2014 – Year in Review

Alvvays_-_Alvvays

Hello folks,

and welcome to my good old fashioned year in review, 2014 edition! So grab a select beer or favourite cognac and join me in celebration for the end of a great year and the beginning of a new one. As I’m writing this thing I’m getting ready for a New Years celebration of my own, and I’ve started my drinking a little early (so if my sentences don’t quite make sense or I’m rambling more than usual just stop me). I find if I slowly roll into my drink count instead of plummeting into a desperate sprint around 11:00, I’m a little more socially tolerable. I’ve picked up the Mill St. Seasonal Sampler and I am hyped. I was drinking the new 100th Meridian from Mill St. last weekend and it was amazing. It’s an amber ale (which I love) with the Mill St. signature organic flavour. It’s probably my new favourite beer. But the sampler has traditional Organic, Tankhouse, and three other selections that I’m stoked to try out.

Hell, I think I’m going to have to start a beer blog… or do what I usually do and forget to post altogether but have high hopes of making a new segment on this here blog. Ah well, New Years Resolution anyone? If anyone has read my ramblings in the past you know I hate… hate, New Years resolutions. But I was listening to Indie 88 on the way to grab beer and, I think it was Matt talking about average attainable resolutions, which I thought was hilarious. He mentioned that he’s never been to Swiss Chalet so that was his resolution to eat there. I think my average attainable resolution will be that if I ever see a penny on the ground I have to stick it my shoe, so I’ll have good luck all day through. That will guarantee a great 2015.

Coming up with New Years plan is always a huge chore. There are a thousand options, and most of them quite frankly will suck, we all know this; Don’t kid yourself. But alas we ask our friends and family, “what are you doin’ for New Years” and we weigh the options and choose the best plan. This year I’m going bowling with the family and hopefully finding an after party not family related for the remainder of the evening.

Okay, on to the topic of the evening, music!
This year has been huge for music, as it always is. But for me especially with the discovery of Spotify my music listening and collection has gone through the roof. With the ability to grab any record as soon as it gets released, generate a playlist and shoot it over to my smart-phone to listen on the go; we as music listeners could not be more stoked. Now, I’m not too invested in how Spotify treats developers and musicians but as a consumer it’s a god sent service.

My favourite record of 2014 was from this band called Alvvays. They’re from Toronto and they embody this perfect blend of surf-rock and modern indie. Surf-rock and indie are my jams. It’s easy to listen to, it’s fun and it doesn’t take itself seriously. That is me allover. Lyrics are never my thing. I love certain lines in songs that mean something to me, but I don’t really care what the musicians intended. That’s their business. If I wrote songs it would be for me, and I wouldn’t care if people understood them or not, I would just want them to like the song. I alvvays catch these little snippets (see what I did there?) of lyrics from their songs, like the intro of Adult Diversion “How do I get close to you, even if you don’t notice as I admire you on the subway” and it just warms me up. I’m a pretty quiet passive dude and that’s totally something I would do. Admire someone and just be too scared to say anything about it. It just reminds me that we all always have growing to do, no matter how old we are.

Anyway that’s my pick for favourite record and you can see my list of 20 albums that I loved this year below. I usually make a playlist on 8Track but, I think I’ll just post my spotify playlist and maybe that’ll force you to download the service… do. it. now.

Alright, thanks everyone and have a killer New Years!
Later.

Favourite Records of 2014:

  1. Alvvays: Self Titled
  2. Rural Alberta Advantage: Mended With Gold
  3. Hey Rosetta!: Second Sight
  4. Shakey Graves: And The War Came
  5. Mimicking Birds: Eons
  6. Real Estate: Atlas
  7. The War On Drugs: Lost in the Dream
  8. Generationals: Alix
  9. Bleachers: Strange Desire
  10. Allah-Las: Worship The Sun
  1. MacDemarco: Salad Days
  2. The New Pornographers: Brill Bruisers
  3. Jungle: Self Titled
  4. Yellow Ostrich: Cosmos
  5. Temples: Sun Structures
  6. Andrew Bird: Things Are Really Great Here, Sort of…
  7. Angus and Julia Stone: Self Titled
  8. Bahamas: Bahamas is Alfie
  9. Manchester Orchestra
  10. Sylvan Esso: Self Titled

Favourite Tracks of 2014

  1. Black Keys: Gotta Get Away
  2. Alvvays: Marry Me Archie
  3. Bleachers: Rollercoaster
  4. Shakey Graves: Dearly Departed
  5. Mark Ronson: Uptown Funk

 

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tuesday. jan 14. 2o14

chvrches. the bones of what you believe

it’s about 10:00a.m. on tuesday and I just finished my first philosophy of world religion class, I’m listening to neutral milk hotel’s random back catelog in preperation for the concert on the 19th, andd I have decided to stop using proper puncuation for this post. no capitals, in the right places. stop me if this gets annoying. i think i’m already annoyed… i have a lot to talk about so i’ll try and make it quick.  also to note a music recommendation/warning(?) at the end.

first to note; i am back in class and i’m havin’ a blast. my assignments include the following: developing an application (probably mobile) for a toronto music festival, creating a concept for a science-fiction user interface, creating a unuseless object that is more inconvenient then useful AND learning about jainism, buddhism and others.  initiate jealously.

in my philosophy class i think i’m the designated buddhism enthusiast, seeing as how i was the only one hyped about buddhism topics. i might have to crack open my buddhist books. but our prof is so wicked. in one class he referenced rage against the machine, explained he was one of the few jainist experts in north america, AND talked about his archaeological trip to the middle east to prove parts of the bible. beyond hyped and totally inspired. it almost makes the 8:00a.m. time worth it. almost.

in music related news, i saw Tokyo Police Club last friday and am seeing July Talk this Friday and as i mentioned before NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL on sunday. so far, my concert attendance this year is very acceptable. unluckily some other friends bought tickets for the NMH show for the following day. so as it stands so far i’ll be alone, which i am totally okay with, just kinda funny it worked out that way.

TANGENT:one topic i wanted to bring up was the idea of music videos.  recently i started to think about delving into electronica music to get a broader scope of what music can be, and i’ve started watching a few videos to get the visual aspect as well.  in my college program we use digital mediums to create works and art and other various projects, and some of that closely resembles concepts explored in electronica culture. so i wanted to bridge the gap and start maybe developing interactive art pieces using code (program called processing, open-source, in case you were wondering) directly inspired by electronica music. i mean, that’s why i’m in this college program, to explore new frontiers in art mediums… i’ve been watching a lot of battlestar galactica, so my heads kinda up in the air.

and i think that’s all i wanted to say. man i can talk a lot. makes me wondering if anyone ever, ever gets this far into my posts. and the answer is most likely not. so i can say anything i want. anything at all…your mother is a hamster and your father smells of elderberries…

so with inspiration from my new interest here is some different music than what i’m used to.  band is called Chvrches, and they’re from scotland. i know, i know, it’s not true electronica.  but chill out, i’m easing into it. i had one of my friends who is really into electronica give me some recomendations, so i’ll get to those later. i was super tempted to put some Neutral Milk Hotel, or Real Estates new single but i’ve had this song stuck in my head, and it fits with my topic theme. so there.

Favourite Albums of 2013, etc.

Here we go!

Alright so this has been an insane year for tunes. Huge bands making even larger records.  Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys… actually we’re missing a Black Keys record this year.  That’ll come next year for sure.  The National and Vampire Weekend! and a slew of new talent.

Whew! I know what you’re thinking.  You’re sitting there in your comfy chair, surfing the web and asking yourself, “where do I even start?” Well, I’m here to help.  Here are my top twenty records of 2013, with a few extra categories thrown in to give some variety to the mix.  I hope you agree with at least a few bands and support them by checking out a show when they swing by or even picking up the record at your local distributor!

Cheers!

Trouble Will Find Me

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

1. The National – Trouble Will Find Me 

2. Arcade Fire – Reflektor

3. Generationals – Heza

4. Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends

5. Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse 

6. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

7. The Front BottomsTalon of the Hawk  

Reflektor

Arcade Fire – Reflektor

8. Youth LagoonWonderous Bughouse

9. Cage the Elephant – Melophobia

10. Yuck – Glow & Behold

11. Arctic Monkeys – AM

12. Beach FossilsClash The Truth

13. Waxahatchee – Cerulean Salt 

 14. Smith WesternsSoft Will

Heza

Generationals – Heza

15. Wavves – Afraid of Heights

16. Surfer BloodPythons

17. The Head and the HeartLet’s Be Still

18. Jake Bugg – Shangri La

19. The Dodos – Carrier

20. Dinosaur Bones – Shaky Dream

 

Favourite Record Not Released in 2013

Evil Friends

Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends

Saint Motel – Voyeur

Late Entry:

Hebronix – Unreal

Best Canadian Record:

Royal Canoe – Today We’re Believers

Best Track:

Varsity – Smith Westerns

Honourable Mentions:

Pedestrian Verse

Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse

Foals – Holy Fire

Dr. Dog – B-Room

July Talk – Self Titled

DIIV – Oshin

Sigur Ros – Valtari

8track playlist coming soon…

December 18th – 2013: Royal Canoe – Hold On To The Metal

Hello peoples,

It’s about noon on Wednesday the 18th, and I am finally finished the first semester of my new program! I’m giving the first record by Haim another listen because apparently it’s the new coolest thing… honestly I feel like I’m missing something because I don’t really get it. They sound like a more collective Florence Welch, but I know I didn’t ask for that, so I’m wondering who did.

Anyway, I just wanted to make an update on this blog because the last thing I posted was my very first website design and now looking back, it’s kinda lame.  That’s the best part about studying design, that even weeks later the piece you loved now seems insignificant.  Growth is absolute! As you can tell I’m in a fairly great mood; no snarky posts (Except for the Haim thing), no complaining on a large scale and no out-of-control-rants that I would indefinitely regret later on.

You should be happy, a few weeks ago when I was writing my final English paper (which I got a 90% on, not to toot my own horn or anything – I think I’m actually gonna post that paper on here because I think it’s pretty interesting) I was about to post a huge rant about “being greater than yourself” or something along those lines.  Sounds self-righteous to you? That’s because it was.  A good buddie of mine set me straight and I now see that I really did have my head up my own ass. Hopefully I’ll be better with that kind of thing, but alas, here we are.

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION: Cut out the self-righteousness and stop spending every penny at the bar every weekend.

My first semester is done, and my stress level has all but depleted.  Had some good times, and some not so good times, but it’s over and I have three weeks off to do absolutely nothing.  I might play some video games (was thinking about picking up WoW again – I rolled a Paladin and I’ma melt some faces, but that’s a topic for… Geek Alert!)

Ah crap, I have a gig poster I have to do… whoops.  But other than that I’m just happy to have some free time.  Kim and I are heading to a Cage the Elephant show in Toronto tomorrow and I am beyond hyped! I finally get to see them play! I’ll be going early today to hang with a few friends and then she’ll meet me in Toronto and have the best time ever!

Shaping up to be a fine Christmas vacation.

Anyway, I think that’s all I want to say for now and hopefully I write a few more posts this break before the new semester starts and maybe I’ll explain my program and what it means to me, because people seem to have no idea what I’m studying.  OH! and I’ll be compiling my list of best albums of the year again this year, and posting a playlist with the favourite songs before my break is over! I also want to get some more of my art up here so stay, tuned(?) for that. And I think that’s it.

Later! Oh here’s a quick tune that I recommend.  They are called Royal Canoe and they are wicked interesting.  Also, if you live in the Greater Toronto Area listen to Indie88… all the time, they have so much great tunage and they just started about 7 weeks ago.  They play one tune by these guys called Exodus of the Year, but I’m posting my favourite called Hold On To The Metal.  Enjoy!

Front Bottoms//Dads, Poutine(or lack of) and Toronto

Front Bottoms at the Hard Luck Bar in Toronto.  That thing between my legs is an empty confetti launcher that I got a hold of. Happy Birthday Buddie!

Front Bottoms at the Hard Luck Bar in Toronto.
From left to right – Ciaran O’Donnel – Guitarist, Mathew Uychich – Drums, Nigel – My chum, Me – Touque’less, Tom Warren – Bass, and Brian Sella – Vocals.
That thing between my legs is an empty confetti launcher that I got a hold of. Happy Birthday Buddie!

Another quick update!  Haven’t been in the mood at all for writing but I figured I would at least update my blog here a little.  I’ve spent the last, like five days, in downtown Toronto at my buddies place because I had two shows to go to in the span of three days so I figured I would just hang there until the shows were over.

I’m home now, and so glad.  I can only take so much of the city… and their apartment, sometimes. I had a blast, spend a lot of money, got to see my great friends from school last year, and saw some totally rad shows.  The first being The Front Bottoms! Holy cow they were rad.  Their newest record Talon of the Hawk is the catchiest thing I’ve heard all year, so much so that I’m actually a little burnt out on the them from listening to them all week.  Our friend Joanie actually came all the way from Ottawa to hang with us and to see them play for the second time in two days.  She had already seen them in Ottawa the day before and actually hung out with the bassist Tom Warren.  So when we all went to the show in Toronto she ran into Tom again and we hung out with him the whole night. Super chill dude.

After the insane show of an exceptionally packed bar – to which everyone was moshing at the same time, shoulder to shoulder, resulting in not much actual movement – we stayed afterwards and hung out with the band a little, while I searched for my beloved touque that got knocked off my head on the very last crowd-surf… as I’m typing this I feel like I’ve documented this exact scenario before, which is not surprising considering how many touques I lose. R.I.P. blue Element tuoque

P.S. If anyone is reading this and has been the Hard Luck Bar in the last week and found a ratty blue touque, give me a holla! haha.

Anyway, it was an absolute rad time, and definitely one of my top ten best shows that I’ve seen.  It was also our friend Nigels birthday weekend so it was cool that we all got to go out and see a great show.

So two days from then Nigel and I went back to the Hard Luck Bar and saw the equally rad, but a little less enjoyable ’emo’ band Dads.  They were sweet, but I didn’t really know their tunes as much so I didn’t have as good of a time at that show, but I picked up a 7″ of their new EP so I figured I would give em a better listen later on.  The vinyl is green 🙂

I actually ended up giving my download code of that EP to some girl that was trying to direct me and Nigel to a great poutine place that was open at midnight on a Sunday… turns out nothing is open at midnight on a Sunday, and I am now short one download code.

Good times.