Tasseomancy – Do Easy

Tasseomancy doesn’t waste time. Just last year, they put out the magisterial Palm Wine Revisited, a captivating record that was our #4 of 2015. Do Easy isn’t at all a retread though, but another bold departure for the Toronto duo, one which sees them fully embracing their pop tendencies. There’s still a ton of experimental goodies in the margins for the classic Tasseoheads but this is a highly accessible record that could, and should, blow up huge. It’s nearly impossible to choose just one highlight, but the mesmerizing slow groove of the title track is a no-brainer must-hear.

Do Easy is available now from Hand Drawn Dracula and Bella Union.

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Johnny Couteau – Repeat Function

Montreal underground electronic pop legend Johnny Couteau first arrived on the scene with a magisterial, enveloping, world-creating debut album, From the Infamous Mind of a Psychoactive Runner, one of our favourite albums of 2014. Early last year, we had the first indication of his next work, the music video for “Is My Baby Love Real or Just a Hologram?” His new cassette Repeat Function is an equally ambitious, sprawling work of dark paranoid post-punk of the highest imaginative order. It’ll take some time to explore every corner of this one, but Couteau’s knack for catchy, rule-defying, post-apocalyptic electronic pop will always win us over. Incredible work.

Repeat Function is available now from Bandcamp.

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Sean Nicholas Savage – Magnificent Fist

Pastiche, by definition, implies a certain form of malice from its creator. One might draw from a certain genre or style in order to subtly mock it, but Montreal sweetheart Sean Nicholas Savage seems to be operating in a different way.

Everything in his music has led to pastiche before: the cheap synth presets, the 80’s gated drums, the flamenco guitar flourishes, the emotional melisma-inflected vocals… And yet Savage seems to breathe a new life into the music that makes the most out of these elements by associating it with the emotional weight and nostalgia of his lyrics, which by now is a signature move of his. For his latest release, Magnificent Fist, our lonesome balladeer has once again crafted an excellent soft-rock album that is one of his most focused efforts yet.

Maybe Chain”, one of the album’s highlights, features some of Savage’s most beautifully sung falsetto vocals floating atop a solid drumbeat and washed-out synths. For a song that features lyrics such as “Maybe chain/Maybe I’m in love with you”, it is surprisingly uplifting and even heartwarming.

The album, recorded in Berlin and released by the ever-cool Montreal-based label Arbutus Records, is now available on cassette.

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