The Friday before Valentine’s in the dead of winter doesn’t necessarily come across as a week of peak music consumption, but with little else to do this weekend beyond spooning and staying out of the cold, I’ll happily take this unusual high volume of kickass projects from Montreal artists. If you’re similarly looking for a soundtrack to your weekend, try these new releases by Kìzis, Dominique Fils-Aimé and Planet Giza.
In our current feast or famine dichotomy of streaming releases, where you’re either padding your albums with fluff for play counts or skipping the album cycle for a steady pace of single drops, Algonquin two-spirit artist Kìzis has opted for something else entirely: a four-hour, 36-song epic influenced by personal experience, shared history, and the city’s nightlife. At once triumphant and tender, the former Archery Guild member doesn’t use the extra runtime to dilly dally but instead give every facet of a person’s complex life: the ups and downs, the unforgettable parties and the scars from youth. Tidibàbide/Turn has beats, loops, strings, ballads, the national anthem and plenty more. It has over 50 collaborators, including Beverly Glenn Copeland and Owen Pallett. Perhaps most surprising is with our reduced attention spans, this album is excellent from start to finish and works as a cohesive unit. Don’t let the length scare you, this is a triumphant 2021 release you need to experience. Start with the video for “Amanda,” shot around the thriving nightlife corridor on Van Horne.
Dominique Fils-Aimé, Three Little Words
The Polaris Prize shortlister and La Voix contestant has a good reason for dropping music in February: the jazz and soul vocalist finds inspiration in black music history for her concept albums, so Black History Month is a perfect time to make that connection between music’s past and present. Three Little Words is the end of a trilogy of era-spanning albums of primarily original material, although she closes this one with a very recognizable cover (I won’t spoil which). What makes Fils-Aimé’s trilogy so potent is that she isn’t making historical or retro music, but rather taking the emotional resonance of history and leaping into the present. They have the feel of timeless standards, but more often than not don’t sound like them. It’s a testament to strong songwriting and an encyclopedic knowledge base to draw from without being beholden to those elements. To give an example, check out “Love Take Over.”
Planet Giza, Don’t Throw Rocks at the Moon
A short but sweet entry from the classic hip hop heads and Kaytranada acolytes. Clocking in at 14 minutes, the only strike against this peanut butter smooth six-song release is that you’ll be left wanting even more. The trio — Rami B, Dumix, and Tony Stone — have further refined their approach since 2019’s Added Sugar, finding a sweet interplanetary spot somewhere between the Soulquarians and the Neptunes. It’s not easy sound to otherworldly, yet the group have expertly slowed down the Earth’s rotation while everyone around them speeds up. I wouldn’t call it grounded, but rather finding calm floating in space. Take a trip and watch their video for “When the Moving Stops.”
But wait, there’s more!
A couple of excellent local rap acts, Rosalvo and the Lyonz, are back. The former dropped a first R&B-inspired tape called 3:33, while the latter released two-song Right of Asylum EP. Looking forward to cracking those open, too. ■
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