Our latest gathering of Canadian grooviness is, shockingly, an all-male affair. Fear not, though, because two Canadian female geniuses are going to be the focus of imminent full-length album reviews… watch this space. But for now, here is a roundup of the latest Canadian boys making (in our opinion) the bossest noise.
Mike Edel released the brilliant LP India, Seattle in 2014. The accomplished singer-songwriter from Linden, Alberta has most recently been in a long collaboration with Chris Walla (ex-Death Cab For Cutie) and ‘31’ is the second single to be released from those sessions. It’s a rallying cry for all those who aren’t (and possibly won’t ever be) ready to settle down, play house and buy sensible trousers. The song is hot on the heels of the equally excellent ‘Go With You’ (which just missed the last Maple Leaf roundup) and showcases Mr Edel’s tender vocal style and ear for the catchiest of melodies.
Also from Alberta (but this time from Edmonton) come duo Baby Jey with their Someday Cowboy LP, which was released on September 14th. The album is a curious but pleasing fusion of gentle disco, blue-eyed soul and country. While the dreamy sunshine-pop songs of Jeremy Witten and Dean Kheroufi hold their own perfectly well, a big part of this record’s magic has to be credited to producer Mitch Holtby whose hip-hop background has brought some unexpected but completely inspired flavours to the table. Can beats and vintage synths really sit in synergy with liberal slatherings of lap-steel and mandolin? Well, yes they can.
Prolific singer-songwriter Nick Ferrio from Peterborough, Ontario recently released the jaunty, Tom Pettyesque ‘How Will I Know’, which is taken from his current album ‘Have A Nice Day’. It struck a metaphorical chord with us here at Red Guitar Music because the song concerns itself with the apparent pointlessness of creating music in the digital stream-for-free age. Ferrio - who spends much of his time on tour - is philosophical: he knows he’s is it in for the pure joy, which the song’s accompanying on-the-road video illustrates perfectly.
Over in Toronto, Teen Ravine are a duo specialising in super-smooth vintage keyboard-slathered pop whose latest singles ‘Bad Dream’ and ‘Friend Of A Friend’ caught our attention despite being slightly wide of the RGM brief. The vocals on both tracks sprawl languidly somewhere between David Mead and Paul Simon and sit on top of an array of particularly comforting 70’s west coast sounds. The album proper (which streams on the band’s website) is likewise packed with guilty pleasures: guitar solos swimming in so much reverb you’ll hear them next Wednesday, hand-claps, lung-bustingly passionate sax solos and Hall & Oatesiness wherever you look. The only thing missing, really, is Michael McDonald on backing vocals. Lovely.
Dom Fricot is no stranger to RGM as we reviewed his ‘Deserts’ release earlier this year (review). Dom is back at RGM with something a little different an acoustic cover of the Jim Steinman penned, Meat Loaf classic ‘I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’. ‘IWDAFL’ is reinvented in a really cool way that allows the song to breathe, minus all the bluster that we expect and appreciate from Mr Loaf. Check it out:
And, arriving just in time for this roundup, are the big indie guitars of ‘Ticket’, the latest single from Burlington’s Big Lonely, who are set to release their new album Bad Magic on October 12th. The band describe themselves as “a picnic basket of smouldering emotion, waiting to erupt” and if the superb video for ‘Ticket’ doesn’t charm you right into submission then we’re not sure what will.
The Maple Leaf Roundup is bought to you by Rich Barnard.