Summer mode has hit the local music industry and Jano Lapin as well! In between two Margaritas and Moscow Mules, here are the May/June 5 albums you Must Listen To!
Jeffrey Piton | Blind (Indie | Folk)
Last December, Jano Lapin featured St-Eugene‘s latest opus in its monthly top 5, so it’s already documented that we are big fan of Jeffrey Piton’s voice. This time, the singer-songwriter ventures into his solo project, his first release predominantly in English. Whether solo or as part of St-Eugene, the magic still operates!
Blind was partly recorded (and co-wrote) in a formal studio with David Laflèche and Connor Seidel, while the second half has been self-produced by Piton himself in his new home studio. Production wise, the transition is seamless, indicative that Piton learned and mastered his craft. Songwriting wise, the collaborative songs are much more chorus-driven and make way to some upbeat songs (On My Own, Why Can’t They). Issued as the first single, On My Own, with its addictive chorus, has not surprisingly been chart-topping in Quebec.
Almost vinyl like, the album can be split in side A and B, the first half being more poppy and slowly shifting to a slower, intimate folk. Book-ending the two sides is the beautiful What I Know You Are, probably the closest song to his work with St-Eugene.
Jeffrey Piton has been quoted saying that he felt so strongly about these songs, that he would go to war with them. This is no mere marketing catchphrase, this is truly a great showcase of his ability as a singer-songwriter. Big things are surely on their way!
Must. Listen. To.: Blind, Panorama, Why Can’t They, On My Own, What I Know You Are.
Geneviève Racette | No Water, No Flowers (Folk)
Over the past months, Geneviève Racette had released two short EPs, slowly unveiling what would be her sophomore album, and first in English, No Water, No Flowers. Her southern style Folk/Americana had already caught our attention, so it’s an understatement to say we were impatiently waiting to hear the remaining tracks of the full-length album.
A portion of this record was written as part of a singer-songwriter residency in Western Canada. Hearing the final product though, it’s more the southern folk of the United States that Geneviève is channeling throughout the album. It’s particularly striking on Northern Star, perhaps the album strongest track, with its strong melody line and use of banjo.
Most of the time, the arrangements are subtle and minimalist, giving center stage to Racette’s vocals, which is perhaps her greatest strength. Very versatile, she can warmly wrap you up (Parachute) or push it to dramatic effects like on Magnetic Love. The latter one, with its cello and airy back vocals, will without a doubt give you goosebumps every time you hear it. A beautiful live video, shot at the Bain Mathieu, has been made for the song – see below.
There are also three songs sung in French on the album. French and English poetry are obviously very different sounding and structured. You can actually hear a shift in Geneviève’s vocal delivery, leaning more towards Les Soeurs Boulay kind of melodies. A welcomed addition to this great record!
More info on Geneviève Racette here!
Must. Listen. To.: Northern Star, Parachute, Magnetic Love, Les lignes de ma main, Sans toi.
Violent Ground | Difference (Hip-Hop)
“We the North, the true North”.
For those unfamiliar with Violent Ground, the hip-hop duo is formed by Allan and Christian Nabinacaboo, two brothers from the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, near the border of Québec and Labrador. After their self-titled album released in 2014, the duo is back with their new album Difference.
The album begins with a distant native drum pounding, an instant marker of the origins of the Nabinacaboo brothers. The nod is subtle and non-recurring from a beat-making standpoint as Violent Ground have a rather classic, old-school inspired sound. However, lyrically, it’s all over Difference, as the brothers rap about the realities of living in the reserves and other issues indigenous people face on a daily basis: drug and alcohol addictions, colonialism, crimes and violence. It’s hard-hitting and raw. “Its like living in a prison, can’t contribute to society | My native people living life in poverty | Our waters full of mercury | What happened to humanity?” At the end of the day though, there’s this overarching theme of trying to do better and getting back up when you’re down.
The first half of the record is filled with great melodies, Violent Ground showing their “poppier” side. The flow is slower and the catchy choruses are plenty. The sun then sets and the mood slowly shifts. Darker/drier beats and the singing shifts to fifth gear (Why you Gimmie That Look, You Know Now).
A truly smart, diverse and must-have record. Get Difference here!
Must. Listen. To.: Difference, Certain Sounds, The Ledger, Why you Gimmie That Look, No Beggin’.
Robert Dethier | The World of Insolita (World)
Robert Dethier has been active on the local scene for three decades now, whether as a solo artist or as a songwriter for musicals or other artists. You may have also heard of him with his recent hit on local radio Le Saint-Laurent. He is also the creator and producer of the percussion show The World of Insolita. After more than a decade since the creation of the show, its soundtrack is finally available for the world to hear!
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, The World of Insolita is a show of visual and musical performances where the voices and percussion combines to pay tribute to the rhythms of the world. But fear not, you don’t need to have seen the show to enjoy its soundtrack. If you’re a fan of Cirque du Soleil’s soundtracks (the ones by René Dupéré or Bob & Bill), then this record should be right down your alley.
It’s obviously percussion-heavy, oftentimes up-tempo and each song will make you travel to a different part of the world. Highlights include La Puerta with its Spanish flavors and El tango del fuego inspired by the rhythms of the South American dance of the same name. There is also several tracks inspired by Native Americans chants and melodies (Sacred Fire, Indian Scream, Native Land, etc.), which has been a landmark in Dethier’s songwriting over the years.
Abandon yourself to the World of Insolita here!
Must. Listen. To.: La puerta, Indian Scream, El tango del fuego, Aqua Pura, Deep Universe.
Skye Consort & Emma Björling | Self-Titled (Trad | Celtic Classical)
Skye Consort is an ensemble formed by Seán Dagher, Alex Kehler and Amanda Keesmaat. The group’s goal has been to bring an art-music aesthetic to music from many different world traditions. They played and released albums with the likes of soprano Shannon Mercer and countertenor Matthew White.
Emma Björling is a Swedish folk singer and member of folk band Lyy and folk’appella vocal group Kongero. A cancelled flight led to the ensemble meeting the singer and the rest, as they say, is history. Or, in that case, the release of their self-titled album, a mix of traditional music from Québec, Sweden, Norway, and Celtic music.
From the first notes of Herr Hillebrand, you’re moved by the angelic voice of Björling and the ensemble’s sheer musicianship. Perfect album opener, you’ll likely stop anything you were previously doing to listen to the song’s beauty. A musical equivalent to a minor Stendhal syndrome. Then, for the next 13 songs, clocking in at nearly an hour, you’ll be taken on a timeless journey through classical northern anthems from both side of the Atlantic. Other gems include, Cast Iron Stove, sung by Dagher, and a medley of three Nordic Love Songs. If you’re into classical, Celtic music or if you’re the type of person who shed a tear when you heard The Rains of Castamere during Game of Thrones, then you’ll love the music and melodies you’ll hear on this record.
Sometimes, things are just meant to be. Pure fate. Skye Consort & Emma Björling is one of them. A match made in heaven.
More info and tour dates here!
Must. Listen. To.: Herr Hillebrand, Cast Iron Stove, The Banks of the Sweet Primroses, Nordic Love Songs, The Old Man from over the Sea.
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.