A blog about music from Canada and beyond.

Long reads, short reads and bite-size bits.

Blog Post: Nick's Picks - The Best Albums of 2016

Blog Post: Nick's Picks - The Best Albums of 2016
A selection of 2016's finest recordings, in no particular order: Radiohead  A Moon Shaped Pool - How can something so harrowing sound so sweet? Rich in symphonic and folky lushness, it’s big, beautiful and a little nightmarish. Beyoncé  Lemonade - With profound and touching songs about family ties, racial pride and female strength, Beyoncé makes a powerful personal statement and her career-defining album. David Bowie Blackstar - Bowie’s swan song, a trippy, jazz-infused art rock album that includes the shape-shifting, apocalyptic tit...
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Music Feature: Annie Lennox - The First Lady

Music Feature: Annie Lennox - The First Lady
When I first met her, she spoke in a whisper, protecting the gold-plated vocal cords that had made Eurythmics one of the top musical acts on the planet. Annie Lennox was staying in a quiet residential neighborhood near West Hollywood, while she and Eurythmic Dave Stewart rehearsed for the band’s Revenge tour. It was the summer of ’86 and Lennox looked every bit the striking pop icon, one whose theatrical, gender-bending and diva-vamping appearances had transformed the pop landscape. Dressed in a pink satin blouse and a brightly colored plaid su...
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Feature Article: John Legend - Mr. Legend Comes to Town

Feature Article: John Legend - Mr. Legend Comes to Town
It’s a muggy day and John Legend is trying his best to stay cool. The gifted American soul singer is in a Toronto Baptist church for a photo shoot and it’s proving to be one serious sweat-fest. Between costume changes and impromptu performances on an electric piano, Legend towels off and stations himself next to an industrial-sized electric fan. He doesn’t mind being a clothes horse, especially when the wardrobe’s supplied by Hugo Boss, but the wool trousers and vest are almost unbearably hot. Still, it’s all in a day’s work for the award-winni...
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Crybaby Comes Back

Crybaby Comes Back
One of the best alt-country groups to emerge from the Toronto music scene in the 1990s, Crybaby featured a soulful twang and the sensual ache of Rae Billing's vocals. The band released one brilliant recording, 1996's Paintings, but sadly broke up before a second album was released. Since then, Billing has made several first-rate solo albums, including Blue Black Night and Walls and Fences, all showcasing her songs of rare honesty and intelligence and what one observer calleld her "gutsy femininity." Now, Billing and Cry...
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Music Review: Alicia Keys - Here

Music Review: Alicia Keys - Here
Her last album was called Girl on Fire and Alicia is still red hot. This summer, the 15-time Grammy winner made headlines by choosing not to wear makeup at an awards show. On her sixth studio album, Keys continues to boldly speak out, tackling topics from the human condition to global politics on tough hip-hop tracks and spare acoustic ballads alike. She’s also released a companion short film titled The Gospel that deals with police brutality. That outspokenness is the backbone of confessional numbers like the dancehall-flavored “Girl Can’t Be ...
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Music Interview: Q&A with Norah Jones

Music Interview: Q&A with Norah Jones
Norah Jones never stays in the same musical place for long. Since the runaway success of Come Away With Me—the “moody little record,” as she describes it, that launched her career in 2002 swept the Grammys and sold over 20 million copies worldwide—the singer-pianist has defied categorization, releasing half-a-dozen diverse solo albums and singing with artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Outkast. Now Norah, 37, has returned to her roots. Day Breaks finds the “Come Away with Me” singer working with legendary musicians like saxophonist Wayne Sho...
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Toronto's Music Mural

Toronto's Music Mural
Yesterday, a 22-storey high mural depicting the music history of Toronto’s Yonge Street was announced at a media event on the site of the mural. Two of the legends featured in the wall painting, Ronnie Hawkins and Gordon Lightfoot, were in attendance. Commissioned by the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Association, the work by artist Adrian Hayles also includes images of Oscar Peterson, Glenn Gould, Jackie Shane, Shirley Matthews, Dianne Brooks and bluesmen B.B. King and Muddy Waters. The mural covers the side of a building on Yonge just so...
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