With the gusto of Rihanna and a reverence for her mixed ancestry, Quebec’s Mariame Hasni is an R&B powerhouse. She blends modern beats with Cree instrumentation, along with Algerian inflections. She sings of motherhood and community, all while delivering memorable melodies. Her 2015 album, Bloom, featured tracks such as the sweet shuffle of “As Long As You Are Here.”
Liz Stevens’ smoky vibrato begs listeners to come hither and be swallowed by her mystic energy. “She is a heavyweight,” she sings in the Calgary group’s 2014 breakout track. She might as well be speaking about her project because that voice and the slick prog-jazz of her fellow musicians are heavy and luscious. Copperhead’s self-titled mini-album came out last September and continues to burn through the polar vortex of winter.
“Haunting” gets thrown around a lot in music journalism, but Vancouver’s the Burying Ground includes a singing saw that sounds legit ghostly. Plus, Woody Forster could pass for the late, great Louis Armstrong in an imitation contest. His gruff, mournful vocals are caressed by those of multi-instrumentalist’s Devora Laye. Theirs is a brand of blues and folk Alan Lomax would have loved.
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