Haute Coutunes

November: Haute Coutunes

Three hot new discs to check out this month

Click on the albums below to read a review and listen to a sample track >

Band of Horses The Acorn Sally Shapiro
(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

Band of Horses
Cease to Begin

As a whole, Cease To Begin, the sophomore disc from Band Of Horses, is a gradual and logical transition coming from Everything All The Time (their 2005 debut). It’s an evolution that strengthens and solidifies the South Carolina-born band, without taking too sharp a turn from where they began; but, as their first single and opening track,  “Is There A Ghost?” is quick to prove, they aren’t exactly stuck in a corner either.

As Cease To Begin unfolds, country and rock converge on a folk platform that makes better sense of the hybrid genre than most bands ever manage and their lyrics delve deep to tell truthful tales backed by a healthy amount of substance. Then, there’s that voice—oh, that voice—which has only gotten better with its creamy high pitch that few men can achieve.

“Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” rocks out towards the end, getting back in line with the opening thrust of “Is There A Ghost?”, but the last track, “Window Blues” brings the tone back down and is a decidedly prettier way to say goodbye. Well, at least until next time—as the band says, they’ve only ceased to begin.

Stand-out track: Detlef Schrempf
Perfect for: Backyard parties

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(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

The Acorn
Glory Hope Mountain

The making of Glory Hope Mountain was a true labour of love for The Acorn’s lead singer/songwriter Rolf Klausener. From top to bottom, the album retells the childhood tales of his mother, Gloria Esperanza Montoya and sets the story of her Honduran upbringing to a folk-rock sound that recalls the Central American country’s native Garifuna sounds.

Glory Hope is not the band’s first turn at a thematic release. In 2004, their album, The Pink Ghosts was a nod to Ottawa’s Outaouais region. But this time, the content is more personal, which surfaces in an honest yearning throughout Glory Hope’s twelve tracks. From the first track “Hold Your Breath”, right down to the last, “Lullaby (Mountain)”, the album is loaded with lyrical imagery and the hidden grace of Klausener’s storytelling proves that he is slowly becoming one of Canada’s foremost songwriters.

Through metaphor and music, Klausener unveils his mother’s early years with thoughtful care, making for a special tribute between mother and son, and a stellar album that fuses modern rock and old-world folk. A combination that is sure to stand the test of time amidst a sea of fleeting tunes.

Stand-out track: Flood Pt. 1
Perfect for: Rustic road trips

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(Click on album cover to hear a track)  

Sally Shapiro
Disco Romance

With the album so aptly titled Disco Romance, there is almost no need to further explain. ‘Romantic disco music’ is a perfect description for the sound and mood of Sally Shapiro’s tunes. Her music is sweet, easy listening, and this, Shapiro’s debut album, will have you smiling along without giving you a toothache.

Shapiro’s arrival came, not unlike most successes these days, by chance. In 2006, an online release of the track “I’ll Be By Your Side” (which appears on Disco Romance as an extended remix) caused labels to take notice. From there, the dominos dropped, eventually landing Shapiro a recording contract and a new direction in life.

Listening to Disco Romance; however, it’s hard to imagine the Swedish songstress doing anything else. She brings a coy innocence to the microphone that creates a strong juxtaposition against the sexy Euro-electro synth backing her up. It’s a unique approach that stands out amongst the overtly sexual competition and it’s one that is sure to keep Shapiro’s tracks spinning for years to come.

Stand-out track: Time To Let Go
Perfect for: Chillin’ out with friends

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