Eloïse Decazes (fr) & Eric Chenaux (cad): Back to reinterpretations and revisions of traditional material, and the duo of Eloïse Decazes (Arlt, Delphine Dora) and Canadian experimental singer songwriter Eric Chenaux return for more unconventional takes on centuries-old ballads. Ripe as the words are with thwarted passion, untimely death and, er, horses, there's zero need to ramp up the drama further and Decazes and Chenaux treat the songs as smeared and sun-bleached tableaux, mostly letting the strange or disturbing details speak for themselves — Chenaux sounds an only ever-so-slightly discordant note in 'Le Deuil D'Amour' at the point where Decazes sings “ta mignonne s'en va mourir” – “you're sweetheart is dying”. Decazes's tone encompasses sympathy, poise and dreamy detachment, while Chenaux combines folky filigree and wah-pedal squelch and squall to provide a fertile bed.
Le Fruit Vert (cad): An aural paradise, a moment of pure ecstasy, has often been the desired ne plus ultra for pop compositions. I would argue that the closest to this maxim anyone has come to this year has happened, strangely and gorgeously, on Le Fruit Vert's LP Paon Perdu. It's an album whose meditations hang in the balance between every moment of silence. It takes detailed care over every note, musing delightfully by taking time and giving space to breathe, but also carries in its belly the quite-often brilliant, earworming pop melodies that make it remarkable. Entirely a meditation on sound and feeling, Paon Perdu isolates noises through a difference of harmony and position. The music of Le Fruit Vert exists in a gray area between anonymity and familiarity. It’s a technique that binds their music tightly to emotional vulnerability as they poke at the human condition, always with cheer and curiosity galore.