5 albums You Must Listen to! | Summer 2020

Summer is almost over, but don’t be sad. We got you covered with plenty of great music that was released during these past few months and that you might have missed while you were on your world tour of the Gaspésie. Also make sure you check our Spotify playlist with all the songs featured in this article (link below)!

 

Prairie Comeau | Prairie Comeau (Folk)

Prairie Comeau is the new project from real life couple Benoit Archambault (Mes Aïeux) and Anique Granger. The name of their duo being a wordplay based on 40’s – 50’s American crooner Perry Como and Granger’s origins (Saskatchewan). The duo performs folk covers of pre-1960 pop songs from the French and English repertoire.

The album starts strong with Le ciel se marie avec la mer, a beautiful song originally written by Jacques Blanchet that seems to resurface on the local scene sporadically (Marie Denise Pelletier | 1991, Geneviève Jodoin | 2011). On this one, and on the rest of the record, the duo tone down the original arrangements to let the beauty of the lyrics and melody shine through. You should also recognize some vocals harmonies that are a trademark of Mes Aïeux.

This process is also really effective on Georges BrassensChanson pour l’auvergnat. Getting away from the waltz-type guitar pattern, Prairie Comeau transforms this classic into an emotional tale. Again with the power of their vocal harmonies, listening to this version brought goosebumps that the original never came close to achieve. A real craftsman/craftswoman’s work!

The duo also throws a curveball (cheap pun intended!) with a version of Take me out to the ball game which blends surprisingly well with the other songs. No small feat!

Prairie Comeau is available on digital platforms, but you can get the physical version with a vintage hand sewn cover via Bandcamp.

Must. Listen. To.: Chanson pour l’auvergnat, Le ciel se marie avec la mer, Lisandre, Smoke gets in your eyes, Take me out to the ball game.

 

Black Rose Maze | Black Rose Maze (Melodic Hard Rock/Metal)

Black Rose Maze is the Hard Rock/Metal project of Rosa Laricchiuta. You may have heard from her in the last years through her participation on Québec’s version of the Voice (La Voix). She’s also been touring as one of Éric Lapointe’s backing vocalists and singing in Quebec Issime version of Starmania. She’s also issued an EP in 2017 called Free. For this venture, she teams up with the Italian label Frontiers Records under the name Black Rose Maze and delivers a hard-hitting melodic metal record.

Frontiers’ modus operandi is often centered around scouting the best singers/performers around the world and teaming with their « in house » songwriters and producers (here: Alessandro Del Vecchio). The results can be hit or miss, but on several occasion (Allen-Lande, Nordic Union or Magnus Karlsson’s Freefall projects), magic happens! Black Rose Maze lands on the good side of this coin toss. Rosa’s vocals shine throughout the record and the songwriting (whether Rosa’s or the ones from Del Vecchio or others hired guns) is terribly catchy.

As a fan of the harder style of the musical spectrum, it’s good to hear Rosa’s outside of the Québec rock sound. I find it fits better Rosa’s personality and raw vocals.

Let Me Be Me, with a tip of the hat at Iron Maiden’s Revelation guitar riff, is a perfect example: crisp guitars, catchy chorus and Rosa’s vocals rising to incredible heights. The album also features two of the songs that were on Rosa’s Free EP (Free and Look at Me Now) which have been « Frontiers-ized » to great results!

Another standout is Laws of Attraction, a duet with international star and one of rock’s greatest voice: Jeff Scott Soto (S.O.T.O., Sons of Apollo, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, etc.). Impressive how their two voices blend together. Be warned though and, watch out where you listen to this one, as you might be caught singing out loud « I wanna scream and shout!! » along with them!

Even though Rosa has no songwriting credits on the later half of the record, she does an awesome job of making these songs her own, especially Earth Calling and its soaring chorus.

Get lost in this beautiful Black Rose Maze on digital platforms or CD version here.

Must. Listen. To.: Let Me Be Me, Free, Laws of Attraction, Earth Calling, Look at me now.

Alexiane | Bad Sounds (Alt Pop)

You might have heard from Alexiane by way of the Valerian and the city of a thousand planets movie soundtrack on which she co-wrote the main theme A Million on my Soul (video below). She’s back today with her first EP Bad Sounds, an introduction to her full length album scheduled for release in 2021…and what an introduction!

First track Soldier is a pure gem. Addictive beat, subtle guitar and Alexiane’s vocals (which have gained a lot of warmth since the aforementioned soundtrack) make this song an instant classic. It’s multi-textured as well, each I time I listen to it, I discover something different, like those original back vocals. Put your earphones on and enjoy this one over and over!

The upbeat pop anthem You’re mine, co-written with Mathieu Carretier and Michael McHenry, has single written all over it and was originally done for a movie with a Tarantino vibe in mind. Wouldn’t be out of place on other soulful singer-songwriters records (think KT Tunstall or Toby Lightman).

Other brilliant moments include the transcendent Gold, a duet with friend and mentor Salif Keita and a version of A million on my soul, stripped down from the bombastic arrangements of the original and fitting like a glove with the other songs on this EP.

Bad Sounds is available on digital platforms!

Must. Listen. To.: Soldier, You’re Mine, A Million on my Soul, Gold, Gone.

Chromeo | Quarantine Casanova (Electro-funk)

A lot of people are tired of hearing about COVID-19 and understandably so. This pandemic is wearing us down in more ways than one. At this point, might as well make fun of the whole situation. That’s exactly what Chromeo is doing with Quarantine Casanova, an electro-funk concept EP inspired by the new world we live in.

Have you ever wished someone would propose to be your Clorox wipe?

If I could reincarnate, tonight /
I would be your Clorox wipe /
Cuz I know in this climate, you might /
Finally want me in your life /
I’ll be your Clorox wipe (I’ll be your Clorox wipe)

The tongue-in-cheek humor will make you chuckle all throughout this album. But, past the joy of discovering those witty lyrics, you will be coming back to this record for those great groovy beats. They’re even featured as instrumental at the end of the album.

If you like your electro more downtempo, the duo also just released a version remixed by DJ GreenDripp and The Chopstars subtitled Chopped & Skrewed!

Available on digital platforms on and the duo’s Bandcamp on vinyl! All proceeds from this sale will be donated to Know Your Rights Camp’s COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Must. Listen. To.: Clorox wipe, 6 feet away, Stay in Bed (and do nothing), Cabin Fever, ‘Roni got me stressed out.

Ghostly Kisses | Never Let Me Go (Dream Pop)

It was in November 2018 that we fell under the spell of Ghostly Kisses with her EP The City Holds My Heart. The dreamlike vibe, ethereal vocals, black & white album cover…the imagery is strong and captivating with Ghostly Kisses. She now returns with a new 22 minutes EP titled Never Let Me Go, picking up exactly where the previous one left off, perhaps leaning even more on the organic sound.

The high spot is definitely the title track, a song born while feeling homesick on a past European tour. She sings about the desire to be completely one with someone, fragile and exposed. The songs builds to an emotional crescendo with airy vocals and whirling synths melody. Majestic! You can watch the beautiful seaside video below.

The EP format works well for the singer-songwriter and much like the last one, this EP will leave you fully satisfied, but still craving for more.

Never Let Me Go is available on digital platforms and Bandcamp.

Must. Listen. To.: All of them!

 

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