Concertgoers at the Wireless fest in Finsbury Park, London were pleasantly surprised to find headliner DJ Khaled replaced by Drake as the fest closer. The Guardian critic Ben Beaumont-Thomas was impressed, writing that "it’s a Canadian who seals the festival...Drake segues from Giggs’ set via their ever-explosive collaborative track 'KMT' into solo cuts from his new album Scorpion, currently No 1 in the US and UK... It’s a real coup: 'God’s Plan' aside, this is the first time these songs have been performed live.... Drake’s sheer wit and confidence mean this North American remains utterly beloved by London."
– In the first half of 2018, vinyl album sales grew 19.2 percent in the US, compared with the same period last year. Nielsen Music figures tracked 2018 sales of 7.6 million vinyl albums, up from 6.4 million. In the full year of 2017, the format sold 14.32 million copies, a 9 percent increase from 2016.
The top-selling vinyl album for the first half of 2018 is Jack White’s Boarding House Reach (37,000 copies). Others in the Top 10 include Kendrick Lamar, Fleetwood Mac, Prince, Michael Jackson and the Beatles. Source: Billboard
– Sony Music Entertainment CEO Rob Stringer has announced the relaunch of famed label Arista. It will be headed by David Massey, who will serve as President and CEO of Arista, reporting directly to Stringer. Massey was recently President and CEO of Island Records and was previously President of Mercury Records. Record industry mogul Clive Davis founded Arista in 1974. Its artists have included Whitney Houston, the Kinks, Patti Smith, the Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Barry Manilow, and Aretha Franklin Source: PR Newswire
–Toronto indie rock faves Tokyo Police Club release TPC, their first album in four years, on Oct. 5 on Dine Alone Records. They'll preview it at a July 14 T.O. showcase at Hopped & Confused. A major North American tour runs Oct. 16-Nov. 17. Dates here
– Reunited post-punk pioneers Public Limited Ltd. marks its 40th anniversary with an 18-date North American fall tour launching Oct. 9 in New Orleans. The John Lydon-led band plays Club Soda in Montreal on Oct. 18 and Lee's Palace in Toronto, Oct. 19.
– Toronto's Manifesto Festival's new Discovery Series offers a window playing a six-day club series. Artists include Winnipeg-based Indigenous rapper/activist Drezus, R&B artist Liza, rapper/producer/DJ Junia-T, and former A Tribe Called Red DJ NDN. Previously-announced Manifesto headliners include reggae star Chronixx and UK rapper Akala. The fest runs Aug. 9-14.
– Canadian Julian Kuerti was recently named Music Director of the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra. The five-year contract begins with the 2018-19 concert season. Kuerti has worked as a conductor with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montreal, the Orquesta Sinfónica Universidad de Concepción in Chile, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and many more. He's the son of noted classical pianist Anton Kuerti.
– Quebec prog rock band Voivod turns 35 this year. A new album, The Wake, arrives on Century Media Records Sept. 21, their first full-length release since 2013’s Target Earth. After select North American fest dates, Voivod’s European tour run begins Sept. 7 in Prague, closing in Madrid on Sept. 25.
– It was not a commercial smash, but Elizabeth Shepherd’s 2008 album Parkdale earned the singer/songwriter/pianist significant peer respect. Th will be shown at an anniversary tribute to the record on July 15 at Toronto's Gladstone Hotel, fittingly located in Parkdale. It features the original Parkdale rhythm section of Colin Kingsmore and Scott Kemp, with premier trumpeter Brownman Ali added. Guest vocalists and players include Jessica Stuart, Chloe Watkinson, Jocelyn Barth, Collette Savard & The Savantes, Denielle Bassels, Red, Whyte & Tollar, The Memberz reggae band, and Valeria Matzner.
– The 2018 TD Halifax Jazz Festival Stingray Rising Stars finalists are the Emie R Roussel Trio, Willem Paynter & The Hardbop Collective, The Blue Lane, the Chelsea McBride Socialist Night School, and the Benjamin Deschamps Quintet. They get to showcase at the fest with afternoon sets, July 11-15, competing for a $3K purse. Allison Au won last year.
– To record their new EP, Rocanrol, punk-inflected Mexican rock 'n roll band Canibales headed a long way north from their Guadalajara home. They settled into Edmonton's Negative Space Studio with producer Jed Gauthier ( Counterfeit Jeans) capturing their sound in one take fashion. Jesse Gander mastered at Rain City Records in Vancouver. Check out the EP (due July 13) here
– Nashville-based Canadian country star Crystal Shawanda has turned to the blues with her new release, VooDoo Woman. It has been available digitally, but True North Records gives it a physical release, Sept. 21.
Recognised as one of Canada's best world music fests, Kultrun (presented by Neruda Arts) takes place at Victoria Park, Kitchener. July 14-15. Artists from Korea, Chile, China, Spain, Colombia, and Mexico perform alongside such notable Canadians as Alysha Brilla, Cara Luft, Okan, Eliana Cuevas, Briga, and Aaron Bell and White Pine Dancers.
Carmen Campagne, a Juno-winning singer and children's entertainer, passed away on July 4 from cancer, at age 58.
Born and raised in Willow Bunch, Saskatchewan, she was a member of the folk music band Folle Avoine in the 1970s. Her brother Paul and sisters Suzanne, Michelle, and Annette Campagne, her bandmates in Folle Avoine, continued in music with the folk band Hart-Rouge.
As a children's entertainer, she received a Juno Award in 1989 for Best Children's Album for Lullaby Berceuse, a collaboration with Connie Kaldor. Campagne won four Félix awards in the category of Best Children's Album plus Parents' Choice Awards in the US.
In 2013, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada "for her contributions as a singer, songwriter, and composer enhancing music for young children and using music in French-language education." Sources: Radio Canada, Montreal Gazette