Mid-June 2017 Hot Canadian Tracks

We’re closing in on summer, upon Canada’s 150th, and upon us is a tasty batch of new tracks which we present. Hopefully at least one of these will do it for ya.

Quebec’s Arcade Fire has decided to release a second track off upcoming album Everything Now. “Creature Comfort” offers a style that is punchier than the bouncy title track released not too long ago. An ultra widescreen MV complete with lyrics is out, the coolest part of which is to see Régine pull a LIGHTS and wield a keytar.  iTunes

The Great White North’s most popular pop group, British Columbia’s Hedley, has wrapped up the Hello era to launch a stand-alone single, “Love Again”. A new album is undoubtedly in the works.  iTunes

Montreal alternative group Stars releases a traditional two-track single as A-Side: “Privilege”, B-Side: “We Called It Love”.  iTunes

Ontarian Donovan Woods has crafted a super catchy singer-songwriter ditty called “All Mine”. He sounds a bit like John Mayer which we mean as a compliment. Wonderful track!  iTunes

The incomparable Pierre Lapointe cranks up the artistry on “La science du cœur” which builds to a satisfying climax. The music video (subtitled in English) has the camera slowly pulling back as Pierre stands before a beautiful set design.  iTunes

Nova Scotian Ria Mae is back with a bite on wonderful new pop song “Bend”. If she can consistently come up with songs this good, the platinum singer and songwriter has a great career in store.  iTunes

The production on Toronto’s Alvvays‘ last effort pushed Molly’s beautiful vocals into the background drowning them out into a muffle which disappointed us. Hopefully, a smarter job will be done on upcoming album Antisocialites. Lead single “In Undertow” is … in tow.  iTunes

Death from Above 1979 casts forth new song “Freeze Me”, a boss alternative rock track. The outfit has a JUNO and a gold-certified disc.  iTunes

Metric singer Emily Haines echoes the beautiful piano balladry of Emm Gryner (21st Century Ballads) while filling it with alternative ornamentation. The new track is “Fatal Gift” in which she addresses extremes of wealth and poverty.  iTunes


Ice Conduit to the 2015 JUNOs: Breakthrough Artist/Group of the Year Nominees

BreakthroughToronto EDM spin wizard Glenn Morrison definitely broke through. Track “Goodbye” became a platinum single, reaching a peak position of #12 on the Billboard Hot 100. Saskatchewan’s Jess Moskaluke broke through by becoming the first female country artist since Shania Twain to score a gold single. Calgary’s Kiesza made history when her debut single “Hideaway” debuted at #1 on the UK Singles chart. At home, it was the highest charting single of the year and attained platinum sales. Debut single from Toronto teen sensation Shawn Mendes became a Top 10 hit and went gold. As for Edmonton’s Mac DeMarco, we’re not sure in what way he broke through without a hit single or gold album. His music is pretty good, and he’s doing something a little different but perhaps a nomination in another category would have made more sense. It goes to show that titling an album with a Shakespearean expression gives one credit.

Kiesza will probably take the award, though Shawn Mendes has a shot at it. He now has 2.75 million Twitter followers.

Regarding Breakthrough Group, Adventure Club made the Top 40 with “Wonder”. Three tracks from MAGIC!‘s debut album made the Top 40 including international, triple platinum smash “Rude”. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) landed two tracks on the Billboard Hot 100 and one of them went gold. “Lost You” became Zeds Dead‘s first charting single. As for Alvvays, we’re not sure how the band broke through without a hit single or gold record. Perhaps it’s a matter of never underestimating the charm of the Rankins.

MAGIC! will probably take the award.

Ice Conduit to the 2015 JUNOs: Alternative Album of the Year Nominees

Alternative Album Nominees copy

Alternative music begs the question: alternative to what, exactly? In the 80s, we called this “underground music”, i.e. music that was too cutting edge or different to get played on the radio, save perhaps university stations. Examples would be “Living On a Ceiling” by Blancmange, “Clerk Charade” by Moev, “How Soon Is Now” by The Smiths, “I Touch Roses” by Book of Love, etc. Music that was completely different we called “experimental music” examples being perhaps Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle, Skinny Puppy, and Fad Gadget. These days, alternative seems to include both, making for a very broad category. It is important to remember in this context that music that is different does not necessarily mean music that is good. The JUNOs define Alternative Music with the following statement:

“Eligible albums MUST have qualities and elements that set the music outside and/or ahead of mainstream Pop/Rock and other mainstream music styles. This category may be defined as a genre of music that embraces attributes of progression and innovation in both the music and attitudes associated with it. It may embrace sub genres such as indie rock, experimental or DJ-based music, or any hybrids thereof. Some punk rock recordings that feature musical elements outside those typically found in the genre may be submitted in alternative; other types of punk rock recordings may be deemed most appropriate for submission into the rock category.”

The albums nominated this year present music not only unlike what we’re used to but different from each other as well: Alvvays’ self-titled album, Chad VanGaalen’s Shrink Dust, July Talk’s self-titled, Tanya Tagaq’s Animism, and Timber Timbre’s Hot Dreams. None of these artists has won a JUNO though all but Alvvays have been nominated in past years. None has scored a Hot 100 charting single or a gold record. There are no sales qualifications for this category. The low key entries this year provide fresh contrast from last year’s high profile winner: Arcade Fire for Reflektor and Metric for Synthetica in 2013. Chad is from Calgary, Tanya from Cambridge Bay, and the others Toronto.