Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The 2014 LONGlist, recapped

So, my Top 20 albums list is set in stone. After sweating it out (I'm particularly drenched this year) I've taken my longlist and whittled it down to the 20 records that will be recapped on my 10th (!!) annual countdown show on UMFM starting at 4pm on December 31st. But there was so much great stuff that I couldn't include so the following are - in alphabetical order - the rest of the records I was considering for the honours from among all the music I listened to in 2014 (not counting EPs, live albums and compilations which may be great but are never in the running). And brace yourself. It's a long list.

Afghan Whigs - Do To The Beast [Sub Pop]

Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra - Pulsion [Ubiquity]

Fatima Al Qadiri - Asiatisch [Hyperdub]

Ambrose Akinmusire - The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint [Blue Note]

Amen Dunes - Love [Sacred Bones]

The Antlers - Familiars [Carpark]

Anthroprophh - Outside The Circle [Rocket Recordings]

Bahamas - Bahamas Is Afie [Brushfire Records]

Allison Au Quartet - The Sky Was Pale Blue, They Grey [Independent]

Barrio Lindo - Menoko [Project Mooncircle]

Bastard Mountain - Farewell, Bastard Mountain [Song By Toad Records]

Be Forest - Earthbeat [We Were Never Being Boring]

Birdapres & Grey Jay - If And Only If [Marathon of Dope]

Otis Brown III - The Thought Of You [Blue Note]

Brownout - Brown Sabbath [Ubiquity]

Careful - The World Doesn't End [Circle Into Square Records]

Caribou - Our Love [Merge]

Chicago Underground Duo - Locus [Northern Spy]

Cloud Becomes Your Hand - Rocks or Cakes [Northern Spy]

Cloud Nothings - Here And Nowhere Else [Carpark]

Cold Specks - Neuroplasticity [Arts & Crafts]

Cosy Father - Loser Birds [Hot Hand Cold Hand]

Dawn Golden - Still Life [Mad Decent / Downtown]

Mark de Clive-Lowe - Church [Ropeadope]

Mac DeMarco - Salad Days [Captured Tracks]

Jerrold Dubyk Quintet - in.vi'tei.shens [Death Setting Records]
Sadly, no track to embed. Preview the album on CDBaby.

Electric Bird Noise - Kind of Black [Silber]
Check it out here.

Elephant - Sky Swimming [Memphis Industries]
Check it out here.

Christine Fellows - Burning Daylight [You've Changed Records]

Fennesz - Becs [Editions Mego]

Lee Fields - Emma Jean [Truth & Soul]

First Aid Kit - Stay Gold [Sony]

Flying Lotus - You're Dead! [Warp]

Feel No Other - Feel No Other [Silber]
Listen to "Pan's Shadow" here.

Fox & The Bird - Darkest Hours [Independent]

Garotas Suecas - Feras Miticas [Vampisoul]

Gem Club - In Roses [Hardly Art]

Mary Halvorson - Reverse Blue [Relative Pitch Records]

Curtis Harding - Soul Power [Burger]

Joe Henry - Invisible Hour [Work Song]

The Icypoles - My World Was Made For You [Highline Records]

Ikebe Shakedown - Stone By Stone [Ubiquity]

INDIAN - From All Purity [Relapse]

Vijay Iyer - Mutations [ECM Records]
 Can't find a selection from the album, but here's a cool improvisation.

Jack Name - Light Show [God?]
Another one I can't find a stream of, but here's the first single from the forthcoming record. 

Takuya Kuroda - Rising Son [Blue Note]

Zara McFarlane - If You Knew Her [Brownswood]

Georgia Anne Muldrow - oLIGARCHY sUCKS! [SomeOthaShip]

Angel Olsen - Burn Your Fire For No Witness [Jagjaguwar]

Jeff Neve - One [Universal Music Belgium]
Another elusive one. Read about the record here.

Henri-Pierre Noel - One More Step [Legere]

Perfume Genius - Too Bright [Matador] 

Plaid - Reachy Prints [Warp]

Quantic - Magnetica [Tru Thoughts]

Secret Cities - Walk Me Home [Western Vinyl]

Elizabeth Shepherd - The Signal [Linus]

Shimmering Stars - Bedrooms of the Nation [Shitty Bike Records / Almost Musique]

Silk Rhodes - Silk Rhodes [Stones Throw]

Silkken Laumann - Not Forever Enough [Independent]

Slakah the Beatchild - Soul Movement Vol. 2 [BBE]

Snowbird - Moon [Bella Union]

The Stuyvesants - Fine [Algorhythmusic]

Sultan Bathery - Sultan Bathery [Slovenly Recordings]

Surprise Party - Heart Of Love [Shake!]

Temples - Sun Structures [Fat Possum]

Ana Tijoux - Vengo [Nacional]

Thievery Corporation - Saudade [ESL]

This Will Destroy You - Another Language [Suicide Squeeze]

TV Girl - French Exit [Independent]

TV On The Radio - Seeds [Harvest Records]

Ume - Monuments [Dangerbird]

Anthony Valadez - In Search Of... [Plug Research]

Bry Webb - Free Will [Idee Fixe]

White Lung - Deep Fantasy [Domino]

White Reaper - White Reaper [Polyvinyl]

The Wisdoom - Hypothalamus [Heavy Psych Sounds Records]

Withered Hand - New Gods [Slumberland]

Wolves In The Throne Room - Celestite [Artemisia]

The Wooden Sky - Let's Be Ready [Chelsea Records]

The Yearning - Dreamboats & Lemonade [Elefant]

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Lost Midas - "Head Games (ft. Audris)" Live

Here's a little sneak preview of my Top 20 songs for my New Years' Eve countdown. Was putting my list together and discovered that there's a live performance of this entry from Lost Midas' Off The Course LP. Great stuff. Needless to say, it made the cut.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Leaf Rapids - "Healing Feeling"

One of the nice things about working at UMFM is I occasionally get to do some recording in our live session room. During our pledge drive, Pledge-O-Rama, things really ramp up with  lots of different bands and performers coming in to play live on air. During Tell The Band To Go Home this year, Jeff Robson got some local luminaries to stop by and perform as the new group Leaf Rapids? Never heard of them? Well you've likely heard of Joanna Miller, Scott Nolan, and Keri & Devin Latimer. Take a gander at the video below and see what the fantastic four came up with! (and kudos to my buddy Mike Latschislaw for the great video he shot).

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Connie Price & The Keystones - "Waterloo Sunset" ft. Gretchen Parlato

I must have been asleep at the wheel. I love Connie Price & The Keystones stuff on Ubiquity and have dug Gretchen Parlato's work (particularly The Lost and Found) but missed the fact that the group had collaborated with the vocalist on a Kinks cover they posted TWENTY days ago. Apologies for not making you aware of this sooner. It's lovely.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ross McHenry - Prayers EP

Say your prayers! And thank your stars. But act fast because this PWYC EP from Ross McHenry (whose Distant Oceans LP is boss) is only available until Christmas Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cuneiform Turns 30

If you follow this blog, you're likely no stranger to Cuneiform Records. I just posted about Anthony Pirog last week and lo and behold, the very track I spotlighted is featured on this compilation the label just released to celebrate their 30th Anniversary and mark the 20 (!) releases they put out this year. So much great stuff and such an expansive roster of artists. It's a PWYC release, so match their quality with some quantity. And be sure to check out the Thumbscrew track asap - one of my favourite releases of 2014.

Betty Ford Boys - "Hypnotize'em"

 Get in the zone like that. Maybe grab a bottle of Polish beer like they do in the video while you're at it. And head to Retox this Friday (November 28th).

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hush Pup - "Swimming"

Just got a compilation of Victoria B.C. bands called FOURTEENforFOURTEEN: Indie Victoria 2014 and while I've been hip to the sounds of the island thanks to sister-station CFUV, there were still a few discoveries on this compilation - chief among them is the Cocteau Twins-inspired act, Hush Pup. The featured track, "Swimming" comes from Waterwings (below) so start with that one and then take a listen to the rest of this blissful little release. And if you're part of the cassette revival, Shake! will apparently be releasing this one in the not-too-distant future.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Quiet Dawn - "New Dawn" ft. Oddisee

Whatever happened to records coming out on Tuesdays?

Regardless, this drops today so after you stream it here, go pick it up. Chances are if you read this blog the mention of either Oddissee or First Word Records will be enough to sway you. Quiet Dawn's a Parisian producer, which means Oddissee's behind the mic and not the boards on this one.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Anthony Pirog - "The Great Northern"

It's on me for not having followed Cuneiform Records on Soundcloud up til now. Otherwise I would have discovered one of my favourite new songs a lot sooner. The fine folks at the label sent over a batch of new records this week and I've been sifting through them (and playing a few on my radio show). Totally got stuck on Palo Colorado Dream from DC guitarist Anthony Pirog and "The Great Northern" in particular. Turns out Cuneiform posted this 3 months ago. Don't sleep on it as long as I did!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wild Beasts - "Palace"

 This video is almost as peculiar as Hayden Thorpe's vocals. Don't sleep on Present Tense. Another lovely album from Wild Beasts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jordan Klassen - "Falling (HAIM cover)"

THIS is exactly what a b-side should be. If you're going to release a new single - as Klassen will be doing with "Firing Squad" on Nevado in November - why not use the flip-side for something fun? Klassen is like a lounge version of James Blake on this HAIM cover; chill yet smooth.  Love it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Viet Cong - "Continental Shelf"

No surprise that after releasing a cassette EP simply titled Cassette, Viet Cong are set to release their debut LP on Flemish Eye / Jagjaguwar in January of 2015 and have named it *pause for effect* Viet Cong. As unsurprising as that news, it's equally unsurprising that the first single released from said LP is one noisy, insistent and very good song, "Continental Shelf."

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Black Opera - "Beginning of the End (ft. Georgia Anne Muldrow)"

Man, Georgia Anne Muldrow is just KILLING it of late. Her new record oLIGARCHY sUCKS! dropped recently and it is a serious headphone trip that rewards repeat listens and will soundtrack your sleepless nights for weeks to come.

Then what to my wandering ears should appear, but a post from Mello Music Group in my Soundcloud stream from upcoming act The Black Opera, produced by Tall Black Guy (!) and featuring the inestimable Ms. Muldrow (!!). This is a venn diagram with enough overlap it's just a circle.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Erlend Øye - "Rainman"

Not entirely sure what he means when he sings "loving you is like waiting for the rain to come," but I'm going to work under the assumption this is about eager anticipation and not existential dread. I mean, this is Erlend Øye, right? Dude's a lover.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bosq ft. Nicole Willis - "Bad For Me"

Here's a collaboration I didn't even know I wanted that just seems SO right now that I know it's on the horizon. Bosq is no stranger to Reductive Review readers, but Willis is a longtime love of mine that predates the blog (and maybe even blogs altogether as her album Soul Makeover dates back to 2000). If you're not hip to this soul vocalist, take a listen to this teaser from the new collabo and then seek out her back catalog - particularly her debut and 2006's Keep Reaching Up. Woman's got a voice.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Kat Edmonson - "Oh My Love"

Heaven, I'm in heaven And my heart beats so that I can hardly speak And I seem to find the happiness I seek When we're out together dancing cheek to cheek

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dawn Pemberton - "Deeper"

More goodness from Do Right! Music. It's truth in advertising from those folks as they always come correct - this time with a teaser from the forthcoming Say Somethin' LP from Vancouver soul-singer Dawn Pemberton. You'll have to wait til just before Halloween for the full-length though as it drops October 28th.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This Will Destroy You - "Dustism"

If it doesn't destroy you, it will certainly make your day. Another Language is another stunner from TWDY. Out September 16th on Suicide Squeeze.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Wildbirds & Peacedrums - "The Offbeat"

more like Wildbirds and FUNKYdrums, amirite?

Fire/Works - "Elephants"

I cannot get enough of this song. I hope the Shenanigans this Montreal duo get up to rival "Elephants."

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Stephen David Heitkotter - "Cadillac Woman"

I have heard the future, and it is the past. The always-on-point-and-definitely-hyphenized Now-Again Records have reissued an obscure psych rock classic (apparently only 25 copies originally pressed) from one-time Road Runners drummer Stephen David Heitkotter. Schizophrenia cut his career short and his record Heitkotter under the moniker Black Orchid became a whisper and an echo.

Listening to what Now-Again has released as Black Orchid under Heitkotter's own name, it's a shame that this didn't achieve the acclaim it deserved in its day, but damn is it still impressive.

Black Orchid is available for purchase here. Check out "Cadillac Woman" via Soundcloud below.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Alvvays - "Archie, Marry Me"

Winnipeggers! Mark your calendar for September 23rd. That's when Alvvays come to town as tour support for Fucked Up at the West End Cultural Centre. DO NOT come to this show late or you'll miss some gems from the band's self-titled album including this track, the video for which dropped today.

Myles Sanko - "Forever Dreaming"

It's the title-track, but for my money, "My Inspiration" is the sure-shot cut from UK soul singer Myles Sanko. You'll have to wait until the album drops September 12th for that one, but "Forever Dreaming" should spark your curiosity in the meantime.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Shimmering Stars - "Shadow Visions"

Andrew from Shimmering Stars joins me on my radio show tomorrow night. We talked about the band's stellar new record Bedrooms of the Nation. It's a huge departure from their debut LP Violent Hearts, and that difference is readily apparent on "Shadow Visions" (which is a free download right now). Catch them at The Windsor on July 28th if you're in Winnipeg and pick up the new album August 13th.

Big Time Baker's Dozen - My Polaris Long(er) List

Well, it's that time of year again. NO. Not summer. While the weather finally relented and permitted Winnipeg a taste of said season, what the calendar turning to June means for me is it is time to vote for the best Canadian album - aka THE POLARIS PRIZE. Voting ended this past weekend for the 2013/2014 Longlist and my top five (separate post to come) have been set in digital stone and there's no take backsies.

**YES I KNOW, IT'S JULY. I started writing this before the longlist was announced and got busy with summer.

The unfortunate thing about having only five selections, is there is a whack of great stuff that doesn't quite make the cut. In fact this year I had 13 albums that were on my personal Polaris longlist that didn't finish in the Top 5 but that I think are all albums worthy of praise and of your time. I'm going to list them alphabetically here, though I will note that some of these have already been ranked when I did my Top 20 of 2013 (because the Polaris calendar is different than the Gregorian one).

Austra – Olympia [Paper Bag]
Katie Stelmanis is a golden god. From the moment I heard Join Us, her Blocks Recording Co. debut in 2009, her music has found a place in my heart and on my Year End lists. Olympia was #13 on my Top 20 of last year and it upped the ante of her first record as Austra, Feel It Break with a focus on bigger beats and bolder vocals. Heart.
Braids – Flourish // Perish [Flemish Eye]
Weirdly enough, this one follows Austra alphabetically and followed it numerically in my Top 20 of 2013 where it was #14 [If you want a hint where my votes for the Polaris went this year, take a look at that Top 20 and consider which albums came out after June 1st]. Braids is another act I have a longstanding appreciation for, dating back to when Raphaelle Standell-Preston recorded a late-night live session at my station with Woodpigeon's Mark Andrew Hamilton and These Hands' Mike Hanson. F // P is a bleaker record than Native Speaker, but its unsurprising considering the psychological state in which it was made but the dark material suits the harsher tones.  

Cosy Father – Loser Birds [Hot Hand Cold Hand]
I love when this happens. A lot of mail comes across my desk at the station, and I'm certainly not familiar with all of it when it first arrives. I hadn't heard of Victoria band Cosy Father before the inconspicuous-looking Loser Birds with its photocopied artwork and negligible liner notes caught my eye. Weird Canada gave it some love and I played it on my show, but this quiet record is only being discussed in whispers. It's worth shouting about.  

Mac DeMarco – Salad Days [Captured Tracks]
Has the DeMarco backlash already started? I've heard from a few folks (names protected not so much for them as for our friendships) that Salad Days is sloppy - to which I say, there's skill in just how loose DeMarco's playing is here. The other complaint leveled against the record is that it's inert, but let's be honest - this is a stoner record and when you get a good buzz on, you're not doing wind-sprints; sinking into the couch is its own activity, and Salad Days has some comfy cushions.  

Jerrold Dubyk Quintet - In.vi.tei.shens [Death Setting Records]
 I owe Dubyk an apology. Polaris jurors get to nominate albums for consideration by their fellow jurors in an online forum and I had the opportunity to suggest In.vi.tei.shens and flaked on it. This was one of two jazz albums I was particularly enchanted with and should have been championing since the genre has historically been overlooked when the official Longlist comes out annually. Dubyk's take on the Joe Henderson classic "Afro Centric" was what caught my eye and demanded my ear, but it's the miniature suite in the middle of the record comprise of "Every Saint Has A Past" and "Every Sinner Has A Future" that put this record into contention. Don't flake - check this record out. It's streaming on Dubyk's website so there's no excuse.  

Christine Jensen Jazz Orchestra – Habitat [Justin Time Records]
Item 2 in the "no, a Jazz record did not make my Top 5 but was really close" case against me. Montreal saxophonist / band-leader (and sister of Ingrid Jensen) puts her 19-piece orchestra through their paces on this breathtaking collection of a half-dozen originals. The briefest clocks in at just shy of 8 minutes but the majority run 10 to 11 minutes, allowing a great deal of room for ideas to grow and sounds to coalesce.

Jessy Lanza – Pull My Hair Back [Hyperdub]
As a Polaris juror, we're not supposed to let things like live performances influence our decision-making. The album's the thing, and it should be the only thing when it comes to weighing our votes. That said, it was after seeing Lanza live at the West End this spring that I was compelled to go back and re-listen to Pull My Hair Back. I had enjoyed it upon first release and considered it for my 2013 Year End list (where it was superseded by Austra's album), but hadn't given it much play in the new year. This is a more subtle set of electronics than Olympia, working with a more muted palette - but the aural pictures Lanza paints are better for those limitations rather than being hampered by them. If you haven't listened to it yet, make sure you do - and if you have heard it before, give it another spin.

ROW – Strachan [Power Moves Label]
One of the biggest discoveries for me in 2014 has been Toronto tape and download purveyors Power Moves Label. When this album and RUNNING POINT's enjoyable For Guitar And Amplifier (from the label's head honcho) crossed my desk, I fell hard for Strachan and bookmarked the label's Bandcamp page to keep tabs on what this young outfit comes up with as it grows. If you like swirling, expansive and imaginative drone / post-rock / noise / ambient music then you need to get hip to ROW and Power Moves.

Shad – Flying Colours [Black Box Recordings]
This came in at #16 on my 2013 Top 20. It's another great album in an increasingly long line of them from Shad. But it's nowhere near as good as TSOL which will be my perpetual shadow-winner for the 2010 Polaris. If this album ends up winning the prize, it'll be a little like Scorcese getting the Oscar for The Departed.

Silkken Laumann – Not Forever Enough [Independent] 
Remember The Acorn? Glory Hope Mountain? Rolf Klausener, who crafted that album of exceptional beauty in tribute to his mother, is one of three musicians behind Silkken Laumann. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the same care he applied to crafting GHM went in to creating this collection of dance-floor movers.

Slakah The Beatchild – Soul Movement Vol. 2 [Independent]  
Soul Movement Vol. 2 finds Slakah moving back toward the traditional beat-making and hip-hop of the majority of his work after the pop-excursion of The Other Side Of Tomorrow, which he put out under The Slakadeliqs moniker. I friggin' loved that album (even the way it made me re-evaluate Justin Nozuka) and would have been happy to see him go further down that road, but in returning to what he has done most, Slakah has also done it best. Vol. 2 is a front-to-back master class in production with beats that push forward without abandoning the past. In 2016, you're going to hear Jay-Z rapping over something like this as he plays catch-up with the Beatchild.

Tanya Tagaq – Animism [Six Shooter Records] 
I've always admired Tagaq's music, but I might be including this one out of fear. Animism scares me with its raw pain and anger. Every time I listen to it - particularly "Howl" and "Fracking" - I'm on edge and feel like I have my guard up. But this makes me more alert and receptive to what I'm hearing, and I can hear the power in Tagaq's throat and the hope she holds on to through sheer force of will when facing this effed-up world.

Bry Webb – Free Will [Idee Fixe] 
 Full disclosure. I'm a dad. Three times over now. So Free Will might just speak to me on a gut level as Webb wrestles with what fatherhood means to him. But having heard the album's praises sung by folks with no children of their own, I don't think the album resonates because of some parental bias. Webb taps into something honest and relatable on the record.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

D. Tiffany - "Tranq Moon"

Quietly insistent. This feels like music for a dance-party onboard Discovery. From the B.C. interior to the moon, D. Tiffany is making "lo-tech homemade house" for 1080p. First time I've heard of such a thing, but I want to hear more.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Common - "Kingdom" ft. Vince Staples

The upside of Hell On Wheels being put in production limbo, besides Hell On Wheels being put in limbo was it freed Common up to do some recording. This cut - with Vince Staples - feels like he's been rejuvenated behind the mic. "Kingdom" could've fit snugly on Like Water For Chocolate. Which, crazily enough, is some old-school shit at this point. God I'm old.

The Icypoles - "Babies"

It's super-precious, but what else would you expect from an album entitled My World Was Made For You if not heart-on-your-sleeve / caution-to-the-wind emotional honesty. There are songs about biking around town ("Round n Round"), a cover of a Prince tune ("Love Thy Will Be Done") and a Twin Peaks cover ("Just You") that tries to out-breathiness the queen of breathiness, Julee Cruise. But the simplicity and round-like nature of "Babies" is the standout track from this group comprised of members of Architecture in Helsinki. AiH's attention to pop-songcraft is present, but the bells and whistles have been whittled down to allow for the more direct nature of these songs. Lovely.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Yesway - "Howlin' Face"

One half of Yesway is Kacey Johansing, who I've posted about before (and whose album Many Seasons was my #15 album of 2010). Big ups to Andrew Jervis and his always-excellent Bandcamp podcast for playing material from Johansing's collaboration with Emily Ritz and bringing this great act to my attention. No question, Yesway.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Caribou - "Can't Do Without You"

Dan Snaith is the funkiest mathematician you'll ever meet. They should remake A Beautiful Mind about him and call it A Beautiful Sound.

The Donkeys - Ride the Black Wave

This album is out today. It's a trip. And it's worth the trip to your local record store. You can hear the whole thing below, but the first cut "Sunny Daze" should convince you to roll down your windows on the way home from said store.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Jill Barber - "Broken For Good"

I was hesitant at first. I LOVE Barber's voice, but while the breathy style suited itself to her turn as a chanteuse perfectly; when I read that "Broken For Good" "harkens back to the glory days of Motown" I had to pause. Having just listened to "Broken For Good" a half-dozen times in a row, I'm not sure why I ever doubted her. The song is anchored by the bari-sax and Barber's own vocals play out in the lower register of her range and play on her smooth delivery while the backing vocals are contrastingly sharp. Listen to the early highpoint of "but this time" at the 1:09 mark and become convinced that Barber was born for making music like this. If you're not convinced, wait til the 1:30 mark when the strings soars while Barber glides. Fool's Gold will be out June 17 on Outside Music. Can't wait to hear the rest.

Friday, May 23, 2014

HIGHS - "Summer Dress"

It's beautiful outside in Winnipeg and has been for a couple days. Finally feel like we're turning a corner toward summer. THIS song is perfect for right now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Strand Of Oaks - "Shut In"

While the bass drum is insistent, that gravel-voice emphatic and the guitar a hot squall, what really sells me on this song is the rolling toms followed up by sparse chords pounded out on an old piano at the 2:47 mark. Such a cathartic release after everything builds.

Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens - "Sinner"

Don't worry. If there's a hell below, we're all gonna go. Maybe sinners Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens can be the house band.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Cold Specks - "Absisto"

She may be encouraging you to simmer down, but after listening to this scorcher that's gonna be difficult. So's the wait til August when this sophomore record drops.

White Lung - "Face Down"

I used to own the same model of Volvo, but in red. And it had a clock with hands and a hand-crank sunroof. Man do I miss that car. It was just about as cool as White Lung.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fatima - "Do Better"

Maybe she can do better, but you won't do much better than the lead-off track to Fatima's new record, Yellow Memories. Stunner.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Greyhounds - "What's On Your Mind?"

Slept on this one for a minute - Greyhounds new record Accumulator was sent to me week before last, but somehow I just overlooked it in the ensuing days. Put it on this afternoon and I'm hooked. Chances are when you listen to the opener, "What's On Your Mind?" (below) you will be too.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Curtis Harding - "Keep On Shining"

The cover art is pretty accurate. You're going to need a smoke after this album gets done with you. Harding honed his chops backing up Cee-Lo Green, but on Soul Power he comes into his own. Cop "Keep On Shining" below and grab a lighter for afterward.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Billy Moon - Young Adult

"King of the Sun" and "Video Girls" are my Monday jams. It's that and the coffee that are keeping me going today.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Apollo Brown - Thirty Eight

Cancel your plans for the weekend. If you didn't hear this record when it dropped earlier this week, there is nothing you should do beside sit your butt down with a good pair of headphones and this album. I actually posted about Apollo recently, and the Cigarette Burns EP did feature two-tracks that are included on Thirty Eight, but there are eighteen fresh cuts and "All You Know" and "The Answer" are worth listening to again.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Brown Sabbath - "Hand of Doom"

Ubiquity band Brownout are about to drop a new album under their alter-ego Brown Sabbath. I'll give you two guesses what the genesis of this project is, but I figure you'll only need one. Alex Maas of Black Angels joins the funk firmament on vocals on this cut and it's a winner.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Jesse Futerman - Hidden Basement

Happy Hidden Basement Day! RR-fave Jesse Futerman dropped a collection of unreleased tracks and b-sides on his Bandcamp page today for free / name your price. You can hear the whole thing below, but I'd suggest you just go cop it now and load it onto your listening device of choice and take a step outside into the sunshine. Futerman's "lesser works" are still better than most producers' A material.

Little Dragon - "Let Go"

The new track from the forthcoming Little Dragon LP, Nabuma Rubberband, took me by surprise. My memory of their last full-length, Ritual Union, was of an album replete with upbeat numbers and an unrelenting forward momentum. But going back to that album after hearing "Let Go" this torch-song doesn't seem as anomalous. Tracks like "Brush The Heat" and "When I Go Out" were - in their own way - slow-burners like this one. But I'm certainly hoping the rubber band snaps back toward the likes of "Shuffle A Dream" and "Ritual Union" on this new record.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Diamond Version - "Were You There?"

It dropped a couple days ago on Soundcloud, but the first track from Diamond Version's forthcoming album, CI (due on Mute on June 2nd) is particularly appropriate for listening to tomorrow (Good Friday). "Were You There?" is an African-American spiritual that I was familiar with from my youth in a United Church. Not necessarily what I was expecting when I heard that Neil Tennant of Pet Shop Boys was guest-vocalist on a new cut, but strangely appropriate. Less pleading, more ominous than the version I grew up with...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Secret Cities - "Bad Trip"

It's a good day for a bad trip. Secret Cities are back and from the sound of this first single, Walk Me Home is going to be another winner. A little crunchy, a little sweet; it's like that good granola for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Marissa Nadler - "Drive"

Why isn't Nadler bigger? For that matter, why wasn't Galaxie 500 bigger? I bring up the latter, because Naomi Yang directed this video. She brings the same exactitude and subtle beauty to her film work that the band brought to their recordings. Lovely.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Apollo Brown - "All You Know"

"All You Know" is the lead-off track to the Cigarette Burns EP. The whole dang thing is available as a free download on bandcamp so there's no excuse to sleep on these instrumentals from yet another hype Mello Music Group producer. Get down with the Brown.

Nick Piunti - "13 In My Head"

This is some throwback powerpop. While I wasn't 13 when I first discovered the likes of Jason Falkner (Jellyfish) and The Posies - artists that led me backward toward The Knack and Big Star - this song could definitely be titled "16 In My Head" for my own purposes.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Antlers - "Palace"

"Bears" from their 2009 album Hospice breaks my heart every time I hear it (but in a good way - the record was one of my tops of that year). "Palace" is like the antidote to that song. Each time I've listened to it my heart swells and I feel buoyant with hope as the horns support the stanza: Then when heaven has a line around the corner, we shouldn’t have to wait around and hope to get in if we can carpenter a home in our heart right now and carve a palace from within. And then guitar line mirrors the horn line and I get all the feels in the world as the song crescendos over its final minutes. Can't wait to hear the rest of Familiars in June.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tiny Ruins - "Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens"

You'll have to wait until May 13th to get the full-length, Brightly Painted One, from New Zealand's Tiny Ruins, but after hearing the gently captivating opener "Me At The Museum, You In The Wintergardens" you'll be drawn in and desperate to hear the rest of this lovely record.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Timber Timbre - "Beat the Drum Slowly" [video]

It would appear that the (creepy) stars have aligned and we now have a collaboration between dark-folk artist Timber Timbre and dark-pop artist Chad VanGaalen. Though in this instance CVG is lending his visual talents instead of his musical ones.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Smoke DZA - "ZONE (ft. CJ Fly)" & "Ghost of Dipset (ft. Cam'ron)"

Get in the weekend zone with these two recent Smoke DZA cuts, featuring production from RR faves King Thelonious and 6th Sense.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

HISS TRACTS - "for the transient projectionist"

I program an overnight show at UMFM called Expansive Prairie Skies. Expect to hear Shortwave Nights in its entirety after the full-length is released in May because after listening to "for the transient projectionist" I fully expect to love the sh*t out of it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Anthony Valadez - "Searching For (ft. Miles Bonny)"

Credit where it's due. I got hip to Anthony Valadez because of past RR loves, The Precious Lo's. They guest on "Naive" from the In Search Of... LP and hearing that cut got me primed for the full-length. It's a stunner. Start with "Searching For" featuring repeat collaborator Miles Bonny and then check out the rest of the album stream on label Plug Research's Soundcloud page.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Horse Feathers - "Drain You" (Nirvana cover)

Thanks to life being a flat circle, my young angsty angry me, just met my contemporary calm me at the point where Horse Feathers cover Nirvana.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Bry Webb - "AM Blues"

While I'm as stoked as anyone for the reformation of The Constantines and their 11th anniversary tour, I'm loving Bry Webb's solo career. "AM Blues" the new cut from Free Will (due in May on Idee Fixe) is more greatness from a man who seems incapable of anything else.

Mac DeMarco - "Brother"

His new record Salad Days may be due on Captured Tracks on April 1st, but Mac DeMarco is not fooling on the new track from the upcoming record.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

White Lung - "Drown With The Monster"

The first results of White Lung's new status as Domino recording artists is right here. Can't wait for the full-length.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Thursday, February 27, 2014

AKUA - "One's Company"

Holy heck. And I thought this track had a creepy / ominous vibe without the visuals!

Monday, February 24, 2014

THE WISDOOM - Hypothalamus

I've known Italy as a hotbed of crazy funk but it would appear that hand-in-hand with the crazy horror flicks that country is producing, there's a growing sludge / doom scene including Roma's THE WISDOOM. Is it a coincidence there are four horsemen of the apocalypse and four tracks on this record? Maybe it's not just "doom" but "impending doom" music.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Maya Vik - "Totally Right"

The music playing out underneath Vik's Scandinavian pop vocals make this cut feel like it was unearthed by the folks at Numero Group for their recent foray into Minneapolis, Purple Snow. Stop your shoveling at the 2:24 mark for the amazing cascading synth line.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cate Le Bon - Tiny Desk Concert

I am just seconds into this greatness and had to share it. Mug Museum was one of my favourite albums of 2013.

The Afghan Whigs - "Algiers"

Not out til mid-April, but Do To The Beast is promising based on this cut.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Death - "North St."

How is it these guys still have unreleased material? If it wasn't for Drag City the great rock and roll swindle would continue unabated.

Cashmere Cat - "Wedding Bells"

I owe this one to following Future Classic on Soundcloud. They reposted this one and now I'm hearing bells in my head and following the feline...

4e - "swft"

Chopped and screwed Taylor Swift? This is crazy. Crazy good

Monday, February 10, 2014

Scott Gagner - "Moonlight Dancing"

Just in time for Valentine's Day, here's a romantic little tune I fell in love with this morning... The full-length, Rise & Shine, can be purchased on Scott Gagner's Bandcamp.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Chad VanGaalen - "Where Are You?"

Sadly, I can't embed the first cut from CVG's new album Shrink Dust (out April 29th on Flemish Eye) but go listen to this beautiful, fuzzy, heart-stringer on Soundcloud. It's worth the click-through.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quantic - "Duvidó" feat. Pongolove

OH HELL YES. The single "Duvidó" isn't officially out on Tru Thoughts until St. Patrick's Day (like you need a reason to raise a glass) and the full-length Magnetica is even further afield with a May 5th release date but you can hear the first cut from Quantic's first release under his solo moniker since 2006 (!!) right now. Dig.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thus Owls - "As Long As We Try A Little"

Don't just try a little, listen to this new Thus Owls song the whole way through.

2013 In Review - The Longlist Part 3

Alright, here's the last of the great music that didn't make my Top 20. _________________________________________________ Phosphorescent - Muchacho [Dead Oceans] Sometimes it feels like I listen to music in a vacuum because it felt like no one was talking about this album when it first came out. But then it showed up on a handful of music sites/mags "Best of" lists so people were at least listening to it. Gregory Porter - Liquid Spirit [Blue Note] Listen to the title track and do just as Porter commands: "Clap your hands now!" Quadron - Avalanche [Vested In Culture/Epic/Sony] The song below nearly landed this one in the Top 20 all on its own. The Reflections - Limerence [ARC Recordings] I was hooked on "Summer Days" in particular. With the weather this winter, it's hard to listen to right now. http://reductive-reviews.blogspot.ca/2013/05/the-reflections-summer-days.html The Relatives - The Electric Word [Yep Roc] Gospel-psych-blues. Truth. Alice Russell - To Dust [Tru Thoughts] Alice has previously placed #1 on my Top 20 for her work with Quantic & Combo Barbaro. Russian Circles - Memorial [Sargent House] Russian Circles have previously placed #1 on my Top 20. But not for working with Quantic & Combo Barbaro. Sao Paulo Underground - Beija Flors Velho E Sujo [Cuneiform] "The Love I Feel For [Cuneiform] Is More Real Than Ever" Seven Teares - Power Ballads [Northern Spy] Start with track #2, "Our Lady of Sound" on this Bandcamp link and then I'm sure you'll just end up listening to the rest of this great noise. Suuns - Images Du Futur [Secret City Records] This was on my Polaris longlist as well. Tall Black Guy - 8 Miles To Moneart [First Word] Whether he's producing his own material or remixing other folks, you need to be listening to Tall Black Guy. Thao & The Get Down Stay Down - We The Common [Ribbon] LOVED T&TGDSD's last release enough to make it a Top 20 entry. Really liked We The Common, which is why it is here. Thundercat - Apocalypse [Brainfeeder] Yup, two in a row from the former Top 20 as Thundercat's crazy electronic apocalypse didn't quite reduce me to rubble. Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II [Jagjaguwar] Still kicking myself for not catching UMO live when they played Winnipeg. Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires Of The City [XL Recordings] What can I say? These guys may be Paul Simon's bastard children fathered during the Rhythm of the Saints sessions, but that doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed everything they've released. Kurt Vile - Wakin' On A Pretty Daze [Matador] If Jared and I were to expand our Year-End Countdown to 30 entries, there really would be much more overlap - Vile made his 20, but not mine. Widowspeak - Almanac [Captured Tracks] I managed to catch Widowspeak open for Iron & Wine at Pantages in 2013. They're as great live as they are on Almanac. Dustin Wong - Mediation of Ecstatic Energy [Thrill Jockey] Entry #4512... in the "Previous Top 20" artist who didn't make this year's cut. Seriously. Woodhand - Soma [Relapse] Soma was a ritual drink apparently, so take a big gulp of this one. Young Pixels - For The Love [Independent] This couple from outside Brandon, MB (shout out to the Wheat Kings!) are daytime farmers, nighttime rockers and full-time parents. I love them. And I love "Pollution Breath" in particular - it's track #4 so start there and listen to all of it. Rachel Zeffira - The Deserters [Paper Bag Records] Kudos to my fellow Polaris Prize jurors who were championing this record and put me on to Canada's contemporary answer to Kate Bush.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ana Tijoux - "Vengo"

Here's a little something to recover from St. Patrick's Day with. Title track from Ana Tijoux's new album due March 18th on Nacional.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Voluntary Butler Scheme - "Quinzhee"

Folks, if you dig Dent May, mark your calendar for February 24th when A Million Ways To Make Gold comes out. The Voluntary Butler Scheme is in your wheelhouse.

Homeboy Sandman - "Wade In The Water"

Wade on into this new Homeboy Sandman cut. Great, sparse production on this one.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dum Dum Girls - "Rimbaud Eyes"

Don't be dumb. Open your Rimbaud Eyes (and ears) to this new track. Too True out on Sub Pop January 29th 2014.

Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 In Review - The Longlist Part 2

To quote the great Steve Miller, "time keeps on slipping, into the future." I had intended to get Parts 2 and 3 of my Longlist up before New Years' Eve in time for the annual countdown show on UMFM, but went on holidays with my family. Traveling with 3 kids under 5 is quite an experience and doesn't leave time or energy for talking music. So the cat is out of the bag on my Top 20 songs and albums, but I'm still going to share the other great records I enjoyed in 2013 before we get too far into 2014. _________________________________________________ Derrick Hodge - Live Today [Blue Note] I couldn't find a stream of "The Real," the lead-off track that immediately convinced me of Live Today's merits as a top album of 2013. "Message of Hope" isn't the barnburner "The Real" is but it certainly holds its own. Yosi Horikawa - Vapors [First Word] First Word Records have stepped up over the last year to earn a place alongside Tru Thoughts, Thrill Jockey, Ubiquity and a few other select labels I always make time for. Needless to say, I made time for Vapors, and you should too. Sample some "Maki." Doug Hoyer - To Be A River [Old Ugly] I owe this one to The Pro From Dover - I might have overlooked this record when it arrived at the station but he mentioned he'd heard good things and thought it might be up my alley. Songs like "Already Gone" proved him right. Kvelertak - Meir [Sony/Indie Recordings/Roadrunner] I have a thing for sweeping, symphonic metal. Maybe the closet classical nerd in me (seriously, I got high school credits in musical theory) finds echoes of my past in the squall of music like Alcest, Russian Circles and this record from Kvelertak, featuring "Bruane Brenn" below. Lady - Lady [Truth & Soul Records] This one almost made it on the strength of the song below alone. "Money" was one of my Top 20 songs of the year and found its place early when I posted it here on RR in January of 2013. If you're a fan of the retro-soul folks like Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones are slinging, make a date with Lady. The Lytics - They Told Me [Camobear] I still remember when these guys were so fresh we had them play our Orientation Week stage to a couple dozen beer gardeners. Bigger is better for local hip-hop act The Lytics as they've justifiably blown up in the past few years. Majical Cloudz - Impersonator [Arbutus] I had two opportunities to see Majical Cloudz play in Winnipeg and I continue to kick myself for missing both of them. If they're coming to your burg, check them out - or at least listen to "Childhood's End" and the rest of Impersonator to find out what you're missing. Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle [Ribbon Music] Marling is darling. The Mavericks - In Time [Valory] I was so stoked to find out The Mavericks were back after a lengthy hiatus. My uncle first introduced me to the band with 1995's Music For All Occasions. I was going through an "I hate country" phase and he convinced me to give them a try. Lord knows what other great music I would have missed out on if The Mavericks hadn't ended that phase. "Back In Your Arms Again," indeed. Jenks Miller - Spirit Signal [Northern Spy] I mentioned labels I always make time for in the Yosi Horikawa entry, but I should add that Northern Spy (along with Cuneiform and Silber Media) is a label I find fascinating. I never know exactly what I'm going to hear from its roster of artists, but I frequently make great discoveries and hear sounds I have never heard before or can't hear anywhere else. For instance, the title track from Jenks Miller... The Moas - The Moas [Independent] This one came in on cassette and I think that's apt as it could've found a home on my walkman back in high school alongside Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine tapes. Disappointed they couldn't attend this year's Big Fun Festival, but fingers-crossed they make their way to Winnipeg at some point. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady [Bad Boy] We live in a world where Janelle Monae has enough of a Q rating to be a Cover Girl. Hopefully the folks that have seen her commercials take the time to listen to her music. Monochromie - Enlighten Yourself While You Sleep [Fluttery Records] Instrumental post-rock? Yes please. If these type of sounds are your thing, Thursday nights from midnight to 4am on UMFM are strongly recommended. Laura Mvula - Sing To The Moon [Blue Note] "Green Garden" is gorgeous. While the rest of Sing To The Moon doesn't quite go as sky-high as that song, such heights are hard to sustain. Nightlands - Oak Island [Secretly Canadian] This was an early-year release that hung on throughout the months without wearing out its welcome. "So Far So Long" indeed. Nymph - New Millennium Prayer [Northern Spy] Another great title-track from another great Northern Spy release. Ola Podrida - Ghosts Go Blind [Western Vinyl] Here's another longlist entry from a previous Top 10 performer. How many is that now? Oldfolks Home - Black & Blue [Head In The Sand] Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar is quite the guy - not many people could come out the other side of a divorce with a record this upbeat (Shoot Out The Lights anyone?). Black & Blue is the silver lining to his cloud. Oshima - The Age Of Shapes [Head In The Sand] A second local release on Head In The Sand, this one from roster boss Michael P Falk whose primary gig is as the leader of Les Jupes. Oshima is decidedly different and undoubtedly beautiful. Pale Eyes - Sweatshop [Independent] A mixtape of tracks from 2010 to 2013, Toronto's Pale Eyes sent this one to the station and the picture of the old Memorex cassette on the cover took me back while the music took me forward.