It’s a remarkable testament to the vision and talents of Victoria electronic indie pop songwriter Rae Spoon that they’re now on album #8 and show absolutely no signs of slowing down their streak of amazing full-length records with Armour. Yet another LP of uber-catchy, deeply heartfelt, classics-upon-arrival pop songs? No problem.
At ten tracks, it’s a brilliantly concise listen that doesn’t waste a moment – every song could have been a single. Spoon masterfully weaves meaningful stories and messages throughout their music, whether it’s angrily denouncing the lack of rights and protections for transgendered Canadians in the Charter in “Written Across the Sky” (which had an awesome video that Spoon co-directed), or packaging a critical educational message about cultural and gender identity appropriation into a simple-seeming ditty on “Stolen Song”.
With Armour, Rae Spoon has recorded one of the best albums of the year, and made a very strong case that they’re one of best, and most important, songwriters in Canada. Perfect electronic pop songs that groove, tear at your heart, and seek to create real change.
Armour is available now from Rae Spoon’s Bandcamp. Spoon is on tour across Canada right now, don’t miss them.
There are a few artists we would follow to the ends of the earth and champion above all else, and Montreal duo Essaie Pas is one of those projects. From the first time we heard “514 376-9230”, and “Carcajou”, we were smitten, and eagerly awaited anything new from them. Now, picked up by DFA Records for their first full length Demain Est Une Autre Nuit, we finally have something that follows through on that initial promise. Dark, dancy, minimal and evil, the eight track record is all the things we’ve come to expect from the band perfectly honed into its most essential elements.
You’ve already heard the sinister first singles “Retox“, and “Le port du masque est de rigueur,” but the album gets even darker from there. Take the centrepiece “Facing the Music” which is a five minute dance floor freakout meant to be played with the most intense of strobe lights. Or “Carcajou 3”, featuring the third, and best iteration of the song that made us fall in love in the first place.
The album is out this Friday on DFA and can be preordered now via Essaie Pas’ Bandcamp. This is one of the top albums of the year, so get on the bandwagon now.
We’re certainly not alone in our admiration for the raw, direct ambient electronic pop of Montreal duo Majical Cloudz. But when it comes to us, admiration is an understatement: last year’s Are You Alone? was our fifth favourite album of 2015, and Impersonator was our #1 of 2013. So a few weeks ago, when they released a surprise EP to coincide with a tour with fellow Montrealers She-Devils (who were our album of the week two weeks back), we knew we’d once again be pulled into Welsh & Otto’s incredible and bold sound-world.
Wait & See is only five songs long, but characteristic for these two, it’s all killer, no filler, if your definition of killer includes self-reflective meditative pop that often lacks percussion and challenges the listener to confront mortality. Their direct minimalism continues to find new directions in which to travel, as on slow electro-pop ballad “Pretty”, or the spacious ambient title track based around reversed sampling. The soft rolling drum machines on “Heaven” are a particular highlight. All in all, Majical Cloudz seem like they’ll never fail to astonish, and the superb strength of this EP suggests there must be a number of amazing b-sides from their celebrated albums that might one day surface. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Wait & See is out now on Arts & Crafts.