Selected New Releases: March 10, 2017

In alphabetical order by album title, we begin with Saint-Hubert, QC rapper Dostie who releases his album Autoportrait. (Don’t worry; he doesn’t rap from the payphone). The jack of all trades opened his own studio in 2005, Exceler Productions, and works as a sound engineer, producer, and emcee. Next, we have Dan Misha Goldman, originally from Montreal, who contributes rich alternative album Champion of the Afterworld. Dan also serves as one-half of duo Snowblink. Calgary classical pianist and triple JUNO nominee Jan Lisiecki teams up with the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra selecting some of the lesser known works of Chopin on album Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra. It’s simply gorgeous.

Currently sitting at #2 on the iTunes Albums chart is Coastline, the new alternative/electronic album from Montreal’s Geoffroy offering a breath of fresh seaside air. To Feel Infinite may be achieved by listening to Montreal JUNO nominee Jacques Greene‘s new electronic LP, a nice work of art. Brampton, ON has a female rapper recording under project name Haviah Mighty; Flower City shows her skills as a rapper, singer, producer, and DJ.

Punk music on the lighter side for a change is concocted with grace on album Meet You from Toronto’s Century Palm. When we think of indie rock, Nova Scotia isn’t the first place that comes to mind; however, the province’s Jon Mckiel handles the genre with mammoth skill on his new record Memorial Ten Count. Hamilton JUNO-winning blues-rock specialist Steve Strongman is back in top form with album No Time Like Now.

Quite a talented alternative rock band from Quebec City, Velvet Black, churns out some boss vibes on album Orleans. Guelph songsmith Richard Laviolette offers a disc of beautifully crafted traditional country flavoured tunes, his fourth album Taking the Long Way Home. Hailing from the far east, St. John’s, NL that is, JUNO winning singer-songwriter Amelia Curran returns with her brand of roots-leaning goodness; her new album is called Watershed.

From Winnipeg enters Vikings and exquisite new electronic pop EP Animal Kingdom. Find quality adult contemporary on Jason McNally‘s EP Les vinyles de mon père. He’s from Laval. Among all the fresh singles out this week, we were quite taken with Young Galaxy‘s “Stay for Real” a moody charmer that could pass for Canada’s answer to Depeche Mode. Very good track.

Ice Conduit to the 2015 JUNOs: Roots and Traditional Album of the Year

solo roots copy

There are two categories under roots music, one for soloists (above) and one for groups (below). CARAS states, the “Roots and Traditional category is comprised of all solo recordings that are traditionally based including ethnically specific music. … To be eligible, an album must be predominantly Roots & Traditional. Predominance means 50% or more of the recording.”

Among the soloists, Perth-Andover, NB’s Matt Andersen is nominated for the first time thanks to album Weightless. Charlottetown’s Catherine MacLellan, via album The Raven’s Sun, is nominated for her first two this year. The other nomination is for songwriter of the year. It’s the second nomination for both Winnipeg’s Del Barber (Prairieography) and Vancouver’s James Hill (The Old Silo). Hill’s first nomination was way back in 1979 for best album graphics. St. John’s Amelia Curran has already won two JUNO awards. They Promised You Mercy is her nominated work this year.

For the groups, Winnipeg’s The Brothers Landreth are nominated for the first time for album Let It Lie. It’s the second nomination for both Saskatoon’s The Deep Dark Woods (Jubilee) and St. John’s The Once (Departures). Hamilton’s Blackie and the Rodeo Kings (South) won a JUNO back in 2000 and Toronto’s Elliott Brood (Work and Love) won one in 2013.

group roots copy

They Promised You Mercy, Amelia Curran

Amelia Curran - They Promised You MercyFrom busking on the streets of St. John’s to JUNO winning roots artist, Amelia Curran unearths her latest LP, They Promised You Mercy, demonstrating once again her mastery of composition. Production duties were handled by Michael Phillip Wojewoda in Toronto who has worked with The Barenaked Ladies. Amelia strikes us as a wellspring of ideas consistently constructing solid albums since her debut in Y2K. In fact, it’s difficult to select a standout track from They Promised You Mercy, but we have embedded the MV for “I Am the Night” below.  iTunes

Selected New Releases 4 November 2014

4 Nov 2014 Albums Collage copy

Five JUNO nominees and four JUNO winners have released new albums this week.

Alex Pangman is known as Canada’s sweetheart of swing, holding 1930s jazz in high regard. Her new album is called New. St. John’s roots JUNO winner Amelia Curran has released They Promised You Mercy. Edmonton’s Ben Stevenson is taking care of Dirty Laundry on his new work. He does alternative R&B along the lines of The Weeknd and is quite good. Émilie Lévesque was a Star Academy finalist in 2009; Ça tourne is her second album of adult pop. Classical singer Marc Hervieux, up to 3 gold albums, has landed Hervieux.

Vancouver JUNO-nominated synth pop group Mother Mother came up with a Very Good Bad Thing. The band has one charting single to date. Needing no introduction, Neil Young’s Storytone is his second album of the year. Saguenay’s JUNO nominee Philippe Berghella gives us splendid folk pop LP Ma liberté. Hot off his JUNO win this year, Halifax’s master of electronica Ryan Hemsworth is Alone For the First Time. Les amours parallèles, housing gorgeous adult contemporary, is the latest from JUNO nominee Stéphanie Lapointe. Its title-track has been named Single of the Week by iTunes. Possibly the most beautiful album of the week is Time, Wind & Fire from Montreal’s Tamara Weber-Fillion.

New Brunswick’s Lisa LeBlanc, whose debut album went platinum, has released English crossover EP, Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted. Coloured Sky is an alternative rock band that formed in Whistler, BC. The EP is a self-titled affair. Seaway’s All In My Head EP keeps the pop punk going strong.

Specialists of children’s music Bobs & LoLo, twice JUNO nominated, are back with Wave Your Antlers. Multiplatinum punk band Billy Talent has launched a greatest hits compilation that includes a couple of new songs. On a tous quelque chose de Sweet People is a various artists album with tracks by a number of Francophone greats. Finally, we’re getting into Christmas albums. Joël Legendre has released Noël. On a side note, David Myles came out with a Christmas album last week. We will roundup the holiday albums at the end of the month.

The Day After and Other Releases

While The Hip, 3 Days Grace, Diana K, and deadmau5 are dominating albums sales these days, there have been a few new releases from noteworthy artists that deserve a mention.

Le jour d’apres, Sylvain Cossette

Platinum selling, multiple Félix winning, JUNO nominated, and fluently bilingual recording artist Sylvain Cossette, after ripping through his impressive 1970s cover song albums, has dropped a brand new studio album entitled Le jour d’apres, his first original Francophone album in a dozen years! He had released the single “Je ferai sans toi” back in June. (We’ve embedded the choice music video below). “Pour toujours” is currently the most popular track and includes vocals by his daughter Elizabeth. The album contains mostly power ballads featuring Sylvain’s characteristic warm and robust voice. Sylvain will tour eastern Canada starting in the fall of 2013

iTunes     Official Website

Songs from the Last Day on Earth, David Usher

His days with Vancouver rock band Moist are long gone, but as a soloist, David Usher continues to make music which has achieved platinum sales and won him two JUNO awards. His current style can be described as power-folk. Showcasing popular tunes “See the Stars” (the opener) and “Lonely People”, David has cut his latest studio album, Songs from the Last Day on Earth which revolves around the theme of a group of friends gathering for the last time at the end of the world. Making use of his bilingual talents, the album includes Francophone versions of two of its tracks.

iTunes     Official Website

No. 2, Bernard Adamus

Bernard Adamus plays a style of music which has been dubbed “trash-folk”. Earlier this year, Lisa LeBlanc, who also embraces this genre, scored a hit self-titled album. It involves a boisterous, twangy singing style. This is music that epitomizes the heart of country life, at times embodying an energetic spirit of raring to go milk the cows in the barn in the early morn, and at others overcome with perspiring sluggishness from baking in the sun all day hoeing the fields. Bernard spices things up with dashes of harmonica, honkytonk piano, horns, and bluesy guitar. He also experiments with various vocal reverberations. Some songs sound like he is singing from inside the bathroom, others from right beside your ear, and yet others from atop a haystack. Last week, this fine little work of art debuted on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart at No. 6.

iTunes     Official Website

Spectators, Amelia Curran

In 2010, the JUNO for roots and traditional album of the year by a solo artist went to Amelia Curran (Hunter, Hunter). She has just now released a followup entitled Spectators. It is her fourth release. Amelia is originally from St. John’s but now lives in Halifax. This work was given the big city Toronto treatment by Dan Mangan’s producer John Critchley. She makes ample use of a horn section which adds extra pizzazz, though the strongest element is her soothing voice. You do not need to strain your ears to make out the verses of soulful poetry on this work, as her vocals come through crystal clear in her gorgeous Canadian accent.

iTunes     Official Website

The Beautiful Wild, Jenn Grant

Also from Halifax (and on the same record label as Amelia Curran) is JUNO-nominated recording artist Jenn Grant, originally from PEI. Her new album The Beautiful Wild opens with an orchestral suite and concludes with a “hidden track” at the end—a haunting piano ballad cover of “Eye of the Tiger”. Grant has a unique voice and likes to include prominent and complex percussion on her folk-pop tunes. The album has some sitar, banjos, snare drum rolls, harp, and even a hint of 1950s doo-wop. Jenn likes to paint and usually does her own album covers. She is currently on tour.

iTunes     Official Website