With the spring thaw comes an array of new: flowers bloom, birds fly back north, patios open up and, like every week, another wave of new releases bloom. To help you pick the right ones, we've rounded up reviews of some of the week's big releases below. Take a look, then head over to our Recently Reviewed section for new reviews.
First off, we have Monsoon Season, the new album from Toronto rockers Biblical. The release is the band's first album with New Damage Records and the follow-up to their 2011 self-titled EP, but has it been worth the nearly three year wait? Read the full review to find out.
Next, Metronomy release Love Letters, the fourth album in their catalog, today. The record finds the band taking some unexpected turns their fans may not have seen coming, but our reviewer found that the album "shows that Metronomy are determined to remain distinctive and progressive with their music."
Hamilton's Harlan Pepper have dropped Take Out a $20 and Live Life to the Fullest, and it shows the band taking a slightly new path. The band have taken the elements of their roots-rock sound and stressed the rock'n'roll this time around, but the strength of their songwriting still shines through.
In the realm of soul and R&B, Soul Movement Vol. 2, the new record from Slakah the Beatchild is out, and according to our reviewer, finds Slakah delivering "stronger vocals, stronger lyricism and a stronger sense of what he wants to accomplish" compared to his earlier albums, offering those willing to explore the record plenty of reasons to keep listening. Meanwhile, on the rock side of things, Dean Wareham's self-titled solo record is a "joyous, well-executed mish-mash rooted in crisp sounds," according to our reviewer, with tracks ranging from lounge-y to moody to downright stomping.
Finally, London electronic musician Max Cooper, known mostly for his remixes and EPs, has released his debut LP Human. The record is led by his brilliant single "Adrift," but does the rest of the album hold up to the standard set by the notable track? Only the review holds the answers.
Hear some of our favourite songs from these albums and many more in our Rdio Genre Playlists:
Neil Young recently announced that he would be launching his much-discussed digital music service Pono with a Kickstarter campaign. Now, that campaign has officially launched and the PonoPlayers are available to buy. The Kickstarter page explains that PonoMusic is an online store and portable player, and it offers high-resolution music that "aims to preserve the feeling, spirit, and emotion that the artists put in their original studio recordings." It notes that Pono mixes the convenience of digital music with the quality of studio sound. The video accompanying the Kickstarter...Read More
Last year, we all scratched our heads over a slightly strange legal dispute in which Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am and Pharrell Williams sued one another over use of the slogan "I AM." Now, the two parties have put this battle to rest and reached an out-of-court settlement. The details of the agreement aren't known, but the two musicians have decided that their copyright dispute won't be going in front of a judge. According to the Hollywood Reporter, they are in the midst of drafting a settlement. The dispute began when Will.i.am took exception to Pharrell calling his...Read More
It's been 10 years since Peter Elkas stepped away from his regular duties with indie rockers Local Rabbits to issue his suitably titled solo debut, Party of One, and he's celebrating the anniversary of the set with a limited-edition vinyl repress and a handful of tour dates. Originally issued on CD through MapleMusic in 2004, the LP is being pressed up by Elkas himself in a run of 200 copies, marking the first time the 10-song set has appeared on wax. According to a press release, the record was made shortly after Local Rabbits went on "indefinite hiatus," with Elkas prepping a...Read More
These days, most artists wait until Record Store Day (April 19) to unveil their special vinyl releases, but Siouxsie and the Banshees will be going against convention. They are reissuing their debut single, 1978's "Hong Kong Garden," on April 7 through Universal Music. The single will be released as a four-song double-7-inch. The first record features the original version of "Hong Kong Garden" on the A-side and the original B-side, "Voices," on the flip. The second record, meanwhile, contains the alternate version of "Hong Kong Garden" from Sofia Coppola's film Marie...Read More
If you weren't exactly thrilled by any of the preview singles to Lily Allen's upcoming comeback album Sheezus, you're apparently not alone, as a recent Twitter conversation with the pop star has her seemingly copping to the material being "rubbish." Yesterday (March 10), Twitter user Reg Wilding chimed in with his thoughts on Allen's new tunes, noting that he felt they were "docile pop rubbish," adding, "So disappointing. She properly just wrote some rubbish to cash some cheques." It's unclear just which songs he meant, but so far Allen has unveiled album tracks "L8 CMMR,"...Read More
A few years back, Sub Pop ventured into hip-hop by signing Shabazz Palaces, and now the imprint is preparing to release an album from Los Angeles rap outfit clipping., whose label debut is called CLPPNG. It will be out on June 10. A press release notes that the band is made up of rapper Daveed Diggs and producers Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson. Their style is noisy and abrasive, although they consider their music simply "rap," rather than a hybrid sub-genre. According to a press release, "Despite the heavy use of noise throughout many of their songs, here the group's...Read More
While the Menzingers are getting ready to dominate stereo speakers around the globe this spring with the release of Rented World, the Pennsylvanian punk outfit will be focusing their attention on the North American club scene for their first batch of dates in support of the album. A press release reveals that the trip starts up roughly a month after Epitaph puts the set in stores April 22, with a tour opener taking place in Providence, RI. Over a month's worth of dates takes place beneath the U.S. border between May and July, but there is a Canadian stop thrown in the mix as well....Read More
The folks behind Montreal's Osheaga festival got fans to guess this year's lineup via an inventive mural, and now they've confirmed the names of the artists who will be playing the 2014 instalment of the event. The show takes place from August 1 to 3 at Parc Jean-Drapeau. The bill is hugely stacked, and performers include Outkast, Jack White, Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex, Lorde, the Replacements, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Foster the People, Modest Mouse, Four Tet, J. Cole, Lykke Li, Childish Gambino, Chromeo, Chvrches, Against Me!, Half Moon Run, Band of Horses, Pusha T, HAIM, SBTRKT, Sam...Read More
Masked electronic music mysterioso SBTRKT recently announced plans to issue a series of 12-inches ahead of his next LP, and he's now revealed that trio of mini-releases will be delivered under the Transitions banner. A press release confirms that three separate 12-inches are set to land this May via Young Turks, though an exact street date has yet to be determined. Six songs will be spread out across the six sides of the vinyl series, including last month's instrumental sneak preview "Hold the Line." You can also purchase the tracks digitally now as either two-song releases, or in...Read More
Long-running New Orleans metal crew Eyehategod faced a tough 2013, following drummer Joey LaCaze's death, but the band are back in the saddle, having just announced an upcoming self-titled album arrives this spring. The sludge lovers will deliver an eponymous LP in North America on May 27 through Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records, a day earlier in Europe, Australia and New Zealand via Century Media, and on May 21 in Japan through Daymare. As previously reported, the band hit the studio last year to track their first album since 2000's Confederacy of Ruined Lives. These are also...Read More
Odds are the shows are going to be held at night time, but Beck has announced a stretch of North American summer tour dates in support of his recent Morning Phase LP. Beck already had a few shows booked this spring, including two separate weekend performances at Coachella, but this latest batch of dates now adds concerts between June and July. A mix of theatre and festival shows, the trek will have the beloved artist coming into Canada for two concerts. He'll head to Montreal's Place des Arts on June 24 and hit up Toronto two days later for a performance at the Sony Centre. You can...Read More
Syracuse punks Perfect Pussy are set to release their debut album, Say Yes to Love via Captured Tracks on March 18. As previously reported, a limited edition of the album will contain some blood belonging to singer Meredith Graves inside clear vinyl. Speaking with Exclaim!, Graves explains that she just blurted out the idea during a conversation with Captured Tracks boss Mike Sniper. "I said, 'How about we do something really crazy and do a letterpress cover?'" she says. "To which he said, 'Sweetheart, we can do a letterpress for all of your releases. You'll have to come up with...Read More
Last year, Skrillex cancelled his "Full Flex Express" train tour, and while the producer has said that he plans to bring back the multi-artist outing in 2014, any return of the fest is still unconfirmed. In the meantime, the EDM superstar has announced a batch of North American dates for spring and early summer. Following a few festival stops, Skrillex will kick off his so-called "Mothership Tour 2014" in May. During the trek, he'll come through Canada for a two-night stand at TD Echo Beach in Toronto on May 30 and 31. These Toronto gigs feature openers Dillon Francis, What So Not,...Read More
The last we heard from Lana Del Rey, the divisive pop singer was working with Black Keys main man Dan Auerbach on a new album called Ultraviolence. This spring, she will be shifting her attention to a North American tour. The vocalist will be on the road for more than a month from April through May. In that time, she will tour in the U.S. South before heading up to the northern part of the country. She'll also be making a few short trips into Canada, playing Montreal on May 5, Toronto on May 13 and Vancouver on May 25. Tickets for most of the shows go on sale on Friday (March...Read More
Once again, we've all set our clocks ahead in the name of daylight savings and lost an hour of sleep that we won't get back until the fall. To help re-adjust, we recommend taking some time out of your day to relax with some new music and videos. Take a look at a few highlights in our weekly roundup below.
Shortly after the release of their video for their track "Teacher," Vancouver's Bend Sinister have shared the rest of their upcoming album. Animals, the band's first record on Canadian label File Under: Music and the first produced by two-time Grammy-nominated producer Joe Marlett, shows the four-piece jumping from an arena-ready rock sound to prog-rock epics with hints of '70s flair throughout.
Victoria's Current Swell have given fans a taste of their upcoming album, Ulysses, with the song "Keys to the Kingdom." The track follows up the release of their bluesy track "Rollin" in February and finds the band showing a more laid-back, groovy side with a nice little jam towards the song's end.
Electronic pop eccentric Magic Island has shared a video for "Baby Blu," a track off her upcoming EP, Wasted Dawn. Glittery footage of Magic Island mastermind Emma Czerny walking through multicoloured forests, a city and a carnival in a nightgown are cut to the mellow, piano-driven track, making for a video as dreamy as the song itself.
Just a few months after Toronto punks Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) released their album Glory Days, the band have shared a new stand-alone single. The pre-drinking anthem "Before We Go Out Drinking" is a punk-powered celebration of the often cost-effective tradition of having a few before a night on the town.
Fellow Torontonian pop-rockers Hands & Teeth also shared some new music this week. A week ahead of its release, they offered their fans the opportunity to stream the new EP Before the Light, which finds the band exploring a much more pop-oriented space across its five tracks.
Finally, just after the release of Basedworld Paradise, we were once again blessed by the Based God, Lil B. As he prepares to drop his Hoop Life mixtape, and as both a preview of the album and a diss to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, he's shared a video for his new track "Fuck KD." Watch Lil B shooting hoops, working out and taking a stroll through his gym as he taunts Durant for not accepting his challenge to a game of one-on-one.
Don't forget to keep checking out our Music/Video section for more new music every day.
Every year, Record Store Day pushes vinyl-mania to new heights, and now there's a new coffee table book that documents some of the world's most devoted vinyl connoisseurs. Dust & Grooves: Adventures in Record Collecting will arrive — when else? — this Record Store Day on April 19. In fact, it's the "official book of Record Store Day 2014." Created by photographer Eilon Paz, the book features 416 pages that introduce readers to more that 130 vinyl lovers and their record collections. The forward was written by Wu-Tang legend RZA. The book is divided into two...Read More
Looking for a gruesome addition to your horror score collection? Then look no further, as infamous Italian exploitation flick Cannibal Ferox (a.k.a. Make Them Die Slowly) is getting the deluxe treatment from One Way Static on April 28, with an uncensored edition featuring artwork the label says it is "not legally allowed to show" online. The set features a mix of funky cuts and synthier fare from composer Roberto Donati (a.k.a. Budy Maglione) and had previously been issued in various formats around the world. One Way Static's pressing comes on vinyl and cassette, and adds four...Read More
Whether he's writing 69 songs about love or making an album of songs beginning with the letter "i," Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields loves quirky concept projects. Here's his latest: a book of poetry devoted to Scrabble's two-letter words. The book is called 101 Two-Letter Words, and it showcases all of the beloved board game's permissible two-letter words. The New York Times [via Pitchfork] reports that it will be out in October through W. W. Norton. All of the poems are four lines long, and they come with colour illustrations by Roz Chast. "My...Read More
Calgary-based quartet Viet Cong, featuring two ex-members from Women, have announced that they've signed up with local imprint Flemish Eye to deliver their next, to-be-detailed release. A press release confirms that the act, which unites women bassist Matt Flegel and drummer Mike Wallace with Chad VanGaalen collaborator Scott Munro and six-stringer Daniel Christiansen, inked a deal with the label for a forthcoming release, though the specifics are spare beyond that. The one-sheet goes on to note that Viet Cong deliver "tangled fretplay," as well as "searing noise, a driving rhythm section,...Read More