Armahain — Being Human

Another bright and shiny pop project from the 2016 batch. There’s a constant thickness and motion happening in each song that breeds a full and rich sound to move its listeners. The vocals have been mixed in an interesting way that washes them into the fabric of the song itself, at the level of the instrument, and it works in making a pop sound more her own than typical synth-driven indie pop. Good tones, good tunes, and a good album for the first Monday of the Spring.

Click here to download or stream it. Here’s a sample song:

The Hashbrowns’ Family Day

As the album title implies, Family Day was recorded by a family, “the world’s dorkiest family in St. John’s.” It’s the work of Natasha Blackwood and her family, and proves music can be fun enough to get kids recording early. In fact, the kids’ uninhibited creative enthusiasm brought something to the songwriting process. Most of the songs are exceptionally hooky tunes about daily realities, while others are moving ballads for the importance of YouTube, or scary jams about monsters. These songs aren’t just endearing for what they are — kids songs — they’re really good to boot.

Click here to stream or download the album. Here’s a sample song:

Justin Strong’s Peace & Understanding

If every year one RPM album takes the city by storm, this year’s crowd favourite seems to be Justin Strong’s Peace & Understanding. (Somewhat ironic given track 4’s title “I don’t wanna be scene.”) What starts off as Father John Misty meets Jeff Buckley evolves, around track 4’s collaboration with local rapper Dopepiece, into something altogether successfully fresh and new, and accessibly experimental.

Click here to stream or download it. Here’s a sample song:

Michael Hannaford’s You’re Ugly and Your Mother Dresses You Funny

Hannaford’s approach to guitar is interesting, which is essential for acoustic-driven songs, and the often-hilarious lyrics highlight the mundanity of life, and the hickness of most of mankind. It’s refreshing to hear songs about something other than being in or out of love, including reasons to head to Tokyo, the woes of living with a broken water pump, and a ballad for the kinds of men who drive trucks. “I don’t  like immigrants or refugees or people with arts degrees or bikes or salads or thoughts.” “Organ Waltz for Nan” is more than a funny title: he wrote and recorded the album in his cabin, using his nan’s old organ on a few songs. Near the end of the album, things get political and to the point in “The Mayor Soundly Sleeps,” “Dennis are you sleeping, Dennis are you sleeping, there’s no other explanation I can see.” At its best moments, Hannaford’s album conjures a vibe of whatever Bill Callahan or Mark Kozelek are drinking.

Click here to download or stream it. Here’s a sample song:


No Culture’s River Post Motion

No Culture features not one but two of the city’s most distinctive, original songwriters – it’s a collaboration of Patrick Canning and AE Bridger’s, and they definitely complement each other well, draw out new qualities in each other’s songwriting, and add a great edge to each other’s songs. This is a big bold album, each song jam-packed with tracks to build an orchestral, haunting, and powerful batch of music using instruments as obscure as a jew’s harp and accordion in a genre outside their norm. No two other songwriters could have come together to create this, and the necessarily rushed collaboration didn’t push these two into creating a half-assed, “experimental” album. It sounds like an album two people spent a year, not a month putting together. Any two people who can make an album this strong and unique in a month should definitely make another.

Click here to stream or download the album. Here’s a sample song: