Buy Music CDs at CD Universe. Audio Samples and Reviews Available on Music New Releases 

 

     

 

Custom Search on all Musicomania.ca

 

 

Note: If you can read French, go to the French section for additional content.

 

to SEARCH this page

 

 

JANUARY 2019

   

         

         

 

         

 

 

 

 

 

january 2019:

 

LP – Heart to Mouth

LP – Heart to Mouth

The American behind the hit "Lost on You" is back with her fifth studio album. The first singles, "Girls Go Wild" and "Recovery", literally carry Heart to Mouth, which oscillates between catchy pop rock songs and more emotional pieces. Laura Pergolizzi presents here by her own admission her most personal album to date, directly from the heart. The melodies are still as effective, with sounds that come from who knows where. Her long-time fans or those who discovered her with Lost on You should not be too mixed up with Heart to Mouth, which logically pursues the already well-done work of the singer-songwriter. Here is once again a very solid and pleasant album to listen to from LP. (January 2019 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Recovery »

BlackBox / SIX

½

 

     

 

 Kris Wu – Antares

Kris Wu – Antares

On his debut solo album, Chinese singer Kris Wu moves away from the K-pop that made him known in EXO. He rather presents a quite slow mixture of rap and R&B, focused on rhymes, all in English. Especially thanks to the first single, "Like That", Wu has made a very good breakthrough on most charts in the United States. He surrounded himself with various collaborators: Jhené Aiko, Travis Scott and Rich the Kid (for the most recent single, "Coupe"). Without presenting an album brimming with creativity, Kris Wu managed to find the recipe to reach an international audience. Here we are witnessing his true outbreak. (January 2019 Featured New Artist)

Ace Unit / Interscope / Universal

 

 Bianca Ortolano / Gary Moffet – Bianca Ortolano / Gary Moffet 

Bianca Ortolano / Gary Moffet – Bianca Ortolano / Gary Moffet 

Canadian singer Bianca Ortolano joins legendary guitarist Gary Moffet (April Wine) to present a folk pop album with sometimes jazz or blues sounds. In addition to some original songs, she presents pieces by Bob Dylan ("Don’t Think Twice It's All Right"), Roy Orbison ("Blue Bayou"), Carole King ("Crying in the Rain"), etc. The duo is surrounded by renowned musicians, including Daniel Zanella (drums and percussion), Jean Pellerin (bass), Bob Stagg (piano, organ, accordion, trumpet) and Jeff Smallwood (dobro). Let's also note the participations of Jim Zeller (voice and harmonica on "Don’t Think Twice It's All Right") and Nancy Martinez (voice on "Crying in the Rain"). Here is a very interesting album with a warm atmosphere for this unlikely duo. (January 2019)

Alto Cantina

½

 

 

 

December:

 

 Imagine Dragons – Origins

Imagine Dragons – Origins

In three albums, the Las Vegas quartet has become one of the most prominent bands on the planet, even going so far as to line up three #1 hits on their previous record, Evolve ("Believer", "Thunder" and "Whatever It Takes"). Imagine Dragons come back a year and a half later with Origins, their fourth release, which is the companion to Evolve. The band continues its various sound explorations, not limited to any genre or musical trend. The band can indeed go from heavy rock to pop melodies sometimes even dancing, not to mention some new wave incursions with synthesizers of another era and a little bit of electro of the years 2010. If the result was not always convincing last year, Imagine Dragons seem to have found a better guideline on Origins that turns out a little less chaotic. There are obviously some hits that emerge through the lot (like the inevitable "Natural"), but the whole is linked more pleasantly. The advantage with Imagine Dragons is that you can include their music in any playlist and it remains consistent. If you enjoyed Evolve, you should be thrilled with Origins. (December 2018 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Natural »

KIDinaKORNER / Interscope / Universal

   

     

 

 The Maple City – Brief Golden Age

The Maple City – Brief Golden Age

The name of The Maple City comes from the nickname of their hometown, Chatham, Ontario. The folk rock collective led by singer-songwriter Jason McFadden presents its debut album, Brief Golden Age. Their roots sound was inspired by both Bob Dylan and Violent Femmes. Their pleasure to play together, among friends, transpires throughout the record, and more particularly in songs like "Come With Me", "Love Means..." and "No Predator / No Prey". Friendship seems indeed at the heart of their work ("Friend of Mine", "Long Lost Friends"). It is a light album that is pleasant to listen to along its length and will surely make you stomp your feet with a smile. (December 2018 Featured New Artist)

Music Video: « Come With Me »

½

 Clean Bandit – What is Love?

Clean Bandit – What is Love?

With their debut album four years ago, the English band impressed by their ability to merge dance house and pop beats with strings and classical music. When "Rockabye" (with Sean Paul and Anne-Marie) came out two years ago, Clean Bandit took a more pop turn and it was a huge instant hit. This is probably what dictated the guideline of this new record, while house-classical mergers are from the past (we still find traces of violin and cello though). It's more like a pure dance pop album that is offered to us with What is Love, a refreshing record that has so many immediate hits. Many of these tracks have been released in the last year and have played in a loop all over the place, making the album look like a greatest hits collection. Clean Bandit can recall a modern version of Ace of Base on several occasions with also some hip hop / R&B moments. The band is accompanied by a line-up of renowned artists: Marina and the Diamonds, Elliot Goulding, Big Boi, Rita Ora, Charli XCX, and many others. This is a quality pop record that Clean Bandit offers us with What is Love. (December 2018)

Music Videos: « Rockabye » - « Symphony » - « I Miss You » - « Solo » - « Baby »

Big Beat / Atlantic / Warner

½

   

 

 Muse – Simulation Theory

Muse – Simulation Theory

With their latest album, the British trio brings us deep into an atmosphere of science fiction, with synthesizers right out of a parallel world. The orchestrations and dubstep disappear completely on Simulation Theory, and the band even tries to rap on "Break It To Me". However, the beats remain dynamic throughout the record that offers a good mix of rock, pop and electro. Above all, Muse arrive with a good cohesion throughout the 11 tracks that total only 42 minutes. It is concise, but vast at the same time with explorations in different directions. There are some passages with somewhat old-fashioned synthesizers that may seem to come from a 1980s B-series sci-fi movie, but the whole is very nice though. Muse live up to their reputation with Simulation Theory. (December 2018)

Music Videos: « The Dark Side » - « Pressure » - « Algorithm »

Warner

½

   

 

 

NOVEMber:

 

 Twenty One Pilots – Trench

Twenty One Pilots – Trench

The Ohio duo surprised everyone in 2015 with its album Blurryface which contained the mega hit "Stressed Out". The album has sold over seven million copies around the world and has given the duo the possibility to win their first Grammy. Three years later, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are back with a new record of first quality. Twenty One Pilots are once again able to skillfully mix styles by incorporating alternative rock, rap and electro to their ever-catchy pop music. They do, however, go deep into their personal demons with several dark moments, but they still manage to maintain excellent entertainment. However, we must pay attention to their music which is a little more complex at different times. In short, even if one does not manage to find a hit the size of "Stressed Out", Trench presents a richer and more creative whole than the previous record. Maybe the success was not easy for the duo, but it still results in their best album so far. (November 2018 Featured Review)

Fueled by Ramen / Warner

½

   

     

 

 Hater – Siesta

Hater – Siesta

Hater is a Swedish band formed in 2016 that arrives in North America with its first album (the second in total). They offer a mix of indie pop and rock with catchy melodies, thanks to the soft voice of Caroline Landahl. She is in the heart of the work of the quartet, its central point around which everything seems to gravitate. The music can sometimes be rather minimalist, but the production of Joakim Lindberg can also lead to arrangements rich of several musical layers. It is this variety that makes Siesta so interesting, right from the first listen. But there is especially room for discovery during subsequent listening. Here is an excellent contemporary indie music album! (November 2018 Featured New Artist)

Fire

½

 

 Barbra Lica – You’re Fine

Barbra Lica – You’re Fine

Toronto singer-songwriter Barbra Lica is back with her fourth album, You're Fine. To get inspiration, she went to Nashville to reflect on the jazz music that influenced her. She also wanted to explore the sound of Music City, merging it with her light jazz pop sound. She co-wrote the album with new collaborators and it was produced in Nashville by Marc Roger. Famous musicians participated in the recordings, including Paul Franklin (Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Shania Twain) and multi-instrumentalist Wanda Vick Burchfield (Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Jason Aldean). With You're Fine, Barbra Lica succeeds in the feat of marvelously unifying jazz and country, with as a hyphen her beautiful warm voice. (November 2018)

Justin Time / SIX

½

 

 Elliot Maginot – Comrades

Elliot Maginot – Comrades

After seducing with his debut album in 2015, Quebec singer-songwriter Elliot Maginot returns with his sophomore album, Comrades. Co-produced with Connor Seidel (Matt Holubowski), the CD presents music that is more pop than before with rich arrangements and atmospheres that can remind of Phil Collins. It is this quality of arrangements that hits when listening to the first track, "Common Place (Comrade I)", and this feeling continues throughout the record on which the artist's agile and expressive voice is always enhanced. Just to add elaborate harmonies to the whole, Maginot didn’t hesitate to invite his female friends, including Les Sœurs Boulay, Sarah Bourdon, Ariane Brunet and Marie-Claudel Chénard. Really carried by the opening song, Comrades unfolds with great beauty and a lot of emotion along its length. (November 2018)

Audiogram

½

 

 Pascale Picard – The Beauty We’ve Found

Pascale Picard – The Beauty We’ve Found

Singer-songwriter Pascale Picard returns after a four-year record absence. During this break, she was far from having rested while she has performed across Quebec and France, hosted a radio show and had a child. She joins this time with producer and multi-instrumentalist Antoine Gratton and takes a new artistic direction. She relies a little more on the piano and the strings to accompany her acoustic guitar and her frank voice. For the first time, Pascale presents a song in French, "La tempête" (The Storm), among the nine tracks of the album. She confesses herself to have much difficulty writing in French and had to destroy fifteen songs before keeping this one. The Beauty We've Found is another very beautiful album by Pascale Picard, which carries us into a universe of which she alone has the secret. (November 2018)

Simone / SIX

½

 

 The Respectables – The Power of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Respectables – The Power of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Respectables' last album, Sweet Mama, was released in 2009. The quartet from Quebec City is back in Shakespeare's language with The Power of Rock 'n' Roll, produced by Bernard Fowler (Rolling Stones, Dead Daisies). Sébastien Plante and his band present several rock 'n' roll bombs, with some blues influences. Songs like "Give Some", "Wheel in My Hand" and the title track carry the album. In the meantime, the band gets out of their comfort zone in the excellent "Mardi Gras" and presents two ballads with beautiful string arrangements with "As Good As Love Gets" and "Oasis". Without being stunningly original (many already heard times), the set of 11 tracks remains consistent until the end for a fairly solid album, and especially, very enjoyable to listen. (November 2018)

Vega

 

 

 Robyn – Honey

Robyn – Honey 

Après un album électronique plutôt froid en Body Talk, Robyn revient avec un enregistrement plus chaud et sensuel. Elle venait pourtant de sortir d’une période difficile et n’avait même plus envie d’enregistrer un nouveau disque. Les chansons de Honey ont été inspirées d’événements sombres (la perte d’un ami, une rupture, etc.), mais il en résulte un album passablement joyeux, voire même ensoleillé. La preuve que la musique peut devenir un bon exutoire pour tous ses malheurs. La chanteuse suédoise propose à nouveau des pièces pop dansantes et énergiques, pour un excellent divertissement. Des titres comme le premier extrait, « Missing U », nous restent inlassablement en tête. L’ensemble est original et cohérent pour l’un de ses albums les plus solides à ce jour. Certainement l’un des meilleurs disques pop de l’année! (November 2018)

Konichiwa / Interscope / Universal

½

   

 

 Jean-Philippe Sylvestre – Mathieu / Rachmaninov

Jean-Philippe Sylvestre – Mathieu / Rachmaninov

Following the enthusiastic reception of André Mathieu's Concerto de Québec in 2017, pianist Jean-Philippe Sylvestre returns with a new album and another work by Mathieu. This time it is the "Concerto No. 4 in E minor for piano and orchestra", which is associated with Rachmaninov’s "Rhapsody on a theme of Paganini, op. 43". Accompanied by Montreal’s Metropolitan Orchestra conducted by Alain Trudel, Sylvestre shows us another incomparable work in the repertoire of the Quebec composer. The recording was made as part of the Classica Festival in Saint-Lambert, Quebec. (November 2018)

ATMA Classique

   

 They Call Me Rico & The Escape – Sweet Exile

They Call Me Rico & The Escape – Sweet Exile

They Call Me Rico is the pseudonym of Frédéric Pellerin, a real one-man band who has performed more than 500 times in Canada and Europe. For Sweet Exile, he decided to join the services of Jean Joly (bass) and Josselin Soutrenon (drums) to create a rhythm section worthy of the name. The result is a powerful and world-class blues rock sound. The guitars remain dirty and the melodies are still effective. In addition to blues and rock, Rico explores folk occasionally, always with his rocky voice. They Call Me Rico possibly presents his most accomplished album to date with Sweet Exile. (November 2018)

Voxtone / SIX

 

OCTOber:

 

 Paul McCartney – Egypt Station

Paul McCartney – Egypt Station

Oddly, Egypt Station is the first solo album by Sir Paul McCartney to reach directly the 1st position of the Billboard at its release. Here is another feat to add to the long list of the ex-Beatle. But it must be said that there is perhaps a reason for this quick success: Egypt Station is a very high-quality album that was already getting attention before its release, thanks to the excellent singles "I Don’t Know" and "Come On To Me". The new single, "Fuh You", is also very popular, not to mention the excellent "Who Cares". Macca seems indeed to have lost nothing of his magic touch, materialized by producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Beck, Lily Allen, Foo Fighters, P!nk). The songs are generally quite simple, between pop, rock and folk, but they remain effective overall, including some that we want to play in a loop. Without positioning itself among the most creative records of McCartney's career, Egypt Station is a very good album, very pleasant to listen to. (October 2018 Featured Review)

Capitol / Universal

½

   

 

 Tirzah – Devotion

Tirzah – Devotion

London singer-songwriter Tirzah Mastin has been working on experimental productions for several years now with her friend Mica Levi (Micachu & the Shapes). On this debut album, produced and mixed by Levi, Tirzah offers a superb mix of alternative electronic music and R&B, performed with her beautiful soulful voice. Often minimalist, her sound quickly becomes hypnotic, with many sonic repetitions that remain in our mind without our knowledge. The arrangements are unique and quite sophisticated. As for the voice, several songs come from the first take, which gives this feeling of spontaneity, often a little raw. Here is an album of great creativity that deserves to be listened to a few times to be well imbued. (October 2018 Featured New Artist)

Domino

½

   

 Bears of Legend – A Million Lives

Bears of Legend – A Million Lives

Three years after Ghostwritten Chronicles, the Quebec collective is back with a new album. Less folk than the previous one, this new album proposes very good rock and pop sounds. Recorded in the Mauricie region and produced by Francis Perron, A Million Lives once again offers this creative approach that made the band famous on its previous recording. The aerial atmospheres manage to seduce us quickly and make us adhere with pleasure to the music of Bears of Legend. This is probably their most daring album to date, but it remains both accessible and very enjoyable to listen to. A very good record! (October 2018)

SIX

½

 

 Melanie Brulée – Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind

Melanie Brulée – Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind

The folk rock singer from Cornwall, Ontario, now based in Toronto, was inspired by a road trip between Nashville and Las Vegas through the legendary Route 66 for the writing of this new album. The result is resolutely country sounds and textures influenced by Morricone and Tarantino soundtracks. The 12 songs of Fires, Floods & Things We Leave Behind are based on the idea of 12 steps towards sobriety, a tribute to those who have succeeded and an encouragement to those who have not been able to achieve it, including her father. This is a very interesting album that Melanie Brulé offers us, a modern and quite creative country folk album. (October 2018)

½

 Christine and the Queens – Chris

Christine and the Queens – Chris 

The French singer, whose real name is Héloïse Létissier, releases her long-awaited second album, simply titled Chris. She offers an equally simple sound, pop music that seems easy but is still sophisticated at the same time. Following the success of Chaleur Humaine, she told herself that she had nothing to prove to anyone and we can realize it. She offers us songs rather personal, but in a unique electro pop style of which she has the secret. We are quickly captivated listening to the album, forcing us to hear more and more. Chris is offered in a 2-CD limited edition on which we can hear English and French versions of all these very good songs. The melodies remain effective, on beats that inevitably make us stomp our feet. The test for the second album is successful for Christine and the Queens, with certainly one of the best pop albums of the year. (October 2018)

Because / Universal

   

 

 Erin Costelo – Sweet Marie

Erin Costelo – Sweet Marie

For her fifth album, Erin Costelo moves a little further from her comparisons with Carole King and Nina Simone. It must be said that she has a style of her own, indefinable and inimitable. She offers a clever mix of folk, Americana and soul, with pop moments and jazz influences. She is inspired by both Ryan Adams and Randy Newman. She also covers a Newman song, "I'll Be Home", in conclusion of the record. Erin surrounds herself with renowned musicians: Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo), Anna Ruddick (Randy Bachman), Leith Fleming-Smith (Matt Mays) and her faithful collaborator, guitarist Clive MacNutt. These are 10 nice songs that Erin Costelo offers us on Sweet Marie. (October 2018)

Venue / Pheromone

½

   

 Kandle – Holy Smoke

Kandle – Holy Smoke

Montreal's singer-songwriter Kandle Osborne issues her long awaited sophomore album, Holy Smoke. There are once again very effective pop melodies, but with a rather black sound atmosphere, almost gothic at times. The garage influences of the White Stripes are also present on several occasions, for the one who appeared in a Jack White music video recently. Kandle is accompanied by an army of experienced collaborators: Peter Dreimanis (July Talk), Leon Taheny, John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth), Devon Portielje (Half Moon Run), Alex Bonenfant at the production, and Sam Goldberg Jr. (Broken Social Scene) which was important in the sound aesthetics of the record. This is a more than interesting album that Kandle offers us, an album both seductive and dark. (October 2018)

Sleepless / SIX

½

   

 Paul Kelly – Nature

Paul Kelly – Nature

After more than 35 years of career, Australian Paul Kelly aligns the albums since a few years. Now he comes with Nature, which includes poems set to music by Dylan Thomas, Walt Whitman, Sylvia Plath, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Philip Larkin. Kelly also offers for the first time some personal poems that he set to music. After the success of the album Life is Fine in 2017, Paul Kelly presents an intimate record that is very pleasant to listen to, mainly by the quality of its poetry. (October 2018)

Cooking Vinyl

   

 

 Cécile McLorin Salvant – The Window

Cécile McLorin Salvant – The Window 

Incomparable jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant is accompanied by Sullivan Fortner on piano to deliver an intimate album with The Window. It's strong of a Grammy for Dreams and Daggers that she returns this time with this duet formula. She mainly performs covers of French cabaret and rhythm & blues. In particular, she includes Stevie Wonder's "Visions", Cole Porter's "Were Thine That Special Face", as well as "Somewhere" from West Side Story. Cécile offers only one original song, "À clef", entirely sung in French. On The Window, you can hear a mix of studio and live recordings at New York's Village Vanguard. The McLorin Salvant-Fortner duo dazzles us while remaining soft. It's as if they only play for us. Here is another great success for Cécile McLorin Salvant. (October 2018)

Mack Avenue / Justin Time / SIX

½

   

 Al Muirhead’s Canadian Quintet – Undertones

Al Muirhead’s Canadian Quintet – Undertones

A true iconic figure on the Canadian jazz scene, Al Muirhead is now 82 years old. The trumpet player, composer and arranger still comes back with a new album in a freshly assembled quintet for the occasion. A master in the art of bass trumpet (a rather rare instrument), Muirhead offers in his own way eight jazz standards. He also offers us two original compositions in tribute to deceased loved ones: "A Tune For Cal", for his older brother, and "Takin' It To the Bank, Tom", for his friend and collaborator, pianist Tommy Banks, deceased a few weeks before this recording which took place in mid-February 2018. (October 2018)

Chronograph / SIX

½

   

 Jimmy Rankin – Moving East

Jimmy Rankin – Moving East

One of the most popular folk musicians in the country and a member of the famous Rankin Family, Jimmy Rankin has lived and worked in Nashville for seven years. Back in Nova Scotia, he immediately started recording Moving East, his new album, with producer Joel Plaskett. He was inspired by the sea and people to record a roots album from the East Coast. There are many stories from Cape Breton, as well as a celebration of his return home. With the opening song, "Loving You Never Gets Old", it looks like Rankin was inspired by the country music of Nashville. But later, the album remains resolutely folk with some discreet Celtic moments. (October 2018)

Songdog / High Romance / True North / SIX

   

 Shad – A Short Story About a War

Shad – A Short Story About a War

With A Short Story About a War, the rapper presents a bold concept album. Shad has imagined a world in constant war where snipers, revolutionaries, stone throwers and the establishment clash, while a reckless character who does not believe in the powers of gun bullets crosses the landscape. The concept is a barely distorting mirror of our world in which he addresses the themes of migration, ecology, politics and above all, the human spirit. However, although the themes may be rather incisive, Shad succeeds in presenting several frankly catchy pieces. Musically, the album is rich with complex ideas on the background of rap, of course, but also funk and jazz. The rapper can count on several collaborators who also bring their color to the album: Kaytranada, 2oolman, A Tribe Called Red, Lido Pimienta, etc. (October 2018)

Secret City / SIX

½

 

 The Trews – Civilianaires

The Trews – Civilianaires

Civilianaires is the sixth studio album for Canadian band The Trews which presents here a refreshed sound. The album was produced by Derek Hoffman and the legendary Bob Rock (Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Bush). There is also Max Kerman (Arkells) who co-wrote and co-produced the second single, "Vintage Love", as well as Serena Ryder who co-wrote the title track. The Trews offer energetic hard rock that sometimes flirts with a more alternative sound. The album is literally carried by the inevitable "Vintage Love" and "The New Us", two real breaths of freshness. (October 2018)

Cadence

   

 

 Sam Tucker – Aye Avast

Sam Tucker – Aye Avast

British Sam Tucker landed in Gaspésie and adopted Quebec. He was then discovered by a large audience by going to the semi-final of La Voix in Quebec in 2017. The public then fell under the spell of this outstanding interpreter with boundless charisma. Tucker releases a first EP of original songs. You can hear six tracks between folk, rock and blues, songs that are perfect for his powerful voice. Tucker has surrounded himself with an all-star team to record this album, with producer Rob Heaney (Franklin Electric, Patrick Watson), guitarist Joe Grass, bassist Mishka Stein and drummer Robbie Kuster. For "Pretty Face" at the end of the album, Tucker is supported by Lisa Moore (Blood and Glass). With Aye Avast (which means "stay focus"), Sam Tucker demonstrates all his talent as a performer and has nothing to envy to the greatest folk artists in Canada. (October 2018)

Audiogram

½

 

 Carrie Underwood – Cry Pretty

Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty

For the first time, superstar Carrie Underwood co-produced her album alongside David Garcia. She also co-wrote nine of the 12 songs, making it her most personal record to date on which she lets herself go to her emotions. The CD includes a 13th bonus track, "The Champion" (featuring Ludacris), which opened the Super Bowl LII, and was heard at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. On Cry Pretty, Carrie offers music that still has her country influences, but that seems a little more rooted in soul and pop music. This is a very effective album, for an artist in full control of her career. (October 2018)

Capitol Records Nashville / Universal

½

   

 

 Kenny Blues Boss Wayne – Inspired by the Blues

Kenny Blues Boss Wayne – Inspired by the Blues

Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne is a legendary blues pianist who returns with a new album, recorded in Edmonton. He is accompanied for the occasion by bassist Russel Jackson (BB King), drummer Joey DiMarco, guitarist Yuji Ihara, saxophonist Dave Babcock, and trumpet player Bob Tildesley. We can also hear special contributors: Billy Branch on harmonica, Duke Robillard on guitar and the singer Lynne Chwyl. Blues Boss offers pure blues music with an incomparable groove that pays tribute to Ray Charles and Fats Domino, two of his favorite legends that have recently died. Inspired by the Blues is a very nice record! (October 2018)

Stony Plain / SIX

   

 

september:

 

 Nicki Minaj – Queen

Nicki Minaj – Queen

Four years after The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj returns with her fourth album, Queen. As it was the case on all her previous albums, Nicki still seems to be split between offering authentic rap and pop music that will reach a large audience. It is when she succeeds in fusing both that she does best, as it is the case in opening with "Ganja Burns" and "Majesty" (with Eminem and Labrinth). Subsequently, she focuses on fairly aggressive rap, and it is not often very successful. In addition, with over an hour of music, we would have preferred a few less songs to solidify the whole. Fortunately, the many collaborators add a little of their personality to some songs, which brings it a little more interesting. In addition to Eminem and Labrinth, we can hear Lil Wayne, Ariana Grande, The Weeknd, Future and many others. This is once again an uneven album that offers us Nicki Minaj, but with less explosive hits than on her previous record. (September 2018 Featured Review)

½

   

 

 Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Hope Downs 

An Australian band formed in Melbourne, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever presents an indie rock sound that captivates quickly, with catchy choruses, superb guitar riffs and effective rhythms. With this debut album, they can make us think of a mix between R.E.M., The Cure and The Strokes. On the other hand, they offer compositions of a great creativity which makes forget all the comparisons rather quickly. At the end of the 35 minutes, it feels like you have discovered a really good new band, and the desire to go back to the beginning is irresistible. Here is one of the best indie rock albums to be released this year so far. (September 2018 Featured New Artist)

Sub Pop

½

   

 The Beths – Future Me Hates Me

The Beths – Future Me Hates Me

The Beths is a band from Auckland, New Zealand, making their record debut with a first full-length album. They propose an energetic rock sound that can even be inspired by punk on some occasions, but with the sweet voice of Elizabeth Stokes. Guitar riffs are always interesting and exciting, but so are the catchy melodies and the beautiful vocal harmonies. The 10 songs of the record have a good fluidity in an almost perfect sequence. The result is an excellent indie rock album. (September 2018)

Carpark

½

   

 Samuel Blais – Equilibrium

Samuel Blais – Equilibrium

Saxophonist Samuel Blais has toured Europe, Asia and America in recent years, and he has collaborated with some of the greatest names in jazz. It is the inspiration of these many travels that is behind Equilibrium, his most recent album. It shows all his maturity, both on saxophone (viola or baritone) and composition. Musically, Blais evolves between different styles, exploring improvised jazz, contemporary classical and even progressive rock. He introduces both his fragile side and his intensity in a contemporary and timeless sound. (September 2018)

Odd Sound / SIX

   

 Colin James – Miles To Go

Colin James – Miles To Go

On his 19th album, Colin James returns with the follower to Blue Highways released two years ago. The Canadian artist has selected songs from the repertoire of blues artists that he particularly likes. There are nine new versions of songs by his favorite artists, including Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson and Robert Johnson. We can also hear two original songs: "I Will Remain" and the excellent first single "40 Light Years". Finally, the CD ends with a second version of the title track, an acoustic one this time. On Miles To Go, Colin James seems more comfortable than ever in the style in which he was discovered and progressed. (September 2018)

Stony Plain / True North / SIX

½

   

 Mitski – Be the Cowboy

Mitski – Be the Cowboy

After gaining recognition with Puberty 2, Mitski Miyawaki returns two years later with Be the Cowboy. She offers 14 short songs, but greatly built, with always very pleasant melodies. The envelop can be rock at first with creaking guitars, but the whole remains rather sweet and emotional afterwards. The addition of synthesizers also gives a better pop touch to some songs. Mitski issues once again compositions of great creativity delivered with her unique personality. An album that is pleasant to listen to and especially re-listen to it to impregnate well. (September 2018)

Dead Oceans

½

   

 David Myles – Le grand départ

David Myles – Le grand départ

The singer-songwriter from Fredericton, New Brunswick presents his first album in French. David Myles proves once again all his versatility. He has worked for the occasion with several Quebec female singers, including Marie-Pierre Arthur, Gaële, Carole Facal (Caracol) and Florence K. Produced by François Lafontaine (Karkwa), Le grand départ offers mainly acoustic music that focuses on the lyrics. Myles will present this new material on stage with his faithful companions: Alan Jeffries (guitar, voice) and Kyle Cunjak (bass, double bass, voice). (September 2018)

L-A be / SIX

 

 Myriad3 – Vera

Myriad3 – Vera

Vera is the fourth album by the Toronto jazz trio formed of Chris Donnelly (keyboards), Dan Fortin (bass) and Ernesto Cervini (drums and various instruments). Myriad3 offers a sound that is a little brighter than on their previous record, Moons. Obviously, it all remains very cinematographic, for unusual ambient music. There is also a strong intensity on several occasions, certainly inspired by their love of eclectic styles like shoegaze and hard rock. The whole remains rather meditative, even hypnotic. In addition to their very successful compositions, the trio reworks an Igor Stravinsky classic from 1919, "Piano-Rag-Music", and they give it a whole new life. (September 2018)

Alma / SIX

½

   

 Roxanne Potvin – All It Was

Roxanne Potvin – All It Was

After taking full control of her career in 2016 by producing her For Dreaming album, Roxanne Potvin is back with a five-track EP. She still presents a mix of folk rock and pop, but also with incursions in soul, blues and R&B, in addition to some psychedelic sounds. She concludes with a very beautiful ballad in French, "Nuit électrique", co-written with Damien Blass-Bouchard. One thing is sure, Roxanne Potvin has not lost any of her creative strength and she once again offers songs of very high quality. Note that a video series will accompany the songs of this EP. (September 2018)

Comino / Fontana North

½

   

 Crystal Shawanda – Voodoo Woman

Crystal Shawanda – Voodoo Woman

After an early career as a country singer, Ontario native artist Crystal Shawanda releases a third blues album with Voodoo Woman (the first to be available outside Canada). Her powerful and intense voice recalls both Janis Joplin and Beth Hart. She covers several great blues classics (with a good dose of rock): "Hound Dog", "I'd Rather Go Blind", "Misty Blue" and the title track. Crystal also signs three tracks among the 10 that counts the album. Here is an intense album that does not lack energy. (September 2018)

New Sun / True North / SIX

   

 Soran – EP

Soran – EP

Discovered by a large audience during his presence to La Voix (Quebec version of The Voice) in 2016, Soran proved that he could sing almost anything and interpret it in his own way. He also showed up on social networks and online music platforms where he has accumulated more than two million plays. Soran is now releasing a first EP of six tracks in English, and it is this time as a songwriter, arranger and producer that he introduces himself to the public, at only 20 years old. The talented artist offers a very good mix of pop, electro and reggae, for a refreshing and creative whole. (September 2018)

Audiogram

½

 Chris Velan – Amateur Hour

Chris Velan – Amateur Hour

Chris Velan became particularly known for being behind the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars project a dozen years ago. But, he has pursued a solo career for 15 years as a singer and songwriter. For Amateur Hour, he began writing about a relationship, before realizing he was exploring the relationship with himself. He presents 10 songs in the form of monologues where the characters are forced to respond and react to unexpected news about themselves. The Montrealer recorded the album in a winter week in his snowy country studio. Produced by Rod Shearer, the album is less folk than its predecessors with rather pop rock sounds. (September 2018)

Newsong / SIX

 

August:

 

 Kanye West – Ye

Kanye West – Ye

After several personal issues and controversies over the last two years, it seems that Kanye had to lock himself in the studio in recent months to evacuate his demons. This has resulted in several albums recently, either as a collaborator or producer. He is back now with his eighth solo album, Ye, which is actually just a seven-track EP. Some may say it’s a good thing, because Kanye quickly carries us into discomfort, which we will feel to the end. So, it's better if the torture lasts only 23 minutes. The disconnect between his personal and professional life now seems non-existent, as he transposes all his problems on record to our greatest dismay. He puts his mental health problems squarely at the centre of this album. The artist who was particularly creative at one time is no longer the shadow of himself. Let's hope that the recording of this album will at least have relieved him, because it is now the listener who needs a therapy. (August 2018 Featured Review)

   

 

 Snail Mail – Lush

Snail Mail – Lush 

Lindsey Jordan, aka Snail Mail, is an 18-year-old artist with undeniable natural talent. After an EP two years ago that had attracted attention, she finally presents her debut full-length album. The singer and guitarist presents a trio formula of indie rock music, rather lo-fi with a good load of melancholy. The guitar is at the centre of her music and beautifully accompanies her really nice voice and superb melodies. We fall quickly in love and we cannot stop listening until the end of this beautiful album. Lush has all it takes to become a great album in the genre. And Snail Mail has a very promising career ahead of her. (August 2018 Featured New Artist)

Matador

   

 

juLY:

 

 5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood

5 Seconds of Summer – Youngblood

Following the huge success of their first two albums released in 2014 and 2015, the quartet 5 Seconds of Summer took a break from the studio and they are now back with their third album. The hit title-song, as well as the first single, "Want You Back", set the tone for this very teen pop album. Their emo side from the debut, which even earned them the pop punk label when they first appeared opening for One Direction, is completely gone here. However, there is some rock in a few tracks, probably since it is a full band and not just a vocal group like so many others in the genre. 5SOS offer energetic music with catchy choruses. So, even if few tracks stand out, the band has everything to achieve another incredible success with Youngblood. (July 2018 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Want You Back » - « Youngblood »

Capitol / Universal

   

     

 

 Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny

Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny

British duo Tracyanne Campbell (Camera Obscura) and Danny Coughlan (Crybaby) are releasing their debut album. The self-titled record unfolds smoothly and with a lot of emotion. The mixture of both voices is particularly successful, which does not prevent that they can shine each other throughout the CD. Danny's style is reminiscent of Roy Orbison, which is getting along well anyway with Tracyanne's contemporary indie pop. Danny draws all the attention on him with "Jacqueline", a sad and touching ballad. However, it is Tracyanne who steals the show in the opening track, "Home & Dry", as well as several other times throughout the record. Some mid-tempo pieces have a little country side that is not uncomfortable at all, adding an interesting flavor to their soothing music. Tracyanne and Danny complement each other beautifully on this first album, which could not have been released without this fusion between the two artists. (July 2018 Featured New Artist)

Merge

½

   

 Jill Barber – Metaphora

Jill Barber – Metaphora

After four years of absence on record, Jill Barber reinvents herself on Metaphora. She enters indeed the world of pop music. With her new single, "Une femme doit faire", which is found here in English ("Girl's Gotta Do"), she has already managed to catch attention on French radios. This is a catchy and rhythmed song that deals with gender equality. After proving her talent in folk, jazz and even French song, Jill demonstrates all her ability to write also very good pop songs. It must be said that she had help from Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) who collaborated with her to write the entire album. Jill has entrusted the production to another great name, Gus Van Go (Whitehorse, Arkells), who, from his studio in New York City, is always accompanied by the creative strength of Werner F. The collective Likeminds also collaborated on the album, as well as Gavin Brown and Maia Davies who did some tracks in Toronto. We can hear many dance songs, but also some more introspective tracks on the piano, including the touching "Mercy". It's an audacious album that Jill Barber offers with Metaphora, but she's up for the challenge with a high-quality pop recording. (July 2018)

Outside / SIX

½

   

 Neko Case – Hell-On

Neko Case – Hell-On 

Five years have passed since Neko Case's last solo album, but she is back strongly on Hell-On. The alternative singer with folk and country influences offers indeed a greatly inspired record that cleverly navigates between genres. The melodies manage to catch us from the beginning and it would be very difficult to stop listening before the end. Neko ensures the production of the album, with Bjorn Yttling who co-produces five songs (he also co-wrote all 12 tracks). Neko's warm and dominant voice is accompanied by beautiful arrangements that bring great richness to the album. With the inspiration and the quality of the production that one can hear on this, one can certainly consider Hell-On among her most interesting records in career. (July 2018)

Anti- / Epitaph

   

 

 Ben Kunder – Better Human

Ben Kunder – Better Human

Toronto folk rock singer returns with a new album, Better Human. He tells us nine stories, as only him can, on fairly traditional folk music with also more pop, very catchy parts. For the occasion, Kunder surrounds himself with some collaborators who add their voices to his: Oh Susanna, Jim Guthrie and Carleigh Aikins (Paper Bird, Bahamas). There are also Sarah MacDougall and Maia Davies (Ladies of the Canyon) co-writing respectively "Better Days" and "Fight for Time" (the first single). This is a very nice album that Ben Kunder offers us, once again. (July 2018)

Comino / Fontana North

   

 Panic! At the Disco – Pray For the Wicked

Panic! At the Disco – Pray For the Wicked

After the very solid Death of a Bachelor two years ago, Panic! At the Disco are back. Once again produced by Jake Sinclair, this sixth studio album by the band is a kind of logical continuation of the previous one. It presents a conceptual idea that is inspired this time by R&B and hip hop of the 1990s, in almost perfect fusion with the pop rock sound now very characteristic of the group. We could talk about overproduction on several occasions with beefy musical packaging that goes in all directions, but it is this loaded music that has made the band so interesting in recent years. The arrangements may be reminiscent of a musical show, but it is mostly the catchy melodies that become completely addictive. The band offers once again both an exciting and a refreshing album. (July 2018)

½

   

 

june:

 

 Charlie Puth – Voicenotes

Charlie Puth – Voicenotes

After the huge radio hits of two years ago, including the inevitable "Marvin Gaye", the American pop singer returns with his sophomore album. It contains again some bombs, like "Attention" and "How Long". But what keeps most of the attention on Voicenotes, it is a much greater coherence throughout the record. Puth now seems in full control of his career, when he was literally propelled to the forefront with his debut album after his success on YouTube. He opens a little more about his personal life on several occasions, but he delivers mostly solid pop songs. He can still be compared to Justin Timberlake, but he is increasingly establishing his own style of pop / R&B with soul influences. We can hear some contributors on Voicenotes: Kehlani, Boyz II Men and James Taylor. (June 2018 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Attention » - « How Long » - « Done For Me »

Atlantic / Warner

   

     

 

 Justin Saladino Band – A Fool’s Heart

Justin Saladino Band – A Fool’s Heart

Even though he is only 23 years old, the Montreal guitarist has been present on the Quebec music scene for more than 10 years. He has shared the stage with many artists including Victor Wainwright, Steve Strongman, Frank Marino, Paul DesLauriers, Jack of Keyzer and Ronnie Baker Brookes. On A Fool's Heart, Saladino skillfully mixes genres, from blues to rock and soul, with a touch of funk on some occasions. The album was recorded in Montreal and produced by Connor Seidel (Matt Holubowski, Beatrice Keeler). By the way, Beatrice Keeler lends her voice to the album, which adds a very appreciated touch of feminine. This is a solid record that Justin Saladino and his musicians offer us, a pleasant album to listen to from beginning to end and that makes us feel good. Mission accomplished! (June 2018 Featured New Artist)

Bros / SIX

½

   

 Chromeo – Head Over Heels

Chromeo – Head Over Heels

The Montreal electro duo returns with their fifth album, recorded in their studio in Los Angeles. Dave 1 and P-Thugg demonstrate their love for funk, soul and R&B, styles that have influenced them since their teenage years. For Head Over Heels, Chromeo has many collaborators, including The-Dream, French Montana, Raphael Saadiq, Rodney Jerkins, members of Toto, and many others. The duo is already having its fourth single from Head Over Heels with the latest, "Bad Decision", which follows "Must've Been" (with DRAM), "Juice" and the excellent "Bedroom Calling" (with The-Dream). The latest is considered by Billboard as one of the best songs by Chromeo for years. Chromeo are offering a particularly refreshing album with Head Over Heels, a record reminiscent of the 1980s, while remaining very contemporary. (June 2018)

Music Videos: « Juice » - « Must’ve Been »

Last Gang / SIX

½

   

 Corneille – Love & Soul

Corneille – Love & Soul

For his seventh album in career, Corneille decided to revisit hits of the 1980s and 1990s he was missing. There are timeless songs from Toto, Wham!, Sade, Lenny Kravitz, Tracy Chapman, Simply Red, Cindy Lauper, Chris Isaak, and many more. Corneille sings the whole with his sweet voice, sometimes in a dance R&B version and sometimes acoustic. He has worked for the occasion with some of the most prominent producers in France today: Ofenbach, Joe Rafaa (M. Pokora), Fred Savio (Christophe Mae) and Thierry de Cara (Frero Delavega). Some of the songs that stand out are "Careless Whisper", "Smooth Operator", "It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over" and "Time After Time". On Love & Soul, it is the interpreter in Corneille who takes center stage for our greatest happiness. (June 2018)

Wagram / 323 / Musicor

½

 

 Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer

Father John Misty – God's Favorite Customer

The indie rock / pop singer returns with his fourth album in 6 years. After Pure Comedy merely a year ago that lasted 75 minutes, Father John Misty (aka Josh Tillman) narrowed it all down for God's Favorite Customer for a total under 40 minutes. It is a lighter and refreshing album, a record with very beautiful catchy melodies. There are ballads reminiscent of Elton John in his early days. Tillman's voice is in the foreground throughout the album, which may put some music lovers off, but the arrangements are still of high quality. So, this is another very good album that Father John Misty is offering us, a very nice and more accessible album than the previous one. (June 2018)

Sub Pop

½

   

 

 Florence K – Estrellas

Florence K – Estrellas

After incursions into jazz and French songs, Florence K returns to her first love, with an album of Latin / Cuban music. For the occasion, she worked with Alex Cuba and the result is an album that greatly combines salsa and reggaetón. Mostly in Spanish, there are still moments in English and French, especially with "Morena" that can be heard in two versions, in Spanish and French in conclusion of the CD. The rhythms are still effective and Florence is certainly one of the few non-Cubans to write and play that well the rhythms of this country with rich musical heritage. Here is a warm and sunny album that will accompany your summer, or a trip to the Caribbean... (June 2018)

½

 

 Harold Lopez-Nussa – Un Dia Cualquiera

Harold Lopez-Nussa – Un Dia Cualquiera

For his new album, the Cuban pianist leaves aside some his Latin roots and offers totally original jazz music. These compositions were designed for this unique trio completed by his younger brother Ruy Adrian on drums and Gaston Joya on bass. A Dia Cualquiera (An Ordinary Day) proposes the idea of ​​entering the studio and playing freely, as one would do at home. The result is a spontaneous album where the pleasure of playing seems obvious. In addition to original compositions, Lopez-Nussa offers two very successful performances of Ernesto Lecuona's repertoire, "Danza de los Nanigos" and "Y la Negra Bailaba". Like Gershwin in the United States, Lecuona is considered as one of the greatest Cuban composers, having succeeded in integrating indigenous and popular forms into the classical repertoire. The pianist also plays the famous bolero "Contigo En La Distancia", performed by several artists through time including Placido Domingo and Christina Aguilera. As well at ease when improvising with his trio, Lopez-Nussa seems to be at the right place and the right time, throughout this album in his image. (June 2018)

Justin Time / SIX

½

   

 Tami Neilson – Sassafrass!

Tami Neilson – Sassafrass!

The Canadian-born singer now living in New Zealand conquered Quebec during her last tours. On Sassafrass (who is said about a sassy person who is not afraid to speak their mind), Tami Neilson seems to want more than ever to have fun. She offers energetic music combining rockabilly, soul, blues and country. With her new haircut as a bonus, it looks like she participates to the soundtrack of a movie by Tarantino. The set of music arrangements gives a cinematic quality to the album. From the opening track and first single, "Stay Outta My Business", Tami offers us an irresistible groove in accompaniment to her powerful voice. She allows herself to revisit a composition by her father Ron Neilson, "One Thought of You". Then she defends the women of Hollywood and all the women assaulted by men in "Smoking Gun" and "Kitty Cat", two songs with a very different tone to treat almost the same topic, the first being much darker. Finally, she pays homage to Glen Campbell on the day of his death in "Manitoba Sunrise at Motel 6". (June 2018)

Outside / SIX

   

 Judith Owen – redisCOVERed

Judith Owen – redisCOVERed

On redisCOVERed, the British female singer plays a variety of songs, pop, rock and even hip hop, in stripped piano-voice versions with some drums, and discreet strings and brass. Judith Owen makes us rediscover these songs often very well known in a jazzy rather sweet version. We can hear for example "Hotline Bling" (Drake), "Shape of You" (Ed Sheeran), "Black Hole Sun" (Soundgarden), "Hot Stuff" (Donna Summer), "Smoke on the Water" (Deep Purple), Grease's "Summer Nights", "Play That Funky Music" (Wild Cherry), "Blackbird" (Beatles) and many others. She also pays tribute to one of her greatest influences, Joni Mitchell, revisiting "Cherokee Louise" and "Ladies Man". Judith manages to skillfully deconstruct these familiar songs to make them hers. The result is a refreshing album to perfection, and above all, remaining consistent from beginning to end. (June 2018)

Twanky / SIX

½

   

 

mAY:

 

 Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer 

Five years have passed since her last album, and the singular artist Janelle Monae is now back with a new futuristic R&B work. As usual, she navigates between genres with unheard ease, integrating rock, pop and funk music to a set both disconcerting and captivating. Janelle succeeds more than ever in conquering us from the first tracks and it is very difficult not to stay until the end thereafter, especially since the album is a little shorter here with 43 minutes. With "Make Me Feel", she offers an irresistible funk song that has everything you need in creativity and attractiveness to become a classic. The other two singles from the album, "PYNK" and "I Like That", also have this power of attraction that makes Janelle Monae so mesmerizing. She surrounds herself in addition to giants of music with the discreet collaborations of Brian Wilson, Pharrell Williams and Grimes. The artist continues to intrigue, but especially she hits the nail with Dirty Computer, a gem of her generation and certainly her most complete album to date. (May 2018 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Make Me Feel » - « PYNK » - « I Like That »

Bad Boy / Warner

½

   

     

 

 Soccer Mommy – Clean

Soccer Mommy – Clean

Soccer Mommy is the stage name of Sophie Allison, a 20-year-old singer-songwriter who grew up in Nashville. She first issued last year a collection of home recordings previously released on the web, and she is back this time with her real first album. On Clean, Soccer Mommy offers 10 indie rock songs that keep a stripped side, even if they benefit here of arrangements much more elaborate than her previous recordings. We can already feel that she is developing more and more her own style that will become quickly recognizable. This is a very good debut album by Soccer Mommy who will remain an artist to watch closely in the coming years. (May 2018 Featured New Artist)

Music Videos: « Your Dog » - « Cool »

Fat Possum

½

   

 Matthew Barber – Phase of the Moon

Matthew Barber – Phase of the Moon

Four years after Big Romance and two years after his collaboration with his sister Jill Barber for The Family Album, the Torontonian returns with Phase of the Moon, which he produced himself. Carried on by the first single, "Back To You", as well as the beautiful title track, the album presents itself gently, around the voice of Matthew and his discreet arrangements of piano and acoustic guitar, occasionally accompanied by strings. These songs were born in the Montmartre district in Paris, where the singer and his wife settled for a month in early 2017. The album is marked by a certain melancholy, comfort and appeasement. Recorded in three days in Ontario, Phase of the Moon has very personal songs that bring back Matthew Barber to his roots. Very pleasant! (May 2018)

Outside / SIX

½

   

 Beach House – 7

Beach House – 7

Beach House is a Baltimore duo formed in 2005 by Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. You guessed it thanks to the title, they are already issuing their seventh album. They offer alternative music that goes between indie rock and aerial pop. In recent years, they have blossomed and expanded their musical spectrum. They continue this evolution on this seventh opus while few songs are similar. There's only Victoria's vaporous voice that makes the link all the way through the record, but after all, it's their trademark. Beach House worked differently in the studio this time. They first changed producer by hiring Sonic Boom to replace their loyal collaborator, Chris Coady. Then, they invited their touring drummer, James Barone, to the studio. But above all, they recorded the songs as they were written, for greater spontaneity and not to hinder creativity. The result is rich, varied and it manages to keep our interest to the end. A very good record by a duo who knows now where it is in its career. (May 2018)

Sub Pop

½

   

 

 Jean-Michel Blais – Dans ma main

Jean-Michel Blais – Dans ma main

Quebec pianist and composer Jean-Michel Blais is back with a new album, Dans ma main (In My Hand). Working in a neo-classical style, he decided this time to include minimalist electro. The result is an amalgam of post-classical and contemporary pop music incorporating synthetic sounds that break his intimate world at the piano on various occasions. The title-track draws its influence from the poet Hector of Saint-Denys Garneau. Blais explores the influence of spirituality on everyday life, as he is fascinated by the almost religious silence his music provokes in concert. With Dans ma main, Jean-Michel Blais marks another important milestone in his career by presenting an innovative neo-classical album. (May 2018)

Arts & Crafts / SIX

½

   

 The Box – Take Me Home

The Box – Take Me Home

The legendary Montreal pop rock band is back to everyone's surprise with a four-track EP, available on digital platforms. Jean-Marc Pisapia and his band offer songs that fit perfectly into the band's work, including effective rhythms and unforgettable melodies. With only 15 minutes of music, we are quickly disappointed because we would take a lot more of these effective compositions. After nine years of absence on record, The Box are definitely back in force, ready to find back their audience of the 1980s that never forgot them. (May 2018)

The Great Tomato Company / SIX

½

 Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa

Jeremy Dutcher is a classically trained tenor and composer who does not hesitate to mix his Wolastoq roots with the music he creates. The result is totally original music that combines classical, traditional and pop music. Dutcher also accompanies his album with a powerful visual, very artistic, photographed by Matt Burns. Dutcher's music is not very accessible at first, and certainly requires a period of adaptation. (May 2018)

SIX

 

 Juliana Hatfield – Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John

Juliana Hatfield – Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John

Although we would not be sure of it naturally, alternative rock singer Juliana Hatfield had Olivia Newton-John in awe as a child. On this new album, she is pleased by taking 13 classics of her heroine. Indeed, it was the positivism of her songs that she appreciated so much in Olivia, always delivered with her pretty melodious voice. Juliana says that “listening to her is an escape into a beautiful place”. We can hear "Magic", "Physical", "Totally Hot", "Xanadu" and "Hopelessly Devoted To You", not to mention "I Honestly Love You" which starts the CD, in addition to returning to the end as a reprise. With this album, Juliana Hatfield makes us rediscover the songs of Olivia Newton-John in a new light. Very nice! Note that one dollar from the sale of every album will be donated to the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJ Centre). (May 2018)

American Laundromat

½

   

 Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up

Lake Street Dive – Free Yourself Up

On their sixth album, the Boston quartet Lake Street Dive reaches new heights in power and virtuosity. It must be said that their training in jazz has certainly something to do with it. It's the two women in the band who take control here. First, bassist Bridget Kearney (who issued a solo album last year) composed or participated in the composition of seven of the 10 songs on the album. Then, Tennessee-based singer Rachael Price steals the show with her powerful voice and imposing presence in every song. The group offers solid pop rock music, still with some retro soul influences, but more discreet than before. We can perhaps make some connections with bands of the 1970s like Fleetwood Mac, but the set of Free Yourself Up remains totally original. Certainly their best album so far! (May 2018)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

   

 

 Low Cut Connie – Dirty Pictures (Part 2)

Low Cut Connie – Dirty Pictures (Part 2)

Since Dirty Pictures (Part 1), the singer and pianist Adam Weiner has really become the leader of Philadelphia band Low Cut Connie, and it's even more obvious here (we even see him on the cover). The band takes a little further its exploration of old rock 'n' roll brought up to date. In fact, apart from the sounds of another era more obvious on some occasions, it is a contemporary pop rock album of great creativity. The dosage seems perfect between new creations and influences of the past. The group presents perhaps its most successful album to date. A very nice record! (May 2018)

Contender

½

   

 

 Loreena McKennitt – Lost Souls

Loreena McKennitt – Lost Souls

After 12 years of absence from the studio, Manitoba's Loreena McKennitt returns with Lost Souls, her first original album since An Ancient Muse. The singer-songwriter again presents the sound that has always characterized her, folk music with Celtic and New Age influences, with passages inspired by Middle Eastern. Her high-pitched voice accompanied by piano remains mesmerizing and certainly makes us travel. Some of the nine tracks offered were composed several years ago, while others are newer. Some were inspired by poems by John Keats and W. B. Yeats, while the title song is based on Ronald Wright's book, A Short History of Progress. The instruments are numerous on Lost Souls and beautifully accompany the piano and the voice of Loreena, for a rich album that is very pleasant to listen to carefully until the end. (May 2018)

Quinlan Road / Universal

½

   

 Modern Studies – Welcome Strangers

Modern Studies – Welcome Strangers

Modern Studies is a Scottish collective formed in 2015 which releases today its second album. They offer indie pop / chamber pop music with elements of folk and experimental jazz, all wrapped up in beautiful string arrangements. Thanks to these orchestrations, several of the 10 songs evolve in a crescendo that completely hooks us on. Impossible to detach afterwards so we find ourselves hypnotized. More sophisticated than their debut album, Welcome Strangers takes the band to another level. An excellent record, extremely pleasant to listen to along its length! (May 2018)

Fire

½

   

 

 Parkway Drive – Reverence

Parkway Drive – Reverence

The Australian hardcore metal band has been around for 15 years now, and they seem to be improving from album to album. This sixth record from Parkway Drive borrows from the melodic metal popularized by British bands in the 1980s (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest), without distorting the style of the group developed over the years. Their aggressive side remains well supported by the guttural voice of Winston McCall. But much brighter moments like "Prey" for example, balance things, for a metal album that has the potential to reach a large audience. The rap metal of "Absolute Power" brings us back to the good years of Rage Against the Machine that would meet Sepultura. As for "The Void" (not the most interesting one), it could have appeared on Metallica’s black album 27 years ago. In conclusion, what Parkway Drive is doing on Reverence is that they open completely by dropping their blinkers. The result is a varied album that remains solid in all aspects explored. Bravo! (May 2018)

Epitaph

½

   

 

 Michael Rault – It’s a New Day Tonight

Michael Rault – It’s a New Day Tonight

Originally from Edmonton and now based in Montreal, Michael Rault is introducing his third album with It's a New Day Tonight. He offers us again a great blend of 1970s folk rock, 1960s pop and neo-psychedelia. He can be compared to Tame Impala among his contemporaries, as well as Wings, George Harrison and Badfinger in the 1970s, from when the album could easily be coming. The themes he addresses here revolve around sleep and dreams, concepts that have attracted him. Recorded at the legendary Daptone studio in Brooklyn, the songs have almost no added arrangements for a very live in studio sound. This is a very nice album by Michael Rault, which also ends in a long sunny jam with "When the Sun Shines". (May 2018)

Sleepless / Daptone / SIX

½

   

 Shinedown – Attention Attention

Shinedown – Attention Attention

After more than 15 years of career, the band from Florida returns with its sixth album. True to themselves, the Shinedown guys introduce us to a mix of post-grunge and hard rock. Attention Attention contains several effective beats and melodies, starting with "Devil" and the title track. The first single, "The Human Radio," leaves otherwise somewhat indifferent despite an energetic chorus. And this is unfortunately what we still find mostly on this new album, songs lacking creativity, personality and causing a few positive reactions. They seem to want to dive into metal on several occasions, but they never go far enough. Shinedown remains the American version of Nickelback with a good dose of Billy Talent. (May 2018)

Music Videos: « The Human Radio » - « Devil »

Atlantic / Warner

½

   

 

 Dana Sipos – Trick of the Light

Dana Sipos – Trick of the Light

Canadian folk singer Dana Sipos, totally independent and nomadic, returns with a new album on which she worked with experimental producer Sandro Perri. The result is a unique album from which the echoes of the great outdoors transpire, even though the CD was recorded in Toronto. Also noteworthy is Mary Margaret O'Hara's collaboration to "When the Body Breaks". With Trick of the Light, Dana Sipos presents an album that reflects her free personality. (May 2018)

Roaring Girl / Fontana North

   

 The Young Novelists – In City & Country

The Young Novelists – In City & Country

The Ontario duo The Young Novelists is actually a couple formed of Graydon James and Laura Spink. They like to explore the history of a small provincial town group, its involvement to the community, etc. Their often poetic lyrics are always sung with superb harmonies. In City & Country, their third album, was recorded in Montreal with producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen). There are great moments of indie rock carried out by the electric guitar, but the duo also explores folk music on several occasions. We find a lot of melancholy in the ballads. Wilco seems to have been an important influence for the couple. (May 2018)

 

april:

 

 Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots (2018)

Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots (2018)

Eight years after their eponymous album, the Californian band comes back with another self-titled record, as they lack inspiration even for their album titles. Things have happened in recent years. Not only did Stone Temple Pilots lost their singer, Scott Weiland, who died of an overdose in 2015, but they also lost Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) who joined the band for two years and who committed suicide last year. The remaining three members had to hire a new singer and the lucky winner was Jeff Gutt, a contestant on The X Factor. Gutt has a vocal style very similar to Weiland, which will not be too exotic for the band's fans. Musically, STP does not move away from their old style by still offering hard rock reminiscent of the 1990s. The melodies and riffs are generally effective, but the surprises are rather rare. It's a standard rock sound, a perfect match for the band, but that will not be impressive for anyone unfortunately. Even the hardcore fans will have trouble hanging to this new album and will probably fall back on the classics of the band. (April 2018 Featured Review)

Warner

   

     

 

 The Savilles – Something Strange

The Savilles – Something Strange

The Savilles is a Toronto quartet that arrives with their first full-length album after an EP in 2016. Singer Meagan Brittanie, Montreal guitarist Sylvain Marquis, bassist Gabriele Mabrucco and drummer Nate Finucci offer electro-pop music with good elements of rock. Everything merges perfectly with beautiful and totally unforgettable melodies. We can compare the Savilles to a mix between Alvvays, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and She & Him. It is a refreshing and extremely pleasant record until the end. Its main fault is being too short with only eight tracks totaling just over 25 minutes. Ironically, the CD is ending with « I Want More ». (April 2018 Featured New Artist)

Gypsy Soul / SIX

½

 Megan Bonnell – Separate Rooms

Megan Bonnell – Separate Rooms

After truly establishing her style in 2016 on Magnolia, the Ontario female singer returns with an album with incomparable pop melodies on a background of folk and indie pop. More folk at first, the album takes off with the third song, the potential hit "Your Voice", before following the same path on "What's Good For You". If Separate Rooms picks up the elements that made the success of the previous record, it however has a greater maturity. Another very good album by Megan Bonnell! (April 2018)

Cadence

½

   

 Camaromance – Chasing Clouds

Camaromance – Chasing Clouds

Camaromance (aka Martine Groulx) offers music inspired by lost loves, an often broken and heavy heart. The artist proposes an introspective and deep folk sound on which she puts her high-pitched voice that helps to illuminate the whole. Eight years have passed since her last album, which she thought would be the last one, but Camaromance has lost none of her creative spirit, inspired by a series of recent bereavements. The result is her most personal album to date. The 12 songs introduce 12 characters who give their names to the titles. It is like 12 paintings of a loaded work. A very good record! (April 2018)

Simone / SIX

½

   

 Amen Dunes – Freedom

Amen Dunes – Freedom

Songwriter and performer Damon McMahon is back with his project Amen Dunes, four years after Love which received all kinds of praise. Freedom was produced on a background of drama while McMahon's mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer at the beginning of the recordings. While keeping the songs rather simple, McMahon gives them a certain size thanks to a musical richness little present previously. He is working again with Godspeed You! Black Emperor that adds to the already very charged set. Amen Dunes brings indie folk music to another level, a level rarely achieved before, thanks to an excellent blend of folk, rock and electronics. The arrangements make the songs very bright, for his richest and most accessible album to date. An excellent record! (April 2018)

Sacred Bones

½

 

 Mark Kingswood – Strong

Mark Kingswood – Strong

Mark Kingswood is a British singer who recently adopted Quebec. On this first album, the crooner offers a mix of pop and jazz that reminds us of Michael Bublé on several occasions. Kingswood even refers to him in "Got a Thing for Swing". Songwriter and composer, he signed many of the 13 tracks offered. He can also be heard doing renditions of classics from R.E.M. ("Losing My Religion") and George Michael ("One More Try"). The first one takes a whole new dimension in this intimate atmosphere, which makes it a very good ballad. On Strong, it is surrounded by sixty musicians that Mark Kingswood offers us music with rich arrangements. (April 2018)

21K

 Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed

Bettye LaVette – Things Have Changed 

The career of soul legend Bettye LaVette took a turn in the mid-2000s when she began to surround herself with rockers and bluesmen. It's in recent years that she has produced her best albums, and she still moves forward with Things Have Changed. This time, she sings 12 songs from Bob Dylan's extensive repertoire. Often blues-sounding, the album presents these timeless songs in a whole new light. It must be said that an interpretation by Bettye LaVette allows the song to be transformed and she makes it her own. That's what she does all along the CD for almost an hour, bringing us to completely forget the original version, and even its creator. Noteworthy are the guest appearances of Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty. In addition to the opening title track, the highlights of the album come with "It Ain’t Me Babe", "Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight" and "The Times They Are A-Changin'". But, it is the whole that deserves a careful listening and that will prove to be very enjoyable. The magic still works with Bettye LaVette! (April 2018)

Verve / Universal

   

 Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour 

Three years after the excellent Pageant Material, the Texas country female singer returns with her sixth album (excluding her Christmas record from two years ago). What strikes from the first songs of the album is its bright side that carries us immediately under the sun. Her sweet and charming voice is certainly for something in it, but the rich arrangements contribute a lot. Indeed, they quickly come out of the country limits to remind us of 1960s pop music or 1970s folk, flower dresses in bonus. She even explores disco on "High Horse". Kacey Musgraves once again manages to seduce us with a refreshing and enveloping record, a perfect record for the summer season. In addition, you will not be able to get rid of several melodies that are extremely catchy throughout the 13 tracks. Golden Hour can certainly be considered as her strongest album to date and she is taking a serious option on the country album of the year. (April 2018)

MCA Nashville / Universal

   

 Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer

Old Crow Medicine Show – Volunteer

The band formed 20 years ago in Virginia is back with a new explosive album. Indeed, by partnering with producer Dave Cobb, widely recognized in Nashville, Old Crow Medicine Show has made sure to expand their repertoire and take a new direction. Volunteer still contains elements of folk, roots and traditional music, but with a country sound much more obvious than before. Above all, what Cobb managed to do with the band is to recreate on record the atmosphere of their inflamed concerts. One quickly realizes it with the energetic opening track, "Flicker & Shine", something never heard on record until then for the band. We find other tracks to make us stomp all along the album, but we can also hear plaintive ballads all equally effective, just to make us breathe a little. Old Crow Medicine Show presents perhaps their most cohesive album to date with Volunteer. Very well done! (April 2018)

Columbia Nashville / Sony

½

   

 Rosie & the Riveters – Ms. Behave

Rosie & the Riveters – Ms. Behave

In the wake of the #metoo movement, the Saskatchewan women's trio could not help but deal with the subject. Rosie & the Riveters wrote more than 40 songs for this new album, before going to Toronto to work with composers like Royal Wood and Matthew Barber. The result is 12 folk songs with a retro twist, but which remain very current. You can also hear elements of jazz, pop and soul. Their stance may seem a bit weird in their musical context, but when you consider that the band's name was inspired by Rosie the Riveter, an active feminist icon during the Second World War, Ms. Behave makes perfect sense in support for sexually-abused women. Indeed, all proceeds from "I Believe You" will be donated to YWCA Canada, which supports survivors of sexual abuse. (April 2018)

SIX

 Mikhaëlle Salazar – Deslembrança

Mikhaëlle Salazar – Deslembrança

Mikhaëlle Salazar is a Quebecker of Chilean origin. She followed in the footsteps of her bassist, guitarist and singer father, and began studying violin at the age of five. She later devoted herself to jazz singing and graduated from the University of Montreal in 2015. She performed with various bands, as well as participating in TV shows as a backing vocalist, such as En direct de l’univers on CBC French television. Mikhaëlle gives us today her first EP containing five Latin jazz songs, strongly influenced by the music of Brazil, Cuba and Chile: salsa, samba, bossanova and funk. Above all, she gives a surprising rendition of Willie Lamothe's Quebec classic "Mille après mille", in a new bilingual bossanova version. She will probably be able to get attention thanks to this extraordinary cover, in addition to presenting warm and sunny music throughout Deslembrança. (April 2018)

½

 SC Mira – Keep Crawling SC Mira – Drug Warm Coma

SC Mira – Keep Crawling / Drug Warm Coma

With this CD, Winnipeg pop rock band led by female singer and guitarist Sadye Cage assembles two EPs. Keep Crawling was released last September with the excellent "Free", "Mexico" and "Breaking My Skin". As for Drug Warm Coma, another three-song EP, we hear it here for the first time. Even if the last is less catchy than the first, SC Mira will surely seduce you with this too short record. (April 2018)

Sugar Gator

½

 Kyra Shaughnessy – Standing Still

Kyra Shaughnessy – Standing Still

The singer-songwriter releases her fifth album with Standing Still. She offers 10 folk roots songs alternating between English and French, also integrating Irish Gaelic. Among her original compositions, we can hear two traditional rearranged pieces: "Tout passe" (Acadian, inspired by Yves Marchand’s version) and "Samhradh, Samhradh" (Irish, inspired by The Gloaming version). On the title track, we can hear lyrics recited by Atikamekw singer Sakay Ottawa. Kyra offers a great mix of sounds from Quebec, Ireland and West Africa with a superb balance between guitar, kora, cello and percussion. Her warm voice envelopes everything and makes her melodies unforgettable. For soft and rich folk music, Kyra Shaughnessy meets expectations with Standing Still. (April 2018)

½

 Royal Wood – Ever After the Farewell

Royal Wood – Ever After the Farewell

For his new album, the Canadian singer-songwriter traveled to London to record with Jamie Scott (Rag'n'Bone Man, Justin Bieber, Major Lazer, Tom Odell, Macklemore). In recent years, Royal Wood had to deal with the death of his father and meeting his great love, and this mix of emotions is heard on Ever After the Farewell. Indeed, there is a fusion between the regrets of the past and a flourishing future filled with positivism. Musically, Royal Wood expands even more his spectrum with influences of the 1960s and frankly contemporary pop music. Some more introspective acoustic ballads are added to the whole. On Ever After the Farewell, Royal Wood plays practically every instrument and recorded almost every song on the day of its creation. The result is probably his most immediate album, a record that quickly captures our attention and keeps it until the end. (April 2018)

Outside / SIX

½

   

 

march:

 

 Vance Joy – Nation of Two

Vance Joy – Nation of Two

After the success of his debut album, Dream Your Life Away, thanks mostly to the radio hit "Riptide", the Australian singer-songwriter is back on record. Vance Joy presents again his melodic folk sound with a sometimes pop, sometimes rock trend. Nation of Two once again contains great potential hits, starting with the unmissable first single "Lay It On Me". Superb melodist, Joy manages to hang us with most of his songs. It only lacks a little musical creativity at times to really stand out from Ed Sheeran, Jack Johnson, James Blunt and others. However, his style begins to take shape, for a more coherent second album than the first one. (March 2018 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Lay It On Me » - « We’re Going Home » - « Call If You Need Me »

Atlantic / Warner

   

     

 

 I’m With Her – See You Around

I’m With Her – See You Around

I'm With Her is a super female trio composed of Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Aoife O'Donovan (Crooked Still) and Sarah Jarosz. They offer a stripped-down and discreet folk sound with bluegrass influences. Warm textures and superb vocal harmonies enrich the whole. See You Around is an album that slowly installs, requiring a minimum of patience. On the other hand, fans of soft folk music will be greatly rewarded after 40 minutes. (March 2018 Featured New Artist)

Rounder

   

 Anne Bisson Trio – Four Seasons in Jazz: Live at Bernie’s

Anne Bisson Trio – Four Seasons in Jazz: Live at Bernie’s

Four Seasons in Jazz was recorded live from Bernie Grundman's mastering studio in Hollywood (March 2017), in a completely analog version, direct-to-disc. Anne Bisson offers a sweet jazz sound that sometimes takes on the appearance of folk. She interprets the four seasons in three pieces each, in addition to the introduction to summer, "I Can See Clearly Now". The album concludes with three bonus tracks, including an original song, "Come On, Lolita", to be issued on her next album. If you like stripped-down piano-voice jazz, Anne Bisson will surely capture your attention. (March 2018)

Camilio / Musinfo

 

 Cats on Trees – Neon

Cats on Trees – Neon

Following the release of their debut album in 2013, the duo Cats on Trees has had tremendous success in France. Thanks in particular to the hits "Siren's Call" and "Jimmy", the self-titled album has sold more than 220 000 copies and allowed the duo to perform over 200 concerts in France during a 2-year tour. On Neon, Nina and Yohan come back with pop music with unusual melodies, on electro-pop rhythms. They are inspired by both the Beach Boys and Arcade Fire, a good mix of analog music from another era and contemporary sounds. Their unforgettable melodies delivered with an incredible charm by Nina succeed again to seduce us. It’s hard not to fall in love! (March 2018)

Tôt ou Tard / SIX

½

 

 Ellen Doty – Come Fall

Ellen Doty – Come Fall

The Calgary singer with an exceptional voice is back with her second album, four years after Gold. A great songwriter and performer, Ellen Doty offers jazz music with pop influences and even soul music. On the other hand, on Come Fall, she decided to completely strip down her sound, thus finding herself often accompanied only by a very discreet piano. As discrete drums sometimes add to the whole, but that's it. No bass, no guitar, no brass. This is another successful album introduced to us by Ellen Doty. (March 2018)

Alma / Universal / SIX

   

 Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending

After five years of waiting, Franz Ferdinand members make a return on record with Always Ascending. From the opening track (the title track), we can perceive that the band is somewhat lost, with a mix of disco and cheap electro, and rhythm changes that are more useless than unpredictable. Everything is confirmed later with many songs that sound old. There are some rhythms to make us stomp, but the band no longer seems to be the shadow of itself. We rather want to quickly return to the first albums of the band when we hear pastiches of their best songs, much less interesting. One can even hear the melodic line of "Take Me Out" during "Lazy Boy". Very disappointing this fifth album by Franz Ferdinand! (March 2018)

½

   

 Myles Goodwyn – Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues

Myles Goodwyn – Myles Goodwyn and Friends of the Blues

Founding member of April Wine in 1969, it is at the dawn of his 70 years that singer and guitarist Myles Goodwyn presents today his blues compositions that he accumulated during all those years. He was accompanied by real blues musicians: Jack de Keyzer, Garret Mason, David Wilcox, Amos Garret, Kenny Wayne, Joe Murphy, Frank Marino, Shaun Verreault, Bill Stevenson and Rick Derringer. Goodwyn's voice remains clear and powerful throughout the 12 tracks of the album which is exceeding 52 minutes. This is an effective blues rock album by a Canadian rock legend. (March 2018)

Linus / SIX

   

 Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

Moby – Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt

Five years have passed since his album Innocents, but Moby is finally back on record in his very own style of very cinematic electro music. It must be said that in recent years he had explored other horizons with his punk project The Void Pacific Choir. On Everything Was Beautiful, and Nothing Hurt, his 15th album, we find the Moby that we discovered in the 1990s, especially with Play that will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary. Moby is of course still inspired by English trip hop, but there are also soul and gospel influences through his melancholy music. He succeeds in offering us contemporary music, but in direct connection with the past. Moby points out that all the songs on the album have imperfections or are incomplete, just like weavers in the Middle East who deliberately introduce defects into their carpets, believing that only the Divine can be perfect. Even if these imperfections turn out to be discreet on this Moby CD, there are still some surprising moments, like "The Ceremony of Innocence" which does not have any line of bass. Despite these imperfections, it is a very successful album that offers us Moby. (March 2018)

Little Idiot / Arts & Crafts / SIX

½

   

 Mount Eerie – Now Only

Mount Eerie – Now Only

On A Crow Looked at Me issued last year, Phil Elverum told us how the death of his wife, Geneviève Castrée (an artist born in Quebec), had changed his life. He's already back with Now Only, trying to look at the future with his daughter. It is with great tenderness that the songwriter and performer tells how much he changed, whether he likes it or not. Less sad than his previous record, it is still extremely introspective, moving away from rock most of the time to flirt with folk, accompanying himself on guitar. Now Only may be less of a hit than the previous critically acclaimed album, but fans of Mount Eerie will be delighted to see where Elverum is with his life. A record to discover slowly and that will leave you a beautiful glimmer of hope facing death. (March 2018)

P.W. Elverum & Sun

½

 Jordan Officer – Three Rivers

Jordan Officer – Three Rivers

The virtuoso Montreal guitarist presents his fourth album with Three Rivers. After having covered songs that were important for him on Blue Skies, he returns with 11 original songs incorporating blues, soul, funk and gospel, all with sounds of New Orleans. Officer collaborates again with drummer Charley Drayton (Keith Richards, Divinyls, B-52's) who produced the album in a New York City studio. It is through studio improvisations that the duo has managed to create a unique language to this record bringing us to the roots of Jordan Officer's influences. A very good record for any fan of old blues. (March 2018)

Spectra

½

 

 Suuns – Felt

Suuns – Felt

For their new album, the Montreal quartet wanted to take their time, to be more relaxed in its creation. Suuns entered the Breakglass Studios with Jace Lasek from the Besnard Lakes for five sessions spread over several months. The album was mixed to perfection by renowned John Congleton (St. Vincent), who came straight from Dallas for the occasion. Freer than ever, the band indulges in out of the ordinary musical explorations. The first single, "Watch You, Watch Me", gives a good overview with unique beats by drummer Liam O'Neill to accompany a particular organic / synthetic blend. A little less dark than in the past, Ben Shemie and his band take a more playful path with Felt. It is an album that still requires a certain effort of adaptation and which is thus addressed to an informed public. However, we can hear impressive creative feats, with a very good mix of experimental rock and electro. (March 2018)

Music Videos: « Watch You, Watch Me » - « Make It Real »

Secret City / SIX

½

   

 Whyte Horses – Empty Words

Whyte Horses – Empty Words

After having greatly impress with their debut album, Pop or Not, two years ago, the Manchester band is back with a new album. On Empty Words, Dom Thomas and his band did not want to reproduce what had worked on the first recording. Less influenced by French pop and funk, this new record offers avant-garde indie pop music, incorporating electronics. Whyte Horses are then propelled from the 1960s to 2018. We still find obviously their first influences, but a little better sprinkled and integrated into the whole. So, the album remains refreshing, while seeking a little more our intellect. Audrey Pic replaces Julie Margat as lead singer, bringing more experience. We can also hear Melanie Pain (Nouvelle Vague), Leonore Wheatley (The Soundcarriers) and La Roux (who steals the show on "Best of It"). In the end, the much-appreciated qualities of the first album are still found on Empty Words, but with a certain evolution towards more contemporary music. (March 2018)

CRC

½

   

 

february:

 

 Fall Out Boy – M A N I A

Fall Out Boy – M A N I A

Fall Out Boy had completed this seventh album last year, but unsatisfied, they deleted everything to start from scratch. The result is probably their most pop album to date with many catchy melodies and some dancing beats. They can still go into hard rock on occasion, especially with "The Last of the Real Ones". On the other hand, it is rather the first single, "Champion", that represents the best compromise between their current style and the rock sound of their past. Few moments on the album manage to really stand out, and the whole is rather average. So, nothing really interesting and perhaps their worst album so far. (February 2018 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Champion » - « The Last of the Real Ones » - « Hold Me Tight or Don’t »