The Rites and Ritual of Traitrs

traitrsToronto has an exciting new post-punk duo that effectively licks the champions of mediocrity. Rites and Ritual is the new album from Traitrs, one whose penned verses explore the dark gallows and shambled stone shacks of witch trials, youth cults, and burnt offerings. Musically, the duo presents a sound that echoes The Chameleons UK and composition on par with The Spoons. The post-punk cold wave, with atmospheric guitars, boldly sashays itself in with a great wall of sound that will fill your spine with a delicious cacophony of shivers. Rites and Ritual packs an impressive bite and is a welcome addition to the best works of 2016. We have embedded the MV for opening track “Witch Trial” below.  iTunes

Raghav’s “Take Me Away”

Raghav - Take Me AwayAlberta’s JUNO-nominated Raghav has dished out new song “Take Me Away” which sees him dabbling in some EDM. He has landed four singles on the Hot 100 and many more internationally including Top 10 hits in Britain. His biggest hit to date at home was “Fire” which went gold; the most recent was “WooHoo”. Raghav has also been contributing to motion picture soundtracks including Disney’s Million Dollar Arm. Besides a sumptuous EDM vibe, “Take Me Away’s” strength lies in Raghav’s voice which is such a gift. The music video was made with the support of MuchFact. Raghav says it was filmed in “Squamish [BC] doubling as a Peruvian village”.  iTunes

Paige Morgan’s Paralyzed MV

Paige MorganVancouver’s Paige Morgan (604 Records) is a new singer on the rise. Earlier in the year, she dropped a sumptuous treat called “Paralyzed”. It’s one of the best songs of the year, dripping with syrupy vocals and tantalizing intrigue. The official music video has just been launched, and it was worth the wait. The steamy, nocturnal charmer is drenched in colour, neon signs, and sultry pink flamingos. But we don’t need Crockett and Tubbs to rock the pastels. We’ve got some Vancouver spice from the amazing Paige Morgan.  iTunes

Young Liars Announce a Tidal Wave

Young Liars - Tidal WaveWith its debut album, Tidal Wave, Young Liars joins the growing club membership of modern Canadian new wave acts. The Vancouver quartet’s sound has matured nicely in the three years since its debut single in 2011; the album offers a smooth, oceanic electronic vibe that effortlessly balances the indie and mainstream. Being crafted by the competent hands at Nettwerk Records has certainly helped make this one of the standout albums of the genre in 2014. Tidal Wave’s moods are subdued, reflective, and a little dreamy.  iTunes

Michael Rault Knocks the Living Daylight Out of Boredom

michael rault living daylightLiving Daylight is the new mini album from Edmonton’s Michael Rault. He has followed up his 2010 LP with this combo of psychedelic pop and garage rock. The songs are very catchy helped by fuzzy guitar riffs and addictive melodies. Those of you tired of the simplistic will love the detailed sculpting work on this including complex percussion, instrument solos, backing vocals, and fitting sonic effects. Edmontonians themselves can stand proud as the album was recorded right in their northern metropolis.  iTunes

Tim Toishi’s Debut EP, Make You Mine

Tim Toishi - Make You MineBorn and raised in Toronto, Tim Toishi is a new independent singer, songwriter, and classically trained pianist. After contributing a couple of singles to the great pool of Canadian music, he is releasing his debut EP, Make You Mine, on June 24, 2014. The four (plus a remix) tracks were written between 2010 and 2012 and are intended to introduce us to Tim’s range of talent, as he moves comfortably through pop, R&B, and dance territories. In general, the songs are beautiful ballads crafted with real feeling around catchy melodies and serve as a great introduction to a star in the making. Learn more about Tim Toishi via the links below. We have embedded the MV for the wonderful, heartfelt title-track as well.  iTunes

Tim Toishi’s    Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     Website 

Jjanice+

Jjanice1After a couple of singles, Montréal’s wonderful Jjanice+ (male soloist) has launched an exquisite EP entitled Pierrot couleur. On this musical odyssey, you will hear warm vocals, pattering keys, Caribbean bass, African poetry all with underlying soultronic depth. This is the richness of Seal combined with the creative charm of David Bowie. The whole disc is one colourful tapestry with breathtaking detail, and it stands as one of the finest EPs of 2014. We look forward to hearing more from this talented recording artist in the future.  iTunes

We Are Digging Roots For the Light

Digging Roots - For the LightAt the core of Ontario’s Digging Roots are spousal songwriters Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish. The group won the prestigious Aboriginal Album of the Year JUNO in 2010 and is back with new album For the Light, an eclectic mix of alternative, roots, reggae, rock, and blues, or as the band aptly calls it, “heartbeat music”. With this new charmer, Digging Roots furthers its stated cause to “spread love and affect positive change in this crazy world”. The group will be touring the west following an album release party in Toronto on June 24.  iTunes

Fool’s Gold Sees Jill Barber Tackle Motown

Jill Barber - Fool's GoldMultiple JUNO nominee Jill Barber is out with a new album, Fool’s Gold, her seventh. Jill was born in Port Credit, ON but has lived in Toronto, Kingston, Halifax, and Vancouver. One of her many strengths is her versatility; she has recorded albums in both official languages in a variety of styles from folk rock to jazz. Fool’s Gold is her take on vintage soul and is a marvellous work with her raspy voice a perfect fit. Jill’s philosophy in making music is: if it feels right, go with it, and this certainly works for her here. You won’t find any fool’s gold on this album, just the real thing.  iTunes

Kevin Parent is Facing West

Kevin Parent - Face a l'ouestKevin Parent is a JUNO winning multiplatinum recording artist. He was born in Greenfield Park, QC and raised in the municipality of Nouvelle on the Gaspé Peninsula’s Bay of Chaleur. Kevin is a bilingual singer of roots rock and folk. His 1995 debut album, Pigeon d’argile, attained triple platinum sales with a slew of hits like “La Jasette”, “Mother of Our Child”, and “Seigneur”. Follow up LP Grand parleur, petit faiseur matched the success of his debut. Album #3 Les Vents ont change won a JUNO Award. Face à l’ouest is Kevin Parent’s first album since 2009. He chose the title while thinking about the picturesque scene of his father and grandfather fishing on the bay. The cover art is a photo of Carleton-sur-Mer. Some of the songs on the album were pulled from the files, previously set aside by record labels because they were felt to be too droll. Kevin decided to make an album the way he wanted to, filling it with humour, and pushing the style more towards folk that is upbeat and fun. It seems to have resonated with the masses, earning a Top 10 iTunes placement upon release. It certainly resonates with us.  iTunes

The New Millennium in Pictures, Selected Highlights

1 - 2000 - Isabelle Boulay and Garou - Diamond Albums in FranceIn the Y2K, Canadian artists Garou and Isabelle Boulay released albums that were certified diamond in the world’s fifth largest music market – France. Prior to them, the only Canadians to accomplish this were Céline Dion, Roch Voisine, and Belgian-born Lara Fabian.

2 - shania twain - upIn 2002, country superstar Shania Twain released Up! which became her third straight studio album to attain double diamond status in Canada. With sales exceeding 2 million copies, Up! remains the best-selling Canadian album of the new millennium domestically.

3 - Nickelback - How You Remind MeAlbertan post-grunge band Nickelback scored the #1 hit of 2002 in the United States with “How You Remind Me”. In the 2000s, Nickelback sold more records than any other foreign act in the U.S. except The Beatles.

4 - 2003 - Rolling Stone Magazine - Avril LavigneTeen rocker Avril Lavigne became an international superstar with her debut album Let Go, the last album to be certified diamond in the new millennium. To date, she has sold over 40 million albums worldwide.

5 - Star Academie 2003Televised star search show Star Académie deubted in 2003. An album featuring the finalists was released that year and within its first two weeks had sold half a million copies (5x platinum). It remains the best-selling Canadian Franco album of the new millennium domestically. A number of finalists from the show have enjoyed continued success including Marie-Mai.

6 - Canadian IdolCanadian Idol was also launched in 2003 and enjoyed a six-season run. Although in general the resulting finalists and winners did not enjoy sustained success, the show helped launch the careers of Carly Rae Jepsen and Hedley.

7 - 2004 Raghav UKCalgary’s Raghav relocated to the United Kingdom and scored three Top 10 hits there in 2004. He was the only artist whether local or international who was able to accomplish this.

I8 - 2007 - Nelly Furtado Brit Awardn 2007, Victoria’s Nelly Furtado won a BRIT award (the UK’s JUNOs) for International Female Artist of the Year. She was the only Canadian artist through the noughties decade to receive one.

9 - First Billboard Canadian Hot 100 June 2007Following the demise of Canada’s national RPM charts and struggles with the Canadian Singles Chart amidst the rise of digital music, the Billboard Canadian charts were introduced in June 2007. The Top 10 of the very first Canadian Hot 100 chart is pictured on the left. (Click to enlarge).

10 - 2008 - Elise EstradaIn 2008, Vancouver’s Elise Estrada became the first Canadian of east Asian descent to score a nation-wide Top 40 hit. “Unlove You” made it to #11 on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100.

11 - 2010 - People Magazine - Justin BieberAfter a tremendous amount of hard work, radio tours, and a signing in the United States, Justin Bieber became a teen idol phenomenon. His song “Baby” was recently declared the biggest digital single of all-time in the U.S.

Simple Plan - 2010 Vancouver Winter OlympicsVancouver played host to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, and a number of Canadian recording artists performed at the opening and closing ceremonies including Simple Plan (pictured left).

13 - Young Artists For Haiti - Wavin Flag 1Following a devastating earthquake in Haiti, a supergroup of Canadian recording artists, known as Young Artists For Haiti, lent their voices to a reworked version of K’Naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” to raise money to help the victims.

Carly Rae Jepsen - Call Me MaybeSong “Call Me Maybe” catapulted Carly Rae Jepsen to global superstardom. It became the best-selling single of 2012 worldwide and the most successful digital single of all time by a Canadian domestically.

Michael BubleFollowing the success of five straight multiplatinum studio albums, jazz singer Michael Bublé hosted the 2013 JUNO Awards.

A Tribe Called RedFirst Nations A Tribe Called Red invented a brand new genre of music, powwow-step, by combining Aboriginal and EDM styles. Breakthrough album Nation II Nation was released in 2013 for which the group won a JUNO Award the following year.

16 - Robin Thicke - Blurred LinesThe son of actor Alan Thicke (Growing Pains), Robin, became the first Canadian citizen to score the #1 song of the year of the Canadian Hot 100 with his R&B smash hit, “Blurred Lines”.

KieszaKiesza released her debut single “Hideaway” in 2014 which hit the mark in Britain. She became only the 8th Canadian artist in history to top the British charts.

18 - Nikki Yanofsky Quincy JonesFollowing her #1 smash, “I Believe,” theme of the 2010 Olympics, Montréal’s Nikki Yanofsky released jazz-pop album Little Secret in 2014. It was produced by none other than American heavyweight Quincy Jones.

Tanya Tagaq’s Animism

Tanya Tagaq - AnimismTanya Tagaq is regarded by many as one of the world’s most talented voice musicians and has worked with Iceland’s Björk. Tanya is from Cambridge Bay, NU and has just released her 4th album, Animism, which combines Inuit throat singing with eclectic instrumentation. Littered with primal hoots, howls, toots, and growls, the emotions of the id are expressed instinctively. Tanya does sing on the disc too, and she has a beautiful voice. When the album shape-shifts into unstructured configurations, it remains fluid, and when designs solidify, they take on bewildering forms.  iTunes

Bobby Bazini Releases First Album with Universal Music

bobby bazini - where i belongAn admirer of the country music of Johnny Cash and influenced by the soul music of Otis Redding, Mont-Laurier QC’s Bobby Bazini released his debut album, Better In Time, through an independent record label in 2010 when he was 21 years old. It was a big success going platinum and attracting two JUNO nominations. Canada’s top record company, Universal Music, signed him in 2013 and sent him packing down to California to work with Grammy winning producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Herbie Hancock, Tracy Chapman). 

Bobby Bazini recorded his sophomore LP, Where I Belong, at Bob Dylan and Marvin Gaye’s old stamping grounds – Village Recorder. Musicians joining him on the work include Booker T (organ), Jack Ashford (percussion), and Jay Bellerose (drums). 2014’s Where I Belong includes last year’s “Cold Cold Heart” and latest single “Heavy Love”. It also contains a cover of The Bee Gees’ “To Love Somebody” featuring multiplatinum songstress Serena Ryder. The album is a roots music tour de force with smatterings of blues rock, folk, country, and soul.  iTunes

Serena Ryder Gives Us a Taste of Heavy Love

Serena Ryder - Heavy Love MVPrior to album Harmony, Serena Ryder saw some success: three JUNO awards, two gold albums, and three charting singles, one of which narrowly made the Top 40. There is no question, though, that the Harmony era has catapulted her to superstar status. Harmony itself won for her an additional three JUNOs and has gone platinum. The album has spawned four charting singles, two of which made the Top 10 and one of which went triple platinum. To put things in perspective, only 13 singles from Canadians have been certified triple platinum or higher domestically during the digital epoch. The fourth and latest hit from the album is “Heavy Love” currently sitting at #73 on the Hot 100. Yesterday, Serena rolled out her music video for the single which sees her putting up her dukes in a pair of boxing gloves.

The Trews’ “What’s Fair Is Fair” MV

The Trews - What's Fair Is FairA new, industrial-themed music video for “What’s Fair Is Fair” is out from Antigonish, Nova Scotia’s The Trews. This track is from the band’s recent self-titled album which debuted at #3 on the Billboard Canadian Albums chart. The electric group, around since 1997, has scored five JUNO nominations and two gold-certified albums. The music video for “What’s Fair Is Fair” was directed by Drew Lightfoot in what looks like the basement of an industrial site. All the sparks you see are live fireworks. The band had to wear sunglasses during the shooting and commented, “Drew likes to come as close to killing us as possible when he directs a video for us.”  iTunes