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MARCH 2020

 

Featured Review:  Justin Bieber    Featured New Artist:  Katie Pruitt

 

March 13-19:

Ayla Brook & The Sound MEn

 

March 6-12:

Bad Bunny - R Grunwald

 

March 1-5:

Green Day - Ozzy Osbourne - Emie R Roussel Trio

 

 

archives:

 

 

 

       

         

         

         

 

       

     

 

Key for the stars

 

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

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Justin Bieber – Changes

Justin Bieber – Changes

More than four years after Purpose, Justin Bieber returns with his seventh album. At 25 (he turns 26 today, March 1), he becomes the youngest artist in history to reach # 1 on the Billboard 200 seven times, after Elvis Presley who at 26 reached the top with Blue Hawaii in 1961. The only band to have done better is obviously The Beatles with Rubber Soul (the oldest member of the band, Ringo Starr, was 25 years and 6 months old). Once this historic feat has been highlighted, what remains interesting with Changes? Not much in fact... This is a very conventional R&B album with a ton of similar love songs that pretty much all talk about his wife, Hailey Baldwin. Even her must be embarrassed by so much attention... Few tracks stand out from the whole, not even the first singles, "Intentions" (with Quavo) and "Yummy", despite more than 500 million streams on digital platforms. Young Bieber fans obviously still like it, but if these songs were from someone else, they would likely go unnoticed. A little moment of interest arrives at the end with "At Least for Now" which addresses his mental health problems. The monster production and catchy melodies will certainly still appeal, but Bieber does not change the face of pop music with this new album, however it was long awaited.

Music Videos: « Yummy » - « Intentions »

Def Jam / Universal

½

     

     

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 Katie Pruitt – Expectations

Katie Pruitt – Expectations

Katie Pruitt comes to us straight from Atlanta, Georgia with a unique style of Americana music skilfully mixing country, folk and pop, including even rock parts, as in the title-song which may remind Fleetwood Mac. She offers several songs highlighting the sweetness of her voice, but she also has often impressive powerful moments. She therefore has a very wide range and can appeal to a much wider audience than just country enthusiasts. Despite 10 tracks totalling 46 minutes of music, we want more, and we are already looking forward to it. So, here’s a very talented artist who’s sure to be talked about in the future.

½

   

 

MARCH 13-19:

 

 Ayla Brook & The Sound Men – Desolation Sounds

Ayla Brook & The Sound Men – Desolation Sounds

Canadian singer-songwriter Ayla Brook formed the Sound Men in Edmonton, Alberta, and together they present a very good, often energetic rock album. Produced by Terra Lightfoot, Desolations Sounds can recall Blue Rodeo and Tom Petty on several occasions ("Lift You Up", "All That I Wanted To Do"), but also with more folk moments ("She Smiles Like a River", "Love & Laughter", "Little Birdie"). The recurring themes are friends and family, on a frankly refreshing album, even if it does not reinvent the genre.

Fallen Tree

   

 

MARCH 6-12:

 

 Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG

Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG

The young Puerto Rican Bad Bunny is already introducing his third album. He leaves aside somewhat the trap style of the previous record to focus on reggaeton and take it to another level. He managed to integrate the origins of the genre and create a new, more futuristic version. Not obvious for a style overexploited for 20 years... His vocal prowess and his delivery add to the hot rhythms conducive to swaying, which allows to enhance a genre often associated with easy pop music, without depth. Bad Bunny proves here that with a little creativity it is possible to go a little further. Here is a surprising album, both intelligent and entertaining.

Music Videos: « VETE » - « Ignorantes » - « Si Veo a Tu Mama » - « La Dificil » - « Pero Ya No »

½

 

 R Grunwald – OMA

R Grunwald – OMA

The Toronto pianist comes to us with his first album for solo piano, OMA. It includes his first single, "Determination of the Crossing", which represents his musical interpretation of the act of escape, accompanied by a superb video by Jacob Mittermaier-Zubeck. R Grunwald has worked primarily with Jill Barber, Donovan Woods and David Myles over the past decade, in addition to composing music for several films and TV shows. On OMA, he finally assumes himself, alone behind his piano, with a title that evokes his 96-year-old grandmother exiled to Chile from her native Poland. He was inspired by the works of Chilly Gonzales and Max Richter when he decided to embark on this daring project five years ago. Even if the links with jazz are natural, Grunwald rather presents instrumental and minimalist pop music, the melody remaining at its center. It's generally slow music, which manages to captivate us quickly despite a somewhat arduous approach. Here is a particularly successful record from R Grunwald.

Music Video: « Determination of the Crossing »

Common Noise / Outside / SIX

½

   

 

MARCH 1-5:

 

 Green Day – Father of All Motherfuckers

Green Day – Father of All Motherfuckers

The punk band arrives with its 13th studio album in 32 years of career. Green Day offer a more glam sound with more dancing songs than on any other album released before. The trio also explores sounds never heard before. Notably, the falsetto voice in the title track is somewhat unsettling, while the riff is reminiscent of "Fire" by Jimi Hendrix. On "Meet Me on the Roof", the group delves more into dance pop than ever. "Oh Yeah!" seems to be partly taken from Joan Jett’s "Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)", while "Graffitia" was certainly inspired by The Clash and that "Stab You in the Heart" seems to be copied from "Hippy Hippy Shake". If the band may have wanted to pay tribute to the past on this new record, it seems to have been uninspired. On the other hand, it is an extremely energetic and pleasant album to listen to.

Music Videos: « Oh Yeah! » - « Meet Me on the Roof »

     

 Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

After 10 years of waiting, Ozzy Osbourne returns with a new studio album, his 12th in solo. This is a homecoming with heavy credentials greatly influenced by his years with Black Sabbath. He even reuses at the beginning of "Straight to Hell" the Alright Now! heard in 1971 in the classic "Sweet Leaf". Ozzy, who has been sick for some time, seems to be reinvigorated on Ordinary Man who has nothing to envy to his best career recordings in the 1980s and 90s. It is accompanied by guitarist and producer Andrew Watt (Post Malone), bassist Duff McKagan (Guns N 'Roses) and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) that Ozzy literally has a blast on this frankly refreshing record for this 71 year old metal legend. He even allows himself a duet with another legend, Elton John, for the ballad of the title track, a song without personality on the other hand. He also collaborates twice with Post Malone on the energetic "It’s a Raid" and "Take What You Want" (also featuring Travis Scott). There are a few less effective tracks among the 11 on the album, but it is still his best record since No More Tears in 1991 thanks to some rather inspired moments.

Music Videos: « Under the Graveyard » - « Straight to Hell »

½

     

 Emie R Roussel Trio – Rythme de passage

Emie R Roussel Trio – Rythme de passage

The jazz trio marks its 10th anniversary with a new album. This fifth record arrives after numerous distinctions and tours around the world (11 countries on 4 continents). Rythme de passage (Rhythm of passage) is more than ever a collective work while the trio always takes the lead on each of its members. Even Emie, the leader and pianist, fades somewhat behind the ensemble playing with double bassist and electric bassist Nicolas Bédard (who signs 3 of the 8 compositions) and drummer Dominic Cloutier. The atmospheric compositions of the trio create a very beautiful mood during all the 46 minutes of Rythme de passage. The opening play that heralds the sequel, "Yatse Club", is a humorous nod to the Italian accent of a taxi driver in Turin when he pronounced "Jazz Club". Rythme de passage only contains good times and will certainly help to strengthen the position of the trio among the best of contemporary jazz.

UNImusiQC / SIX

½

   

 

February:

 

Selena Gomez – Rare

Selena Gomez – Rare

Selena Gomez arrives with her long-awaited sixth album, Rare. It's a record that takes a look at her healing and growth. She admits that this is her recording of which she is the proudest to date. It must be said that even if Rare is an album of pure pop music until the end, the lyrics were particularly sought after, which makes it frankly smart pop. The team of songwriters who surround her are undoubtedly there for something, and the whole benefits from a foreground production. Selena still manages to stay somewhat out of the crowd, while offering widely accessible pop music. With Rare, she presents perhaps her best album to date, as refreshing as her debut album, with the bonus of great maturity. (February 2020 Featured Review)

Interscope / Universal

½

   

     

 

 Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts

Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts

Loving is a band from Victoria, British Columbia, that is coming to us with their very first album, after an EP that had attracted attention. The trio offers a folk pop sound with a psychedelic tendency, which seems straight out of a movie from the 1960s or 1970s. At different times, we recognize influences from the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Simon and Garfunkel. The group offers excellent melodies, totally unforgettable, in addition to creating a soft and extremely pleasant atmosphere. If I Am Only My Thoughts is in fact a soothing album that gives us a huge feeling of well-being. (February 2020 Featured New Artist)

Last Gang

½

 

 John Borra – Blue Wine

John Borra – Blue Wine

After three albums with his band, Rattlesnake Choir, John Borra releases his first solo album since 2002. With Blue Wine, Borra remains one of the emblematic figures of the alternative country and folk scene in Toronto. We discover of course a certain maturity, but also sophisticated lyrics, particularly well polished. He surrounded himself for the occasion with a team of all-star musicians including Mike Boguski (keyboardist of Blue Rodeo) and his long-time collaborator, Sam Ferrara. He collaborated with poet Eva H.D. for three songs: "Machu Picchu", "The Wars" and "Hambre and Dolores". Borra also revisits Velvet Underground’s "Foggy Notion", starring Kevin Hearn (Barenaked Ladies). (February 2020)

Cousin Jeb

½

 

Caveboy – Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark

Caveboy – Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark

Caveboy is a female trio from Montreal presenting their bright style. They offer particularly catchy indie pop music that is very reminiscent of the 1980s. We can compare them to HAIM and Tegan & Sara, but with this sunny dimension that brings us straight to summer. Synthesizers from the 1980s are interspersed with energetic guitars and even solos. With 10 tracks totaling only 33 minutes of music, it will be very difficult for you not to go to the end, with a huge smile on your face. You might even have an uncontrollable desire to resume listening to the first track right away. Very pleasant! (February 2020)

½

 

 

 Rose Cousins – Bravado

Rose Cousins – Bravado

Prince Edward Island singer-songwriter comes to us with a new album that she produced herself. Rose Cousins went into the studio to record a song with Toronto musicians she loved, and she came out with an entire album containing probably her richest writing to date. We discover a very nice mixture of folk and alternative rock, with superb orchestrations. The theme of loneliness seems recurrent, both for those who fight against loneliness and those who want more moments alone. Bravado quickly seduces with its warm atmospheres, lulled by Rose’s beautiful voice. (February 2020)

Outside / SIX

½

     

Destroyer – Have We Met

Destroyer – Have We Met

Dan Bejar (alias Destroyer) celebrates 25 years of career with a new recording. He continues in his indie pop style with catchy melodies and a good dose of electro. Even if the whole is rather mid-tempo, we can hear some particularly catchy danceable rhythms that would fit rather well in a music list of the 1980s. He manages to skillfully mix droll lyrics with cool music and well of its time. This music genius once again offers a timeless and incomparable album, which can be listened to very pleasantly along its entire length. Without equaling the classic Poison Season released five years ago, Have We Met will certainly please fans of Destroyer. (February 2020)

Merge

½

 

 

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By

Eminem surprised everyone on January 17 with a new album. Despite its surprise effect, Music to be Murdered By is a dense and extremely complete album, with 20 tracks (including intros and interludes) for a total of 64 minutes. The rapper is obviously surrounded by several collaborators: Ed Sheeran, Juice WRLD, Skylar Gray, Anderson.Paak, and many others. We find rather dark lyrics, in line with the title of the album. But musicality remains of paramount importance, as can be heard with the first single, "Darkness", and with "Leaving Heaven" (starring Skylar Gray). The production is first rate and there are interesting elements, such as for example scratching to hide politically incorrect words in the clean version. “Godzilla” (with Juice WRLD) also has its entertaining moment with a speed record for delivering texts, a real exercise in diction, even a tour de force. In short, Music to be Murdered By turns out to be a solid record with many points of interest, without however reinventing the genre. (February 2020)

Shady / Aftermath / Interscope / Universal

     

 

Halsey – Manic

Halsey – Manic

Ashley Nicolette Frangipane (alias Halsey) arrives with her third album to date. The young New Jersey artist offers an extremely well-crafted pop record with Manic. She explores different atmospheres with several changes of moods, sometimes even inside the same song. It can go from sounds comparable to the Beatles ("I Hate") or Avril Lavigne ("3am") with moments of contemporary pop rock, country, hip hop and more. A thin guiding line cleverly connects the whole for a daring but highly successful record. She can thus reach a large audience which will discover as a bonus her best album to date. (February 2020)

Music Videos: « Without Me » - « You Should Be Sad »

Capitol / Universal

½

     

 

Lynne Hanson – Just Words

Lynne Hanson – Just Words

For her new album, the folk singer from Ottawa offers mainly sad songs, but also with some positivism. She sings about bullying (the title track), acceptance ("Clean Slate") and forgiveness ("Higher Ground"). After eight years of sobriety, Lynne has managed to cast out her demons, and that is more evident than ever on Just Words which shows her with full confidence. Here is a very good folk album, but with also country and rock music. (February 2020)

 

 

 Matt Holubowski – Weird Ones

Matt Holubowski – Weird Ones

Following his debut album, Solitudes, in 2016, Matt Holubowski toured Canada, the United States and Europe. Result: Weird Ones was written and composed between Paris, Krakow, Banff and Montreal. The singer-songwriter has found again producer Connor Seidel, even if he pushes his sound experiments a little further, navigating between softness and intensity. His folk base borrows from pop and rock, while retaining the melancholy that inhabits him. The atmospheres remain above all soaring, around his voice that is so characteristic. Holubowski tackles the theme of love for the first time by getting inspiration from his personal experiences. His musicians are joined by violinist Mélanie Bélair, horn player Pietro Amato and singer Claudia Bouvette. (February 2020)

Audiogram

½

   

 Adam Karch – Everything Can Change

Adam Karch – Everything Can Change

This fifth album by Adam Karch was recorded in Montreal and produced by Karch himself. He presents a mix of solo and trio performances with Richard Deschênes (bass) and Marc-André Drouin (drums). He also alternates between original compositions and classic covers like Bob Dylan’s "Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright", JJ Cale’s "After Midnight", popularized by Eric Clapton, as well as Robert Johnson’s "Preachin’ Blues". The Quebecer once again offers a superb amalgam of folk, blues and country, for our greatest pleasure. This is perhaps his strongest recording to date. (February 2020)

Bros / SIX

½

     

 Kid Francescoli – Lovers

Kid Francescoli – Lovers

Kid Francescoli is the musical project of French artist Mathieu Hocine who has collaborated with Julia Minkin since 2013. For this third album, recorded at home in Marseille, Hocine surrounds himself with new female voices: Samantha, Sarah Rebecca, Nassee and Alizée (alias iOni). Kid Francescoli still offers light electro-pop music that is very catchy, on lyrics mainly in English, but also in French and Portuguese. It’s sunny music that quickly puts a smile on our face. Fans of the genre will ask for more… (February 2020)

Yotanka / Audiogram

½

   

 Audrey Ochoa – Frankenhorn

Audrey Ochoa – Frankenhorn

Canadian trombonist Audrey Ochoa comes to us with an album containing seven original compositions, as well as a cover of Ben Sures' "Postcards". While it was originally a duet project with pianist Chris Andrew, Audrey decided instead to trust herself and use the experience gained to arrange sections of strings with brass instruments and a rhythm section. The result is an ambitious and rich project that combines chamber music, contemporary jazz and Latin jazz. Ultimately, Audrey Ochoa succeeds in fusing tradition and modernity on Frankenhorn, with contemporary jazz steeped in history. (February 2020)

Chronograph / SIX

½

     

Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Five years after Currents, which had been especially successful thanks to the intoxicating "Let It Happen", Tame Impala presents a new record. Kevin Parker returns to more experimental electro music, but less psychedelic. The only pop song worthy of "Let It Happen" is "Tomorrow’s Dust". Otherwise the tempo turns out to be much slower compared to the previous record which included collaborations with Lady Gaga and Kanye West. If Tame Impala reached the big leagues thanks to Currents, we feel that its creator rather wanted to return to the basics of the electro music that is of interest to him. It is rather successful, at the risk of losing some new fans acquired in recent years. Parker remains a leading songwriter who offers extraordinary music. The Slow Rush is therefore once again a safe bet, which also has the advantage of being interesting over its entire length unlike the previous album by Tame Impala. (February 2020)

Island / Universal

½

     

 

 Wilsen – Ruiner

Wilsen – Ruiner

After a critically acclaimed debut album in 2017, the New York trio is back on record. Wilsen collaborated for the occasion with producer Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver). Ruiner is once again dominated by the muffled and shy voice of Tamsin Wilson who admits to finally making peace with her introverted personality and her inner monster, hence the title of the album. The guitars still occupy a prominent place with great rock energy on several occasions to come to contrast the ambient moments, more cinematographic. Here again is a very beautiful album from this talented band! (February 2020)

Secret City / SIX

½

   

 

JANUARY:

 

The Who – Who

The Who – Who

The legendary British band celebrates the 55 years of its foundation by presenting a new album of original songs, their first since 2006 and only the second since their first split-up in 1982. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are now accompanied by a new rhythm section composed of Pino Palladino on bass and Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) on drums. This pair certainly gives a new breath to the group allowing it to face 2020 in a great way. Even if the band no longer has the energy of yesteryear, we can still discover some good moments on Who with quality compositions. They even manage to surprise us, especially with the romantic soul song "I’ll Be Back". Therefore, the Daltrey-Townshend tandem remains still relevant in 2020, even if it is most probably their last album. (January 2020 Featured Review)

Polydor / Universal

     

     

 

 Fyrhtu – No More Days in the Light

Fyrhtu – No More Days in the Light

Fyrhtu is a duo from Oakland, California, formed of multi-instrumentalists Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune, Ionophore) and Nathan A. Verrill (Cardinal Wyrm). On this debut album, they offer ambient music fusing folk and electro. It is a kind of mystical music with quasi-religious passages. Analog and digital synthesizers overlap to create music that is both organic and electronic, transporting us to a very special atmosphere. There are experimental improvisations that are not necessarily easy to access, but the creativity is always present while each of the seven songs differs from the previous one. The only thread running through the album is its very unique atmosphere, so if you want to discover a different band, Fyrhtu is for you. (January 2020 Featured New Artist)

Black Horizons

½

 

 Junkyard – Old Habits Die Hard

Junkyard – Old Habits Die Hard

The hard rock band from Los Angeles produced two albums in 1989 and 1991, before being released by their record company, Geffen, more interested in the new trend (grunge). Junkyard therefore had an album ready in 1992 that never saw the light of day. It is 27 years later that Old Habits Die Hard is finally offered to us. We obviously find the same recipe that had been appreciated on the previous records of the group, with an energetic rock ‘n’ roll sound including a blues tendency, somewhere between AC/DC and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Note that the original band at the time included, in addition to David Roach at the microphone, a certain Brian Baker, ex-Dag Nasty/Minor Threat and future guitarist of Bad Religion. Even if the nostalgic ones will find some interesting moments reminding them of their teenage years, let's say that Geffen certainly took the right decision at the time by betting everything on Nirvana... (January 2020)

Acetate

½

 

 Paul Kelly – Greatest Hits: Songs From the South 1985-2019 (2 CD)

Paul Kelly – Greatest Hits: Songs From the South 1985-2019 (2 CD)

At the dawn of his 65 years of age and his 40 years of career, Paul Kelly offers us this very exhaustive collection of his best recordings between 1985 and 2019. The Australian offers nothing less than 43 tracks totaling almost 160 minutes, and everything is presented to us chronologically. You can rediscover some of his jewels of rock and alternative rock, as well as his folk incursions. Here is an excellent retrospective of the career of one of Australia's most underrated singer-songwriters. (January 2020)

Cooking Vinyl

 

 I’ll Never Forget You: The Last 72 Hours of Lynyrd Skynyrd (DVD)

I’ll Never Forget You: The Last 72 Hours of Lynyrd Skynyrd (DVD)

In 1977, when Lynyrd Skynyrd were at the peak of their careers, they faced a tragedy. On October 20, their plane crashed, killing the band’s founder and lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines (Steve's sister) and assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, in addition to the two pilots of the aircraft. This documentary basically recounts the last 72 hours before the crash and the aftermath by three survivors: security guard and Van Zant’s friend Gene Odom, lead backup singer Leslie Hawkins and guitar technician Craig Reed. The documentary is based on the novel by Gene Odom, I’ll Never Forget You. We can see different archive footage of the events preceding the crash, a simulation of the crash itself based on the expert report, as well as rare interviews with first responders filmed at the crash site in Gillsburg, Mississippi. It’s a documentary that only very briefly covers the band’s career, and music is totally absent. The film therefore focuses on the links between the survivors and the band, as well as on the events surrounding the crash of October 20, 1977. Interesting, but incomplete to really learn about Lynyrd Skynyrd. (January 2020)

Concrete Lion Pictures / MVD

½

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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