I thought that I hadn’t listened to enough music this year to justify a list, or at least not enough current music, or at least not enough current Canadian music, or at least not enough current Canadian music that was on this blog. Despite myself, I dug into a lot of great stuff this year.
Links to original reviews will be hyperlinked.
What follows is not in any order whatsoever.
The Betrayers – Treat Me Mean EP
Travis Bretzer – Making Love
Renny Wilson – Sugarglider
Wand – Mt. St. Helen’s
Tyler Butler – Violence
Jon Mick – Beard Milk
Mac Demarco – Rock and Roll Night Club
Expwy – Bag of Waters
COUSINS – The Palm at the End of the Mind
Freak Heat Waves – s/t
Feral Children – SunSon
Brenna Lowrie – The Body Electric
Knots – White River, White Lies
Jesse Northey and Doug Hoyer – Signs of Life (single)
will scott – …recordings
The Cable-knits – Twins
Nick Everett – Rocky Top
Field + Stream – s/t
Michael Rault – Whirlpool
Catgut – Fightpicker
Help – A Viper in the Mind
In the last few years, Halifax’s Cousins–or as they seem to prefer, COUSINS–have steadfastly played their way higher and higher in the national echelons of what we don’t like to call (but have to for lack of a better term) “indie rock.” From the full length Out on Town from a few years back, to the split Duz/Cuz cassette with Duzheknew, to the recent Singing/Drums cassette, Cousins frontman Aaron Mangle is consistently proving himself a master of simple, guitar-drums, minimal guitar pop. In those aforementioned echelons of “indie rock”, it’s easy to forget the “rock” part. Cousins take great delight in reminding us of rock and roll. This latest, The Palm at the End of the Mind, will doubtlessly be heard by a much wider audience than the band’s other releases, after a week at SXSW, an American tour, and a steady stream of press/blog love. At the core of the songs is a great ear for composition, a really unique voice, powerful grooves, and layers of textured, heavy distorted guitar chords that, stripped bare as they are, sound like no other distorted guitar chords you’ve ever heard. I think the beautiful cacophony of Mangle and drummer Leigh Dotey will be heard far and wide for the foreseeable future. Whatever it is they’re doing, it sounds good to me.
Ahh, Cousins. I don’t really like cousins, that is the kind that you see at family get togethers. They bugged you growing up; the younger ones got you into trouble (after you whipped their ass), the older ones just whipped your ass. A blind eye was cast upon uncle Michaels basement where we always seemed to dwell; it still is, but nowadays the fighting has stopped (sort of). The younger ones talk about birth control while the older ones talk about golf or star trek. I might talk about how the broccoli rice casserole is as good as usual; later I might mention that I ate too much. I might (but probably not, but for the sake of this post) get asked about what I’m doing these days musically, and If cousin and I get deep enough into the conversation, I might tell them that not too long ago this spring, I went on a micro-tour in eastern Canada with a (unnamed) band, and that I shared the bill with Haligonian 2-piece (I’ve also seen as a singlet, and heard of as a 3) Cousins on all (2) dates of said micro-tour!
Cousins play their own brand of stripped down neuvo rock & roll. Immediately drivin by big, haunting guitars that only ever seem to touch a few chords, paired with a pair of drum kits (one of the kits is actually just a kick drum played by frontman Aaron Mangle); driven more so by odd yet memorable vocal melodies. This new single from fits the mould, and is no far cry from the material they have been putting out as of late. This, is the ticket!
music re blogged from Weird Canada
Some of my favorite Halifax bands are on this one individual mixtape (real cassette) intent on raising money for the age old Khyber art space in Halifax. It aint our scene but I get incredible vibes off this mixtape and this unity and I’m also getting a special little do-unto-others vibration in my loins for what these dudes are doing. Check out this incredible localz only mixtape that acts as a great starting point for the hype hype hype that halifax has always harboured. BTW Halifax is my favorite Canadian city, period. . Special looks to Trash Heap which is actually Long Long Long’s (a new incarnation of York Redoubt) fun little R&B side thing. They’re covering my favorite Usher song. And another special look to the stunning Play Guitar, who I saw several months ago and got really lifted off, who have a very Woods sounding jam on this mixtape. And oh shoot, It Kills is on there too. I put on a show for them at Wunderbar last summer and they drove their orchestral post rock right into the center of my heart. I’m telling you all, Halifax has a banging scene. I copped this, you should too. Just imagine yourself on peggy’s cove with a person you love, sharing earbuds, listening to this pretty music, hunkered down with your hair tossed by atlantic winds.