Category: New Release
If you recall, back in the spring, bloggy favourite Mathématique decided to change her name to Pascale Project and put out the deeply grooving “Super Natural”. It seemed to portend great things, and now that she’s dropped her debut album Just Feel Good For a Moment, we know those premonitions were for real.
It’s an album that hearkens back to familiar new age and easy listening textures, but takes that as a backdrop upon which to construct vital, emotional pop. And there’s quite a bit of variety here in terms of the ways she approaches this sound, but the unifying elements of the instrumentation and production techniques make it all really hang together so well as an album. She’s also released a wonderful video for the title track, directed by François Quillacq, a very stylish one-room shoot featuring some familiar faces, including Antoine93 and Bataille Solaire. It’s a perfect visual accompaniment to the feelings we get when listening to this record. Pascale, we are in love with your Project!
Pick up Just Feel Good For a Moment direct from Pascale Project’s Bandcamp. And if you’re in Montreal, catch her at Secret Venue this Saturday night along with Silent Shout faves Ramzi and Eytan Tobin.
Triple Gangers have been part of the Toronto electronic music fabric for such a long time, it’s been hard to remember that they hadn’t yet released an album. Our eyes were opened wide when they put out “Molly,” the incredibly dancefloorworthy first single, two years ago. Since then, it’s been a long hard wait, but we had a trickle of singles to keep us on our toes. Melancholy groover “Coffee and Cream” and sleek R&B synthpop jam “Beresford Boys” made us realize that we were going to be in for something special. And let’s not forget that amazing video for the latter!
Back at the beginning of the summer, Ghislain, Aurora, and Ida (who also plays in the incredible Hush Pup) put out Forecast, a full-length album which included all three of those tracks, with six other endlessly replayable works of wonderful unabashed pop. But despite the constant catchiness, there’s serious songwriting and arrangement chops on clear display. Triple Gangers know how to write interesting and complex pop tunes without getting in the way of hooky melodies or having fun. This record hasn’t left our tapedeck since its June release. Don’t sleep on this one!
You can buy Forecast directly from them on Bandcamp. And if you’re in Toronto, catch them tonight at the Smiling Buddha with Silent Shout faves Zords and TV Sets.
Glorious news today from Halifax, where stalwart indie synthpop duo Homo Duplex reside. Kristina Parlee and Ron Bates have been making extremely smart and highly original bedroom electronic pop since 2010, and their hit list is impressive. From “Rough Dough” to “On or On and On” to “Misprints”, they’re one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. This week they’ve got a fantastic surprise for us: a whole new EP, with three more gems to add to the catalogue. The simply-titled 05 starts off poppy with the bouncy and uber-catchy “Eaves”, but moves into slower and progressively more shoegazy territory as the record continues, but always retaining a strong pop sensibility. Love this record, love this band!
You can get Homo Duplex’s 05 directly from them at Bandcamp, on a pay-what-you-want basis.
It’s here! We break out our happy dances every time we get our hands on something new from Violence. No surprises here: their new EP is excellent. (Or maybe it is a surprise to hear a band manage to stay equally fantastic while trying out different sounds on each of their releases?)
We’ve already shared our love of the first two singles on this EP (“L’invention du divertissement” and “Shaking Pictograms“), and they slot right in with the rest of the adventurous, slick songs on the EP.
There’s a lot of mostly instrumental songs to get lost in, like the decidedly space-y “Héliogabale” or “Gap Junctions,” which brings back memories of high school biology (gap junctions are the passageways between animal cells that transport things back and forth). Actually, the latter could work really well as the soundtrack for colourful and crazy science animations.
And then there’s “Mycroft Mixeudeim,” which has distant vocals that sound like they’re coming from a low-volume megaphone, a great synth jab and the same style that defines the rest of the EP: quick forward motion, call-and-response between different synth tones and some seriously infectious melodies.
I read that people who are chronically late owe their habitual tardiness to optimism. As one of these “types” myself, I can regretfully confirm this horrid behaviour – so here is my optimistically late review for Joanne Pollock’s gorgeous new EP Optimist which dropped digitally on Bandcamp earlier this summer.
Hailing from Toronto, but spending a lot of time in Winnipeg these days, Joanne is also one half of the dreamy-experimental pop-synth duo Poemss with Aaron Funk (aka Venetian Snares). With Optimist you can definitely hear a growth in her skills as a producer, which has allowed her to fully-realize the complex scope of her restrained yet massively elaborate and unexpected sound.
This six-track boasts some surprisingly intricate analogue drum programming and deep shimmering waves of vintage synths that appear and are washed away by ripples of new tones, only to emerge again. Joanne’s misty voice commands this legion of electronics through clouds of airy reverb and echo. From start to finish, Optimist is startlingly fresh, beautiful and extremely captivating to the ears. It’s difficult to listen to this EP without getting completely lost in the music and drifting away to sparkly synth daydreams.
If you’re in Toronto, you can catch Joanne on September 17 at Dundas Video and October 4 at Burdock Music Hall. She will have CDs for sale at her shows or you can grab her EP via Bandcamp.
Zachary Gray and Para Palabras join forces on Containment, a new split release from London, Ontario imprint A Person Disguised as People. The pairing of these producers is ideal, as both excel at crafting electronic music rich in technical detail, texture, and timbral nuance.
Zachary Gray kicks it off with a set of intricately woven rhythms and soft focus textures that float, bend, and decay in a fashion comparable, but certainly not reducible, to BoC, Tycho, et al. The track “You’re A Real Class Act” (and its dusty ethereal coda) ranks among Gray’s finest work. On the second half, Para Palabras delivers a batch of equally substantial tracks that are, by comparison, more stylistically varied. In “1AM”, for example, percussive and synthesizer sounds seamlessly morph amid a static vocal loop, while “Borracho” explores a spacious Balearic vibe, laced with captivating pentatonic melodies and pitched percussion.
Containment is a standout release for both producers and a great place to begin for the uninitiated. Pick it up now via Bandcamp.
After a bursting onto the scene and earning the sixth spot on our Top Songs of 2014, Gavin Noir’s singular synthpop has returned in the form of the Lovelife EP. The London, Ontario based “enigmatic producer” offers us a return to 80s synthpop pastiche, drenched in pastel tones, innocuous tape hiss and dissonant vocals. Standout track “Someone Like You” is a slow dance ballad that has all the right elements to become a smooth disco-ball anthem in the world of – let’s say – Netflix’s upcoming Wet Hot American Summer TV series?
We’ve been waiting for an official release from Gavin for a long while, and are super excited to finally have something. The Lovelife EP is out now on his Bandcamp and is available digitally for the price of $3.
Rhythm of Cruelty, the mysterious Edmonton duo of Ian Rowley and Brandi Strauss, released their follow up to last year’s Dysphoria with Saturated, a bleak as hell 7-track banger with catchy post-punk tunes for the post-apocalypse.
The LP opens with the eerie audio-collage “Knowing Your Future,” that sounds like a cut from an ’80s neo-futurist soundtrack to a film full of punk mutants hiding out from the sun’s radiation in decayed cities waking from a nuclear winter. Sweeping LFOs, guitar feedback and creepy squeals of a sax open the LP until the militaristic industrial rapping of the drum machine kicks in high-gear on “Day In, Day Out” and continues to pound out over the next six tracks.
There is a sinister union of man vs. machine going on here, with the crashing punk howl of Rowley’s guitar, Strauss’ high-played Peter Hookesque basslines, and her dejected vocals caught between the dripping cave echo and the glossy wool of reverb – all in time to an up-tempo distorted machine march.
Our bloggy brethren Quick Before it Melts are becoming well-known for their annual Canada day Cancon covers compilation Dominionated, and this year’s edition featured a ton of artists we love, including Kashka and Matt LeGroulx (of Galaxius Mons). But our two very favourite covers were Toronto’s VIRE taking on Nash the Slash’s stone-cold classic “Swing Shift” and Winnipeg bedroom pop maestro Camp David‘s version of another synth-pop-pantheon cut, Spoons’ “Nova Heart”.
Download the compilation for free from Quick Before it Melts. Canadian music! What can we say, we like it!
The title of Stefana Fratila‘s new album is fitting, since each style is only there for a short time before transitioning into something else. There’s delicate and sweet moments, unnerving atmospheric sounds and deep, steady beats. The end result is a mixed collage of sounds that demonstrate just how good of a producer this Romanian-born, Vancouver-based artist is. (If you’re a fan of Ramzi or early Grimes, you’ll definitely be into this album.)
She’s a strong vocalist, too, breathily singing about things like nostalgia and slow emotional healing. But even when the material gets dark, the music stays light and airy, giving you a choice as a listener. Either put it on in the background as the perfect summer afternoon soundtrack, or get thoughtful while listening carefully to the lyrics through your headphones.
The album is available (digitally or as a cassette) through Fratila’s Bandcamp.