We’re back with Volume XVIII of our top 5 albums You Must Listen to! From big names to secret underground acts, we have curated what we believe is music you just can’t miss! Without further ado…
Gab Paquet | La Force d’Éros (Silly Pop)
This one has been the source of debate in my household. With his mullet and mustache, over-the-top personae and tongue-in-cheek lyrics, is Gab Paquet a genius or garbage? With the inclusion of this album in our top 5, you can easily imagine on which side of the fence I’m standing! It can be hard to precisely describe Gab Paquet, but think of the silliness of a band like Bleu Jeans Bleu, infused with a good chunk of leather, sex-appeal and ‘80’s pop music. It’s too sweet to be sour, really!
La Force d’Éros starts with lightning sounds and a funky beat over which Paquet describes a sexual rite that involves druids, sacrifices and Eros, before breaking into full Euro-dance mode. The tone is set. You either love or hate it….and I LOOOOOVEEEE it!
Highlights include the sensual Sexy where Paquet tells the background life story of his character, from a failed erotic shop to XXX-rated movie castings (video below) and the rocking 1-800-666-SEXE, venturing into late ‘90s nu-metal during chorus, scratching sounds and all.
The strength of the album resides in its syrupy melodies. It’s as guilty as a pleasure can get. There’s just no point in fighting against it. At times, Paquet will be channeling his inner Patrick Norman (Âme Sœur) or use his deep voice reminiscent of Joe Dassin’s L’été indien (Boulevard Tendresse), both to great effect.
The release of this record was written in the stars. Do yourself a favor and surrender yourself to La Force d’Éros. The album is available on digital platforms and on pink vinyl!
Must. Listen. To.: Sexy, 1-800-666-SEXE, Magie Rose, Âme Sœur, Boulevard Tendresse.
The Brother Joe | Big Trout (Alt | Rock | Country)
What I like the most about this recurring feature for Jano Lapin is that it makes me to listen to all albums released from the local scene, a lot of which would normally fly under my radar. I often end up finding gems that will create lasting memories for years to come. One of those record is Big Trout by The Brother Joe. Not much is know about The Brother Joe except it’s a somewhat secret side project featuring several songwriters from the local scene : Marcus Quirion, Julien Thibaud (Jules et ses pilules, Mauvais amis) and Vidjay Rangaya. The small blurb that can be found on their label’s website does not list any members but does give a pretty accurate description of the band’s musical direction:
“Listening to The Brother Joe’s music, it’d be easy to imagine plucking it out from anywhere in the Americana of the north; both in time and space. The country-like-folk-ish chants the trio create are embedded with loose melodies, often played over metal-sharp guitar strums and accented by the drawling three-part harmonies sprinkled in and out of the hillbilly-angst familiarity of their sound.“
Big Trout is their fourth album and is the perfect alt-country companion for this summer. In true supergroup tradition, the band members take turns on lead vocals throughout the album, every time to the song’s benefits. It starts big (pun intended) with Big Trout on the lake and its wall of vocals reminiscent of country/folk party bands like Zac Brown Band. It’s followed up with Massachussetts (Here I Come) and its galloping back beat, an obvious must for any road trip playlist you have going. The pace then slows down to a couple of folk tracks before going into a melancholic one-two punch with El Fiascoville and Lonely Coffee, Lonely Cigarette. Wrapping up this no filler offering is another great country-rock anthem On Your Way Back Home (Did you find love?) that will have you rolling down your car windows and sing at the top of your lungs!
This is one of the local scene’s best kept secret and it’s a shame, so make sure you give it a spin. Big Trout is available on Bandcamp and digital platforms.
Must. Listen. To.: Big Trout on the lake, Massachusetts (Here I come), El Fiascoville, Lonely Coffee, Lonely Cigarette, On your way back home (Did you find love?).
Laurence Nerbonne | OMG (Pop | Trap)
Jano Lapin fell in love with Laurence Nerbonne’s previous album FEU and the associated change in the artist’s sound towards Trap music. It’s therefore with great excitement that we were waiting for her newest output, the aptly titled OMG!
Now in full control of the production helm, Nerbonne continues her evolution to the darker side of her pop spectrum (i.e. OMG is a lot closer to FEU than XO). She’s taking another step towards the music style that moved her when she was growing up, pointing to artists like Destiny’s Child and Missy Elliott in other interviews. It’s probably fair to say that the album is not as instantly accessible as her previous records, but OMG is definitely a grower! Our favorites include the title track, a sort of diss track to 2020 and various events that happened on the local scene (harassments, under-representation of women/POC, etc.) and Kawasaki, which could very well be Nerbonne’s most addictive beat yet. Fan of the beatmaker’s poppiest side will fall for the catchy One Love, the perfect song to Québec’s progressive return to normality…”est-ce qu’on peut se donner du love?” now?!
With catchy songs, Frenglish lyrics and top-notch production, Laurence Nerbonne’s OMG has all the ingredients to be massive. The album is available on digital platform and on beautiful pink vinyl, a first for Nerbonne!
Must. Listen. To.: OMG, Kawasaki, One Love, Wet Dreams, Porto Rico.
Sara Dufour | Sara Dufour (album commenté) (Folk | Rock)
Mea Culpa here, this album should have probably made the this top 5 feature two years ago. Since it’s never too late to redeem oneself, the release of a commentary version of the record is the perfect opportunity to do so.
Sara Dufour is the self-titled second full-length album from singer-songwriter Sara Dufour. Born and raised in Dolbeau, and because “tu peux sortir la fille du Lac, mais le Lac de la fille”, these origins shine through the album in the musical direction (this is as good as regional folk/rock can get) and on several lyrics, like the emotional coming of age song Baseball (video below). Coming from a small town up north myself, this emotional song brought back a lot of childhood and high school memories. Other favorites include the rocking Semi-route, Semi-Trail, a song about being as comfortable in fancy settings as in rugged ones, and the banjo-driven, bluegrass-esque Chic-Chocs about the infamous mountain range of the same name.
The commentary version here is done with album co-producer Dany Placard and brings new light to the songs. Sara and Dany share details about the song lyrics, production choices and all sorts of small details that one would not necessarily notice listening to the album. A great way to find extra appreciation to each tracks and to Dufour’s songwriting in general. More artists should do the same.
The commentary album is available on digital platforms and Bandcamp.
Must. Listen. To.: Baseball, Semi-Route, Semi-Trail, Chic-Chocs, Chez Té-Mille, À qui tu dis bonne nuit.
Les Cowboys Fringants | Les Nuits de Repentigny (Folk | Rock)
Not long after the release of their unanimously praised last album Les Antipodes, the COVID pandemic hit. This, of course, halted the huge momentum and the touring plans the band had. So what can you do when you’re a musician stuck at home with nothing else to work on? You dig up those old forgotten tapes and see if there are any gems lying around.
Main songwriter JF Pauzé dusted some of those lost tracks, wrote some brand new ones, got the band together to re-record them and voilà! Les Nuits de Repentigny is here. Given the quality of the songs found on the album, it’s a bit crazy to think that most of them never made the cut on previous albums. Unearthed treasures include Le p’tit Tommy, the funny tale of a hardware store clerk who tortures animals at night, Fin d’hiver, a classic-Cowboys track with the perfect dose of melancholy, and Portrait #4, a song written by singer Karl Tremblay about some less than glorious characters.
Of the new tracks written for this project, we fell in love with Épique Éric and its infectious chorus. Listening to the song is sure to make you feel nostalgic about those crazy open house parties!
All in all, we’re gifted with 23 songs, clocking just under an hour. Pretty awesome for what’s supposed to be leftover materials. Les Nuits de Repentigny is available on digital platforms and vinyl. You can also learn some additional details about the origins of each song on the band’s website.
Must. Listen. To.: Épique Éric, Le p’tit Tommy, Fin d’hiver, Portrait #4, Sous-sol.
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.