Music News Digest, April 5, 2021

‘90s Canadian rock stars Moist will release a new album, End of the Ocean, on Oct. 1, via Known Accomplice, the group’s first since 2014’s Glory Under Dangerous Skies. Don’t look for any gimmicky, environmentally destructive NFT offerings from Moist. In a label press release, singer David Usher presciently warns, “Can we just slow down on the love affair with the NFTs, at least until we can make them climate-neutral? The greatest irony would be if artists and their art are the catalysts that lead the world to embrace a new unsustainable economy.” Here's the video for the new single.

– On April 3, Canadian superstar The Weeknd put out a new track through NFT (non-fungible token). Both components of the sale involved a previously unreleased song, The Source, which will not be available on any other platforms in the future. In addition, a visual art piece developed by Strange Loop Studios in consultation with The Weeknd was also put on sale. Three different visual artworks, each with a filtered segment of the new song were offered followed by a 24-hour auction for “an exclusive 1-of-1 piece of art” backed by the new song in its entirety. Source: HiphopnmoreThe Star

– Yesterday evening (April 4), Justin Bieber gave his fans an Easter surprise by releasing Freedom, a gospel-inspired EP that arrived without advance notice. "Freedom on all platforms," Bieber wrote on Instagram shortly after the new project surfaced. The six-tracks feature guests including Beam, Brandon Love, Chandler Moore, Pink Sweats, Judah Smith, Tori Kelly, and Lauren Walters. Freedom comes out just two weeks after the release of Justice, Bieber’s sixth album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. Source: Billboard

Montreal-based indie label Bonsound has announced the start of a partnership with American agency Anniversary Group. Effective immediately, the association between the two companies involves the representation of several artists affiliated with Bonsound in the American and Asian (Southeast) markets, for concert bookings. Ala.Ni, BEYRIES, Les Deuxluxes, Laurence-Anne, Les Louanges, Mélissa Laveaux and Sophia Bel are the first artists to be part of this initiative. Based in NYC, Anniversary Group is a booking agency, promoter and label services company, with a focus on the US and East Asia territories. Their roster includes Throwing Muses, Xiu Xiu, Armand Hammer, Deerhoof,  and Silverio. 

Great Lake Swimmers are now sharing the live version of I Am Part Of A Large Family, from their upcoming (weewerk) release Live At The Redeemer 2007. Set for release as a vinyl double LP and on digital platforms, the concert capped off the band’s Canadian spring tour of 2007, one supporting the album Ongiara. “This live version of I Am Part Of A Large Family has one of my favourite Great Lake Swimmers live band lineups,” says leader/songwriter Tony Dekker. “Bob Egan on dobro, Owen Pallett on violin, and Basia Bulat on backing vocals, alongside the core four-piece band at the time. The live version rivals the album one in my mind, and really flourishes once the band gets going, transcending the sum of its parts.”

– The Toronto's music community is saddened at the news that College Street record store Soundscapes has plans to close. Opened by Greg Davis 22 years ago, it was considered by many to be the best-curated store in the city. It hosted notable in-store performances and staff included such local musicians as John Crossingham (Broken Social Scene) and Steve Lambke (The Constantines). The pandemic lockdown situation is cited as one of the factors hastening its demise, along with the increased price of vinyl. Read eloquent tributes to the store by Michael Barclay and John Crossingham, and here is a 2009 profile of Soundscapes in Spacing.

– Launched last year, Global Music Match is a collaboration created by founding partners Sounds Australia, Showcase Scotland Expo and East Coast Music Association (ECMA) and other export organisations from around the world. The first edition had the participation of 96 artists from 14 countries. Applications are now open for artists interested in taking part in the next edition of GMM, a 16-week, artist driven program that begins May 13. Deadline is April 16 to apply here

– Renewed lockdown measures in Toronto have forced the Horseshoe Tavern to postpone its planned live-stream Horseshoe Hootenanny series until May 7. “At the Horseshoe, Lee’s Palace, Collective Concerts, we see both sides of the government conundrum on public safety in this pandemic,” Horseshoe/Collective Concerts' owner Jeff Cohen told NOW. “We don’t want to be contributing to an infection count. We don’t want to put any of the artists who get on that stage, or our co-workers, put in harm’s way, period... Sometimes governments just pick winners and losers and live music venues always seem to come up on the losing end. Every time we are proactive and confirm a series of shows, it’s inevitable they will get moved, postponed or cancelled. As both owners and artistic programmers, it’s just uber frustrating. We feel beaten up.”

The Kinaxis InConcert Series at Lee's Palace recently announced a double bill live-stream featuring Fast Romantics and Zeus for May 22, but that will depend on the lockdown conditions in play then. The City of Toronto’s City Hall Live Spotlight series will continue until at least April 15, as shows were already shot. Info here.

–  Two digital concerts presented by Hugh's Room Live will proceed, as they were pre-recorded. East Coast favourites Dave Gunning and J.P. Cormier team up for an April 17 performance (tix here) and noted folk duo Madison Violet stream a concert on April 24 (tix here).

– Chris Murphy (Sloan, TUNS, Anyway Gang) plays a solo Zoom show (via Side Door Access) on April 11 @ 5 pm EST. He had to cancel a Feb 7 show because he developed Bell's Palsy, but his condition has improved. This will be the all-request show he had to cancel, so expect takes on such Sloan faves as Coax Me, The Marquee and the Moon, Underwhelmed, and The Rest of My Life. Tix $10 here.

– A Canadian organisation has used artificial intelligence to create a realistic-sounding new Nirvana song, Unilad reportsOver the Bridge, based in Toronto, is a nonprofit dedicated to ‘change the conversation about mental health and recovery in the music community.’ Its latest project, titled Lost Tapes of the 27 Club, honours rock stars who died at the age of 27 – such as Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and Kurt Cobain – by using mainly machines to estimate what new music from them would sound like.

– March 28 marked the official one-year anniversary for Barrie’s Live Music Show, a public Facebook group that has raised awareness and over $100k for local charities, and has grown to over 11,000 members since the start of the Covid pandemic. With the devastating closures of venues and in-person live music, the show has provided an outlet for musicians to continue to create, perform, and connect with an audience. Source: Barrie Today

– London, ON, country singer/songwriter Genevieve Fisher has a couple of reasons to be cheerful these days, The London Free Press reports. She recently gave birth to her first child, Harrison, while her current single, Playing Favourites, has now made the Top 40. This is the eighth track over the past decade that has charted in the Top 50.

 Quebecois jazz luminary François Bourassa has released ten original music albums over an illustrious 35-year career, but only now is he releasing a solo piano record. The Impact Of Silence  comes out physically on Effendi on April 10, with a digital release via Naxos of Canada coming on April 16. It will be launched with a live-stream concert on April 10, as part of the Jazz en Rafale LIVE CAM Festival. Tix here.

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