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Arbutus Records Vinyl, CD & tapes from this label at Norman Records

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Blue Hawaii
Blooming Summer

Um... hell yes? Of all the things to come out of the chillwave blogosphere of old, 2010's Blooming Summer was the best. Blue Hawaii are the electronic sister band of Braids and together the duo have gone on to make cold, disassociating dance music; on their first r...view item »

Blue Hawaii
Tenderness

Blue Hawaii are back after a 4-year hiatus. Tenderness sees Ra and Agor re-combining to write songs about unreciprocated love, musing on relationships conducted via the internet -- with all the implicit and explicit, unreal / false sense of intimacy -- and the contradictions inherent in t...view item »

Grimes
Geidi Primes

Montreal's Claire Boucher has surprised me here with her album. I was so utterly stumped and perplexed by her split with D'eon that I didn't actually know what was going on. On 'Geidi Primes' her wonky ethereal folk with beats initially sounds like old Too ...view item »

TOPS
Sugar At The Gate

'Third time lucky' is curiously a commonplace notion, but Montreal-born TOPS' third album addition is no fluke. The ten-track sarcasm-infused release is drowned with ambition. "Living in LA was living out a teenage fantasy" - it's this liberation that's led to such a fresh and forward thinking slab of music n...view item »

Mozart's Sister
Field of Love

Mozart’s Sister is Caila Thompson-Hannant’s solo musical project, and the core idea she had for it is that everything should be fun. Now, that doesn’t mean that everything has to be technicolour and explosive, just that Field Of Love welcomes in all listeners and puts smiles on their f...view item »

Braids
Companion

Companion’s 4 tracks were recorded in the same sessions as Braids’ album Deep In This Iris, and carry the feel of that record while also fitting rather well with one another. Fairly beautiful stuff. Both formats of the album come with a bonus sampler disc, showing off some of the other talent on the...view item »

Grimes / d'Eon
Darkbloom

A strange record this. Two Montreal artists seemingly united a quest for the perfect left-field future pop & modern Balearic attitude. Lets try the D'eon side first. He's the muntered semi-dread on the sleeve. After an odd new age-flecked opener which is virtually ruined by stuttering frequencies we get into the meat of the record and guess ...view item »

Grimes
Halfaxa

Halfaxa is the second record from Claire Boucher aka Grimes, originally released in 2010, before she became a tremendously big deal. It still has that home-grown vibe, with Boucher’s hazy productions coalescing around her remarkable vocals like a cloud. The feel is of woozy retrea...view item »

Michael Stasis
RIP III

The title of this record, RIP III, implies that Michael Stasis has died three times over. In reality though, that could hardly be further from the case: Stasis is far from static, having written over 200 songs already. Twelve of them can be found here, showcasing the numerous genres Stasis ...view item »
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Braids
Deep In This Iris

Deep In The Iris is the third album by experimental pop band, Braids. The three-piece upped sticks from Montreal, Canada to record the album in Vermont, the mountains of Arizona and upstate New York. Deep In The Iris delivers both power and fragility from it’s lush acoustic instrumentation and refined ele...view item »

Sean Nicholas Savage
Other Death

Sean Nicholas Savage makes pop music, although he does so outside of the usual pop machine. Pleasingly, this means that his tracks are littered with small oddities, first and foremost his strange, sometimes half-whispered vocal style. Other Death features a guest appearance from Nite Jewel, and is relea...view item »
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Lydia Ainsworth
Right From Real

After months of drafting out songs and crafting bedroom scraps, New York composer Lydia Ainsworth is ready to release 'Right From Real', a dark work revolving around eerie melodies, sampled voices and ornamenting strings. It's informed by Ainsworth's own ambient/electronic influences, and shows her finally producing fully-formed, fluid pieces ra...view item »
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Tops
Picture You Staring

Montreal's Tops drop a second album of downbeat synth and guitar pop. I seem to recall their debut 'Tender Opposites' was pretty good, and here again they're making something quite nice. Their stock in trade is tightly written soulful pop songs with uncluttered arrangements, '80s-sounding synth and guitar tones (mostly the guitar is quite ...view item »
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Sean Nicholas Savage
Bermuda Waterfall

Everyone has a middle name these days. Here is another one  - a Canada resident who is described by the New Musical Express as “Elliott Smith (nope) hopped up on Arthur Russell's happy pills (can’t hear it).” I do see what they are getting at however,...view item »
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Sean Nicholas Savage
Other Life

It’s been a while since I last reviewed a record. ‘Other Life’ by Montreal resident and best kept lo-fi pop secret Sean Nicholas Savage has been having a positive effect on my ability to work in a relaxed and efficient way which, incidentally, leaves me a few spare minutes to commit a few words to review. Couldn’t tell yo...view item »
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Blue Hawaii
Untogether

The sleeve of this record has a picture of a person hugging a ghost that looks weirdly familiar...didn’t Placebo or someone do that already? I suppose it doesn’t really matter. This is not a Placebo record. It is in fact the work of Blue Hawaii, a duo who are somewhat confusingly actually from Mon...view item »
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