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First Play: Michael Rault, It's a New Day Tonight

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Holly Gordon

Michael Rault didn’t plan on being so intertwined with Daptone Records, home to the late Sharon Jones and Charles Bradley, for his newest record. But when the Edmonton-born, Montreal-based singer-songwriter kept running into Wayne Gordon, Daptone’s producer/head engineer — first while opening for Bradley, then while on tour with King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — that’s exactly what ended up happening.

Today, Rault counts himself as the first Canadian artist signed under the Daptone name. Officially on Wick Records, the Brooklyn label’s rock spinoff, Rault is set to release his third album, It’s a New Day Tonight, on May 18 — via Sleepless Records in Canada — and you can stream it in advance via the CBC Music player above.

The followup to 2015’s Living Daylight, which was released as a full-length album via California’s Burger Records, It’s a New Day Tonight was recorded live to tape at the Daptone studio, giving this Venn diagram of psych rock and sunny power pop its lived-in backbone.

"The editing and patching together of tracks on the album was minimal compared to modern standards, which forced me to get more used to having to perform each song all the way through in the studio and then live with the imperfections afterwards," Rault said, via press release.

Rault opens the album with “I’ll be There,” a hooky earworm of guitar riffs paired with a noodly summer tempo, despite the fact that Rault sings in the first verse, “I don’t mind if the sun don’t shine/ I don’t mind” (we don’t quite believe him). He drops the mood a bit for the slack-rock feel of near-title track “New Day Tonight,” but you can still feel the light shining through.

Rault said that It’s a New Day Tonight came out of a “period of dissatisfaction, creatively and personally, as I found myself pushing against the limitations of my abilities and approaches to making music.” Outside of those limitations, he has recorded an album of soulful, fun guitar rock that is perfectly timed for this sunnier season — whether Rault requires the sun or not.

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