Selected New Releases 16 September 2016

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Oh, how we dig some of the new music out this week. In alphabetical order by title, we begin with 11 LPs.

Award winning progressive garage rock group Gazoline pumps potent petrol juices into the scene with new album Brûlensemble. Toronto’s Tami Neilson is highly adept at whipping up a delicious amalgam of rockabilly, blues, soul, and alternative country as demonstrated on fresh disc Don’t Be Afraid. Charlottetown’s Paper Lions present music in Full Colour, a quaint indie pop record that will get you boppin’. Limoilou, QC is the spot that had GLD rap into the limelight and now delivers Laisse moi faire ma musique. Regina may seem an unlikely platform for world music but stereotypes can be shattered, and LP Madera from the city’s Andino Suns will have you dream of partying on the Andean Mountains.

JUNO nominated group Valaire (also longlisted for the Polaris Prize) knows how to do pop music right, especially considering the amazingly good Oobopopop, funky, upbeat, brisk, and invigorating. Another standout this week is Regarde Autour from Charlesbourg, QC’s world famous singer Bruno Pelletier. Some of the songs on here are irresistibly infectious. If you’re seeking something a little more alternative and experimental, we’ve got Says You by Montreal’s The Luyas. More alternative music comes from a city not as prolific in terms of artists these days as its size would suggest. Yes, Winnipeg. Something Got Lost Between Here and the Orbit is the new album from Royal Canoe.

The highly anticipated new LP from Ottawa, JUNO winning powwowstep masters A Tribe Called Red topped iTunes upon release. It is perhaps a little more vocal and diverse with spoken word, some rapping, chants, and the like with a number of guests including Shad and Tanya Tagaq. The clever title is We Are the Halluci Nation. Finally, we have another top seller, A Wider Space from Montreal’s Groenland gracing the land with alternative pop.

There are three extended play records of note this week. After the Glow is an alternative rock effort by Montreal’s Jesse Mac Cormack with some catchy numbers. Synth pop specialist Lyon from Toronto launches her latest EP Falling Up which is just fab. New Richmond, QC popular folk sisters Les soeurs Boulay return with classy EP Lendemains.

Lots of new singles out. Of most interest should be “C’est La Vie” from Canadian soul singer Bobby Bazini who had one of the best-selling albums of 2014. The new song is an instant smash and a must grab. It heralds the 4-time JUNO nominee’s upcoming third studio album. Both of his priors went platinum.

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Selected New Releases July 15, 2016

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This week’s new releases include Winnipeg’s Ash Koley and her LP Elements which includes her hit single “Criminal”. Essentially a pop album, it is released under Nettwerk. Heaven for Real is an alternative rock artist from Halifax; the new album is Kill Your Memory. Your Boy Tony Braxton is an alias of guess who? Yes, it’s Shad! Rather than doing his characteristic rap, he surprises with a strong pop/rock record, Adult Contempt, with a slight R&B flavour. Shad grew up in London.

On the EP side are a self-titled alt-rock disc from Hamilton trio Basement Revolver. As the CMB previously heralded Big Boy is the new EP from Montreal-based Charlotte Cardin, an adult pop effort. Edmonton’s Daniela Andrade contributes a nice alternative disc entitled Shore.

A few new tracks of note are “Feels Right” from Calgary electo-pop specialist Jocelyn Alice which follows her hit “Jackpot”. She has signed a deal with Sony so expect a high profile album in the works. A Tribe Called Red has released “We Are the Halluci Nation”, title track off The Aboriginal EDM outfit’s upcoming album, dropping September 16. Crystalyne is launching third EP Follow on August 10. New track “Let’s Do Something Crazy” is out now. Coming out in the latter half of July are new albums from MSTRKRFT and Billy Talent. The biggest news of all is that Céline Dion‘s new Franco album Encore Un Soir is due to drop August 26!

Selected New Releases 19 May 2015

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For this week, we’re keeping things simple with a list of new releases you can all check out below.

LPs:
I Am Alive in Everything I Touch by Burlington, ON punk band Silverstein  iTunes
Un nouveau jour by Rouyn-Noranda, QC singer-songwriter Jacques Michel  iTunes
Quand on s’aime by Montreal vocal jazz specialist Térez Montcalm  iTunes
Résilient by Montreal rap duo Taktika  iTunes

EPs:
Chapters by Montreal electro rap rock trio Ragers  iTunes
Meta Animal by Vancouver garage rock duo The Pack A.D.  iTunes
Munroe, debut album by Hamilton alternative artist (Kathleen) Munroe  iTunes
Strip by Montreal alternative trio Dear Criminals  iTunes
Suplex by JUNO winning powwow-step group A Tribe Called Red  iTunes

Maple Blazers of 2014

Andee

andee3Hailing from Quebec City suburbs; touring Asia as member of all-girl group Akasha; performing with Lionel Richie and finishing in the Top 5 of talent show Star Académie; drawing comparisons to Adele; featured on double platinum and platinum compilation albums; appearing in the bilingual versions of Hedley’s “Kiss You Inside Out” and Shawn Desman’s “Dum Da Dum”; getting signed by Universal Music Canada; teaming with Simple Plan songwriter and producer Sébastien Lefebvre; launching her career in English; contributing track “We Are Gold” to the CBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi; seeing her formal debut single, “Never Gone” reach the Billboard Canadian Hot 100’s Top 40; touring with Demi Lovato; and co-writing “Sorries” with Pink; Andrée-Anne Leclerc, now known as Andee, is all set for an illustrious career.

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called RedThis Ottawa trio created new genre of music “powwow step” by combining modern electronic dance music with Aboriginal chants and drumming. With a passionate, growing fan base and popularity on the club circuit, the group’s second album Nation II Nation saw its renown skyrocket. A Tribe Called Red declined entry into the JUNO Aboriginal Album department for 2014 taking the risk of going straight for mainstream category Breakthrough Group of the Year, normally heavily dominated by White popular rock bands. Needless to say, the group won.

Crystal Shawanda

CCrystal Shawandarystal Shawanda was born in the Wikwemikong Native Reservation which is situated on Manitoulin Island (Lake Huron, southwest of Sudbury). She is of proud Ojibwa heritage. Signed in 2007 to RCA/Sony (Nashville), she launched a career in country music. Her debut album Dawn of a New Day entered the Billboard U.S. Top Country Albums chart at #16 becoming the highest charted album by a full-blooded Canadian First Nations country artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era. The album landed four songs on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. Crystal’s album Just Like You won a JUNO Award. In 2014, she switched genres releasing a stunning blues album, The Whole World’s Got the Blues.

Kiesza

KieszaCalgary’s Kiesza topped the UK Singles chart before most Canadians had heard of her. Retro 90s dance charmer “Hideaway” eventually hit platinum in Canada helped in part by a concept music video of bustin’ moves on Brooklyn streets, shot in one take. “Giant In My Heart” and an EP quickly followed, and by the end of the year, Kiesza’s debut album Sound of a Woman, hit record shops. Live performances of dancing while singing without running out of breath on Letterman, the MMVAs, and other spectacles anchored her credibility.

MAGIC!

MagicAfter songs he produced won Grammy awards in the U.S., Canada’s Nasri Atweh (of production duo The Messengers) formed reggae pop band MAGIC! with his Toronto buddies. Debut single “Rude” became the biggest Canadian song of 2014 globally. It was discovered first in Australia and climbed the charts to #3 before most Canadians knew they had a new band. “Rude” topped the charts in both the U.K. and U.S. At home, it was certified multiplatinum and became only the 3rd song from a home-grown artist to spend over a year on the Hot 100. With the release of the band’s debut album, two further songs made the weekly Top 40. Album Primary Colours followed in 2016 which spawned further hits for the group.

Serge Fiori

Serge FioriIn the 1970s, Serge Fiori was lead singer of multiplatinum progressive rock band Harmonium. After the band split in 1978, he teamed up with Richard Séguin on an album. In the 80s he began writing songs for other artists, most notably Diane Dufresne and Nanette Workman and released his own solo album in 1986. He also penned the theme song for internationally renowned Canadian comedy production Just For Laughs. In the 90s, Serge began scoring movie soundtracks and also dabbled in new age music. In 2014 he made a huge comeback releasing a self-titled LP that struck platinum and placed a track in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100. It was voted Album of the Year via a poll conducted by the CBC.

Shawn Mendes

Shawn MendesThis breakout sparkly-eyed teen sensation from Pickering, ON posted a six-second video on Vine that turned him into a household name. He won Ryan Seacrest’s (American DJ) Best Cover Song competition and was signed to Island Records. Shawn’s debut single, “Life of the Party,” reached #1 on iTunes on the night of June 25-26 and became a Top 10 hit on the Canadian Hot 100. In the United States, Shawn became the youngest artist to debut in the top 25 with a first song on the Billboard Hot 100. With millions of Twitter followers, a 2015 tour with American superstar Taylor Swift, and a debut LP that topped the album charts and spawned further hit singles, he is on his way to a big career. In 2016, Shawn released second album Illuminate with further global hit songs. He performed at a number of international awards shows.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya TagaqRegarded by many as one of the world’s most talented voice musicians, Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq has worked with Iceland’s Björk. She hails from Cambridge Bay, NU and released her 4th album in 2014, Animism, chock full of eclectic instrumentation. The critically acclaimed album nabbed the Polaris Music Prize given to the year’s most artistic work. Her mesmerizing performance at the gala, given in conjunction with scrolling names of missing and murdered Aboriginal women, brought down the house. Tanya is a multiple JUNO nominee.

Debut MV from JUNO Winners A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red - Nation II NationHot off a much deserved JUNO win, cutting edge EDM powwow trio A Tribe Called Red has released its first music video for “Sisters” (featuring Northern Voice), the most popular track from album Nation II Nation. What we especially love about this is that its special effects, innovative flashy lights and magical colours combined with beautiful Aboriginal fashions and art makes First Nations culture very, very trendy. It’s an inspiration and gives Canada’s most precious people something to cheer about and hold their heads high. In fact, it’s something that all Canadians can celebrate and be proud of. Well done and bravo to these brilliant DJs!  iTunes

2013 Polaris Prize Short List

Last month, the folks behind the Polaris Prize came up with a list of their 40 favourite albums in the past year. Today, that list was pared down to 10. Eleven “judges” will give the $30,000 cash prize to one of them (the winner) announced at a ceremony in September. You will notice that the kind of music up for the Polaris Prize often differs from best-selling albums and albums nominated for JUNOs and other awards. This is because the list of albums nominated is a reflection of the musical tastes of the group of people on the panel. Generally speaking, sales figures are a reflection of the musical tastes of all Canadians, the JUNOs of those in the music industry, and the Polaris those in Canadian media. Polaris panelists tend to focus more on music, less on lyrics and vocal talent, and generally favour darker, more sombre styles.

Although the Polaris Prize has boasted honouring music all over the genre map, we don’t see too much diversity on this year’s list:  no standard rock, pop, country, jazz, classical.  Essentially, these are indie / experimental / electronic albums. Moreover, although a few appeared on the long list of 40, no Francophone album made this year’s cut; one American artist did. On the positive side, the cool thing about these sorts of lists is that you can listen to the albums online and if you’re lucky discover some new music you like. These albums are very well done great works. Below is the “short list” of ten albums up for the 2013 Polaris Prize with some information on each album and artist. What’s your favourite of the bunch?

Godspeed You Black Emperor - Allelujah Don't Bend AscendArtist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Origin: Montréal
Type: Male-female group
Album: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Release Date: October 2012
Genre/Style: Experimental, instrumental rock

Zaki Ibrahim - Every OppositeArtist: Zaki Ibrahim
Origin: Nanaimo, BC
Type: Female solo artist
Album: Every Opposite
Release Date: September 2012
Genre/Style: Electronic African soul

Metric - SyntheticaArtist: Metric
Origin: Toronto
Type: Female-male group
Album: Synthetica
Release Date: June 2012
Genre/Style: Electronic rock

x-defaultArtist: METZ
Origin: Toronto
Type: Male group
Album: METZ
Release Date: October 2012
Genre/Style: Punk

Purity Ring - ShrinesArtist: Purity Ring
Origin: Edmonton
Type: Female-male duo
Album: Shrines
Release Date: July 2012
Genre/Style: Experimental electronic

Colin Stetson - New HIstory of Warfare Vol 3 to See More LightArtist: Colin Stetson
Origin: Michigan, USA
Type: Male solo artist
Album: New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Release Date: April 2013
Genre/Style: Experimental, instrumental jazz-rock

Tegan and Sara - HeartthrobArtist: Tegan and Sara
Origin: Calgary
Type: Female duo
Album: Heartthrob
Release Date: January 2013
Genre/Style: Synthpop, new wave

A Tribe Called Red - Nation II NationArtist: A Tribe Called Red
Origin: Ottawa
Type: Male group
Album: Nation II Nation
Release Date: May 2013
Genre/Style: Powwow step

Whitehorse - The-Fate-of-the-World-Depends-on-this-KissArtist: Whitehorse
Origin: Hamilton
Type: Male-female duo
Album: The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss
Release Date: August 2012
Genre/Style: Folk rock

Young Galaxy - Ultramarine copyArtist: Young Galaxy
Origin: Vancouver
Type: Female-male group
Album: Ultramarine
Release Date: April 2012
Genre/Style: Indie electronic

Boom Boom Powwow From Nation II Nation c/o A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red - Nation II NationA trio of Ottawan DJs who go by A Tribe Called Red released a critically acclaimed album last year and have launched their followup, Nation II Nation. Their music unites elements of reggae, bhangra, various world beats, and electronic dubstep spiced up with Aboriginal chants and drumming. They refer to their genre as “powwow step”. This music is culturally rich, remarkably sophisticated, emotionally intense, and so good it will have you painting the town red (no pun intended). Each track features a guest vocalist. Given that their first work was nominated for a Polaris Prize last year and promoted them from hosting a weekly club night in Ottawa to travelling around the world with features in the international press, like Rolling Stone magazine, this grander work has the potential to really shake things up for the band. They are already being referred to by an acronym (ATCR). Apparently they were the first electronic act to ever play the New Orleans Jazz Festival where they garnered a tremendous reception. A Tribe Called Red is Dee Jay NDN, DJ Shub, and Bear Witness. Do check out the new album!

Nation II Nation on iTunes     A Tribe Called Red’s Facebook