Archive for December, 2013

Sink Tapes

December 29th, 2013 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

This is a cool lowish-fi indie band I stumbled upon today – they’re called Sink Tapes! And they’re from New Brunswick, NJ! MuSiC!

Viet Cong

December 28th, 2013 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

Been some word on the street about Calgary’s Viet Cong. This garage-pop band is made up of some ex-Women peeps. They’re really good. Looking forward to longer releases.

Frankie Cosmos

December 27th, 2013 | Mp3 Posts | 0 Comments

If I’m ever looking for good music, I just go to Portals. It’s my favourite blog. It’s spartan, efficient, looks good, has good writers. My latest find there is Frankie Cosmos, the pseudonym of Greta Klein, the NYC-based lo-fi (mostly acoustic) artist who’s apparently posted something along the lines of 40 (!) albums onto bandcamp. I don’t have a long enough lifespan (let alone patience span) to go through all of them (at least not right now…) but so far what I’ve heard off some more recent albums has been beautiful. Just heartbreakingly beautiful.

Top 10 Albums Of 2013: #5-1

December 22nd, 2013 | Features | 0 Comments

If you missed the first (bottom) half of this list, you can check it out here. Here’s the top five for 2013.

5. Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

This album was really exciting because it was one of those rare works of music that everybody loves: young, old, hipster, mainstreamer, radio station, blog, etc. – if it was all great for everyone, then there was at least something on here for everyone. For the cool kids there was Panda Bear and Julian Casablancas, and for the radio-listeners there were two Pharrell tracks, including the song of the summer, “Get Lucky”. Who didn’t like “Get Lucky”? Seriously. Everyone loved that song.

4. The Strokes – Comedown Machine

After the lame Angles everyone basically gave up hope that The Strokes would ever make another great album. Even an album that was pretty good seemed unlikely. Because really, in our minds The Strokes are from a dead movement of a past era: The White Stripes broke up years ago, The Hives have become totally irrelevant, The Vines (?)…Admittedly, when this album came out, I also gave it a pretty lukewarm reception, with my highest compliment basically being that it had some good points, but like everyone else, I wanted the badass old leather-jacket-Strokes back. The only thing that really caught me was the sleek opener, “Tap Out”. I kept coming back to the album because of it, but then I’d keep listening, and each time I did, I found myself enjoying songs like “All The Time” and “Slow Animals” more and more. These songs really do pack some great hooks, they just seem to reveal themselves slowly, clawing their way past our memory of “the old Strokes”. Eventually I came to enjoy the entire album other than last track “Call It Fate, Call It Karma”, which is dumb and I’ve just deleted it off my computer entirely. But what I’m left with are ten excellent pop songs by a band that still has a killer sound and an interesting, exciting lead singer. Every time I put it on I enjoy it immensely.

3. Kanye West – Yeezuz

Kanye continues his winning streak after the reality-smashing My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. I didn’t find Yeezus to be better than that masterpiece, but it is more artistic and challenging. The first time I listened to it, I didn’t enjoy it, but I knew it was a work of serious quality. I could feel it. Now I enjoy it and moreso with each listen. “Blood On The Leaves” is phenomenal, a centrepiece that gives the album that essential injection of sensitivity to stand alongside the harshness of “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves”.

Say what you will about his persona, he remains an incredible and inscrutable 21st century artist.

2. My Bloody Valentine – m b v

The not-so-little comback that could. m b v should not have met (and exceeded some) expectations, but luckily it did. It appears Kevin Shields is a crazy genius, but unlike most geniuses in music and movies, his genius has apparently not faded with age. What’s there to say about this album? It’s gorgeous. It’s interesting. It’s not really challenging – even on first listen the beauty and awesomeness of everything is apparent. It’s so good, it makes Loveless seem less good. I think that’s possibly the only ‘bad’ thing about it.

So, when’s the follow up coming out, eh Kevin?

1. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

Arcade Fire have a habit of making things epic, but the fact that they’ve been able to pump out four masterpieces in a row with little sign of wear n’ tear is astounding. Even more astounding is that I think Reflektor is their best album ever – it’s big, epic, it swings, it has classic after classic. Never has an examination of the modern condition been so…physically infectious, and in the great way possible. And the songs are all like 6 minutes long but almost never get boring, and even in the more boring songs (like everyone’s least favourite song, “Porno”), there’s some redemptive section or element to make it worth listening to. But man, when this album soars – “Reflektor”, “Joan Of Arc”, “Afterlife” – it’s untouchable. Even before this thing dropped, I could tell by the confidence and chutzpa of “Reflektor” that this album was going to be the year’s best – I’m happy to say I wasn’t wrong at all.

Top 10 Albums Of 2013: #10-6

December 20th, 2013 | Features | 1 Comment

I wouldn’t say it’s been a particularly good year for music, but there were a number of great releases, including at least three legit masterpieces. I also probably missed out on a lot what with being in the army and all, but I’ve tried to keep up with what’s going on in the musical world and think I’ve done alright, all things considered. Here’s the first half of my top albums of the year – the rest will be up tomorrow.

10. The National – Trouble Will Find Me

The National sound a little swampy-er, a little sleaker, and a little less consistent both musically and lyrically, but still, Trouble Will Find Me is a great album with some of the band’s best songs yet. “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, “Sea Of Love”, and “Graceless” all find the band swinging home runs almost as hard and powerful as “Mistaken For Strangers”, while closers “Pink Rabbits” and “Hard To Find” could make rocks weep with their beauty.

And lastly, Matt Berninger’s voice sounds perhaps better than ever, which is saying something.

9. Bored Nothing – Bored Nothing

A bedroomy album by a young dude from Australia who LOVES indie-rock inside-out? Sign me up. Bored Nothing‘s S/T debut album grabbed me with its all-too-perfect cover and held me till the last till the last guitar chime. The Elliott Smith-indebted heartbreakers along the way were all too perfect. A record of my own heart, but made by another’s.

8. Julia Holter – Loud City Song

If selling out means trading in your synthesizers for a stand-up base and smoky trumpet, then Holter totally sold out. I’m sure 1940’s Chicago will eat up her latest player but not us indie-kids of today, no-siree! Jokes – another beautiful album from a wonderful and always-interesting, inspired artist.

7. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt

The 90’s nostalgia continues! If only I could put my finger on exactly who they’re copying (suggestions anyone?). Cerulean Salt was a phenomenal album from this new-ish band, filled with great rockers and even the occasional deep cut (looking at you “Swan Dive”…). These guys made a name for themselves this year and with total justification – now Perfect Pussy just has to release something on which I can figure out what the hell is going on…

6. Deerhunter – Monomania

Deerhunter has definitely lost some of the hype they used to carry around with every project, but even as the band ditches much of the dream-pop that made them such a big deal, they’re having fun (I can only ever remember the sound of the rambunctious “Penscola” when thinking of this album) and writing better songs than 99% of the bands out there. And Bradford Cox will apparently always keep things interesting, no matter what he does.

TOMORROW – #5-1!