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MARCH 2019

 

Featured Review:  Ariana Grande    Featured New Artist:  Sheila Soares

 

March 15-21:

Madison Violet

 

March 1-7:

Bryan Adams - Luis Fonsi - Yves Jarvis - Avril Lavigne - Weezer (2)

 

February 22-28:

Dominique Fils-Aimé - Emilie Kahn - Murray A. Lightburn

 

February 15-21:

The Cat Empire - Amanda Rheaume

 

February 8-14:

Colin Linden & Luther Dickinson - Jessica Pratt - Elizabeth Shepherd

 

February 1-7:

mIKE pOSNER - mAGGIE rOGERS - Lou Doillon - Prieur & Landry -

Taking Back Sunday - Sheryl Crow (Blu-ray)

 

 

Key for the stars

 

 

archives:

 

     

         

         

         

 

       

     

 

 

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

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next

Ariana Grande – Thank U, Next

Just six months after Sweetener, Ariana Grande already offers us the fifth album of her young career. Powered by the singles "Imagine", "7 Rings" and the title track, Thank U, Next offers 12 songs of modern and creative pop. There is the perfect balance between dance pop and ballads, between dark and happy songs, with some sensual R&B elements. We can say that at age 25, Ariana has already found her style and her world, and that she has the perfect control. Troubles happened to her in recent years and they surely have been sources of inspiration. One has only to think of the Manchester attack during her 2017 concert, not to mention the premature death of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller. Ariana has managed to channel her energy into creative energy and today she presents her most solid album to date. Thank U, Next presents itself as the album of a pop star at the top of her art.

Music Videos: « Thank U, Next » - « 7 Rings » - « Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored »

Republic / Universal

½

   

     

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 Sheila Soares – All There Is

Sheila Soares – All There Is

Sheila Soares comes straight from Toronto with a first album of original songs. The singer-songwriter (and former teacher) offers soft jazz incorporating elements of soul, blues and folk. She can be compared to Norah Jones, Diana Krall and Alison Krauss. The short record of seven tracks totaling less than 26 minutes was produced by Eric St-Laurent, who also plays guitar. St-Laurent beautifully accompanies Sheila with the help of keyboardist Jeff McLeod and a solid rhythm section formed of Jordan O'Connor (bass) and Chris Wallace (drums). All There Is contains haunting music that quickly reaches us thanks to the beautiful voice of the artist. The main flaw of the album is that it is frankly incomplete (almost an EP finally).

½

 

march 15-21:

 

 Madison Violet – Everything’s Shifting

Madison Violet – Everything’s Shifting

The Canadian female duo, made up of multi-instrumentalists Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, returns with their seventh studio album. Madison Violet offer again their folk pop sound with impeccable vocal harmonies. The orchestral arrangements are lush and enrich very beautifully the music of the two artists. This is a mesmerizing album that quickly captivates us and makes us want to see them performing on stage, where Brenley and Lisa are at their best.

Passenger Sounds

½

 

march 1-7:

 

 Bryan Adams – Shine a Light

Bryan Adams – Shine a Light

Shine a Light is the 14th album in career for Canadian Bryan Adams. He takes the various elements that have been the recipe for his success in the past with an excellent mix of rock 'n' roll, rhythm 'n' blues and pop, with a few ballads through. We can hear several frankly catchy songs ("All or Nothing", "No Time For Love"). But what strikes quickly from the first moments with the title track and "That's How Strong Our Love Is" is the quality of the production. This is a solid album that Bryan Adams offers us with Shine a Light, more than just an excuse to go on tour.

Polydor / Universal

½

   

 Luis Fonsi – Vida

Luis Fonsi – Vida

If Justin Bieber is forever associated with the 2017 monstrous hit "Despacito", it is Luis Fonsi who is nevertheless behind this song, and Bieber was only a collaborator (with Daddy Yankee) for the English version. The Puerto Rican finally releases an album that includes this global hit in both versions. This is the first album in five years for Luis Fonsi who has 20 years of career and eight albums. He offers a Latin pop sound, with some particularly effective rhythms, but also contemporary ballads. "Despacito" is not the only hit that can be heard on Vida since we also find "Imposible" (with Ozuna) and "Calypso" (with Stefflon Don, in addition to a version with Karol G). But above all, the most interesting and exciting moment of the album is the inevitable "Échame la Culpa" (with Demi Lovato). With Vida, Fonsi presents several great hits and some good moments, but also ballads or mid-tempo pieces that are less captivating, for an unequal album. And if in addition you have already heard too much "Despacito", you will again have to pass through it twice rather than once.

Music Videos: « Despacito » - « Échame la Culpa » - « Calypso » - « Imposible » - « Sola »

Polydor / Universal

   

Yves Jarvis – The Same But By Different Means

Yves Jarvis – The Same But By Different Means

Yves Jarvis is the new pseudonym of Jean-Sébastien Audet, better known under the name of Un Blonde. It's actually his middle name and his mother's last name. The Montrealer frees himself from his old alter-ego to offer us a whole new musical universe. The Same But By Different Means contains nothing less than 22 tracks, but varying between 15 seconds and eight minutes. There is a fascinating exploratory mix of black folk, R&B and ambient music. Some songs may seem to finish a little too abruptly, but the whole remains of great creativity. Although it may be somewhat difficult to access, it is a great work of art that Yves Jarvis offers us with The Same But By Different Means.

Music Video: « Fruits of Disillusion »

Flemish Eye / SIX

½

 

 

 Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water

Avril Lavigne – Head Above Water

After six years of absence due to illness, Ontarian Avril Lavigne is back on record. This fight is greatly reflected in the songs offered on Head Above Water. She presents a set of mid-tempo pieces, which have nothing to do with her early pop punk sound. Rather, it is adult pop rock music that will struggle to win back the young audience lost a long time ago. The colossal production remains of great quality with beautiful arrangements of strings to accompany her powerful choruses. Avril is still coming out of this syrupy environment on a few occasions, including the entertaining "Dumb Blonde" (featuring Nicki Minaj). The set presents good moments, but it will certainly not be among the greatest of her career.

   

 Weezer – Weezer (The Black Album)

Weezer – Weezer (The Black Album)

Weezer's Black Album was already in the plans in 2016, right after the release of the White Album. Here it is, finally, only a few weeks after an album of covers (The Teal Album). On this new record tending to be rather dark, Rivers Cuomo is more than ever allowed to swear and sing profanities. Musically, however, we find light pop music with effective rhythms and unforgettable melodies. This results in an album much sunnier than announced, with only 10 songs, but all very interesting. Another very good record by Weezer!

Crush / Atlantic / Warner

½

 

 

 Weezer – Weezer (The Teal Album)

Weezer – Weezer (The Teal Album)

During their tour in 2018, Weezer began incorporating a few covers into their concerts such as A-Ha’s "Take On Me" or The Turtles’ "Happy Together". They then wanted to record a cover album and here is their umpteenth eponymous album, subtitled this time "The Teal Album". It preceded by just a few weeks their new eponymous release, "The Black Album". In addition to the previously mentioned songs, there are eight other hits: Toto's "Africa", Tears For Fears’ "Everybody Wants To Rule the World", Eurythmics’ "Sweet Dreams", Black Sabbath’s "Paranoid", ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky", TLC's surprising "No Scrubs", Michael Jackson’s "Billie Jean" and Ben E. King’s "Stand By Me". It's always nice to hear great hits from the past, and the Weezer guys seem to enjoy playing them. However, many of the offered versions are not so different from the original ones. We would have liked them to be a little more creative, as they did for example with "No Scrubs" from TLC. Two or three more songs would also have been much appreciated.

Crush / Atlantic / Warner

   

 

 

februaRY 22-28:

 

Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned!

Dominique Fils-Aimé – Stay Tuned!

After her participation to La Voix in Quebec and a debut album in 2018, Nameless, Dominique Fils-Aimé is back with the second record of a trilogy. Without clinging to any specific style, she retains her creative freedom by presenting a mix of soul, jazz, R&B, gospel and ambient music, styles that all contribute to showcasing her moving and powerful voice. Dominique wrote the 14 very creative songs, which are intended as a call to the revolution. More complete than her previous recording, Stay Tuned! remains exciting from start to finish. (February 2019)

Ensoul / SIX

½

 

 

Emilie Kahn – Outro

Emilie Kahn – Outro

Montreal singer and harpist Emilie Kahn, also known as Emilie & Ogden (Ogden is the name of her harp), presents her sophomore album, but the first under her real name. Produced in collaboration with Warren C. Spicer (Plants and Animals), Outro offers indie pop music with some rock accents that merge perfectly with her harp. Emilie returns to her past, questioning some decisions, and she seems to be inhabited by a melancholy facing adulthood. The artist succeeds in creating a universe of her own and that is quickly captivating. (February 2019)

Secret City / SIX

½

   

 

Murray A. Lightburn – Hear Me Out

Murray A. Lightburn – Hear Me Out

Murray Lightburn knew very well that the songs he had written for this second solo album were not suitable for The Dears, the band that made him known. However, far from recording the album alone, he has surrounded himself with a solid team, which gives a pop sound of great richness, with soulful moments and classical strings. Lightburn was inspired by 1950s crooners and 1960s Motown music, not forgetting gospel music. Most of the record was created during what he calls his "eventful summer of 2016", between The Dears' two volumes of Times Infinity while he and his life partner, Natalia Yanchak (also a member of The Dears), questioned their future. The album was recorded in Montreal with producer Howard Bilerman (Arcade Fire, Leonard Cohen, Godspeed You! Black Emperor) and seasoned jazz musicians. The result is a record all in finesse, which makes us discover a new aspect of the talent of Murray Lightburn, and is very pleasant to listen to from A to Z. (February 2019)

Dangerbird / SIX

½

   

 

 

februaRY 15-21:

 

The Cat Empire – Stolen Diamonds

The Cat Empire – Stolen Diamonds

For their new album, the Australian alternative band has unveiled a song every month throughout 2018. Here is the assembly of all on Stolen Diamonds which contains a mix of their various influences: ska, reggae, world music, etc. "Kila" even starts the album with a disco rhythm to accompany the powerful chorus. There are brass throughout the record to add richness to the arrangements. The beats remain effective and the joy of life is always present, even on darker tracks like "Ready Now" or "Anybody". The group is experimenting a bit more on "Barricades", one of the most complex songs of the album. Always well received in Quebec, the band offers a song mostly in French, "La sirène", with the collaboration of Éloïse Mignon. In the same way, The Cat Empire offer "Sola" to their Spanish-speaking fans in collaboration with Spanish musician Depedro. It's a versatile and solid album from start to finish that The Cat Empire give us, a band that seems to be at its peak. (February 2019)

Two Shoes / SIX

½

   

 

Amanda Rheaume – The Skin I’m In

Amanda Rheaume – The Skin I’m In

Amanda Rheaume grew up in Ottawa but is now based in Toronto. With The Skin I'm In, she releases her fifth album, showing how well she is now with herself. There are nine cheerful country pop songs with rock, folk and Americana. Her powerful voice is at the heart of these solid songs. The singer-songwriter co-wrote all the tracks with collaborators including Melanie Brulee, Jason Blaine and Jim Bryson. This is a very nice album that offers us Amanda Rheaume. (February 2019)

 

 

februaRY 8-14:

 

Colin Linden & Luther Dickinson – Amour

Colin Linden & Luther Dickinson – Amour

Toronto's Colin Linden (Blackie and the Rodeo Kings) teamed up with another brilliant blues guitarist, American Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes), to create Amour. They are also accompanied by the Tennessee Valentines musicians, as well as vocalists Rachael Davis, Ruby Amanfu, Billy Swan, Sam Palladio and Jonathan Jackson from the popular TV show Nashville. The duo offers a collection of love songs from the Americana repertoire, several ballads, but also good songs of intense blues or more joyful country-style ones. (February 2019)

Stony Plain / SIX

   

 

 Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

Jessica Pratt – Quiet Signs

For her third album, Jessica Pratt admits that for the first time she approached writing with the idea in mind of a cohesion throughout the album. Quiet Signs is also her first recording in a professional studio, taking her out of her bedroom where she recorded On Your Own Love Again four years ago. Her high-pitched voice is still accompanied by a soft guitar, but there are also delicate arrangements of flute, synthesizer, organ and piano that enrich her minimalist music. The result is a record closer to chamber pop than folk. This is the first single, "This Time Around", which stands out the most, while the entire record follows an excellent guideline, until its fall with the beautiful conclusion of "Aeroplane". The nine-track album may last only 28 minutes, but it quickly takes us into its captivating world. Result: we want to play it again in loops. (February 2019)

Mexican Summer

½

   

Elizabeth Shepherd – Montréal

Elizabeth Shepherd – Montréal

For her first album in four years, Canadian singer-songwriter Elizabeth Shepherd pays tribute to her adopted city, Montreal. She composed, produced and arranged all the tracks of this ambitious project. The vocal jazz album with very good pop melodies was born from interviews that Elizabeth made on the street with various Montrealers, asking them to tell something about their history with Montreal. She has collected funny, tragic and bizarre stories, and has kept 11 of them she transformed into songs, mostly in French, but also in English. Since all the evoked stories took place within walking distance, she decided to create a 50-minute walk to discover the album while moving across the city. A book will be released later this spring with stories largely left out of the official version, such as the history of jazz, the achievements of the black community and the gay rights movement. This is an excellent album that Elizabeth Shepherd offers as she does a very nice tribute to Montreal. (February 2019)

Pinwheel / SIX

½

 

 

februaRY 1-7:

 

Mike Posner – A Real Good Kid

Mike Posner – A Real Good Kid

After the mega-hits "Cooler Than Me" and "I Took a Pill in Ibiza", Mike Posner returns with his highly anticipated third album. The Michigan native has had to live with the illness and death of his father in recent months and this is what stands out the most on the album. In the opening song, "Jan 11th", Posner says that it was after his father's death that he truly became a man. He presents a very personal album that becomes moving on several occasions. Posner offers pop music a little more introspective than before, still with elements of rap and electro. It may not offer instant radio hits, but the whole is very solid for its cohesion. Mike Posner may release his most successful album in career with A Read Good Kid. (February 2019 Featured Review)

Island / Universal

½

   

       

 

 Maggie Rogers – Heard It in a Past Life

Maggie Rogers – Heard It in a Past Life

The American singer-songwriter presents her first full-length album with Heard It in a Past Life. After explorations with folk tendencies, Maggie Rogers has been attracted to electronic music, that had always interested her, and she takes a much poppier direction on this first record. You can hear a good mix of pop, rock and electro, with catchy melodies and fast pounding rhythms. We can still hear some folk influences, sprinkled here and there. We can especially discover a good mix of her favorite styles in the first hit, "Alaska". Here is an excellent debut album for Maggie Rogers who demonstrates the extent of her talent. (February 2019 Featured New Artist)

Music Videos: « Alaska » - « Light On »

Capitol / Universal

½

   

 Lou Doillon – Soliloquy

Lou Doillon – Soliloquy

The alternative French-British singer returns with her third album. Lou Doillon had a desire to talk to herself as the title says, but fortunately she decided to share these 12 songs. The singer-songwriter presents pieces of great sensuality, even sexual on occasion. We recognize the artist, but we rediscover her as she always has the desire to challenge herself, to think outside the box. For example, to prepare this album, she recorded a series of minimalist demos with only a guitar and drums, in line with the White Stripes and Black Keys. In the end, the arrangements were added, often in a discreet but largely successful way. The guitars are often creaky, and her voice is stronger than ever. Lou seems to have total confidence in herself, at 36 years old. The result is an album of great creativity for this incomparable artist. (February 2019)

Barclay / Universal France

½

   

Prieur & Landry – Surreal Memories

Prieur & Landry – Surreal Memories

Following their first album released in 2015, the duo formed by Gabriel Prieur and Eliot Landry is back with Surreal Memories. The two stooges offer us a squeaky rock sound that fuses the stoner metal of Queens of the Stone Age with the grunge of Alice in Chains and Nirvana. The guitar distortion is what impresses from the first song, "Never Mind Your Loss", and a blues touch appears occasionally. We are also stunned by the power of the music of this guitar-drums duo. Surreal Memories turns dark and heavy from start to finish, with a sound that's still dirty and raw. It is Ryan Battistuzzi (Breastfeeders, Malajube, We Are Wolves) who ensures the production, the sound recording and the mixing. Here is a very good album for Prieur & Landry which remain at their best on stage. (February 2019)

Spectacles Bonzaï / Propagande / SIX

 

 

 Taking Back Sunday – Twenty

Taking Back Sunday – Twenty

The American pop punk band is already celebrating its 20 years of existence this year and for the occasion, a collection of all its greatest hits and best songs is offered to us. There are 19 tracks from each of their seven albums, as well as two new songs, "All Ready to Go" and "A Song For Dan". Everything is presented in chronological order and totals more than 78 minutes. You can rediscover the first hits ("Cute Without the 'E' (Cut from the Team)", "You're So Last Summer"), as well as newer tracks ("Flicker, Fade", "Tidal Wave"). Twenty offers a very good overview of the first 20 years of Taking Back Sunday. (February 2019)

Craft

½

   

 Sheryl Crow – Live at the Capitol Theatre, 2017 Be Myself Tour (Blu-ray, 2 CD)

Sheryl Crow – Live at the Capitol Theatre, 2017 Be Myself Tour (Blu-ray, 2 CD) (2018)

On November 10, 2017, as part of her Be Myself tour, Sheryl Crow performed for the first time in the historic Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York. It was the last concert of the tour and there seemed to be some magic in the air, something electric in this mythical venue. We can discover this unforgettable performance on this blu-ray which is also accompanied by 2 CDs. Sheryl sings all her greatest hits, from the very first ("Leaving Las Vegas") to excerpts from her latest album ("Halfway There", "Atom Bomb" and the title track). You can hear the inevitable "All I Wanna Do", "Everyday is a Winding Road", "If It Makes You Happy", "The First Cut is the Deepest", "A Change Would Do You Good", "Soak Up the Sun", "My Favorite Mistake", and many more. The concert was captured with 16 cameras and the sound was mixed in 5.1 surround sound for optimal reproduction of the live concert. You can also hear interview tips with Sheryl between some songs. Here is a high-quality concert recording. (February 2019)

Rock Fuel / Cleopatra / MVD

 

 

 

JANUARY:

 

 Mike Boguski – Blues for the Penitent

Mike Boguski – Blues for the Penitent

Mike Boguski is best known as a keyboardist for Blue Rodeo since 2008. He presents his new solo album, Blues for the Penitent, a 12-piece instrumental CD that he performs alone on the piano. Highly improvised, the album offers a mix of jazz and avant-garde music. Several tracks are highly emotional, such as "Madawaska Moonlight", "Eva" and "Memorial". It also includes songs by Townes Van Zandt ("To Live is to Fly") and Neil Young ("On the Beach"). (January 2019)

 

 Rival Sons – Feral Roots

Rival Sons – Feral Roots

The Los Angeles band is already releasing its sixth album in 10 years with Feral Roots, the first since 2016. Rival Sons offers a mix of alternative rock and rock 'n' roll, with both metal and blues inspirations. The first hit, "Do Your Worst", is for example a hybrid between Led Zeppelin and the Black Keys. We can also compare them to Wolfmother, Jet and even the Black Crowes on several occasions. The main difference about Feral Roots lies in the fact that the band seems to have finally managed to clearly define its own style. It is therefore an excellent rock 'n' roll record, sufficiently varied and inspired to allow us to appreciate it as a whole. Fans of the first single should not be disappointed, especially since it is certainly the best Rival Sons album to date. (January 2019)

Music Video: « Do Your Worst »

Low Country Sound / Atlantic / Warner

½

   

 

 Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow

With her first album in five years, Sharon Van Etten comes to find us in the depths of our soul with slow and heavy music. It is in fact a sound that we feel above all, which pierces us. Producer John Congleton's arrangements are powerful, as well as bringing some energy to the whole. It's kind of a mix between Portishead and Nick Cave, with New York punk / new wave influences. Sharon pretty much leaves aside the guitar on Remind Me Tomorrow, making more room for keyboards and percussion. Nevertheless, the amplifiers remain exploited to their maximum on some occasions. Even though each song presents itself as a separate story, Sharon succeeds in establishing a good guideline, for an album of great cohesion. Very effective! (January 2019)

Jagjaguwar

½

   

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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