Tag: Montreal QC

November will be a rather busy month: I was just in Syracuse for a wedding — and in 10 days I’ll be in Montreal for the M for Montreal Festival. So I’ll be doing the best I can while on the road with posts. But in the meantime, let’s get back to the work at hand: Kyshona Armstrong is a Nashville-based singer/songwriter, who writes and records under the mononym Kyshona. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter can trace the origins of her musical career to her day job as a music therapist. Initially writing some of her first songs with her patients — the students and inmates under her care, Armstrong felt the need to write independently and find her own creative voice. This endeavor led her to Nashville’s songwriting scene — and since then, the Nashville-based singer/songwriter has learned how to balance her music career with her passion to heal the hurting.

The Nashville-based singer/songwriter’s latest album, the Andrija Tokic-produced Listen is slated for a February 28, 2020 release. Recorded at Tokic’s studio, The Bomb ShelterListen finds Armstrong pairing a sound that effortlessly meshes roots, country soul, country, soul, roots music, rock, R&B and folk with lyrics specifically meant to do two things: uplift the marginalized and to bring awareness of the plight of the marginalized to the masses.

Co-written with her brother Kelvin Armstrong, Listen‘s latest single “Fear” is a strutting, swampy and slow-burning  12 bar blues centered around Armstrong’s effortlessly soulful, powerhouse vocals, twinkling keys, strummed acoustic guitar, blasts of shimmering slide guitar and an enormous hook — and while being both radio friendly and carefully crafted, the song features an overwhelmingly positive and uplifting message.

“Fear is that boogieman that sits quietly in the corner of our minds that can paralyze us the moment confidence enters the picture,” the Nashville-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Rather than listen to that voice that’s telling you why change isn’t possible, call it out. Recognize the fear and move past it. It’s just another wall to be knocked down. We can’t let fear rule our every move. Fear is what has kept us so divided.”

 

 

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New Video: Introducing the Dance Floor Friendly Sounds and Trippy Visuals of FORCES

FORCES is a new synth-based act, comprised of romantic couple and collaborative duo Jess and Dave. And although the project is a relatively new project, it’s centered around the 20+ year relationship and collaboration between its creative masterminds, who may be best known in their native Canada for their previous, long-term band Golden Dogs. Throughout The Golden Dogs’ run, Jess and Dave wound up collaborating with a virtual who’s who  of contemporary, Canadian indie rock, including the then-future members of Zeus, Wax Atlantic and Brave Shores, along with Taylor Knox and Stew Heyduk — while opening for the Sloan, Feist, Bloc Party, The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Thurston Moore and Roky Erickson. 

In 2017, Jess and Dave went into the studio and began working on what they thought would be the next Golden Dogs album, although deep down they both admit that they kind of knew that it wasn’t. What they started working on was a decided and radical sonic departure from the driving rock sound they’ve long specialized in and were known for. In fact, they were increasingly drawn to the a number of different production styles — in particular, The Dead Pets, Liquid Liquid, New Order, The Cure’s Close to Me and Timbaland. As a result, the duo, which splits its time between Montreal and Toronto began to experiment with synths, beatmaking and funky rhythms. 

Along with that Jess increasingly stepped up as a frontperson, taking on a sultry vocal approach paired with layered, punchy female harmonies. Simultaneously, Dave began to primarily focus on guitar textures and melodies. And of course, the material was primarily based around metronomic loops and electronics instead of the drums-bass-guitar they had long relied on. The end result is their debut single as FORCES, “Stay On Me.” The self-recorded, Graham Walsh and Jose Contreras-mixed track is centered around a funky Nile Rodgers-inspired guitar riff, layers of arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, a propulsive club-rocking groove and Jess’ sultry vocals that builds up to a cathartic sense of release. 

“The key lyric in ‘Stay On Me’ — ‘everything we all focus on, we become’ — reminds us to turn away from mind games in favor of focusing on what matters most in our lives, whatever that means,” the duo says about their glittering, disco bop.

Featuring FORCES’ Jess in over-sized movie star-like sunglasses, the recently released video is full of vibrant, neon-like colors and glitchy footage timed to the propulsive beats of the song to create a visual that’s trippy and mesmerizing. Look for more from the Canadian duo as they plan to release a new single every few months with an accompanying video. 

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Returns with an Explosive Post Punk-like New Single

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a little bit about the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor. And as you may recall, the act which is comprised of longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums), received attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere with the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado. In fact, Supermercado received glowing praise from NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ” 

Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Shortly after, they returned to the States, touring with British post-punk act Shame. And earlier this year. they opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and have made appearances at London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Building upon the rapidly growing momentum surrounding the band, their third, full-length album Junior is slated for release next week through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  

Junior manages to continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Ethier but unlike its predecessors, the album found the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had just signed to their new label, the band firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album every two years. At the time, Sub Pop gently warned the members of the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed the completed album by May 10. 

So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Junior’s first single “Topographe,” was a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals — with the end result being a muscular swoon, evoking the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” the album’s second single is a breezy track that was one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove driven jam that revealed a unit that can craft an incredibly infectious track that balances deliberate craft with a wild, improvised frenzy. “Pow,” Junior’s mesmerizing, third single may arguably be the most recognizably post punk-like song of the album. Centered around angular guitar lines,  fluttering synths, ethereal vocals, an infectious yet driving hook, jittery hi-hat and explosive toms, which seem to give the song its explosive title. 

New Audio: Montreal’s Corridor Releases a Breezy Genre-Defying Jam

With the release of 2015’s Le Voyage Éternel and 2017’s Supermercado, the Montreal-based indie rock act Corridor — longtime friends and collaborators Dominic Berthiaume (vocals/bass) and Jonathan Robert (vocals/guitar/synths) along with Julian Perreault (guitar) and Julien Bakvis (drums) — quickly won attention across the Francophone world and elsewhere, as they received glowing praise from the likes of NPR and Vice, who referred to Supermercado as “the best French record of 2017, 2018, 2018, 2019, 2020 2021 and even 2022 .  . . ”  Last year, building upon the growing buzz surrounding them, the Quebecois band toured across Europe and made their Stateside debut with appearances at SXSW and Northside Music Festival. Shortly after, they returned to the States, touring with British post-punk act Shame.

This year, the band opened for Crumb on a sold-out Stateside tour, and they’ve already made appearances at the London Calling Festival and La Villete Sonique Festival. Adding to an already busy year, the band’s third full-length album Junior is slated for an October 18, 2019 release through Sub Pop Records, making them the first Francophone band that the renowned indie label has ever signed.  Junior, which continues their ongoing collaboration with their friend, producer (and occasional roommate) Emmanuel Either finds the band jettisoning the languorous creative process of its predecessors — out of inspired necessity. Although the members of Corridor had just signed to their new label, the band firmly committed themselves to releasing a new album every two years. Sub Pop gently warned the band that if they wanted to release new material this fall that they needed material by May 10.

So with the ink barely dried on the finalized deal, the members of Corridor went into the studio and recorded Junior in an inspired blitz, finishing the album in mid-April. Six of the album’s 10 songs were conceived in a single weekend — with the lyrics to “Bang” written on the eve of the sessions, as the band’s Jonathan Robert began to panic. And as a result, the album’s material features fewer expansive jams, fewer overdubs. Even the album’s artwork came in the nick of time: in spite of other, meticulous and gorgeous artwork they received, Robert’s “shitty last minute collage” (of an egg saying hello) was the one his bandmates went for. “Part of the beauty of the thing is that we didn’t have time to think about it,” the band’s Berthiaume says of the Junior recording sessions.

Last month, I wrote about Junior’s first single “Topographe,” a crafted, breakneck gallop centered around jittering and jangling guitars, propulsive drumming and reverb-drenched call and response vocals creating a muscular swoon that seems to evoke the fluttering pangs of love. “Domino,” Junior’s second and latest single is a breezy and infectious track that’s one part New Zealand-styled jangle pop and one part explosive, motorik groove-driven jam, with a tight hook. And while revealing a band with a remarkable ability to craft an infectious tune, the band manages to balance deliberation and order with a wild, unadulterated frenzy.

“People are often glorifying what being an artist or a musician can mean. Art doesn’t necessarily make you a better person,” the band’s Jonathan Robert says in press notes. “There can be angst, stress and so on. It can have a negative, direct impact on the people closest to you. ‘Domino’ is about navigating just that. It is the first song out of Junior that we’ve composed and we’ve played it live quite a few times already.”

Led by its Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based creative mastermind, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist  Jordon Zadorozny, Blinker the Star initially began as solo recording project that eventually expanded into a trio that released two albums through A&M Records — 1995’s self-titled debut and 1996’s A Bourgeois Kitten. Throughout that period, the band toured steadily, building up a profile nationally and elsewhere.

In 1997, Zadorozny relocated from Montreal to Los Angeles, where he worked with Courtney Love, helping craft songs for Hole’s acclaimed Celebrity Skin. He also began soaking up new influences and became progressively fascinated with production. Signing with Dreamworks in 1999, the band, which featured Zadorozny, Failure’s Kelli Scott (drums), longtime bassist Pete Frolander and a collective of Southern California-based session musicians recorded and released their critically applauded August Everywhere. The band toured across North America with Our Lady Peace, Sloan, Failure and The Flaming Lips. 

Returning to Pembroke in 2002, Zadorozny built his first commercial recording studio and began working with Sam Roberts, producing and contributing drums on Roberts’ breakthrough debut EP The Inhuman Condition. The Pembroke, Ontario-born and-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer also worked on albums by Melisa Auf der Maur, Chris Cornell, Lindsey Buckingham and others.

During the winter of 2013, Zadorozny wrote and recorded Still In Rome as a duo with Kelli Scott. Following a brief tour, he quickly settled into the production side, working on a number of collaborative projects including Digital Noise Academy, SheLoom, Abbey and The Angry Moon. He was also kept busy with production work with an eclectic array of artists.

We Draw Lines was the first Blinker The Star album that Zadorozny wrote and recorded as a solo project in quite some time. He followed We Draw Lines with Songs from Laniakea Beach, a one-off single “Future Fires” the 11235 EP and 2017’s 8 of Hearts. Continuing a run of recent prolificacy, Zodorozny’s latest Blinker The Star album Careful With Your Magic is slated for a September 20, 2019 release.

Careful With Your Magic‘s latest single is the  synth-driven and anthemic “Sweet Nothing.” Centered around a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, blasts of shimmering guitars, a soaring hook and Zadorozny’s plaintive crooning, the song seems indebted to 80s synth pop — in particular Thompson Twins and Tears for Fears immediately come to mind. And while there’s a similar attention to craft, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place, as the song’s narrator recognizes that they’re at a crossroads: do they grow up and take a chance on a relationship that could transform their life — or do they retreat back to single life? At some point, we all face this and the uncertainties of that decision.

“My new single ‘Sweet Nothing’ was written by myself and my good friend Bob Wilcox,” Jordon Zodorozny says in press notes. “The song started as an instrumental track that I completed where I was sort of aiming for a Thompson Twins vibe. Bob heard the music and immediately had melodic and lyrical ideas. Although Bob wrote all of the words, I feel he was tuning into some things that were happening in my life that made it quite easy for me to get behind when the time came to sing it.”

 

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the Dance Floor Friendly Noir of Montreal’s TEROUZ

Karim Terouz is a Cairo-born illustrator and singer/songwriter, who in 2008 relocated to Montreal, where he founded, fronted and managed the award-winning, brass folk/rock quintet The Rising Few,  an act that released two albums — 2014’s Sinners On St-Laurent and 2017’s Adult Entertainment.

Last year Terouz decided to re-invent himself and his music starting his latest project TEROUZ, a project which incorporates dancehall beats and synths and finds him employing a Bowie-esque vocal to create a refreshingly unique variation of hypnotic and moody noir that he describes in an email as “like Cohen on a treadmill.”His latest single is the swaggering,  “Outstanding.” Centered round a muscular and insistent groove centered by a sinuous bass line by guitarist/bassist Andre Galamba, thumping beats, sultry horn lines and shimmering and shimmering synths, the track sonically reminds me of I Will Set You Free-era Barry Adamson, Station to Station-era Bowie, Roxy Music and Black Strobe — in particular, “Boogie in Zero Gravity.” (In other words, it’s a moody and sultry dance floor banger.)

Directed by Alexandre Desrochers-Coderre, the recently released video for “Outstanding” is shot in a gorgeously, cinematic black and white and set in a boxing gym. And while we see a few local boxers train and spar in a lonely gym — in a kinetic and rapid fire fashion, no less. We also see a dapper looking Terouz in a black suit singing the song and caught in the song’s groove. 

New Video: Montreal’s Planet Giza Release a Lysergic Visual for “Ace Boogie Energy”

Up-and-coming Montreal-based hip-hop and production trio Planet Giza — comprised of Rami B, Tony Stone and Dumix — have released a series of efforts over the last couple of years, including last year’s ZZZ EP. Sonically, the trio effortlessly meshes elements of hip-hip, soul and funk into a unique sound that clearly nods to the past, but with a look towards the future, all while reflecting their multi-cultural backgrounds. Naturally, the trio cite the diversity of their hometown, as well as their widely-varying musical influences that inlaced Lil Boosie, Madlib, Roy Ayers, Michael Jackson and others. And as a result some critics have said that their sound easily sits with contemporaries such as The Internet, Kaytranada (who they collaborated with on “Domina”) and Godlink. 

The Montreal hip hop and production trio’s latest effort, the recently released Added Sugar is reportedly the trio’s most versatile release to date, as the material finds the members of Planet Giza crafting an effortlessly meshing elements of R&B, electro pop, hip-hop and others into a sleek and lushly texture sound paired with dexterous and perfectly delivered bars. Additionally, the Canadian hip-hop and production trio collaborate with Mick Jenkins and Kaytranada, who co-produced a track on the effort. (The trio also produced Goldlink’s “Ridd,” which the artist performed earlier this week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.) 

Added Sugar’s latest single “Ace Boogie Energy” is centered around a lush, sleek and incredibly hyper modern production featuring shimmering and atmospheric synths, stuttering hi-hat, tweeter and woofer rocking low end paired with emcees ruthlessly rhyming about  hustling and taking over the industry. The Touchemoipas-directed visual is partially inspired by “Paid In Full” but with a subtly  lysergic air.