Bobby Birdman -
My introduction to Bobby Birdman came just recently with the release of his new album, New Moods, but he's been around off and on for eight or so years now, continually under the radar. The recently released record, which promises to be his "most complete musical effort to date," is an intriguing combination of bedroom electronica and freak-folk with traces of R&B throw into the mix. His laid-back vocal vibe often contrasts the fact that there's quite a bit going on with these tunes, but the contrast serves him well. Highlights from the album include the breezy pop-rock tune "Only For a While" (available to download below), the strangely funky "What You Say" and the bouncy "You'd Be Surprised," but even less accessible tracks like "Weighty Wait" - a mix of slushy electronics, hazy vocals and rambling acoustic guitar - have plenty to add to the album's overall effectiveness. If you haven't picked up anything by Birdman before, I recommend New Moods as a nice place to start.
Only For a While (MP3 via RCRD LBL)
Keegan DeWitt -
I've mentioned Keegan DeWitt in passing before, but the film scorer-turned-pop artist deserves a better introduction here with the release of his new album, Islands. DeWitt has already earned praise for the music he creates for movies, but this time around he's showing his chops as a songwriter in addition to his compositional abilities. With an endearingly drowsy voice, a knack for intimate and engaging songwriting, and a more than capable band - The Sparrows - to back him up, DeWitt's latest is a lovely set of soulful, jazzy tunes that begs to be heard. From my introduction to the first single, "Telephone," a charming waltz, everything on Islands has impressed me, especially the sexy swing of "Stormy Weather" and the more rock-oriented "Come Celia." Whether it's the emotive string arrangements or touches of electric guitar, each detail on the record feels beautifully crafted and arranged, though knowing his background you would expect no less. Definitely worth a listen, links below:
Daytrotter Session (amazing)
The Gideons -
Fans of garage rock should look no further than Halifax's own The Gideons for two reasons. First, the young Canadian quintet have just released a double LP full of raw, energetic rock 'n' roll that's got its fair share of great tunes. Second, though the vinyl pressing is extremely limited - the band is giving away digital copies for free to absolutely everybody (link below, if you're eager). I'm certain there's at least a little something for all tastes on Oxford Street, which shifts between sloppy power-pop ("She Moves Me"), Southern-tinged classic rock ("Coke & Whiskey) and a few Beatlesque numbers ("Never Say I Love You") with ease. The album may be a bit uneven over the course of 20 songs, but not only is the price right, these guys have a simple, effective chemistry that is impossible to deny and enough talent to convincingly tackle such a broad range of tunes. So, I'm doing my part by passing this along to you - now you just listen and enjoy, easy enough?
Oxford Street (full album download)