It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we started the 5 albums You Must Listen to! monthly feature. Over these last twelve months, we’ve listened to hundreds of new releases on the local scene and discovered many artists. Hopefully, we’ve helped you discover a few of them, including the many talented artists in this month feature. Cheers to another twelve months!
Les Cowboys Fringants | Les antipodes (Folk/Rock)
4 years after their last album, Les Cowboys Fringants are finally back with a new record, Les Antipodes.
The album starts with a bang with first single L’Amérique pleure. There is definitely some magic within this song. You instantly recognize JF Pauzé’s songwriting and you feel like you’ve known this song forever. Not a « I’ve heard this all before » type of feeling but it’s as if the band nailed exactly what you’ve been craving for from them. Everything is picture perfect in this one: the melody, the storytelling, the witty rather than cheesy lyrics about the state of society seen through the eyes of a can-am trucker, the tones in Karl Tremblay’s vocals, the harmonica, etc. I’ll restrain myself at this time, but I’m this close to calling it their best one so far.
The album is aptly named (i.e. Les Antipodes means polar opposites) as we all know there are two sides to Les Cowboys Fringants: the serious/activist songwriting present in recent years and the tongue-in-cheek humour of their first albums. This album is the perfect alchemy of these two sides, probably the unofficial child of Motel Capri and L’Expédition.
This is highlighted by the upbeat trifecta that are Saint-Profond, Mononc’André and La Traversée (de l’Atlantique en 1774), featuring comical lyrics and epic sing-alongs that are sure to be massive hits live. On the other side of the spectrum, D’une tristesse is akin to L’Amérique pleure with lyrics that tackle the topic of an increasingly polarized society combined with a catchy Russian/carnivalesque melody. The album close with Sur mon épaule, a moving song about enduring love. It’s one of Karl Tremblay’s finest and most serious vocal performance ever.
Les Antipodes is nothing less than a modern day classic, to be ranked as high as any of your favorite album in the Cowboys discography. A band at the top of their game delivering the best of both worlds.
You can listen to Les Antipodes on streaming platforms or buy here.
Must. Listen. To.: L’Amérique pleure, Mononc’André, Saint-Profond, D’une tristesse, Sur mon épaule.
Jacques Greene | Dawn Chorus (House)
Jacques Greene is an acclaimed Canadian DJ and electronic music producer known for his house tracks, which often incorporated R&B and UK garage influences. Greene just released his second full-length record Dawn Chorus, aiming to provide a soundtrack evocative of the post-rave feeling of increased sensuality and latent possibilities.
Steering away from solely sampling of others’ work, Greene’s approach to Dawn Chorus was as if he was himself a band. He brings in a few special guests in the process, including, among others, Canadian rapper Cadence Weapon, Oliver Coates (cello) and ambiant artist Julianna Barwick. Cadence Weapon provide vocals for the hit-worthy Night Service, inspired by the Montreal nightlife, sure to get you the itch to go out and take part in this Saturday mass.
The records shift moods as you go along, from the soul/disco-tinged For Love, featuring samples from THP Orchestra’s Too Hot For Love, to the airy Distance which channels ambient/new-age moods of German act Enigma. On Sibling, Greene creates a memorable synth melody line which loops into what is probably the album most transcending track. All equally effective!
So, whether you’re looking for that post-rave soundtrack or high-quality soundscape to get through your day’s work, Dawn Chorus is the perfect record for you.
Available on streaming platforms or on vinyl here!
Must. Listen. To.: Night Service, Sibling, Distance, Understand, Stars.
Lindsay – De Larochellière | S’il n’y avait que nous (Pop | Folk)
The duo formed by real life couple of Andrea Lindsay and Luc De Larochellière is back with a second record, S’il n’y avait que nous. It was unclear if their first album together (C’est d’l’amour ou c’est comme) would remain a one-off project given both artists have their respective solo career going on. After releasing a solo record each, stars aligned once again for them to write, record and tour together.
If the first album was leaning on De Larochellière type of sound, this time the duo steered the songwriting more towards Lindsay’s atmosphere. I haven’t done the exact maths, but she seems to be more on the spotlight as well as a singer. Songs like Café et Champagne, with its grooving bass and bubbly melody should please fans Gin Bombay from Andrea Lindsay’s Les sentinelles dorment.
The duo also experiments on Karaoké Kids, a blend of De Larochellière early works and synth-pop that wouldn’t be out of place on an Alfa Rococo record. This one is an earworm that could give Bleu Jeans Bleu‘s Coton Ouaté a run for its money. Karaoké Kids OUH OUH OUH OUH OUH! There you go, it’s stuck in my head again!!!
To me though, similar to the first album, it’s on the slow-tempo songs that their songwriting shines the brightest. From L.O.V.E Love, a beautiful song enhanced with sensual vocals and horns, to Au dos d’une baleine, all the way to Submarine Boy, a poignant song likely written for their little boy.
Andrea Lindsay and Luc De Larochellière are a prime example that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Being a fan of both solo careers, let’s hope they continue to alternate between their solo ventures and the duo. Or why not appear together on all their releases like our very own version of Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings? I know I’m down for it…
Available digitally or on streaming platforms and also in record store…”parce que le physique, c’est mieux.”
Must. Listen. To.: L.O.V.E. Love, Au dos d’une baleine, Submarine Boy, Karaoke Kids, S’il n’y avait que nous.
Moé pis moé pis nous deux | Les Rats Normands (Folk-Rock|Trad)
Moé pis moé pis nous deux is a duo made of Frédérick Tremblay and José Dufour that propose a trad-influenced Folk-Rock. Their first EP, Les Rats Normands, has been released on October 11 and it’s a breath of fresh air in the local music landscape. Don’t be fooled by the absurd band name and cover sleeve, there is some serious songwriting going on here!
The duo starts big with La gueule du loup, which uses the tale of the little red riding hood as a metaphor to condemn sexual abuse women face and its aftermath. It’s a heavy topic obviously, although the music is upbeat and melodic. Should we feel guilty having so much fun singing along to it? They follow-up with two amusing songs Au Bar chez Dionysos, built like a dialogue with another mythological character (Icarus) and Maryse, a funny tale about a cougar trying to find a man on a dance floor.
The duo switch back to a more serious note for C’est sûr que c’est drôle, a love letter their regional accent which switch midway Mommy Daddy (the 1971 classic song which imagined a future where French was extinct for the new generation). The EP ends on a epic note with the title track about rats invading a local mill and climaxing with a surreal battle between man and rats, backing choir effects and all. Wow! This one could have lasted a few minutes more.
This album is definitely one of the nicest surprises of 2019. The album is available on digital and streaming platforms.
Must. Listen. To.: All of them!
Jjanice+ | La reine aux ailes d’écailles (Electro-Afro-Caribbean-Pop)
Joel Janice Filion, known as Jjanice+, has been showcasing his talent as a singer, backing singer and spoken-word poet since 1999. Having previously released two EPs, he now releases his first full-length album La reine aux ailes d’écailles, which features many special guests, including Malika Tirolien, Maritza, Joyce N’sana, Shem G, Sereni-T and Fabrice Koffy. The artist went big with that record being a concept album about a runaway girl on a journey of self-discovery and coming of age, like a caterpillar morphing into a butterfly.
The album is a perfect blend of traditional Caribbean rhythms and percussion with modern day electropop. Songs like the first single Kéla and Bethséba with their upbeat and addictive grooves will work as perfect ice melters during this particularly cold autumn. Concept albums will often lead to multiple mood shifts and diverse songwriting, this is also the case on La reine aux ailes d’écailles. Slower paced songs also stand out from the lot. En mai, showcases the beautiful voice of Jjanice+ and introduce the listener Malika Tirolien who also narrates the story. Zara is another example, with its soothing chorus featuring Maritza, reminiscent of some of Cirque du Soleil‘s enchanting vibes.
Warm yourself up with La reine aux ailes d’écailles, available on streaming platforms. You can also learn more about Jjanice+ here.
Must. Listen. To.: Kéla, Bethséba, En mai, Zara, Porcelaine.
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.