Selected New Releases June 23, 2017

It isn’t a big week in terms of the number of album releases as things begin slowing down for the summer months. Here are three…

Black Moon is a dreamy atmospheric mini-album from Toronto’s AMAARA, solo project of Kaelen Ohm, member of group Reuben and the Dark. The album is a stunning piece of work.  iTunes

Jon Stancer delivers pleasant, mature pop album For the Birds, his first as a soloist. He has served as guitarist for artists around Toronto and in some local bands. The tunes are put together nicely.  iTunes

More on the alternative rock side, we have And the Magic of Horses from Ottawa’s New Swears, a talented group as the disc demonstrates.  iTunes

Folks, a one-bedroom 439 square foot condo (i.e. cavity in a building) in working-class East Vancouver is listed at $725,000. A track at iTunes goes for $1.29. Which one are you going to buy? A host of new singles have come out, music lovers. Here are three…

Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke, platinum country star and JUNO award winner, discharges new song “Kill Your Love”. It is easily the best country song of 2017 so far.  iTunes

Toronto K-Pop specialist Henry drops delicious new track “I’m Good” complete with a music video. See below.  iTunes

Gold-certified JUNO award winning electropop ace LIGHTS launches new mainstream pop single “Giants” from upcoming album (and comic book) Skin & Earth. MV below.  iTunes

Gears Perfectly Aligned on Nickelback’s Feed the Machine

Hanna, Alberta’s post-grunge group Nickelback, recipient of 12 JUNO Awards, releases its ninth studio album Feed the Machine. The current lineup is lead singer Chad Kroeger; guitarist, keyboardist, and backing vocalist Ryan Peake; bassist Mike Kroeger; and drummer Daniel Adair. Nickelback wrote or co-wrote all tracks and co-produced the disc with Chris Baseford. Despite the airwaves being heavily dominated by urbanized EDM these days, the band continues to sell records in impressive numbers. All studio albums to date have achieved gold/platinum certification. Nickelback’s third album Silver Side Up is the group’s best-seller at 8x platinum representing 800,000 units in Canada. Worldwide record sales for the band are estimated at over 50 million.

The price of success for a Canadian act is often defamation from foreign entertainment journalists in larger markets which stems from a mixture of profiteering and xenophobia. In a recent interview with Brooks, Alberta’s Anne-Marie Mediwake, who asked what the band did to turn the negativity around, Chad Kroeger stated:

“Nothing. Didn’t do anything. Just kept doing what we were doing. It had zero relevance on our lives. Half the time I think it’s a good thing because I look at all the other bands that were coming out at the same time that we were coming out, and almost all of them are gone.

“Our manager said something to me recently. He was speaking with somebody in Nashville, and he was talking to someone who worked at a record company for some big artist, and he looked at my manager, and he said, ‘Brian, how much do you guys pay for all that?’ and he’s like, ‘We don’t.’ He’s like, ‘You’re kidding me! You guys just get all that press for free?’ And my manager looks at him, and he goes, ‘Ya, I don’t know if your artists want it quite the way we get it but uh,’ and he’s like, ‘Who cares, you’re in the press all the time.’ And we constantly just turn the other cheek, and we just keep doing what we’re doing, we keep making music, we keep touring.”

On album Feed the Machine, Nickelback has never sounded better. Slickly produced, well-written tracks see the band ripping and roaring like there’s no tomorrow. Not representative of the album’s overall sound is fine power ballad “Song on Fire” which was recently garbed with a music video. We embed it below. iTunes

CMB Reviews Puff by Bernice

Toronto collective Bernice is composed of Diana and Owen Pallett collaborators and has been called one of the country’s most underrated bands. New EP Puff just might blow your indifference down. “St Lucia”, dotted with electronic wops and blips, captures the excitement that underground synthpop generated for seekers in the 80s. “Don’t Wanna Be European” is warmly dressed with summery coos and backed by a hanger of percussion. “David” continues the spirit in a slower pace. Atmospherics come and go through “Talking About Her” while “Gemini” refines experimentation into something inquisitive, magical, and engaging.  iTunes

CMB Reviews Stand Still by Alanna Gurr and The Greatest State

Following up exceptional, critically acclaimed album Late at Night, Guelph’s Alanna Gurr and The Greatest State presents EP Stand Still. Upon listening, we found ourselves being pulled along effortlessly, captivated by the rich, soothing folk music. The players fluently spin out an organic sound that comes together seamlessly even during unexpected twists and turns such as in closer “True for You”. Find sophisticated vocal harmonies, prancing keys, and expert guitar work throughout this very gratifying disc.  iTunes

June 16, 2017 Releases: Nickelback, Shawn Hook, and More

Albertan multiplatinum rock band Nickelback, recipient of a dozen JUNO awards, has never sounded better than on new album Feed the Machine. Remaining true to its popular brand, it rips, it roars, and also pitches sonorous balladry. The album currently sits at #2 on iTunes.

British Columbian platinum pop star Shawn Hook contributes four-track EP My Side of Your Story with relationship themes in focus. Lead single “Reminding Me” featuring Vanessa Hudgens is now a Top 40 hit.

Anela & the Early Hours presents delightful indie album Yesteryear for those who like their music melancholy with sweet vocals. Track “Sweater” is a magnificent composition. The album is worth checking out.

We also like alternative EP Puff by Toronto’s Bernice. It has that quirky electronic underground sound that is always great fun.

Very different but equally choice is new folk EP Stand Still from Guelph’s Alanna Gurr & The Greatest State which somehow manages to both sooth and captivate.

Below is a table summarizing these and more releases this week.

Every Other Night Dylan Ireland Folk Peterborough
Feed the Machine Nickelback Rock Hanna, AB
If It Feels Right Lunch at Allen’s Country Toronto
Oblivion Munroe Folk Hamilton
Yesteryear Anela & the Early Hours Indie Burlington
My Side of Your Story (EP) Shawn Hook Pop Nelson, BC
Puff (EP) Bernice Alternative Toronto
Stand Still (EP) Alanna Gurr & The Greatest State Folk Guelph
Young Ones (EP) Rococode Alt-Pop Vancouver


Shania Twain’s Life’s About to Get Good

Shania Twain is the only recording artist to have scored three double diamond albums (i.e. 20x platinum or 2 million copies); that’s how big she became. From 1996 to 2004, she won a dozen JUNO Awards, and a 13th with her induction into the Music Hall of Fame in 2011. She did release a new song that year; something about which the press has forgotten. “Today Is Your Day” peaked at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Today, Shania releases new song “Life’s About to Get Good”. It is selling well over at iTunes, sitting at #9 at this writing. Twain penned the song herself, while Matthew Koma and Ron Aniello handled production duties. It rings of something Michael Bublé might do with a dash of countrification. The single heralds her September 29 album, Now. It will be her first LP in 15 years and is currently available for pre-order. We’ve embedded the official audio of the new track below.  iTunes

Random Maps on the Palms

Though he started out on guitar, Montreal’s Charles-Alain Roy expertly crafts chillout electronic music under the moniker Aléatoire (French for random) and drops new EP Maps on the Palms containing four tracks all featuring the exquisite vocal talents of Toronto’s Alina Libkind. Track “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. Aléatoire’s Maps on the Palms provides 2017 with one of its finest extended play records.  iTunes

Allie X Hits the Mark on CollXtion II

Judging by her new album CollXtion II, Oakville, Ontario’s Allie X has earned a pass into the league of extraordinary pop music pros that includes Carly Rae Jepsen, Grimes, Shawn Hook, and Tegan & Sara. She hits 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. Closing out the disc is ballad “True Love Is Violent”, beautifully done. Strong writing for CollXtion II is enhanced by pristine production. Ideas have been carefully cultivated into perfect fruition. While some artists try to reinvent the wheel by dabbling in anticlimactic choruses, Allie does what always works: uses the verses to set up big, gratifying choruses. Allie X’s CollXtion II is in the running for Pop Album of the Year … worldwide.  iTunes

Selected New Releases: June 9, 2017

A high profile release this week is LP COLLXTION II from Oakville, Ontario’s Allie X, who presents pop music at its finest, sitting somewhere perhaps between Carly Rae Jepsen and Grimes. Allie is a Billboard Hot 100 charting artist. Opener “Paper Love” (see lyric video below) is creating some buzz. The disc contains some previously released singles like the superb “That’s So Us”.

Talented teen-throb Lenni-Kim is excited to launch his debut album, a fine bilingual pop effort. Les autres includes popular track “Don’t Stop” (see MV below which has over a million views).

We also like Aaricia‘s new album Figures. She’s from Montreal and with R&B vocals sounds a bit like Alessia Cara. The music is richly electronic. Below is track “All for You” which has some nice percussion.

Splendid is Toronto’s Taylor Knox who delivers a really good alternative rock album entitled Love. MV for track “Running Into Love” below. The synths at the end are a nice touch.

As far as top-notch EPs go, Montreal’s Aléatoire recruits excellent singer Alina Libkind on four-track disc Maps on the Palms. It’s a sumptuous feast of trippy electronica.

Below is a table summarizing these and more Canadian artist releases this week. Enjoy the new music.

Les autres Lenni-Kim Pop Montreal
Both Sides of the Bar Jojo Mason Country Regina
COLLXTION II Allie X Pop Oakville
Family Hangover Walrus Alternative Halifax
Figures Aaricia R&B Montreal
Is Cary Pratt Prairie Cat Alternative Vancouver
Love Taylor Knox Alternative Toronto
Mon livre vert Guylaine Tanguay Country Lac St-Jean
River Town Saints River Town Saints Country Ottawa
The Road Ahead Is Golden Jon and Roy Folk Victoria
We Are the Aliens iLLvibe & Myer Clarity Rap Barrie/Montreal
Maps on the Palms (EP) Aleatoire Electronic Montreal
Welcome to Finetown (EP) Robert Robert Alternative Montreal


Selected New Releases Jun 2, 2017

The highest-profile release this week is Little Army by Kingston’s Headstones, a platinum rock band that has been nominated four times at the JUNOs. Outselling the veterans at iTunes (currently #5 overall) however is the debut album from Roxane Bruneau, a singer-songwriter effort. Roxane has gained a large following becoming a web star first with her songs and good sense of humour. Album Dysphorie is red hot. Aliocha was born in France but grew up in Canada. He has done a lot of acting work and now launches debut LP entitled Eleven Songs, a splendid alternative music job. JUNO nominated PartyNextDoor contributes his latest urban EP, Colours 2. Both the Aliocha and PND works are currently Top 25 at iTunes.

Jean-Willy Kunz is a JUNO winning organist and presents Au grand orgue Pierre-Béique containing his sensitive interpretations of works by various composers. JUNO-nominated country group Cold Creek County from Brighton, ON releases Homemade. Also JUNO-nominated is roots duo Madison Violet serving The Knight Sessions this week.

Among this week’s releases, we at Canadian Music Blog like Aquatic by Toronto’s Adaline, a very well done alternative album. Ashleigh Ball is the frontwoman of Vancouver outfit Hey Ocean, and she delivers boss pop album Gold in You. A pleasant surprise for us is Sugar at the Gate by TOPS, a captivating, mature, laid-back indie pop disc. Sans is a beautifully done R&B EP from Toronto’s Merna.

Below is a table summarizing a selection of this week’s Canadian artist releases. Below that we have embedded two music videos. The first is the latest from Alberta’s Kiesza who is featured in new track “Don’t Want You Back” from Netherlands’ DJ/producer Bakermat. Below that is the music video for “Everything Now”, title-track off the upcoming album from Quebec’s Arcade Fire.

Enjoy the new music.

Au grand orgue… Jean-Willy Kunz 1JA Montreal classical
Aquatic Adaline Toronto alternative
Broken Sky Declan O’Donovan Whitehorse alt-folk
Controle Lary Kidd Montreal rap
Dysphorie Roxane Bruneau Laprairie s-s
Eleven Songs Aliocha Montreal alternative
Gold in You Ashleigh Ball Vancouver pop
Homemade Cold Creek County 1JN Brighton country
The Knight Sessions Madison Violet 1JN Toronto s-s
Little Army Headstones 4JN, PLAT Kingston rock
Mad Season Obey the Brave Montreal metal
Mon party Country Veronique Labbe Thetford Mines country
Sugar at the Gate TOPS Montreal indie pop
Colours 2 (EP) PartyNextDoor 1JN Mississauga urban
Hard Way Road (EP) Young James Saskatoon rock
Sans (EP) Merna Toronto R&B

JA=Juno Award; JN=Juno Nomination; PLAT=platinum artist; s-s=singer-songwriter; title in red text=disc in iTunes Albums Top 25.

Selected New Releases: May 26, 2017

Among new releases from Canadian artists May 26, 2017, we have the latest album from multiplatinum six-time JUNO winner Serena Ryder. Utopia is jam packed with delicious folk-rock tunes and currently sites at #2 on the iTunes Albums chart. Another ace player is singer-songwriter Oh Susanna who presents A Girl in Teen City. She has a pair of JUNO nominations to her credit, and the new album has some very impressive writing.

We wish to highlight Aum from Guelph’s Minotaurs which is a sumptuous fusion of electronica, jazz, and other flavours. It should hit the spot for those seeking something different that sounds splendid. We loved Catherine Leduc‘s last album, and her new one, Un bras de distance avec le soleil, is also a winner. It’s a little more airy and relaxed than her last one. Female producer Ouri should be the envy of the nation judging by her new album Superficial. It’s chillout electronica at its finest.

Find a list of this week’s selected new releases below.

Aum Minotaurs Alternative Guelph Group
Big Beets Martin Goyette Blues Montreal Male
Un bras de distance… Catherine Leduc Alternative Montreal Female
Erosion Cydemind Prog-Metal Montreal Group
Faux Real Fake Shark Alternative Vancouver Group
A Girl in Teen City Oh Susanna Singer-Songwriter Toronto Female
Hard Won… John Cody Singer-Songwriter Ottawa Male
669 Anders Rap Toronto Male
Superficial Ouri Electronic Montreal Female
Utopia Serena Ryder Folk-Rock Peterborough Female
Key West (EP) Adam Strangler Alt-Rock Montreal Group
7 Years of Blood (EP) Peeling Alt-Rock Toronto Group

Toronto Pop Duo LOLAA Releases Debut EP

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. We regard LOLAA as one of the three best EPs released thus far in 2017.  iTunes

* From 1998 to 2000, first-rate dance/house music group Love Inc. scored five Top 30 hits: “Broken Bones”, “You’re a Superstar”, “Who Do U Love”, “Homeless”, and “Here Comes the Sunshine”. The first two became Top 10 hits in the United Kingdom, and Love Inc. won two JUNO Awards. Platinum certification was awarded to the outfit’s debut eponymous album.

Selected New Releases: May 19, 2017

Below is a table of this week’s new releases including a very rough genre designation. Highlights include four-time JUNO nominee and author of two platinum albums, Isabelle Boulay. She releases her tenth studio album, En vérité, an adult contemporary work showcasing her rich vocals. Elizabeth Powell and her JUNO nominated alternative rock band Land of Talk contribute Life After Youth, a very good album. Roots & traditional specialist Daniel Romano, a two-time JUNO nominee, examines Modern Pressure on his new work. The Arion Baroque Orchestra and JUNO nominee Alexander Weimann interpret the works of Johann Joachim Quantz and Georg Philipp Telemann, a beautiful classical album. A couple of newcomers somewhat steal the show with highly impressive LPs. Duo She-Devils present debut self-titled “cave-rock” album. The duo stirred up lots of buzz with an EP released early last year. Also noteworthy is La Minerve from new rock artist Rémy Caset which includes a number of catchy tunes.

City Nights The Junction Alternative
Danse encore Doloréanne Pop
Dirt Road Confessional Jeffery Straker Singer-Songwriter
En vérité Isabelle Boulay Adult Contemporary
Life After Youth Land of Talk Alternative
Les Malcommodes invitent Les Malcommodes Jazz
La Minerve Rémy Caset Rock
Modern Pressure Daniel Romano Roots
Rebelles baroques Arion Baroque Orchestra & Alexander Weimann Classical
She-Devils She-Devils Alternative
Summery Slates Punk
This Is Someday The Royal Oui Alternative
PS. Merci pour le love – EP Yes Mccan Rap

Zeynep Ozbilen Gives Us Zest

Turkish Canadian songstress Zeynep Ozbilen (Toronto) continues to expand the frontiers of world music. She not only brings in Turkish influences but, as one who has studied music from around the world, shakes a multitude of international spices into her zesty sound. Backed by a talented band, Zeynep has released her second album, Zest. The allophone disc (there are a couple of Anglo tracks) although very graceful musically deals with some weighty topics. “Papa, Don’t Give Me Away” addresses the practice of child marriage and abuse of women in various cultures around the world. She handles such issues with sensitivity and class. All in all, Zest will enrich your day like nothing else. Wonderful album.  iTunes

Yvan Pedneault Is Excited to Launch Debut Album

Finalist of The Voice Season 4 (2016) Yvan Pedneault (Sept-Îles, QC) has launched his debut album, a self-titled, bilingual affair. That he has a good voice is a given. It is essentially a modern folk disc with accents of adult contemporary, pop, blues, and soul. A squadron of songwriters wrote or co-wrote the lyrics and music with Yvan including Jean-François Breau and Jérôme Couture. The album is a solid effort with lots of good tunes. A standout track might be the second, “Au bout de nous”, a sonorous power ballad which is very nicely done.  iTunes