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OCTOBER 2018

 

Featured Review:  Paul McCartney    Featured New Artist:  Tirzah

 

October 19-25:

Melanie Brulée - Erin Costelo

 

October 5-18:

Bears of Legend - Paul Kelly - The Trews

 

October 1-4:

Christine and the Queens - Kandle - Cécile McLorin Salvant - Al Muirhead -

Jimmy Rankin - Sam Tucker - Carrie Underwood - Kenny Blues Boss Wayne

 

 

Reviews coming up next month:

Twenty One Pilots - The Respectables - pASCALE pICARD - Hater

and much more...

 

Key for the stars

 

archives:

 

       

       

   

         

         

         

 

       

     

 

 

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

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

 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.

Capitol / Universal

½

   

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 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.

Domino

½

   

 

OCTOber 19-25:

 

 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.

½

 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.

Venue / Pheromone

½

   

 

OCTOber 5-18:

 

 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!

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.

Cooking Vinyl

   

 

 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.

Cadence

   

 

 

OCTOber 1-4:

 

 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.

Because / Universal

   

 

 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.

Sleepless / SIX

½

   

 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.

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.

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.

Songdog / High Romance / True North / SIX

   

 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.

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.

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!

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

   

 MC Mario – Summer Anthems 2018

MC Mario – Summer Anthems 2018

The famous Quebec DJ is back with one of these compilations that are characteristic of him, making an overview of the biggest current dance hits. Sometimes house, R&B or Latin, Summer Anthems 2018 features artists like Maroon 5, Bob Sinclar, Martin Solveig, Selena Gomez, DJ Snake, Liam Payne, Pradaboi, MK, Zedd, Felix Cartal and many others. MC Mario mixes everything to perfection for a complete package to listen to in one block. On the other hand, with only 54 minutes and several important hits that seem to have been forgotten, we have the feeling that we are missing 20 minutes of music somewhere. MC Mario has been more generous in the past. (August 2018)

Universal

   

 

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

   

 Steve Hill – The One-Man Blues Rock Band

Steve Hill – The One-Man Blues Rock Band

Recognized for many years as one of the best guitarists of his generation, Steve Hill is becoming more and more known as a true one-man band. He dazzles wherever he goes on stage as he really plays every instrument on his own. With The One-Man Blues Rock Band, the multi-instrumentalist offers his first live album, recorded at La Chapelle in Quebec City last November. You can hear 12 original blues rock songs, including three acoustic pieces. We can also hear two covers, including the incomparable "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" that he plays almost better than Jimi Hendrix himself. On this tenth career album, which he considers as his most successful, Steve Hill impresses with his vast talent. One could challenge anyone to guess the number of musicians on stage as he takes possession of the whole stage. The only regret is that we cannot see him perform. When will we get a DVD? In the meantime, don’t miss him on stage if he plays in a venue near you, since he will leave soon for a long tour in the United Kingdom and Germany where he gets more and more popular. (June 2018)

No Label / SIX

½

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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