Album Reviews

Dulcie Taylor Releases Better Part of Me

Dulcie Taylor Photo Credit Jane Davis.jpg

Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Black Iris Records, a joint venture with Mesa Bluemoon Recordings have announced a March 9 release date for Better Part of Me, the new album of songs from acclaimed singer/songwriter Dulcie Taylor. The label will release “Halfway to Jesus,” the first single off the new album.

The title of the first single has special meaning to Dulcie Taylor, as she reflected on it recently.
“Our planet is suffering from ravaging climate change that has brought on catastrophic storms, commonly called ‘1,000-year storms,’ indicating how rare they should be. We must take action to save our planet.”

Better Part of Me was recorded at Laurel Lane Studio and produced by Dulcie Taylor (lead vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar, dulcimer and tambourine); George Nauful (acoustic and electric guitars, acoustic piano, bass, background vocals, lead vocals and percussion); and Damon Castillo (electric guitar, bass, background vocals, and drum programming). Joining for the recording sessions were Abraham Robles (drums, Cajon, percussion); Kristian Ducharme (B3 organ, Wurlitzer piano and acoustic piano); Dillon Johnson (upright bass); Tracy Morgan (drums, Cajon); Cameron West (bass and drums); Joey Landreth (acoustic and electric slide guitar); Dominic Castillo (electric slide guitar); Erin Snedecor and Bob Liepman (cello); Pete Whitfield (string orchestration); Valerie Johnson (background vocals); and Tyson Leonard (drum program and mandolin).

The Plot In You Reveal Disposable Fix

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Submitted by Cashbox Canada
Photo Credit Ashley Osborn

Universal Dice birth, love, hate, death

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Submitted by Lance Wright

The rock opera opus from Universal Dice entitled birth, love, hate, death marks the creative high point for writer/musician/activist Gerry Dantone and his pet project. Universal Dice makes great use of some of the best East Coast-based session players available but, despite Dantone’s primacy as the project’s creative leader, Universal Dice has a stable cast of collaborators and comes across as a real band with the sort of chemistry we hope for from such configurations. The sixteen songs included on the release makes up a compelling whole and tells a story through the voices of its characters, but the songs likewise stand well on their own, boast considerable commercial appeal, and carries on in an identifiable tradition that has many admirers. Universal Dice’s birth, love, hate, death is unique music guaranteed to make its listeners think and feel in equal measure.

Rachel Beck Announces Maritime Tour To Celebrate Release Of New Self-Titled Album

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

With only a month to go before the release of her brand new self-titled album, Rachel Beck is thrilled to announce a Maritime tour to celebrate the new record. The tour will take her through PEI, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia, kicking off with a special hometown Charlottetown show on February 25th (full dates below). For a taste of Beck’s captivating performance, have a look at her new live video for the lead single, Reckless Heart. The track entered CBC Radio 2’s Top 20 countdown this week and is available as an instant-grat with a pre-order of the album.

“We shot this video during a live show at The Dunk – a magical house concert venue in the heart of Prince Edward Island,” says Beck. “It was one of those dreamy summer days, and the whole event had a backyard BBQ kind of vibe. It was the perfect setting for our debut live performance of Reckless Heart.”

Timbaland Releases Grab The Wheel Featuring 6lack

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Submitted to Cashbox Canada

Multi-platinum Grammy-winning super-producer and artist, Timbaland, is back and riding high with the release of his new single and visual, Grab The Wheel, available today on all major digital streaming platforms. Featured on this fast and furious track is a Baltimore-based rising star, 6lack. Get Grab The Wheel here.

In this new visual, 6lack describes the need for a strong woman in his hectic life: "Girl I got a lot that's going on. If I'm trippin' tell me what I'm doing wrong". 6lack and his girl seem to have their priorities in order, as they discuss their potential relationship over a night full of laughter and games. The hypnotic track shows that Timbaland is still at the top of his musical game, while 6lack delivers a smooth and soulful performance over the beats of a producing legend.

About Timbaland

For more information please contact:
Indoor Recess Inc.



What You’re Looking For Bree Taylor

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Submitted by Mindy McCall

Hailing from the Toronto, Canada area, Bree Taylor’s rise in the music world should be swift and notable based on the quality of her initial releases. Her first single “Broken Dreams” introduced her in late 2016 as a formidable talent in the making whose powerful pipes, songwriting acumen, and willingness to put herself on the line in songs sets her apart from the typical young performers looking for their piece of the pie today. There’s little doubt that Taylor craves the spotlight and critical recognition, but there’s equally little doubt that she writes and performs music simply because she has no other choice. Her latest single “What You’re Looking For” amply testifies to the breadth of her unusual talents and positions her to assume the mantle of one of her generation’s most promising musical exports. Based on the quality we hear with this new single, there’s little question that Bree Taylor has the talent and discipline alike to grace stages around the world for years to come.

Sultans Of String Isabel Bader Theatre Toronto

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

This one had all the high energy and exhilarating music to be expected from the World Music music quintet abetted for the occasion by vocalist Rebecca Campbell. There was motivation to take it all up another notch in the fact the band was premiering their first Christmas album to the hometown folks. So what really happened was an adventurous musical trip around the world, with Christmas as the backdrop, with a passport stamped for 2017 Juno Award-nominated Sultans of String deliver an exuberant performance featuring impressive genre originals, world-music-inspired classics, and seasonal favourites.

From fiery fiddle tunes to a Caribbean sleigh ride, this show had it all, for young, old and midrange too. The classics were represented by this “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring," "The Christmas Song" a “Feliz Navidad” ska party, a Turkish twist on “Greensleeves." The wondrous to watch Cuban percussionist Rosendo Chendy made "Little Drummer Boy" his own, creating overlapping textures with the cajon.

The mood is properly set by the beguiling air of "Turkish Greensleeves", so by the time they get to "Sing For Kwanza," "Himalayan Sleighride" and the edgy "A Django Christmas," the word's out this isn't one of those Christmas shows.

Cold Specks Mod Club Toronto

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Submitted by Lenny Stoute

This gig was a coming out of sorts for Ladan Hussein, the show where she dropped her stage monikers of Cold Specks and Ali Spx for her birth name. It was also the one where she dropped the organic instrumentation of her previous albums for a pair of synths and the occasional electric bass.Hussein started her set by lighting incense and a candle in a gold-gilded vase. “Scent is stronger than sound,” she said as the sweet fragrance wafted throughout the venue. “It holds memories." Then plunged into newest release Fool's Paradise, an experimental, textured work that, lacking much in the way of hooks except for set closer "Exile," is all about the voice.

Which is why it seemed odd that in many places, where a powerful resolution was called for, songs like "Void' just seemed to drift away. Maybe it was the stress of touring, having just got back from Europe but the large midsection of the show sounded she was in her own bubble, not really working the songs.

Still and all, the solid fanbase, friends and many family members who made up the crowd were into the personal stories and deep doom vocals they had come for but a casual listener might have liked some rhythm in the recipe. Or maybe it comes with doom soul itself. as Hussein herself remarked during an intro. “All sad songs,” she said. “I don’t know, I can’t help myself.” Then joked about 2018 being the year she bails on doom soul and takes on pop music to “make some money.”

Jonathan Cavier Blue Room Remix

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Submitted by Jason Hillenburg

Jonathan Cavier’s 2017 album Blue Room will likely finish out the year surrounded by the same atmosphere greeting its initial release – as one of the year’s best all-around effort regardless of genre. This likelihood, however, doesn’t persuade Cavier to stand pat. Great albums are never finished, only released, and Cavier has opted for revisiting his album in collaboration with engineer Nico Essig for a full remix that casts his sophomore effort in a different light through adding previously unreleased songs, reworking his already fine vocals, and twisting the overall sound in another direction. Essig, with a CV including artists Katy Perry and Paul McCartney, has wreathed Cavier’s material in a robust and thoroughly modern sound that accentuates his musical and vocal strengths. The new material doesn’t upset the original album’s balance but, instead, ratchets up the intensity of the release and allows different sides of Cavier’s musical character to get their day in the sun.

Kelly McGrath O Holy Night

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Submitted by Laura Dodero

The wont of popular music performers to produce seasonal material celebrating the Christmas season is a tradition reaching back several decades and, typically, works as a ploy to print money by preying on people’s sentiments. Some offerings strike us as self-consciously crafted confections playing on popular tropes, but there are some efforts that come along each year notable for their musical creativity and unbridled honesty. Kelly McGrath’s latest single “O Holy Night” joins the ranks of the latter thanks to its pure-hearted theatricality that highlights the scale of McGrath’s vocal talents and the wise arrangement she chooses to move this tune along. Rather than tossing a bunch of needless musical tinsel onto the recording, McGrath chooses to take a much more minimalist approach certain to connect with audiences and the sparse musical accompaniment adorning the song is expertly applied and doesn’t betray even a hint of self-indulgence.

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