Slow and Euphonious #5

A happy December to you! This is more than overdue, the only thing stronger than my procrastination is my will to talk about music apparently.
Thankfully some beautiful things have come in the past couple of months. Let’s have a look.


#1. Lankum. “The Livelong Day”

This may come as a surprise or no to some of you but ever since I first stumbled upon the magnificence that is Luke Kelly and the Dubliners I’ve had a love for traditional Irish music. To the point that I even have a selection of records that are purely Uilleann pipe reels for hours. So when a friend of mine said that there’s a band in Ireland who have taken the folk elements of trad’ music and have mixed it with dark as molasses sound themes I was already taken.

Lankum “The Livelong Day”

Whilst having a tumultuous history of formations and reformations Lankum have for some time been operating as a 4 piece with a varying collection of instruments. I understand that traditional Irish songs may not be for everybody, but you haven’t head them like this before. The band somehow maintains a reverential approach to the material while also bringing in a whole other world of influences to the table. Things like: post-punk, shoegaze, drone, and even some psychedelic folk. While there are some bright moments the record as a whole is dark, brooding, and primally atmospheric.

Some of the performances on this album will have you wondering if you’ve accidentally stumbled onto some form of ancient bardic ritual. I recommend listening to this near an ablaze fireplace with a bottle of something strong next to you.

Personal Highlights:
Ode to Lullaby“, “Katie Cruel” & “The Pride of Petravore


#2. Bjéar “August (feat. Ella Ion)”

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Bjéar “August”

The most recent offering from the one man operation that is Bjéar is ever as tantalizing and satisfying. While sonically it continues from his other release this year the “All Roads” ep. The mood of this single is much more grounded. Foregoing synths, drums, and bombastic melodies, “August” offers layers of acoustic guitars, piano keys, atmospheric reverb, and some beautiful harmonies.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that this music is made in Australia because it feels so much like what the darker months of the pacific northwest. This song is melancholy backdrop to cold nights or rainy days.  Time after time I am impressed by the music produced by Bjéar and cannot wait for another full release one day.

Have a listen:


#3. Leif Vollebekk. “New Ways”

It’s relatively safe to say at this point in his career Leif Vollebekk is somewhat of an indie music darling in Canada, and it’s not hard to see why. After receiving numerous accolades and a Juno award this record is very much a welcome addition to the Canadian musical landscape.

Leif Vollebekk “New Ways”

There is a certain earnest quality within this  album that is so familiar to Vollebekk’s songwriting, but it isn’t stale. Where his previous “Twin Solitude” had spacious melodies and a reclined attitude “New Ways” pushes his vocal performances and song structures a beat further. The accomplishment of exploring his own unique style of new-pop/soul piano infused ballads has made “New Ways” a standalone record, wreathed in intense emotionalism and canny musicality.

This is the kind of record that will both make your shoulders shimmy and maybe have you even a little misty eyed. Rest assured this album is very very good, and worth your time to listen to, and if you’re like me listen to it multiple times weekly.

Personal Highlights:

Blood Brother“, “Hot Tears” & “Transatlantic Flight


#4. Angie McMahon “Salt”

Last and certainly not least is the debut release from Aussie singer songwriter Angie McMahon. After being brought on as the opening act for Bon Jovi’s Australian tour a number of years ago McMahon began making serious waves with her unique songwriting style.

Angie McMahon “Salt”

While at first glance the album could present itself as a meagre offering of early 2000’s singer songwriter folk, that would be a wild misinterpretation. This album is raw, introspective, and often angry. Carrying the same swagger as Dylan going electric “Salt” is 50 minutes of guitar driven poetry fuelled by fractured relationships and husky vocal work.

This album is draped heavily in the uncomfortable restless apprehension that besets so many people in their 20’s these days. It’s perfect for anyone who is having trouble expressing or pushing past the malaise of the day possibly best shown in the chorus of “Pasta” “I’ve been lost I’ve been lost for a while And I’m feeling tired”.  This record is something special and deserves your attention.

Personal Highlights:

Slow Mover“,  “Soon” & “Pasta

I hope that you enjoy these recommendations as I have been absolutely devouring these releases myself.


Thanks for stopping by

Slow and Euphonious #4

The steam train of excellent music has no breaks, and even fewer stops. Here’s some things I reckon you should give a listen to!

#1. Wilco. “Ode to Joy”

This is the latest release from long term indie/rock/folk/alternative/neuvo-americana musical chameleons Wilco. Since the addition of legendary free jazz guitarist Nels Cline Wilco has been putting out very intriguing albums.  Somehow hanging on to their measured musical style and downtrodden Tweedy-esque melodies with the addition of perplexingly clever guitar work.  My own personal measure is that the more the front man / song writer Jeff Tweedy looks like a dishevelled mess the better the album will be.

Ode to Joy

I have yet to see any photo evidence but I suspect that somewhere is a very unkempt Jeff Tweedy because this album is excellent.
It has the privilege of 10 previous records of songwriting experience.  The songs have a certain spacial quality to them. The band is in no rush or urgency but still somehow manages to get their musical point across to you from the get go.  This may not be the most welcoming Wilco album to kick off with, but if you have been a fan of theirs before you will not be disappointed.


Personal Highlights:

Bright Leaves“, “Everyone Hides“, & “Love is Everywhere (Beware)“.


#2. Slaughter Beach, Dog. “Safe and Also no Fear”

Safe and Also no Fear

In keeping with the very blue theme this third album release from Philly’s own is up next. Departing mood wise from his 2017 release “Birdie” Jake Ewald has both lyrically and musically matured on this record.  The tone is probably best encapsulated it the opening track “One Down”.  A warm melancholy story of ennui and modernistic anxiety.  This album is less about past joys and nostalgia as per precious releases, but about present reflections.

I’ve been a longterm fan of Elwald since his days in Emo-Punk outfit Modern Baseball and “Safe and Also no Fear” was a very welcome offering in late summer this year.  This album has a charm behind it, despite what could be seen as lyrical indifference. Slaughter Beach, Dog has in my opinion continued on its excellent path as a band with potentially the most referential Delaware based beach name that makes heavily experiential Gen Z music.  This release shares the pattern of catching me off guard with how comfortable it makes me feel when I listen to it.

Personal Highlights: 

One Down“, “Black Oak“, & “Map of the Stars


#3. “Tiny Changes”

Last but certainly not least is a collaboration of roughly 17 different musicians. A tribute album celebrating the all too short life of Frightened Rabbit front man and song writer Scott Hutchison.  Last year was the 10th anniversary of one of my most listened and favourite albums ever made “Midnight Organ Fight.” In honour of this milestone before his death Scott spent months organizing some of his friends to cover the entirety of the album and then some. After his tragic suicide the rest of the band continued his work of putting this together.

Tiny Changes

I find the ideas of covers fascinating and romantically difficult. I have even though about writing a whole essay on this topic. There are a number of ways one can go with covering someone else’s work. Whilst listening to this record I have devised some version of a personal rule 3 circled Venn diagram for covers. I shall spare you the long version but this album of covers is exceedingly faithful thematically to the core of Frightened Rabbit.

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Why yes I am a huge musical nerd, how could you tell?



This album is a beautiful project, much closer to the spirit now of a Harrison-esque memorial concert than an album of unrelated musicians covering songs.  And the star is still very much Hutchinson’s lyrical earnestness and heart wrenching song writing.  If you have not listened to the original do so. If you have not listened to the cover album do so. There is even a 30 minute bio-pic/interview with the artists who worked on this project.

Also and probably more importantly if you are struggling with mental health please talk to someone about it. In honour of Scott the band set up a charity  please feel free to read more about it or to donate. It is an issue worth supporting.

Personal favourites: (this is more like choosing a favourite child)

The Modern Leper (Biffy Clyro Version)“, “The Twist (Wintersleep Version)“, “The Modern Leper (Julien Baker Version)“, & “Backwards Walk (Machester Orchestra Version)“.



Thanks for stopping by!

Slow and Euphonious #3

Hi! Hey! How are ya? Sorry its been a little bit since the last post my brain space has been pre-occupied with all kinds of less fun things. This does not mean however that the world of music has slowed down in the slightest!

So, lets get into it!

#1. Julia Jacklin. “Crushing”

I first came across this brilliant musician while doing my bi-yearly trawl through the Triple J musical archives. I was shocked that I’d never managed to find her cover performance of the Strokes’ “Someday” before now, because it’s such a fantastic rendition of an already fantastic song. I’m not entirely sure how to genre-fy her music, it’s two parts 50’s pop soul and one part 90’s depressive angst, with a sprinkling of unique yet beautiful vocal work.


Needless to say the bucolic spring months here in Vancouver have added to an increase in my ambient infatuation with her music, and just in time for her new record to come out.

As the sun has continued to emerge I have been very appreciative of Ms. Jacklin’s latest offerings and strongly recommend if you have some time to check out some of her live performances such as NPR.


Personal highlights: 

Pressure to Party“, “Leadlight“, & “Motherland


#2 The National. “You Had Your Soul with You”

It would be fair to say that I am a National fan. I own multiple copies of their records, digitally, on cd and vinyl, I have a few band shirts, and a tour poster. I first fell in love with this band while watching an obscure music segment that used to air on MTV Fridays at midnight called “The Wedge”.   Instantly as the sounds of “Mistaken for Strangers” hit my earholes I was enraptured.

You Had Your Soul With You.

So when the the boys from Cincinnati decided to air drop a brand new song and news of a new album I was a happy camper. The rhythmic feel of the song is very much a return to complex form of older National records but still maintains a similarly mature melodic approach as with their more recent releases.

Needless to say I am more than a little excited to see what the whole album entails when it releases. My musical tastes still haven’t fully recovered from the pioneering heights of “High Violet” So here’s hoping “I Am Easy to Find” can give us a little taste. 

Give the song a listen and let me know what you think.


You Had Your Soul With You.


#3. Flume. “Hi This is Flume (Mixtape)”

This offering is a little bit different then I normally recommend but what else is this place for than for exploring the edges of music you may not normally discover.
Flume is a Electronica producer from Australia who gained acclaim with his release self titled album and follow up collaboration with Chet Faker.

Hi This is Flume.

This mixtape is a 42 minute sonic and visual journey. At its core it feels more of a complete musical idea than a lot of current mainstream pop offerings. Though most of the songs are just about 1 and a half minutes long execution of a concept done well makes up for the slapdash potential nature of a mixtape.


Rich Visuals and Richer Music.

The music on this cut is experimental, jagged and sometimes off-putting but it is something very fresh. I highly highly recommend if you have any interest in EDM to give the full 42 minute album video a watch, it’s stunning.  Would that other producers take such outlandish approaches to making tapes and albums.  Give it a shot, the glitch hop may pleasantly surprise you.

Personal highlights: 

Jewel“, “Dreamtime“, & “Is it Cold in the Water?


Hopefully you find some good listening in these recommendations, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed what April has offered so far!

Thanks for stopping by



Fast and Loud #2

There are some exciting releases coming up in 2019 so here’s a little speed and fuzz for your week of listening.


#1. The Spielbergs.

First on the docket is the 3 piece from Oslo, the new sound out of Norway. The indie fuzz pop group just recently celebrated their first full album release in February, and they don’t seem to be slowing down.

Tell you what, it wasn’t easy to find a picture related to Spielbergs that wasn’t of Steven.

The Speilbergs manage a sound that harkens to me memories of early Japandriods, Against Me!, or even some Gaslight Anthem records. Very anthemic and well constructed songs that belong in stadiums or small sweaty clubs. There is a joyous amount of noise layered on top of a standalone confidence that Indie bands seem to propagate these days.  As the Spielbergs tour through cities I cant even hope to pronounce properly I hope they get some of the popularity they deserve and maybe make it to Canada one day.

It’s been a hot minute since any nordic bands had any airtime on the Canadian charts, not since the Hives or even the Hellacopters. Having some Scandinavian flair would be a welcome addition.

Personal highlights:

Five on It“, & “We’re All Going to Die


#2. Dear Seattle.

Next up are some boys from Aus. Keeping the home fires burning with some very reminiscent mid 2000s pop punk.  The band started gathering some buzz in mid 2017 with their first self titled release and soon became members of the Domestic La La record label. DLLWebsite_DearSeattleNow taking their next big step into the Aus music scene Dear Seattle are looking to make a bigger name for themselves.

If you miss some of the hay-days of Emo-punk and want to add an Australian twinge to it then Dear Seattle has something special for you. Give them a shot, maybe you’ll find yourself busting out your old Fallout Boy graphic T-shirt without even realising it.

Personal highlights:

Daytime TV” & “Try


#3. Fontaines D.C. “Too Real”

Last up is the surrealist working class offerings from Irish band Fontaines D.C. Im still not overly sure what a Fonatine is but their music and pedestrian verse make me slightly uncomfortable to listen to and overly hopeful for the future of Irish music.  Like Joy division and early Fall records the Fontaines D.C. maintain a heavy beat and groove while sinking lower into thematically dark lyrics.

In the bands own words “Dogrel is a crude, traditionally Irish working-class form of verse, historically looked down upon by literary critics.”

There’s a lot of murmurs going around about their upcoming release “Dogrel” out in early April. Generally speaking albums that garner this much attention have glitz, glamour, and a good deal of industry flavoured audio production. So far the Fontaines D.C. deride all these things for a raw and emotive approach to making music.  These boys are probably making Mark E. Smith very proud.

Give them a shot if you feel like thinking and analyzing when you listen to something rather than just have more background noise to satiate your senses.  It took me more than a few tries to get completely on board with what the Fontaines D.C. are doing.  But, it will for sure be interesting to see the mark they make in April.

Personal highlight:

Too Real

There’s some exciting things out and about, keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground.

Thanks for stopping by

Slow and Euphonious #2

Hopefully 2019 is treating you well so far. Musically I couldn’t be more excited. Here are some great things I’ve been hoarding.


#1. Pedro the Lion. “Phoenix”

Following a 15 year dry-spell this Seattle Indie band has decided to grace us with a new album. The hand of frontman and creative force Dave Bazan could not be more present or more welcome in this piece. Known for his meticulous and dark lyrics with a somewhat cheeky emotion Bazan shows off his talent in spades. Listening to this record will give you a burst of nostalgia, but not in a cheap Disney way only remaking old things that you used to enjoy.


Much of the focus of the songs are towards things like childhood, teenage ennui, and a burgeoning emotional and spiritual apathy. I can’t fully express why I’m so excited to see the return of Pedro the Lion to the indie scene, but as a Canadian it would be akin to the Constantines or the Stills making a musical comeback which would put my maple syrup over the moon.

Bazan brings a much needed emotionally mature venerability with a beautiful blend of distorted guitars to a glitzy and self possessed music world.  Give it a listen.

Personal highlights: 

Yellow Bike“, “Quietest Friend“, & “Model Homes“.


#2. Broken Social Scene. “Let’s Try the After (Vol. 1)” l.p.

Canada’s resident indie super-group/ front runners for most members in a band award have decided it’s time to huddle round the creative bonfire yet again and give us a short 5 song tease.

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Not a joke, this is their “members” section from Wikipedia

Much of their familiar flair for multi guitar soundscapes and clever rhythms is present. Good signs for any potential plans of a longer full album release from this cabal of musicians. Who knows what exactly volume 2 will entail, but one thing for sure it’ll be a curiously appealing melodic ensemble.

Personal highlights: 

1972“, & “All I Want“.

Let’s Try the After (Vol.1)








#3. Body Type.  “Body Type EP”

Last up is a four piece hailing from Sydney. Body Type are a fresh face making what I would describe as pop shoe-gaze but you can actually hear what the singer is doing.  Hoping to take the Australian music scene by storm their release EP isn’t a bad place to start.

Body Type EP

Featuring catchy guitar lines, some fast bass work, and steady drums to hold everything together. Body Type are here to plant a tune in your head and not let it escape easily. Hopefully they keep up the pace and continue to refine pop music for the better.

Personal highlights: 

Palms“, & “Ludlow“.

Keep up the awesome pace 2019!

Thanks for stopping by


Slow and Euphonious #1

In an attempt to not play favourites, I thought it best to do a second song snippet but on something less audibly aggressive.  Again these are shorter then my long-form looks and are great for trying out a new song here and there.


#1. Preoccupations. “Anxiety

This Albertan post-punk 4 piece is up first. Previously known as “Viet Cong” they have been making waves among the Canadian indie scene for a few years now.  Especially after their latest release in early 2018. This particular album drawing critical acclaim for it’s dark and melodic approach.

Preoccupations “New Material”

Disclaimer, like most post-punk “Preoccupations” is not for the light hearted; and may contain such side effects as: emergency fetal position, a love of rain, and an onset of Joy Division.

Personal Highlight:

The track “Anxiety” is my favourite of theirs coming from their first self titled album.

#2 Maggie Rogers. “Fallingwater

Next up is something so hot off the presses it’s still smouldering.  From her Jan 2019 release “Heard It in a Past Life” Maggie Rogers continues to use her beautiful voice and fantastic soundscaping to make a name for herself.   After her song “Alaska” moved renowned happy man and N.E.R.D Pharell Williams to tears, Rogers has been on a rocket trajectory towards stardom.  Highlights including playing SNL late 2018, and being part of the Coachella ’19 lineup, no small feat.

Maggie Rogers “Heard It in a Past Life”

I’ve been a fan of madame Rogers since I came across some of her early work while trawling through Bandcamp.  While containing a much more low key sound the roots of her songwriting and vocal quality are all there.

Personal highlight:

Give “Fallingwater” a listen and tell me her voice ain’t just fantastic.

#3. Dan Mangan.

The local Vancouver boy himself approaches the plate. Bringing his own flavour of self acclaimed “sad-jams” Dan Mangan is celebrating his quinary album “More or Less”.  Being a personally much awaited release this record does not disappoint.  The clever lyricism and musicality are a welcome breath of fresh air on the radio waves.  Building on Dan’s reputation as a voice for Canadian music and a sad-jam aficionado.

Strangely this music video includes a clip of 90s Aussie children’s musician “Peter Coombes”

This record has been a joy to listen since it’s release in November 2018. It is hard for me to pick favourites, but since I must.

Personal highlights: 

Peaks & Valleys“, “Troubled Mind“, & “Cold in the Summer“.

#4. Bjéar.

Last but certainly not least are the artisans from Adelaide. On the top of my music wish-list is a 2019 offering from this band. Their self titled 2017 release was and still is one of my favourite things to listen to.  Unfortunately for me they don’t seem to be in a hurry, fortunately for me they also seem to be in the habit of dropping small tantalizing musical tidbits.

Bjéar is bringing the sax back with a vengeance.

This paring of songs i’ve dubbed the “Saxophone Twins” have been constants in my playlists since their release. And while one of them may be a little hard to play due to it being hosted on an Australian based radio secondary indie website. I say the effort is worth it.

Personal highlights: 

Seriously listen to these!  “Going to the Sun“, & “Little Darling

Hopefully some of these musical contributions will keep you as full of melodies as I am.

Thanks for stopping by

Fast and Loud #1

It has been a while since I last wrote something here, but this year I wanted to make a more concentrated attempt at putting stuff online.

In the effort of more regular posts I wanted to try and generalize some music into different categories for what I’ve been enjoying recently.  Fast and loud being the first. These will be shorter grabs and great if you want to find some new stuff to dig your teeth into.


#1. The Idles.

First up are the bad boys from Bristol.  The 5 man outfit followed up their first release “Brutalism” with a cracker of an album in 2018 entitled “Joy as an Act of Resistance”.  And my my, it’s been a long time since there’s been this level of talented diesel fuel in music form.  With 12 tracks this album clocks a blistering pace of just over 40 minutes.

Goons from Great Britain
Goons from Great Britain

Many of the staples for great punk rock are in here, instruments at full throttle and lyrics of rebellion and uprising.  But in a comforting twist the tone behind this album is one of community building and friendship. A shame that this has become an act of resistance, but good that the Idles have the stones to go on about it. And as an added bonus the drums are fantastic.

Personal highlights from the album:
Danny Nedelko“,  “Samaritans” & “Gram Rock


#2. Fiddlehead.

Next on the chopping block an operation out of Boston. Putting out their debut effort “Springtime and Blind” in April of 2018.  I quickly became enamoured with the feel of the album, in particular the drum work of Shawn Costa and the power of singer Patt Flynn’s voice. maxresdefault

This album is a powerhouse of emotion and a fantastic listen. If you have the time I highly recommend watching their live set at the Programme Skate Shop.  But if you don’t have time;

Personal highlights from the album:

Spousal Loss” & “Lay Low


#3. Press Club.


“I left my heart in the Suburbs”

The Kids from down-under round out the roster for this review.  After cranking out around 40 songs together the group took to voting which songs would make the cut on their debut record.  Personally I am more than curious to see what the remaining 30 odd sound like.

This self produced conglomeration of songs is raw, vivid, and is almost a live show encapsulated right in front of you.  Joining the cadre of talented punk/alternative/grunge erupting out of Australia in the last few years, Press Club bring some welcome presence to the scene.  Hopefully they take a break from their frenetic live tour to grace us with a new studio effort in 2019.

Personal highlights from the album:

Crash“, “Golden State” and “Suburbia

As the world of music continues to expand keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the ground for more from me.

Thanks for stopping by

The best things I listened to in 2017

With the tidy finish of December behind us, we’ve now surged into a new year… and with that, the ever popular lists of things that happened over the previous year (2017) are out in full force.  I felt like writing something again and this seemed like a natural opportunity. So here is my list of best albums I listened to in 2017. These are not necessarily 2k17 releases, but rather things I discovered, enjoyed immensely, and managed to keep up with my rigorous listening schedule.

#1.  Bjéar: Bjéar (self titled) 


This Adelaide indie band was brought to my attention by a good friend. The early 2017 release of their self titled L.P. has been a consistent favourite of mine ever since. Highlights are Firefall and Hymn, but the album as a whole is fantastic.  Drawing musical influences from the fjords and the dark forests of Scandinavia, the album paints warm tones through a cold land, giving the listener a feeling of comforting nostalgia. Like holding a cup of warm tea near a fireplace after a long day exploring a snow bank, this record will give you warmth as you huddle up next to it.


#2 Violent Soho: Waco 


I honestly considered not adding this, mostly because it was released in mid-2016 and I have been listening to it since then. But this album… man, this album captured something in me I thought I’d lost a long time ago: the teenage joy of listening to a good punk album. I got this cd hand-smuggled in luggage into Canada just so I could have it in my car’s CD player forever. There were days when I was done with my job and would take a longer route home just so I could listen to more of this album.  After finding this Brisbane-based punk-grunge operation I have become a die hard fan, and this follow up to their scene-defining release “Hungry Ghost” exceeded the expectations of the Australian music scene — they won album of the year last year at the ARIAs (the Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards; yes it’s a terrible acronym).  If you enjoy the good parts of the Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana mixed with a little turn of the early 00’s alternative punk, then Violent Soho are for you, and this album is an amazing place to start. These live versions of them playing also work: No Shade, or Lazy Eye (Silversun Pickups Cover).

Now that I think about it a bit more, this has been a really good year for music.


#3 Conor Oberst: Salutations


It’s rare that something like a musical sequel comes along, and even rarer that I find myself enjoying it over its predecessor. In late 2016 Bright Eyes front man and America’s disgruntled poetic lyricist Conor Oberst released “Ruminations”, an exceedingly sparse and bare record. Listening to it felt like you were sitting with him in an old wooden church hall with a slightly out of tune piano. “Salutations”, on the other hand, feels very different. Oberst went back to the drawing board with his own songs, and brought in the influence of one of my favourite Americana bands, the Felice Brothers, putting out this jaunty but no less serious album. Particular favourites of mine are Overdue, and Barbary Coast. Instead of being in an empty wooden monolith, this album feels like you, Conor, and the five members of the Felice Brothers are in a big top tent together drinking just a little bit of moonshine and watching the summer sun slowly go down over the Appalachian mountains.


#4 Cage the Elephant: Unpeeled


Cage the Elephant have always been somewhat of a musical enigma to me. This album is no exception. Surging onto the musical scene with their potentially-one-hit-wonder “No Rest for the Wicked”, Cage the Elephant did something very impressive. They managed to take that success and turn it into a musical endeavour worth looking into, and I’m very glad they did. The release of Unpeeled marks an interesting time for this band, as it is an assembly of their past albums, their big hits, and some of their favourite covers, stripped down and performed on mostly acoustic instruments with some strings along with it. It’s like a greatest hits album, but better; it’s like a live album, but better. I’m not sure how to classify it, really.  It’s more like the band decided to have some fun with their own material and happened to invite us along for the ride (and the ride happened to be professionally recorded and mastered).
This band seems to be hitting a great musical stride. Songs like Cold Cold Cold and their cover of Daft Punk’s Instant Crush are both brilliant takes, and give me the increasing suspicion that they are channeling some of that early The Rolling Stones mojo.

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The new Mick Jagger?


#5 Leif Vollebekk: Twin Solitude


This third album from Leif Vollebekk is both haunting and beautiful. Comprised mostly of piano, drums, and strings, Leif meditates on Canadian life. If you are a individual who likes to feel emotional things, this album is for you. Elegy and Twin Solitude give this album enough star power on their own to make this record good, but I strongly suggest investing into this Canadian singer songwriter. He’s quickly scaling up my list of favourite Canadian artists alongside Dan Mangan and Aidan Knight.


#6 Father John Misty: Pure Comedy


This third offering from Ex-Fleet Foxes drummer/singer songwriter Josh Tillman, aka Father John Misty, aka Farmer Jah Misery, is fascinating to me. His previous album, I Love you Honeybear, was one of my top albums of 2015.

The character and writing of Father John Misty’s albums is bleak. It’s poetry from someone who’s stared at themselves in the mirror just a little bit too long. Often times I find myself thinking that if we had a cultural poet laureate, Father John Misty would be it. This is the man who banned video cameras and phones at his shows, and gave us this weird, WEIRD self interview punctuated with scat singing, whiskey drinking, and just a little bit of tearful self analysis. Father John Misty cuts a cultural canyon in his album, wrapped in a swathe of loathing, joy, derision, and confident self-doubt. It’s hard to not be enticed by his own brand of Lennon-esque mockery of how the world works. Total Entertainment Forever is a prime example of this. Be warned: this album isn’t for the faint of heart or for those who want something to listen to without thinking about it. I’m not claiming to be either of those things myself, but when confronted by the words of these songs I can’t help but try and see if he’s right about things or not. His cover of I Believe I can Fly is also pretty dang good.

Don’t you just feel super cultural right about now?


Drum roll please!
#7 Slaughter Beach, Dog: Birdie


Last but not least is the second album from Philadelphia-based singer songwriter/ punk band Modern Baseball member Jake Ewald. Since the aforementioned band’s hiatus, Slaughter Beach, Dog has become the outlet for Ewald’s creative force. This album was just what I needed in autumn when it was released. I don’t know him personally, but this album seems to be heavily inspired by the writer’s childhood; through that seemingly simplistic goal comes musical depth and quality.  This record, along with it’s pre release E.P. brother “Motorcycle.jpg”, are both musical offerings that make me excited for the future of Slaughter Beach, Dog.

So ends my list. I am eager to see what 2018 brings on the high seas of the ocean of music that already exists.
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Why buy an Album?

We live in a generation of immediacy. Microwave dinners, whole t.v. seasons released in one day and watched in the next two. And perhaps most accessible of all, streaming music.  Enormous libraries of musician’s art and work at our fingertips. Whether it’s on a phone, a home computer, gaming consoles or a tablet; if you want it you can have it. Unless you want Jay-Z or Beyoncé. You’ll have to pay for them. So in this time when you can get what you want when you want while paying very little or nothing for it, why buy an album? Why not a best of, or just the singles from the release?

Well to me the idea of the “album” has always been a place where the artist or band has their last say into what statement they are trying to make with their music.
I shall attempt to demonstrate what I mean.

I love the Gorillaz. I understand they are not everyone’s cup of tea and that’s okay. But their 2005 album “Demon Days” has been a constant in my car’s cd player, in my iPod and on my record table for years. And it’s not because of the hits on the album although they are numerous and great. Killers like “Feel Good Inc” or “Dirty Harry” are singles worth remembering and replaying. But it is in the themes and composition of the album that makes it a classic in my head.


The record begins with a sample from the soundtrack of George A. Romero’s 1978 zombie classic “Dawn of the Dead,” which leads into the first musical track “Last Living Souls.” A musical question mark to kick off the album.  The thesis statement if you will.
The singer asks himself and the listener what is the state of the world that we’re living in? Is it a post apocalyptic zombie infested wasteland. Where the soul is marred and destroyed? Is the singer the part of the last human generation to have ever felt joy?


This idea, questioning whether or not we are in the last days, the evil days, the demon days, repeats numerous times. The album is a reflection on what brings happiness, what devices and desires we turn to in our search to rise above.  Probably the most poignant example of this is the two tracks that sit in the middle of the record  “Feel Good Inc.” And “El Mañana”. I highly reccomend watching them both.

High above a desolate city the tower looms. An edifice to carnal consumers and voyeuristic mania Feel Good Inc. The singer desperately detailing his desire to escape the crushing weight of living like this but also his inability to leave. Then breaking through both musically and thematically is the vision of freedom. A flying windmill. Peace, serenity and love

“Windmill, windmill for the land
Turn forever hand in hand
Take it all in on your stride
It is ticking, falling down
Love forever, love has freely
Turned forever you and me
Windmill, windmill for the land
Is everybody in?”
“Feel Good Inc.” 2005.


The windmill is what the singer and what this album desires. Freedom and untainted love, perhaps even innocence.

The tragedy of this musical pairing lies within the second track “El Mañana.” In the music video the windmill is destroyed and with it the singer’s glimpse at a different world. Lyrically the melancholy ballad is about the loss of love.  Can he go on to the next morning? Has he lost his mind as well as his joy? I’ll admit perhaps this a little dramatic. But the theme of desperation in these last demon days of the world continues strongly through these two tracks.

There are many other examples of how this album carries on these ideas but it is again the composition and narrative theme that I want to draw attention to. If these tracks were in a different or even contrasting order the album could have a completely different meaning. Almost as much so as if there were entirely different songs placed on the record.  The goal of a band or artist that doesn’t simply want to make hits or the fast food version of music should aspire to create a complete set piece; An Album. I’m not trying to sound like a snob, though I may be doing just that. Individual songs have their own strong merits, and not all albums need to be making a thematic statement like “Demon Days,” “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” or ‘The Soft Bulletin” to name some others.  But an artist who doesn’t make use of this tool at their disposal is not making use of all the potential. It’s one of the things that makes music so unique as an art form.

So next time one of your favourite bands or musicians puts out a tune consider buying their album, listening to the whole thing and see if maybe the song you like is about something else entirely.

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