By: Alex Bloom, Grace Rose, and Eva Zhu
Uncommon Ground by Busty and the Bass
This Montréal-based band released their debut LP on September 8, and there’s not a single member of the nine-piece band that doesn’t shine on it. For those not familiar with Busty and the Bass’, sound they focus primarily on funk, jazz, and R&B, as well as hip hop and rap. The band employs trumpet, trombone, alto-saxophone, guitar, bass, keyboard, synths, and drums. To say the least, the band is hard to define.
Songs like “Free Shoes” and “Dance with Someone!!!” are loud, fast-paced tracks, while the tracks “Common Ground” and “Things Change” provide a more calming feeling. As mentioned by Alistair Blu, the rapper of the group, in conversation with The Peak, each track has its own sound. That said, all of the songs on this LP are funky and capable of taking you on an emotional rollercoaster. They evoke joy, nostalgia, catharsis — and very often they make you want to dance. With a fantastic brass band sound, hauntingly beautiful vocals, and powerful rap verses, I’d say that Uncommon Ground is one of the best albums to come out of Canada in 2017. – AB
Boomerang by Jidenna
Many know him as “the classic man,” but Jidenna is continuing to expand beyond one genre. He seamlessly fuses together Nigerian high life, dirty south hip hop, and Afrobeat vibes to create an EP that spans the sonic African diaspora. Releasing four new songs and two remixes from his debut album The Chief, it’s a mix of old and new for both returning, and new fans of his music. The title track is a laidback jam that makes you want to both hang out by a pool with an icy drink and dance late into the night. It’s a funky mix with a little something for everyone, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of hip hop. – GR
Turn Out The Lights by Julien Baker
Julien Baker is one of those rare artists who uses music as a personal diary, giving listeners a glimpse into her struggles and triumphs through heart-wrenching lyrics and exemplary guitar playing. She got her start on Bandcamp, eventually re-releasing her debut album Sprained Ankle by 6131 Records. It contains nine simple songs that would no doubt make you cry. Her sophomore LP, Turn Out the Lights, was released by Matador Records and is still as beautifully sad as her previous work, but with sleeker production and more confidence. You might even find yourself relating to her songs on heartbreak, depression, and questioning her faith as a queer Christian. Musically, this album is full of songs that start off soft then crescendo into powerful belts. “Appointments,” “Turn Out the Lights,” and “Sour Breath” are examples of this. Overall, if you enjoy indie-folk music that’ll give you a good cry, Julien Baker is your girl. – EZ