After some quiet weeks during the holidays in terms of album releases, things picked up mid-January with numerous quality records that came out. Once again, we listened to everything and here are our monthly 5 albums you MUST listen to!
Alicia Deschênes – Comme June aime Johnny (Folk |Rock)
This first full-length album from Alicia Deschênes kicks things off with a big statement. With J’trouve ça beau, the album opener, the singer-songwriter opens up and offers her most personal lyrics on the record. You’re taken aback by the sheer vulnerability exposed throughout the song. As if she’s saying “That’s all of me right there. No walls, no barriers. Now you know.” Whether it’s biographical or not is irrelevant. It’s effective because the listener lets his guard down also and just want to follow Alicia to wherever she’s going to take us with Comme June aime Johnny.
And what a beautiful ride it is! Whether it’s in a more rocking (Années Lumières) or soft (Novembre) fashion, the album’s main themes are love and relationships of all kinds. Love lost, love let go, love consumed daily. You’re sure to find a song that you’ll relate to!
Another highlight is Est-ce que vous m’entendez with it’s electro elements, dealing with the masks that we wear in everyday life, even if or when we’re screaming inside. The drums on this track are particularly good and really give the song extra power and emotions.
A new artist that we’ll be following closely!
Must. Listen. To.: J’trouve ça beau, Est-ce que vous m’entendez, Novembre, Années Lumières, Aimez-moi.
Clay and Friends – La Musica Popular de Verdun (Reggae | Soul | Hip-Hop | Feeling Good Music)
After an excellent first full-length album, Conformopolis, Clay and Friends are back to the EP format with La Musica Popular de Verdun. Whether you’re longing for spring, nostalgic about your trip to the Miami art week or just plain tired of listening Icelandic airy folk, Clay & Friends is just what you need!
It’s inspired by the Música popular brasileira, a musical trend that blends traditional Brazilian music with foreign influences like jazz and rock. Spice it up with local influence, English and French lyrics and you get something truly unique and groovy.
The album kicks things off with the lead single Going up the Coast, a poppy tale about the joy of hitting the road. You can check the thematic video below! Now that your Westfalia drove you south enough, you’re treated with Cocomo with its island feeling and small wink at the Always on time Ja Rule/Ashanti early 2000’s classic.
And the same magic is reproduced on all the songs. The short format ensures that there is no weak track. The EP finishes up with its groovier track, Name on it, which surely will be an instant live classic. It’s hard to resist jumping around just listening to the song, so it’s sure to work its magic in a live setting!
You can get the EP directly from the band’s Bandcamp here!
Must. Listen. To.: Name on it, Going up the coast, Cocomo, OMG.
Alexandre Désilets – Extravaganza (Indie | Pop)
The last record from Alexandre Désilets was Windigo, an ambitious project where he revisited songs from his repertoire with orchestral arrangements. The album was a big success, winning 2 FÉLIX trophies at the 2017 Gala de l’ADISQ. Continuing in that vein would have been understandable, but if you followed Désilets’ career, you know he’s not known for doing the same thing twice.
This time he’s back with a 6-songs EP, the first time he releases a shorter format. Musically, it follows a trend begun on Fancy Ghetto, but this time around, the pop is turned up to 11! Désilets has gathered a dream team of songwriters for this project, surrounding himself with J-F Beaudet (music | guitars | bass | synths) and Moran (lyrics). Together they crafted a smart, infectious pop that is sure to bring a smile to your face.
Despite its groovy surface, lyrically, there are some darker themes on song like Méditerranée dealing with the migrant crisis (“Faut pas compter sur les Hommes pour sauver les Hommes”) or Mon Démon, which tackles dealing with his inner demon. Check out the superb video made for this song below.
Another shining moment is the song Dis-moi oui, sung mostly in Frenglish and which plays with the similarities between the French word “Oui” (yes) and the English one “We” (nous). It’s perfectly sprinkled with brass instruments and harmonica, as catchy as it can gets.
All in all, Désilets is probably the most inspired he’s ever been. Get yourself carried away on his Extravaganza here!
Must. Listen. To.: Dis-moi oui, Mon Démon, Méditerranée, Extravaganza.
Ingrid St-Pierre – Petite Plage (Pop | Folk)
The last few years have been busy for Ingrid St-Pierre. Giving birth to both a little boy and an album in 2015, she decided to still do intense touring afterwards, even bringing her child on the road with her. This hectic schedule proved to be too much for the songwriter who suffered a burn out at the end of the cycle. Good news though, she has fully recovered and is back this year with a fourth album, Petite Plage, an album whose creative process ended up being a kind of catharsis. Album opener À la mer is St-Pierre opening up (no pun intended) on what led to this darker period in her life.
However, don’t expect the record to be a dark one. The album contains some light-hearted gems, like the amusing ukulele-powered Les Épousailles which sees St-Pierre begging not to not to receive a wedding proposal…or is she really…?
Another really fun track is the bass-driven Sac Banane, a bubbly, funny and sexy tale featuring hip-hop|RnB duo Heartstreet. Unusual, but most definitely inspired and welcomed! Fans of St-Pierre’s piano playing need not to fear, the classic sound you’ve come to love from the artist is there as well. A fine example is Les Joalliers, the graceful leading video single from the album that shot in Vietnam.
In various interviews, you’ll hear Ingrid St-Pierre mentions that Petite Plage is a very selfish record. Isn’t it ironic that it’s also the one where we, as listeners, receive the most?
You can get Ingrid St-Pierre’s music here!
Must. Listen. To.: Sac Banane, Les Épousailles, À la mer, Les joailliers, L’enneigée.
Bleu Jeans Bleu – Perfecto (Humorous Country | Rock | Folk)
Each album put out by Bleu Jeans Bleu is a giant step forward in terms of songwriting and production. Perfecto is no exception and is easily their best effort yet! Silly tales and good music, what more do you need to be happy?
See our exclusive interview and full feature on Bleu Jeans Bleu here.
Must. Listen. To.: Veux-tu jouer un bowling?, J’ai trop mangé de patates frites, Le king de la danse en ligne, Parfum de grill, Achetez-donc nos records.
CPA (although he doesn’t want people to know about it — oops!). Francophone and Francophile, he has a dream of bringing Québec’s two solitudes together through cultural exchanges. Improv Actor for 15 years. Music lover, from New Age to Death Metal and everything in between.