New Releases Oct 27: Downie, TOAD, Wanting

This week sees at least 26 Canadian artist LPs and 5 EPs bringing our year-to-date totals to 597 LPs and 113 EPs. Before we get to the new discs, there are a couple of newsworthy items to talk about.

Drake Does Not Submit to the Grammys

Drake stirred things up in some media circles recently because he did not submit his album More Life for consideration to the U.S. Grammy Awards. The diamond recording artist also did not submit any tracks from the album. More Life debuted at #1 on the official charts and has gone double platinum spawning four Top 10 hits: “Passionfruit”, “Portland”, “Blem”, and “Fake Love”. Nominations for the flagship U.S. music awards gala will be announced November 28. The rapper from Toronto has won three Grammys to date, and did not attend this year’s show despite winning two. His PR folks haven’t offered comment. It remains to be seen whether the album will be submitted to the JUNOs.

Kristina Maria Explains Her Absence

Highly successful, JUNO nominated Ottawan dance pop star Kristina Maria has been largely absent from social media over the past few years, and fans have been worried, including us. Kristina’s debut album Tell the World spawned an incredible 6 charting singles on the Billboard Hot 100; five of which made the Top 40, and three of which went gold. Maria finally spilled the beans on what has happened in a recent post. We quote it below.

I feel like I’ve been hiding from you guys, and it’s not what I wanted to do, I promise. I spent that last 2 years working on my new album and I had to walk away from the project because somethings weren’t feeling right. I’m not going to go into detail but I left my label to pursue music independently, well at least for now. I’ll be forever thankful for everything my previous label has done but my focus needs to be on me giving my fans 100% of who I am. I’ve hyped you guys up and then left you out in the dark and it hurts me to not be able to share what I’ve worked so hard on. I’m starting over from the ground up and to all my fans that stuck around, honestly I owe you the world!! I’m not going to rush a release or make any promises, all I can say for now is thank you.

New Releases: What’s Hot

His final album, a sensitive double disc effort, is a beauty. Gord Downie‘s Introduce Yerself tops iTunes as fans across the country mourn the Kingstoner’s passing from glioblastoma.

JUNO winning Delta, BC rock band Theory of a Deadman gives us a Wake Up Call on the new album sitting comfortably in the iTunes Top 10.

Toronto R&B duo Majid Jordan examines The Space Between. Between what, we do not know. The album is very impressive, rich and catchy with downtempo grooves and perky beats.

New Releases: What’s Cool

Some of you may remember Pembroke, Ontario’s Blinker the Star‘s nifty brand of alternative rock in the 90s. Well, guess what, the band is still active, presenting fresh album 8 of Hearts which is a treat.

Vancouver based Wanting serves up her third album with the Nettwerk Music Group, LLL, which stands for Love, Loss, Latitude. One of the finest songwriters in the land, Wanting provides a neapolitan flavour disc of singer-songwriter, pop, and adult contemporary.

Toronto jazz group Turboprop wants to Rev things up, and does just that. Ernesto Cervini recruits expert players Tara Davidson, Joel Frahm, William Carn, Adrean Farrugia, and Dan Loomis on this great disc.

Saskatoon double JUNO nominated group The Deep Dark Woods is never short of ideas. Yarrow continues the creative journey in the realm of picturesque alternative folk.

There are a couple of Children’s albums out this week. Three-time JUNO winner Jack Grunsky outdoes himself on the highly engaging Theatro Muppiloo which is super fun for folks of all ages.

Finally, those who dig alternative modern rock will find plenty of savoury treats on Le trésor des bas fonds from Nico Lelièvre.

Lexi Strate

Western Canadian award-winning pop artist Lexi Strate has released brand new single “Going Going Gone” complete with a VHS-themed music video which we embed below. After that, find the above albums plus plenty more in a table of new releases.

…Rocheuses Arthur L’aventurier Children’s QC
Winnowing Bird City Folk ON
8 of Hearts Blinker The Star Alt Rock ON
Influence Brain Size 61 Punk Rock QC
Transistor The Brood Alt NS
Apollo Les Chercheurs d’or S-S QC
Gaspericana Dans l’Shed Roots QC
High Times Dan Talevski Pop ON
Yarrow The Deep Dark Woods Alt Folk SK
Introduce Yerself Gord Downie Alt ON
Theatro Muppiloo Jack Grunsky Children’s ON
Post Meridiem Jasper Sloan Yip S-S BC
Cabanon Jean-Marc Couture Rock NB
Priere Kaas Sky Yassong Reggae QC
Working Man’s Blues Kat Goldman S-S ON
Requiem Kristina & A. Stanké World QC
The Space Between Majid Jordan R&B ON
Les Monsieurs Les Monsieurs Rock QC
Le trésor des bas fonds Nico Lelièvre Alt Rock QC
This Trip Petra Glynt Alt QC
Wake Up Call Theory of a Deadman Rock BC
Rev Turboprop Jazz ON
Fifteen Wailin’ Jennys Folk MB
LLL Wanting Pop BC
A Stare Ajar Whimm Punk ON
De Cienfuegos a Montreal Yordan Martinez World QC
Zero (EP) Runaway Angel Country ON
Do You (EP) Pony Alt Rock ON
On a Chain (EP) Heavy Hearts Alt Rock ON
Songs for Georgia (EP) Dan Davidson Country AB
All In (EP) Clay Ravens Folk Rock BC

New Releases for Halloween 2016


Count Floyd 3D glasses going for 3 bucks and 25 for shipping and handling are not required for music. Yes, that’s an SCTV reference. Not all of the music below has spook factor but is available in time to keep the ghosts occupied so they don’t haunt your dreams on Monday night. (Nine of the 13 albums reviewed below are pictured above.)

Reminding us a little of Yoan, Sylvain Garneau adds his baritone pipes to new country album La clé du Bonheur. There are several bands around called Lowlands. The one we are concerned with hails from Guelph, ON. The new album Erie explores legend and dream based on stark Canadian landscapes. It’s a reflective folk-rock effort. Victoriaville’s Alain-François is adept at getting a folk party going with a perfect soundtrack for it and does so on album La fête.

Back Home on Native Land, Toronto’s folky The Hidden Cameras follow up 2014’s Age. Always good, Toronto roots collective Blue Rodeo reminds us why 12 JUNO awards deck its shelf with 15th studio album 1000 Arms. It’s been a while since dancey sythpop outfit Le Couleur released a full length album but now we have P.O.P. It’s one of the best albums out this week.

Franco rap continues to sell well in the Great White North. Souldia makes the Sacrifice of an album cover fit for Halloween. Gord Downie‘s highly anticipated album Secret Path is out, dedicated to the story of Chanie Wenjack’s escape from a residential school only to perish in the cold. It is the fifth solo album from Kingston, Ontario’s Tragically Hip frontman. The acclaimed Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà are back with Silence On Joue – Take 2 beautifully presenting instrumental classical style arrangements of music from the movies.

Quebec’s Sam Roberts Band launches a nicely done sci-fi themed album entitled TerraForm dabbling in some progressive rock. Tracks 1, 2, and 5 should get you hooked right away. We were also taken by Track 8 which has a catchy 60s vibe to it. Always good, quality music, as evidenced by half a dozen JUNO awards, proceeds therefrom. Now, onto this weeks EPs…

Shae Dupuy is from Cambridge, ON and impresses us with country disc Brave. In fact, we would say it is one of the best works of the year in the genre. Canadian R&B is in vogue these months, and Toronto’s Jahkoy is being called the male version of Rihanna. Foreign Water is quite catchy and should please fans of the genre. Finally, Calgary’s very promising pop group The New Electric releases solid disc Living Loud worth checking out for pop music enthusiasts.

Gord Downie to Address Canadian Human Rights Abuses in New Album


Gord Downie, lead singer of diamond group The Tragically Hip, will be releasing a new solo album accompanied by a graphic novel in a project called Secret Path scheduled for release October 18, 2016. That date marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old Aboriginal boy fleeing from abuses at one of Canada’s notorious residential schools. These were institutions set up by the Canadian government and administered by the Christian churches that forcefully removed Aboriginal children from their families in attempts to indoctrinate them in European culture. In addition to murder, rape, and malnourishment, many children suffered abuses such as having needles stuck in their tongues as punishment for speaking their native language. Downie says, “I never knew Chanie, the child his teachers misnamed Charlie, but I will always love him.”

The walk back to Wenjack’s home on the Marten Falls First Nation (NE of Thunder Bay) was a trek of 600 km, but Wenjack was desperate to flee from the nightmare. His corpse was found near railway tracks near Kenora, ON, 60 km from the school. He had died of exposure to cold October temperatures and hunger. “Chanie haunts me,” Downie says, “His story is Canada’s story. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable.”

The Secret Path project began as 10 poems which Gord later turned into songs. The album will be accompanied by an 88-page graphic novel telling Chanie’s story. It was illustrated by Jeff Lemire. Proceeds from sales will go to the Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at The University of Manitoba. Downie himself paid a recent visit to Chanie’s grave and met with his surviving family members. The First Nations community was heartened by the fact that despite having terminal brain cancer, Gord would make the journey, and it hopes the project will help move Canadians along the path towards reconciliation.

Gord Downie Joins The Sadies Beneath The Conquering Sun

Gord Downie The Sadies and the Conquering SunToronto quartet, The Sadies, has been releasing music for 16 years. JUNO nominations have happened twice. As well, Mike Roberts’ fiery animation for The Sadies’ “Rumbleseat” MV won an award. Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie has teamed with the band on new album The Conquering Sun. The two bands have toured together many times, so the teaming was almost inevitable. Downie has always been a great lyricist, and his twangy singing style is a good match for The Sadies’ roots music. The result is a cerebral and energetic metropolitan country sound that rocks as much as it wagon wheels. MV for “Crater” below.  iTunes