Music picks

Music picks

This month’s releases are ready to rock your player. Listen up for’s top picks

Click on the album covers for a review and to listen to a sample track >

City and Colour, Live The Apples In Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder David Usher, Strange Birds
(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

City and Colour, Live

When Dallas Green released his first solo album last year (Sometimes under the moniker City and Colour), it was a surprising revelation. Turns out there’s a sensitive side to the tattoo-sportin’ guy in the rock-out screamo band, Alexisonfire. Since then, Dallas has been creating all kinds of buzz, particularly thanks to the power of his live shows which brilliantly showcase the authenticity of his talent (not to mention his wicked sense of humour).

Live is yet another affirmation of Dallas’ solo ability. In its mellowed-out, striped-down form, this disc remains even truer to the lyrical content of the Sometimes tracks and the addition of some previously unreleased materials is another welcome bonus.

Perfect for: A Sunday afternoon
Stand-out track: Confessions (previously unreleased)
Bonus: In addition to the Live CD, a DVD, also titled Live is now available featuring an alternate tracklist and bonus performances.

courtesy of Dine Alone Records and City and Colour

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(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

The Apples In Stereo, New Magnetic Wonder

If you’re looking for a modern version of The Beatles, look no further than The Apples In Stereo. Newly signed to the fresh-faced Simian Records (the love-child of Froto himself, actor Elijah Wood), this band is the burst of fun that Simian needs to get off the ground.

Self-described as “the indie-rock flag wavers of sunny pop”, The Apples In Stereo make it musically and lyrically clear that they are full of possibility. With a choir of “du-du-douers” and references to streets, cars, shadows, and stars, the album is whimsical and fun – never stopping to hit a low note. Frankly, there is too much energy here to bother with whiny ballads. With synthesizers and extra-terrestrial bubbles popping up all over, New Magnetic Wonder is a refreshing take on what indie music can be.

Perfect for: Dance parties in your underwear
Stand-out track: Can You Feel It?

artwork and audio file courtesy of Simian Records

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(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

David Usher, Strange Birds

David Usher’s sound infuses rock with dance-pop and on his fifth solo album, Strange Birds, he has perfected a sound unique to him. Now New York-based, it’s as though Usher has translated the city’s afflictions and flashing lights into music, making the listener a spectator of sorts.

With his voice as smooth as ever, Usher approaches this disc with a musical and lyrical maturity that flows from track to track, even though the dance-pop influence is stronger than the rock at times. But despite the changing tone, Strange Birds is well-rounded as a whole making it not just a tracklist, but a record – not an easy feat – and it confirms just how much Usher has developed a sound all his own.

Perfect for: Your next cocktail party
Stand-out track: Ugly Is Beautiful

artwork courtesy of MapleMusic Recordings

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