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SEPTEMBER 2018

 

Featured Review:  nICKI mINAJ    Featured New Artist:  rOLLING bLACKOUTS cOASTAL fEVER

 

September 14-20:

David Myles - Soran - Chris Velan

 

September 1-6:

The Beths - Mitski

 

August:

Kanye West - Snail Mail - MC Mario

 

 

Reviews coming up next month:

Paul McCartney - Cécile McLorin Salvant - Tirzah

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:

 

 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.

½

   

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 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.

Sub Pop

½

   

 

september 14-20:

 

 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).

L-A be / 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.

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.

Newsong / SIX

 

september 1-6:

 

 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.

Carpark

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.

Dead Oceans

½

   

 

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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