After a busy month including spring break and many record releases in February, we are excited to share with you our top 5 February album releases. Just in time for Spring, here are our top 5 albums you must listen to!
Hillsburn | The Wilder Beyond – Deluxe Edition (Rock/Pop)
Purists will say this is technically not a true February release as the original version of the album came out last year. But, who cares about purists?
If you missed out on the Halifax combo’s latest release when it first came out, now’s your chance to make good and listen to this fantastic album.
While the band’s debut album had more folk influences, this one deviates to Indie Rock. But fear not, the band’s three-part harmonies are still there and songs are still shared pretty evenly between vocalists. From the one-two punch album openers Strange Clouds and Cover it up, Hillsburn shows that they haven’t lost any of their songwriting skills and that all the praise received for the first album wasn’t a fluke.
The album is filled with great melodies and epic choruses, like Everywhere and the nostalgic Young Desire, a song about the emotions one lives in high school that sticks with you for the rest of your life.
The Deluxe version of the album includes acoustic versions of Strange Clouds and Everywhere, an alternate version of Like the Winter and the previously issued single Low Light. This time, you can’t miss out!
Get all of this and more here.
Must. Listen. To.: Young Desire, Strange Clouds, Low Light, Everywhere, Cover it up.
Le Trouble | Success Mountain (Rock)
Le Trouble is back with a new EP, Success Mountain. The name success mountain being a sarcastic wink to the people in their surroundings telling them how to make it to the top.
The six songs EP plays out like an old school vinyl with a Face A being three up-tempo rockers. The band feels incredibly inspired on these new songs, with a “permanent rage” all the way through. Michael Mooney’s voice and delivery really uplifts these songs. On Step Up, his performance literally hits it out of the park.
Face B shows the band’s mellower side, with three softer and darker songs. One thing that remains constant is that, regardless of the speed spectrum, they’re able to craft some catchy melodies.
It may have started as a joke, but this new EP really has whatever it takes to get them to the top of the infamous success mountain.
Merch & music available here.
Must. Listen. To.: The Bench, Step Up, On the Way to the Airport, Bad Things.
Flying Hórses | Reverie (Dark Neo-classical)
Three years after her last record, Jade Bergeron, a.k.a. Flying Hórses is back with a new album, Reverie.
In her own words, while the first record was a journey through memories, this one takes you through a bleak and stormy musical narrative. Also involved in the project were Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor), Chilly Gonzales and Charles Spearin, who acted as mentors to Bergeron through the process.
A lot of people link its sound to the current wave of Québec’s neo-classical, lead by Alexandra Stréliski and Jean-Michel Blais. But it’s much more than that. First, because it’s not only piano-driven. There are more textures coming from strings, horns and music boxes. Also, songwriting-wise, her influences come from metal music.
I also hear great video games soundtrack composers. On Comfort or Fearless, I hear melodies reminiscent of the work of Nobuo Uematsu (Final Fantasy Series). Much like the Japanese legend, Bergeron is able, with only a series of simple notes, to create great melodies that will stay imprinted in your mind. On Sorg Sea I, one of the album’s most beautiful piece, you also get that great soundtrack feeling (Jessica Currie comes to mind).
But again, the album has its own identity, luminous at times, dark at others. A true gem!
Available in all format here.
Must. Listen. To.: Sorg Sea I, Sorg Sea II, Comfort, Fearless, Awake.
Noir Silence | Tiens ma bière (Country-Rock)
Six years is a long wait, but Noir Silence is finally back with new music: a brand new EP called Tiens ma bière.
Never associated with proposing the same album twice, this time the group went for a country-rock sound. This is sure to be a crowd pleaser in multiple summer fests! The recurring theme is having fun, raising the roof and drinking booze. You can almost smell the dirt roads and BBQ just listening to Y’aura pas de deuxième place. Light years away from the darker theme of Immortellement Célèbre issued 10 years ago (which to this day, remains one of the greatest concept-album by a Québec artist).
A pleasant surprise is the song 10$ de tip, a French adaptation of the 1998 classic Gulf of Mexico by singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins. The chorus has been altered, but you’ll recognize the awesome melody of this timeless folk classic! Not an easy task to top Mullins vocals, but JF Dubé does the song justice (much like he did with The Ghost of Tom Joad on his solo album).
The icing on the cake is the re-recording of the band’s biggest hit On jase de toi. This version takes out the piano and replaces it with enhanced electric guitars licks. A great album!
Must. Listen. To.: Tiens ma bière, 10$ de tip, Y’aura pas de deuxième place, On jase de toi.
Lara Fabian | Papillon (Soft E-Pop)
I’ve hesitated a while whether I would put this album in the top 5 or not. Lara Fabian is a household name, an international star. Lara and her team probably won’t notice or need our exposure. However, I’ve decided to play the game by the rules and in my opinion, this record well deserves its place in the February Top 5. Am I becoming a mature woman because I like this record so much? I don’t know. And I don’t care! 🙂
Much like Madonna a few years back, Lara has found a way to update her sound, without ever trying to sound like a younger artist. On those last two records (this one and the previous one in English – Camouflage) she has really hit the nail on the head in terms of musical direction.
I really like Camouflage and was intrigued to discover Papillon. I’ve had the privilege to be invited to the record release party at the beautiful Impérial venue in downtown Montréal. Lara did this huge release party for her fans, which included a signed record for everyone and a live performance of many of Papillon’s songs with an (almost) full band. She was also generous in her interventions between songs, sharing details behind the songs on the album and its songwriting process. She even admitted, even after all these years in the business, that she was still nervous to present this new offering.
Papillon is the direct continuation of Camouflage and has something for everyone. From the up-tempo Je suis à toi to the emotional Par amour. This last one, which she described as her favorite on the album, is also the third single. You can watch below the beautiful and powerful video that was made for it.
Another one she played that night is Je ne t’aime plus, the first time she wrote a song about pure disengagement from someone. It’s good on the record, but it really gets enhanced in a live setting, adding a kind of darker/gothic touch to the song. A true standout and the perfect song to listen to if you need to get a past lover out of your mind.
I am eager now to see her full new show!
Must. Listen. To.: Je suis à toi, Je ne t’aime plus, L’Animal, Superman, Pardonne.
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.