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

 

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.

Shows and Times in Toronto, August 10, 2013

Atlas Genius // Danforth Music Hall // Friday October 4 // 24.00

Blitzen Trapper // Lee’s Palace // Saturday October 5 // 18.50

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah // Lee’s palace // Friday October 18 // 22.50

Daughter // Phoenix Concert Hall // Sunday September 29 // 21.50

Deerhunter // Phoenix Concert Hall // Sunday September 12 // 21.00

The Dodos // Lee’s Palace // Tuesday September 24 // 17.50

Dr. Dog // Opera House // Friday November 8 // 23.00

Frightened Rabbit // Kool Haus // Thursday October 17 // 26.50

Head and the Heart // Danforth Music Hall // Thursday October 31 // 27.00

Iron and Wine // Sound Academy // Saturday September 28 // 31.50

Islands // Garrison // Thursday October 10 // 12.50

Local Natives // Kool Haus // Saturday September 21 // 29.00

mewithoutyou // Lee’s Palace // Thursday August 22 // 17.50

Riot Fest // Fort York // August 24-25

The Naked and Famous // Sound Academy // Monday October 14 // 30.00

**Neutral Milk Hotel // Kool Haus // Sunday January 19 and January20 // 38.00

Noah and the Whale // Phoenix Concert Hall // Saturday October 19 // 26.00

Surferblood // Lee’s Palace // Wednesday October 9 // 17.50

Two Door Cinema Club // Danforth Music Hall // Thursday October 15 // 31.50

Wavves // Opera House // Tuesday October 1 // 20.00

** = Must see show!

Part 2. Locke and Key

Okay, so I was in Toronto a couple days ago and I went to the Silver Snail — the big comic book store down there! It’s sweet, but a) I can never find what I want quickly, and b) they are always sold out of stuff that I want! … I still love you Silver Snail — and I picked up the first volume of Locke and Key! Oh man, this is such a  great series.

If you follow comics at all you will most likely know about this series, and if you haven’t GET ON IT. It’s a horror/supernatural comic by writer Joe Hill — son of Steven and Tabitha King, and writer of Heart Shaped Box — and it’s gritty, and graphic and awesome! I don’t want to give anything away, but lets just say… keys are involved.  Read it. Love it. And if you’ve already read it, DON”T SPOIL ANYTHING FOR ME… Please.

Joe Hill does a great job of presenting his literary chops with great transitions between concepts and panels that gives the comic the suspense that makes it unsettlingly uncomfortable to find out where the Locke family is headed next.

Locke and Key Locke and Key 2

The characters that are the focus of the story are all kids, which plays into the theme of imagination and youth holding the keys for future change.  Pun intended.  Only the kids can see use the keys — as far as I know anyway — and once you get too old you forget about the power they hold.

I was really impressed with what Joe Hill accomplishes with the supernatural comic medium and am stoked to read the rest.

I think they are on the last volume of the series and then it’s finished.  I have heard that they might be making a movie adaptation though?  Anyway, good stuff.  Give it a read.