Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Best New Album: For Evelyn - Hannah Georgas

Anyone who knows me well knows how fondly I reminisce about the mid-to-late '90s Can-rock revolution. As in, talk about it - and the female rock and pop stars (think Women & Songs, Lillith Fair) it helped mold - way too much. 

Post-90s, we saw hugely successful Canadian female frontwomen like Amy Millan, Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Tegan and Sara make international waves thanks to their brave, unique flavour and favourable standing with Alexandra Patsavas, famed music supervisor behind The OC and Grey's Anatomy.

And, the '10s have seen no shortage of noteworthy Canadian women in rock or pop. But last week, after hearing Hannah Georgas's third album, For Evelyn, I had a distinct feeling that we might be entering into another era of Canadian indie-pop/rock heroine, fit to make as much noise abroad as she does on home soil. Georgas is no newcomer to the music scene, but something about this particular album feels pretty magical.

Named after Georgas's grandmother, For Evelyn is an enchanting collection of thoughts on change - shaped into everything from lush, brass-backed reflections ("Rideback", which is easily one of my favourite songs of the year) to playful indie-pop ("Crazy Shit" and "Naked Beaches") and piano ballads ("Lost Cause" and "City"). Her vocals are subtle but pristine, and the sonic sprawl doesn't make For Evelyn feel scattered as much as it does expansive and self-assured. As a twenty-something woman, I can say that I haven't come across an album this honest and evocative in some time; something that captures the uncertainties that still come with "growing up," even when you're technically already grown up.

For Evelyn is out now, via Dine Alone Records.

Friday, June 24, 2016

TGIF - Listen to "Wrist" - Logic (feat. Pusha T)

Happy Friday! I live for a Pusha T feature, and thankfully this year has seen no shortage of them. Before embarking on The Endless Summer Tour with G-Eazy, Yo Gotti and YG, Maryland rapper Logic took a little time to go in on this sinister, beat-heavy cut via his typically rapid fire rhymes. Co-produced by Logic and 6ix, "Wrist" obviously wouldn't be half as fire if King Push didn't hop on to deliver a few of his own raspy bars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

5 New Songs (I Think) You Need To Hear Now

I'm back! These past few weeks have been nuts, and finding a free chunk of time to pen a post has been almost next to impossible. But I've still been listening very closely - so here are five brand new tracks I can't wait to pass along. Interestingly enough, you'll find very little hip-hop here today. Enjoy!

1. There Will Be Time (feat. Baaba Maal, Beatenberg and The Very Best) - Mumford & SonsOn Friday, Mumford & Sons released Johannesburg, an EP that digresses from their coined bluegrass arena anthems into lush, Afropop territory with the help of Enegalese singer Baaba Maal, South African trio Beatenberg and the electro-pop collective The Very Best. Thankfully, nothing about their latest musical venture feels constructed or lame; the big, rhythmic ballads glimmer from start to finish without the looming discomfort caused by Paul Simon's Graceland. Recorded over two days during the band's extensive South African tour, Johannesburg is an undeniably beautiful fusion of cultural influences.

2. Hello - Jaunt: Toronto-via-Hamilton quintet Jaunt popped on to my radar the other day with the premiere of this lighthearted neo-soul ditty, which clocks in at only two minutes. Sounding a little Mayer Hawthorne-meets-Mac DeMarco, "Hello" is one of six songs set to appear on their new EP Chat, due later this summer.

3. Time of the Blue - The Tallest Man on Earth: There's a huge amount of folk out there, and I certainly don't follow the genre as closely as I used to. That being said, I'll never not listen to a new track or album from The Tallest Man on Earth, seeing as the Swedish artist never ceases to reinvent and amaze me. I especially won't pass up folk when when it sounds like "Time of the Blue," a gorgeous piece that strips down the instrumental layers heard on last year's Dark Bird is Home to just a flurry of acoustic picking and Kristian Matsson's distinct vocals.

4. Solemn Oath - Band of Horses: I've heard a few complaints about the new Band of Horses album, when frankly, I can't find many things I don't like about it. This could be attributed to my fan girl status, or the fact that it really is just what you'd hope to hear from the BOH boys: melodic, back-road indie-rock that pulls from both their debut's orchestral moments and the janglier cuts heard on Infinite Arms. Also, I can vouch for this song sounding real nice on a hot summer walk.

5. Saint Pablo - Kanye West: Just when we thought one of the year's best, biggest and most controversial hip-hop albums couldn't possibly be modified any further, leave it to 'Ye to add one last track into the mix. And a beautiful, highly sought-after one, at that. When The Life of Pablo was released in February, R&B and hip-hop heads were disappointed to find that the Sampha-featuring "Saint Pablo," which had previously been debuted and uploaded to Apple Music before being ripped down, didn't make the final cut. But here we are, four months past TLOP's drop and probably not far out from G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Winter project, and the melodic, piano-backed confessional has thankfully been added as the official album closer.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Listen to River Tiber: "I'm A Stone"

Prior to the release of his June 24 debut album Indigo, rising Toronto artist and producer River Tiber continues his steady stream of new material with a brand new slow burner titled "I'm A Stone." On this sultry cut, his vocals are understated but impeccable, while a hypnotizing keyboard loop snakes around flecks of guitar and an eventual deep beat.

River Tiber, AKA Tommy Paxton-Beesley, proved long ago that he can make magic at just about any pace - but this moody, downtempo space might be where he shines brightest.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Best New Track: "Far From Home" - A.CHAL

I first covered rising R&B star A.CHAL back in October when Zane Lowe, OVOSound and A$AP Rocky were all doing their part to pump his newfound presence on the scene. Last week, the Peruvian-born, LA-based artist dropped his best song to date, and I honestly wouldn't be surprised if I've spun it over a hundred times. 

On the melodic "Far From Home,A.CHAL delivers a lonesome message via his nonchalant, Miguel-like rasp - striking that special slow jam balance between melancholic and pretty. If you're far from home, looking to clean up your act or just craving some soulful late night vibes - do not sleep on this track.

You can pick up A. CHAL's debut LP Welcome to GAZI now.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Listen to Pusha T and Jay-Z's First Collab: "Drug Dealers Anonymous"

Pusha T, President of G.O.O.D Music and rap game vet, and Jay-Z, Roc Nation founder, Tidal owner and Beyonce's husband, are one track. I repeat: Push and Hov have joined together for their first collaboration.

The sinister coke bars heard on "Drug Dealers Anonymous" are some of Push's most extraordinary yet - especially when paired with that dark, menacing beat. But the real highlight is Jay, who pipes up following a snippet of conservative anchor Tomi Lahren's ridiculous BeyoncĂ© rant ("Your husband was a drug dealer. For 14 years, he sold crack cocaine") with perfectly blasĂ© quips like "Life made me ambidextrous / Countin' with my right, whipping white with my left wrist / Damn Daniel / FBI keep bringing them all white vans through."

Let the lesson be learned: just don't come at these guys.