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
Serial grinner Travis Sargent returns, this time with a cadre of cohorts who, from the cacophonous variety of their individual instruments and the unruly nonchalance of their collective demeanor, allow The Betrayers to expand from a bedroom recording solo nom-de-plume into a full-patch rock n’roll outfit, like a Biker gang asserting itself in a new territory. The opening title track hums along at breakneck brevity, pairing an irresistible melody to playfully masochistic lyrics while the clutter of guitars and organs threaten to explode out of the speaker. “Call Me When You’re Blue” offers a solid wave of summertime joy, punctuated by chant-along shouts, while the closing number, “Rise”, plods along resolutely like a downbeat pop dirge. If this gang can pack this much garage rock relish into an EP, I’d love to see what they could do with a full 12 inches.
Travis Sargent, Ol’ Salty, the dude from the Empress, unofficial title holder of “Handsomest Man in Edmonton”; his identity is as ethereal as Zorro. Here, the stranger adds one more moniker to the list: The Betrayers. A collection of bedroom recordings from over the months (years?), this debut collection features simple old-tyme surfabilly guitar jangles accompanied by simple driving drum beats, melodic bass, and–with help from local rapscallion Rashell Campbell–that time-honoured double vocal effect that makes everything sound way cooler. Off the top of my head, this hearkens back to some of Jesus and Mary Chain’s chiller moments, which happen to be my favourite moments of theirs. A welcome addition, I’d say, to our bustling, disconnected, ever growing, ever moving, gluttonous, happy family here in the Edmonton music scene. Who is that masked man?