It’s October, so it’s just a matter of minutes before new Christmas music starts dropping from the sky.
(Oh, look. Here’s one already from Los Lobos called Llegó Navidad. Even better is Mariah Carey’s upcoming All I Want for Christmas is You Tour. And so it begins.)
Here’s what we’re listening to this week.
1. City and Colour, A Pill for Loneliness
Alexisonfire’s Dallas Green is now up to his sixth full-length solo album, which features as usual a lot of songs about loneliness and dying but with a few sonic twists. There’s less of the familiar lo-fi approach and more high-gloss production, largely because of producer Jacquire King (Modest Mouse, Norah Jones, Kings of Leon) and engineer Emily Lazar (Coldplay, Beck). Good for the melancholy at heart.
2. Angel Olsen, All Mirrors
Goth noir with arrangements from a 14-piece orchestra? Attempts at Bjorkian grandeur? Multiple exhortations of people to “dream on?” Check, check, and check. The Asheville songwriter describes this record as “about losing empathy, trust, love for destructive people.” If you’re looking for a breakup album to take you through the fall, this might be it.
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3. Wilco, Ode to Joy
For their 11thalbum, Jeff Tweedy and crew spend more time contemplating emotional exhaustion, loss, and pain with occasional touches of happiness and joy. Long-time fans will notice a slightly more minimalist and subtle approach to composition and performance. Another good autumn record and maybe one of the very best of Wilco’s career.
4. Kasador, Brood & Bloom
After working things out on the road for the last three years, Kingston’s Kasador finally has a full-length debut record. Co-produced by Gord Sinclair and Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip (Rob’s son Boris is the bass player in Kasador), the album was recorded at the Hip’s Batthouse studio. Hip fans will be obviously most curious about this.
5. Skydiggers, Let’s Get Friendship Right
The Skydiggers have been a fixture on the Canadian music scene since 1987 and are now up to their 20th recording. Like just about everything else on this week’s list, this is an album based on self-reflection prompted by the deaths of some family members and close friends. What we get is a suite of songs based on the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Sounds like this could be good therapy at certain points in our lives.
London Calling: LIFE, Bum Hour
LIFE (all caps, please) is built around two Hull, U.K. brothers who have created a stir with their first releases. Now they have a sophomore album entitled A Picture of Good Health. Guitar rock seems to be alive and well for these folks.
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Undiscovered Gem: POESY, Body Language
After appearing on the CTV talent show The Launch, POESY (again, all caps) teams up with producer Gavin Brown to carefully craft this four-track EP. She’s signed to Big Machine (Taylor Swift’s former label) and has all the goods to be the Next Big Thing to come out of Canada. Fans of the strong female singers of the ’90s (think everyone from Alanis Morissette to Tori Amos) should pay attention.
Throwback Track: Cranberries, Ode to My Family
Has it really been 25 years since the Cranberries released their sophomore album, No Need to Argue? Yes. While Zombie helped drive the album to global sales of around 20 million copies, it was supported by other tracks like this:
Alan Cross is a broadcaster with 102.1 the Edge and Q107, and a commentator for Global News.
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