We are once again excited to bring you the finest of November and December local album releases in our “5 Albums You Must Listen To” series. Make sure you check the associated playlist that we put together on Spotify (below)! Don’t worry, no Christmas music made the cut!
Top 5 New Album Releases in Quebec November/December 2020
Artists from the Slam Disques label | Zoo 5 (Punk | Pop)
It has become a yearly tradition for the Slam Disques label to put out the “Zoo” compilation around Christmas time and we get more excited year after year to hear it! Simple concept: artists from the label have to perform a cover of a song of their choice as long as they do it in French. So if they choose an English one, they have to translate it. Given the various influences from each band, the result is always full of surprises.
Musical Creativity 2.0
My personal favorites over the years have been Slater & Fils and this year is no exception. They kick off the album with their take on Les Denis Drolet‘s Oh Yeah!, which gets slightly sped up and enhanced with the band’s trademark trumpet. Other highlights include Hate it Too‘s rocking version of Daniel Bélanger‘s La folie en quatre, Noé Talbot (feat. Émilie Plamondon)’s transformation of punk rock band Descendents’ She Don’t Care into a poignant folk song, as well as SXNDRXM who decided to tackle the lesser known French version of Placebo‘s Protect Me from what I want, here fully translated, originally issued by Placebo as a single in France only. SXNDRXM’s version has a nice airy layer and builds up to a stronger crescendo. Very well done. You can watch the video for the track below.
The album’s curveball comes from Kamakazi who decided to cover, of all songs, the infamous Baby Shark. Not as surprising, but still out of left field, is Oktoplut‘s cover of Training Montage from the Rocky IV movie soundtrack. Their version is as much on steroids as Ivan Drago and will leave you wanting to run up snowy mountains in Russia and bench press huge wood logs!
Zoo 5 is available on streaming platforms and the label’s Bandcamp.
Must. Listen. To.: Oh Yeah!, Protège-moi, Elle s’en crisse, Montage d’entraînement de Rocky IV, La folie en quatre.
Cubby V | Take Me To Your Leader (EDM)
Cubby V is back with her second album Take Me To Your Leader. She is inspired by the likes of Jean-Michel Jarre and Kraftwerk, to whom she attributes her free artistic spirit and her total rejection of creative conventions. Cubby V labels her music as “selfchronicitism”, or the pure expression of self. She is signed to Hopeful Tragedy Records and if you’ve been liking other electronic artists from the label as much as we do (Leeman, Koko et ses Machine), then you should love Cubby V!
This record is probably more accessible than her first one as she’s decided to add vocals to all the tracks. Doing so enabled the artist to express herself around the darker themes of confusion and self-searching. “What are we…?” is the first existential question she explores on the album through ambient synths, airy back vocals and whispered spoken word. This first track is then followed by it’s non-identical twin, Transformed, which remixes some of those same lyrics over a dance beat.
Cubby V Persona, An Evolution
Furthermore, the evolution of the Cubby V persona (machine learning?) continues throughout the album until she hits a stage of Acceptance (so far away from where we started / we’re not gonna come back from this / but we don’t want to), the calm before the storm. The storm being the epic track Be, bookending this deep dive into oneself. Cubby V emerges strong and self-affirming as the tempo picks up and the vocals become distorted: You want to be mon ami / I am a queen / tu as l’air très gentil / And you belong to me / me / CUBBY V / ME!
The only track that is a bit of an oddity here is The Space Between, featuring label mate Leeman, an electro pop song incorporating hypnotic samples and ambient lounge & soft house vibes where Cubby V opens up about one of her most troubling relationships. It’s maybe a bit outside of the concept of the other tracks, but a gem nonetheless and worth listening to! We’ve also heard through the grapevine that they are currently making a video is currently for the song. We’ll definitely keep an eye out for it!
Take Me To Your Leader is available on digital platforms and through the label’s webshop!
Must. Listen. To.: The Space Between, Transformed, Be, Follow Your Leader, What Are We.
Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project | J’ai Bu (Folk | Trad)
The Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project (QRBP) released their fifth album J’ai Bu as a book. While other local artists have released books with their album in the recent past (e.g. Lydia Képinski, Richard Séguin), QRBP takes this to the next level! A true collector’s item, 240 pages thick, filled with lyrics from the new album, song commentary, recipes, original drawings and a full band bio going as far back as the group’s debut in China. That, in itself, would be well worth the price of admission, but, cherry on the cake, the album is also a true masterpiece!
“J’ai bu” Deep Dive
Like a big truck, the album starts quite slowly but quickly shifts gears and reaches full speed by track #4 Canon dans l’front, a mandolin-driven fun tale (from the listener’s perspective, obviously) of various times the protagonist got robbed while threatened with various weapons. It’s then a non-stop fire (pun intended) of great song after great song. On the softer side we get Me d’mandait ma blonde, a song about a couple’s evolution and possible choices at various crossroads that wouldn’t be out of place on a Les Tireux d’Roches record. It features extremely beautiful lyrics like this passage:
Qu’est-ce tu vas faire si j’ai des rides?
Qu’est-ce tu vas faire si j’prends du bide?
Me d’mandait ma blonde
Et moi de lui répondre
Penses-y un peu
Arrête de boire t’auras pas d’bide
Arrête de rire t’auras pas d’rides
Mais c’t’écrit en pattes d’oie qu’t’as du fun
Dans tes livres de trop qu’la vie est bonne
On s’en câlisse-tu, t’es-tu sérieuse?
T’es ben plus cute quand t’es heureuse
Ben plus que botoxée ’ec les doigts dans l’fond
As good as the rest of the album is, there is one towering song above all of them. A 10 minutes monumental song called Guerres de clocher. With just over 2,000 words, it’s likely the song with the longest lyrics of the entire Québec repertoire. Its fast delivery of witty lyrics and tips of the hat to various musical styles promise to make this one a lasting fan favorite in future live shows. Can’t wait for this pandemic to be over to experience it first hand!
J’ai Bu is available on digital platforms, record and book (!) stores and on the band website!
Must. Listen. To.: Guerres de clocher, Canon dans l’front, Me d’mandait ma blonde, Sevrage, Bombe Météo.
Georgette | Bouclier (Soft E-Pop)
Georgette is the musical project of Emily Skahan, known for being a member of Montréal sweetheart group Motel Raphaël for 8 years. In 2019, she released her first solo EP Funny Girl, sung in English, which was filled with tongue-in-cheek electronic dance tracks. For this second offering, Bouclier, the artist switched to French, threw the humor out and slowed things down in what is a delightful sensual chill pop album.
The album starts with Le Mal, featuring producer-songwriter Pilou (who also produced the whole EP). With this track Georgette quickly installs her new sound carried by subtle synths and finger snapping, giving all the spotlight to her beautiful voice and powerful melodies. She then kicks it up a notch with Pareil Amour, a melancholic song about one’s desire to find a new love as strong as the previous one and told from the perspective of calling your ex after too many drinks. God…that chorus…it hits right there where it hurts, but is so beautiful at the same time.
Dis-moi ce que tu gouttes quand tu l’embrasses /
La réveilles-tu maintenant comme tu me réveillais avant ? /
Je sais que notre moment est passé /
Mais donne-moi de l’espoir /
Dis-moi qu’un jour /
Je vais revivre un pareil amour /
Georgette has also been inspired by Nayyirah Waheed‘s dramatic short poem All the women in me are tired for the song Toutes les fxmmes. The song also echoes the “Victims_Voice” movement that hit Québec’s cultural world this past summer. Another way to let out all those things left unsaid and share the burden of being a woman. Poignant.
Bouclier is available on digital platforms!
Must. Listen. To.: Pareil amour, Le mal, Toutes les fxmmes, Après toi, Sushi Song (Fin du Monde)
Mauvais Amis | Bleu (Indie Pop)
Mauvais Amis is the project of songwriters Véronique Bazin (Félixe) and Julien Thibault (Jules et ses pilules). They formed a duo kind of out of nowhere upon Félixe’s suggestion to start a punk band. The resulting album Bleu is obviously not punk, although we can feel that impulsive and raw approach to songwriting and recording, with many songs around the 2 minutes mark.
The power pop song La photo est laide is a definite high point of this album. More specifically, It is a dualistic track about trivial (not being able to take a good picture of yourself) and more serious problems (confusion around your own self happiness). The upbeat melody combined with a deeper lyrical topic triggers flashbacks from Matthew Sweet‘s Sick of Myself. You can watch the low key but pretty funny music video below.
Other highlights include the funny and self-depreciating Mauvais poème pour des auteurs, Mauvaise amie with its addictive guitar work and Chanson d’automne, a ballad which showcases Julien Thibault’s emotional cello playing. We’ll raise our (cheap wine) glasses up high to this unexpected record and cross our fingers that this won’t be a one-time deal.
Bleu is available on digital platforms and the duo’s Bandcamp!
Must. Listen. To.: La photo est laide, Mauvaise amie, Mauvais poème pour des auteurs, Chanson d’automne, Solitude.
Francophone and Francophile, trying to bring 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.