A blog about music from Canada and beyond.

Long reads, short reads and bite-size bits.

Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion

Carly Rae Jepsen - Emotion
Canada’s pop queen faced a frightening prospect trying to match the success of her worldwide smash “Call Me Maybe.” But rather than duplicate the song, which inspired endless covers, parodies and celebrities lip-dubs, Carly Rae Jepsen experimented. For her new album the 29-year-old native of Mission, B.C. sought out a diverse range of writers and producers. The result is a sugar rush of ’80s-style synth sounds with some refreshing hints of sadness. Songs like the infectious “I Really Like You” explore Jepsen’s specialty: the infatuations and fl...

Amy Helm - Didn't It Rain

Amy Helm - Didn't It Rain
She’s hardly a newcomer, but 44-year-old Amy Helm is finding her own voice. She grew up as the daughter of Levon Helm, legendary drummer for the Band. Amy recorded three albums with country quartet Ollabelle and spent a decade in the Midnight Ramble band with her dad, who died in 2012. Now the mother of two has released Didn’t It Rain, her stunning solo debut that features Levon’s final sessions. Highlights include Amy’s inspired gospel opener and her soulful version of the Sam Cooke classic “Good News.” Her father can be heard drumming on thre...
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Mika - No Place in Heaven

Mika - No Place in Heaven
Mika’s 2007 debut, Life in Cartoon Motion, showed flashes of pop brilliance, with a debt to Freddie Mercury and Elton John. But his followup albums were disappointingly inconsistent. His fourth disc is the first to fully realize the depth of his gift for expansive melodies, glorious hooks and complex lyrics. It’s also the first to show his knack for catchy French songs like “Boum Boum Boum,” already a chart-topper in France. No Place in Heaven is bursting with the kind of infectious, whipsmart songs Mika showed he was capable of with his smash ...
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Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years

Neil Young + Promise of the Real - The Monsanto Years
It’s not just the agrochemical multinational corporation that Young targets on his new protest album, but big-box chains like Wal-Mart and Starbucks that are “too big to fail, too rich for jail.” Working with Willie Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah, the raging rock legend tackles topics from worker exploitation to genetically modified foods.
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19 Hits

Tame Impala - Currents

Tame Impala - Currents
Kevin Parker, frontman for the Western Australian psych-rockers, has eclectic tastes, from Led Zeppelin to Britney Spears. His band’s third album has plenty of diversity, featuring the disco funk of “Less I Know the Better” and the slow and hypnotically moody “Cause I’m a Man,” which amounts to wildly trippy lounge music.
7 Hits

Joss Stone - Water for the Soul

Joss Stone - Water for the Soul
Joss Stone is best known for her 2004 debut The Soul Sessions, which paired her smoky vocals with a classic r&b sound. But the singer from Devon, England has been feeling the island vibe ever since meeting Bob Marley’s son Damien in SuperHeavy, the short-lived supergroup with Mick Jagger, Dave Stewart and A.R. Rahman. For her seventh album, Stone embraces a more global sound, dabbling South Asian percussion on “Stuck on You” and Spanish guitar on “Let Me Breathe.” There are still hints of her trademark soul on songs like “This Ain’t Love.” ...
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Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic

Nate Ruess - Grand Romantic
He’s well known to fans of the U.S. indie pop band fun., which won Grammys for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “We Are Young,” the group’s soaring hit with Janelle Monáe. As its energetic frontman, Nate Ruess was credited with giving fun. its swagger and gleefulness—even in the face of downbeat subjects. On his solo debut, the 33-year-old mixes dark tracks with infectious songs that have all the optimism of “We Are Young.” “AhHa” is a little of both, shifting from a bombastic opening into a moving account of struggling with depression ...
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