Country

New Music Spotlight: Birds of Bellwoods, Jack White, Our Lady Peace, Vance Joy and Wes Mack

In our second January New Music Spotlight, we’re highlighting three Canadian acts, one Australian act and one American act. Genre-wise we’re recommending some alt-folk, some rock, some folk-pop and a little country music.

In this spotlight, we’ve got five videos with some very different concepts. Sit back, have a watch, and a listen and let us know what you think.

Let’s do this!

Artist: Birds of Bellwoods
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Alt-Folk
Related: Duncan FellowsYoung in the CityThe Corcoran Brothers
Song: Feel It Still – Cover – Portugal. The Man
Notes: One of my favourite Toronto bands. I’ve been talking about their talent for a few years now. Birds of Bellwoods cover Portugal. The Man’s hit, which currenlty sits with over 94,000,000 views on YouTube. It’s a great song and an amazing cover.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Jack White
Hometown: Detroit / Nashville
Genre: Rock
Related Artists: The RaconteursThe White StripesThe Black Keys
Song: Connected by Love
Notes: The video, which was released on Wednesday, already has over 500,000 plays. The imagery is visually compelling and the music is dirty, synthy and bluesy all at the same time. Jack White gives us a great emotional performance and delivers lyrics we can all relate to with grace.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Our Lady Peace
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Rock
Related Artists: Big WreckCollective SoulMatthew Good
Song: Falling Into Place
Notes: Our Lady Peace gives us a great story video. It’s classic sounding OLP with a positive message. I challenge you to watch it and not smile.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Vance Joy
Hometown: Melbourne
Genre: Folk-Pop
Related Artists: Tom Odell, James Bay, The Lumineers
Song: We’re Going Home
Notes: We’ve been fans of Vance Joy since we the first time we heard him. We’re Going Home is from his upcoming album Nation of Two which is out on February 23rd. The instantly recognizable voice is layered with beautiful backgrounds and real people. The chorus is catchy and I’m expecting to hear a lot of this track on the radio.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Wes Mack
Hometown: Calgary
Genre: Country
Related Artists: Jojo MasonAndrew HyattPetric
Song: House on Fire
Notes: First let us say that we’re very happy that there’s new music from Wes Mack. It’s a fun video, with a boys vs. girls story. House on Fire is fresh and summery and it’s something we can use a big helping of. I’ve already got the chorus stuck in my head and if country music is your thing, I think you’ll really like this one too.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

1 month ago

Trish’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2017!

One of my favourite things to do, as we get to the end of a year is look back. It’s a great time to reflect, a great time to look forward and a great time for Top 10 lists.

Note: I suggest that you listen, while you read.

Recently, someone said to me, “I don’t know how you find time to listen to music.“. My response was, “I don’t know how you live without music in your life every day.”. For me, music is a constant. It lifts me when I’m down, it drowns out the noise of the world when it’s too much and it gives me hope.

2017 has been an interesting year for me music-wise, and I think my Most Listened to Albums list reflects this.

Following Joshua’s lead, my list isn’t in any order and I’ve added an honourable mention section at the bottom.

Let’s do this!

 Imagine Dragons: ƎVOLVE (2017)

Most played track: Thunder

I’ve been a huge fan of Imagine Dragons since the release of their debut album Night Visions. Having been lucky enough to have caught the band live for both the Smoke + Mirrors tour and the ƎVOLVE, it was an easy call to put this album on my list.

When they started teasing this album in 2016 I was excited and when they released Believer on February 1st, I listened and I was over the moon. It gives us the awesome signature drums we associate with the band, plus there are so many words in this song, and Dan sings them like it’s nothing (trust us, is a huge deal), and their use of “the drop” in this song is perfection.

The track Yesterday is one of my favourites and a big part of that is because of the experience of hearing this song live, with tens of thousands of people singing along. I still get goosebumps and tear up every time I hear this track.

And yet, when I head to Spotify, Thunder is always my first choice. There’s just something about it that I love.

ƎVOLVE debuted at number two on the US Billboard Top 200, ending up at number one in both Canada and on the US Rock chart. It’s gone platinum in the US and Austria and gold in France, Italy, Poland and Sweden. Singles Thunder and Believer both charted in the top 5 and Whatever it Takes has over 112 million views on YouTube.

Imagine Dragons also captured a spot on my Highlights and Top Memories of 2017 post.

Imagine Dragons - Evolve Cover Art

 Oddisee: The Iceberg (2017)

Most played track: Built by Pictures

The Iceberg opens with minimalist horns and finger snapping and just like that, you’re in.

Oddisee, with Good Compny behind him, has put together the perfect combination of a super talented live band paired with important political hip-hop.

I’m the first to admit that I’m late to the Oddisee party and I’m doing my best to catch up. The Iceberg has some of my favourite lyrics of the year including this one from Hold it Back.

I make more than my sister
Cause I was born as a mister
And I ain’t never been to college, and she graduated honors
Yet the bosses think that I’m a better fit, huh
– Oddisee

The album is funky, abundant with thoughtful lyrics and stories that give us a snapshot of life, and although I couldn’t find it on any Billboard charts, it struck a chord with me. Give this one a listen, there are 12 tracks and I can bet at least one of them will stick with you.

Oddisee - The Iceberg cover art

Johnson Crook: The Album (2017)

Most played track: Hardwired

This Toronto-based band is familiar to you if you’re a regular reader. We’ve been tracking the guys since we first came across them as Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist entrants. Since that time we’ve gotten to know Noel Johnson, Trevor Crook, Nathan Crook and Jared Craig pretty well. We’ve watched them hone their craft and come into their own.

The Album is the first full-length offering from Johnson Crook and it’s a rich collection of stories, harmonies, textures and melodies. It gives you a little bit of everything and wraps it up in a tidy package. You’ll find fun upbeat party tunes, anthemic songs and tender, soft and sometimes sad love songs.

Putting this album on the list was an easy choice, I have a copy in my car and I listen regularly on Spotify. Choosing a most-played track, now that was the tricky part. It’s rare that I put this album on and don’t listen straight through and my favourite song changes based on my mood. In the end, I went with Hardwired mostly because I feel it and I think you will too.

I’m going to say it again, you should be listening to Johnson Crook. The band got a nice little bump in their streaming numbers when Spotify included their dark and sorrowful song Shadows on the Folk 2017 Playlist. They’re in some pretty special company on that list.

Johnson Crook The Album cover

Midland: On The Rocks (2017)

Most played track: This Old Heart

There’s something campy about Midland. And by campy I mean great. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they’ve found a way to mix classic country with today’s more modern sound and it’s working.

With a September release date, you’d think it would be tough to get on a year-end list, but I’ve had a chance to hear Midland live twice this year, first at Toronto’s The Dakota and then again at Boots and Hearts. These guys are super talented and I’m glad that they’ve taken time from their busy schedules to work on music together. It’s amazing.

In case you didn’t know, Midland is lead singer Mark Wystrach who was an actor and underwear model, bass player Cameron Duddy who’s an MTV Video Music award-winning video director (Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars) and lead guitarist, Jess Carson. They come together with luscious harmonies and great guitar work and we get the feeling of a honky-tonk loud and clear.

On The Rocks has a beefy 13 tracks and after This Old Heart, I’d include Electric Rodeo, Drinkin’ Problem, Check Cashin’ Country and Burn Out to my list of favourites.

This Old Heart is a great story song and one that I embraced wholeheartedly.

Andrew Hyatt: Iron & Ashes (2017)

Most played track: Most of Me

I first saw Andrew Hyatt in 2015 at Burlington’s Sound of Music and I saw the spark of what was to come.

Since then Hyatt has gone on to release his first full-length album and he’s started a professional relationship with Dallas Smith, with Smith is now acting as Andrew’s manager. This change saw him heading out on tour with the Canadian Country star and releasing a brand new single, Do It With You, which is brand new music. This has us looking forward to even more new music.

Iron & Ashes is a record about changes and life. It includes three tracks from his EP Never Back Down including Goodbye Gone, Running on Empty and my most played track, Most of Me. There are twelve tracks and they run the spectrum including some heartbreaking stuff (She Ain’t You), some fun, upbeat party songs (MGR, That’s How I’m Livin’) and songs that are fresh and hopeful (On Me, Laid Back And Easy). 

If you’re a fan of country, rock or even pop, give this one a listen.

 Joey Bada$$: ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ (2017)

Most played track: ROCKABYE BABY (feat. ScHoolboy Q)

The latest offering from New York’s Joey Bada$$ dropped on April 7th, 2017. So far we’ve seen three singles – Devastated, Land of the Free and Temptation. If we’re looking at numbers, and we are, AABA peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 chart

There’s a distinct split on this album, the first half, that he refers to as “The Heroes Side,” is laid-back. It’s melodic and while the music is less dark, the subject matter is anything but. The second half, which Joey refers to as “The Vindictive Villainous Side,” is a collection of tenacious songs.

The album is rife with controversial topics including oppression and the consequences of that oppression, police brutality, and to my delight, Donald Trump. There are lots of other artists featured on AABA including J. Cole, Chronixx, ScHoolboy Q and more.

My favourite track on the album is Rockabye Baby featuring ScHoolboy Q, there’s something about the piano part that gets stuck in my head. The lyrics and yeah, there’s a “Fuck Donald Trump”. This song makes my body move, the chorus is impossible to ignore. I love his delivery and with this album, he’s created a fan in me.

Joey Badass - ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADASS Cover Art

USS: New World Alphabet (2017)

Most played track: Work Shoes

New World Alphabet is the fifth studio album for USS. It’s full of catchy choruses paired with thoughtful and provoking verses. It’s classic USS and the first single, Work Shoes, is my most listened to track. Jason and Ash have been making music together now for 10 years and there’s a maturity about this album.

The guys did a very cool kick off to their tour with six shows in the six. They started at the Cameron House followed by The Mod Club, The Opera House, Rivoli, Adelaide Hall and finished up the six at The Danforth Music Hall. It was a fun, exciting time and fans of USS were thrilled.

USS - New World Alphabet Album Art

Lindsay Ell: The Project (2017)

Most played track: Waiting On You

I love this album and I especially love Waiting On You. I find it impossible to not sing along when this song comes on. It’s rock and roll, it’s bluesy, but it’s still country.

The record, produced by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush is produced beautifully and it’s full of positive messages and love.

The Project is twelve songs and it includes previously released promo singles like Good, Criminal, Space, and Worth the Wait as well some brand new songs. It’s a put it on and leave it album. It’s a great listen anytime.

Lindsay Ell - The Project Cover Art

James Barker Band: Game On (2017)

Most played track: Chills

This EP and especially this song were impossible to ignore. It was everywhere and I played it a ton on Spotify. In fact, Chills was my most played song of 2017.

This is great songwriting paired with great delivery. James Barker wrote the song with Travis Wood, Gavin Slate and Donovan Woods who are kicking out country hits like nobody’s business. Chills was the third single released from Game On and the band’s first number one.

The band toured with Dean Brody during 2017 and they’re set to headline their own tour starting January 11th in Halifax with Meghan Patrick and Jojo Mason. We’ll be chatting with them soon and we’re expecting there will be new music coming!

James Barker Band - Game On cover art

Ferraro: Losing Sleep (2017)

Most played track: Losing Sleep

Losing Sleep is the first full-length album from the Cameron House’s Ferraro brothers. It’s got an old time rock and roll feel and while prepping for my interview with the band prior to this year’s NXNE, it got stuck in my head. And it stayed there. I’m a fan of 50’s music and there’s a hint of that here but the music doesn’t feel dated. It’s fresh, fun and full of amazing harmonies.

This record falls into the put it on and leave it category for me. Ten great tracks and while the title track Losing Sleep gets my most played track nod, Shake It Off and Coffee & Smokes are close behind.

Ferraro - Losing Sleep Cover Art

Honourable mentions

Barney Bentall: The Drifter and the Preacher, Cage the Elephant: Unpeeled, Crown Lands: Rise Over Run, Dallas Smith: Side Effects, JJ Shiplett: Something to Believe In, Jess Moskaluke: Past The Past, Lady Antebellum: Heart Break, Matthew Good: Something Like a Storm, and last but definitely not least a single, that I couldn’t leave off my year-end list – Goodnight, Sunrise: Remember Now.

Header photo by Edu Grande on Unsplash

18 Ends: Petric EP Review

Petric’s brand new EP, 18 Ends, will be released on November 17th. We’ve had the pleasure of listening to it this week, what can we tell you? Simply that we love it and we think you will too.

We’ve been fans of the SteelHead Music band from day one and we’re going to break it down and let you know what to expect from this EP and we’re also going to include all the links including the pre-order link at the bottom.

Transcona, Manitoba brothers, Tom and Jason Petric have been in and out of the studio for most the past year and their six-track EP gets a top grade in our books.

There are a couple of familiar tracks including Play It Safe which was released as a single on April 17th, 2017 and the title track, 18 Ends, which was released on September 13th, 2017. Both tracks are terrific indicators of what to expect from the rest of the EP. We’ll tell you, that you can expect great stories, catchy choruses, beautiful harmonies, and amazing musicianship.

Let’s get to it and talk about the four brand-spanking new tracks!

Sometimes we see things differently and everything isn’t always obvious. On track two, Love And Rust gives us some great examples of this like, “Maybe you see a dashboard full of dust, I see love and rust”. This song has a great beat and helps me to think things from someone else’s point of view. I have to say, I hope we get a video for this track, I’m picturing a very old truck and a pretty girl riding shotgun.

Slowing things down with track three, It Should Be Me, the guys show us their tender side. This story is one we all know, falling for someone who isn’t yours, someone you can’t have, trying to get them out of your head and failing miserably. It’s completely relatable and we really like this one.

Track five, Never Met You, tells the story of randomness, serendipity, destiny or fate and it tells it in a sweet way that makes us think about meeting that special person and all the things that go into making that happen. It left me feeling hopeful and positive.

The last track on the EP is Can’t Say No, and it does a great job convincing me that the guys have found some pretty special love in their lives and that we’re all benefiting from awesome songs like this one.

Note: Congratulations to Petric on their recent MCMA Award win for Group or Duo of the Year and to go along with that, they’ve also passed the 3 million impressions mark on Spotify!

If you’ve ever had the chance to meet Jason and Tom you’ll know that they’re the nicest, kindest, most polite country boys you could hope for. They’re super active on social media and they truly appreciate their fans. Got something to ask or something nice to say, send them a message!

Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / YouTube

Petric, 18 Ends Tracklist

1. 18 Ends
2. Love and Rust
3. It Should Be Me
4. Play It Safe
5. Never Met You
6. Can’t Say No

You can pre-order on iTunes today using this link!

New Music Spotlight: Few Miles South, Emily Kohne, NO LIARS, Band of Rascals and Keith Urban

We’re all over the map with our latest New Music Spotlight, figuratively and genre-wise. This time we’ve got country, folk, punk, and rock from artists from the southern states, Northern Ontario, Western Canada and Nashville by way of Australia.

Take a listen and if you’re feeling the music, click through the links and show our New Music Spotlight artists some love.

Let’s do this!

The Music

Artist: Few Miles South
Hometown: Southern Georgia / Los Angeles, USA
Genre: Country
Related: (influenced by) Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, The Allman Brothers, and Sturgill Simpson.
Single: On Down The Road
Notes: Upbeat, old-school country feel, lots of steel guitar
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Emily Kohne
Hometown: Thunder Bay
Genre: Folk / Jazz influenced Indie Pop
Related Artists: Fiest, Phoebe Bridges
Single: Open Road
Notes: Gorgeous piano and guitar mixed with a deep rich voice creating the perfect combination. Emily is a multi-instrumentalist whose voice gets in your head and sticks there.
Links: Web / Facebook / YouTube / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Emily Kohne cover art + spotify link

Artist: NO LIARS
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Genre: Punk
Related Artists: Midwest, Farewell Letter, Our Darkest Day
Single: Animal
Notes: I may or may not have listened to this song on repeat for an hour. I totally did.
From their bio – “Fusing elements of post punk, emo, and melodic hardcore, the songs erupt with raw emotion, featuring dynamic vocals, blistering tempos, and unrelenting grooves. They draw influence from other edgy, melodically driven bands such as Alexisonfire, Refused, At The Drive In, and A Wilhelm Scream.”
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Band of Rascals
Hometown: Vancouver Island
Genre: Rock
Related: The Graveltones, Reignwolf, Charlie Patton’s War
Single: Holler
Notes: Sam Trainor’s vocals are spot on, the music is driving, the video is fun to watch. What more could you ask for?
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Keith Urban
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Genre: Country
Related: Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw
Single: Female
Notes: Debuted at the 2017 CMA Awards, this song is a message to all of us. In his classic style, Keith Urban delivers the message we all need to hear.
Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

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