• By: Owen Maxwell

The latest record from 070 Shake asserts their superstar status.

Regina Spektor – Home, Before and After (Moscow, Russia/New York City)

While Regina Spektor has played with marvellously complex structures in the past, her expansive sound on her latest record all starts with the core of her voice and her magical piano. A mix of everything you want out of Spektor, it might not change the game, but it highlights how much her voice has evolved and how far she’s willing to take her sound in the future. “Becoming All Alone” has a penetrating desperation to it, using all the hope and wonder of its sound to actually make that chance at losing it all feel that much more frightening. There’s a dark funk and danger to “Up the Mountain” that feels like abrasive approaches to a Bond theme, and harnesses Spektor’s ambitious energy and uglier tonal choices into something fierce. Though the most classic Spektor pick of the bunch, “Raindrops” is the epitome of her charming piano lines and frolicking vocal style, all finessed into a mysterious ballad.

Zada – Nomad (Single)  (Whistler, BC/Ethiopia)

The off-kilter beat and guitar-loop of “Nomad” gives Zada a uniquely bouncy feel to her latest single, and one that lets it really simmer. The elastic zipping of the guitars are a fun note in the track, and let the more free flowing percussion play around in a way that’s not always possible. This light and loose aesthetic fits the story perfectly, as Zada celebrates her travelling ways, and the minimal excess that one carries with them in that life. Ultimately this track’s spirit is just to chipper to forget, and it’s one that you’ll be chanting sooner than later.

070 Shake  – You Can’t Kill Me (North Bergen, NJ)

The enigmatic quality of 070 Shake’s music has only gotten more enhanced as of late, and this latest record asserts their superstar status. Slowing down the massive scale of their last record, this record goes for a thematic grandeur over the same level of single-driven power that came before it. Setting off the concept-album like feel of the record, “Web” takes flight in a cascading wall of harmonies, galactic synths and a rumbling bass that will shake your soul. “Medicine” comes out swinging with its ominous keyboards roaring from the get, resetting the album into another overture like breakdown. The Lynchian inspiration isn’t even trying to hide on “Blue Velvet” as the trickling drums, airy synths, jazzy energy and a dream-like haze leave you somewhere between modern pop and its namesake film. This cloudy feeling opens into a bright new horizon on “Vibrations,” with the sprawling keyboard runs and staccato vocal drips creating a totally mesmerizing experience. 

Taming Sari  No Shelter (Single)  (Ottawa)

With a raw and fuzzed out rock energy, Taming Sari mesh classic rock with a lot of blown out vintage funk soul, and a bit of Nazareth. The thumping choruses drive this all home on “No Shelter” with the heft of the band’s drums and bass really keeping the weight there the rest of the way through. A track that knows how to feature moments, there’s flashy drum fills, cheeky bass licks and sparing guitar lines that will easily make you smile for the fun they’ll sneak into a one-off break. The very Zeppelin-esque solo here is an easy highlight, with that back and forth plus wailing vocals feeling like the perfect homage. They don’t even leave their ending predictable, with the driving claps and snowballing momentum of its final driving chorus rounding out the track with more fury than ever.    

Dehd – Blue Skies (Chicago)

Finding the sweet spot between modern punk and something you could lose yourself to in dance is hard, but Dehd find that niche. Colourful, punchy and with a familiar quality that makes it all the easier to get into, this is just a delightful listen. “Bad Love” burns with a welcoming glow, making you want to shake and sing along with every “Run, baby run” in its catchy drive. Even with the stop and go beats of “Window,” the track lets every scream feel like its utterly dire, and soon the drums feel mountainous. There’s a much more dance-heavy focus on “Empty in My Mind” as you want to take its smoky feel and just sway, harmonize, and groove yourself to its smooth rhythms. The running approach to “Stars” is truly intoxicating when it hits its full pace,  finding Dehd calling on tones of the Drums and Joy Division for a moment, and shimmering twang the next.