Tag Archives: New Brunswick

Olivier Jarda – “Good Luck Cartel”

Some albums are absolutely beautiful. We can love them to the point of crying, wanting to hug and kiss and caress them until they explode with what we can only imagine to be rainbows and little cartoon hearts. These albums mean something to us. They stir up our emotions and connect to our souls in a way very few other things can, and it’s safe to say that after we fall in love with these albums we truly can’t imagine life without them. In the case of Olivier Jarda and his latest release Good Luck Cartel, this is exactly what will happen.

Jarda’s creation begs the question, “where have you been all my life?” It’s beautiful. On paper (or on a disc) it’s a collection of 11 indie-folk songs, but in reality it’s so much more. There is heart to these tracks; real thought, emotion, and integrity permeate from every layer, and whether you’re listening for the first time or the hundredth you will swoon over the richness of Jarda’s voice and the gorgeous tone that surrounds it.

Recorded over a year and a half and released in April, Good Luck Cartel is a perfect example of why the best things in life are worth waiting for. He’s put obvious thought into every aspect of the album, from the perfect arrangements to the well-woven instrumental layers. By some sort of magic there is a fantastic harmony of strings, piano, guitars, and vocals, creating a sound that is rich and moving and simply mystical. At times this feeling comes from the slow tempo of some of the songs; “Diving Bell” and “Piece of Fiction” are two examples that move along slowly and tenderly, with toe-tapping beats but sweet and heartfelt melodies. Jarda’s vocals stretch out, making the most of each beat and complementing any instrumental parts (piano, guitar, strings) that might move a bit faster, while also fitting well with the lyrics and mood. “Skinny Grass”, “Tendencies”, and “Into the Lake” offer heavierĀ or more sad sounds than the other tracks, and he’s able to match his vocals to the sound to be more believable and powerful. He seems to have an incredible understanding of how to make good music, and whether this is a skill he learned along the way or something he was naturally blessed with, it’s the basis of everything to love about this album. It’s perfection, and has something for almost everyone and every mood.

Do your ears and your heart a favour and get this album. You will fall in love and fall hard, with both the album and Olivier Jarda. Is it his voice, the lyrics, the melodies, or the emotion? Who knows. Whatever it is, Good Luck Cartel is one of the best indie-folk albums around, and you will not regret any minute you spend with it.

To hear and buy Good Luck Cartel, visit Olivier Jarda’s website. Also visit his MySpace and Facebook pages to demand more music and look for upcoming shows. Everything about this album is fantastic, and this is a love that will continue to grow.

Olivier Jarda - "Good Luck Cartel"

Shotgun Jimmie – “Transistor Sister”

“I ain’t saying everything out there is great, there’s a lot of stuff I like and a lot of stuff I hate. Spend some time with the good, let the bad slip away; it’s all about how you focus your attention.”

These words of wisdom come from “Masterpiece”, a key track on the new album “Transistor Sister” from New Brunswick’s own Shotgun Jimmie. Released in March 2011, the album has been making waves across Canada and beyond, creating a worldwide fan base and stirring up impressive critical attention. “Masterpiece” sums up the art of creating music, the tricky balance act between creating “shit” and creating something great, and lucky for Shotgun Jimmie, “Transistor Sister” is great.

On first listen, it’s easy to mistake Shotgun Jimmie for an early ’90s happy-alternative band. With a raw and chunky sound that gives off a somewhat “who cares” attitude, his songs have an almost-grungy feel, not quite the Nirvana with whom the term is usually associated but a more poppy mix of Can-Rock superstar Sloan and bands like Modest Mouse and The Pixies, even early Weezer or Everclear. For fans of this genre, Shotgun Jimmie hits it right on. Short tracks and catchy tunes keep short attention spans happy, while Jimmie’s happy-go-lucky charm makes smiles unavoidable. It is a toe-tapping and clever good time, and while Jimmie’s voice can’t quite be compared to that of an angel or classic singer, it is his normal guy talent and attitude that make him so much fun to listen to. He sounds like someone’s buddy, just goofing around at a party, and that is the perfect way to be.

There are definite high points to this album. Starting off with an almost Beck-like track (“Late Last Year”) the album includes a variety of songs with different tones and stories, and it’s nearly impossible to choose a favourite track on this album because there are so many good ones. Standouts include the super-cute “Suzy”, “King of Kreuzberg” and “The Haze”, although there are a number of other fantastic songs to choose from as well.

Some people might not be so keen on the album’s shorter instrumental songs (“Confidence Lodge Stairwell Recording #1” – 0:17; “Piano” – 0:28; “Refrain” – 0:44; “Bar’s Open” – 0:19) but it is a happy reward that the longer tracks are fantastic.

Shotgun Jimmie’s next album can’t come soon enough. Whimsical, charming and experimental, “Transistor Sister” fills a void in the music world that other artists can’t quite reach, and it is his originality and nostalgic reflections that make him loveable. Listen to his album, and then listen to it again.

You can learn more about Shotgun Jimmie here, where you can also enjoy some tracks and do a bit of shopping. Check back for tour dates as well, because his is a show you don’t want to miss.

Shotgun Jimmie - "Transistor Sister"