Astral Swans is the solo project of Calgary’s Matthew Swann. Album All My Favourite Singers Are Willie Nelson is an alternative work. Nova Scotia’s Christina Martin gives us a solid rock album entitled It’ll Be Alright. Canadian Legend Andy Kim (sometimes known as Baron Longfellow and some other aliases) returns with a dreamy alternative album It’s Decided. Metal lovers can enjoy the new album The Lion and the Jester from Toronto’s Ascendia.
More alternative music graces the landscape this week from Vancouver’s Humans and album Noontide. The Elwins of Keswick, ON, are more in electropop territory with Play For Keeps. Edmonton’s Travis Bretzer proves he has an ear for good vibes on Waxing Romantic. Multiple Felix winning band Galaxie releases the boss rock album Zulu.
Post Valentine’s Day and pre Chinese New Year we have a dozen new Canadian albums. Three-time JUNO nominee Melanie Durrantfrom Toronto gives us exquisite R&B/soul album Anticipation. Montreal’s Punchline 13dishes out the rock on Cut the Rope. Exceptional Montreal singer-songwriter Michael Feuerstackreleases The Forgettable Truth. Winnipeg’s Ashes and Dreamsserves some delicious alternative music on Heart of Stone.
Multiplatinum rapper Drakesurprises with new album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. He has landed 22 tracks on the Hot 100, not counting all those in which he is credited as a featured artist. Hamilton’s folk pop team Whitehorsereminds us to Leave No Bridge Unburned. We welcome PEI to the party with one of the province’s most known artists Tim Chaissonwhose new album is called Lost in Light, sort of a sweet mishmash of country, pop, and folk. If you want blues, we’ve got it thanks to Toronto’s Samantha Martin & Delta Sugarand album Send the Nightingale.
More alternative music comes to us from Montreal’s fine Bent By Elephantswith new album The Shore, Vancouver’s Twin Riverwith Should the Light Go Out, and Eric Chenauxwith Skullsplitter. Besides Drake, this week’s highest profile artist is JUNO nominee Marie-Pierre Arthurwith some very good pop/rock on Si l’aurore. The album debuted on iTunes at #11.
Dance band Le Couleurreleases new EP, Dolce desir which we talked about here. Like the Sun is an industrial shoegaze EP from Whitby, Ontario’s Programm.
As always, we’ll pick a couple of these and review in detail over the next few days.
Heads up! The quality of music on this week’s releases is even better than usual. Del Belis a collective from Toronto/Guelph. The new self-titled album is very good with cinematic, alternative music that would serve as fitting soundtrack for a noir, spy flick. Hard rock, 4-time JUNO nominated outfit Danko Jonesis back with Fire Music. Hearts is the latest album from Calgary alt-pop duo Sidney York. The highly anticipated debut album Kings of Nowhere from Toronto rock band The Mohrs is finally out! Singer-songwriter Savannah Leigh Wellman from Vancouver, under project name Savvie, gets the alt-rock going on excellent new album Night Eyes.
Montreal based artist Vernier, is the invention of songstress Gen Vernier Blouin. Album Things We Do For Love is described by the artist as “melancholy grunge pop” and another winner this week. While on tour in Europe, platinum 3-time JUNO nominee Pierre Lapointeswung into a Paris studio and recorded a batch of songs, mainly piano and voice. The result is the beautiful Paris tristesse. Neuville, QC’s Carottégives us something different by combining fiddles and folk music with punk on new album Punklore et trashdition. Lynn Lake, MB’s Tom Cochraneneeds no intro. The diamond 8-time JUNO winner delivers his first offering in nine years, Take It Home. Finally, Montreal’s Elliot Maginotchurns out an alternative, folky, artistic charmer, Young/Old/Everything.In.Between.
This week’s single releases include Shawn Desman’s “Victoria”, Dean Brody’s “Upside Down”, Tyler Shaw’s “House of Cards”, and Bryan Finlay’s “Rich”.
Sophie Pelletier, a Star Academy finalist in the 2012 season, releases her debut album, Le désert, la têmpete, a fine eclectic pop work. Calgary’s Samantha Savage Smith is up to album #2 with Fine Lines, a richer offering than her debut. Essentially an alternative album, it contains some post punk vibes along the lines of The Chameleons or The Smiths. Classical music fans can enjoy Paul Merkelo’s French Trumpet Concertos recorded with Kent Nagano and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra. The album includes pieces composed by Henri Tomasi, Alfred Desenclos, and André Jolivet.
It was a sad time in the 80s when platinum, JUNO-winning group The Parachute Club called it quits after just three albums. But we now have a brand new LP from lead singer Lorraine Segato. We’ll write more on Invincible Decency later. Vancouver’s The Gay Nineties releases Liberal Guilt, an artistic rock effort. Yellowknife’s Mary Caroline fights off the cold and dark of the north with the beautiful folk pop album Life On Earth. Montreal’s Sarah Bourdon releases pop album Mouvement and Tire Le Coyote answers the acclaimed previous album with an exquisite Panorama. Fernie, BC’s Shred Kelly gives us the wonderful singer-songwriter album, Sing to the Night.
Fanny Bloom follows up album Pan with a soundtrack EP. Constellations is mainly an instrumental work. Her Habits is the alias of Joanie Wolkoff. She is originally from Toronto but has lived all around the globe and is now based in New York. EP Northerner is a very trendy electronic / alternative jam. Finally, Delerium’s new song “Glimmer” features Metric’s Emily Haines, and a remix maxi-single is available.
With the holidays behind us, music releases are back into full swing, though it appears dings in budgets, perhaps caused by YouTube piracy and streaming services, have made graphic artists and colour photography unaffordable in the creation of eye-pleasing album cover art. At least we can say that there has been no lowering in standards of the actual music judging by these excellent works.
We begin with Chante-moi une histoire, the new album by collaborators Francesca Gagnon and René Dupéré who have been behind some of the music for Cirque du Soleil. The fine work interprets Franco classics in piano and voice playing like songs from a music theatre production. Next up is sweet country album Feel Good Thing from Winnipeg duo Keith and Renee. A History of Reasons is the debut album from Toronto folky alt-rock charmer Cairo, a strong start for the group. Vancouver alternative outfit Siskiyou has released a few albums the latest being the brooding and cool Nervous.
Alan Doyle needs little introduction as front man for Newfoundland multiplatinum group Great Big Sea. The talented singer-songwriter’s latest is rousing folk pop sizzler So Let’s Go. Edmonton’s Alex Calder was drummer in Mac Demarco’s band; Strange Dreams, packed with catchy and quirky reverb drenched artistry, is his solo debut. Along a similar vein but noisier and more industrial is the self-titled debut LP from Calgary’s Viet Cong. Alexandre Désilets has released a deluxe version of his 2014 Felix-nominated album Fancy Ghetto with a couple of new tracks and a remix. Eponymous EP Like Pacificis out from the Toronto punk band.
In the singles department, “Debout” heralds the March release of a new album from platinum JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt. The electro-pop single is currently #1 on the iTunes Canada Franco chart. It may not qualify as CanCon, but Vancouver’s Emmalyn Estrada and G.R.L. have released “Lighthouse” in loving memory of Simone Battle. Set to become one of the finest pop songs of the year, it was co-written by Canada’s JUNO-winning producer Henry “Cirkut” Walter. Finally, we offer on a side note a single launched to promote season 3 of La Voix (The Voice). It is a cover of the classic “Le blues du businessman” (popularized by Claude Dubois) performed by La Voix coaches Isabelle Boulay, Marc Dupre, Eric Lapointe, and Pierre Lapointe.
Pictured above are a dozen of the fine works launching the year in music for 2015: three albums and nine singles. As far as the albums go, Vancouver two-time JUNO winner Dan Mangan (and his backing band Blacksmith) releases his latest alternative album Club Meds, jam-packed with detailed soundscapes. It appears we have a medications theme as Welland, ON reggae-pop band Street Pharmacy hits us with full-length album Pharmanomics. The third album is the interpretation of Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (Book II) from JUNO nominee Luc Beausejour. Apparently Bach hated the piano and continued playing on harpsichord despite its going out of fashion. We think his works sound better on harpsichord as that is how they were meant to be played, so we thank Luc for doing so. On a side note, a staff member at a music instruments shop informed us that one of the reasons the harpsichord is not as popular as the piano is that it requires constant tuning.
Country artist (and actor) Wes Mack’s latest single is “Before You Drive Me Crazy”. Wes is based in Vancouver but grew up in Calgary. Suzie McNeil is back in top form. Her new single “The Best Is Yet To Come” has an urban vibe to it and is super catchy. Badbadnotgood releases a traditional single (i.e. two songs: “A-side”, “B-side”). The A-side, “Can’t Leave the Night” is from its 2014 album. The jazz fusion group will be giving us a new collaborative album with American rapper Ghostface Killah which should be interesting. Another new country single is “Country Side” by Jason Blaine. “Firefly” is a new song by Hollerado. “Rien a faire” which we featured previously was dropped by Marie-Pierre Arthur. Edmonton’s Kreesha Turner is flying full-throttle with her delicious eclectic blend of dancehall reggae, urban beats, and catchy pop; “Sexy Gal” is her latest single. Rocker Jean Leloup is poised for a big comeback in 2015 with the infectious “Willie”. His album A Paradis City lands early February. Finally, we have the debut single, “Won’t Let You Go” from brand new Toronto dance-pop singer-songwriter Tyler Keating, definitely worth checking out.