Hear me out: what you should be listening to this month

October is a scary month. Not because we will have to live through another Friday the 13th, or as a result of any Halloween-related activities. It goes deeper than that. We are now one month into our school programs and everyday we inch closer to 2018. Remember when we said that 2017 was going to be our year and we were going to accomplish everything we’ve been putting on the back burner? Me too. Are we there yet? Not quite.

But alas, it’s going to be OK. Many artists are releasing their sophomore albums this month and we’re here to give you a reminder of who you should be checking out.

St. Vincent —  MASSEDUCTION (Oct. 13th 2017)

The queen has returned. If you haven’t heard about Annie Clark, you aren’t in the right circles. After the breakout success of her first album, Annie is  back with her sophomore album, this time with a pop flair.

DVSN — Morning After (Oct. 13th 2017)

Get ready to cry. This OVO artist is back with his second album just in time for the weather change. With this artist’s sultry voice and sexy lyrics, the album will keep you feeling them feelings about love lost.

Wu-Tang Clan — Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues (Oct. 13th 2017)

Following their reunion album in 2014, the Wu-Tang follows up with another saga. Not only are we graced with another album, the New York collective is heading out on a tour of the U.S..

Beck — Colors (Oct. 13th 2017)

As a follow-up to his last album, Morning Phase, which secured him three grammies, Beck is back with Colors. Beck is a chameleon. He carefully masters multiple instruments and brings forward a pop album that is due to climb the charts.

King Krule — The Ooz (Oct. 13th 2017)

Archy Marshall is back. The Ooz follows his last release in 2013 and focuses on the subconscious mind. With musical collaborations with names like Earl Sweatshirt, this album is certainly one to keep an eye out for.

Jessie Ware — GlassHouse (Oct. 20th 2017)

Jessie Ware has masterfully pieced together the perfect team of writers and producers for her upcoming album GlassHouseThe album is credited with Julia Michaels, Francis and the Lights, and Cashmere Cat.

Majid Jordan — The Space Between (Oct. 27th 2017)

Majid’s sophomore album will have 13 tracks and feature artists such as Partynextdoor and DVSN. This duo from Toronto will be taking October by a storm and proving that it’s truly OVO season.

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A Conversation with Parris on Rose Gold

In special relationships an artist has with their craft, their inspired beginnings often vary. Whether it’s through a musical upbringing or an early interest in performance, there is a connection that is hard to put into words. And once that connection is found, it is hard to ignore and will forever fuel your creative drive. There are many notable up-and-coming artists in the Toronto music scene, and Parris is certainly one of them. We had the opportunity to chat with him about the inspirations behind his writing process and his upcoming project, Rose Gold, with which he brings us classic R&B with a twist. Get ready for it.

Kimberley Drapack: How did you first get involved with music?

Parris: My mother used to constantly play great albums in the house while we were cleaning or doing other things like going to the grocery store or even on our way to church. She would play anyone from Michael Jackson to Sade, and ’70s and ’80s new wave & alternative rock. Her catalogue of music is definitely a part of the reason why I’m doing music today. I was always singing all of her favourite songs everywhere we went, but my mother wasn’t one to judge me, even though it must have annoyed her at times. The voice I had then isn’t [like] the voice I have now. My passion to create music was self-induced but my mother’s positive influence over me definitely had an enormous role in the reason why I create music today.

K: What’s has it been like growing up in Toronto and your music developing within this scene?

P: Growing up in Toronto has been a blessing. I’ve met so many great minds living here in the city and built relationships that I know will last my entire lifetime. It is a big city with a tight knit community of creatives. Sometimes people’s egos clash in the music scene but it’s minor given the potential for growth within the city. Making music in the city with my friends is probably the most exciting to me. It fell into place naturally as if it was meant to be.

K: Your upcoming project, Rose Gold is classified as an R&B album. Can you tell us about the project?

P: Rose Gold means the world to me. This is going to be one of my most collaborative works but it’s pretty personal. I don’t want to give it all away just yet, but I’ll let you know that most of the subject matter on it is relationship based. This project is going to be something people will really appreciate because the content isn’t only up with the times, it also has its own unique sound to it.

I’m 23 years old, and before my birthday, which just passed at the beginning of this year, I told myself that I’d be more patient and take a lot more time with the whole process. My previous tape Point Five was pretty solid but it was a bit forced. I don’t regret the way I went about it because I definitely learned what I needed to know now to make Rose Gold a solid piece of art.

K: What inspires your writing process?

P: I used to get writer’s blocks all the time. I have breathing and meditative exercises that not only help me with writing but also help me with life in general. I’m a big believer in Christ and grew up in a Christian home so it all balances out for me in the end. That’s a bit off topic, but it has a lot to do with how I deal with the stresses of having creative blocks. I write best when I’m inspired and as soon as I feel like I’m losing it I walk away and come back to it at another time.

K: What other producers, songwriters and/or artists do you see as your primary inspirations?

P: There are definitely some really hot artists and producers coming out of the city right now who’ve inspired me to do more than I’ve ever done musically [so far]. Artists and producers like Villabeats, DrewHoward, & MaxG have amazing work ethics that I not only admire but try to mimic myself.

K: What are the biggest sacrifices you have had to make for your career, if any?

P: The biggest sacrifice that I’ve made is time with my family and friends. People assume that there isn’t much work and time put into beautiful works of music but once they get into the studio and see the process, their whole concept of the industry changes. I love and think about my family and friends all the time so having them in my mind while I’m creating keeps me fluid.

K: What can we expect from you in 2017?

P: What the world could expect this year is a bunch of smiles and a lot of laughter. My team and I are so blessed to be able to bring beautiful music to the world. There isn’t much else we could ask for. Everyone behind this project seems to be of a really content vibe and that’s what it’s all about.

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Bands Spotted: May Edition

There is nothing like a decent spring day spent outside for absolutely no reason. Whether it be out on a stroll, checking out a new patio, having some friends over for a barbecue or just going for a drive —tis the season for new discoveries. In light of new discoveries, we are more likely to have an interest in hearing new music that will match this seemingly new found sense of adventure. Here are some new bands that you can take with you on your next drive, your next tour or whatever the adventure may be!

adhoc

The new song “my city” by this urban/r&b band titled experiments has a blend of different genres and mediums in order to create this large sound that is perfect for cruising city streets and is a definite jam to add to your pre-drink playlist. The band describes this song as a “bi-coastal r&b roundabout, a must-visit stop on the ex-boyfriend reunion tour. thru the medium of “video,” we depicted the nominal space between a friendly visit and a steam-pressed weekend tryst.” For more info on adhoc, you can check out their Instagram page here.

Midday Swim

Weather change brings back the nostalgia in all of us. I remember hanging out in my friends backyard taking in some mandatory sun after being sick of the winter hibernation spell and listening to bands like Rooney and Death Cab for Cutie. While Midday Swim’s new song “Hold On Tight” is a bit different than that, it still reminds me of the innocence, wonder and happiness attached to warm weather as well as the need for adventure. In fact, the band says of writing this song, “When writing this song we made an effort to capture the spirit of childhood —a time when one’s imagination can run wild.”  Listen to this song during a time when you’re needing imaginative and effortless inspiration! For more info on Midday Swim, visit their webpage here.

The Beaches

This song and this band is added to my new playlist for when I’m taking the long way to my destination, strutting down every street and feeling like an absolute boss. The ladies in this band give so much attitude and energy that listeners are inspired to take on their goals for the day and look fly as ever doing it. Add this song to your collection for some sunny day hangs or road trips. To check out more from The Beaches, visit their Instagram here.

The Zolas

This Canadian band from Vancouver captures the aftermath of a night out for many twenty somethings living downtown. As a girl stumbles home through Kensington market and many other Toronto staples, she gets into the song and sings it the whole way home. “Get Dark” is definitely (already) added to my playlist for times like this when i’m on an adventure with no accomplices. The freedom of actually singing out loud in city streets belongs to the most brave or the most tipsy. Check out more from The Zolas on their webpage here.

 

BANDS SPOTTED: APRIL EDITION

April is usually the time in Canada when we come out of our winter hibernation and get excited for decent weather — like REALLY excited. As soon as the temperature rises, our calendars become filled for the next few months with barbecues, cottage weekends, and, for many, concerts/festivals. Spring is not only an awakening for the average Canadian but also for our musicians who spend much of the winter writing, recording, and prepping for spring/summer releases and shows. Here are some Canadian bands/acts who have recently released new music and are playing around The Great [Green] North in the next few months.

I M U R

Vancouver’s I M U R has been all over BC since the release of their recent album Little Death’. With more shows and festivals to come very shortly, it is evident that this electronic band is taking no breaks when it comes to sharing their incredible sound. The songs are catchy and will make you dance but what’s more is, as they’ve said themselves, their relatable lyrics: “We seek to blend strength with vulnerability and intimacy in our songs and often thematically touch on introspection, sex, substances, and heartache.” Check out this Canadian band here for videos, social media accounts, and show dates!

Knifey

This Toronto band has a bit of punk, a bit of ska, and is just a fun listen, which truly show’s there is something for everyone when listening to Knifey. Their new song Tanlines’ brings warm, California vibes to some very relatable issues to the winter-despising Canadian! This band will be performing at the Silver Dollar on April 18th — it promises to be a definite fun time. You can also find their Facebook page here for more updates.

Fake Shark

Go to a Fake Shark show and you can be almost 100 percent sure that the dance floor will not seize to let up during the entirety of their set. Every song that comes from this band has moveable beats and a little something different in terms of lyrics and overall attitude. Their latest single Heart 2 Heart created much anticipation for their album release on May 26th, which is sure to be an energetic and unique compilation. Fake Shark has a Canadian tour planned for this summer. Check out their show dates, more info on their album release, and more here.

Beta Frontiers ft. Carmen Elle

Toronto musician, Beta Frontiers has collaborated with Carmen Elle before (see video above), which caused a stir with many media outlets in 2014. So it makes sense why their new single If I Stayed ft. Carmen Elle will be the catalyst for their upcoming album Heights, scheduled to come out on May 5th. This artist is a production wizard who will surely not disappoint with the depths of this new release. Check out new music, info on the album preorder, and more here.

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The Road to the Junos 2017

Photo provided from junoawards.ca

In just a few days, Canada will tune in to the Juno Awards, the yearly broadcast that recognizes and celebrates the diverse range of musicians. The ever changing location for this event has allowed Canadians from all over to have a chance to view the event live (last year the Juno’s took place in Calgary, Alberta). This year, because the awards will take place in OttawaNovella will be packing up the car and road tripping out to Ottawa to view this exciting broadcast as well as the fandamonium that comes along with it!

A big Juno category and one of the main categories in any music awards ceremony is Artist of the Year. This year, Shawn Mendes, Drake, Alessia Cara, and The Weeknd all compete with the late Leonard Cohen for this spot. In fact, many artists are being put up against Leonard Cohen for multiple categories including Donovan Woods, who is nominated for songwriter of the year (no surprise that Cohen, the historically lyrical mastermind is also nominated for this category). When Novella asked Woods about his nomination he said the greatest thing was being put up against one of the greatest songwriters of all time — something he never imagined happening.

Photo from leonardcohenforum.com

Speaking of Leonard Cohen, it is a big year for Canada to salute the musicians who have represented our musical triumphs for decades. The Tragically Hip put out their last album Man Machine Poem at the end of this past summer, which is nominated for Best Rock Album while the group is on the list for Group of the Year. Singer and Canadian icon Gord Downie, who announced having terminal cancer last summer, is nominated for Songwriter of the Year and Best Alternative Album for his solo disc.

Photo of The Tragically Hip provided from cbc.com

Of course besides the wide range of nominees and categories covering all ranges of music, the other exciting part about the Junos that we look forward to are of course the performances. The Juno Awards have announced that Alessia Cara, Arkells, A Tribe Called Red, Billy Talent, Dallas Smith, July Talk, Ruth B.Sarah McLachlan, Shawn Mendes, and The Strumbellas will all perform. Feist  will also do a special tribute performance to Leonard Cohen. 

Of course if amazing performances and exciting nominations don’t appeal to you, there is also the added excitement that both Russell Peters and Bryan Adams will be hosting the event! I know even as a music junkie, half of my excitement is for the hilariousness that we are about to endure!

Follow Novella on our road to the Juno Awards 2017 and tune in to CTV on Sunday at 6:30 pm to catch the broadcast! And continue following our arts & culture coverage on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.