Selected New Releases: March 10, 2017

In alphabetical order by album title, we begin with Saint-Hubert, QC rapper Dostie who releases his album Autoportrait. (Don’t worry; he doesn’t rap from the payphone). The jack of all trades opened his own studio in 2005, Exceler Productions, and works as a sound engineer, producer, and emcee. Next, we have Dan Misha Goldman, originally from Montreal, who contributes rich alternative album Champion of the Afterworld. Dan also serves as one-half of duo Snowblink. Calgary classical pianist and triple JUNO nominee Jan Lisiecki teams up with the North German Radio Symphony Orchestra selecting some of the lesser known works of Chopin on album Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra. It’s simply gorgeous.

Currently sitting at #2 on the iTunes Albums chart is Coastline, the new alternative/electronic album from Montreal’s Geoffroy offering a breath of fresh seaside air. To Feel Infinite may be achieved by listening to Montreal JUNO nominee Jacques Greene‘s new electronic LP, a nice work of art. Brampton, ON has a female rapper recording under project name Haviah Mighty; Flower City shows her skills as a rapper, singer, producer, and DJ.

Punk music on the lighter side for a change is concocted with grace on album Meet You from Toronto’s Century Palm. When we think of indie rock, Nova Scotia isn’t the first place that comes to mind; however, the province’s Jon Mckiel handles the genre with mammoth skill on his new record Memorial Ten Count. Hamilton JUNO-winning blues-rock specialist Steve Strongman is back in top form with album No Time Like Now.

Quite a talented alternative rock band from Quebec City, Velvet Black, churns out some boss vibes on album Orleans. Guelph songsmith Richard Laviolette offers a disc of beautifully crafted traditional country flavoured tunes, his fourth album Taking the Long Way Home. Hailing from the far east, St. John’s, NL that is, JUNO winning singer-songwriter Amelia Curran returns with her brand of roots-leaning goodness; her new album is called Watershed.

From Winnipeg enters Vikings and exquisite new electronic pop EP Animal Kingdom. Find quality adult contemporary on Jason McNally‘s EP Les vinyles de mon père. He’s from Laval. Among all the fresh singles out this week, we were quite taken with Young Galaxy‘s “Stay for Real” a moody charmer that could pass for Canada’s answer to Depeche Mode. Very good track.

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