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APRIL 2021

 

Featured Review:  Justin Bieber    Featured New Artist:  Manslaughter 777

 

April 1-8:

Choeur de l'église St. Andrew and St. Paul - Grosse Isle

 

 

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Key for the stars

 

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

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Justin Bieber – Justice

Justin Bieber – Justice

One year after Changes, Justin Bieber is already back with Justice, his seventh album. Once again, we can salute Bieber's talent for delivering catchy melodies over soft pop and R&B music tailored for radio. We find indeed on Justice several essential hits which will play in loops. However, his choices can be questionable at times, notably the use of two extracts from Martin Luther King Jr.'s speeches, one of which creating some discomfort as an introduction to a rather tasteless love song. Let's say that his sympathy for African Americans seems rather false and it would take a little more sincerity to convince us of his good intentions. If we put aside these rather unnecessary distractions, the fact remains that he offers songs that are very much of his time and that will seduce his many fans, especially his loyal female audience. Bieber is accompanied for the occasion by a great selection of guest artists: Khalid, Chance the Rapper, The Kid Laroi, Dominic Fike, Daniel Caesar, Giveon, Beam, Burna Boy and Benny Blanco. A deluxe version of the album offers six additional tracks for a total of 22, and we can hear other collaborators: Lil Uzi Vert, Jaden, Quavo, DaBaby, and Tori Kelly.

Music Videos: « Holy » - « Lonely » - « Anyone » - « Hold On » - « Peaches »

RBMG / Def Jam / Universal

     

     

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 

Manslaughter 777 – World Vision Perfect Harmony

Manslaughter 777 is the side project of drumming duo Lee Buford (The Body) and Zac Jones (Braveyoung, MSC). The duo offers a mix of experimental rock and electronic music (dub, jungle, trip hop). They are constantly exploring different rhythms by integrating many samples. The eight-track, 33-minute album is therefore not necessarily easy to access at first, but we manage to let ourselves be overcome by the overall atmosphere which remains pleasant from start to finish. Here is an exercise in styles which should satisfy any fan of creative electronic music.

½

   

 

aPRIL 1-8:

 

 Chœur de l’Église St. Andrew and St. Paul – Distance

Chœur de l’Église St. Andrew and St. Paul – Distance

The Choir of St. Andrew and St. Paul's Church of Montreal, conducted by Canadian-American Jean-Sébastien Vallée, offers a compilation of choral works from all eras. It includes a motet by Johann Sebastian Bach, Samuel Barber’s "Agnus Dei" and Edward Elgar’s "Lux Aeterna", in addition to more contemporary works by Trevor Weston ("Magnificat"), Reena Esmail, James MacMillan and Caroline Shaw. We can also discover "Ni de l’est ni de l’ouest" (Neither from the East nor from the West), a work requested to Montreal composer (and member of the Choir) William Kraushaar and dedicated to the memory of the victims of the shooting at the Quebec City mosque in 2017. Here is a very good album for fans of choral singing.

ATMA Classique

½

 Grosse Isle – Le Bonhomme sept heures / The Bonesetter

Grosse Isle – Le Bonhomme sept heures / The Bonesetter

The Grosse Isle trio is made up of Sophie Lavoie, Irishman Fiachra O’Regan and legendary André Marchand (La Bottine souriante, Les Charbonniers de l'Enfer). Released on St-Patrick's Day on March 17, The Bonesetter merges traditional Quebec music with Irish music. This is the trio's debut album as Sophie and Fiachra have previously worked together for two albums in addition to having toured internationally. The instrumentation is very varied throughout this bilingual record, incorporating Irish uilleann pipes and whistle, banjo, violin, piano and guitar. The rhythm also varies, from smoother to more festive. The name of the trio refers to the island on the St. Lawrence river where the Irish were placed in quarantine when they arrived in mass in the 19th century to flee famine. We therefore discover a great mix of cultures between Quebec and Ireland.

La Compagnie du Nord

 

 

March:

 

Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight

Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight

Even before its release, Dave Grohl had described the new Foo Fighters album as the Saturday night party album. His description is pretty accurate as the band offers their most energetic and fun album in a long time, a really good 36-minute pop rock mix. The band even ventures into disco and other dance music, without however completely rejecting their squeaky guitars. There are still two ballads in "Waiting On a War" and the almost soul "Chasing Birds". The catchy melodies are present throughout the nine songs and it will take as little as a second listen to be able to sing along with Grohl and his band while tapping your feet. So, here is an entertaining and highly effective record by the Foo Fighters. Very pleasant! (March 2021 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Shame Shame » - « Waiting On a War » - « No Son of Mine »

½

     

     

 

 

Jack Kays – Mixed Emotions

Jack Kays is a young artist from Cincinnati, Ohio, who comes to us with a very first album. Considered a full-length album, Mixed Emotions is more like an EP with eight tracks totaling only 20 minutes. However, these are eight solid songs he offers us, talking about addiction, loneliness, and mental health. The songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist skillfully mixes genres, exploring hip hop and R&B, folk and rock, all with a distinct voice. Often quite slow, his music happily accelerates during "Morbid Mind", a contagious acoustic pop track. Note also his duet with Mike Lavi for "F*cked Up", as well as several songs he shared before the release of the record: "My Head :(", "Gin N Juice" and "Bottom of the Bottle". Mixed Emotions turns out to be a very enjoyable album, although we would certainly have liked to hear a few more songs. (March 2021 Featured New Artist)

Music Videos: « Morbid Mind » - « Bottom of the Bottle » - « Gin N Juice » - « My Head :( » - « Hrtbrkn »

½

 

 Barry Paquin Roberge – Exordium to Extasy

Barry Paquin Roberge – Exordium to Extasy

Barry Paquin Roberge is a Montreal supergroup formed at the base of Étienne Barry from the Deuxluxes, as well as Sébastien Paquin and Alexis Roberge from Buddy McNeil & the Magic Mirrors, to which were added Jonathan Lafrance (Muscadettes), Jocelyn Gagné (Breastfeeders) and Anna Frances Meyer (Deuxluxes). On Exordium to Extasy, BPR once again offer their glam dance music with neo-disco influences in the style of the Scissor Sisters. This is contagious pop music that conquers us quickly, from “BPR Strut (Join Us & You’ll Be Fine)”, their first single. The fusion between invigorating guitars, synthesizers and flute is flawless and takes us into a sunny universe that automatically grabs a smile on our lips. Co-produced by BPR and Félix Petit (Hubert Lenoir, Les Louanges), Exordium to Extasy is a great sophomore album for the band, a real breath of freshness! (March 2021)

Music Video: « BRP Strut (Join Us & You’ll Be Fine) »

Costume / SIX

½

   

 Jon Batiste – We Are

Jon Batiste – We Are

After more than 15 years of career, the Louisiana singer and pianist comes to us with what could prove to be the most defining album of his career. Jon Batiste offers a more successful mix than ever between soul, R&B, pop, gospel and jazz, spread over 13 tracks. Batiste first offered the title track in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, before offering us this collection of songs that are at the same time smart, creative and entertaining. He seems to have more than ever mastered his craft, although he can count on several collaborators for the production, as well as appearances by Mavis Staples and Quincy Jones. Also note the presence of his father, Michael Batiste, and his grandfather, David Gauthier. We are was greatly inspired by his youth in New Orleans and the St. Augustine Marching Band, his high school gospel ensemble, can even be heard on the title track. In "Boy Hood," it is with PJ Morton and Trombone Shorty that Batiste recalls the families, food and culture of his hometown that shaped their lives. Musically, the singer draws on the best of the past to imagine the future, for an eclectic amalgam of New Orleans jazz and Outkast. Although the mix of styles may seem difficult to approach at first, it quickly becomes a gem to be polished to the end. (March 2021)

Verve / Universal

½

     

 Annabelle Chvostek – String of Pearls

Annabelle Chvostek – String of Pearls

The Toronto-based singer-songwriter releases her sixth album. On String of Pearls, she oscillates again between folk, jazz and indie pop, with a strong gypsy jazz and swing tendency. She even allows herself a few French songs ("Je t’ai vue hier soir" and "D’être humain"), in addition to covering "Belleville Rendez-vous" from the movie Les Triplettes de Belleville. She also offers her version of Tom Waits’ "Just the Right Bullets". Annabelle adds a South American touch to the whole as the songs were arranged and co-produced in Montevideo by Fernando Rosa, who brought together some of Uruguay's best tango and classical musicians. So, here is a dynamic album with multiple influences. (March 2021)

MQGV / SIX

 

 Paul Hindemith – Musique de chambre pour cor

Paul Hindemith – Musique de chambre pour cor

With this new album, horn player Louis-Philippe Marsolais devotes himself to chamber music for horn by German composer, violinist, violist and conductor Paul Hindemith (1895-1963). Marsolais is accompanied for the occasion by pianist David Jalbert (Pentaèdre), horn players Simon Bourget, Louis-Pierre Bergeron and Xavier Fortin from the Ottawa National Arts Centre Orchestra, as well as the Pentaèdre wind quintet. We can rediscover five superb works by Hindemith that are rarely played today: “Sonata for horn and piano”, “Sonata for alto horn and piano”, “Concerto for horn and orchestra”, “Sonata for four horns” and “Little chamber music for five wind instruments”. Here is therefore an excellent album which allows to highlight an almost forgotten music of the interwar period, remarkably high quality music interpreted with a master hand. (March 2021)

ATMA Classique

½

 

 Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

Valerie June – The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers

After drawing attention to her first two albums with her unique voice and style, Valerie June is back with her third record, The Moon and Stars: Prescriptions for Dreamers. She once again dives into the roots of American folk music, fusing it with contemporary R&B, African beats, string orchestrations and almost-experimental aerial psychedelic pop. So, it's a huge mix that she manages to cement greatly around her larger-than-life personality, supported by the production of Jack Splash (Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, John Legend). On this new album, Valerie seems to have officially found her way, and what she offers us will undoubtedly be among the best recordings of the year. (March 2021)

½

   

 Lake Street Dive – Obviously

Lake Street Dive – Obviously

The band from Boston is back with their seventh album. Lake Street Dive welcome a fifth full-time member, Akie Bermiss, who collaborated with the group as keyboardist on their 2017 tour, as well as on the following album, Free Yourself Up. Bermiss helps with writing on Obviously, in addition to singing a duet with Rachael Price on the excellent "Same Old News", which takes us back to the 1970s. Produced by Mike Elizondo, Obviously pursues in the style of the last album with a very good mix of pop rock and soul. The band takes inspiration from R&B on "Hypotheticals" and blues on "Hush Money", as they perform a Phil Collins-style ballad with "Anymore". Throughout the album, the band faces the problems of their generation with a certain social and feminist conscience. But above all, they remain a peerless group of composers who manage to evolve in a style from another era, reminding us at times of Fleetwood Mac, to make contemporary music so enjoyable to listen to. With Obviously, Lake Street Dive offer perhaps their strongest album to date. (March 2021)

½

   

 Carl Mayotte – Pop de ville, Volume 1

Carl Mayotte – Pop de ville, Volume 1

Named Radio-Canada Jazz Revelation 2020-2021, Quebec bassist and composer Carl Mayotte releases his sophomore album with Pop de ville, Volume 1, after Fantosme, co-produced by Michel Cusson, which received an ADISQ nomination for jazz album of the year. Pop de ville is actually a five-track EP totaling 26 minutes. We find there totally instrumental jazz fusion music with pop influences from the 1980s. The groove is present throughout the record, with in addition particularly creative compositions. In addition to his usual quintet, Mayotte called on renowned collaborators: percussionist Luc Boivin, Swedish keyboardist Lalle Larsson and harmonica player Lévy Bourbonnais. With Pop de ville, Volume 1, Carl Mayotte once again proves all his virtuosity and versatility. We would have taken more! (March 2021)

Première Ovation / SIX

½

 

 The Wanted – Strange Flight

The Wanted – Strange Flight

The Toronto band returns with a new album fusing folk rock, country and blues. Produced by Michael Timmins (Cowboy Junkies), Strange Flight reproduces the live vibe with obvious chemistry between the lead trio (Natalie Rogers, Jeff Rogers and Richard Henderson) and guest musicians (bassist Dan Mock and drummer Kyle Sullivan). The group pays homage to tradition, even including a track by Tom Waits ("Way Down in the Hole") and a song from the traditional repertoire ("Wayfaring Stranger"). Eighteen years after its debut, The Wanted still seems comfortable in the Canadian folk industry. (March 2021)

 

 Alfie Zappacosta – Saved

Alfie Zappacosta – Saved

Active for almost 40 years, the Canadian singer-songwriter returns with his 16th album. Alfie Zappacosta proves that he has lost none of his passion and his voice on Saved while delivering quality music. His pop sound with a sometimes jazz and sometimes soft rock tendency reminds us of Gino Vannelli and he delivers it in a rich voice that impresses. For several years, Zappacosta has taken charge of his career and he can thus create without limitations, which suits him very well. He even ensured the production of the record which includes various genres, music to his image. He collaborated with whomever he wanted, co-writers and musicians with whom for most he has had a long working relationship (Gerry Mosby on arrangements, as well as Marco Luciani, Andrew Glover and Silvio Pupo on writing). Zappacosta can be faulted for going in all directions on Saved, but he still gives us some highly effective songs, including the energetic "This Place in Time" and the title track. (March 2021)

Music Video: « Saved »

Alma / Universal / SIX

     

 Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy

Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy

For his seventh solo album, Rob Zombie returns to the horror show and the recipe for his success at the turn of the 21st century. But above all, he reconnects with his creative spirit, indulging in pure madness that is very pleasant to find again. His new ideas allow him to think outside the box of heavy and rhythmic music for which he is famous. We still find all of this on The Lunar Injection…, but with many variations, smoother, acoustic, or soaring, or even with country impulses or those worthy of a spaghetti western movie, not to mention the presence of synthesizers. He wraps it all off greatly with short interludes that tie the whole thing together in what comes very close to a concept album. The energetic songs remain very catchy, but Zombie manages to go to several other places always more interesting than each other. It is above all the mix of genres and the passage from one atmosphere to another that makes this record so unique. So, here is an extremely fun to listen to and highly addictive album that will be difficult to put aside for long. To listen to in loops! (March 2021)

½

     

 

february:

 

Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales

Six years after Reality Show, Jazmine Sullivan returns with Heaux Tales, which she considers an EP despite having 14 tracks and 32 minutes. Jazmine offers creative contemporary R&B music, interspersed with several spoken passages, including poetic texts by Ari Lennox. We can hear a duet with Anderson .Paak for the funky "Price Tags" and another with H.E.R. for "Girl Like Me". Even if there are only 27 real minutes of music in total on Heaux Tales, the record has a refreshing side which is more than interesting, very pleasant to listen to. (February 2021 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Girl Like Me »

½

 

     

 

 

Celeste – Not Your Muse

R&B singer Celeste Waite was born in California but raised in the UK. She created a stir in 2017 with her first official EP, The Milk and the Honey, before returning in 2019 with Lately. She finally offers her debut full-length 12-track album, the highly anticipated Not Your Muse. The record begins smoothly with "Ideal Woman" and "Strange", a great idea to quickly highlight her beautiful voice. Strongly influenced by her idols Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday on these two songs with a touch of jazz, Celeste then becomes downright pop on "Tonight Tonight" and "Stop This Flame". Very versatile, she seems to adapt perfectly to every beat and her voice stands out in all situations. Here is a genuinely nice album from a rising star that will create even more expectations in the future. A great discovery! (February 2021 Featured New Artist)

Music Videos: « Strange » - « Stop This Flame » - « A Little Love » - « Love Is Back »

Polydor / Universal

½

   

 Adrien Brandeis – Meetings

Adrien Brandeis – Meetings (2020)

Adrien Brandeis is a young French pianist and composer who has won several awards in Europe, including the Letter One Rising Stars Jazz Award in 2018 for his debut album, Euforia. While his previous album was in quintet format, Meetings is offered as a quartet with doublebass player Damian Nueva, drummer Arnaud Dolmen and percussionist Inor Sotolongo. We can also hear Orlando Poleo with Latin percussions on "Suave". Cuban musicians bring a particular rhythm to the album which also benefits from superb melodies and harmonies, for an excellent mix of flavors and a beautiful luminosity. (February 2021)

Jazz Family

½

 

 Dominique Fils-Aimé – Three Little Words

Dominique Fils-Aimé – Three Little Words

With Three Little Words, Dominique Fils-Aimé concludes her trilogy which explores the roots of African-American musical culture. She offers soul music in its purest form, on a jazz background with a unique atmosphere. She also sings the themes of self-healing and mental health under luminous lens. With her enveloping and hushed voice, Dominique presents warm harmonies on the doo-wop style of the 50s ("While We Wait") and more traditional soul ("Mind Made Up"). With "Love Take Over" (in two versions), she offers a first single of great quality including superb percussions and synthesizers. Note also her very personal cover of "Stand By Me" at the end of the album. Once again, we must underline the incomparable work of producer, arranger and sound engineer Jacques Roy who succeeds in perfectly merging the daring music, the multiple tones and the bewitching voice of Dominique. It is possibly her most ambitious and eclectic work to date, concluding an exceptional trilogy on a high note. (February 2021)

Music Video: « Love Take Over »

Ensoul / SIX

 

 Cassandra Jenkins – An Overview on Phenomenal Nature

Cassandra Jenkins – An Overview on Phenomenal Nature

New York alternative folk singer Cassandra Jenkins returns with a new album, five years after her debut, Play Till You Win. She presents an incredible work of observations, contradictions, and connections with nature on extremely pleasant aerial folk music. Adding a few ambient synthesizers, a saxophone and a flute makes the atmosphere even more magnificent. The album of just seven songs for 31 minutes has a few gems, including "New Bikini" and "Ambiguous Norway", without forgetting the bird song at the end, "The Ramble". An Overview on Phenomenal Nature is an intimate album, but of great beauty, thanks above all to excellent arrangements and various sounds which keep us alert. This is an excellent album from Cassandra Jenkins, an album whose main flaw is being too short. (February 2021)

½

     

 The Weather Station – Ignorance

The Weather Station – Ignorance

Four years after their self-titled album, the indie rock band from Toronto is back with Ignorance, their fifth album. The Weather Station seem to have finally reach they musical peek, while taking a stand on the impact of climate change. Tamara Lindeman has indeed learned a great deal about this issue over the past few years, including hosting discussions with other musicians and activists. In "Atlantic," she portrays her feeling of helplessness in the face of looming disaster. Lindeman and her band step out of their comfort zone on Ignorance with 1970s-inspired music that leaves out their acoustic folk tendency, as well as their more rock vibe. In fact, Fleetwood Mac and Roxy Music can come to our minds on different occasions, while also incorporating some jazz explorations. The theatrical "Robber" opens the album with a quite different atmosphere for The Weather Station, a very pleasant one. The result is a top-notch record for the band, perhaps their strongest to date. (February 2021)

½

     

 Weezer – OK Human

Weezer – OK Human

A nod to Radiohead's classic OK Computer, OK Human is the 14th career album for the Californian band. The record is more human indeed as we can hear strings arrangements throughout the 12 tracks, mostly composed on piano by Rivers Cuomo. So, these are different sounds for Weezer with a guitar that is relegated to the background. We can even hear contemplative ballads with "Bird With a Broken Wing" and "Dead Roses". The advantage of having less squeaky guitars is that you pay a little more attention to Cuomo's unique melodies. On the other hand, fans of the first hour may have a little trouble recognizing themselves in it. Still, Weezer presents some great songs again, including "All My Favorite Songs", "Aloo Gobi" and "Grapes of Wrath". In addition, the band succeeds in renewing itself in a burst of freshness with exceptionally beautiful arrangements, sometimes a bit Beatlesque. So, here is another great record from a band that seems to have many different lives. (February 2021)

Music Video: « All My Favorite Songs »

½

   

 Tapeo

Tapeo

Tapeo is a classical album that brings together a technically perfect duo: Cameron Crozman on cello and Philip Chiu on piano. The tandem offers Spanish music by composers like Cassadó, Falla, Granados and Turina. For the occasion, Cameron plays on the 1769 El Tiburon, a Spanish cello attributed to Joannes Guillami, a generous loan from the Canada Council for the Arts’ Instrument Bank. The album also allows us to rediscover works by Ravel, Albéniz, Ginastera, Ponce, as well as Alberto Guerrero. So, here is a remarkably interesting record by an incomparable duo. (February 2021)

ATMA Classique

     

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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