One of the biggest of the pleasant surprises this week is The Whole World’s Got the Blues from JUNO winner Crystal Shawanda. Previously scoring four Hot 100 singles, Crystal has crossed over from country to blues rock which is a perfect fit for her husky voice. The album is, for lack of a better word, spectacular. Also impressive is Northern Man, the second LP from James Bay pop/rock band Midnight Shine. Like The Tea Party, another 90s alternative rock band is back. In this case, David Usher-led Moist with Glory Under Dangerous Skies.
From the nation’s capital, Amos the Transparent has released quite a good indie rock album called This Cold Escape. Montreal’s Fire/Works dabbles more in folk rock on Shenanigans. The specialty of Hamilton’s Pet Sun is psychedelic rock; Feel Like I’m Going Away is an EP. For those of you into something harder, check out London, ON’s Single Mothers and new album Negative Qualities, a punk tour de force.
In the alternative music department, we have À la manière des anges from multiple ADISQ Félix winner Mara Tremblay; it is nothing short of a masterpiece. Album Super Class comes from a side project by Yukon Blonde’s Jeffrey Innes under the moniker High Ends. Hailing from Hamilton suburb Dundas, JUNO winning master of electronica Caribou has released Our Love.
Accords is the latest album from platinum recording artist Sylvain Cossette, a mixture of flavours but essentially a pop/rock work with exquisite tracks. Vancouver’s Paige Morgan has released her debut album Golden through 604 Records. It is an excellent, eclectic pop album with smatterings of alternative, dance, reggae, R&B, folk, electronica, and soul. Félix nominee David Jalbert from Mascouche, QC gives us folk pop effort De l’amour proper. Multiplatinum JUNO nominee Maxime Landry of St-Gédéon de Beauce, QC has launched 3e rue Sud. It’s heartland folk pop with extra doses of pedal steel giving it a country flavour.
Speaking of country, this week sees a new album from Toronto’s Reid Jamieson, Juniper’s Kitchen. He has added the word Band in smaller letters after his name bringing his wife onboard this time around. For those into more traditional country, La Riviere, MB’s Jess Reimer puts forth The Nightjar and the Garden. JUNO nominated The Barr Brothers formed by Americans who settled in Montreal a while back have a new alternative folk album called Sleeping Operator. Vancouver’s Laura Reznek also does alternative folk but more driven by piano; her Who Came Before Us is a very beautiful artistic work.
JUNO winning vocal jazz songstress Sonia Johnson has released the gorgeous Le coeur a l’endroit. She is one singer that elicits goosebumps. In the realm of classical music, French born JUNO winning Canadian genius Alain Lefèvre gives us Chopin: 24 Preludes.
In the autumn of 1992, an IRA bomb blew up forensic labs in Belfast; the United States conducted its last nuclear test; a riot broke out in a Sao Paulo prison resulting in the Carandru Massacre and a riot in Mumbai resulted in 1,500 deaths; an Israeli plane crashed in Amsterdam and a Chinese plane in China; a 16-year-old Japanese exchange student was shot dead in Baton Rouge, USA for knocking on the wrong door; the Church of England decided to allow women to become priests, a fire broke out in Windsor Castle; Charles and Diana announced their separation; Czecholslovakia decided to split into two independent countries; a Greek oil tanker ran aground in Spain; an earthquake killed 2,500 in Fores, Indonesia; and, in Vancouver, Canada, a rock quintet formed named Moist. The band was led by David Usher who was born in Oxford, England to a Thai Buddhist artisan mother and a Jewish professor of economics from Montreal.
In 1994, the band released its quadruple platinum album Silver which spawned the singles “Silver”, “Push”, and “Believe Me”. One of our all-time favourite songs by a Canadian artist is Moist’s “Push“.
A little bit more than I ever wanted
A little bit more than you could ever say
Did you really think that I’d forgotten?
Kicked out the windshield, water coming in
Fade away, fade away
Push just a little too late
Is this what you want? What you need?
Is this what you wanted me to be?
Always loved me strapped to you
Lock it down and drive me through
I tried to give more than you thought I’d take now
Taking more than you could ever say
Push come to shove you kicked me in the head
You knock me down I ripped the handle off again
I wanted more than this, wanted more than this
Fade away, fade away
Hands gripped to the wheel held too tight to feel
Face pressed to the glass, please don’t ask
One more breath, one more, it’s alright
I could never give enough, have enough, be enough
You could never stand to stay there
Only only only, fade away, fade away
I wanted more than this
I expected more than this
Sylvain was born in 1963 in Grand-Mère, Québec. He started out musically by joining the English-language band Paradox in the 80s. In 1994, he embarked on a solo career. A couple of his albums went Platinum and he enjoyed many hit singles in Quebec. Felix-nominated songs of his were: “Tu reviendras”, “Que je t’aime”, “Dans tes yeux”, and “Pas besoin de frapper”. In recent years he released a series of albums called 70s in which he covers classic English songs, like “Takin’ Care of Business”, “Let It Be”, and “Message in a Bottle”.
This Toronto band formed in 1985 and released their debut the following year. The primary line-up consisted of the three Timmins siblings Margo (vocals), Michael (guitar), and Peter (drums), as well as Alan Anton (bass). Their first notable hit didn’t come until 1989; “Misguided Angel” peaked at #24 on the national RPM charts. Their biggest hits were “Anniversary Song”, “A Common Disaster”, and “Angel Mine” which all appeared in the mid-90s. Michael was their principal songwriter. The Timmins siblings are the great grandchildren of mining prospector Noah Timmins who founded the city of Timmins, Ontario.
The hard rock quintet from Vancouver released only three albums. Their 1994 debut, Silver, went 4x Platinum thanks to the title-track and “Push”. Their second effort, Creature, spawned hits “Leave It Alone” and “Resurrection”. Moist was led by David Usher, the other members being Kevin Young (keyboards), Mark Makoway (guitars), Jeff Pearce (bass), and Paul Wilcox (drums). Usher has released several albums as a soloist. Moist reformed and released Top 10 album Glory Under Dangerous Skies in 2014.
A 90s power pop quartet from Vancouver, Steven Drake, Doug Elliot, Craig Northey, and Pat Steward (who replaced earlier member Paul Brennan) relocated to Los Angeles, U.S. as they felt their career was going nowhere. There, they were adopted by Warren Zevon as his band. This led to a record deal with BMG. Their biggest hits came with their third and fourth albums (1995-97): “Truth Untold”, “Someone Who’s Cool”, and “Make You Mad”.
Kim, born in St. John’s in 1965, moved to Toronto in 1993 to launch her music career. She secured a recording contract quickly, with EMI and released her first album Bonavista in 1995. Three songs made the year-end charts: “She’s Not in Love”, “Jerk”, and “You Won’t Remember This”. She followed up with 12 Years Old, the title-track of which was her biggest hit, appearing on the year-end chart for 1999 at #33. While the normal course is for rock groups to disband and members embark on a solo career, Stockwood did the opposite. In the new millennium, she left her solo career to form all-female band Shaye with Tara MacLean and Damhnait Doyle.
Luce was born a year after Stockwood in Orleans, Ontario. She began her singing career with a performance in a mall at fifteen. She joined a rhythm and blues band in Montreal. In 1992, Luc Plamondon offered her a role in “The Legend of Jimmy” musical. This was followed by her appearance in 1993’s “Starmania”. Her debut album appeared in 1996. She has since come out with several albums over the years. “Soirs de scotch”, “Quand on s’en va pour oublier”, “Belle ancolie”, and “Tu me fais du bien” were all Felix-nominated songs.
Membership of this Halifax-formed, Toronto-based group has remained unchanged and all members have participated in both its song-writing and singing. Sloan is Jay Ferguson, Patrick Pentland, Chris Murphy, and Andrew Scott. The band formed in 1991 and released their debut album the following year. Their breakthrough came with the third album One Chord to Another in 1996. Sloan’s biggest hits were “Everything You’ve Done Wrong”, “The Good in Everyone”, and “Money City Manics”.
Born in 1961 in Sainte-Foy, QC, Jean grew up in Algeria and Togo and was influenced by African percussion. He returned to Quebec in 1976. His first album came out in 1989 followed by a second in 1990. But his breakthrough came with his third release, Le Dôme, in 1996 . Felix-nominated songs of his were “I Lost My Baby”, “La vie est laide”, “Je joue de la guitar”, “Balade à Toronto”, “Les Corneilles”, and “La plus belle fille de la prison”. Jean Leloup made a big comeback in 2015 with new album A Paradis City. Platinum by the end of the year, it won a host of awards and spawned a number of hit singles.