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SEPTEMBER 2014

 

FEATURED REVIEW:  Jason Mraz    FEATURED NEW ARTIST:  Bleachers

 

SEPTEMBER 1-7 (more to come):

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - La Roux - Jenny Lewis - Brian Setzer - Manic Street Preachers - DragonForce - Beck - Laura Mvula - Hedwig and the Angry Inch - Boyhood - B.B. King (DVD)

 

Reviews coming up next month:

Maroon 5 - Robert Plant - Sinéad O'Connor - Counting Crows - Wiz Khalifa - Kimbra - Karl Wolf

and much more...

 

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archives:

 

AUGUST 22-28:

Tank - The Gaslight Anthem - Spoon - A Sunny Day in Glasgow - FaltyDL

 

AUGUST 15-21:

Common - Luluc

 

AUGUST 8-14:

Ghost Town - Big Wreck - Mastodon - Ranee Lee - Quatuor Ébène

 

AUGUST 1-7:

Jennifer Lopez - Tessanne Chin - Robin Thicke - Lana Del Rey - Ed Sheeran - Phillip Phillips - Trey Songz - Linkin Park - Fatboy Slim - The Flaming Lips - Da Cruz - Joshua Redman - Crosby Stills Nash & Young - Clockwork Orange County

 

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You can also search by artist names if you visit the artists directory.

 

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Jason Mraz – Yes!

Jason MrazYes!

A fairly significant change from previous albums by Jason Mraz, Yes! has only acoustic songs. Recorded with female folk band Raining Jane, this new record still offers several catchy songs with some entertaining tracks. He originally planned to make only an unpretentious side project, but the quality of the songs presented soon changed the goal to make it his fifth official album. Yes! delivers us its share of love songs. After all, it has become the trademark of Mraz, especially after the worldwide success of "I'm Yours". Among the 14 songs of the album can be heard a cover, Boyz II Men’s "It's so Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday". The most interesting songs also include the first single "Love Someone" which starts the album strongly after a short intro, in addition to "Best Friend" and "You Can Rely on Me". It's still a beautiful album that offers us Jason Mraz, the logical extension to Love is a Four Letter Word issued two years ago.

Music Video: « Love Someone »

Atlantic / Warner

½

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FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

Bleachers – Strange Desire

BleachersStrange Desire

Bleachers is a side project for guitarist of the band Fun., Jack Antonoff. The group formed in New York has a pop rock sound with new wave influences and electronic elements. The choruses are powerful and those epic anthems are perfect for singing loud by the crowd at concerts. Other tracks a little softer can complement an evening and it is this mix of magnificent and intimate that creates a very interesting album to listen to. In addition, it gets better and better with each listen, though some less original compositions, a little too inspired by the past, end up to take out. Antonoff and his band can count on two renowned collaborators as Grimes, who comes with vocal acrobatics on "Take Me Away" and Yoko Ono, much less spectacular on "I'm Ready To Move On/Wild Heart (Reprise)". Here is a very good first album by this group that could be to checkout out closely whether Antonoff decided to devote himself to it full time.

Music Video: « I Wanna Get Better »

RCA / Sony

½

 

SEPTEMBER 1-7:

 

 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye

Tom Petty & The HeartbreakersHypnotic Eye

After a comeback in the late 2000s, Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers issue perhaps their best album in over 30 years with Hypnotic Eye. From the opening track, "American Dream Plan B", one perceives a new energy in very effective rock 'n' roll. "Fault Lines" continues in the same way then we find further some more introspective songs of high quality with blues and jazz influences. It is quite distant now the time when we could only compare them to The Beatles. On Hypnotic Eye, there is a nice balance between good energy tracks and slower times when the quality of the musicians takes center stage. Here is a very nice album to listen to that is likely to rally their early fans, in addition to attract the sympathy of a new audience.

Reprise / Warner

½

 La Roux – Trouble in Paradise

La RouxTrouble in Paradise

After the blockbuster she got five years ago thanks to the hit "Bulletproof", it is not easy for La Roux to come back with creative material and as catchy. These years of waiting and anguish for Elly Jackson resulted in the departure of her collaborator Ben Langmaid. She suffered from writer's block page, panic attacks, loss of voice, and so on, forcing her to postpone several recording sessions. The title of her new album has not been so difficult to find. Otherwise, to see all the electro-pop artists inspired by the new wave of the 1980s that have emerged in recent years, one can easily realize that La Roux still has her place on the current music scene. The British artist continues in the same way on Trouble in Paradise that still inspires largely from the 1980s, perhaps even more than on her first album. References to David Bowie are still present, but it is based a little more on disco and even reggae ("Tropical Chancer"). Despite danceable rhythms, La Roux has a greater vulnerability in her writing. Most of all, there is no longer the kind of hits as "Bulletproof", which is likely to relegate her quickly to second place in the genre. This is still a very good album.

Music Video: « Let Me Down Gently »

Polydor / Universal

½

 Jenny Lewis – The Voyager

Jenny LewisThe Voyager

The Las Vegas singer is back with her third album, but already six years have passed since her last one, the excellent Acid Tongue. On The Voyager, we realize quickly the theme that put all the compositions together. Infidelity, failed marriage, disappointment and regret are linked for an album of unwinding. Musically, Jenny has a pop rock sound with some country and folk influences. If we ignore the lyrics, we do not feel like listening to a depressing album, on the contrary. She offers a joyful and energetic music that makes us quickly forget the recurring theme of the 30 year old woman who is no longer trusting men. The Voyager is certainly not a stunning album, but it still remains of great quality.

Music Video: « Just One of the Guys »

Warner

½

 Brian Setzer – Rockabilly Riot! All Original

Brian SetzerRockabilly Riot! All Original

In 2005, Brian Setzer paid tribute to Sun Records by presenting the album Rockabilly Riot. In 2012, a live album had the same title, and what differentiates this one is that it includes only original songs. However, you will often feel you hear covers while references and nods to the past are numerous. So much so that originality is not so much present... Despite this lack of creativity, we can not blame him for trying, after all these years to do versions of classic rock 'n' roll. And we must admit that this still has a good blend of upbeat songs that will make you tap your feet, while your nostalgia of the 1950s will be back in you.

Surfdog / Universal

 Manic Street Preachers – Futurology

Manic Street Preachers Futurology

The britpop band from Wales has a career that is already over 20 years old and it still offers quality albums to its loyal fans. As shown by its title, this new album propels the Manic Street Preachers into the future, rather than looking behind with nostalgia as they did for some years. This is an important shift the trio performs with Futurology. They present songs both energetic and inspired with many electronic elements. The rock moments are surprising in the band's repertoire, but the group is also exploring on a number of occasions disco for a creative pop rock album. A unique album in the discography of Manic Street Preachers, Futurology is a great entertainment, both for its quality of production and by the intelligence of the compositions.

Music Videos: « Walk Me to the Bridge » - « Futurology »

Columbia / Sony

½

 DragonForce – Maximum Overload

DragonForceMaximum Overload

The London power metal band DragonForce already offers its sixth album in 15 years of career. The group has lost none of its speed, accuracy and virtuosity through the years. For Maximum Overload, the guys decided to work for the first time with an outside producer, Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia). The producer has brought them some discipline which forced them to work harder. This results in a more intense record than in the past. The level of creativity is also up a notch, even if the band retains the elements that made its reputation as old video game sounds and their unique guitar playing. There was only one collaborator on the album, Matt Heafy (Trivium) who lends his voice to three tracks including the first single, "The Game". For the first time, the band did a cover of a well known song, and not just any: Johnny Cash’s "Ring of Fire". This surprising moment comes to us at the very end, when stunning is at its peak, but their very personal version is the highlight of the CD.

Music Video: « The Game »

Metal Blade / Universal

½

 Beck – Song Reader

Beck Song Reader

Song Reader contains 20 songs written by Beck and performed by various artists. Released in 2012 in the form of illustrated music sheets, the album was finally completed in its traditional format. We can hear Norah Jones, Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, Fun., Jarvis Cocker, Loudon Wainwright III, Marc Ribot, Jack Black and many others. In addition to producing the album with Randall Poster, Beck himself comes to interpret the Beatlesque "Heaven's Ladder".

Warby Parker / Capitol / Universal

½

B.B. King – The Life of Riley (DVD)

B.B. KingThe Life of Riley (DVD)

The Life of Riley is a documentary by filmmaker Jon Brewer with narration by Morgan Freeman presenting the life and career of blues legend B.B. King. Born in Mississippi in 1925, Riley B. King had a difficult childhood before discovering a passion for music. After his debut in Memphis, B.B. King was instrumental in carrying the blues of the Southern US plantations on the biggest stages in the world. The excellent 2-hour documentary presents comments by other legends he influenced as Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Carlos Santana, Buddy Guy, Bill Wyman, Dr. John, Ringo Starr, Bono, and many others . This film not only offers a biography of the artist, but also paints a portrait of an entire segment of American music and blues in particular, including British blues artists who were inspired by him. As a bonus, the DVD features longer interviews and a live performance at the Royal Albert Hall in 2011.

Bounce / MVD

½

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AUGUST 22-28:

 

 Tank – Stronger

TankStronger

The R&B singer from Milwaukee comes to us with a new album after having collaborated with Tyrese and Ginuwine in TGT. Despite its title that creates high expectations, Stronger falls too quickly in the clichés of the genre, especially the ballads. Nothing really manages to carry us. The few attempts a bit more rhythmic give us some confidence, but it is short lived. This is the case among others at the opening with "You're My Star" with Kelly Rowland in the background. It is a frankly boring album Tank is giving us, perhaps his weakest to date, ironically.

Music Video: « You’re My Star »

Atlantic / Warner

 The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

The Gaslight AnthemGet Hurt

Less punk and more and more accessible, The Gaslight Anthem takes a turn toward the rock of the 1970s on this fifth album. They also have a little something of Pearl Jam that makes us forget the comparisons with Bruce Springsteen of the last albums. By its pop side, Get Hurt is likely to become the most popular of the band to date. Otherwise, although several songs deserve to listen to them several times, the compositions seem to lack personality dramatically, as if they had been happily dipping in the basket of influences for each track. It's an album that is pleasant to listen to, but it lacks creativity to make it the bomb we might have been expected.

Music Videos: « Get Hurt » - « Rollin’ and Tumblin’ »

Island / Universal

 Spoon – They Want My Soul

SpoonThey Want My Soul

The Austin, Texas indie rock band has been around for 20 years and they present their eighth studio album. After Transference in 2010 that contained a mixture of demos and studio cuts, the group took a break to allow its members to embark on personal projects, the most interesting being probably the one of Britt Daniel who formed Divine Fits with Dan Boeckner (Wolf Parade). Therefore, Spoon makes a comeback four years later, completely invigorated. The guys seem to enjoy greater cohesion, for one of their most effective albums in a long time. We find strong compositions on They Want My Soul that make the album has nothing to envy to the best recordings of the band to date. Without actually containing instant hits, the CD still includes very good melodies, greatly catchy. Here is an excellent album to add to your collection.

Music Video: « Do You »

Republic / Universal

½

 A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sea When Absent

A Sunny Day in GlasgowSea When Absent

Ben Daniels and his sisters Lauren and Robin began recording together in the mid-2000s and they now have their fourth album. They have an indie pop sound with shoegaze influences like My Bloody Valentine. For the first time on Sea When Absent, Ben retired from producing, as well as the writing of lyrics and vocal melodies. The Philadelphia band has a more live sound, ignoring the echoes and the many effects used extensively on its previous recordings. There are also excellent catchy melodies that will certainly make it their most pop album to date. Finally, Ben taking a little less space might be a good thing for the group that seems to find a new life. Despite this shift, the band's fans will not be too disoriented since the typical sound of the band with different textures is still alive. This is actually just a simple evolution for a group that prefers to look forward than backward. Only the future will tell us if A Sunny Day in Glasgow has taken the right direction, but it seems that the shift is particularly successful on Sea When Absent.

Lefse / Red Ink

½

 FaltyDL – In the Wild

FaltyDLIn the Wild

Drew Lustman (aka FaltyDL) presents a blend of house, hardcore techno, drum 'n' bass, dubstep and garage without ever really specializing in any of these styles. The New Yorker loves sudden changes and we are constantly destabilized. He is therefore not the ideal candidate to fill the dance floors. For this fourth studio album, FaltyDL has collaborated with visual artist Chris Shen to somehow create a collection of sounds and spatial effects that seem more visual than auditory. It feels great to see the wilderness by listening to several pieces, hence the title of the album, In the Wild. The completely instrumental CD has arrangements closer than ever to film music. There is only one step to do for FaltyDL to go into an electro-symphonic sound. In the Wild is certainly not an easy album to approach, but after a few listens, you'll discover excellent atmospheric music that is more likely to appeal to fans of the Flaming Lips than to fans of danceable house. Here is a very good record of experimental electro.

Ninja Tune

½

 

AUGUST 15-21:

 

 Common – Nobody’s Smiling

CommonNobody’s Smiling

The Chicago rapper is back with a new album, his first in three years. On this record, he expresses his concern about the situation in his city. For the occasion, he surrounds himself with many artists from Chicago, whose No. I.D., Dreezy, Lil Herb and Malik Yusef. This is perhaps one of his hardest albums to date with not only whistleblower lyrics, but also often aggressive beats. Still, it certainly does not approach the hardness of songs on Yeezus by Kanye West in which he participated. Common has several compositions of quality among the 10 offered. Nobody's Smiling is actually his best album in a long time, perhaps since Be released in 2005.

Music Videos: « Kingdom » - « Diamonds »

Def Jam / Universal

½

 Luluc – Passerby

LulucPasserby

Luluc is an Australian indie folk duo that formed fifteen years ago. But, it took them until 2008 before giving a first album to their Australian fans. Six years later, they come back with their second album, this time offered in America. They had attracted substantial attention with their first album, but they take a new start with the new record, co-produced by Aaron Dessner (The National). Passerby remains a simple album despite the addition of some instruments to the folk base. These additions remain subtle and warm, and they just bring the right amount of shades to the 10 beautiful love songs. Not easy to remain creative in a genre so exploited for decades. The band still manages to offer us something fresh. A great success if you like your music very quiet.

Sub Pop

½

 

AUGUST 8-14:

 

 Ghost Town – The After Party

Ghost TownThe After Party

Ghost Town is a young band from Hollywood which deftly merges genres. They in fact have an energetic rock sound with an emo direction and pop melodies, not to mention a strong trend towards electronic and dubstep, with even some metal / industrial influences. Despite a pop sensibility, they can also at times blend beautifully in the context of a horror movie with tracks such as "You're So Creepy" and "Hocus Pocus". It is especially the voice of the singer, Kev Ghost, which constantly brings the group on the way to a more conventional pop sound. Ghost Town still offers enough creaky pieces that can make them more appealing to a more alternative audience. It is only a pity that the mixture of styles is not always completely successful.

Music Video: « You’re So Creepy »

Fueled By Ramen / Warner

 Big Wreck – Ghosts

Big WreckGhosts

The Canadian grunge band has a second album since its comeback in 2012 with a new line-up of musicians. You can always hear a sound similar to Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Led Zeppelin, but the group tries this time a more progressive rock exploration. It also extends its expertise with some acoustic passages. At the same time, Ghosts is an album with a wider musical spectrum than what they had previously offered. Without revolutionizing anything, the band releases a solid album, possibly its best to date.

Music Video: « Ghosts »

Anthem / Warner

½

 Mastodon – Once More ‘Round the Sun

MastodonOnce More ‘Round the Sun

The alternative metal band from Atlanta has its sixth album in 15 years of career. They explore this time the most accessible that one could find on their previous album, The Hunter, with its rather hard rock tunes. There are even several influences of the rock of the 1970s, for example with "High Road" that can remind us of Thin Lizzy. Progressive rock is still present in their sound, but grunge / sludge is never far away either with Alice In Chains that come to mind on some occasions. While Mastodon have certainly their most accessible compositions to date, the fact remains that most of them remain also very inspired. Here is a solid album that proves to be as pleasant to listen to.

Music Video: « High Road »

Reprise / Warner

½

 Ranee Lee – What’s Going On

Ranee LeeWhat’s Going On

The Montrealer of adoption presents the 12th album of her career. The great lady of Canadian Jazz signs 3 of the 10 songs in addition to play jazz, soul and reggae standards. She is accompanied for the occasion by several renowned musicians including pianists Taurey Butler and Chad Linsley, guitarist Richard Ring and saxophonist Chet Doxas. The string quartet Birds on a Wire is also involved in four songs. Among the most famous pieces offered by Ranee Lee, there is Marvin Gaye’s classic "What's Going On" which became the title track of the record, and Bob Marley’s "One Love" she plays with three of her granddaughters. "I Mean You" of Coleman Hawkins, Jon Hendricks and Thelonius Monk has a Latin rhythm, while "Lazy Afternoon" of John Latouche and Jerome Moross carries us into a cinematic experience. With What's Going On, the singer shows a good overview of her whole musical range, while her unique voice shines more than ever. A very good album of ambient jazz!

Justin Time / SIX

½

 Quatuor Ébène – Brazil

Quatuor Ébène Brazil

On this new album by the string quartet, it is Brazil that is featured in this year of World Cup of Soccer. For the occasion, they can count on two famous voices: those of Stacey Kent and Bernard Lavilliers. In addition to three songs by Lavilliers, you can hear famous covers of Stevie Wonder ("I Can’t Help It"), Wayne Shorter ("Ana Maria"), Sting ("Fragile"), Tom Jobim ("Aguas de Marcos"), Jim Tomlinson ("The Ice Hotel"), Charlie Chaplin ("Smile"), etc. Here they present a fusion of bossa nova and samba rhythms, as well as influences from various countries. This charming blend will certainly carry you under the hot Brazilian sun, and for more than 66 minutes.

Erato / Warner / Naxos

 

AUGUST 1-7:

 

Jennifer Lopez – A.K.A.

Jennifer LopezA.K.A.

After several albums without much interest, Jennifer Lopez is trying to relaunch her singing career with A.K.A. While RedOne is still present as an executive producer, she surrounds herself with people who can bring her back in the heart of the current pop scene, as Pitbull, T.I., Rick Ross and Iggy Azalea with which Jennifer made ​​duets. Leon Youngblood is producing the most interesting songs of the record: "Acting Like That" (with Iggy Azalea), "So Good" and the title track (with T.I.). You can hear several less interesting R&B ballads, but the most energetic moments make us stomp, including the entertaining "Booty" (with Pitbull) in conclusion of the CD. A deluxe version of the album adds 6 more tracks. Not necessarily relying on the forefront of the pop scene, Jennifer manages to present an album of its time including some interesting elements. (August 2014 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « I Luh Ya Papi » - « First Love »

Capitol / Universal

½

Tessanne Chin – Count on my Love

Tessanne Chin Count on my Love

Originally from Kingston, Jamaica, Tessanne Chin already had some success in her native country when the world has discovered her with her presence at the 5th season of The Voice in the United States, a contest she won at the end. For this first album, she offers an excellent blend of R&B and pop with several moments of reggae she took directly from her first influence. Some tracks stand out from the whole, but what is standing out the most is her versatility and her ability to move from one style to another fluidly. So, Count on my Love manages to remain consistent until the end, despite the various musical explorations. (August 2014 Featured New Artist)

Republic / Universal

½

 Robin Thicke – Paula

Robin ThickePaula

After the unexpected success of "Blurred Lines" last year, the R&B singer already comes back with a new album. Released just in time for the summer season, Paula includes soft and sunny soul music which will pleasantly accompany your summer. The CD starts strongly in this direction with "You're My Fantasy" and the first single, "Get Her Back". Some ballads are somewhat changing the mood, but the whole remains a good soft entertainment. Otherwise, it is difficult to find another hit like "Blurred Lines" which broke several records.

Music Video: « Get Her Back »

Star Trak / Interscope / Universal

½

 

Lana Del ReyUltraviolence

After a first album that has created quite a stir in 2012 despite many weaknesses, Lana Del Rey has refined her style and she returns with a sophomore album much more effective. Produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, the record has a very special dark atmosphere in which melancholy is present until the end. It is therefore a dense album, but that still manages to seduce us fairly quickly. We may find few instant hits, but we can hear extremely satisfactory compositions. With Ultraviolence, the New Yorker finally meets the expectations created around her first album. An excellent album of alternative pop with substance!

Music Videos: « West Coast » - « Shades of Cool »

Interscope / Universal

½

 Ed Sheeran – X

Ed SheeranX

The young English pop rock singer with a high trend in folk is back with a second album that continues in the same direction as his first album. He still presents a good dose of love songs and you can always compare him to Jason Mraz. Where he differs from his American alter ego, is when he is using hip hop inspired rhythms. This trend is particularly evident on "Sing", a collaboration with Pharrell Williams. This one works to another song later, "Runaway". The inclusion of rap in some tracks of the CD brings a different and creative touch to the album and at the same time it helps Sheeran to distinguish himself from the mass of pop rock singers who accompany themselves on acoustic guitar. With X, the British singer has his best album to date.

Music Videos: « Sing » - « One »

Atlantic / Warner

½

 Phillip Phillips – Behind the Light

Phillip PhillipsBehind the Light

The pop rock singer from Georgia was first discovered in American Idol, especially since he won top honours at the 11th edition. Behind the Light is his second album since his release from the TV show. You can still hear the obvious influences of Dave Matthews Band, also with elements inspired by Jason Mraz and Jack Johnson. He also adds folk influences like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers. However, his ease with acoustic guitar and soulful vocals are contrasted with a large production and furnished orchestral arrangements. At the opening of the album, we can say that it is a style that fits him well. Otherwise, redundancy then quickly takes over the surprise for an album that finally fails to impress in its second half. The container seems largely to dominate the content and even if the packaging fits him well, it hides the evidence of some creative weaknesses.

Music Video: « Raging Fire »

Interscope / Universal

½

 Trey Songz – Trigga

Trey SongzTrigga

The sixth album by Trey Songz was not even available that four singles were already on the charts. It is therefore not surprising that Trigga is his most commercial album to date, and possibly one of the most accessible albums of contemporary R&B. The best songs include "Cake", "Foreign" (2 versions including a remix featuring Justin Bieber) and "Nana". In addition to Bieber, Trey Songz can count on the presence of several renowned singers including Nicki Minaj, Mila J and Juicy J. In his lyrics, the seducer is far from settling down. Instead, his confidence seems to have no limitations with women. But, inspired music and production of high quality allow us to forget the often somewhat pretentious lyrics by the singer from Virginia. Here is an album of great quality, certainly his best so far.

Music Videos: « Nana » - « SmartPhones » - « Foreign »

Atlantic / Warner

½

 Linkin Park – The Hunting Party

Linkin ParkThe Hunting Party

After an association with producer Rick Rubin for three albums, Linkin Park takes a turn for The Hunting Party with Brad Delson and Mike Shinoda as co-producers of the record. Another important milestone is that the group abandoned the electronic atmospheres of the last albums to return to a purest rock sound. This homecoming may be rather well received by their fans, since it is in this style that the band is at its best. Several songs have the potential to become Linkin Park classics and some famous artists are participating in this revival of the California metal band. They include Page Hamilton (Helmet) and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave). With The Hunting Party, Linkin Park made a great comeback and they will certainly take back their rightful spot on the metal scene.

Music Video: « Until It’s Gone »

Warner

½

 Fatboy Slim – Bem Brasil (2 CD)

Fatboy SlimBem Brasil (2 CD)

DJ Fatboy Slim takes the advantage of this year's World Cup in Brazil to present his very personal version of Brazilian music. The first CD has extremely energetic dance tracks that will certainly make move more than the fans of bossa nova with their house and dubstep approach. There's even Fedde Le Grand’s "Put Your Hands Up For Detroit", which becomes for the occasion "Put Your Hands Up For Brasil". The second CD has meanwhile more ambient pieces for the late evening. It includes two Gilberto Gil songs, the legend of Brazilian music. With these two discs, Fatboy Slim allows us to see Brazil in a different light, but still in a festive way.

Decca / Universal

½

 The Flaming Lips – 7 Skies H3

The Flaming Lips7 Skies H3

After more than 30 years of existence, the American alternative rock band has not mellowed, and most importantly, it has not lost its desire to explore new territories. In 2011, they worked on the composition of a piece extending over no less than 24 hours, 7 Skies H3. To make it a little more marketable, the composition was divided into 10 tracks totalling 50 minutes. It includes many instrumental passages, completely cacophonous experimental times, as well as more atmospheric pieces in the style of the Flaming Lips. Definitely not an easy album to approach, 7 Skies H3 occurs mainly as another unique work in the vast repertoire of the band, which should at the same time please their fans.

Warner

 Da Cruz – Disco E Progresso

Da CruzDisco E Progresso

Da Cruz was born from the collaboration between Brazilian singer Mariana Da Cruz and electronic musician Ane H. Determined to change our vision of Brazilian music, Mariana brings a new color to the bossa nova with the integration of different influences ranging from disco to jazz, funk, afrobeat, dancehall and samba. This fourth album is a double CD in two distinct parts. First, the bright side contains a festive rhythmic music which always remains warm despite the many electronic elements it includes. For the dark side, we find a little more hard industrial influenced rhythms, including new wave and Indus sounds with themes expressing the confusion of people facing the economic situation in their country. Here is a very good album of world music with varied influences.

Music Video: « Bola da Discoteca »

S.P.A.C.E. / SIX

½

 Joshua Redman – Trios Live

Joshua RedmanTrios Live

This album by saxophonist Joshua Redman presents him in concert with his trio at two venues. There are 4 songs recorded in October 2009 at the Jazz Standard in New York City and 3 songs recorded in February 2013 at Blues Alley in Washington, D.C. We hear no guitar or piano on these recordings on which only bass and drums accompany the saxophone of Redman. He presents three original pieces and standards of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht, Jay Livingston/Ray Evans, and Thelonious Monk. He also presents his unique version of Led Zeppelin’s "The Ocean". Redman does not hesitate to improvise, once again demonstrating all his musicianship.

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – CSNY 1974

Crosby, Stills, Nash & YoungCSNY 1974

In 1974, the legendary folk rock quartet began a tour that would go down in history for its size. This album contains 16 selections from that tour for a total of 78 minutes. The tracks were recorded in a dozen concerts between Chicago, New York, San Francisco and London. There are obviously their biggest hits, but most of all the tracks offered are played strongly by the musicians. CSNY were at the peak of their art at that time, despite some internal differences. It was already planned to release a live album after the tour, but these recordings have remained well hidden for 40 years, until Graham Nash decided to offer them to us for their 40th anniversary. In addition to this single CD version, we also find a box of three CDs and a DVD.

Rhino / Warner

½

Clockwork Orange County: The Rise of West Coast Punk Rock! (DVD)

Clockwork Orange County: The Rise of West Coast Punk Rock! (DVD)

In the early 1970s, young tattooed punks from Southern California had a passion for loud music. These pioneers of punk found their sanctuary at Cuckoo's Nest, a club in Costa Mesa. This 74-minute documentary presents that new movement that would grow into a huge wave carrying Californian bands like T.S.O.L., Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys, but also artists from somewhere else like the Ramones and Iggy Pop. That movement of the late 1970s and early 1980s would not only become a staple in the history of music, but would also continue in subsequent generations with several revivals of Californian punk in recent decades. The documentary presents several interesting features of that era, but also many more insignificant and less interesting details for those who have not been part of the movement at that time.

Endurance / MVD

½

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JULY:

 

 Birdy – Fire Within

BirdyFire Within

Fire Within is the second album for the young 18 year-old English singer, but her first of original songs. Nevertheless, the CD starts with a cover, Bon Iver’s "Skinny Love". She participates in most of the compositions, but she can count on the support of many talented people including Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons) and Sia. She offers some catchy and efficient pop songs, but also has several lower quality songs, not very creative. It is for her to discover the songwriting craft, and considering her young age, we can more easily forgive her efforts in formatted and too easy music. (July 2014)

Music Videos: « Skinny Love » - « Wings » - « Light Me Up » - « Words as Weapons »

Warner

 LP – Forever for Now

LP Forever for Now

Laura Pergolizzi (aka LP) grew up in New York before moving to Los Angeles. Her style is somewhere between Feist, Chrissie Hynde and Joan Jett with a frankly rock attitude and intelligent lyrics. Even though this is her first album for a major label, LP played for more than a decade independently. On Forever for Now, producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, Goo Goo Dolls, My Chemical Romance) manages to bring out the pop side of LP which offers excellent melodies. Here is an excellent album of pop rock, effective and creative. (July 2014)

Warner

½

 Clean Bandit – New Eyes

Clean BanditNew Eyes

The British band skillfully blends danceable house music and classical music with the addition of many string arrangements. Their music still remains very danceable and will appeal especially to fans of house or energetic pop. New Eyes is their first official album and contains among others "Mozart's House", a piece published in 2013 on the EP of the same title. The mixing of genres proves to be frankly interesting on several occasions, but sometimes the fusion seems forced. (July 2014)

Atlantic / Warner

 Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

Parquet CourtsSunbathing Animal

The Brooklyn band comes up with a second album just a year and a half after their excellent debut album, Light Up Gold. Sunbathing Animal shows the essence of what caught attention to their debut album including their greatly catchy melodies. Otherwise, they seem to take a good dose of maturity, which is far from being boring to hear. Tracks like "Black & White", "Instant Disassembly" and the title track ensure the satisfaction of their fans. But a key piece as "Always Back in Town" will certainly become the classic from the album, and perhaps for the band. (July 2014)

½

 Priests – Bodies and Control and Money and Power

PriestsBodies and Control and Money and Power

Priests is an indie rock band formed in Washington, D.C. in 2011. This first album from them is in fact an EP with 7 tracks totalling 17 minutes. Their punk influences are undeniable, but their sound is more towards a grinding post-punk sound which is not without reminding us of Sonic Youth and Fugazi on different occasions. Difficult to access, the album doesn’t have pop melodies before "Right Wing", the penultimate song on the CD that would make us think about Courtney Love. Nice job of marketing to introduce this record as a full-length album, but there are definitely some tracks missing to make an album worthy of the name. Priests still remains a band to watch carefully for those who love their alternative rock rather noisy. (July 2014)

Don Giovanni

½

 Conor Oberst – Upside Down Mountain

Conor OberstUpside Down Mountain

The alternative rock singer from Nebraska comes to us with a first solo album of original material since 2008. For the occasion, he worked with producer Jonathan Wilson who managed to partially mitigate the effect of the trembling voice of Oberst, while putting forward good guitars. Although the acoustic guitar still dominates, there are several passages where the electric guitar is scratching fairly. The style of the album reminds us partly of the Californian folk rock of the early 1970s and it is a style that goes pretty well with Conor Oberst. In fact, it is perhaps the record that will allow him to be discovered by a new audience. A very good album! (July 2014)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 Rush Midnight – Rush Midnight

Rush MidnightRush Midnight

The man behind Rush Midnight is Russ Manning, a guy from Brooklyn. He joined Twin Shadow in the early 2010s and it is on tour that he started to write and mix songs for his upcoming project. He offers us electro-pop music with strong influences of funk. The album was produced by Jesse F. Keeler (MSTRKRFT, Death From Above 1979) and it contains several frankly catchy songs. (July 2014)

Last Gang

 Big Smo – Kuntry Livin’

Big SmoKuntry Livin’

John Smith (aka Big Smo) was born in San Diego, California, but grew up in Tennessee. Fan of Kid Rock and Run-DMC, he developed his own style of rap by merging it to a country sound. Active for ten years, he finally managed to catch the attention of a major label for a debut album with a wide distribution. The singer-songwriter is also a producer and has recently been presenting his own reality show. On Kuntry Livin', he has a few tracks of great interest, with quite a bit of energy and creativity. He can count on the participation of some big names including Frankie Ballard, Darius Rucker and Haden Carpenter. Otherwise, some songs are not up to the expectations and we can become impatient, especially when Kid Rock can not do anything else but stay in our mind. (July 2014)

Elektra / Warner

 PAWS – Youth Culture Forever

PAWSYouth Culture Forever

PAWS is an indie rock trio from Glasgow, Scotland, which has a punk energy and grunge influences while maintaining very good pop melodies. Youth Culture Forever is their second album and certainly their most accomplished to date. A little less garage and experimental, this album with accessible melodies and a dynamic rhythm may appeal a wider audience, especially those who found their debut a little too noisy. Otherwise, the group remains very incisive with a distortion guitar sound and heavy bass. With greater subtlety, Youth Culture Forever easily becomes the band's best album to date and it remains to be seen how PAWS will continue to evolve. (July 2014)

Fat Cat

½

 Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove – A Fistful of Desert Blues

Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove – A Fistful of Desert Blues

Singer, actress and poet Lydia Lunch joins guitarist Cypress Grove for this new album. On A Fistful of Desert Blues, the duo performs dark and gothic love songs. Spoken words of Lunch are strongly supported by Grove’s guitar (electric or acoustic) in a style that blends folk and blues. The atmosphere created is dark and demonstrates with credibility the tragic aspect of relationships. Several pieces are poignant and emotion thus propagates throughout the CD which in addition has a nice continuity to the end. A Fistful of Desert Blues is definitely a different album, but so interesting! (July 2014)

Rustblade / MVD

½

 Yann Tiersen – Infinity

Yann TiersenInfinity

Three years after Skyline, the French composer is back with Infinity. This eighth album by Yann Tiersen will not surprise anyone by its cinematic atmosphere since he first became known as a composer of film music. Mostly recorded in Iceland, Infinity has been greatly influenced by that Northern country and the Faroe Islands. Tiersen offers a creative post-rock sound but a bit cold, which may require some efforts before really accepting it. Otherwise, when acceding to it we are pleased since Infinity is more cohesive than its predecessor. To conclude, Yann Tiersen gives us one of his best compositions in career, "Meteorites", in collaboration with Aidan Moffat. This masterly work contributes to do of Infinity one of his most remarkable albums to date, despite the difficulty of approach. A great record! (July 2014)

Mute / Bonsound

½

 Christine and the Queens – Chaleur humaine

Christine and the QueensChaleur humaine

Christine and the Queens is the pseudonym of Héloïse Letissier, a songwriter, singer and pianist born in Nantes, France. After a few opening concerts for Stromae, she offers us her first album, Chaleur humaine (human warmth). This is an electro-pop album dominated by synthesizers and piano, with some arrangements of strings. The record contains almost as many songs in English than in French from the 11 included. Although her music includes many electronic elements, it is still closer to conventional French pop without major creative elements. (July 2014)

Because / Warner

 Shaka Ponk – The White Pixel Ape Smoking Isolate to Keep in Shape

Shaka PonkThe White Pixel Ape Smoking Isolate to Keep in Shape

The French version of Gorillaz is back with a new explosive album, its fourth. Again, the band managed to merge in a great way electro-pop, punk and rock 'n' roll, always with an infectious energy that compels us to stomp. The virtual band represented by the monkey face comes back with 13 new songs of which very few will leave you indifferent. The recipe remains simple: keyboards that mesmerise, guitars that hit us and a rhythm section without any breaks. The album begins strongly with the rock 'n' roll "Lucky G1rl", a sound that can be heard on several occasions although keyboards appear much more often in general. "Scarify" presents an energetic funk where metal is cancelled by keyboards. Otherwise, the following one, "Black Listed", gives a fast beat on a nice mix of metal and punk. At the other extreme, you can hear the first ballad by the collective, "Heal Me Kill Me", highlighted by a string section. This is again an extremely varied and energetic album that offers us Shaka Ponk. Fans of the group will be pleased. (July 2014)

Music Videos: « Wanna Get Free » - « Lucky G1rl »

Tôt ou Tard / SIX

½

 Natalie Dessay, Agnès Jaoui, Helena Noguerra, Liat Cohen – Rio-Paris

Natalie Dessay, Agnès Jaoui, Helena Noguerra, Liat Cohen – Rio-Paris

On Rio-Paris, soprano Natalie Dessay continues to explore musical territories outside opera and classical song, accompanied by singers Agnès Jaoui and Helena Noguerra, as well as guitarist Liat Cohen. This time, Dessay visits Rio de Janeiro, host of the soccer World Cup in 2014 and 2016 Olympic Games. The album includes compositions by Villa-Lobos, Gilberto, Jobim, Gismonti, Baden Powell, etc. This guitar-voice version of these great songs creates a unique link between Rio and Paris. (July 2014)

Erato / Warner / Naxos

 Le Café Bleu International – Le Café Bleu International plays Édith Piaf

Le Café Bleu InternationalLe Café Bleu International plays Édith Piaf

Le Café Bleu International is a German jazz trio including saxophonist Matthieu Bordenave, guitarist and keyboardist Leonhard Kuhn and drummer Jay Lateef. It is a tribute to the heyday of European jazz. The trio plays a few important pieces of Edith Piaf’s repertoire including the inevitable "La vie en rose" (in 3 versions), "Hymne à l’amour", "Milord", and so on. The interpretations are contemporary and we sometimes have problems recognizing the melodies of these great songs. At least they have the advantage of bringing something new to the legendary compositions. (July 2014)

Enja / Vivo

Jack White – Lazaretto

Jack WhiteLazaretto

This second solo album by guitar genius and ex-White Stripes comes to us only two years after Blunderbuss, but he still manages to evolve through his own personal universe. Yes you can still make references to his previous projects (Raconteurs, Dead Weather, etc.), but creativity remains present. On Lazaretto, this blues maniac incorporates violins over the slide guitar and piano, question to go further away from the minimalist garage blues sound that made ​​him famous. Otherwise, the arrangements are kept simple and a little dirty, which has long been part of his trademark. Lazaretto lyrics are inspired by early writings, but adjusted to date and future-oriented. Musically, the album contains the most bizarre pieces by White in a long time. Unlikely changes of beats and styles, extravagant sounds and raw arrangements make of this album a work of art in itself. Avoid comparisons since you will surely get wrong. Jack White remains a unique character and his new album launches many challenges but you will ultimately get fulfilled. (July 2014 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Lazaretto »

Third Man / Columbia / Sony

½

Ought – More Than Any Other Day

OughtMore Than Any Other Day

Ought is a quartet from Montreal which started in 2011 and plays indie rock / post-punk. They also have new wave influences and present quite heavy moments near metal. More Than Any Other Day is their first full-length album that will finally make them discovered beyond the local scene. You can hear influences of the 1990s’ post-grunge, but also the alternative rock of the 1970s and 1980s. Punk is never far away, but we can also hear more experimental long passages. We thus find a mixture of influences that could become cacophonous after a while, but on the contrary, the group managed to bring remarkably these different genres into a coherent whole that is their personal property. Ought do not definitely offer an easily accessible album, but it has enough good qualities that we want to follow their evolution. (July 2014 Featured New Artist)

Constellation

½

 Michael Jackson – Xscape

Michael JacksonXscape

Xscape is the second important posthumous album since the death of the king of pop in 2009. Its piece of resistance is certainly the hit "Love Never Felt So Good" co-written with Paul Anka and sung in duet with Justin Timberlake in its radio version. The remaining of the CD contains 7 songs recorded before his death which the arrangements completed by Timbaland and L.A. Reid. The style reminds us of the best years of Jackson while having a sound of the 2010s, a sound that probably is not so far from what he would have liked considering his interest in new trends. It's a short album that is offered with Xscape, but if you want a little more, a deluxe version includes demo versions of 8 songs of the album, in addition to the version of "Love Never Felt So Good" in duet with Justin Timberlake. Xscape remains primarily an album for hardcore fans of Michael Jackson. (July 2014)

Music Video: « Love Never Felt So Good » (feat. Justin Timberlake)

 Mariah Carey – Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse

Mariah CareyMe. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse

One feels some nostalgia in Mariah throughout this new album, perhaps because she has almost 25 years of career. She surrounds herself for the occasion by many collaborators for writing and production. We can also hear different voices to accompany her like Nas, Wale and Miguel. She still has a R&B sound generally fresh and focused on her voice. Otherwise, different people bring an interesting color to the album by modernizing it, despite its many comparisons to the past. The record is very diverse, both in its sound and quality, which can become downright frustrating. But, we can at least say that the whole is not too uniform and we are fortunate to find convenient moments for our preferences. The CD runs out of steam towards the end with much less successful pieces, including the cheap cover of George Michael’s "One More Try". (July 2014)

Def Jam / Universal

 Santana – Corazon

SantanaCorazon

Carlos Santana returns to Clive Davis as executive producer for Corazon, the one who was behind the blockbuster album Supernatural in 1999. This is kind of the first real album of Latin music by Santana, which was only incorporating Latin elements to his style of rock before. Mostly in Spanish, the album features a variety of guest artists for whom it is the mother tongue (Gloria Estefan, Pitbull, Miguel, Romeo Santos, etc.). We can also hear Ziggy Marley on a cover of his father’s "Iron Lion Zion". With Pitbull, the legendary guitarist gives a new fresh version of one of his greatest hits in career, "Oye Como Va". Although some tracks are somewhat lacking creativity, there are good Latin songs on Corazon. In addition, Santana seems perfectly at ease in a context where Latin music dominates, even if it's his guitar that becomes erased in many occasions. (July 2014)

½

 Tori Amos – Unrepentant Geraldines

Tori AmosUnrepentant Geraldines

Tori Amos is back with an album of original songs. Otherwise, this time, she seems to go back 20 years ago with pieces reminiscent of her best years in the 1990s. Despite catchy melodies, it is not genuine pop songs that we can find on Unrepentant Geraldines. It is rather introspective pieces promoting meditation and creating a very special atmosphere, with some Celtic touches. Smooth, the album will never provoke you, but you will get seduced throughout the entire length of it approaching 60 minutes. This is a very good album by a single artist who has no fear of losing her audience. (July 2014)

Mercury / Universal

½

 Afrojack – Forget the World

AfrojackForget the World

Nick Van De Wall (aka Afrojack) is a Dutch DJ who stood out in recent years through collaborations with David Guetta and Pitbull, as well as having remixed Madonna and Lady Gaga songs. With Forget the World, he presents his first album for which he can count on many people including Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa and Sting. The presence of the latter can seem a bit odd on "Catch Tomorrow", because he does not seem at all comfortable in this danceable context. Afrojack is not only a master of beat, but he also has an innate sense of melody, making sure that not only he offers custom pieces for dance floors, but also for radio. Instant hit "Ten Feet Tall" sounds like a techno version of Coldplay and it is possible to make this kind of comparisons throughout the CD. One hit after another and Forget the World seems to be ultimately a simple compilation rather than an album with some consistency. The songs to make you dance abound, but creativity, a little less. (July 2014)

Music Video: « The Spark » (feat. Spree Wilson)

Island / Universal

 Natalie Merchant – Natalie Merchant

Natalie MerchantNatalie Merchant

Now aged 50, the former member of 10,000 Maniacs which went solo in 1995 with the excellent album Tigerlily comes to us with her sixth album. But, if we don’t consider the album of folk covers The House Carpenter’s Daughter, and her double album for children Leave Your Sleep, this is actually her first real original album in 13 years. Despite the time that has elapsed, nobody will have trouble recognizing the style of the adult pop rock singer with strong folk tendencies. The whole proceeds fairly smoothly in a perfect style for her voice. Her long-time fans will therefore certainly appreciate that comeback. (July 2014)

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 Hunter Hayes – Storyline

Hunter HayesStoryline

The young country singer from Louisiana has a new album of great quality. Even if he follows the footsteps of Taylor Swift in a rather pop and accessible country style, Hunter Hayes managed to stand out with this second full-length album with elements of rock. Produced by Dann Huff and Hayes, Storyline offers energetic music that will appeal to a fairly wide audience. Ballads like "Still Fallin" come to change the beat, without breaking the magic. There are maybe his acute and nasal voice that can sometimes be annoying, but he gives us effective compositions, well supported by musicians of great talent. With Storyline, Hunter Hayes took an important step in his career. (July 2014)

Music Video: « Invisible »

Atlantic / Warner

½

 Lily Allen – Sheezus

Lily AllenSheezus

The London pop rock singer presents her first album in five years. After two records of high quality appreciated by critics, expectations were high for Sheezus. Unfortunately, the album disappoints somewhat with compositions that do not seem to live up to the first hearing, which will be confirmed in subsequent tracks. For 5 years, the face of pop music has changed quite a bit and she seems to be now only a player among many others, without much creativity. The freshness of her debut is gone and it is not with great excitement that we listen to the 12 tracks (plus two bonus tracks). (July 2014)

Music Videos: « Hard Out Here » - « Somewhere Only We Know » - « Air Balloon » - « Our Time » - « Sheezus »

Parlophone / Warner

½

 Jolie Holland – Wine Dark Sea

Jolie Holland Wine Dark Sea

The alternative folk singer from Houston is back with a sixth album in a little over 10 years. After exploring several genres of American music (jazz, country, blues, gospel and folk), she presents an album of folk rock quite different with Wine Dark Sea by the presence of more experimental musicians. The result is surprising and impressive while Jolie gives us some of her most moving compositions, wrapped in rich and extremely satisfying music arrangements. There are several moments of raw blues, on the edge of garage rock, and soul that seems to come straight from Memphis in another era. Jolie Holland is definitely bursting of creativity on Wine Dark Sea, which makes the album really interesting from beginning to end. This is an excellent example of an artist who is inspired by the past but brings it up to date and makes it her own style. With this new album, Jolie Holland strikes on target and has her best record to date. Well done! (July 2014)

Anti- / Epitaph

½

 Little Dragon – Nabuma Rubberband

Little DragonNabuma Rubberband

The indie pop / electro Swedish band has existed for nearly 20 years, even if they are known in America only since the last ten years, partly thanks to their collaboration with Gorillaz. Nabuma Rubberband is their fourth album and was much influenced by the music of Prince and Janet Jackson as well as the dark Swedish winter. Little Dragon offer many of their best compositions to date, in a consistent and extremely satisfying whole. Otherwise, the album contains several ballads and their pacing on the album can sometimes seem odd, as it is the case among others for the introduction song, "Mirror". But, the first single released a few months ago, "Klapp Klapp", comes quickly after to correct the situation, and this is also the case later with "Paris". (July 2014)

Music Videos: « Klapp Klapp » - « Paris » - « Pretty Girls »

Republic / Universal

½

 Young Magic – Breathing Statues

Young MagicBreathing Statues

Young Magic is an electro-pop duo based in Brooklyn which is issuing its second album. The duo consists of Australian producer Isaac Emmanuel and Indonesian singer Melati Malay. They do not hesitate to experiment and present quite different material from their first album. In addition, the album was recorded during their last tour everywhere around the world (Morocco, France, Czech Republic, Australia, Iceland and their home studio in New York City), there are a variety of influences throughout the album, inspired by the city of the moment. Still, they manage to present an album that remains well consistent from beginning to end. Their electronic sound, coupled with the soft voice of Melati contributes to envelop us in a hypnotic and intoxicating atmosphere. It is easier to adhere to the Young Magic experiments on Breathing Statues, and it is very difficult to get out of it. (July 2014)

Carpark / Hi-Scores / Last Gang

½

 Tune-Yards – Nikki Nack

Tune-YardsNikki Nack

Tune-Yards is an experimental project by Merrill Garbus (Sister Suvi), who has required the services of bassist Nate Brenner. Their third album, Nikki Nack, incorporates influences of world music to their indie pop style. Although several passages remain quite experimental, there are more accessible songs on this new album with some very catchy melodies. Tune-Yards gave the production to Malay and John Hill who worked among others with Big Boi and M.I.A. At the same time, an influence of R&B tints the album. Despite some catchy moments, Nikki Nack will need some efforts and repeated listens to really embrace the concept. Otherwise, the duo seems on track to achieving success with certainly its best album to date. (July 2014)

4AD / Beggars

½

 Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki Diabaté – Toumani & Sidiki

Toumani Diabaté & Sidiki DiabatéToumani & Sidiki

Father and son join to record this poignant kora duet. Originally from Mali, Toumani Diabaté had a career for 25 years now, becoming a living legend of African folk music. Following in the footsteps of his father, Sidiki appears now as a skilled kora player, this 21-string instrument typically African from the harp family. For the production of their first father-son album, the Diabatés have trusted Nick Gold (Buena Vista Social Club, Fatoumata Diawara, Ali Farka Touré) and Lucy Duran (Bassekou Kouyate, King Africa, Taj Mahal, Mory Kanté). The result is breathtaking when you find yourself quickly inhabited by the instrument. The ten instrumental pieces offered consist essentially in obscure pieces of kora and classics from Mali, played with a contemporary approach. Their almost mystical music haunts us throughout the 44 minutes. Whether you are fans of African music, stringed instruments, kora or simply Toumani Diabaté, here is a unique album that will surely satisfy you. (July 2014)

World Circuit / Warner

½

 The Fault in Our Stars (movie sountrack)

The Fault in Our Stars (movie sountrack)

The melodies included on the movie soundtrack of The Fault in Our Stars adapt perfectly to the film by their lightness and romanticism. We can hear songs by Ed Sheeran, Jake Bugg, Birdy (for 3 tracks), Charli XCX, Ray Lamontagne, Lykke Li and several other lesser-known artists. Few titles stand out from the lot, but the whole remains coherent and interesting until the end. This is a good soundtrack that fans of the film will greatly appreciate. (July 2014)

Atlantic / Warner

GG Allin – Uncensored: Live 1993 (DVD)

GG AllinUncensored: Live 1993 (DVD)

Here is a DVD that includes concerts and behind the scenes footage during the last tour by provocateur GG Allin in 1993, shortly before his death on June 28. There are shows in New Orleans and Houston on May 16 and 17, as well as Chicago and Detroit on June 4 and 6, for a total of 110 minutes. Notice to the faint of heart, you will see this bad guy of punk urinate and defecate on stage every time he wants to. (July 2014)

MVD

½

 

JUNE:

 

 Victoria Duffield – Accelerate

Victoria DuffieldAccelerate

The young Canadian pop singer is back with a second album, after completing a tour with the Backstreet Boys. Obviously the singer and dancer has an album at her own image, that is to say it is quite ready to tackle the dance floors and just waiting to be remixed by the top DJs on the planet. Musically, there are few creative elements, but the album has enough energetic pieces to remain attractive to dance pop music fans. (June 2014)

Music Video: « More Than Friends »

Warner

 Matthew Barber – Big Romance

Matthew BarberBig Romance

Matthew Barber grew up in Toronto and is the brother of jazz pop singer Jill Barber (she also participates to the song "Hold Me"). He presents essentially folk music with elements of rock and pop. Big Romance is his eighth album and the production was given this time to Gary Louris (The Jayhawks, Golden Smog) rather than doing it himself as it was the case for the last two records. Barber subjects range from love to death, through despair. So he operates in a very broad spectrum in terms of his lyrics, as well as musically with a mixture of ballads, more energetic rock songs and unforgettable pop melodies. (June 2014)

Outside / SIX

 Owen Pallett – In Conflict

Owen PallettIn Conflict

Owen Pallett is an indie rock / indie pop singer, violinist, producer and arranger from Mississauga, Ontario. He takes his influences from Arcade Fire (with which he also worked and toured) and Rufus Wainwright. For his second album under his own name, Pallett has relied on the expertise and advice of Brian Eno, especially for the synthesizers and guitars. Experience in Pallett string arrangements with Arcade Fire also serves him enormously since it is one of the strengths of the album. His chamber pop music sounds wonderful while balancing the string arrangements, electronics and guitars close to perfection on many occasions. Weaknesses are rare, if any, which makes In Conflict one of the best albums of the year in all categories. (June 2014)

Secret City

 Teenage Kicks – Spoils of Youth

Teenage KicksSpoils of Youth

Teenage Kicks is an indie rock band from Toronto that has punk influences. This first album has not been easy to produce while the group has lost members, had unusable recordings from Hollywood and had to manage some internal conflicts. The result still remains interesting on Spoils of Youth with a good dose of energy delivered with powerful guitars and a dynamic rhythm section. Even if the band does not revolutionize the rock genre, it has some interesting elements that could provide them a number of fans for years to come. Here is a band to watch out! (June 2014)

Rezolute / Universal

 Secret Broadcast – Filthy Souls

Secret BroadcastFilthy Souls

Secret Broadcast is a rock 'n' roll duo from Toronto consisting of vocalist and guitarist Matt Lightstone and drummer Keith Heppler. For this new album, they worked with Seattle producer Adam Kasper (Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden). That said, Secret Broadcast certainly does not reinvent rock 'n' roll, but it adds a great dose of energy in a style that is increasingly diluted. Also, the melodies remain extremely catchy throughout the record. There are many parallels to do with the Foo Fighters, but the duo still managed to forge its own style. (June 2014)

eOne

 Leisure Cruise – Leisure Cruise

Leisure CruiseLeisure Cruise

Veteran Canadian musician Dave Hodge (Broken Social Scene, Bran Van 3000) and singer Leah Siegel (Firehorse, The Citizens Band) met by chance after working on a TV ad. They started writing together and liked it so much they decided to create a duet. Leisure Cruise was born in the spring of 2013. They now have a first album fusing indie rock sound, pop melodies and electronics. In fact, their music is based primarily on synthesizers with danceable beats. It recalls in part David Bowie and Blondie, with more contemporary elements comparable to Metric and Paramore. This is an album that is serious and light, melancholic and festive. Here is a very good electro-pop record. (June 2014)

Last Gang

½

 Jill Barber – Fool’s Gold

Jill BarberFool’s Gold

Jill Barber is a jazz pop singer with folk influences who grew up in Toronto, but has lived in Halifax for some years now. Matthew Barber’s sister works again with Les Cooper and Drew Jurecka for the production, two longtime collaborators who are also part of her touring band. The first single, "Broken for Good" (and its French version, "Brisé à jamais"), makes us relive the Motown era. This is a style that comes back in a few other occasions, but the whole remains mostly a fusion between jazz and pop, a sound that is ideal for cabaret. In addition, the golden voice of Jill fits perfectly in this context. (June 2014)

Outside / SIX

½

 Meaghan Smith – Have a Heart

Meaghan SmithHave a Heart

Ontario jazz singer comes to us with a new album venturing a little further into pop music. In fact, when you do not know her past and her first influences, one might think that Meaghan Smith is one more pop singer on the Canadian music scene. Otherwise, she just sprinkles what it takes of her jazz influences throughout the record to make it a little different than average. There will still be needed more creativity in order to consider her among the greatest in the genre, such as Norah Jones for example. (June 2014)

Warner

 Pacifika – Amor Planeta

PacifikaAmor Planeta

The trio from Vancouver presents its third album with Amor Planeta. This time, Silvana Kane, Adam Popowitz and Toby Peter did intend to change the way they do in the studio. Instead of improvising around their ideas, Popowitz and Peter arrived with their compositions to which Silvana added her Peruvian color. Amor Planeta (Love Planet) celebrates love in all its forms with some ambient passages led by guitar and more intense moments like "Panamericana" and "Las Bellezas". "Satélites" was inspired by Brazilian bossa nova and it brings a refreshing side to the album. With this new album, Pacifika hits on target and managed to give us an extremely pleasant album to listen to, especially under the hot summer sun. (June 2014)

Six Degrees / SIX

½

 Manteca – Monday Night at the Mensa Disco

MantecaMonday Night at the Mensa Disco

The Toronto jazz collective celebrates its 35th anniversary and for the occasion, it re-releases its 11th album originally issued in September 2013. Nine musicians play beautifully seven pieces composed by pianist Doug Wilde and percussionist Matt Zimbel. The Mensa Disco is a fictional venue from the imagination of Zimbel where intellectuals reunite together to dance. Rhythms can sometimes seem strange fusing jazz, funk and world music, but catchy melodies make the album irresistible from a first listen. The original contemporary jazz fans will be delighted with this unique album in the career of Manteca. (June 2014)

Pheromone / SIX

½

 Ellen Doty – Gold

Ellen DotyGold

Ellen Doty is a songwriter and performer from Calgary presenting her first album. She offers a jazz sound greatly influenced by pop and soul music. One can also discover blues influences on the first single, "No Good Man". Ellen has a remarkable voice, in addition to admirably using her pen to write memorable songs. (June 2014)

Music Video: « No Good Man »

 Sarah McLachlan – Shine On

Sarah McLachlanShine On

The excellent singer from Halifax has already a 25-year career. The 46 year-old woman lost her father 4 years ago in addition to divorce her husband, and it can be heard in the darkest moments of Shine On ("Broken Heart", "Song for my Father"). Otherwise, one can also hear the hope and joy for a rather well balanced album between personal ballads and energetic songs. Musically, Sarah remains in the adult pop rock style that made ​​her famous, without great creative innovations. Her fans should still enjoy. (June 2014)

Verve / Universal

½

 Neil Young – A Letter Home

Neil YoungA Letter Home

On A Letter Home, Neil Young records songs by his contemporaries mostly dating from the 1960s and 1970s. We can hear among others tracks by Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson and Bruce Springsteen. But what surprises the most is the recording method used. Young used a Voice-O-Graph, a recording booth dating from the 1940s and which was allowing to record a song or a message directly to vinyl. Popular in arcades and fairs in the 1950s and 1960s, the Voice-O-Graph has disappeared thereafter, but Jack White has installed one in his studio in Nashville and Young decided to record a full-length album with it. The result is rather sober, trembling and uneven, in addition to widely contrast with overproduction of today. Otherwise, it is a context that goes perfectly with the style of Neil Young and the songs covered on A Letter Home. Here is an album that is primarily for nostalgic fans of folk music of another era. (June 2014)

Reprise / Warner

 Bachman-Turner Overdrive – Not Fragile: 40th Anniversary Edition (2 CD)

Bachman-Turner OverdriveNot Fragile: 40th Anniversary Edition (2 CD)

Forty years ago, the Winnipeg band had a third album that would transform its career. Not only Not Fragile had most of their biggest hits in career ("Roll on Down the Highway", "You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet", etc.), but it offered also the best collection of songs with 9 powerful tracks in perfect cohesion. Moreover, the set is beautifully interpreted, especially by Randy Bachman who is at the top on guitar. To mark the 40th anniversary of the release of the album, it is now reissued with a second bonus CD containing 8 songs recorded live. Here is a must to rediscover! (June 2014)

Universal

½

 Johnny Cash – Out Among the Stars

Johnny CashOut Among the Stars

If the recording sessions had been completed on time, Out Among the Stars would have been released around 1984. This forgotten album was discovered in 2012 during an archive job. The album would have been left by Johnny Cash because he was thinking that Billy Sherrill’s production was too pop. We can hear many covers including Hank Snow’s "I'm Movin' On" (a duet with Waylon Jennings) and two duets with June Carter Cash. The whole includes several potential hits, in addition to a good guideline. It is therefore surprising that it took 30 years and more than 10 years after the death of Cash to finally hear this excellent posthumous album. (June 2014)

½

 Ten Years After – Positive Vibrations (2 CD)

Ten Years AfterPositive Vibrations (2 CD)

Ten Years After is a British blues rock band that initially existed between 1967 and 1974 before making a comeback in the late 1980s. Positive Vibrations is the last album released by the group in its first period and it is back on the market 40 years later. For the occasion, a second CD is included with never released tracks. There are live recordings in Frankfurt, Paris, Amsterdam and Atlanta, plus a radio version of the title track. Unfortunately, Positive Vibrations was probably the worst album of the band musically with a few moments of interest. This reissue is therefore primarily intended for the most ardent fans of the band and nostalgic of that era. Fortunately, the bonus CD adds some interesting moments to the frankly boring original album. (June 2014)

Chrysalis / Warner

½

Coldplay – Ghost Stories

ColdplayGhost Stories

For its sixth album, the London band has melancholic music, perhaps in connection with the recent separation of Chris Martin with actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The 9 tracks of Ghost Stories are rather slow and introspective with this atmospheric style that Coldplay always liked. Musical textures take over on guitars, which does not prove to be negative in itself, but will ensure that you listen to Ghost Stories in other contexts than before. A different producer supports each song, adding his personal touch, but the whole still remains perfectly consistent. The presence of Timbaland and Avicii surprises, but their contribution to "True Love" and "A Sky Full of Stars" respectively gives a new electronic sound that is more than interesting for the band. "A Sky Full of Stars" is also the only song to venture to dance floors with all the remixes that may follow. With Ghost Stories, Coldplay manages to present an album still quite different from what they produced before. It includes something for everyone, except maybe for rock fans. (June 2014 Featured Review)

Music Video: « Magic »

Parlophone / Warner

½

Protomartyr – Under Color of Official Right

ProtomartyrUnder Color of Official Right

Protomartyr is a post-punk group that was formed in Detroit in 2010. They launched a first independent album in 2012, No Passion, which created a stir in the underground. They are back today with Under Color of Official Right that goes a little further into music exploration, in addition to containing more nuances. Arrangements are of high quality and the record has different influences that form a whole very creative. The most experimental times necessarily require a greater effort to listen. Otherwise, when the band is accelerating in punk moments like "Son of Dis", all the fans of contemporary punk will be pleased. Here is an album that is a pleasure to rediscover at each new listening and it brings enough substance to fully satisfy its audience. A very nice find! (June 2014 Featured New Artist)

Music Video: « Come & See »

Hardly Art

½

 The Black Keys – Turn Blue

The Black KeysTurn Blue

The Ohio duo is back with its ​​eighth album, three years after the mega-success of El Camino, thanks in part to the hit "Lonely Boy". Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney work again with Danger Mouse which has almost become a full time member of the band in recent years. Their combination provides a sound that is close to perfection with a garage rock that has nothing more than occasional garage inspirations. On Turn Blue, the Black Keys explore some new psychedelic sounds. The album begins in fact with a song perhaps reminding a little too much of Pink Floyd ("Weight of Love"). Throughout the CD, the group managed to navigate in never explored waters, while maintaining its own identity. Perhaps we can blame them for some melodies a little easier, but the whole remains of very high quality, at the image of their career so far. (June 2014)

Music Video: « Fever »

Nonesuch / Warner

½

 

Corey HartTen Thousand Horses

The Montreal singer who conquered the world in the mid 1980s officially retires. He uses this opportunity for a new album as a gift to his fans, Ten Thousand Horses, his first album in 16 years. The record contains in fact only 7 songs since there are four versions of the title song: three English versions in duet with Jane Siberry and a French version with his wife, Julie Masse. In addition, these seven tracks include two demos: "Sweet River" and "Walk in Beauty". So, this is an unfinished album that gives us Corey Hart, sort of an increased EP. In addition, we cannot say that "Ten Thousand Horses" is a great song, and it thus may be a bit painful to hear four versions that are not so different. Corey Hart will perform at the Montreal Bell Centre on June 3 for his farewell concert. (June 2014)

Siena / Universal

 Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

Damon AlbarnEveryday Robots

The former member of Blur and Gorillaz presents a rather introspective and often melancholic sound on Everyday Robots. This is his first real solo album, if we put aside the opera project of Dr. Dee. Albarn offers certainly his most personal album to date, even going back to his childhood memories. The record was produced by Richard Russell and includes collaborations with Brian Eno and Natasha Khan (Bat For Lashes). Despite less accessible moments, pop songs like "Mr. Tembo" add freshness to the album to make it more accessible. Some listens of Everyday Robots are necessary, but we finally discover a very good record. (June 2014)

Music Videos: « Everyday Robots » - « Lonely Press Play » - « Heavy Seas of Love » - « Mr. Tembo »

Parlophone / Warner

½

 Lykke Li – I Never Learn

Lykke LiI Never Learn

The Swedish is back with her third album, I Never Learn. Since her debut, we have known her for a good blend of indie pop and electronic, a mixture that took a little more muscle on Wounded Rhymes in 2011. On this new album, she seems to have finally found her own style with the best of her soaring epic pop and beautiful ballads. The acoustic and electronic mix is also better balanced than ever. Often sad and personal, her lyrics will certainly touch you with this unique music accompaniment. She produces the album herself with her faithful collaborator Björn Yttling (Peter Bjorn and John) and the result is simply sublime, enveloping us completely into her world at once intimate and grand. Here is without a doubt one of the best albums of the year. (June 2014)

Music Videos: « I Never Learn » - « Love Me Like I’m Not Made of Stone » - « No Rest For the Wicked »

Warner

 Jesse Boykins III – Love Apparatus

Jesse Boykins IIILove Apparatus

The alternative R&B singer from Chicago comes to us with a third album of high quality with Love Apparatus. It includes his 2010 single "B4 the Night is Thru" which remains one of the highlights of this 14-track record. Several downtempo songs create a hypnotic atmosphere, but it is the more rhythmic pieces that catch the most attention. The album is mainly produced by Machine Drum, also with the participation of Hadyn and Chad Beatz for a song each. On Love Apparatus, Jesse Boykins III demonstrates his talent as an R&B interpreter, but also his ability to offer premium compositions merging different genres in a coherent and original whole. Here is undoubtedly his best album to date! (June 2014)

Music Video: « B4 the Night is Thru »

Nomadic

½

 The Used – Imaginary Enemy

The UsedImaginary Enemy

In recent years, the emo group from Utah seems to find its style more and more, and it is realized with Imaginary Enemy, its sixth album. Themes are common to punk in general with several clichés, but the group has perfect anthems for the interest of the crowd in concert. The Used is successfully able to be seen as one of the strongest bands of its generation. John Feldman production is of high quality and can highlight the strengths of the band. Although clichés may put off some, the fact remains that The Used releases possibly its most complete and successful album to date. (June 2014)

Music Video: « Cry »

Hopeless

½

 The Planet Smashers – Mixed Messages

The Planet Smashers Mixed Messages

Twenty years ago was formed a young Montreal ska punk band who would enjoy a revival of the genre in the late 1990s. The Planet Smashers are still out there today and they issue their eighth album, Mixed Messages. They have lost none of their passion, even if you feel a certain nostalgia sometimes. The production of the band and Rene D La Muerte is pretty clean, but well casing catchy melodies and danceable rhythms. It's hard to reinvent a genre like ska, but if we enjoy it, it is because Mixed Messages is a successful album. (June 2014)

Stomp / ULG / Warner

 The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – Midnight Sun

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth TigerMidnight Sun

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (or The GOASTT) is the creative alliance of the couple formed by Sean Lennon (son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono) and Charlotte Kemp Muhl. Formed in 2008, The GOASTT present what could be considered their first real album after several experiments, among others in Brazilian rhythms and folk. The duo now offers psychedelic rock, often with very good pop melodies. The couple did not seem to have been given clear guidelines for Midnight Sun when they seem totally free of all constraints. The result is a product that can be compared in part to the Flaming Lips or Tame Impala. But above all, we find a completely creative record, one of the bests Sean Lennon has ever recorded to date including his previous projects. (June 2014)

Chimera

½

 Royal Blood – Out of the Black EP

Royal BloodOut of the Black EP

Royal Blood is a duo from Brighton, England offering garage blues rock influences as the White Stripes and Black Keys, but also a grand scale sound compared to Muse and Arctic Monkeys. Still waiting for an album from them, here is a four-song EP offering an excellent introduction to the band, thereby creating high expectations for their first upcoming full-length album. (June 2014)

Music Video: « Come On Over »

Imperial Galactic / Warner

½

 Adam Karch – Blueprints

Adam Karch Blueprints

Guitarist Adam Karch issues a third solo acoustic album. He has a folk sound heavily influenced by gospel and it is with this unique approach that he covers classics of all genres. We hear his stripped versions of Lou Reed’s "Walk on the Wild Side", Van Morrison’s "Into the Mystic", Jimi Hendrix’s "Little Wing", Bruce Springsteen’s "I'm on Fire" and Ben E. King’s "Stand By me". Otherwise, his most surprising version remains that of the Bee Gees’ "Stayin 'Alive". The 12 songs of the album also include an original song a little dark, "Sin". With Blueprints, the guitar virtuoso shows all his talent of performer, for an album that will satisfy fans of folk music to its simplest expression. (June 2014)

Bros / SIX

½

 The Lost Fingers – Wonders of the World

The Lost FingersWonders of the World

The band of gypsy jazz from Quebec became known when it played very personal covers of pop songs from the 1980s and the 1990s. On Wonders of the World, the group reworked again 12 hits. The unforgettable one hit wonders include their first single, "Black Betty" and "Venus", "(I Just) Died in Your Arms Tonight", "Groove is in the Heart", "The Ketchup Song", "Lovefool", "Tom's Diner", "Cotton Eye Joe" and "Turn the Beat Around". Note that following the departure of Christian Roberge, you are entitled to an important addition to the group: La Voix 2013 candidate Valérie Amyot, which adds a feminine voice that is greatly appreciated. François Rioux meanwhile becomes the fourth member on guitar. At the same time, the band turns to a slightly more pop jazz style, with sounds of world music. Here is again a refreshing album for The Lost Fingers. (June 2014)

Tandem

½

 Rachel Sermanni – Live in Dawson City

Rachel SermanniLive in Dawson City

Scottish contemporary folk singer Rachel Sermanni gave a concert in 2013 at the Palace Grand Theatre in the small town of Dawson City, Yukon for the Dawson City Music Festival. This concert took place about a year after the release of her first album, Under Mountains. The CD contains 10 songs plus an intro, and it allows us to rediscover the music of Rachel in a context other than the studio, in front of an audience. (June 2014)

Middle of Nowhere

 Noah (Music From the Motion Picture)

Noah (Music From the Motion Picture)

For the soundtrack of the Darren Aronofsky film Noah, British composer Clint Mansell has again trusted the Kronos Quartet, having worked with them in 2006 for another Aronofsky project, The Fountain. Obviously, there is a great dramatic tension in the music of Noah, with cellos in addition to electronics. There are several high quality pieces that make a coherent and extremely pleasant soundtrack to listen to, even without having seen the movie. For those who like the mix between classical music and modern electronic music, this is a great soundtrack that can be heard in different circumstances. Note at the end the presence of Patti Smith as a singer for the very effective "Mercy is". (June 2014)

Movie Trailer

Nonesuch / Warner

½

D.O.A. – To Hell N’ Back: The Godfathers of Hardcore Live (DVD + CD)

D.O.A.To Hell N’ Back: The Godfathers of Hardcore Live (DVD + CD)

A few months ago, we learned that the legendary hardcore punk band from Vancouver would step down after this tour, thereby creating a particular interest around this farewell tour. They are already making a career assessment that begins in a good way with this DVD including footage from four concerts captured between 2011 and 2013 in Alberta and at home in Vancouver. Joe "Shithead" Keithley and his band offer 30 of the most important songs of their repertoire in the context where they are the most comfortable, on stage. As a bonus, their most recent album, We Come in Peace, is also included and as a bonus on the DVD there is an overview of the recording of the album in the studio. (June 2014)

Sudden Death / MVD

½

Video Universe - Buy DVDs, TV on DVD, Music CDs, Games for XBox, PlayStation 2 and Much More

 

MAY:

 

 iSH – Up & Up

iSHUp & Up

iSH is a rapper from Toronto which has a first recording, an EP of 7 tracks totalling 23 minutes. He already had some hits to his credit: "Rollin'" (with Stef Lang), "You Got It" and his latest, "Light Up" (with Daniel Richter). The pop direction of his music is necessarily a candidate for many potential hits and a presence to the Juno. Otherwise, he does not have the most original compositions, with a few sounds never heard. A full-length album maybe would be too long with filling tracks. (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Rollin’ » - « You Got It » - « Light Up »

Warner

 Neon Trees – Pop Psychology

Neon TreesPop Psychology

The quartet from Utah is back with a third album and possibly its strongest to date. The indie rock group gives more than ever in light and accessible pop music, and this is where it can somewhat get annoying. Otherwise, Pop Psychology provides highly effective pop songs, with memorable melodies. In addition, the lyrics are more personal than ever following the confession of Tyler Glenn as a gay. Okay, the song structures are rather simple and without much creativity, but it is still good new wave music, which is wonderful listening to it until the end. (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Sleeping with a Friend » - « I Love You (But I Hate Your Friends) » - « Voices in the Halls » - « First Things First »

Island / Def Jam / Universal

½

 Future – Honest

FutureHonest

Nayvadius Cash (aka Future) is an Atlanta, Georgia rapper who presents his second album, carried by the hit "Move That Dope". He returns with the same formula he had set up in 2012 on Pluto with mid-tempo songs of great musicality and totally catchy melodies. He can count on several renowned collaborators including Pharrell Williams and Pusha T on "Move That Dope", Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West, Drake and André 3000. Solid hip hop tracks are linked nicely on this album that contains few weaknesses. In fact, Future takes another step with Honest and may now be recognized as one of the greats of contemporary rap. (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Honest » - « Move That Dope » (feat. Pharrell Williams & Pusha T) – « I Won » (feat. Kanye West)

Epic / Sony

½

 David Vest – Roadhouse Revelation

David VestRoadhouse Revelation

David Vest was born in Alabama in 1943, but he now considers himself Canadian. He is an authentic boogie-woogie pianist of southern United States and this is what he shows on Roadhouse Revelation. The blues master offers 10 original songs, including one co-written with Paul deLay, "Crooked Politician". We must also mention the addition of the excellent version of "Ramblin' Man", a Hank Williams classic. Blues fans will certainly be delighted to listen to the new album by this pillar of the genre and one of the best pianists of his generation. (May 2014)

Cordova Bay / Fontana North

½

 Jorge Martinez – Carnaval

Jorge MartinezCarnaval

Jorge Martinez is an Argentine guitar virtuoso who lives in Quebec since 1998. He presents his second album with Carnival for which he can count on great musicians and special collaborations by Michel Donato ("Manha de Carnaval") and singer Geneviève Jodoin (on 5 songs). He offers music filled with emotion and passion that combines contemporary flamenco with Latin and Oriental accents, all with some modern touches. Martinez is certainly a master in the fusion of styles, with guitar occupying the centre of his music. Mostly on acoustic guitar, he can also go with skill on electric guitar on some occasions. For fans of world music, Jorge Martinez is certainly a talent to discover. (May 2014)

SIX

½

 Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love

Paolo NutiniCaustic Love

For his third album, his first in five years, the Scottish singer takes on a new tangent to soul and R&B with a funky touch. Strongly influenced by the 1960-70s, Nutini managed to integrate these styles of another era to his own pop rock sound. Caustic Love was recorded with a big band in Glasgow, Valencia, London and New York. Brass, guitars and choirs provide unparalleled scale to this album to make it his strongest to date. The hoarse voice of Nutini has never been used as well, as if they had finally found the ideal context to reveal him. This performance is inspired by a near-perfect fusion between past and present. Note the presence of the always excellent Janelle Monae on "Fashion" and Nutini does a virtual duet with Bettye LaVette with a sampling of her voice in "Let Me Down Easy". Caustic Love is a foreground album that is likely to appeal to a broad audience. (May 2014)

Music Video: « Scream (Funk My Life Up) »

Atlantic / Warner

½

 Justin Nozuka – Ulysees

Justin NozukaUlysees

The young singer-songwriter from New York is back with a third album. Again, he offers a near-perfect fusion between folk and intimate alternative rock with some R&B influences. Jeff Buckley is probably the first name that comes to mind, but Nozuka is able to present original material. On Ulysees, his warm tenor voice seems better exploited than ever and it fits beautifully in his meditative musical universe. Several pieces use choral accompaniment, thereby creating an almost mystical atmosphere. We must face the facts that Nozuka certainly has its least accessible album to date. Otherwise, if you play it in the right environment, Ulysees may satisfy you greatly. (May 2014)

Coalition / Warner

½

 Needtobreathe – Rivers in the Wasteland

NeedtobreatheRivers in the Wasteland

The band from South Carolina with a Christian tendency already releases its fifth album. The trio gives us again what it does best in alternative rock, while retaining obvious comparisons with Coldplay and folk influences of the southern United States. The CD starts softly with "Wasteland", but then accelerates for a good dose of rock, despite the background of new genre folk. Where the group seems to search a new identity since the success of The Reckoning 3 years ago, is that it seems to be in a dilemma between continuing to mainstream success, or returning to its Christian roots that are not necessarily compatible with this type of success. Aside from the lyrics that may confuse their different fans, Needtobreathe has a very solid album musically. And yes, the potential for success remains. (May 2014)

Music Videos: « The Heart » - « Difference Maker »

Atlantic / Warner

½

 George Michael – Symphonica

George MichaelSymphonica

Produced by Michael and the legendary Phil Ramone (his last project before his death in March 2013), Symphonica portrays the popular symphonic tour of George Michael in 2011-2012. You can hear a selection of songs from his 30-year career, as well as covers of his favorite artists (Terence Trent D'Arby, Elton John, and others). Several of his hits are ignored and Michael does not seem to fully exploit the potential of the symphony orchestra with his voice. He will probably still manage to satisfy his beforehand conquered fans. (May 2014)

Virgin / Universal

½

 Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (3 CD)

Elton JohnGoodbye Yellow Brick Road (40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition) (3 CD)

Released in 1973, Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is undoubtedly the masterpiece in the career of Elton John. To celebrate its 40th anniversary, the album is reissued in a remastered version with 2 additional CDs. One contains new versions of some songs by contemporary artists such as Ed Sheeran, Miguel, Hunter Hayes, The Band Perry, Fall Out Boy, Zac Brown Band, and others. The last CD has meanwhile live recordings from Hammersmith Odeon in December 1973. Despite these interesting additions, the centerpiece remains the 17-track album including the classic hits "Candle in the Wind", "Bennie and the Jets", "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting", the title track and the excellent 11-minute introduction "Funeral for a Friend (Love Lies Bleeding)". A version of 4 CDs with a DVD and a book is also available. (May 2014)

Mercury / Universal

½

 Frank Sinatra – Nothing But the Best

Frank SinatraNothing But the Best

Released in 2008 to celebrate the 10 years of the death of Frank Sinatra, Nothing But the Best is reissued for our greatest pleasure. It is unquestionably the best collection of hits ever released for the most famous crooner. It contains 21 essential hits with "The Way You Look Tonight", "Luck Be a Lady", "Fly Me to the Moon", "My Kind of Town", "Strangers in the Night", "Summer Wind", "It Was a Very Good Year", and "The Girl from Ipanema". You can also hear a previously unreleased recording of "Body and Soul" with the voice recorded in 1984, and 2007 arrangements. Though the compilation does not cover the entire career of the singer, focusing especially on the 1960s, there are still his most important hits. The only classic that is really lacking is "Love and Marriage". (May 2014)

Universal

Shakira – Shakira

ShakiraShakira

During the 5-year hiatus since her last album in English, She Wolf, the beautiful Colombian was far from remaining inactive. Indeed, she has worked on the TV show The Voice, in addition to forming a new couple with soccer player Gerard Piqué and giving birth to her first child in January 2013. Her new album represents a new departure for the singer, probably the reason behind an eponymous album. Musically, Shakira will not really surprise you with always this mixture of pop and rock with electronic elements and Latin music. Several tracks stand out of the whole, starting with the first two singles, "Can’t Remember to Forget You" (with Rihanna) and "Empire", as well as "You Don’t Care About Me" and the danceable "Dare (La La La)". Other songs grab attention as the reggae "Cut Me Deep" (with Magic!), The acoustic ballad "23", a collaboration with her colleague from The Voice Blake Shelton for "Medicine" and the powerful "The One Thing" that reminds Alanis Morissette. After listing 8 of the 12 tracks on the album, you realize that many of them have something interesting, the whole somewhat lacking in coherence and sounding more like a compilation of various influences than a real album with its own guideline. It includes great times anyway. A deluxe version with three additional tracks is also available. (May 2014 Featured Review)

Music Videos: « Can’t Remember to Forget You » - « Empire »

RCA / Sony

½

Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love

Perfect PussySay Yes To Love

Perfect Pussy is a band from Syracuse, New York which are offering their debut album. They have a punk / indie rock extremely noisy sound. However, the whole has a beautiful consistency and high quality compositions. Despite the loud sound of guitars and drums, female singer Meredith Graves remains at the heart of the band's sound. As if they were in a constant struggle to find the one who will successfully leave with the win in this huge collective release. With only 8 tracks totalling 23 minutes (including a psychedelic stretching end), the album may seem incomplete, but it is certainly more than enough to give you an electric shock. Say Yes To Love is an amazing album that will make you realize that punk rock is still alive and that it is still possible to remain creative in the genre. Here are the direct descendants of Sonic Youth and they hold the torch high, fist raised. (May 2014 Featured New Artist)

Captured Tracks

½

 Kylie Minogue – Kiss Me Once

Kylie MinogueKiss Me Once

The Australian does not seem to intend to get older or to be eclipsed by the new generation of pop singers. She releases her 12th album in 25 years of career and remains as solid with high quality compositions and production. She continues to provide effective dance songs with electronic elements borrowed from European pop. Sexy sunny songs are legion and stick perfectly to her, as it is the case for "Sexy Love" among others that has everything it takes to become the hit of the summer. Pharrell Williams offers her an excellent composition ("I Was Gonna Cancel") and the other interesting tracks include "Into the Blue" and the sexy "Les Sex". In fact, we only find one easily forgettable moment, her duet with Enrique Iglesias for the frankly very boring ballad "Beautiful". All those who had enjoyed her Aphrodite album four years ago will certainly not be disappointed since Kylie once again has one of her best albums in career. Like a good wine, she gets better with time! (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Into the Blue » - « Sexercize »

Parlophone / Warner

½

 Enrique Iglesias – Sex and Love

Enrique IglesiasSex and Love

Enrique seems to want to conquer pop dance music from the opening of the Sex and Love album, and it is not inefficient with the participations of Pitbull ("I'm a Freak") and FloRida ("There Goes My Baby"). Otherwise, it is when he is singing Latin music that he is the most comfortable, and we realize it quickly with "Bailando" and "El Perdedor". In fact, it is in this context that he manages to somewhat stand out, even if it is rather difficult to remain creative in this genre. Between ultra-energetic pop tracks, rhythmic Latin songs and rather insignificant ballads, the album suffers from a lack of cohesion after only a few songs. Understandably, he wants to appeal to all audiences, but we must face the fact that he cannot do everything at once. Very few people may find their satisfaction throughout the CD and they will opt instead for listening to it song by song to meet their needs. Sex and Love is an album with too different genres, including good times, but you have to search through the CD according to your personal preferences. A deluxe version includes 7 additional tracks for a total of 18, just to mix you up a little more! (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Heart Attack » - « I’m a Freak » - « Bailando »

Republic / Universal

½

 Pharrell Williams – GIRL

Pharrell WilliamsGIRL

Best known for his work as a composer and producer with several of the most prominent pop and R&B artists (in solo and with The Neptunes), Pharrell Williams first achieved success in N.E.R.D.. In recent years, he seems to be behind all the greatest hits, which somehow forced him to return to the forefront with a solo album. We still found some collaborators for duets, starting with Justin Timberlake on "Brand New", but also Miley Cyrus on "Come Get It Bae" and Alicia Keys on "Who You Are". The album remains mostly R&B, but we recognize easily his pop touch that has propelled the recent hits of Robin Thicke, Daft Punk, etc. In fact, if you enjoyed all the songs that Pharrell touched in 2013, GIRL will satisfy you as well, with several potential hits. Too bad the album includes only 10 tracks! (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Happy » - « Marilyn Monroe »

Columbia / Sony

½

 Pascale Picard – All Things Pass

Pascale PicardAll Things Pass

The female singer-songwriter from Quebec is back with a third album, always rooted in pop rock, with personal and powerful lyrics. Co-produced by Stéphane Rancourt, All Things Pass was mixed in California by Sheldon Gomberg (Ben Harper, Ryan Adams, She & Him) and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (Robert Plant, Queens of the Stone Age, Eric Clapton). With this new record, Pascale travels with vulnerability throughout her various sources of inspiration through refreshing and intimate lyrics. She will certainly not disappoint her fans with songs once again of high quality. Otherwise, it would take some additional tracks to the 10 songs offered totalling only 38 minutes. (May 2014)

Simone

½

 Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams

Timber TimbreHot Dreams

Timber Timbre is a Canadian indie folk trio led by singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Taylor Kirk. With Hot Dreams, they present their 3rd album after the great Creep On Creepin’ On 3 years ago. After a little rockabilly passage, they rather explore here psychedelic rock, country and especially old soul. "Grand Canyon" and "Run From Me" even remind us of western spaghettis. The strength of the band is in the often intriguing lyrics, but they also manage to create a very special cinematic atmosphere, very retro. Although not as easy to approach than their previous album, Hot Dreams has beautiful qualities that will captivate many. (May 2014)

Arts & Crafts

½

 Manchester Orchestra – Cope

Manchester OrchestraCope

Manchester Orchestra is an indie rock band from Atlanta, Georgia that began when its members were still only teenagers. This fourth album was recorded at the band studio that is actually at Andy Hull parents’ house, where he made his first recordings as a teenager. With Cope, Manchester Orchestra possibly offer us their best album to date with a slightly more aggressive post-hardcore sound. There are also guitar riffs and melodies that can remind Weezer on different occasions. This is still a substantial change compared to the ambitious concept album Simple Math they issued 3 years ago. Otherwise, it's this rough guitar sound that seems to fit them like a glove, as if they finally had discovered the style in which they are the most comfortable. (May 2014)

Universal

½

 APigeon – Apigeon is Born

APigeonAPigeon is Born

Annie "Pigeon" Sama is a nice addition to the Montreal electronic scene. She offers nevertheless a more organic than computerized music, which is warmer. Comparisons with Björk, Feist and Sinéad O'Connor are unavoidable, but APigeon still manages to provide a pleasant freshness to a genre that was much exploited for several years. Her poetry and inspired melodies, combined with pop and folk influences, indeed possess something unique that make her immediately attractive. APigeon is Born is a smooth and moody album that should carry you into her world until the very end. (May 2014)

½

 NEeMA – Live: Leave the Light On

NEeMALive: Leave the Light On

The Montreal folk singer offers a live album recorded between Montreal, Paris, London, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Sweden and Norway. We can hear a few covers as Bruce Springsteen’s "The Ghost of Tom Joad", Félix Leclerc’s "Le petit bonheur", Leonard Cohen’s "Avalanche" and Charles Aznavour’s "Emmenez-moi". Recorded during the tour that followed the release of her excellent album Watching You Think in 2010, Leave the Light On somehow makes a summary of the highlights of that tour. NEeMA is currently working on recording a new album to come by the end of the year. (May 2014)

SIX

½

 My Chemical Romance – May Death Never Stop You: The Greatest Hits 2001-2013

My Chemical RomanceMay Death Never Stop You: The Greatest Hits 2001-2013

After 12 years of existence, the pop punk / emo band from New Jersey My Chemical Romance decided to split a little over a year ago. With May Death Never Stop You, they present somehow their musical testament. It includes their 15 greatest hits, from their four studio albums. The set is presented in chronological order to get a good idea of ​​the evolution of the group that was rather in rock opera for some time. Moreover, songs from their latest albums are surprisingly consistent in a compilation of this type. Only their first album, I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love, may seem somewhat poorly represented with two tracks, but it is resumed at the end of the CD with 3 demos from the recording sessions of that first record. Before giving us the highlights of the band, we are presented with their last recorded song, "Fake Your Death". Are they not only feigning death by accident? They would not be the firsts to do so before returning triumphantly (talk to KISS, the masters of marketing!). Even fans of the band which already have all their albums will enjoy great satisfaction listening to this excellent collection that can be listened like a real album. (May 2014)

Music Videos: « Helena » - « The Ghost of You » - « Welcome to the Black Parade » - « Teenagers » - « Famous Last Words » - « Na Na Na » - « Sing » - « Planetary (GO!) » - « The Kids From Yesterday »

Reprise / Warner

 Shania Twain – The Discovery of Eilleen Twain (DVD + CD)

Shania TwainThe Discovery of Eilleen Twain (DVD + CD)

25 years ago, a young Eilleen Twain made ​​her debut in the musical revue Viva Vegas at Deerhurst Inn Resort in Ontario. These beginnings are presented in this short 37-minute documentary. The documentary features many interviews with people close to the large-scale production, talking about all the talent of the one that would soon conquer the world as Shania Twain. A bonus CD is included containing 10 remastered songs from her beginnings in 1989-1990, when she had a pop rock sound rather than the country pop sound that would make her famous. (May 2014)

Elektro / Video Services / MVD

½

 

Punk in Africa (DVD)

Punk in Africa (DVD)