New Releases: St. Patrick’s Day 2017 – Part 2/2

David Letterman bandleader and sidekick Paul Shaffer claims to front … the world’s most dangerous band. Paul is from Thunder Bay and has helped break a number of Canadian acts south of the border thanks to his influential position on the late-night chat show. On his new album, Paul brings in vocalists as diverse as Shaggy, Darius Rucker, and Bill Murray to deliver a wholesome banquet of adult contemporary with flashy musicianship.

Quite possibly the most eclectic album of the year belongs to The Cousins (Toronto), a duo of Barenaked Ladies’ Kevin Hearn and actor/comedian Harland Williams. And, yes, they are real life cousins. There are all kinds of flavours on Rattlesnake Love, from Utah cliff-dangling westerns to booming electronica, the common thread here being the delicious tongue-in-cheek lyrics. The title-track should succeed in etching a wily grin on your face. Jacques Jacobus of Clare, Nova Scotia’s Radio Radio completes solo project Le retour de Jacobus which is, as one would expect, a super fun hip hop masala.

Michel Robidoux has been an important behind-the-scenes figure in the Canadian music scene over the years. There is no way to do it justice by summarizing things here, but we will take a stab at it. In 1967, Michel Robidoux met Robert Charlebois and joined the troupe of L’Osstidcho. He then composed some of the most famous songs of the 70s, putting into music the lyrics of Luc Plamondon, Claude Gauthier and others. He lent his talents to shape the music of Jean-Pierre Ferland. He co-produced Leonard Cohen’s I’m Your Man album. Modern recording artist Pierre Lapointe decided to spearhead a project to honour Michel. Album Robidoux premier boasts a roster of front-ranking artists covering his songs presented in a more-or-less adult contemporary style.

After that weighty subject, we need to take a breather, and why not do so by heading over to Room 29. That’s where Chilly Gonzales cooked up some jazzy new tunes with Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of former British band Pulp. Moving to Waterloo, we can take a look at country artist Scotty James and his new record Streets which is a very pleasant disc, the fruit after the labour of a number of single releases.

Heading on up to Sherbrooke, we take in the sights of the hometown of platinum recording artist Vincent Vallières. His latest folky singer-songwriter album is Le temps des vivants, and it is the best-selling Canadian artist album at iTunes as of this writing. Need we say more? Finally, there is an EP this week. Til the Goin’ Gets Gone is the latest from acclaimed roots country artist Lindi Ortega (Toronto). All her discs are winners, and this one keeps things at a perfect score.

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Selected New Releases – St. Patrick’s Day 2015

New releases - 17 march 2015 copy

With the luck of the Irish, some of this week’s new Canadian releases will become big successes. We start things off with Montreal garage rock band King Khan & BBQ and new album Bad News Boys. This is for those who like their barbecue sauce raw. Toronto pianist Chilly Gonzales who has worked with Drake and France’s Daft Punk gets classical on Chambers containing instrumental pieces, mainly piano with some strings. Changer d’air is the new pop album from New Brunswick’s Maxime McGraw. Multiplatinum songstress Marie-Élaine Thibert is featured on one of the tracks.

A jaw-dropping work this week comes from Sally Folk. In terms of quality, Deuxième acte ranks alongside works by French diamond recording artist Zaz. It’s that good. Sally blends rock, jazz, 60s pop and more on this outstanding album. Another charmer is Goon by Vancouver’s Tobias Jesso Jr. He’s a piano pop guy (think of a style like John Lennon’s “Imagine”). Also from Vancouver is new duo Sur Une Plage. Synth wave album Legerdemain reminds us of some of the early stuff from Images in Vogue, Ultravox, or Trans X. It has vintage robotic drum machines with stand-alone analogue synthesizers: quirky and fun.

Milk & Bone is a highly praised duo from Montreal that has drawn comparisons to Purity Ring: beautiful female vocals with smooth electronic shimmers. Album Little Mourning features some acoustic sounds as well making for a sweet alternative vibe. Ottawa’s Sarah Burton gives us adult contemporary work Make Your Own Bed showcasing some very decent composition. Quebec’s Athena contributes this week’s major heavy metal work, LP Mononucléose.

Dartmouth, NS’s gold-certified JUNO winner Joel Plaskett gets folky when taking The Park Avenue Sobriety Test. JUNO winning classical pianist Alain Lefèvre, whom we acquired from France, releases the beautiful album Rive gauche. Guest musicians include Angèle Dubeau. New album WOW appears from R&B master Karl Wolf whom we acquired from Lebanon. Karl has been nominated for three JUNOs, scored a triple platinum single, and four gold. His new album is the first worldwide release on his own record label.

The aforementioned Marie-Élaine Thibert, a JUNO winner, Star Academy finalist, triple-platinum album and 6x platinum single author, launches her latest, an LP of lullabies, aptly titled Mes berceuses. Not only do we get her beautiful voice, but soft, soothing, beautiful music flows augmented by some world influences including Chinese instrumentation, and you just might hear a little Tchaikovsky as well. This is a gorgeous album!

Marie-Elaine Thibert - Mes berceuses

But that’s not all, folks. Yorkton, SK has produced a country artist named Samara Yung. This Is Me is the name of her new EP. Codie Prevost guests on the disc.

At least one of these albums should hit the spot for you. Enjoy the music!

Samara-Yung-This-is-Me