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It’s that time of year, when a ton of amazing new music seems to come out of the woodwork… and I recently discovered Ray Lamontagne’s new album, Gossip in the Grain. There’s something about having it grey and rainy outside and listening to Ray’s raspy, soulful voice that really work well together.

If you haven’t already heard his song Trouble or his cover of Gnarls Barkley’s Crazy, then you really are… crazy! Check them out now. Here, let me help you:

Crazy:

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A couple of new singer-songwriters I’ve come across are Jason Isbell (thanks to my good friend, Patrick, in KC) and Jakob Dylan, formerly of the Wallflowers. Both have a southern vibe to their music reminiscent of Ryan Adams, one of my favourite artists of the past years. Read the rest of this entry »

Everybody wants
ippaisa
mou
itai dake de
understand

No, not really… but somehow mixing English and Japanese lyrics to Sheryl Crow-inspired pop-rock guitar riffs sounds really, really good… I’m sure the Japanese lyrics are about as clever and insightful as the English ones: Read the rest of this entry »

I’m in T.O. On pleasure. It’s hot and it’s muggy. I’m missing the coolness of Vancouver, but hey, while I’m hot and sticky I might as well go check out a show. And lo and behold, Hey Ocean! is playing at the Rivoli tonight. So I’m going to check them out tonight. What a way to kick off Eastbynortheast, which starts tomorrow (though HO! is not part of the music conference, just good timing).

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I’ve just found out that the UK band, Athlete, has quietly released their 3rd album, Beyond the Neighbourhood. Being a big fan of their previous two efforts, I can’t wait to give this a listen.

If you’re in Vancouver, they’re coming to Richards in November for a show. These guys rock it live, a show you won’t want to miss!!

Athlete has always had a bit of an electro vibe to it and this album will be released in a dub remix version later in the year… Very cool concept!

Here’s their new single, Hurricane:

Sometimes you shouldn’t review an album after seeing a band live first, just as you normally shouldn’t watch the movie before reading the book. I recently saw The Painted Birds play a great set at the Plaza in Vancouver and they blew me away with their passion, their musicianship, their ability to take the crowd into the palm of the hand and keep them there for the entire set. Read the rest of this entry »

I remember where I first heard a Jack Johnson song. It was on a beach in Thailand, walking to dinner as we passed a beach bar with Jack playing in the background. My friend literally dragged us in for a drink to listen. To this day I think of sunny days, sand beneath my toes and chillin’ on a beach whenever I hear Jack. After listening to Current Swell’s second album ‘Trust Us Now’ it could just as easily have been this album that I heard on that sunny beach.Often compared to Ben Folds, Jack Johnson and Sublime the boys from Victoria do stray into familiar territory from time to time though more as homage, and throughout there’s a unique sound that is Current Swell’s own. Mixing blues, folk, reggae and rock like veteran musicians, these lads, who look like they should be delivering newspapers after work, not doing world tours, sound mature beyond their years. Throw in serious musical chops including slide guitar and dirty harmonica and a beautiful organ and you get a plethora of musical styles fused together by the bands tight harmonies and a fun groove.

“Trust Us Now” sounds more polished than their first effort though you still get the feeling this is 4 guys in a garage kicking back after a day on the water to jam and have fun. “Chesterman’s Valley”, “Comin Home”, “Reap What You Sow” and “Five White Boys” lay down a solid groove that will quickly establish these guys as festival favourites. The band’s own personal favourite “How Will They Trust Us Now” is the album’s most ambitious song with a harder edge to it.

The guys from Current Swell claim they’re singing the “devil’s music” and their dirty harmonica, slide guitar-filled reggae-influenced surf rock backs that claim up. Next time the sun is out you can bet “Trust Us Now” is going to be cranked in my Jeep on my way to the beach. Check out the album on iTunes or even better, throw on your favourite flip-flops and check them out as they tour Canada starting in July. I guarantee a good time, mon!

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