Dist: EMI Music Canada
Formed by Mike O'Brien and Carlin Nicholson along with Neil Quin and Rob Drake, Zeus came together much in the same way as The Band, performing primarily as a backing band - in this case, for acclaimed Toronto songwriter Jason Collett both on the road and in studio. Similarly, Zeus features three vocalists/songwriters who swap between guitar, bass and organ, with Drake holding down the rhythm on drums. Zeus released their debut EP, Sounds Like Zeus, in June, to tremendous acclaim from the Canadian media. Say Us was recorded and produced by O'Brien and Nicholson in their Toronto studio and mixed by Robbie Lackritz (Feist). The album shows a band with an incredible ability to write smart pop hooks with jangling electric guitars, three-part harmonies; classic rock n' roll with a touch of twang. Say Us expands upon the ideas put forth with Sounds Like Zeus, though showing even greater range and diversity. Track Listing.
Lullabies for Bloodshot Eyes
Dist: Warner Music Canada
Séan McCann is a singer and musician in the band Great Big Sea who instruments of choice include bodhran, shakers, tin whistle and guitar. Lullabies for Bloodshot Eyes is his debut solo album. The nine track collection was recorded over the course of several months earlier this year at GreatBigStudio in St. John's. Inspired by the birth of his sons, the album chronicles the beginnings of his journey through fatherhood. "The arrival of my two sons prompted a fundamental change in my disposition," confides Séan, "for the first time in my life, someone else mattered more to me than I did...and I was terrified."
When he's not on the road, Séan returns home to his native St. John's to write and spend time with his family. He is currently working on the upcoming Great Big Sea release, due out this summer. Track Listing.
MATTHEW BARBER True Believer
True Believer is the new release from Toronto-based singer-songwriter Matthew Barber. For this, his fourth full-length album and follow-up to the internationally acclaimed and Juno-nominated record Ghost Notes (2008, Outside Music), Barber enlisted producer Howie Beck (Hayden, Jason Collett) to man the helm. The result has been an artistic alchemy that takes Barber's trademark melodies to new heights. The album was recorded largely in Howie Beck's small but classy 4-walls studio in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood, after laying down the bed tracks at Canterbury Studios with veteran engineer Jeremy Darby. Beck and Barber played almost everything with Beck handling the drums and bass, while Barber handled the vocals, guitar, piano and percussion. For the fancier parts, some of Toronto's finest musicians were called in including Dean Drouillard on lead guitar, Jesse O'Brien on piano, Daniel Stone on percussion, Paul Mathew on upright bass and a crack horn section led by Bryden Baird. Track Listing.
SHOUT OUT LOUDS
Last spring, lead singer Adam Olenius wrote many songs while living in Melbourne, Australia. He passed them on to the rest of the band who listened closely from their corners of the world, questioning and challenging him-like a good band should-until the songs that make up Work had all passed the test, made the cut, and lived to tell the story. They got Seattleite Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, and The Shins) to produce the album, describing him as a much-needed force. They wanted someone who was used to working with bands and used to doing things the old-fashioned way-with hard work and 1-2-3-4 live recordings. Realizing that there really is no need to multilayer and fill all the spaces in their songs, Shout Out Louds are keeping it simple now, trusting in the power of bare skin over panache. Track Listing.
Snoop Dogg Presents: West Coast Blueprint
Dist: EMI Music Canada
Rap icon and multi-media superstar Snoop Dogg has been appointed Creative Chairman of the renowned Priority Records label. Priority Records will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2010 with a year-long catalog campaign showcasing the legendary rap label's most influential artists and recordings. For ‘West Coast Blueprint', Snoop Dogg combed through Priority's vaults to find the key tracks that trace the storied history and impact of the influential hip-hop label. This collection features a brand new track by Snoop Dogg "Check Yo Self"-- Snoop's re-worked version of the Ice Cube classic! Also includes 16 crucial tracks from West Coast rap legends like N.W.A, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Ice Cube and Mack 10, as well as crucial artists including Kid Frost, Ras Kass, Low Profile and Rappin' 4-Tay! Track Listing.
It's been 11 years since Alkaline Trio released their first full-length album, Goddamnit. In that time, they've toured the world, sold over a million records, and expanded their sound radically beyond their original straight-ahead punk style, incorporating production slick enough to earn them mass exposure on outlets like MTV's The Hills. Now with This Addiction, their seventh album and first for Epitaph, the Chicago rockers are heading back to their roots. "This record is a rock record but our punk rock upbringing definitely shines through, more so than our last few records," says singer/guitarist Matt Skiba. To recapture the sound of the early days, the band took a less-is-more approach on this record, keeping the keyboard to a minimum and sticking to the guitar-driven slash and burn that has made them a household name. The deluxe version boasts 6 extra tracks and includes the DVD "Alkaline Trio Live At The House Of Blue, Las Vegas, NV 2008". Track Listing.
Ups and Downsizing
Dist: Warner Music Canada
From the perpetually down-on-its-luck, blue collar, rustbelt factory town of Flint, Michigan, comes new The Swellers, a punk band that knows a thing or two about making hard, no-nonsense, but infinitely catchy music. With their debut Ups and Downsizing the four-piece manages to expound on the rollercoaster of life they've experienced on the road and in that perpetual hard-luck area just north of Detroit while expanding the poppy punk sound they've been honing since their mid-teens. In true punk tradition, Ups and Downsizing is the outraged cry of a band that has seen its world on the precipice. It's also the sound of a band that sees hope in the most hopeless of situations. Track Listing.
Before & After
Dist: Universal Music Canada
The melodious sound on Before and After results from closely working with a core of exceptional musicians who combine piano, violin, mandolin, cello, bass and percussion with Newcomer's adept guitar work and soulful voice, which the Austin Statesman has described as being "as rich as Godiva chocolate." As always, Newcomer's work is inspired and influenced by her friendships and collaborations with influential authors, theologians and fellow songwriters, including Parker J. Palmer, Phillip Gulley, Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, Scott Russell Sanders, Barbara Kingsolver and Jill Bolte Taylor. Track Listing.
ALL TIME HIGH
Friends In High Places
Dist: Sonic Unyon
Formed in 2005, the men of All Time High are veterans of considerable pedigree. Having spent the last decade cutting their teeth playing in bands (VALIS, Kitty Kitty, Gardener) along side some of the biggest and most recognizable names in the Northwest's music scene and having released albums on labels as notable as Sub-Pop, Man's Ruin and Small Stone, All Time High aren't content to rest on their laurels. Since their inception All Time High have been steadfast in the trenches, playing shows with the likes of Helios Creed/Chrome, Sound of Urchin, The Spores, Mos Generator and The Valley. Their debut long-player,the aptly titled 12 song Friends in High Places was recorded in an unadulterated 5-day session with legendary Seattle producer Jack Endino and features more than a few surprise guests. Track Listing.
A Coin For The Well www.myspace.com/fandeath
Dist: Universal Music Canada
The multifaceted Vancouver B.C-based group Fan Death signed to Last Gang records, release their debut EP, A Coin For The Well.. Beginning as a project between vocalist Dandilion Wind Opaine and Marta Jaciubek-McKeever, Dandi then enlisted frequent collaborator Szam Findlay to produce Fan Death in 2007. An elegiac revision of classic electronic pop, Fan Death recall the darkest elements of early OMD, Depeche Mode and Human League combined with Cerrone worthy symphonic arrangements to create contemporary anthems of morose celebration. Fan Death are currently at work finishing their full-length Womb of Dreams, slated for for July/August 2010 and are confirmed for the entire 2010 Warped Tour. Track Listing.
THE ROCKET SUMMER Of Men and Angels
Dist: Universal Music Canada
Texas native Bryce Avary, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist and mastermind behind The Rocket Summer, prepares to release his second Island Records release (and fourth overall), Of Men and Angels. The new album follows-up Do You Feel, The Rocket Summer's Island debut, released July 2007. After the release of "So Much Love," as an advance track, the album's title tune single "Do You Feel" broke through at Alternative and Modern Rock radio in the summer of 2008. Meanwhile TRS headlined the sold-out AP tour and graced the cover of AP's magazine. TRS then played a successful six-week North American tour with Phantom Planet, Secret Handshake, and the Morning Light, plus two sold out headline tours in the UK. Track Listing.
Casper Clausen, Mads Brauer and Rasmus Stolberg grew up on the small Danish island of Als. The three friends moved to Copenhagen with the innocent hope of becoming full-time musicians, and soon met drummer Thomas Husmer to form Efterklang late in 2000. Pianist Rune Mølgaard was also in the original line-up. Magic Chairs began early in 2009 with a few of Clausen's sketches for songs, spending time in Tel Aviv and later Portland, Oregon to develop the arrangements before trying out the new material in front of their American fans. 'We wanted to get to know the songs before we actually recorded them as opposed to our Parades album, where we got to know the songs while recording them,' says Clausen. Track Listing.
The Magician's Private Library
Miranda grew up singing in church, learning piano at age 6 and picking up the guitar at 14, around the time she began writing songs. After moving to New York, she met the people she'd eventually refer to as bandmates for The Jealous Girlfriends, a reputable indie band that is currently on a break, Miranda said, but all continuing on their own musical pursuits. The music Miranda makes is influenced by what she refers to as a combination of the things she grew up listening to. "I love Jeff Buckley and Edith Piaf and Nina Simone. I grew up on Motown," Miranda said. But what most people compare her to are modern day chanteuses like Cat Power and Feist - which she says she "hears all the time." Track Listing.
The Golden Archipelago
The new record is the third panel of a triptych that includes 2006's enigmatic Palo Santo and 2008's acclaimed Rook, albums linked by themes of environmental and personal decay and humans' impact on nature. In The Golden Archipelago, Shearwater turn to a portrait of life on islands - a world of alternating lushness and austerity, numinous silences and sudden cataclysms, and the strange flowerings of plant, animal, and human life that only arise in isolation. Islands under siege, islands of impenetrable solitude, islands of the world and islands of the mind - all are here in The Golden Archipelago, whose shores and reefs flicker and beckon, even as they crumble under rising seas.