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Courtesy of Collective Concerts, enter here for a chance to win a pair of tickets to see An Intimate Evening of Songs & Stories with Graham Nash on Tuesday, October 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

Last Month's Top Sellers

1. BRIAN ENO - Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks
2. VARIOUS - Come On Let's Go! Power Pop Gems
3. SLEATER KINNEY - Center Won't Hold 
4. FREDDIE GIBBS - Bandana
5. BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN - Western Stars

Click here for full list.

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FEATURED RELEASES

Tuesday
Sep252007

THE ACORN - Glory Hope Mountain

acorn-glory%20hope.jpgThis record marks The Acorn's transition from promising new talent to leading light. Many elements were always there: elegant folk melodies, superb musicianship, and a sense of experimentation. The only thing missing is what Glory Hope Mountain has in spades: an engaging, human story. This half-truth, half-fiction yarn about songwriter Rolf Klausener's mother's journey from Honduras to Montreal is, like any great album, both foreign and familiar. Telling the tale are twelve gorgeous songs played with spirit, understanding and an ear for the rhythms of Garifuna music that never misappropriates the sounds.
Tuesday
Sep252007

JOSE GONZALEZ - In Our Nature

gonzalezj-nature.jpgGonzalez's latest album has been a long time coming, but maybe that's because in the interim, his superb 2003 release Veneer just wouldn't stop gaining new admirers. Well, good news for his fans new and old, In Our Nature doesn't mess with the keys to his sound; it's full of drifting, beautifullly plucked acoustic guitar and plantive melodies that hover between the worlds of folk, pop and blues. There's even another cover of an electronic anthem, this time "Teardrop" the standout from Massive Attack's classic Mezzanine. Gonzalez's appeal is simple and timeless, and this strong album affirms that.

Tuesday
Sep252007

DEVENDRA BANHART - Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon

banhartd-smokey.jpgFew recent musicians have generated as enigmatic and prolific a profile as Banhart. As likely to erupt into neo-hippie babble as he is to protest his being one, he is an artist whose mischievous toying with his image (not to mention his seemingly unedited song output) often threatens to usurp the sincerity of his music. The 16-song, wildly eclectic Smokey isn't going to change any of that, but does image really matter? When you close your eyes and just listen, Banhart's strengths are a lot clearer. He is an excellent singer, and an engaging musical chameleon and when he hits the mark, the results are pretty superb. 

Tuesday
Sep252007

STEVE EARLE - Washington Square Serenade

earles-washington.jpgAt this point in his career, Steve Earle has checked off nearly every stage on the rock n' roll checklist: brash young upstart, brushes with the law, near-fatal substance abuse issues, and an unexpected musical resurrection that continues today. Now you can add a move to New York City to his CV. The sights, sounds, and themes of his new digs permeate the songs of Washington Square Serenade, offering him a way to rejuvenate his work. Earle is slowly becoming as much an icon as many of his heroes and his latest quietly adds to an already great body of work. Fans will once more find much to love.

Tuesday
Sep252007

TUNNG - Good Arrows

tunng-good%20arrows.jpgThis British group have made a subtle transition from introspective electronic music to a place that is slightly more upbeat and outwardly melodic. To the familiar, they have hardly become unrecognizable. Their love of samples and loops remains, everything is just a little more easy to sing along to now. The common complaint when any band undergoes this kind of adjustment is that they're hunting for accessibility. While Good Arrows will no doubt interest a new set of listeners, this album's charms are never cloying or forced. It simply has one hand kindly outstretched while the other obscures its methods.

Thursday
Sep202007

VARIOUS ARTISTS - The Very Best of Ethiopiques

va-ethiopiques.jpgThe Ethiopiques series is one of the best world music series out there, but at some 21 volumes, it has also become one of the more intimidating in which to invest. This two CD collection eases the burden slightly by compiling the cream of the crop from an imprint that has well chronicled a golden era of Ethiopian music that occurred in the 1960s & 70s. Of course, arguments can be made for the superiority of any number of the individual volumes, but this set is still a phenomenal introduction to music that had its ears pointed everywhere: soul, jazz, funk, African, blues, big band, past, present and future.

Thursday
Sep202007

STARS - In Our Bedroom After The War (limited w/DVD)

stars-bedroom.jpgThis Montreal five-piece's latest is not the great leap forward of 2004's Set Yourself On Fire. Rather, it finds Stars in confident command of the vast orchestral synth-pop knowledge they've accrued over the years. As the title suggests, Bedroom documents and examines conflicts between lovers and/or nations, with the dialogue invested in superbly by co-lead singers Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan. The first half is particularly great, featuring the invigorating "Take Me To The Riot" and a heretofore unexpectedly funky Campbell falsetto turn on "The Ghost of Genova Heights". 

Tuesday
Sep182007

AKRON/FAMILY - Love Is Simple (limited w/ DVD)

akron%20family-love.jpgLeave it to this enigmatic foursome to title their latest in a way that is both succinct and endlessly open to interpretation. At their core, this is a group of extremely proficient neo-hippies with a mandate to "love, love, love everyone" that is hopelessly saccharine. It's the spiraling, shapeshifting creativity and intuitive interplay of these guys that not only kills the gag reflex, it sends your arms wide on a collision course for the nearest hug. With references to free jazz, tribal chants, classic rock, and prog folk, this record is about fifty "eureka!" moments sewn consecutively into an engaging, human tapestry.

Tuesday
Sep182007

THE SADIES - New Seasons

sadies-new%20seasons.jpgThe music of Toronto's Sadies is the pure resurrection of spirits from a 1950s rock n' roll cemetery. This is not the clunky, Frankenstein's monster of a weekend-warrior cover band. This is a time machine, a communion with the dead, a seance so real that you can shake hands with the deceased as their spirits float through your body. Not that this is morbid music in any way: it's just heavy. That's because The Sadies are now more than just a "band". So schooled are they in their style of music, that they are at that moment where the ardent students have become the teachers. School's in suckas.
Monday
Sep172007

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Summer Records Anthology 1974-1988

va-summerrecordsanthology.jpgAnother release in the superb Jamaica to Toronto series, this compilation collects the best of tunes released by Summer Records, a label run by Jamaican ex-pat Jerry Brown. Based from a studio in Brown's Malton, Ontario basement, Summer was a focal point for Toronto reggae and dub at the time. Aside from a few expected production gaffes on the late 80s tracks, this is high quality stuff. Even better given the known names involved (Noel Ellis, Johnny Osbourne), these are some rare finds as well. Exceptional liner notes round out a fine tribute to Toronto's hidden musical legacy.

Monday
Sep172007

VARIOUS ARTISTS - Brazil 70

va-brazil70.jpgIf Soul Jazz's Tropicalia comp uncovered little for those familiar with the genre, they acquit themselves with this fine follow-up. Avoiding a Rio samba soul barrel-scrape or the dull wallpaper of Nascimento's Clube da Esquina gang, focusing on the Northeast explosion: a hotbed for young long-hairs bent on bringing folk forms like forro, baiao, and frevo into the new decade, absorbing and at times surpassing the prevailing sounds of the time. Along with the usual suspects we find Alceu Valenca, Jards Macale, Raul Seixas and, the criminally overlooked Novos Baianos, merely hinting at their greatness and influence.

Monday
Sep172007

BASIA BULAT - Oh, My Darling

bulatb-oh%20my%20darling.jpgThis London, Ontario native has gone about releasing her Canadian debut in a somewhat backward way; Oh, My Darling was first issued by venerable UK indie Rough Trade in the spring, meaning that curious locals had to either sit on their hands or fork out big ducats to satisfy their ears. Somehow, it all makes sense though. Recorded at Godspeed studio Hotel 2 Tango, Darling is wonderfully out-of-step with not only that scene, but virtually any other in Canada. These folk/pop songs sound wonderfully ancient and weathered; a kind of pre-loved texture that makes them feel both new and familiar all at once.
Thursday
Sep132007

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE presents KEVIN DREW - Spirit If...

drewkevin-spirit.jpgAs the moniker suggests, the cornerstones of the BSS experience are all here—cooed pop ballads, oddly skewed mood pieces, affecting collages of calamity, and even a few big choruses. But with Drew's hands firmly on the wheel, his assured absurdity takes centre stage. Spirit If... is awash with profane metaphor, tenderly bruised vocals, and of course, a huge guestlist. Perhaps most telling is his inclusion of Canuck radio-rocker Tom Cochrane on the killer anthem "Lucky Ones". Anyone who thinks he's poking fun at T.C., sorry to say, but the joke's on you. That's real love, baby.

Thursday
Sep132007

CULTURE - Two Sevens Clash (30th Anniversary Edition)

culture-two%20sevens.jpgOne of the year's most important reissues, this album was a milestone for roots reggae. Though about the impending apocalypse (expected by Rastafarians in 1977, or when "two sevens clashed"), the spirit of the music is never weighed down by brooding introspection. Instead, the album is a devout celebration of faith so impassioned that it found a home in the most unexpected of places: punk rock England. Aside for being the inspiration for the name "The Clash", Culture's music helped cross oceans, religions and colour barriers to initiate a love affair with reggae that shook popular music in profound ways. A welcome edition of a timeless work.
Tuesday
Sep112007

JOE ZAWINUL - Zawinul

zawinulj.-zawinul.jpgWith keyboards, drums and bass doubled on most tracks, as well in the way in which it foretells so much music to follow it, this album can be seen as the Free Jazz of Fusion, recorded ten years later. Moody and lyrical, with shorter tone poems and longer suites in near-equal measure, this newly-reissued album is a solid summation of a man about to humbly change the course of jazz with his then newly-formed group Weather Report, and who will be truly missed.

Tuesday
Sep112007

ANIMAL COLLECTIVE - Strawberry Jam

animal%20collective-strawberry.jpgWhen a band member has already made one of the year's defining releases (Panda Bear's breakout Person Pitch), you know the bar is set high. So it's with great pleasure/relief that we can confirm that Strawberry Jam is a great record: wildly accessible, yet fiercely loyal to the group's spirit of noise and chaos. New fans of Panda Bear's soaring Beach Boy-isms may take a spell to appreciate Avey Tare's coo-to-a-scream vocal style, but this juxtaposition is only one of the things that makes Jam so thrilling. Bookended by two exceptional albums, 2007 is Animal's Collective's year.

Tuesday
Sep112007

DIRTY PROJECTORS - Rise Above

dirty%20projectors-rise.jpgIf the measure of a cover is the ability of the artist to reinvent the source material, then they don't come much better than Rise Above. A song-by-song cover of Black Flag's seminal Damaged, Rise is unrecognizable as a punk album. Dave Longstreth takes his daring, magnificent voice and fearlessly recasts the album as a defiant collision of harmony, dissonance and rhythms. These ambitious recompositions are dizzying and not for the faint-of-heart, but, however the sounds have been restructured, the punk spirit of these songs remains strong as ever.
Tuesday
Sep112007

OAKLEY HALL - I'll Follow You

oakley%20hall-ill%20follow%20you.jpgOakley Hall's first album for indie powerhouse Merge is one that fully warrants their signing. Long a good group full of great potential, I'll Follow You fulfills the promise by displaying confidence in the basic tools of rock n' roll--strong singing, solid writing, and relaxed band communication. What once felt like an adopted country-rock pose has grown into the kind of quiet assuredness for which many bands would kill. Given the chance, this album could secretly become one of your faves of the year.

Tuesday
Sep112007

BLACK LIPS - Good Bad Not Evil

black%20lips-good%20bad.jpgBlack Lips already released a killer live album this year, Los Valientes Del Mundo Nuevo, which caught the group direct from Tijuana. Good Bad Not Evil keeps their momentum moving at a snarling clip. The album is vintage garage, nailing every detail. What makes the band more convincing (and fun) than the average ripoff is their commitment to an aesthetic. And only Black Lips could get away with "O Katrina", a song in tribute to the New Orleans catastrophe that is irreverent without being offensive, sympathetic without being corny, and just the right side of dumb.

Tuesday
Sep112007

VIC CHESNUTT - North Star Deserter

vic%20chesnutt-north%20star.jpgAs they did last year with Carla Bozulich, the crew at Montreal's Hotel 2 Tango studio help a revered, underappreciated talent release their best work in years. This time around, songwriter Vic Chesnutt makes the trek to Monty and finds sympathetic accompaniment in locals the Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra. Producing is filmmaker Jem Cohen, best known for his documentary work with Fugazi. It seems an odd choice until you hear the album, one draped in baroque, cinematic granduer. Powerful and spare, it is the type of noir record for which Montreal is rightly famous.