Five artists to discover: April 2013 edition

Tokyo summer festival

Here is what I’ve been listening to during the month of April: Once again, I’m noticing that my taste in music is all over the place, so I hope you discover something you like!

Annie: Music aficionados have been paying attention to the Swedish pop scene for years now, embracing the work of singers Robyn and Lykke Li. However, audacious pop music is also being produced in the country right next door, without garnering the same amount of praise or consideration.

Norway’s Annie is a pop star for the indie fans. She and her team of musician friends meld infectious beats together with different elements of sonority that create what the artist herself calls ‘pop with strange edges’.

Zion T: Kpop tends to be all about the big beats and bands with more members than most people have fingers. Here’s something different: Zion T.His sound is more akin to that of Justin Timberlake or Jamiroquai. An interesting change of pace in the sea of boy and girl bands!

Alex Hepburn:I discovered the lovely voice of british songstress Alex Hepburn via an obviously heartbroken radio host here in Quebec (he keeps sharing songs about love and pain on his Facebook account). I really feel for him and his tribulations, but am so happy to have learned about this marvelous singer and her rocking voice. Yes, I can hear those Janis Joplin/Amy Winehouse inflections too 😉

À propos’ 25th anniversary: Singer songwriter Jim Corcoran has been the host of his radio-show À propos for 25 years on CBC radio. Every week he has shared the best of what Quebec’s francophone music scene has to offer to a Canada-wide audience. As a way to celebrate this milestone anniversary, he’s asked some of his favorite singers to cover a few of his favorite songs that were released during that period of time. The results are all excellent, particularly Jérome Minière’s take on Jean Leloup‘s L’amour est sans pitié. He’s made the song his without distorting it in the process.

Pokey Lafarge: OK. You’ve heard and fell in love with the soundtrack to modern day classic O Brother where art thou? (You haven’t? Then please click here! I guarantee it’ll brighten up your day). The movie was set during the end of the Great Depression. The film’s team enlisted the great T-Bone Burnett, american roots music specialist, to recreate a sound that fit with that time, since the music was such an integral part of the film.

In the same vein, here’s a modern day musician who should have been born in that same era depicted in the movie but wasn’t, so he plays his guitar and harmonica like it’s 1937. Pokey Lafarge and his band, the South city three, record songs that delve in bluegrass, ragtime, swing and vaudeville, among other genres that are often designated as retro. Despite their seemingly nostalgic sound, the melodies are  fun and heartwarming without being sappy. Anyone leaving for a (long or short) road-trip should definitely add this band to their music mixes for the journey!

Hope you liked my selection! Please do share what you’ve been listening to these past few weeks!

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