With the holidays behind us, music releases are back into full swing, though it appears dings in budgets, perhaps caused by YouTube piracy and streaming services, have made graphic artists and colour photography unaffordable in the creation of eye-pleasing album cover art. At least we can say that there has been no lowering in standards of the actual music judging by these excellent works.
We begin with Chante-moi une histoire, the new album by collaborators Francesca Gagnon and René Dupéré who have been behind some of the music for Cirque du Soleil. The fine work interprets Franco classics in piano and voice playing like songs from a music theatre production. Next up is sweet country album Feel Good Thing from Winnipeg duo Keith and Renee. A History of Reasons is the debut album from Toronto folky alt-rock charmer Cairo, a strong start for the group. Vancouver alternative outfit Siskiyou has released a few albums the latest being the brooding and cool Nervous.
Alan Doyle needs little introduction as front man for Newfoundland multiplatinum group Great Big Sea. The talented singer-songwriter’s latest is rousing folk pop sizzler So Let’s Go. Edmonton’s Alex Calder was drummer in Mac Demarco’s band; Strange Dreams, packed with catchy and quirky reverb drenched artistry, is his solo debut. Along a similar vein but noisier and more industrial is the self-titled debut LP from Calgary’s Viet Cong. Alexandre Désilets has released a deluxe version of his 2014 Felix-nominated album Fancy Ghetto with a couple of new tracks and a remix. Eponymous EP Like Pacific is out from the Toronto punk band.
In the singles department, “Debout” heralds the March release of a new album from platinum JUNO winner Ariane Moffatt. The electro-pop single is currently #1 on the iTunes Canada Franco chart. It may not qualify as CanCon, but Vancouver’s Emmalyn Estrada and G.R.L. have released “Lighthouse” in loving memory of Simone Battle. Set to become one of the finest pop songs of the year, it was co-written by Canada’s JUNO-winning producer Henry “Cirkut” Walter. Finally, we offer on a side note a single launched to promote season 3 of La Voix (The Voice). It is a cover of the classic “Le blues du businessman” (popularized by Claude Dubois) performed by La Voix coaches Isabelle Boulay, Marc Dupre, Eric Lapointe, and Pierre Lapointe.