Tag: Edmonton AB

New Video: Tanika Charles Teams Up with DijahSB on a Strutting and Triumphant Bop

Two-time Juno Award-nominated and Polaris Prize listed, Toronto-born and-based Trinidadian-Canadian singer/songwriter Tanika Charles spent a formative part of her life in Edmonton, when energy sector opportunities brought her family there. But whether they were in Toronto or Edmonton, music was a constant presence in the Charles household: Her father would return from two weeks on site with the latest jazz records for Tanika and her brothers to play and jam out along.

Several years later, Tanika’s eldest brother would be the first to coach her on how to sing and how to record a song. As a young adult., Charles relocated to Vancouver, where she picked up gigs as a backing vocalist and got a taste of tour life. When she returned to her birthplace, the Trinidadian-Canadian artist’s long-held dreams of becoming a professional artist began to come to fruition: She assembled her first backing band, and with that band recorded her debut EP What? What! What?! With the release of her debut EP, Charles quickly became a local scene fixture.

Back in  2016, Charles independently released her full-length debut Soul Run within her native Canada. The album was sensation nationally, with the album receiving a Polaris Music Prize nomination and a Juno Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. The following year, Italian purveyors of funk and soul Record Kicks released Soul Run internationally to critical applause from the likes of Exclaim!, Music Republic Magazine and others. Album singles like “Endless Chain,” “Love Fool,” and album title track “Soul Run” received regular radio rotation on stations across Canada, the US, the UK and France.

Charles’ sophomore album, 2019’s The Gumption was released through Record Kicks. The 12-song album picked up where Soul Run left off, further establishing the Canadian artist’s sound and approach in which classic soul is mixed with modern production. Thematically, the album saw Charles tackling moments of vindication, uncertain love, forbidden fruit and the state of the world. “It’s a little more mature,” Tanika said at the time. ““It’s not feeling guilty about being up front, not being afraid to address situations that aren’t comfortable for me. I’m comfortable in my skin now in a way I never was before.” The Gumption was long-listed for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize and nominated for the 2020 Juno Awards R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

Along with her latest backing band, The Wonderfuls, Charles has toured across Canada and eight other counties to support Soul Run and The Gumption. Those tours have prominently featured stops across the local, national and global festival circuits, including Rennes Trans MusicalesNXNELärz FusionPop MontrealCanarias Jazz FestivalCBC Music FestivalTD Toronto Jazz FestBirmingham’s Mostly Funk, Soul and Jazz Festival, the Pan Am Games and a list of others.

The Canadian artist’s music has appeared on HBO’s Less Than Kind, ABC’s Rookie BlueThe CW’s SeedCTV’s Saving HopeCBC’s Kim Convenience and Workin’ Moms and a nationally broadcast KFC ad campaign. She also has appeared as a reoccurring guest on CBC Kids and as a lounge singer on Global TV’s Bomb Girls. Between a busy schedule as a touring musician, Charles appeared in the touring production of Freedom Singer in 2017. She returned to that role in February 2019’s Now We Recognize

Charles’ third album Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly is slated for an April 8, 2022 release through Record Kicks. The album, which features guest spots from Toronto-based emcee DijahSB and multi-disciplinary artist Khari McClelland was written and recorded during and after pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions. Much like its immediate predecessor, the forthcoming album is reportedly anchored in growth and maturity. 

The album’s title is derived from an unlikely source, a creature that soars after the sun has set, but often goes unnoticed until light is shone on it. Referred to as “papillon de nuit” by some, the animal is more commonly known as a moth, possibly revealing a linguistic bias. “I always thought it was a strange insect,” the acclaimed Canadian artist says in press notes. “Once while in Paris, a friend swatted at one and I asked: ‘Was that a moth?’. I was told: ‘No, that’s a papillon de nuit.’ I thought that was the most beautiful description for this otherwise overlooked creature. When I later learned of the symbolism associated with it, I felt that really spoke to both my own situation and also what we’ve all been going through.”

Last month, I wrote about the funky, old-school soul-inspired bop “Rent Free,” a fiery tell-off to the energy sucking vampires, deadbeats, naysayers, haters, time wasters and other shitty people of life, centered around Charles’ effortless, Motown era-like delivery. We’ve all had those sorts in our lives, and this song is the sort of song that tells you that it’s okay to push those toxic people out of your life for you to feel better — or to succeed.

The album’s latest single “Different Morning” is a collaboration that features Toronto-based emcee DijahSB, whose album Head Above the Waters was featured in Exclaim Magazine‘s Top 50 Albums of the year and landed a Juno Award nomination — and a performance slot at the award show. Sonically speaking, “Different Morning” is a slick and strutting synthesis of Larry Levan-like house and neo-soul centered around twinkling Rhodes, a sinuous bass line, swinging J. Dilla-like beats, and ebullient horn blasts. And over that celebratory two-step inducing production, Charles contributes soulful vocals that gradually build up confidence with a celebratory and triumphant verse from DijahSB.

“So much of our days are spent dwelling on the same mistakes, the same misfortunes. That thing we wish didn’t happen, or what we wish we hadn’t done,” Tanika Charles explains in press notes. “‘Different Morning’ is about starting a new day without that baggage, about finding a way to correct course and move past it. What starts as a pitiful interior monologue evolves into a celebration of getting over that hump by being your biggest cheerleader. DijahSB is someone who was able to carry that triumphant spirit that the second half of the song needed. ‘I’m alive today’ is enough of a blessing, enough of an accomplishment, and enough to be thankful for.”

Directed by Cazhhmere, the accompanying video for “Different Morning” features the Canadian artists in a lush, Alice in Wonderland-like maze at night dancing and rocking out to the song. Shit, I wish I could join them because they’re having fun, and just enjoying the moment.

Two-time Juno Award-nominated and Polaris Prize listed, Toronto-born and-based Trinidadian-Canadian singer/songwriter Tanika Charles spent a formative part of her life in Edmonton, when energy sector opportunities brought the family there. But whether in Toronto or Edmonton, music was a constant presence in the Charles household: Her father would return from two weeks on site with the latest jazz records for Tanika and her brothers to jam out to.

Several years later, Tanika’s eldest brother would be the first to coach her on how to sing and how to record a song. As a young adult., Charles relocated to Vancouver, where she picked up gigs as a backing vocalist and got a taste of tour life. When she returned to her birthplace, the Trinidadian-Canadian artist’s long-held dreams of becoming a professional artist began to come to fruition: She assembled her first backing band, and with that band recorded her debut EP What? What! What?! And with the release of her debut EP, she became a local scene fixture.

In 2016, Charles independently released her full-length debut Soul Run within her native Canada. The album became a national sensation, with the album receiving a Polaris Music Prize nomination and a Juno Award nomination for Best R&B/Soul Recording of the Year. The following year, Italian purveyors of funk and soul Record Kicks released Soul Run internationally to critical applause from the likes of Exclaim!, Music Republic Magazine and others. Album singles like “Endless Chain,” “Love Fool,” and album title track “Soul Run” received regular radio rotation on stations across Canada, the US, the UK and France.


Charles’ sophomore album, 2019’s The Gumption was released through Record Kicks. The 12-song album picked up where Soul Run left off, further establishing the Canadian artist’s sound and approach in which classic soul is mixed with modern production. Thematically, the album saw Charles tackling moments of vindication, uncertain love, forbidden fruit and the state of the world. “It’s a little more mature,” Tanika said at the time. ““It’s not feeling guilty about being up front, not being afraid to address situations that aren’t comfortable for me. I’m comfortable in my skin now in a way I never was before.” The Gumption was long-listed for the 2019 Polaris Music Prize and nominated for the 2020 Juno Awards R&B/Soul Recording of the Year.

Along with her latest backing band, The Wonderfuls, Charles has toured across Canada and eight other counties to support Soul Run and The Gumption. Those tours have prominently featured stops across the global, national and local festival circuits, including Rennes Trans Musicales, NXNE, Lärz Fusion, Pop Montreal, Canarias Jazz Festival, CBC Music Festival, TD Toronto Jazz Fest, Birmingham’s Mostly Funk, Soul and Jazz Festival, the Pan Am Games and a list of others. Her music has appeared on HBO’s Less Than Kind, ABC’s Rookie Blue, The CW’s Seed, CTV’s Saving Hope, CBC’s Kim Convenience and Workin’ Moms and a nationally broadcast KFC ad campaign. She also has appeared as a reoccurring guest on CBC Kids and as a lounge singer on Global TV’s Bomb Girls. Between a busy schedule as a touring musician, Charles appeared in the touring production of Freedom Singer in 2017. She returned to that role in February 2019’s Now We Recognize.

Charles’ third album Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly is slated for an April 8, 2022 release through Record Kicks. The album, which features guest spots from Toronto-based emcee DijahSB and multi-disciplinary artist Khari McClelland was written and recorded during and after pandemic related lockdowns and restrictions. Much like its immediate predecessor, the forthcoming album is reportedly anchored in growth and maturity.

The album’s title is derived from an unlikely source, a creature that soars after the sun has set, but often goes unnoticed until light is shone on it. Referred to as “papillon de nuit” by some, the animal is more commonly known as a moth, possibly revealing a linguistic bias. “I always thought it was a strange insect,” the acclaimed Canadian artist says in press notes. “Once while in Paris, a friend swatted at one and I asked: ‘Was that a moth?’. I was told: ‘No, that’s a papillon de nuit.’ I thought that was the most beautiful description for this otherwise overlooked creature. When I later learned of the symbolism associated with it, I felt that really spoke to both my own situation and also what we’ve all been going through.”

Papillon de Nuit: The Night Butterfly‘s first single is the funky and strutting old-school inspired soul bop “Rent Free.” The song is a fiery tell off to energy sucking vampires, deadbeats, naysayers, time wasters and other shitty people centered around Charles’ effortless, Motown era-like delivery. We’ve all had those sorts in our lives, and this song is the sort of song that tells you that it’s okay to push those toxic people out of your life.

New Video: The Lysergic Sounds and Visuals of Jesse and the Dandelions’ “Give Up The Gold”

Jesse and the Dandelions are an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based indie rock act comprised of Jesse Northey, Conner Ellinger, Daniel Sedmark, Travis Sargent and Dean Kheroufi, and “Give Up The Gold,” the album title track and latest single off their forthcoming album Give Up The Gold is a lysergic-tinged dream centered around distorted boom-bap-like breakbeats, shimmering guitar fed through delay and other effect pedals and arpeggiated Wurlitzer chords — and the result is a song that has the a retro-futrustic vibe that recalls JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo and Drakkar Nowhere; but as the band’s frontman and songwriter Jesse Northey says in press notes, the song found him exercising an active restraint while including a few lyrical double entendres.  

Consisting of cinematography by Truthful Works Films’ Dylan Howard and glitch art by Parker Theissen, the recently released video features the band performing in an empty studio but at points, the screen goes into a the sort of glitchy feedback and noise you’d expect from warped and old VHS tape, which further adds to the psychedelic vibes.

New Video: The Contemplative Visuals and Sounds of Faith Healer’s “& Waiting”

Initially begun as the solo recording project of its Edmonton-based creative mastermind, founding member, singer/songwriter and guitarist Jessica Jalbert, as a way to avoid and resist being pigeonholed as just a sensitive, singer/songwriter strumming a guitar, Faith Healer project expanded into a duo with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Remmy Wilson, who joined before the recording sessions for Jalbert’s sophomore Faith Healer effort (and first as a duo), Try ;-).  

As Jalbert has explained in press notes, the newly constituted duo’s recently released newest effort is a sonic and creative departure for her. “The last album had a lot of flowery ’60s flourishes. This time, we wanted to simplify it and just do some straight-ahead songs. Focus on the song itself rather than all of the production.” And although the material may seem effortless to the listener, the creative process which spawned it were according to Jalbert, rather intensive, as she and her bandmate spent time meticulous crafting the album’s material while focusing on plainspoken lyrics that focused on self-empowerment, depression and appreciating all the good in life; in fact, the album’s title was also deeply inspired by its creative process, and is a reminder that sometimes you need to be proactive and grab life by the horns rather than waiting for inspiration to strike.

Now, as you may recall, “Light of Loving,” Try ;-)’s first single featured a lush melody within an expansive, 60s psych rock-inspired song structure consisting of trippy and unexpected key and tone changes and a soaring hook — and while being relatively stripped down from its predecessor, the song manages to reveal some ambitious, arena rock meets psych rock-inspired songwriting that in some way reminds me of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference and The Fire Tapes’ Phantoms. Interestingly, the album’s mellow yet jangling latest single is a subtle expansion of the sound they’ve developed on the album’s earliest single, as it finds them drawing a bit more from easy going, 70s AM rock, complete with a deeply introspective and sultry vibe. 

The recently released video further emphasizes the introspective nature of the song, as it features a simple concept, as we follow a brooding Jalbert on the beach, staring at the ocean, drinking wine from the bottle, waiting for something — or someone to happen. 

 

 

Mark Berg is an Edmonton, Alberta, Canada-based singer/songwriter, electronic music artist and producer, whose solo recording project Tropic Harbour specializes in hazy, dream pop inspired by nostalgic images and dreams of the coast, during the summer — and in many ways, Berg reportedly created the project as a way to mentally escape the harsh Edmonton winters. Along with a backing and that features Kurtis Cockerill
Andrew Brostrom, and Marcus Rayment, Berg began receiving national attention, playing at a number of Canada’s renowned festivals including Pop Montreal, NXNE and Sled Island, as well as opening for the likes of DIIV, Jessy Lanza, Homeshake and Will Butler.

Berg’s latest Tropic Harbour single “Can’t Pretend” will further cement his reputation for crafting, 80s-inspired, nostalgia-inducing and summery synth pop; however, it’s a much more downtempo and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, gently swirling electronics, shimmering synths and stuttering drum programming, and in some way, the song sonically speaking will remind some listeners of I Love You It’s Cool-era Bear in Heaven, Neon Indian and others — while thematically focusing on its narrator letting go of a past relationship and trying to find himself again in the process.

 

 

Initially formed in Kingston, Ontario and featuring Colleen Brown, Elijah Abrams, Shea Connor, Trevor Mann and and Murray Wood, the Edmonton, Alberta-based indie rock, All-Star band Major Love is comprised of members of several locally and regionally renowned bands including Scenic Route To Alaska, Jesse and the Dandelions and singer/songwriters Colleen Brown and Elijah Abrams. And since their formation, the band has specialized in what they describe in press notes as “soulful pop-rock music for their hoser friends.” The band’s latest single “Tear It Down” has started to receive some attention across the blogosphere, and as the members of the band explain in press notes, the song was inspired in the aftermath of two explosions at an Edmonton area senior residence, which as it turned out was across the street from where the band’s vocalist Colleen Brown lived. Two people died — as a the result of a bizarre murder/suicide. Over the course of the next three years, Brown saw the building gutted, rebuilt and furnished. And while contemplating the disparity between the tradesmen who were responsible for rebuilding the senior home and her life as a musician, she began writing a song, which thematically asks one of the biggest questions in our lives: is there beauty in destruction?  But along with that the song subtly focuses on the passage and brings up leitmotifs about life and death.

In some way, the song suggests that there are certain unassailable facts of life: that despite the tumults and joys of our lives, time keeps moving forward and that all things will inevitably die, but from that there’s something truly profound — an awareness of everything’s mutability, of everything being finite, and life’s constant renewal. Interestingly, the band manages to pair Brown’s gorgeous, pop belter-like vocals with twangy and jangling power chords, a propulsive yet old-timey backbeat and a rousingly anthemic hook that features Brown joyously singing ” Tear it down/down/down/Let’s start over,” and sonically speaking the song reminds me of Northern Aggression-era Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three,  Fleetwood Mac and others, as the Canadian act reveals some effortless yet incredibly crafted songwriting with a pop leaning.

Look for Major Love’s self-titled full-length debut early next year.

 

Faith Healer initially formed as the solo, recording project of its Edmonton-based creative mastermind, founding member, singer/songwriter and guitarist Jessica Jalbert, who started the project as a way to avoid being pigeonholed as just a singer/songwriter. However, the project has expanded into a full-fledged band with the addition of multi-instrumentalist Remmy Wilson, who joined the project before the recording sessions for the project’s sophomore effort — and first as a duo — Try 😉, which was recorded at Wilson’s personal studio in Montreal, during  a month-long session last September.

As Jalbert explains in press notes, the newly constituted duo’s newest effort is a departure both sonically and creatively for her. “The last album had a lot of flowery ’60s flourishes. This time, we wanted to simplify it and just do some straight-ahead songs. Focus on the song itself rather than all of the production.” And while the material may seem effortless, its creation was reportedly intensive, as the songs were meticulously crafted with deliberate effort but paired with plainspoken lyrics that reflected on self-empowerment, depression and appreciating all the good in life; in fact, the album’s title was deeply inspired by its creative process, and is a reminder that sometimes you need to be proactive and grab life by the horns rather than waiting for inspiration to strike.

“Light of Loving,” Try 😉‘s first single finds Jalbert and Wilson pairing a lush melody and an expansive 60s psych rock-inspired structure consisting of a trippy and unexpected key and tone changes paired with a soaring hook — and while revealing a relatively stripped down approach from the project’s preceding effort, the song reveals some ambitious, arena rock-leaning songwriting, as the band paradoxically possesses a towering sound full of some impressive, power chord-based guitar, fed through various pedals, blasts of organ and propulsive drumming. Interestingly, although the song is clearly nodding at 60s psych rock, there’s a subtle hint at much more contemporary fare — in particular, I think of The Mallard‘s Finding Meaning in Deference, The Fire Tapes‘ Phantoms and others.

 

 

 

 

 

Growing up listening to an eclectic variety of music including Patti Labelle, Jill Scott, Bob James, Stevie Wonder, D’Angelo, Bjork and The Black Crowes among others, up-and-coming, Edmonton, AB-born, Toronto, ON-based soul artist Tanika Charles quickly developed a reputation locally as an emerging solo artist, whose puts a modern spin on the classic Motown soul sound — frequently meshing it with swaggering, hip-hop-like beats and deeply, confessional and honest lyrics, reminiscent of Mary J. Blige, Kelis and others. And as a result, within Canada’s soul scene, Charles has largely been considered her country’s next big thing; in fact, interestingly enough, over the past couple of years Charles transformed from being an emerging solo artist to being a commanding performer and bandleader, as well as one of the scene’s staples. Adding to a growing national profile, Charles has collaborated with Estelle, Lauryn Hill and Macy Gray, and has made regular appearances on CTV, Global and CBC Radio.

Produced by Slakah the Beatchild, best known for collaborating with Drake, Charles’ latest single “Soul Run” is the first single off her self-titled, full-length album, slated for an April 7, 2017 release through Italian soul label, Record Kicks, and the single will further cement the Edmonton-born, Toronto-based singer/songwriter’s burgeoning reputation for crafting confessional lyrics based around her own personal experiences with “Soul Run” based around Charles’ experience of feeling trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship in rural Canada — until she decided to “borrow” her then fiancée’s car and left for Toronto to start her music career, never looking back. Considering the personal nature of the song, Charles as the song’s narrator expresses regret over her own foolishness that wound up with her being hopelessly trapped in an abusive and fucked up relationship and desperate desire to get away and start over. You can almost picture Charles, jumping into the car with whatever possessions she could manage and hitting the road without an idea of where she was going or what would happen — and yet feeling true freedom to do whatever she wanted.