HOLD ON – THE XX

New xx material is always cause for celebration, but I seem overly excited for the release of I See You on January 13, 2017. (Most likely because it’s been FIVE LONG YEARS since they put out Coexist.)  If it’s anything like their single “Hold On,” I’m in for a treat. It feels so good to know there’s a whole album worth of new Romy, Oliver and Jamie material coming my way.

BENEATH WITH ME (FT. SKYLAR GREY) – KASKADE X DEADMAU5

Whenever  Kaskade and Deadmau5 get together, you know things are going to be good. (“I Remember” remains one of my all-time favourite songs.) Both these reputed producers always come up with some of the best progressive beats, and I can’t say enough about Skylar Grey. “Beneath With Me” stays true to her signature aerial vocals that only ever seem to touch down just as they take off once more. On the whole, this track makes me incredibly nostalgic for those late summer nights when I was just discovering both Kaskade and Deadmau5. “Beneath With Me” feels a little like a old reunion of sorts, and the magic of these two guys is clearly alive and well.

TASTE – BRAIDS

Every now and then I’m able to catch CBC’s radio show The Signal at 10 p.m. when I’m driving listlessly around town. Host Laurie Brown (who arguably has her own cult following here in the True North) always has the BEST music to showcase, including a number of well-known and lesser-known Canadian artists. Braids are a band from the Prairies and I couldn’t help but be swept away by their single “Taste” off their third studio album. It’s such a haunting song, only enhanced by the fact that I was hearing it for the first time driving down the darkened 417. (FYI – you can stream Laurie’s curated music picks on CBC Music.)

SHANE KOYCZAN

I knew it was Shane as soon as I heard the voice. The Canadian spoken word poet lends his verse to Sport Chek’s Rio 2016 Olympic Manisfesto commercials. I’ve always been a big fan of Shane and definitely got pretty emotional watching these commercials. The cadence and lyricism of his voice is incredible. Lots of pride for Canada!