French Class – Tape 2

French Class
Tape 2
Winnipeg, MB
RIYL: Junichi Masuda; Brad Allen Fuller; more cowbell

The second tape from Megumi Kimata’s French Class project often feels like a video game obsessed electronic producer trying on different genres, but each track on Tape 2 still feels like an expansive work of world building. “Adventure!” sets the pace with a majestic cowbell gallop, and “Science Techno” and “House Tune” are efficient genre impressions you’re more than happy to revisit, but Kimata’s best when deconstructing the rules. On a tape filled with tracks that mostly hover around two minutes, on the three minute finale “Taxi Cab,” Kimata cuts across lanes to punch up an otherwise zany garage house strut with a battle synth that feels right out of the Immortals’ “Techno Syndrome.” The extra time really lets you bask in the wacky glory of that juxtaposition.

Tom Beedham

Wish Lash – Chaos Choir

Wish Lash
Chaos Choir
Glow Code
Calgary, AB
RIYL: Karen Gwyer; Corinthian; Laurel Halo

Kerry Maguire’s experimental electronic solo project Wish Lash returns with a stunning set of songs that breaks from the artist’s airy ambience for a hard-lined sound that is as engaging as it is unrelenting. 
Wish Lash’s 2018 debut, Altar of Doubt, balanced the momentum of its beats with a billowing, miasmic veil, which touched everything from its synthy textures to Maguire’s own voice. Whereas Chaos Choir feels of an altogether different mindset– it’s driven far more by rhythm and movement. That attention toward the corporeal is a result of the production values here, which are sharp and feel cinematic in scope, you can hear it from the ominous and seething “To The Hilt” to the jet engine purr of “Not Now.” There’s a certainty in the clarity of her compositions now and Maguire leans into it. The album arrives on Maguire’s own new Glowcode imprint, which if it’s anything else like the rest of her output (see also: Purlicue, Crims & FLow, Juice Box), is definitely worth following.

Michael Rancic

Martyn Bootyspoon – Lickety Split

Martyn Bootyspoon
Lickety Split
2 B Real
Montreal, QC
RIYL: being whispered to; not-so-serious techno 

Is that the ice cream truck? Shit – even better – it’s the “Ice Cream Mane” rolling through, here to “sample you some flavours/giving some taste of what you need.” Martyn Bootyspoon delivers on this promise of variety across Lickety Split’s five genre-traversing tracks, scooping and serving a parlour’s assortment of techno, grime, acid, and adult content. Despite Bootyspoon’s frequent association with camp and the Casanova, Lickety Split’s precision and playfulness solidifies the artist as a competent, bold producer. For another tasty treat, check out this impeccable mix Bootyspoon did for Crack Magazine – it’s one of the best sets I’ve heard this year.

Katerina Stamadianos

Khotin – Finds You Well

Finds You Well
Ghostly International
Edmonton, AB
RIYL: Patrick Holland; D. Tiffany; LNRDCROY

Pleasantries have a double-edge of ringing hollow, and with much of the world not doing well during the pandemic, phrases like “Hope this email finds you well” ring with a serious undertone. Dylan Khotin-Foote aimed to capture this duality on Finds You Well, but I find the album thoroughly soothing.

As if by osmosis, Khotin has always floated freely between therapeutic ambience and understated but lively beats. Hitting play on Finds You Well is like choosing the deluxe spa package that comes with the best of both. It’s not pure synthesis, though; the album’s first half is like a bubble bath, but its second half enters calm waters, disturbed only by the spooky “WEM Lagoon Jump.” Voice clips appear on this track like ripples from an invisible distant source. Whether accompanied by these voices or still with my own thoughts, Finds You Well genuinely finds me well.

Leslie Ken Chu

Ian Daniel Kehoe – Rock & Roll Illusion // Charging The Stone // Disco Body Buzz

Ian Daniel Kehoe
Rock & Roll Illusion // Charging The Stone // Disco Body Buzz
Tin Angel Records
Toronto, ON
RIYL: Nicholas Krgovich; Sandro Perri; ‘80s Springsteen

In a rockstar move, Ian Daniel Kehoe released, in his words, “a casual trio of albums” in one day. While they differ in sound and mood, each album – Rock and Roll Illusion, Charging the Stone, and Disco Body Buzz – feels intrinsically linked. It’s like one adventurous night. Rock & Roll Illusion is a rock album that’s tender enough to listen to while drinking a sparkling beverage and wearing cut-off jean shorts in your living room. Disco Body Buzz, on the other hand, is moody and heavy with synths and electronic drum beats. It’s for driving around all night, wearing a leather jacket, and dancing with somebody you find cute. Charging The Stone is a record to put on when the sun is about to rise again but you’re still wide-eyed from your night out. It has a joyful twang to it, thanks to Aaron Goldstein’s pedal steel and there’s a deep ease present. On “Sometimes Feeling Means Goodbye,” Kehoe reaches a comradely high when he, alongside The Weather Station’s Tamara Lindeman (who is heard throughout the records), sings, “all that we can do is cry and cry together / cry where we are / cry together from afar.”

And then it is clear: what links Kehoe’s three albums is love.

Laura Stanley