Chilly Gonzales: Third Time’s the Charm

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


JN – JUNO Award Nominations

JW – JUNO Award Wins

S-S – Singer-Songwriter

AC – Adult Contemporary

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

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

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

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

Find these and lots more in the table below.

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

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

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

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

Surfaced Treasure: Connection by Diversion

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

Early August Releases: Rezz, Dizzy, Forest Blakk

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

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

AC – Adult Contemporary

S-S – Singer-Songwriter

JN – JUNO Nominee

JW – JUNO Winner

Jamison Isaak in Top Form on EP2

Jamison Isaak has the music factory switched to overdrive, as he champions prolific output this year. From Abbotsford, BC, Isaak is the lad behind ambient project Teen Daze. His EP1 released in February harnessed a neoclassical piano-driven swish, while EP2 sees him swing back into the electronic serenity he is perhaps best known for. Cinematic and mood-conjuring, EP2 relaxes the mind while sharpening the senses. If nothing else, this brilliant work of art brings the Zen to the lounge and will have you feeling refreshed by its close. A great disc for 2018.  iTunes

Canadian Releases Late July 2018: Massari, Raffi, Goldilox

Catching up with … Depeche Mode? No, with the new Canadian artist releases, including the batches from July 20 and 27. Whether these are as savory as a Tim Hortons maple-dip doughnut or as unpalatable as Hope, BC truck-stop coffee is up to you. JUNO recognized artists include Raffi, one of the finest crafters of children’s music in the world. The two-time award winner returns with the folky Dog on the Floor. Find a choice cover of “Here Comes the Sun”.

JUNO winning rapper Jazz Cartier releases Fleurever available in both clean and filthy (i.e. “explicit”) versions. The Canadian media seems fixated on breaking Canuck urban artists in the United States these days, so expect lots of chatter surrounding this album.

Successful R&B star Massari (a JUNO nominee) treats fans to an EP; Tune In is heavily influenced by reggae vibes and includes featured guests like Shaggy and Beenie Man.

Twice nominated at the JUNO’s, Canadian producer Gus Van Go has a new personal project, band Megative (yes, with an M). We are presented with a very good reggae inspired self-titled disc by the band.

Goldilox is an up and comer championing the cause of alternative pop. From Cape Breton, she is perhaps Atlantic Canada’s answer to Grimes. Her album Very Best is a winner.

Ontario’s Claire Coupland contributes a beautifully done singer-songwriter EP called On the Other Side worth checking out for enthusiasts of the genre.

Find these and a few more in the table below.

Dog on the Floor Raffi Children’s
Fleurever Jazz Cartier Rap
Fond Fond Alternative
Hypocritic Oath Not Of Alternative
Koba World Prime Boys Rap
Megative Megative Alternative
Very Best Goldilox Alternative
On the Other Side (EP) Claire Coupland S-S/Folk
Sky Parallel (EP) Sky Parallel Pop
Tune In (EP) Massari Reggae

Early July 2018 Releases: Cowboy Junkies, Jessicka, The Lovelocks

There were only a few releases last week, so we’ve combined them with this week’s. Before we get to them, some news.

As most of you have heard by now, Justin Bieber is engaged. The lucky lady is Hailey Baldwin. Which of the Baldwin brothers is her father you may ask? That would be Stephen. We hope the transition from soul mates to spouses, often a treacherous path for celebrities, is a smooth one.

Excitement is attempting to flare up en route to this year’s Much Music Video Awards (MMVAs), still a thing despite major funding cuts to Canadian music video makers and the mutations of the Much Music channel itself. You will have to wait a while for this year’s shindig which doesn’t go down until August 26. Alessia Cara is a locked in performer in addition to international artists Halsey (US) and Marshmello (US) ft. Anne-Marie (UK).

Shawn Mendes performed onstage for SiriusXM Live at The Roxy Theatre on July 13, 2018 in West Hollywood, California, USA. And guess who he bumped into?

mendes lavigne

As we mentioned previously, nominations are out of the bag for 2018’s CCMAs recognizing the best in English-language country music in Canada. Alberta’s Brett Kissel and Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke lead the pack with six nods each. Hosted by Shania Twain in Hamilton, the September 9 gala will feature performances by Dallas Smith, High Valley, Keith Urban, Lindsay Ell, Mason Ramsey, and Terri Clark. You can vote for the Fan Choice Award here:

This week sees the release of country EP 20 Dollars in My Pocket from The Lovelocks. The title track is easily one of the catchiest country pop songs of the year. Eric Ethridge launched a popular country EP last week, a self-titled effort. For those of you who like the more traditional country, Thomas Stajcer contributed LP Will I Learn to Love Again? last week.

Vancouver’s Jessicka gifts the world with choice alternatives on EP Happy Place. Along similar avenues, Metric serves its latest single, the gritty “Dark Saturday”. Deadmau5 poofs out of the blue to drop the smooth EDM sparkler “Monophobia”.

As far as the full-lengths go, the highest profile release is certainly All That Reckoning from celebrated roots outfit Cowboy Junkies.

Find selected Canadian artist releases below from the past two weeks. We are now at over 300 LPs this year.

Goosebump Goosebump Alternative
Will I Learn to Love Again? Thomas Stajcer Country
All That Reckoning Cowboy Junkies Roots
Death Lust Chastity Alt Rock
In Our Time AHI S-S/Folk
Pain & Pleasure Black Atlass R&B
Reckless Ways Alex Brown/Hepcats Rock-a-billy
Reels d’en premier  Johnny Comeau  Folk
Sous la capuche  BRH Rap
Spring Patterns 1 Jamison Isaak Ambient
Dimmed In My Display (EP) Vallens Alternative
Eric Ethridge (EP) Eric Ethridge Country
Hounds (EP) Lié Punk
Magic (EP) Colin Weeks AC
Happy Place (EP) Jessicka Alternative
20 Dollars in My Pocket (EP) The Lovelocks Country
La Zayte (EP) FouKi Rap

Canada Day 2018 Releases: Drake, Diversion…

New releases are light this week, so you will have less to choose from in picking a theme album for your Canada Day weekend: four LPs and two EPs. Better Human is a really good singer-songwriter album from Ben Kunder. Besides penning some dapper tunes, he doesn’t shy away from adding some progressive touches here and there. For those who like things extremely progressive, Connection, the debut from Diversion – four years in the making – is, for lack of a better description, a shoe-in for frontrunning EDM album of the year. Besides amazing atmospheric pieces – some upbeat and others downtempo – he recruits some dazzling vocalists to add that extra charm. What a winner!

Swinging to the opposite end of the spectrum, hearty sing-along folk songs, in a traditional style, are very nicely done by Claude Cormier on the frolicking Garde ton accent. The fourth LP in the new releases batch is the one that is no doubt attracting all the media attention, the latest from Drake. Scorpion is released only on digital at this point. It’s a double album, the first “side” more rappy and the second more R&B-ish. Paul Anka assisted him in re-crafting an unreleased Michael Jackson song. Besides the late king of US pop, album guests include Jay-Z.

Find fine folk-rock on EP I Won’t Forget You by Steph Morin. And find the latest from JUNO winning rapper Classified, Tomorrow Could Be. Featured on this extended play disc is Anjulie.

June 22, 2018 Releases: Barber, Hicks, Yukon Blonde…

A baker’s dozen new maple-glazed discs hit the shelves this week: 12 LPs and an EP. Bravestation has managed to create a very impressive album of feel-good new wave entitled Goddess. Triple JUNO nominee Jill Barber contributes singer-songwriter extravaganza Metaphora. Also a three-time nominee at the JUNOs, hot country quick-draw Tim Hicks surfs up a sailor’s mark, New Tattoo; it includes a track featuring the sizzling Lindsay Ell. And if all that isn’t enough, BC’s JUNO nominated Yukon Blonde scores a Critical Hit, another new wavy album this week. Find these and more in the table below.

Blues on the Brain Frankie & Jimmy Blues
Critical Hit Yukon Blonde Alternative
Emperor Twilight The Autumn Stones Alternative
Goddess Bravestation Alternative
Have a New Name Wax Mannequin S-S/Folk
Metaphora Jill Barber S-S/Folk
New Tattoo Tim Hicks Country
Seeing Green Dumb Punk
Shadowlands Matt Epp S-S/Folk
Take Me Sean Jones R&B
The Becoming Isla Craig Alternative
Un dernier shooter Sir Pathetik Pop
Sweet Nothing (EP) Summerteeth Punk

June 15, 2018 Releases: Alyssa Reid, Chromeo…

Talented star Alyssa Reid, Edmonton-born, Brampton-raised, follows up her acclaimed acoustic album Phoenix from 2015 with pop EP Burnout, a smashing disc. The JUNO nominee has placed seven songs on the Hot 100 (including two as a featured artist). Among them all is the delicious “Satisfaction Guaranteed”.

Four years ago, “Jealous” by Chromeo was at #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. The Quebec dance-funk duo returns with album Head Over Heels. It features celebrated fretless bassist Pino Palladino who has done work with Gary Numan, Tears for Fears, and many others. Chromeo has received four JUNO nominations to date. The new album is splendid.

Don’t underestimate the self-released albums this week; they are impressive to say the least. Below is a table of this week’s Canadian artist releases. After that is the lyric video for Alessia Cara‘s highly anticipated new single, “Growing Pains”. Enjoy.

Atlas Bears in Hazenmore Alternative
Brianology Brian Gladstone S-S/Folk
Golden Hour Quote the Raven S-S/Folk
Good Place to Start Drew Gregory Country
Head Over Heels Chromeo Dance
Keeping Time The Ennis Sisters S-S/Folk
Old Stock Ben Caplan S-S/Folk
Queen City Jubilee The Slocan Ramblers S-S/Folk
Screamo Sean Nicholas Savage Alternative
Wolves! Cried the Maid Oxlip S-S/Folk
Burnout (EP) Alyssa Reid Pop
Homemade (EP) Matthew Chaim Pop
J’espere que tu vas mieux (EP) Ariane Zita S-S/Folk
Meditations I (EP) Foxtrott Alternative
Scout (EP) Calpurnia Alternative

June 8, 2018 Releases: MAGIC!, Catlow, Bend Sinister…

The number of weekly album releases is cooling down as we head into summer which is the usual order of business. This week, we have five Canadian artist long plays plus an EP. Perhaps the highest profile release however is a single and MV by the first Canadian band to ever top the British singles chart. Before we get to those, here are some stats.

Number of 2018 Canadian artist studio albums so far (to June 8): 267
Number of 2018 Canadian artist EPs so far (to June 8): 71
Total: 338

Vancouver group Bend Sinister contributes a delightful album called Foolish Games. It’s a combo of progressive rock and power pop. Montreal’s Ragers gets down and rappy on Raw Footage. Toronto singer and songwriter Emilie Mover folkifies the landscape with Night Owl while Mt. Pearl, NL’s Dave Whitty shuffles along similar avenues in Talkin’ Back Fool. For a country-folk-rock extravaganza, check out Romaine from Mack et Ro. We place all our chips on the square owned by Vancouver’s Catlow (alias of Natasha Thirsk) and first-rate EP Main of Nowhere, an alternative pop/rock disc.

MAGIC! with global smash “Rude” became the first Canadian band to top the British singles chart in all history. The outfit has been a favourite of Canadian radio managing to place five additional songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Besides “Rude”, the most successful was “Let Your Hair Down” which peaked at #20 and spent a strong 25 weeks on the chart. Well, the reggae-pop specialists led by Nasri are back with new single “Kiss Me”. We embed the MV below.

My All to You Offered by Beatrice Deer

Beatrice Deer is a Canadian recording artist originally from Quaqtaq, QC and now based in Montreal. She is of Inuit and Mohawk descent and in the past 14 years has become a natural at blending Indigenous flavours with contemporary pop-rock. She refers to her resulting folk-rock style as Inuindie. Beatrice’s latest LP My All to You (2018), her fourth, showcases such a marvellous sound with songs performed in three languages: English, French, and Inuktitut. Being more involved in the songwriting herself, than on previous works, she still managed to pull in some high-profile collaborators including members of The Barr Brothers, Land of Talk, Stars, and Timber Timbre.

Hear modern alternative rock and folk with traditional throat singing and the stuff of Inuit legend. My All to You is a collection of eight original pieces with Beatrice Deer’s interpretation of two traditional songs. Thematically, it is, in the author’s words, about reconciliation with oneself, “the hardest thing to do.” The wistful “1997” contains some nostalgic guitar strums that might remind one of Travis or Smashing Pumpkins. Title-track “My All to You” asserts an irresistible, steady beat. Closer “You’re with Me” acknowledges the importance of companionship along life’s treacherous journey. On My All to You, Beatrice Deer, embarked on a voyage of personal reconciliation, and sounds as if she came out of it with pure resilience.  iTunes

New Releases June 1, 2018: Coeur de pirate, Florence K

Ten long plays and five extended grace the shop shelves of maple this week. Highlights are as follows.

Platinum singer and triple JUNO nominee Coeur de pirate leads the sales pack. Her fourth album en cas de tempête, ce jardin sera fermé, arguably the best of her decade-long career, is a gorgeous offering of adult contemporary jewels.

Pietro Amato of The Luyas and Mathieu Charbonneau of Timber Timbre (3 JUNO nominations) as well as Avec pas d’casque team up to give us a sizzling disc of instrumental electronica in Synth Works Vol. 1.

Heavy metal complete with laser burning guitars and mangled up vocal growls rips forth from JUNO winning group Kataklysm and album Meditations. It is the death metal outfit’s 13th studio album since its career launch in 1995.

Wold music champ and multilingual double JUNO nominee Florence K returns with mini album Estrellas, her first since joining forces with Matt Dusk on 2016’s Quiet Nights. Three of her albums have gone gold.

Find these and other new releases in the table below.

Cite d’or Funk Lion  Rock
Dissident Saye Rap
en cas de tempete… Coeur de pirate AC
La Jeunesse Animal Parts S-S/Folk
Meditations Kataklysm  Metal
Ride Out the Storm Bodh’aktan  Celtic Rock
Sassafrass! Tami Neilson Rockabilly
Spirit Mode, Vol. 1 Kris the Spirit Rap
Synth Works Vol. 1 Charbonneau / Amato Electronic
Tantramar Eamon McGrath Rock
Estrellas (Mini Album) Florence K World
Control Freak (EP) Monowhales Alternative
Freewheelin’ Walking (EP) The Brooks Funk
Island Time (EP) Yitzy S-S/Folk
Le shack a souvenirs (EP) Jeando S-S/Folk