Eliza Moore – Everything To Me
Folk-pop violinist and songstress Eliza Moore released her third EP Everything To Me in September, an album she describes as having “a more exposed and authentic sound.” The Montreal-based musician’s latest offering consists of five tracks, including the charmingly whimsical title track. Songs like “My Longing Knows You” and “Call You Inside” showcase Moore’s pitch-perfect vocals and her ability to create a warm and inviting atmosphere through her honest lyrics and soulful melodies. “Humanity” propels you back in time and sits you down at a dimly lit Chicago jazz club in the early ‘20s with its smoky sound and smooth background percussion. Everything To Me is a well rounded, pleasant album that exhibit’s Moore’s ease and ability as a musician.
Trial Track: “My Longing Knows You”
Mark Berube – Russian Dolls (Bonsound Records; 2013)
Canadian folk darling Mark Berube and his instrumental collective from The Patriotic Few have returned with their latest eclectic album, Russian Dolls. The album boasts nearly a dozen carefully crafted tracks, spanning across a multitude of genres. On the record’s first single “Carnival” subtle ska elements can be heard while “Confessions To A Streetlight” is a playful – and slightly seductive – folk infused ballad. “Mississippi Prom” stays true to its name; the Southern-style track is layered with powerful piano and chorus-like backing vocals.
Russian Dolls offers a plethora of different genres perfectly packaged into one full-length album recorded here in Montreal at Breakglass Studios. The official album launch will be free of charge and takes place on Nov. 5 at Cabaret du Mile End.
Trial Track: “The Good, The Bad and The Photograph”
Best Coast – Fade Away EP (Jewel City; 2013)
“I won’t change, I’ll stay the same,” is perhaps the most revelatory lyric off of Best Coast’s newest EP, Fade Away. In that simple phrase, the California garage-pop duo have perfectly summarized the experience of listening to their newest release. Singer-songwriter Bethany Cosentino remains preoccupied with the same vapid inspiration: boys, drugs and laziness (and her cat) as in the band’s debut. However, unlike Crazy For You (the band’s 2010 debut) the whole thing just feels tired and uninspired. The production on Fade Away is much more polished and Cosentino’s vocals are more confident. Unfortunately, each track employs the same predictable chord progressions and seems to drag on needlessly, draining the album of its vitality and charm. If this EP is any indication of what’s to come for Best Coast, Fade Away may ultimately be the band’s epitaph.
Trial Track: “Baby I’m Crying”
– Paul Traunero
Katy Perry – Prism (Capitol Records; 2013)
Following up a Double Platinum-selling album that spawned five Billboard number one singles is not an easy feat, but it seems Katy Perry managed to do just that. There’s a reason this album is called Prism: it showcases the many different sides and colours of Katy. The popstar’s third album comes after her divorce from comedian Russell Brand, which is reflected in her music. She explores themes like heartbreak, self-discovery and finding new love; the emotional ballad “By The Grace of God” could very well be the most intimate track she has ever released.
Though the album may not have the same bubblegum pop feeling as Teenage Dream, that doesn’t mean it necessarily lacks the party jams Katy’s fans have come to expect. There’s a variety of unique sounds explored on this album, like Bollywood-inspired “Legendary Lovers” and the trap beats in “Dark Horse.” Prism has a perfect balance between upbeat and heartfelt – making it ideal for both hitting the clubs and mourning a lost love.
Trial Track: “Walking On Air”