Better late than never,
Here’s what I thought was cool in 2017.
See you in ’18,
Chris / Best Of, IMF, Mixtapes, Monthly Playlists / alvvays, anna of the north, Arcade Fire, Ásgeir, bleachers, boniface, bravestation, Broken Social Scene, Childish Gambino, cold war kids, day wave, dizzy, ella vos, favela, future islands, Geoffroy Men I Trust, haim, Hamilton Leithauser Angel Olsen, hayden calnin, highasakite, J.Views Benja Lyman, kishi bashi, krrum, london grammar, Maggie Rogers, milk & bone, monogem, naaz, now, nvdes, outsider, papa, phoenix, portugal the man, powers, refs, s carey, seramic, sir sly, Slow Magic Kate Boy, steve benjamins, Surma, tearjerker, teen daze, the belle game, the drums, the elwins, the national, the pains of being pure at heart, the rural alberta advantage, the shacks, the war on drugs, the xx, tobacco, vancouver sleep clinic, wild cub, Wintersleep, yoke lore / 0 Comments
Better late than never,
Here’s what I thought was cool in 2017.
See you in ’18,
Chris / Best Of, IMF, Mixtapes, Monthly Playlists / Ásgeir, BEYRIES, day wave, future islands, gems, hawai, kishi bashi, land of talk, london grammar, mac demarco, mt. wolf, nombe, portugal the man, powers, space above, strfkr, teen daze, vancouver sleep clinic, Wintersleep / 0 Comments
Check out new music from Future Islands, Kishi Bashi, Day Wave, London Grammar and many more. Something for everyone.
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If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and bar-b-que tastes really good, then eating bar-b-que for breakfast every day can’t be that wrong… can it?
My stomach would reply ‘yes sir’ at around 1:30pm each day while at one of the many day parties happening in Austin. But I kept doing it each day, as if I had no recollection of what happened the day before. Might be the booze.
Here’s thursdays highlights:
Some time later I dropped by Emo’s for the Cons. Was surprised to see that they were playing.? Heard that they might not be touring because Steve Lambke broke his hand. Live, he fashioned the cast so that he could still tear it up. Head to the Constantines myspace to download Hard Feelings.
Side note, Has anyone seen this page yet?? Beautiful Noise Concert Series has some tapings set up for the next two weeks. I have no idea if they still have room on their guestlists, but if you live in Toronto and want to see The Constantines, Stars, Ted Leo, and others for free, its a simple e-mail.
The last day party on thursday was Musebox’s ‘Hows Your Booze’ party. We saw Krief (guitarist from Dears) perform. He might be the re-incarnation of Hendrix. Good set, but not the best of the three I saw him perform that week. New songs on his myspace page.
I believe we ate dinner in there somewhere
At night, we saw:
-The Coast @ The Wave. Had problems hearing the band (from the Nickleback-esque bleed from the band upstairs) but a solid set by these Torontonians. Expatriate hits the shelves April 1st, head to their myspace to stream the whole record.
–Diplo. Sick show in a basement bar. Power problems cut the sound in one side of the bar, but that didn’t stop tons of kids from dancing, drinking and in three cases, throwing down. On the way out I noticed this party was Perez approved.
–Wombats. So glad to finally see this band live. Perfect end to the night. Here’s Let’s Dance To Joy Division.
I haven’t posted much on here in the past year… hopefully I can work towards changing that in the new year. (I think I just made my first resolution). On that note, here are my favourite albums of the past 12 months.
Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Austin, Texas’ Spoon have been weaving sonic tapestries since 1994. The opening track of this album, Don’t Make Me A Target, could have been speaking to my mental state in years past and caught me right from the opening hook. Basically I chalk this work up to just another great release from a great band.
Portugal. The Man – It’s Complicated Being a Wizard EP / Church Mouth
This should technically count as two entries, but since the first one is just an EP, I’ll try to squeeze both of them in. I guess the impact of the Northern Lights is driving this trio to produce more music than most bands seem to manage in 2 years. Either way, they continue to impress with their hard work, rocking live reputation, and a distinct sound that I enjoy greatly (and that’s all that matters on this list isn’t it?).
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Front man Kevin Barnes tapped into some deep emotional wells for this release. The opening tracks are poppy and upbeat, but things begin to turn as the album progresses. Track 7, The Past Is a Grotesque Animal, is an 11 minute long traipse through a field of dead roses… thorny and crinkling underfoot. Dark? yes. Introspective? Definitely. Worth listening to? Most certainly.
Handsome Furs – Plague Park
This release is brought to you by Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner, along with Alexei Perry, and a fun hating drum machine. I liked it, even if I was reminded of how crappy snow filled blackness/awesomeness can be in Canada.
The Ponys – Turn The Lights Out
This is the Chicago band’s first release on Matador Records, which they followed up by touring in support of Spoon. Having listened to it, I tend to think more of my mind as an Everyday Weapon now.
Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends
Yes… let’s shall we. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. Just try not to listen to the enemies too closely. If they don’t shut up then you can just drown them out with this album.
Future of The Left – Curses
When former McLusky front man Andy “Falco” Falkous, and drummer Jack Egglestone, started up this new trio, I was happy to get in on the ground floor. This album is as raucous as anything Falco’s been attached to previously. In conclusion, they play rock like the Welsh Jerks they are, which is to say, wonderfully.
Dungen – Tio Bitar (Ten Pieces)
This is an effort in Psychadelia that would please the ears of anyone fond of such sounds. Gustav Ejstes wrote the entire album and plays virtually every instrument you hear, with some assistance in the form of Lead guitarist Reine Fiske. Virtuoso comes to mind.
Caribou – Andorra
This album displays Dan Snaith’s further meanderings under the title Caribou. The light nature of the album is belied by the yellow texture of its cover. The layering and improved vocal depth of this release only enhance the wonderful drum loops Snaith employed in creating it.
The Shins – Wincing The Night Away
Coming in right at the beginning of this past year, The Shins first release in 3 years was noticeably more aggressive. Most of what needs to be said about this act has been said already. They write great melodies, and the texture of the music is enchanting. Hopefully the next album won’t take 3 years in the making.
Ok so I guess I’ll get the bad news out of the way early. Unfortunately, the band that produced my favourite album of the year, the Like Young, have decided to call it quits. Describing this album as having “culminated 15 years of songwriting, recording, touring, and releasing records.” I guess that means this is the best they had to offer, and I’d have to agree. It’s pretty freaking great. Joe and Amanda Ziemba will be missed – by me, if nobody else. Hopefully after you listen to Spell It Out, and All The Wrong Reasons you’ll miss them a bit yourself.
2. The Dears – Gang of Losers
myspaceEveryone’s favourite depressing band from Montreal. I guess that might make them like the opposites of the Arcade Fire in a sense. I wrote them up on here after seeing them at the Virgin Music Festival this summer, right after they released this album, and I’m still very impressed by it today. Fear Made The World Go ‘Round is wonderful. On that song Murray Lightburn’s voice and writing make me want to slit my wrists so I can bleed out the loser inside, thus making me a winner, just like this album.
3. Silversun Pickups – Carnavas
I’ve really enjoyed this band since I first saw them at Healey’s during NXNE a couple years ago. Wonderful live show, great live musicianship (ship? collective?), and really nice people. This is their debut full length release and if you were a fan of the Smashing Pumpkins after Siamese Dream or Mellon Collie, then you’ll love this album. Lazy Eye and Well Thought Out Twinkles are both great tracks. Look for more solid stuff out of this band in the future.
4. Portugal. The Man – Waiter: “You Vultures!”
This was probably one of my top 2 or 3 choices this year. Original, interesting, and funtastic. Poppy, distinct, and involved. I could come up with more adjectives to describe it but it might just be easier to listen to it for yourself. My favourite tracks are How The Leopard Got It’s Spots, and Chicago.
5. The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine
I tend to listen to a lot of Fugazi related stuff. If you want to read more about my man-crush on Ian MacKaye see the Evens commentary below. This album was recorded by the Thermals with the help of Fugazi’s Brendan Canty. I think it is wonderful. If you are religious you might find it offensive. If you dislike religious commentary… or find it trite, you may think this album is not for you. I think it rocks. Enjoy it or not, it’s on the list.
6. Mogwai – Mr. Beast
This was the first of two 2006 releases for my favourite sons of Glasgow. They also did the soundtrack to a documentary film that traced the actions of Zinedane Zidane during a soccer match – ALSO a very good album. But I liked this one more, so it made the list. Glasgow Mega-Snake is my ring on my phone. I don’t think I need to offer any more endorsement than that. Listen to it.
7. Action Action – An Army of Shapes Between Wars
New York, New York’s Action Action… now there’s a seemingly redundant statement. These guys first came to my attention when I listened to their debut release on Victory Records, don’t cut your fabric to this year’s fashion. This, their second release, is far more mature, but continues the 80’s synth pop resurrection they were cultivating in the first place. If you’re into pop-punk, and 80’s era bands like devo or depeche mode, you’ll enjoy this one. I’m particularly fond of Paper Cliche. Following this release the band has completed their contract with Victory, and is now moving on to a new label, with another album already completed – so expect it to be released sometime in the new year.
8. The Evens – Get Evens
I got ahold of this right near the end of the year and frankly I’m just as impressed with it as I was with the Evens’ first release. Ian MacKaye is still a genius, and I’ve basically had a huge man-crush on the guy ever since I started listening to Fugazi when I was in High School (I am also a fan of Minor Threat, but since this thread avoids Hardcore Punk I shouldn’t mention that necessarily). The music he’s making with Amy Farina (formerly of the Warmers) is perhaps far more accessible than any of the work he’d done previously to adult contemporary listeners. A bit political, a bit wonderful, the whole album is quite solid. I am a big fan of the title track, Get Even.
9. M. Ward – Post-War
M Ward’s knack for redefining himself with every record continues on this, his fifth solo release and first full-band effort. Upbeat, lo-fi renderings that appeal to the sensibilities of any appreciator of americana, the tracks on Post-War are definitely worth a listen. Cameo appearances by Neko Case and Jim James from ‘My Morning Jacket’ are also worthy of mention. If you haven’t already heard this album, you could make doing so your New Year’s Resolution.
10. Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass
Considering this band has over 14 releases to their credit, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who is aware of them that this album is hard to categorize or pin down. Extremely diverse musical meanderings, with a depth that might require a few listens to completely absorb. I found this one grew on me over the last 3 months of this year, I’m a big fan of the track Point and Shoot. The album title is a quote from then NY Knick, Tim Thomas, directed at his then team-mate and fellow NY Knick, Stephon Marbury: “Everyone in this organization is afraid of you, but I?m not, and I will beat your ass.”