5 things to know about Play With the Changes by Rochelle Jordan

Canadian R&B singer Rochelle Jordan finds her sound on new album.

Canadian R&B artist Rochelle Jordan will release Play With the Changes on Royal Mountain Records on April 30.

Rochelle Jordan

Play With the Changes | Young Art Records

Genre: R&B

Key track: Love You Good

On her first release since 2014s acclaimed 1021, Toronto-based artist Rochelle Jordan ups the ante even further. Blending in everything from the slick contemporary soul-hop coming out of Canada’s biggest city, to UK garage, vintage drum and bass and even straight-ahead R&B.

Working with longtime collaborator KLSH as well as Machinedrum as producers, the 12-track record is a showcase to the depth of this artist’s talent.

It is also a celebration of a singer completely at home in any number of R&B subgenres and styles. That kind of skill is what you gain from years of touring with everyone from Childish Gambino and Jesse Ware to working alongside Erykah Badu, Chance The Rapper and Spice Girls’ Mel B. in the Adult Swim show Black Dynamite. She is indeed playing through all of the shifts and changes showcased in the songs.

Here are five things to know about Play With The Changes.

1: Love You Good. The opening tune is a killer. With its skittering rhythms, elastic bass and layered breathy vocals, this song would have sounded right at home on a classic Goldie or LTJ Bukem album back in the nineties. It’s the kind of shimmering sound that conjures up the best hang table at the back of a cavernous club that is going off big time. More proof that drum and bass has still got legs.

2: All Along. As soon as the hop-back beat kicked in on this single, the urge to bust out the old Aaliyah albums and other vintage releases was strong. If attempting some of those shoulder-dislocating dance moves from a New Edition video didn’t quite go as smoothly as hoped, it didn’t take away from the joyous bounce of the song. The ending bass chant is awesome.

3: Count It. Atmospheric and moody, this is the slowest track of the set and makes something of a mid-point break in the more upbeat vibe of the album. It really showcases how fast Jordan can sing-flow her lyrics that defiantly challenge a partner that might leave, but won’t leave her lonely. Whoever added in those totally distorted yelps and barks intermittently, it was a stroke of genius.

4: Lay. With a bit of a woozy bossa nova type feel, this ballad slinks its way around some warped synth passages while still staying pretty true to a classic love declaration. What is it about songs where someone is watching their partner sleep that always seems a bit creepy?

5: Dancing Elephants. You’d expect any song with a title like this to be a banger and it is. The longest tune on the album at over 5 minutes, it takes its time to pick-up the pulse, but when it takes off at around the 60 second mark, it marks one hip-shaking shift after another. This one is just waiting for an extended disco mix to make it pulse even more.

Born Ruffians

PULP | Wavy Haze Records

Genre: Indie pop

Key track: Checkin’ Out

The culmination of the band’s trilogy which includes Juice and Squeeze, Pulp is seven “leftovers” that hadn’t yet found their place on a record. And, like both of its predecessors, there isn’t really a weak track to be found in the seven songs. While most of the material is fast and angular, an occasional strum-along such as Heat Wave is dropped into the mix to remind everyone of the group’s ability to unexpectedly morph into a classic rock band.

Curtis Andrews

Speaking Hands | Curtisandrews.bandcamp

Genre: Global jazz/Groove

Key track: Tight Rope, Short Walk

Vancouver-based drummer/percussionist Andrews holds a doctorate in Ethnomusicology from UBC. He puts the knowledge gained from his studies to work crafting the elaborate cross-cultural fusion that fills his sophomore release. He credits “vodu-derived traditional music of West Africa, the micro and macrocosmic play of time and pitch found in Carnatic traditions of South India, the open field of improvisation, and the intersection of all of these as one cohesive and original sound,” and the results are ones that keep giving. Backed by a big band of local aces from guitarist Jared Burrows to saxophonist and bansuri player Neelamjit Dhillon to the in-utero heartbeat of Shantaleela Rao Andrews, it’s a fantastic album.

David Symons

Which Way Is Up |

Genre: Blues rock

Key track: We Gotta Try (f. the Symons Sisters)

Vancouver singer Symons is 61 years young on this lively eight song set. From the title track’s funky, organ-driven rocker with its classic Stax-style sax solo to the Grateful Dead-esque laid back feel of Best I Can Be, his writing is familiar to fans of California rock of the mid-seventies. There’s nothing wrong with that when you are dropping slow jams as solid as We Gotta Try, which features some great 10cc style breathy backing vocals courtesy of the Symons Sisters. Certainly a pleasant surprise.


Exhaling | Artoffact Records

Genre: Hardcore

Key track: Hesitant Gesture

Totalling 23 tracks that mostly clock in at under two and a half minutes, this album’s title seems ironic. This Winnipeg trio positively rages from start to finish of this very deliciously loud recording. The competition between bassist Rory Ellis and drummer Dan Unger’s chaotic pounding and singer/guitarist David Schellenberg howling and thrashing to get above it all makes songs such as Hesitant Gesture sound like recorded pain. Perfect for a pandemic mosh pit of one played out in a padded room.

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