Peterborough, Ontario folk-rock superstar Serena Ryder is gearing up for the release of a new album; Utopia will hit the shops on May 26. This will be her sixth studio LP. In reviewing Serena’s ryde through success so far, her breakout came with album #3, If Your Memory Serves You Well (2006). The disc contained song “Weak in the Knees”. Though it came out prior to the launch of the Canadian Hot 100 in mid-2007, the fact that the single went gold would indicate it was a fairly big hit. Ryder’s fourth album Is It O.K. (2008) also went gold. It was not responsible for any huge hits; “Little Bit of Red” peaked at #82. The album won the 2009 JUNO for Alternative Album of the Year and the song won 2010’s Music Video of the Year, Serena had snatched up the New Artist of the Year JUNO in 2008.
Four years following the release of album #4, Serena catapulted her juggernaut Harmony which went platinum and spawned some blistering hits. “Stompa” (#8) smashed 3x platinum, “What I Wouldn’t Do” (#8) platinum, and “Fall” made the respectable chart position of #27. More JUNO trophies were awarded to her. Harmony was 2013’s Adult Alternative Album of the Year. And in 2014, Serena Ryder was named both Songwriter of the Year and Artist of the Year.
Testing the waters prior to release of Utopia, single “Got Your Number,” though reaching only #62 has been certified gold. The official lead single “Electric Love” is now up for grabs. As well, she has decked it with a music video that is quite a feast for the eyes showcasing a number of fashionably clad people, face paint, and colourful geometric patterns, most notably, triangles. Could she be hinting at a “bizarre love triangle”? In an interview with People Magazine, Ryder says, “‘Electric Love’ is a song about feeling the magnetic energy between two people,” and she states on her Facebook page that the video was shot over a 3-month period. iTunes
From barren trees to cherry blossoms, things are moving on to better things here. Riding the surf of adopting a new home base and a new name (with a little encouragement from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson we might add), DYLN launches new song “Better Things” and its cheery, fresh music video. The song is gaining some traction at radio, and naturally, DYLN is no stranger to the airwaves, a very capable songwriter with a great voice to boot. She has been compared to Tianshe and Robyn, and the new track “pulsating and filled with attitude”. iTunes
Canadian recording artist Louise Burns has proven through three albums thus far that she is an ace when it comes to songwriting, singing, and musicianship. Her latest new wave leaning album Young Mopes is one of the finest works of the year to date, and we now have a music video for opening track, “Who’s the Madman.” The MV stars a vampire and plays with the concept that real life is often stranger than what we see on TV. Album Young Mopes follows 2013’s Midnight Mass and the 2011 Polaris Prize-nominated Mellow Drama. iTunes
Top Canadian electropop duo Alfa Rococo has released a new music video for “Deux” off 2014 album Nos coeurs ensemble. Yes, albums have a longer life of relevancy in regions that support their own artists. The album was named one of the 50 best of the year by iTunes staff, and CMB placed it at 15th best of the year out of 659. The MV, released in time for the duo’s spring tour, caps things off for the album run, as Alfa Rococo now gets ready to work on its upcoming fourth album with plans to release it this year of 2017. In the meantime, here is the MV for “Deux”. Enjoy.
Honestly speaking, there is no competition when it comes to recording artists; all make contributions to the great pool of music from which we all draw. But in the spirit of fun, let’s just say that Grimes has pretty much decimated everything and everyone around her.
Vancouver’s Claire Boucher, known by her stage name Grimes, can now add to her CV, which includes critically acclaimed recording artist and music producer, one of the world leaders in making music videos. Her newly released MV for “Venus Fly”, which she herself directed, is just about the most dazzling and artistic music video ever made. It features U.S. singer Janelle Monáe.
Grimes who legitimately expressed dissatisfaction with the male-heavy nominations at the 2016 JUNO Awards now finds herself nominated for three trophies at 2017’s: album Art Angels, which includes “Venus Fly” as one of the tracks, is up for Alternative Album of the Year and Recording Package of the Year. Her music video for another track, “Kill vs Maim”, is up for Best Video and also received a Top 20 nod from the Prism Prize. We all need to really acknowledge the amazing work that this Canadian recording artist is doing. Go Grimes!
New Canadian singer and dream pop specialist Amaara (Kaelen Amara Ohm), based in Toronto, is gearing up for release of an EP in early 2017, and she has launched her debut single “Black Moon” complete with a music video that stands as one of the year’s best. Filled with mystical themes and dark ambience, find Amaara near a misty forest joined by some real animals—horse, wolf dog, and owl—lightning, and a rising supermoon. The MV was shot in Alberta in June. iTunes
Toronto 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
While A-Listers Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber gear up for their performances at the 2016 Billboard Music Awards, which has Canadian artists in 20% of the nominations, some fresh MVs from the Eh-Listers came out in the past couple days which deserve a mention.
Tegan and Sara now have an MV for “Boyfriend”, lead single off upcoming album Love You to Death. It has a hula hoop, balloons, a green screen, and some zebras.
Gold recording artist Tyler Shaw drops the official MV for his latest hit “Wicked”, and it’s a steamy one. We’re not sure if he’s mesmerized more by the neon lights, posh décor, or a girl who has his mouth duct taped.
Country ace Kira Isabella launched a lyric video for her new single “I’m So Over Getting Over You” which is a good idea, because the lyrics are quite clever.
Abbotsford, BC’s You Say Party has released an official music video for “Underside” off its self-titled album that came out in early 2016. Inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s classic movie Princess Mononoke, we watch a little one journeying through vast terrain, 4,000 km around Japan to be precise. This is pretty amazing. iTunes
Lucas DiPasquale, originally from Markham, ON, has received some radio spins for music off his EP Post-Secondary. He is a very talented young chap who likes to bring some reggae vibes into pop music. Below is the MV for track “Come Home” with some nice summery urban shots. iTunes
We are keeping our fingers crossed for a new album from Cranbrook, BC’s Louise Burns in a little while. She did drop … not names, not bombs, but a new 2-song single in March. The Bangles taught us how to walk like an Egyptian. Chris Tucker taught us how to fight like an Egyptian. But it is Louise Burns who shows us how to rock … like a pharaoh. iTunes
According to international charity SolarAid, over a billion people in the world live without electricity. Close to 600 million of them live in Africa. Canadian RnB/pop singer songwriter Raghav was intrigued by the organization’s work, saying, “I just can’t believe that in 2015 so many people still live without a reliable source of electricity.” Raghav has associated his latest single “Until the Sun Comes Up” and its music video to a project he undertook to donate 300 solar lights to students at the Shubugubwen Secondary School in a town of Tanzania. This will help them with extra study time and save their families money from the cost of kerosene and candles.
“While the western world have been connected to the grid for nearly a hundred years, and walk around with powerful computers in their pockets, millions in Africa and around the world have to use a tin can and some kerosene to light their homes at night. This is a tragic injustice and one I wanted to bring attention to in my video,” Raghav explains. The solar lights are brighter than kerosene lamps, do not give off fumes, and the light lasts all night long. Extra star power join Raghav in both the song and video: American urban artist Nelly and Bollywood superstar Abhishek Bachchan. The previously launched lyric video surpassed 1 million views. We have embedded the brand new official music video below, shot on site in Tanzania. iTunes
Describing its music as “valley soul”, Ottawa’s The Acorn was birthed by Rolf Klausener in 2002. Inspired by the close proximity to the urban centre of the rural pastures of the Ottawa valley, electronica and folk were joined giving the music a rustic-modern feel. Debut album The Pink Ghosts materialized in 2004 and followup Glory Hope Mountain, which explored Central American folklore, was Polaris nominated in 2008. No Ghost appeared in 2010. Latest album is 2015’s Vieux Loup, the fruit of 3 years of writing and experimenting with various mixtures of “dark electro soul” and “minimalist dirge folk”. It is a hypnotic work of art that stands out among 2015 releases. We have embedded video for track “Cumin” below which will give you a taste. iTunes
Walk Off the Earth is not the only act creating ultra-clever music videos. Ottawa singer-songwriter Kalle Mattson appears to have one-upped everyone with the MV for his latest single, “Avalanche”. Kalle’s 2014 album, Someday the Moon Will Be Gold, was Polaris nominated, and superb track “Darkness” made the CMB’s Top 30 Songs of the Year list. Kalle strikes us as the real deal, a highly underrated talent both in terms of penning lyrics and crafting beautiful songs. With the profusion of indie music out there lacking brawny resources for marketing, independent artists are left with the challenging task of concocting effective tactics to let the masses in on what they have to offer. Some take the easy voyeuristic route while others find more respectable means. We would argue that while the former may result in short-term success, the latter makes for a more momentous, stable, and long-lasting career.
Kalle Mattson’s MV for fabulous song “Avalanche” has him recreating shots on set of classic album covers with himself in place of the artist. He has to quickly change gear to do so. He also does a play on the album titles and artist using variations of his name. No worries if you cannot recall what all the albums are, but you should recognize at least a couple of them. Kalle, who is very meticulous in his planning, states his biggest obstacle for the idea was worrying it might be interpreted by the public as egotistical – his inserting his face into hugely popular albums. He assures us that the spirit behind it is to show his humble appreciation for the artists who made such fine works. We have embedded the MV below for your viewing pleasure. iTunes
Coquitlam, BC beauty Alexz Johnson has shot a music video for song “Heart Like That” off her 2014 album, Let’ Em Eat Cake. We named the LP as the second best work of the year. Consider that this DIY gal is flying independently as a singer, songwriter and record producer and able to cook up such delicious music. Thankfully, Telus has stepped in to help fund the MV production. Alexz has a style she can call her own: adult pop, jaunty vocals, progressive undercurrents, and a good beat. A piece of trivia is that Demi Lovato has said that it is because of Alexz Johnson that she decided to make a career in music. Voila, Alexz Johnson’s brand new music video for “Heart Like That”. iTunes
From Livy Jeanne, we touch base with her Albertan counterpart, Brett Kissel. Raised on a rural cattle ranch NE of Edmonton, listening to Johnny Cash, and mastering the guitar, Brett began releasing independent albums when he was 12 years old in 2003. At 16 in 2006, he became the youngest nominee in the history of the CCMAs. Warner Music signed him in 2013 and released his first major single, “Started with a Song,” which peaked at #58 on the Billboard Hot 100 in October. He was off the races. The album of the same name spawned a total of five charting singles on the Hot 100, the most successful of which was “3,2,1” (#52). In 2014, Kissel won the JUNO for Breakthrough Artist of the Year, an award that does not come that often to country stars. Brett lent his vocals and star power to a track on the debut album of Yoan, winner of The Voice. That album currently stands as 2015’s best-seller from a Canadian.
The time has come for some new music from Brett Kissel. His new single bears the title “Airwaves”. A beautifully shot music video was recently launched. It features a red jeep, a diamond ring, dangling lights in a clearing, and of course a young couple on the path to wedded bliss. Check it out below. iTunes