Summer 2024 30-Second Album Reviews

Summer album releases from Jim Cuddy, BADBADNOTGOOD, Potatohead People and more

Jim Cuddy All the World Fades Away

Jim Cuddy

All the World Fades Away

Genre: Roots
Sound: Beautifully sung, sometimes heart wrenching ballads and uplifting songs of celebration
If you like: Blue Rodeo, Jackson Browne, Gordon Lightfoot
Release:  Fri., June 14
Best track: You Belong
Rating: NNNNN (out of 5)
Why you should listen: Not only is Jim Cuddy a gifted singer, but as a songwriter, he has an amazing skill at capturing feelings of a moment in time, either by fondly looking back or directly dropping listeners into the experience. A talented storyteller with many touching tales to share. His best solo work yet.

BADBADNOTGOOD Mid Spiral: Chaos

BADBADNOTGOOD

Mid Spiral: Chaos

Genre: Jazz
Sound: Psychedelic-infused jazz
If you like: Robert Glasper, Yussef Dayes, Ezra Collective
Best track: Wire & Wonderful
Release: Now
Rating: NNNN (out of 5)
Why you should listen: Toronto jazz collective’s experimental EP Mid Spiral: Chaos emulates Afrobeats, film noir ambiance and psychedelic aesthetics harkening back to the jazz clubs in the early ’90s to 2000s for a cerebral yet trippy experience of going to a trendy café alone to get work done after hours. Heady, satisfying next step from local faves.

Potatohead People Eat Your Heart Out

Potatohead People

Eat Your Heart Out

Genre: Electronic
Sound: Groovy amalgamation of downtempo R&B and hip hop with a hint of funk
If you like: Beatchild, Ivan Ave, Elaquent
Best track: Last Night (ft. Redman, Kapok)
Release: Now
Rating: NNNN (out of 5)
Why you should listen: Vancouver’s Nick Wisdom and AstroLogical’s sixth studio album uses love as a central theme, from the infatuation of a crush to missing ex-lovers. It features a stellar guest list including Redman and Kapok and looping, downtempo production of R&B and hip hop for those who are missing out on a relationship or dreaming of finding a partner at the right place at the right time.

Jake Vaadeland Retro Man… More and More Expanded Version

Jake Vaadeland

Retro Man… More and More Expanded Version

Genre: Bluegrass
Sound: Sounds of ’30s Appalachia updated and authentic for today
If you like: Jimmie Rodgers, The Sadies, Johnny Cash
Best track: Be a Farmer or a Preacher
Release: Now
Rating: NNNNN (Out of 5)
Why you should listen: We’ve had our eye on Saskatchewan’s Jake Vaadeland and his band, the Sturgeon River Boys, since their dazzling Toronto debut at the Cameron House at NXNE 2021, a festival highlight that year. We’ve taken every opportunity to see him live across the country ever since — and never been disappointed as he updates a vintage classic country sound and makes it his own like k.d. lang once did. An emerging star.

Elaquent

Obrigado!

Genre: Electronic
Sound: Breezy and smooth bossa nova production with hip hop beats
If you like: K Le Maestro, Potatohead People, Anzola
Best track: Suco
Release: Now
Rating: NNNN (Out of 5)
Why you should listen: Take a trip to vibrant Brazil as Guelph-based producer Elaquent’s new EP mixes his signature sounds of electronica, lo-fi hip hop and neo-soul with bossa nova. Obrigado was inspired by his trip to Rio de Janeiro and his new release sends you there to soak in the tropical, soothing vibes of the South American nation.

Arkells Disco Loadout (Volume 1)

Arkells

Disco Loadout (Volume 1)

Genre: Pop
Sound: Breezy pop classics
If you like: Trans-Canada Highwaymen, Hall and Oates, Dwayne Gretzky
Best track: Dancing Queen
Release: Now
Rating: NNN (Out of 5)
Why you should listen: Hamilton pop-rockers The Arkells have done a “Motown set” since their early days, sometimes performing whole nights of classic tunes so, perhaps this album was inevitable. Doesn’t have the thematic unity of Trans-Canada Highwaymen’s recent ’70s Canadian classics Explosive Hits Vol. 1, but Max Kerman handles the classic vocals well and the band is super tight, performing this eclectic mix of their favourite tunes. They had fun and so will you.

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