New Releases, July 7, 2017

Fevers is an alternative group from Ottawa. Album Apologia is essentially electronic with the music swinging between more mainstream pop and alt pop. Dance beats make some appearances at times. This is an impressive album.

Quake Matthews is a talented rapper from Halifax. Find a number of ace guests on album Celebrate the Struggle including JRDN and Ria Mae.

Female rappers are less abundant but there are a few, and one of the best ones at the game is OneNessa. She is based in Montreal. Album Coming Through is for those who love lots and lots of sumptuous bass.

Seasoned country singer Julie Daraîche is the sister of Paul. The Daraîche family is one of the most successful in the country at selling records. Her new one is entitled 50 ans d’amour.

Broken Social Scene‘s Hug of Thunder is the most successful Canadian album released this week, and it deserves to be. The alternative atmosphere it presents is thick enough to be cut by a knife. The large ensemble of players hails from Toronto.

Enthusiasts of alternative music on the quirky side will find much to grin about on Life After Wartime from Toronto’s The Nursery.

Country player Keven Landry has managed to top the iTunes Musique francophone chart with album 94 and its superb musicianship. He’s from Havre-Saint-Pierre, QC.

Hamilton alternative duo Whitehorse submits Panther in the Dollhouse. It’s an album for nighthawks taking a road trip to the Manitoban death star.

Whitehorse may not actually be from the north, but Quantum Tangle is indeed. On album Shelter As We Go…, the Yellowknife duo combines Inuit storytelling, throat singing, and Métis roots and blues.

A couple of EPs to check out are alternative disc Little Fire from Saskatoon’s Too Soon Monsoon and Summer Time Come from Vancouver blues group Ian Campbell Band.


New Releases 6 May 2016

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Montrealers take the maple iced cake for the bulk of this week’s releases, whether the music is Anglo, Franco, instrumental, or Allo! The albums this week are presented in alphabetical order by title.

Alternative rock getup Rust Eden delivers an impressive piece of work entitled Apartment Green. Folky singer-songwriter Geneviève Racette gets an award for the coolest album cover of the year for Les aurores boréales, and the music is good too! JUNO nominee (DJ) Champion returns on Best Seller for some quintessential alternative quirk.

Two-time JUNO nominee Boom Desjardins (of group La Chicane) treats us with the wonderful singer-songwriter LP Clandestin. He’s originally form Val-d’Or, Quebec and has scored a gold album as a soloist. The new album has a very positive writeup from iTunes staff, and the opening track, at the least, is a must-grab.

Another Montreal JUNO nominee (music video of the year, “Chargez!”) is back, Ariel, with rock album Croche. Alternative vibes flow nicely on Cult Following by Little Scream. For some stripped down folk, we have De l’autre côté des montagnes by Guillaume Arsenault (from Bonaventure). Highly sought after female DJ/producer Miss DJ Licious is behind the new work EDM Evolution by L4Y. Find a nice rendition of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” on the dance album.

Alternative ace Benhari has crafted the striking Île Jésus with some Moon Safari surf blended with progressive rock. Kaytranda is making waves with nouveau R&B album 99.9% that features some recognizable names, Badbadnotgood, Craig David, Little Dragon, and more. Guillaume Martineau lets the fingers do the walking on piano album Piano Marin, Vol. 1. Allophone greatness comes by way of world beat infused rap album Reír para No Llorar by Sonido Pesao.

Outside of Quebec, Ora Cogan reps Vancouver with singer-songwriter LP Shadowland, and blues proclivities take hold on new EP The Northern South, Vol. 1 by Hamilton’s Whitehorse. Easily this week’s best pop single is “Air I Breathe” from Toronto’s Crystalyne.

On a side note, electronic music A-Lister Jean-Michel Jarré has released new album Electronica 2: The Art of Noise which includes a number of guests. Among the names Gary Numan, Pet Shop Boys, and Cyndi Lauper is Canadian recording artist Peaches who joins him on track “What You Want”.

Selected New Releases, 17 February 2015

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Post Valentine’s Day and pre Chinese New Year we have a dozen new Canadian albums. Three-time JUNO nominee Melanie Durrant from Toronto gives us exquisite R&B/soul album Anticipation. Montreal’s Punchline 13 dishes out the rock on Cut the Rope. Exceptional Montreal singer-songwriter Michael Feuerstack releases The Forgettable Truth. Winnipeg’s Ashes and Dreams serves some delicious alternative music on Heart of Stone.

Multiplatinum rapper Drake surprises with new album If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. He has landed 22 tracks on the Hot 100, not counting all those in which he is credited as a featured artist. Hamilton’s folk pop team Whitehorse reminds us to Leave No Bridge Unburned. We welcome PEI to the party with one of the province’s most known artists Tim Chaisson whose new album is called Lost in Light, sort of a sweet mishmash of country, pop, and folk. If you want blues, we’ve got it thanks to Toronto’s Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar and album Send the Nightingale.

More alternative music comes to us from Montreal’s fine Bent By Elephants with new album The Shore, Vancouver’s Twin River with Should the Light Go Out, and Eric Chenaux with Skullsplitter. Besides Drake, this week’s highest profile artist is JUNO nominee Marie-Pierre Arthur with some very good pop/rock on Si l’aurore. The album debuted on iTunes at #11.

Dance band Le Couleur releases new EP, Dolce desir which we talked about here. Like the Sun is an industrial shoegaze EP from Whitby, Ontario’s Programm.

As always, we’ll pick a couple of these and review in detail over the next few days.

Le Couleur - Dolce DesirProgramm - Like the Sun

2013 Polaris Prize Short List

Last month, the folks behind the Polaris Prize came up with a list of their 40 favourite albums in the past year. Today, that list was pared down to 10. Eleven “judges” will give the $30,000 cash prize to one of them (the winner) announced at a ceremony in September. You will notice that the kind of music up for the Polaris Prize often differs from best-selling albums and albums nominated for JUNOs and other awards. This is because the list of albums nominated is a reflection of the musical tastes of the group of people on the panel. Generally speaking, sales figures are a reflection of the musical tastes of all Canadians, the JUNOs of those in the music industry, and the Polaris those in Canadian media. Polaris panelists tend to focus more on music, less on lyrics and vocal talent, and generally favour darker, more sombre styles.

Although the Polaris Prize has boasted honouring music all over the genre map, we don’t see too much diversity on this year’s list:  no standard rock, pop, country, jazz, classical.  Essentially, these are indie / experimental / electronic albums. Moreover, although a few appeared on the long list of 40, no Francophone album made this year’s cut; one American artist did. On the positive side, the cool thing about these sorts of lists is that you can listen to the albums online and if you’re lucky discover some new music you like. These albums are very well done great works. Below is the “short list” of ten albums up for the 2013 Polaris Prize with some information on each album and artist. What’s your favourite of the bunch?

Godspeed You Black Emperor - Allelujah Don't Bend AscendArtist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Origin: Montréal
Type: Male-female group
Album: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Release Date: October 2012
Genre/Style: Experimental, instrumental rock

Zaki Ibrahim - Every OppositeArtist: Zaki Ibrahim
Origin: Nanaimo, BC
Type: Female solo artist
Album: Every Opposite
Release Date: September 2012
Genre/Style: Electronic African soul

Metric - SyntheticaArtist: Metric
Origin: Toronto
Type: Female-male group
Album: Synthetica
Release Date: June 2012
Genre/Style: Electronic rock

x-defaultArtist: METZ
Origin: Toronto
Type: Male group
Album: METZ
Release Date: October 2012
Genre/Style: Punk

Purity Ring - ShrinesArtist: Purity Ring
Origin: Edmonton
Type: Female-male duo
Album: Shrines
Release Date: July 2012
Genre/Style: Experimental electronic

Colin Stetson - New HIstory of Warfare Vol 3 to See More LightArtist: Colin Stetson
Origin: Michigan, USA
Type: Male solo artist
Album: New History Warfare Vol. 3: To See More Light
Release Date: April 2013
Genre/Style: Experimental, instrumental jazz-rock

Tegan and Sara - HeartthrobArtist: Tegan and Sara
Origin: Calgary
Type: Female duo
Album: Heartthrob
Release Date: January 2013
Genre/Style: Synthpop, new wave

A Tribe Called Red - Nation II NationArtist: A Tribe Called Red
Origin: Ottawa
Type: Male group
Album: Nation II Nation
Release Date: May 2013
Genre/Style: Powwow step

Whitehorse - The-Fate-of-the-World-Depends-on-this-KissArtist: Whitehorse
Origin: Hamilton
Type: Male-female duo
Album: The Fate of the World Depends On This Kiss
Release Date: August 2012
Genre/Style: Folk rock

Young Galaxy - Ultramarine copyArtist: Young Galaxy
Origin: Vancouver
Type: Female-male group
Album: Ultramarine
Release Date: April 2012
Genre/Style: Indie electronic