Even though most of us are ramping up for the holidays, ramping down for the end of the year, or a little bit of both, there’s still plenty of new music to enjoy. Here are a few of the goodies that have recently landed in our inbox.
Jean-Michel Blais, “sans titre (andante)”
Contemporary pianist Jean-Michel Blais has announced a new EP recorded live in his Montreal apartment before being evicted.
“In the spring of 2018, I was asked to leave the beloved apartment where lived for 7 years, and where I recorded my first album, Il,” explains Blais. “Before signing with Arts & Crafts, I would host one show a year in the intimacy of my bedroom. eviction sessions is a recording of my final pop-up concert in that apartment, and my way to say goodbye to that room, “he continues. “Friends and family, side by side on the floor, on my bed, sharing the silence of their breathing, I wanted to record a live album in a unique way that would capture the presence of them being.”
The result is “eviction sessions,” a five-song EP recorded live to accompany Blais’ recent full length, “Dans ma main.” The EP features new piano-only recordings the vocal and electronic-heavy album tracks “blind”, “igloo” and “chanson,” as well as two new songs, “sans titre (andante)” and “hutchinson (improvisation).”
On the contemplative minimalist composition “sans titre (andante),” Blais says, “’andante’ (an italian word for ‘moving’) is a tottering quest towards meaning, reflecting the process of seeking for another home.”
Jennah Barry, “Roller Disco”
Unveiling her first taste of new music in more than six years, Jennah Barry returns with “Roller Disco.” Immersed in a gentle haze, “Roller Disco” spins like the intrinsic soundtrack to a sentimental memory. Finding its musical footing somewhere along the paths carved out by Harry Nilsson, Burt Bacharach, and Emmylou Harris, the song sways with a softly strummed nylon guitar guided by perfect restraint. Be it a brief and breathy flute run, the soft touch of a mallet, or an old familiar slide, “Roller Disco” is orchestrated with perfect, stirring delicacy. All the while, Barry’s signature “sweet and addictive” vocals dispatch lyrics ingrained with salt water wisdom and stirring storytelling.
Produced by Colin Nealis (Andy Shauf, Aidan Knight), the single is the precursor to Jennah Barry’s long-awaited sophomore album due out next year.
Lee Harvey Osmond, “Mohawk”
When Tom Wilson created the moniker Lee Harvey Osmond he wasn’t entirely certain if this was a new stage name or merely a provocative handle for the musician/artist collective assembled by producer Michael Timmins to record a collection of Tom Wilson songs that would become “A Quiet Evil.” This was the first of four albums bearing the featured artist Lee Harvey Osmond. “The Folk Sinner” was next, followed by the breakthrough “Beautiful Scars.” It was during this time between releasing Beautiful Scars and recording Kings and Kings with Blackie and The Rodeo Kings that Wilson went public with his recent discovery. He was not exactly the person he thought he was.
In his 50s, Wilson learned that the parents who raised him were not his birth parents; that, in fact, he was adopted and that his biological mother was a long time family friend from the Kahnawake reserve, just outside of Montreal. Grappling with this newfound sense of himself plunged Wilson into a quest for his heritage and his truth, and led to the writing of his bestselling autobiography, Beautiful Scars (Doubleday Canada). The book is a colorful and truthful tale of this quest, and his life’s tribulations and successes along the path.
“It is a story of finding your way home,” he says. “It’s a story of adoption, of growing up thinking you’re a big, sweaty, Irish guy, and finding out at the age of 53 that you’re a Mohawk.”
The discovery of his true heritage and the culture that it carries now informs all of his art. On this fourth Lee Harvey Osmond album, “Mohawk,” due out January 25 via Latent Recordings, Wilson continues down the path of his “long way home, ”Wilson says. “It is my way of showing honour and respect to a culture that I’m just shaking hands with. My truth was hidden from me – I was born a Mohawk baby, and finally I’m becoming a Mohawk man,” a line he sings on the LP’s first single, “Mohawk,” available to stream and buy today.
Mr. Goshness, “The Big Ego”
It’s hard to pigeonhole Mr. Goshness, a dynamic band based on Vancouver Island, BC; they are something completely different, shifting between energetic pop, and catchy show tunes with a little hint of punk. The showcase of their complexity now arises in the form of a new single “The Big Ego,” the first off their forthcoming album “Beyond The Blue” due out in early 2019.
This single, with lyrical content that the listener could apply many different connections to, was chosen from the album to demonstrate how versatile the group is: “The single’s instrumentation foreshadows the album’s massive guitars, multi part harmonies, punchy drums, and synth textures.” the band explains.
Focusing on a highly polished finished product, “Beyond The Blue” is complete with focused, memorable songs, pristine production and beautiful album artwork done by El Gato Gomez. Each one of the 12 songs on the album comes from the heart, either about love or the human condition.