Album reviews – NOW Magazine Thu, 13 Aug 2020 18:42:57 +0000 Thu, 13 Aug 2020 18:42:57 +0000 en-US Carla Gillis Review: Basia Bulat lets loose on Are You In Love? On her fifth album, the Toronto-born, Montreal-based musician gives us 13 exuberant folk-pop songs delivered with clarity, colour and conviction

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Laura Stanley Review: Witch Prophet’s DNA Activation shows the power of family in dark times The Ontario R&B/soul/hip-hop/jazz artist’s sophomore album is a warmly hypnotic escape that arrives when we need it most

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Sumiko Wilson Review: The Weeknd shows off his full versatility on After Hours The Scarborough-bred pop phenom gets into 80s synth-pop sounds but stays true to his moody R&B roots

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Rea McNamara Review: BTS show the full cross-platform power of pop music The South Korean boy band’s new album Map Of The Soul: 7 is a savvy move into post-genre experimentation and a map of where they might go next

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Luke Ottenhof Review: Caribou surrenders to the current on Suddenly Dan Snaith has an uncanny ability to communicate emotion in tone, lyric and structure

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Chaka V. Grier Review: Allie X has too many ideas on Cape God The Los Angeles-via-Toronto pop singer/songwriter throws everything at the wall, with not all of it sticking

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Samantha Edwards Review: Miss Anthropocene is Grimes’s best album Obsessions with Claire Boucher’s personal life and perceived authenticity often overshadow what should be self-evident: her beautifully ambitious and singular pop music

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Richard Trapunski Review: The Slow Rush is not Tame Impala’s big pop crossover Kevin Parker has said he has ambitions to be the psychedelic Max Martin, but his new album could use more memorable hooks and melodies

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Samantha Edwards Review: Destroyer’s Dan Bejar conjures Y2K anxiety on Have We Met The stream-of-consciousness songwriter set out to make “computer music” on his 13th album, but it carries his familiar strange storytelling swagger

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Stuart Berman Review: Wolf Parade reassert their vitality on Thin Mind While their famous friends in Arcade Fire have changed with the times, this band’s sound is preserved in indie rock granite – but the cultural tide has flowed back in their direction

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Carla Gillis Review: Andy Shauf sets an entire album at Parkdale’s Skyline diner Written and performed wholly by Shauf, The Neon Skyline is wistful, but also sweet, philosophical, self-deprecating and very relatable – especially if you live in Toronto

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Sumiko Wilson Review: Kaytranada shines through the big features on Bubba The Montreal producer’s rising stature has gotten him bigger collaborators, including Tinashe and Pharrell, but his signature sound is always there

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Rea McNamara Review: Harry Styles is a more responsible Internet Boyfriend on Fine Line The former One Directioner sounds like he’s finally letting go of the dad-rock cosplay of his debut, leaning instead into ebullient, soulful pop

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Kevin Ritchie Review: Derin Falana gets serious on Don’t Save Me The Toronto rapper expands his sound with an EP that pairs melodic flows with a nose-to-the-grindstone pragmatism

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Jesse Locke Review: Mappe Of has no shortage of ambition on The Isle Of Ailynn On his sophomore album, Whitby singer/songwriter Tom Meikle makes drifting folk with the heart of metal

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Richard Trapunski Review: Leonard Cohen’s Thanks For The Dance is a fitting final statement His son Adam Cohen finished the posthumous album with help from guests like Beck and Feist, but it’s not just a glorified tribute album

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Claudia McNeilly Review: Tory Lanez’s Chixtape 5 suffocates in 2000s nostalgia The Canadian rapper reinvents 00s hip-hop and R&B hits, often with their original artists, but doesn’t add much in the way of substance

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Michelle da Silva Review: Pursuit Grooves soars to new heights on Bess The Toronto-based beatmaker honours aviation trailblazer Bessie Coleman on her 13th album

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Matthew Progress Review: Jesus Is King is Kanye West’s vision of heaven The polarizing American musician’s turn to Christian rap is moving, but his sweet hereafter doesn’t come without flaws and contradictions

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Chaka V. Grier Review: Toronto’s Maddee sounds stunningly beyond her years On her debut EP Red Mind, the electro-soul artist’s commanding voice can feel oddly tentative

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Chaka V. Grier Review: Nunavut singer Riit is fully assured on her debut, Ataataga Singing and throat singing synthy electro-pop in Inuktitut, she shows she knows exactly what she wants to say and how she wants to say it

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Claudia McNeilly Review: AR Paisley aims for classic hip-hop on Timeless The Mississauga rapper has big goals on this debut album, and though he doesn’t always meet them, he hits a good sweet spot

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Michael Rancic Review: Andre Ethier continues his hot streak with Croak In The Weeds The local songwriter releases his second full-length collaboration with producer Sandro Perri – together, the strongest, most compelling artistic vision he’s made

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Sarah MacDonald Review: Angel Olsen offers a whole new version of herself on All Mirrors On her exquisitely cinematic fourth album, the singer/songwriter embraces real change in both her lyrics and her sound

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Richard Trapunski Review: Dwayne Gretzky struggle to translate their live appeal to record The popular Toronto cover band have dropped their debut album, reinterpreting songs rather than playing them straight like they do in concert – but the new versions often fall flat

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Chaka V. Grier Review: Canadian pop singer Begonia wrestles with big questions on Fear Rather than Instagram’s disingenuous style of curated realness, Alexa Dirks’s debut LP flows naturally and unpredictably, like internal monologues set to music

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Michelle da Silva Review: Octo Octa turns the dance floor into a safe space on Resonant Body Maya Bouldry-Morrison celebrates the soft glow of party spaces as places racialized, queer, trans, female and differently abled bodies are free to be

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Cam Lindsay Review: Pretty Matty’s self-titled debut is packed with crunchy power pop morsels The Toronto-based project of Mathew Morand prioritizes sharp hooks and loud, distorted guitars above everything – joyous sunshine rock that sounds straight out of 1994

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Carla Gillis Review: Rae Spoon throws out a lifeline on Mental Health Over eight songs, the Victoria-by-way-of-Calgary singer/songwriter expresses what it’s like to live with depression, anxiety and other mental health struggles

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Kristel Jax Review: Lana Del Rey stares deep into the soul of America on Norman Fucking Rockwell Drifting through L.A. looking for love and meaning, she shifts her kitschy patriotism, dropping her flag-draped persona and making peace with a more complex, dystopian reality

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