling career. It contains graceful, heart-throbbing, finger-snapping tunes that sound as if they emerge from souped-up garage synths with stacks of circuit boards and wires soldered together by a mad scientist. Lauren’s voice is as sweet and perky as a maple-coated coffee bean. The music oscillates between the light and the heavy, accelerates and cruises like a rust-bucket beater with a shiny, powerful new engine chugging along beneath dark clouds lined in silver.
Canadian Music Blog’s 2013 Extended Play Record of the Year
Five-track EP from this Montréal act delivers a sophisticated, kaleidoscopic, funky, danceable, synth-driven sound in which Dragonette, Kylie Minogue, The Fantastic Plastic Machine, and Mylène Farmer, as one unit, roll down the throbbing artery of Saint Catherine Street lined with nuclear-powered 1970s strobe lights. These guys have been releasing wonderful material for the past five years and have championed Québec’s independent radio charts. Debut 2010 album Origami wooed the critics and infiltrated underground currents, surfacing on music blogs as far away as Germany, Mexico, Italy, France, and the United Kingdom.
This wonderful EP was produced by the expert remixer French Fox and features a collaboration with French Horn Rebellion. These exquisite tracks are sure to please platform shoe wearing lovers of classic 70s dance music as well as those hungry for something richer and more creative than the assembly-line churn outs of the modern era. Listening to this jaw-dropping record, we are taken on a voyage fantastic from the solid gold discothèque, to the cushion-packed lounge, to the colourful carnival, to the flashy roller arena, to the neon cabaret. Laurence Giroux-Do’s sultry vocals, punctuated candy-coated bass funk, ear-soothing synths, and unanticipated hooks will suck you into a vortex of ecstasy and fun. The Canadian Music Blog declares Voyage Love by Le Couleur as 2013’s extended play record of the year.
Domestically, the most successful album from a Canadian artist released in 2013 was Loved Me Back to Life by Céline Dion, the only one to be certified quadruple platinum by the end of the year. Internationally, Michael Bublé’s To Be Loved was the best-selling Canadian album. According to the United World Chart, it sold 2.3 million copies and was ranked 10th of the year overall. At home, it was a double platinum release. Platinum albums by the end of 2013 were Justin Bieber’s Believe: Acoustic, Drake’s Nothing Was the Same, and Johnny Reid’s A Christmas Gift to You. Ten albums had gone gold.
Through the year, 10 albums by domestic artists topped the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums chart, 38 making the Top 10. On the year-end chart, 13 of the top 50 albums were by Canadian artists, seven of which were released in 2013. The table below compares the success of Canadian albums in 2013 versus 2012.
|Top 10 Albums||44||38|
|Year-End Top 50 Albums||15||13|
Below is a comprehensive table of the most successful 2013 Canadian albums domestically. We will continue to update the certification figures through 2014 with letter in green but will cease updates to this table in 2015. At that point it is advised one check with Music Canada’s database. To be included in the list below, an album had to fulfill at least one of the following criteria:
A. Gold certification or higher (C).
B. Appeared on the Top 50 year-end Billboard Canadian Albums Chart (YE).
C. Peaked in the Top 10 of the weekly Billboard Canadian Albums Chart (WP).
TOP CANADIAN ALBUMS OF 2013
|Loved Me Back to Life||Celine Dion||4xP||1||9|
|To Be Loved||Michael Buble||2xP||1||14|
|Nothing Was the Same||Drake||P||1||19|
|Believe: Acoustic||Justin Bieber||P||1||33|
|A Christmas Gift to You||Johnny Reid||P||1|
|The Hurry and the Harm||City and Colour||P||1||31|
|Heartthrob||Tegan and Sara||G||2|
|Nous sommes les memes||Marc Dupre||G||2|
|In Our Nature||Blue Rodeo||G||2|
|Avril Lavigne||Avril Lavigne||G||4|
|R.E.V.O.||Walk Off the Earth||G||7|
|Noel a Deux||Janvier & Breau||G||9|
|Blurred Lines||Robin Thicke||G||1||39|
|Chic de ville||Daniel Belanger||2|
|Mes plaisirs…||Marc Hervieux||2|
|Si Tel Est Ton Desir||Jean-Marc Couture||2|
|Lawn Mower Man||Madchild||2|
|Kiss Land||The Weeknd||2|
|Beautiful Death Machine||Swollen Members||3|
|Fabriquer L’aube||Vincent Vallieres||3|
|L’album du peuple Tome No. 9||Francois Perusse||3|
|L’Ete des Orages||Valerie Carpentier||G||4|
|Arrows of Desire||Matthew Good||6|
|Jour de nuit||Eric Lapointe||6|
|Ce que je suis||Pier Beland||7|
|Le Poids des confettis||Les Soeurs Boulay||G||7*|
|Love + Fury||Headstones||7|
|Volition||Protest the Hero||7|
|Roi de rien||Michel Rivard||8|
|Dark Eyes||Half Moon Run||8*|
|Melissa Bedard||Melissa Bedard||8|
|Noel Blanc||Maxime Landry||G||9|
|Je poursuis ma route||Wilfred Le Bouthillier||10|
|Christmas in Canada||Gord Bamford||P|
|Ces Noels d’autrefois||Paul Daraiche||G|
* Peak position reached in 2014
Simple Plan is quite simply one of the most successful Canadian bands of the new millennium. Besides a pair of JUNO awards and achievement of multiplatinum status at home, they have scored hits internationally being successful in the United States, United Kingdom, and most especially in Australia. This is a big win for Francophone Canadians. Following up their fourth, gold-certified studio album, Get Your Heart On!, the group re-examined some of the songs that did not make it to the final cut of the album and reworked them into release-worthy anthems. The seven tracks have been laid down on EP Get Your Heart On – The Second Coming! This EP should hit the spot for lovers of pop punk. We actually think these tracks are even better than the album cuts. “Try” is particularly well done and “Outta My System” offers more progressive pop punk. iTunes
Following up his Billboard chart-topping album Punkt, JUNO nominated platinum recording artist Pierre Lapointe has released an EP entitled Les callas. The 22-minute disc consists of 11 tracks of mostly piano and voice melodies. The songs were inspired by the calla flower formerly used at funerals and now used at more festive events including weddings. The EP has drawn comparisons to Chilly Gonzales. The title-track features Ariane Moffatt. A deluxe version of Punkt is also available that contains seven additional tracks as well as the eleven tracks from Les callas. iTunes
Recording since the late 1990’s, Waterloo’s JUNO-nominated folk singer Craig Cardiff’s latest album, a double, is founded upon a creative way to involve fans in his music. During his shows, Craig passed around a “book of truths” asking fans to write something truthful in it whether a story or a secret providing the opportunity for them to share something they might be afraid to say aloud. In Love Is Louder (Than All This Noise) Pt. 1 & 2, Craig sings his responses to stories he selected from the book. He says that some of the entries were not easy to swallow and so heartbreaking that he wanted to find the authors to tell them everything will be okay. iTunes
Earlier this year, Toronto’s (Michael) Milosh released album Woman as part of duo Rhye with Denmark’s Robin Hannibal. The album was quite successful internationally. Mike has now launched his own solo album, Jetlag, which is a little more gritty than the smooth vibes of Woman. Though a classically trained cellist and lover of jazz, Milosh’s music is vocal, mellow electronica. Jetlag is his fourth album. He says that the music was inspired by his deep love for his wife, actress Alexa Nikolas (Zoey 101, Zoolander). We have embedded the music video for “This Time” which shows the couple globetrotting around the world. iTunes
Garou, born Pierre Garand, is from Sherbrooke, QC. Known best as a soul singer complete with a hoarse voice (think of Michael Bolton), he became an overnight sensation by singing “Belle” from the musical Notre Dame de Paris with fellow Canadian Daniel Lavoie and France’s Patrick Fiori. The song became the third best-selling single of all-time in France. His followup debut album Seul was certified diamond in France and triple platinum in Canada. Its title track and “Sous le vent” with Céline Dion topped the charts in Francophone realms. Garou released an English album in 2008 called Piece of My Soul. “Stand Up” and “Heaven’s Table” made the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Some have commented that he is one who elevates the station of women in his songs. He performed during the opening ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
As of late, Garou has been dabbling in another love of his—blues music. Last year, his acclaimed bilingual album Rhythm and Blues, made in London UK, did well, peaking at #2 on the French albums chart. He has just released his eighth studio album, Milieu de ma vie currently at #5 on the French Albums Chart. Those of you acquainted with French music will be impressed that working with Garou on the album is none other than legend Francis Cabrel. The album’s tracks contain a nice mix of classic soulful Garou as well as some blues numbers. In fact, in our opinion this is Garou’s finest album. His voice has undergone some refinement from the gruffness of its past without losing its soulful charm and is at top form on this disc. He pays tribute to his current love interest, supermodel Stephanie Fournier, on “Seule une femme”. He performs a sweet duet with Montreal’s Charlotte Cardin in “Du vent des mots” and delivers spot-on blues greatness on both “L’ange gardien” and “Le blues dans le sang”. “Avancer” sees the man at the peak of his game. Garou could well be the best soul singer ever to come out of Canada. iTunes
Toronto’s electronic act River Tiber is the project of Tommy Paxton-Beesley and has recently released 5-track EP The Star Falls. This is the soundtrack for which every big budget science fiction motion picture cries out. Hypnotic beats pulsate beneath Tommy’s droning croon of cool. Synthesizers shimmer like flickering lights in a city trapped by the gloomy darkness of night. Those of you eager for some downtempo, chillout vibes will dig this little star. We have embedded music video of “The City” below. iTunes
Valérie Carpentier released an amazing album in 2010 called Du Parc Belmont à hôtesse de l’air showcasing classic-style French pop when she was 16. Earlier this year she participated as a contestant on La Voix which is part of the international television franchise The Voice. Before getting to Valérie, here’s a little background on La Voix. The first season ran from January to April 2013. Every Sunday night, the show drew an audience of 2.5 million. Four “coaches” were assigned to teams of 14 aspiring talents. As with most talent search shows, participants are gradually eliminated. Throughout the season, additional assistance was offered from “mentors”, one for each team. In the end, four finalists (one from each team) competed for the title of champion. The four finalists and their coaches and mentors are outlined in the table below.
|Marie-Mai||Fred St-Gelais||Charlotte Cardin-Goyer|
|Jean-Pierre Ferland||Claude Dubois||Étienne Cotton|
|Marc Dupré||Annie Villeneuve||Jérôme Couture|
|Ariane Moffat||Daniel Bélanger||Valérie Carpentier|