Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Albums of 2014

Wow what a year for great music yet again. Some albums came out of nowhere while some returning bands released some of their best work. TV On The Radio's last few albums have been great but haven't been as solid as "Return To Cookie Mountain". After the death of bassist Gerard Smith early this year from cancer. After the tragedy it must have been hard to carry on but the band sound reinvigorated and "Seeds" is definitive proof that their best work is not behind them but still to come. Interpol released some excellent albums since the departure of bassist Carlos D but with "El Pintor" it sounds like they have left the past behind and forged a new path with Paul Banks taking over bass duties on the recording.

Probably the best debut album in quite some time comes from Temples in the form of "Sun Structures". A blistering slice of psychedelic rock with smatterings of The Beatles, Kula Shaker and many more thrown into the mix, these guys will be ones to watch for the next while. Recorded in their bedroom, the album sounds as accomplished as any studio album and just as assured. If they aren't on your radar yet then they definitely should be. The Horrors continued to evolve into the band that they teased us with on "Primary Colours". Not the band everyone expected when "Strange House" was released in 2007. Fully embracing their dark roots and continuing to experiment with their sound, they will only get better from here.

Kasabian released probably their most divisive album to date in "48:13". Well some felt that they strayed to far from their humble guitar beginnings, others loved the twists and turns that each track brought. They have always been a guitar band with electronic elements and I think this album proves how well they've adapted their sound to be their own. The Raveonettes released one of their most personal records with the death of Sune Wagner's father contributing to a large part of the album material. Listen to "Summer Ends" and tell me it doesn't stir up some emotions. Love The Raveonettes for continuing to surprise us, album after album, with exciting and emotionally beautiful records.

Angel Olsen came almost out of nowhere for me and instantly placed herself firmly on the year end list. Wish I had heard of her sooner but glad I found out before too late. The 27 year old released a record that is lyrically and musically one of the best efforts of the last decade. Her voice moves effortlessly from rock growl to melodic songstress without missing a beat. Definitely a highlight album of the year that people need to check out. The Orwells brought back the intensity of the early days of The Strokes and some punk rock attitude to release a solid sophmore album. Their live performance on Letterman is what caught my eye and I am sure they are just starting to find their stride.

Well yet again another year begins and so much amazing new music floods my ears. I can't wait to see what 2015 brings with releases from Radiohead, Tool and many others to look forward to. As always continuing sharing the music you love and let others in on the music you love. Till next year...

1. TV On The Radio - Seeds
2. Interpol - El Pintor
3. Temples - Sun Structures
4. The Horrors - Luminous
5. Kasabian - 48:13
6. The Raveonettes - Pe'ahi
7. Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness
8. The Orwells - Disgraceland
9. Bombay Bicycle Club - So Long, See You Tomorrow
10. Dum Dum Girls - Too True

11. Jack White - Lazaretto
12. The Smashing Pumpkins - Monuments To An Elegy
13. Beck - Morning Phase
14. Ryan Adams - S/T
15. Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business
16. Alt-J - This Is All Yours
17. Nothing - Guilty Of Everything
18. Johnny Aries - Unbloomed
19. Eagulls - Eagulls
20. Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

Honourable mentions included below (after concerts). Don't stop here...

Top 3 concerts of the year:

1. Slowdive at Le National in Montreal
2. Massive Attack at The Greek Theatre in L.A.
3. Temples at The Biltmore Cabaret in Vancouver

More exceptional shows:

Arcade Fire at The Saddledome
The Horrors at The Mayan Theatre
Beach House at The Republik
The National at Prospect Park
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist at Flames Central
Kasabian at The Vogue Theatre
Jack White at X-Fest
Arctic Monkeys at X-Fest
Johnny Marr at The Republik
Ryan Adams at Southern Alberta Jubilee
Broken Bells at Jack Singer Concert Hall
Gruff Rhys at The Palomino
Gord Downie and The Sadies at Wildhorse Saloon
Dead Meadow at Electric Owl
Dum Dum Girls at The Biltmore
Kings Of Leon at The Saddledome
Black Sabbath at The Saddledome
Kool Keith at Dickens Pub
Band Of Skulls at Commonwealth Bar

Honourable Mentions:

*(Local/Canadian music)

Spoon - They Want My Soul
The Drums - Encyclopedia
Mode Moderne - Occult Delight
Nine Inch Nails - Seed Eight EP
Royal Blood - S/T
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream
Johnny Marr - Playland
Death From Above 1979 - The Physical World*
Merchandise - After The End
Let's Wrestle - S/T
Kent - Tigerdrottningen
Julian Casablancas + The Voidz - Tyranny
FKA Twigs - LP1
Wolfmother - New Crown
Mr. Little Jeans - Pocketknife
The Wytches - Annabel Dream Reader
Nine Black Alps - Candy For The Clowns
The Black Angels - Clear Lake Forest
Superfood - Don't Say That
Kele - Trick
Real Estate - Atlas
The Mary Onettes - Portico
Elephant Stone - The Three Poisons&*
Carsick Cars - 3
Kaiser Chiefs - Education, Education, Education And War
Jimi Goodwin - Odludek
Natural Child - Dancin' With Wolves
Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Bo Ningen - III
And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead - IX
Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End
2:54 - The Other I
The Coral - The Curse Of Love
Zola Jesus - Taiga*
The Drowners - Drowners
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - Only Run
Black Lips - Underneath The Rainbow
Pixies - Indie Cindy
Childhood - Lacuna
By The Sea - Endless Days, Crystal Sky
Ty Segall - Manipulator
Band Of Skulls - Himalayan
Gord Downie, The Sadies and The Conquering Sun - S/T*
The Rifles - None The Wiser
Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams*
Sun Kil Moon - Benji
Cheatahs - Cheatahs
Cherry Ghost - Herd Runners
Sleepy Sun - Maui Tears
Black Submarine - New Shores
Reverend and The Makers - Thirtytwo
Bush - Man On The Run
SOHN - Tremors
Fryars - Power
The Sunshine Underground - S/T
Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways
Iceage - Plowing Into The Field Of Love
Blonde Redhead - Barragan
The Afghan Whigs - Do The Beast
Ben Everyman - Subourbon*
Risky Endeavor - EP*
Stars - No One Is Lost
The Blue Angel Lounge - Sea Of Trees
We Were Promised Jetpacks - Unravelling
Philip Selway - Weatherhouse
Foster The People - Supermodel
Tricky - Adrian Thaws
The Flaming Lips - With A Little Help From My Fwends
Pink Floyd - The Endless River
Catfish and The Bottlemen - The Balcony
The Tea Party - The Ocean At The End
Mogwai - Rave Tapes
Caribou - Our Love*
Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
In-Flight Safety - Conversationalist
Eels - The Cautionary Tales Of Mark Oliver Everett
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra - Fuck Off, Get Free, We Pour Light On Everything*
Broken Bells - After The Disco
Maximo Park - Too Much Information
I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness - Dust
The Kooks - Listen
†††(Crosses) - †††
James Walsh - Turning Point
The Vacant Lots - Arrival/Departure
Alvvays - S/T
The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Revelation
Phantogram - Voices
Cold War Kids - Hold My Home
Wild Beasts - Present Tense
St. Vincent - S/T
Blood Red Shoes - S\T
Howler - World Of Joy
The Vines - Wicked Nature
Raised By Swans - Öxnadalur*
Counting Crows - Somewhere Under Wonderland
Hamilton Leithauser - Black Hours
Elbow - The Take Off And Landing Of Everything
Metronomy - Love Letters
Future Islands - Singles
Hookworms - The Hum
Mac Demarco - Salad Days*
The Hold Steady - Teeth Dreams
Swans - To Be Kind
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
Klaxons - Love Frequency
Manic Street Preachers - Futurology
Weird Al Yankovic - Mandatory Fun
Angus & Julia Stone - Angus & Julia Stone
Karen O - Crush Songs
Robert Plant - Lullaby and The Ceaseless Roar
U2 - Songs Of Innocence
Zulu Winter - Stutter
Gruff Rhys - American Interior
Haunted Hearts - Initiation

There a couple more albums that I have to listen to but there you have it kids...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Top 20 of 2013

Well another year passes and another year of top notch releases from artists new and old. Nine Inch Nails, Suede, Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine released new albums that did not disappoint after long abscences and proved why they are and will always will be forces to be reckoned with. Jagwar Ma came out of left field and made one of the albums of the year bringing back a mix of baggy beat and electronic that harkened back to the early 90's Madchester scene. Arctic Monkeys released a flawless rock n' roll album that made them the band to beat and will be for some time to come. The National yet again took our breath away with another stunner of an album. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's new album sounded as though they had poured their heart and soul into making every song and let them get some heavy burdens off their collective chest. Sigur Rós released their darker side once more with an album that was heavier than previous efforts but still kept the disarming beauty that we have all come to love. Exit Calm released their sophomore album and showed that they are among a new crop of bands keeping guitar music alive and well for a new generation of fuzzed out fans. Finally White Lies continue to evlove as a band with an infusion of 80's synths and songwriting that has grown up as much as they have over their last several albums. Overall an exceptional year for music and I can't wait to see what 2014 holds with releases from The Horrors, Mogwai, Beck and many more on the horizon.

Top 20 of 2013:

1. Arctic Monkeys - AM
2. Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks
3. Jagwar Ma - Howlin'
4. The National - Trouble Will Find Me
5. Sigur Rós - Kviekur
6. Suede - Bloodsports
7. Mazzy Star - Seasons Of The Day
8. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Spector At The Feast
9. Exit Calm - The Future Isn't What It Used To Be
10. White Lies - Big TV

11. Arcade Fire - Reflektor
12. The Boxer Rebellion - Promises
13. Outfit - Performance
14. Franz Ferdinand - Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action
15. Beady Eye - BE
16. My Bloody Valentine - MBV
17. Savages - Silence Yourself
18. The Virgins - Strike Gently
19. The Mary Onettes - Hit The Waves
20. Fidlar - Fidlar

Honourable Mentions:

Washed Out - Paracosm
Kings Of Leon - Mechanical Bull
Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City
Foals - Holy Fire
Primal Scream - More Light
Queens Of The Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
Mad Palace - Troubled Sleep EP
The Black Angels - Indigo Meadow
Pearl Jam - Lightning Bolt
Tricky - False Idols
Atoms For Peace - Amok
David Bowie - The Next Day
Peace - In Love
Smith Westerns - Soft Will
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Mosquito
Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts
Yast - S/T
Wolf People - Fain
British Sea Power - Machineries Of Joy
Villagers - Awayland
Charles Bradley - Victim Of Love
Var - No One Dances Quite Like My Brothers
Tribes - Wish To Scream
Palma Violets - 180
Cults - Static
Swim Deep - Where The Heaven Are We
Zola Jesus - Versions
Hollerado - White Paint
Pure X - Crawling Up The Stairs
Fryars - Radio PWR
Glasvegas - Later...When The TV Turns To Static
Weekend - Jinx
Wolf & Cub - Heavy Weight
The Strypes - Snapshot
Matthew Good - Arrows Of Desire
The Strokes - Comedown Machine
Splashh - Comfort
How To Destroy Angels - Welcome Oblivion
The Vaccines - Melody Calling EP
Two Door Cinema Club - Changing Of The Season EP
Placebo - Loud Like Love
Everything Everything - Arc
Yo La Tengo - Fade
I Am Kloot - Let It All In
The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law
Toro Y Moi - Anything In Return
Suuns - Images Du Futur
Pure Love - Anthems
Toy - Join The Dots
The Courteneers - Anna
Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse
Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II
Eels - Wondeul, Glorious
Puscifer - Donkey Punch The Night
Starfucker - Miracle Mile
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away
The Flaming Lips - The Terror
Surfer Blood - Pythons
James Blake - Overgrown
The Knife - Shaking The Habitual
SULK - Graceless
Electric Soft Parade - IDIOTS
These New Puritans - Fields Of Reeds
Elephant Stone - S/T
Phoenix - Bankrupt!
Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
Miles Kane - Don't Forget Who You Are
Boards Of Canada - Tomorrow's Harvest
Black Sabbath - 13
Travis - Where You Stand
Chvrches - The Bones Of What You Believe
King Krule - 6 Feet Beneath The Moon
Jamie N Commons - Rumble and Sway
Johnny Borrell - Borrell 1
The Warlocks - Skull Worship
The Violet May - Strange Lives
Albert Hammond Jr. - AHJ
Babyshambles - Sequel To The Prequel
Bass Drum Of Death - S/T
Rob Zombie - Venomous Rat Regenration Vendor
Avenged Sevenfold - Hail To The King
The Airborne Toxic Event - Such Hot Blood
The Besnard Lakes - Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO
Beware Of Darkness - Orthodox
Big Black Delta - Big Black Delta
Gogol Bordello - Pura Vida Conspiracy
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
Bloc Party - The Nextwave Sessions EP
Blood Orange - Cupid Deluxe
Mark Kozelek - Like Rats
Cazadores - Hyperion Days
Midlake - Antiphon
Chapel Club - Good Together
Sterephonics - Graffiti Train
Hurts - Exile
Crystal Stilts - Nature Noir
Dead Meadow - Warble Womb
Cut Copy - Free Your Mind
Jake Bugg - Shangri-La
Pond - Hobo Rocket
Dead Sons - The Hollers and The Hymns
Slowness - For Those Who Wish To See The Glass Half Full
Deap Vally - Sistronix
Marnie - Crystal World
Delphic - Collections
Low - The Invisible Way
Neils Children - Dimly Lit
Diego Garcia - Paradise
Dinosaur Pile-Up - Nature Nuture
Johnny Marr - The Messenger
The Jungle Giants - Learn To Exist
Dutch Uncles - Out Of Touch In The Wild
Snowden - No One In Control
Echotape - Collective
Mona - Torches and Pitchforks
Editors - The Weight Of Your Love
The 1975 - The 1975
Yuck - Glow & Behold
Young Galaxy - Ultramarine
Electric Eye - Pick Up, Lift-Off, Space, Time
Iaceage - You're Nothing
Empire Of The Sun - Ice On The Dune
Steve Mason - Monkey Minds In Devil's Time
Giant Drag - Waking Up Is Hard To Do
The Orwells - Other Voices EP
The Olms - S/T
No Joy - Wait To Pleasure
Crocodiles - Crimes Of Passion
The Little Ones - The Dawn Sang Along
Esben & The Witch - Wash The Sins Not Only The Face
The Pigeon Detectives - We Met At Sea
Frankie & The Heartstrings - The Days Run Away
Porcelain Raft - Permanent Signal
Girls Names - The New Life
Majical Cloudz - Impersonator
Gliss - Langsom Dams
Shout Out Louds - Optica
Go For The Eyes - Six Through Twelve
Rockets & Dinosaurs - Angry Gnarly Love
Tanner James - How To Ruin Your Life With Women
The Growlers - Hung At Heart
Neov - Orange Morning
Summerays - Summer Daze
Guards - In Guards We Trust
New Canyons - Everyone Is Dark
High Highs - Open Season
Night Beats - Sonic Bloom
IAMX - The Unified Field
Picnic - The Weather's Fine
Sebastien Grainger - Yours To Discover

Until next year...