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FEBRUARY 2020

 

Featured Review:  Selena Gomez    Featured New Artist:  Loving

 

February 14-20:

Tame Impala

 

February 7-13:

Lynne Hanson - Adam Karch

 

February 1-6:

John Borra - Caveboy - Destroyer - Eminem - Halsey - Kid Francescoli - Audrey Ochoa

 

January:

The Who - Fyrhtu - Junkyard - Paul Kelly - Lynyrd Skynyrd (DVD)

 

 

archives:

 

 

 

       

         

         

         

 

       

     

 

Key for the stars

 

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

 

 

FEATURED REVIEW:

 

Selena Gomez – Rare

Selena Gomez – Rare

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

Interscope / Universal

½

   

     

 

 

FEATURED NEW ARTIST:

 

 Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts

Loving – If I Am Only My Thoughts

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

Last Gang

½

 

 

February 14-20:

 

Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

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

Island / Universal

½

     

 

 

February 7-13:

 

Lynne Hanson – Just Words

Lynne Hanson – Just Words

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

 

 

 Adam Karch – Everything Can Change

Adam Karch – Everything Can Change

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

Bros / SIX

½

     

 

February 1-6:

 

 John Borra – Blue Wine

John Borra – Blue Wine

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

Cousin Jeb

½

 

Caveboy – Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark

Caveboy – Night in the Park, Kiss in the Dark

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

½

 

 

Destroyer – Have We Met

Destroyer – Have We Met

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

Merge

½

 

 

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By

Eminem – Music to be Murdered By

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

Shady / Aftermath / Interscope / Universal

     

 

Halsey – Manic

Halsey – Manic

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

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

Capitol / Universal

½

     

 

 Kid Francescoli – Lovers

Kid Francescoli – Lovers

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

Yotanka / Audiogram

½

   

 Audrey Ochoa – Frankenhorn

Audrey Ochoa – Frankenhorn

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

Chronograph / SIX

½

     

 

JANUARY:

 

The Who – Who

The Who – Who

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

Polydor / Universal

     

     

 

 Fyrhtu – No More Days in the Light

Fyrhtu – No More Days in the Light

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

Black Horizons

½

 

 Junkyard – Old Habits Die Hard

Junkyard – Old Habits Die Hard

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

Acetate

½

 

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

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

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

Cooking Vinyl

 

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

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

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

Concrete Lion Pictures / MVD

½

 

 

december:

 

Coldplay – Everyday Life

Coldplay – Everyday Life

After the pop turn of recent years, most notably on A Head Full of Dreams in 2015, Coldplay is embarking on a new direction on Everyday Life. We could call the album back to basics, even if it is rather a somewhat different evolution for the band that experiments with various organic sounds from around the world. Coldplay even explores gospel on "BrokEn" and "When I Need a Friend", in addition to immersing in a sort of indescribable jazz sound with the superb "Arabesque", a poignant rhythm that puts the brass in the spotlight. The arrangements are raw and pure, without exaggerated frills. Everyday Life finds itself at the other end of the musical spectrum in comparison with their previous production-licked record. Also, the group takes political and social stance more than ever with pieces dealing with police brutality ("Trouble in Town"), firearm control ("Guns") and the refugee crisis ("Orphans"). The 16-track album is considered a double album, even if it only totals 52 minutes. At the time of the EP, it is more a double EP that the band offers us. Everyday Life may be considered an anomaly in the group's discography, but it is a great record that is very enjoyable to listen to despite the various musical explorations that may seem less attractive at first sight. If you've discovered Coldplay with the previous album and its catchy hits, you may have to go your way to avoid disappointment. But if you followed their career for almost 20 years, here is a new poignant chapter and a great creative richness that will surely please you. (December 2019 Featured Review)

     

       

 

 Konradsen – Saint and Sebastian Stories

Konradsen – Saint and Sebastian Stories

Konradsen is a Norwegian duo formed of Jenny Marie Sabel and multi-instrumentalist Eirik Vildgren. They offer soft indie pop music, carried on by the seductive voice of Sabel. It is accompanied by a discreet piano and minimalist electro arrangements incorporating sounds of everyday life, like the second single, "Dice". With Saint and Sebastian Stories, Konradsen give a captivating debut album that simply makes you want to discover more. It will therefore be necessary to watch them closely in their new musical explorations in the coming years. (December 2019 Featured New Artist)

Music Video: « Television Land »

Cascine

½

   

 Leonard Cohen – Thanks For the Dance

Leonard Cohen – Thanks For the Dance

Three years after his death, here is a posthumous return for Leonard Cohen, his second, thanks to his son Adam. He put the last nine voice recordings of his father to music. Even though it was written and composed at the same time as You Want It Darker, this new record is much less dark. Like the title track, the luminous album happily complements the masterful work of Leonard Cohen. (December 2019)

½

     

 Miranda Lambert – Wildcard

Miranda Lambert – Wildcard

The Texan country pop singer arrives with the seventh album of her career. She leaves aside the somewhat dark introspection of her previous album, The Weight of These Wings, to present a brighter album with Wildcard. More pop than ever, with elements of rock ("Mess with My Head", "Locomotive", "Track Record"), the album foreshadows the beginning of a new era for Miranda Lambert. The record is particularly varied and rich in various sounds. We still find some ballads ("Dark Bars"), but the whole will seem more energetic than anything she has done in the past. It is a complete and more than interesting album that is offered here by Miranda Lambert. (December 2019)

Music Video: « It All Comes Out in the Wash »

½

     

 Chris Landry and the Seasick Mommas – Two Ninety Three

Chris Landry and the Seasick Mommas – Two Ninety Three

Chris Landry is a folk singer who completely indulges into deep personal stories. Accompanied by his group of musicians, the Seasick Mommas, he proposes roots music that is particularly poignant. After a debut album in 2017 called One Fifty Five, the Ottawa band is back with Two Ninety Three. Both titles represent the addresses where Landry was residing while he was writing it. On Two Ninety Three, Landry is again inspired by Neil Young, Willie Nelson, John Prine, Wilco and Blue Rodeo, with music that is still quite varied at the end of the day. (December 2019)

 

 Mystery – Live in Poznan (2 CD)

Mystery – Live in Poznan (2 CD)

For more than 30 years, Montreal progressive rock band Mystery has been performing around the world and is particularly popular in Europe and the United Kingdom. The band presents today their third double album, recorded live at the legendary Blue Note Jazz Club in Poznan, Poland. The 160-minute album features all the songs from their latest record, Lies and Butterflies, released in 2018, as well as some of the band's favourites. The 16 tracks are played with all the precision that characterizes these out of the ordinary musicians. This is an exceptional album from Mystery to discover all their talent in concert. (December 2019)

Promo Clip

Unicorn Digital / SIX

½

     

 Nekromantix – 3 Decades of Darkle (Blu-ray + DVD + CD)

Nekromantix – 3 Decades of Darkle (Blu-ray + DVD + CD)

The Danish-American psychobilly band is celebrating 30 years of career this year. The trio presents a video recorded live at the Observatory Theater in Santa Ana, California and directed by Vicente Cordero (3Teeth, Room 37: The Mysterious Death of Johnny Thunders). You can rediscover 19 of the best tracks of the group in career, played with a still overflowing energy. Kim Nekroman and his band fill up our ears with this blu-ray disc (accompanied by a standard DVD and audio CD). In addition to the concert, you can hear an interview with the band and see rare photos. (December 2019)

Cleopatra / MVD

½

   

 

 

 

 

 

        

 

 

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