April

It’s still cold as winter here, but everyone’s pretending like that isn’t the case. What else can I say?

I’m a woman of few words this month, but I have a lot of music to share. Here’s some stuff I like(d).

in like a lion

So, we’ve come to the end of March. On the 9th I made it to a long awaited Beach House show. I seemed like so much time had passed since both of their albums were released last year. August/October to March is forever in new-music time, it seems. The venue experience was utterly awful (for example, I’ve never been patted down before entering a venue in Montreal) but the show was sublime. They never played Levitation, which is probably my #1 fave from last year’s releases, but they played lots of other new songs and had a dreamy light show going on in the background (which I guess was enough to temporarily forget the security shitshow and hopefully bliss us partway through the human traffic-jam afterparty caused by mandatory coatcheck?)

On the other side of the spectrum, I caught a little bit of Ylang Ylang & Cosi e Cosi’s set at La Vitrola for a mini CKUT fundraiser just last week. All I got at the door was good vibes, a sincere thank you for coming out and some chocolate eggs, which is way better then entering something akin to a airport security when all I wanna do is hear live music.


So, what’s new this month? Heron Oblivion is probably at the top of my list of best stuff.


This new Carter Tanton track has vocals by Marissa Nadler, which is a nice precursor to her new album in May.


Nada Surf has a new album out, and I’m shocked that I actually like it, cause, you know, Popular?


And finally, this Yuck track came out a month or two ago now, but it’s a good one.


Onward to April, and spring!

February

In February you do whatever keeps you sane, even if it makes no sense. That philosophy was sort of how I ended up in NYC for my birthday this year. I think I originally planned the trip back in October, but by late January it was making less and less sense in some ways. In other ways, however, it was becoming more and more necessary. So I went anyway, and that’s how I ended up spending my birthday breaking my phone (while eating donuts for breakfast), spending the afternoon (and all the birthday money I had just been gifted) getting it fixed, drinking the most decadent/expensive Negronis ever, watching Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins play Rabbit Fur Coat in its entirety, and finishing the night soberly sipping club soda while listening to Kristen Kontrol spin tunes in a weird basement venue in the East Village.

That was also pretty much the extent of live music I experienced for this month. I think the rest of February can be summed up by this song, which is one of those perfect things whose existence completely thrills me. How does it even exist? Was it written just for me? Did The Prettiots know I’ve been rewatching all that SVU?


In other (real?) worlds, I’m surprisingly digging this new Basia Bulat track.


Also, there’s new Wild Nothing.


Sunflower Bean has a super 90s sounding name…


And something dark to finish off with.

Good news, if February didn’t kill you, it can only make you stronger. My internet is broken at home and the whole fucking world is a sheet of ice right now, so excuse me if I stay right here in this cafe listening to headphone jams for several more hours.

January

We’ve conquered the first month of 2016 and it was a pretty rough one. We weren’t even halfway into January before we were dealing with the bittersweet new Bowie album. Add to that the post-holiday lull, the setting in of winter (for real), and what was once a beautiful blanket of pristine snow is now grey and in some cases a giant puddle of slush. (It’s a metaphor.)

I’ve had to wade through my share of slush puddles this month, and though I have great boots, sometimes you need a little bit more. Music, along with booze and cake is always the answer. I went to another successful edition of Art’s Birthday right smack in the middle of the month that featured all three of the above. All that booze and cake (and boozecake) really made me crash by the time Avec le soleil came on, but it was still an awesome show.

So what else is new this month?

The much anticipated album Take It Forever from one of my favorite music-positive people/bands on the internet: Beat Radio, is out now. I’ve been listening to the demos for over a year and it’s great to hear the songs fully fleshed out.


New music to file under impossible-supergroups-you-never-thought-you’d-hear-in-a-million-years is Wild Stab from The I Don’t Cares. Juliana Hatfield and Paul Westerberg together have me questioning whether this is real life. (I’m pretty sure it is.)


Pretty much love anything Eleanor Friedberger does. The new album is no exception.


And the new Hinds has some sweet gems, like this one.

February is on the horizon, which means better things. Stay tuned.

most listened to albums of 2015 (for the nerds)

On a similar note, here are my 15 most listened to albums of 2015 (with most listened to track in parentheses).

  1. Jesse Malin – New York Before the War (Addicted)
  2. Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp (Poison)
  3. Dan Mangan + Blacksmith – Club Meds (Club Meds)
  4. Franz Nicolay – To Us, The Beautiful (Marfa Lights)
  5. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy (Dimed Out)
  6. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear (Chateau Lobby #4 [in C for Two Virgins])
  7. Siskiyou – Nervous (Imbecile Thoughts)
  8. Lady Lamb – After (Batter)
  9. Vincent D’Onofrio & Dana Lyn – Slim Bone Head Volt (Super Golden)
  10. Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer (Raising the Skate)
  11. Will Butler – Policy (Take My Side)
  12. Butch Walker – Afraid of Ghosts (Afraid of Ghosts)
  13. Hop Along – Painted Shut (Waitress)
  14. The Tallest Man on Earth – Dark Bird Is Home (Darkness of the Dream)
  15. Colleen Green – I Want To Grow Up (Deeper Than Love)

December – Best of 2015

Well, I’ve made it to December doing this monthly blogging thing and I think I’ll keep it going for 2016. For now though, it’s time to talk about 2015.

I once again compiled a Best Of list for this year and once again it was an arduous task. Since I really started focusing on new music back in 2012, I’ve made a lot of discoveries each year, made huge strides in bucking that silly no new music after 33 idea, and been way more excited in general about the stuff I’m listening to. All of this has been an attempt to stay involved (evolved?) in music and not just keep listening to the same things I always have. It’s good for your brain.

Anyway, here we go. After much listening with my End of Year ear, agonizing over multiple tracks from the same artist or album, performing some March Madness style witchery, and breaking things down to sheer poetry + sound, I arrived upon 15 songs I think catalog the year in the best possible way. There are lots of links. Click away.

Franz Nicolay – Marfa Lights from To Us, The Beautiful

everybody’s full to bursting, and gonna pop
ready for the breaking & burning
and certain of a bigger kind of love

Did I hear it live? Yeah, next to an indoor half pipe.

Colleen Green – Deeper Than Love from I Want to Grow Up

i’m shitty and i’m lame and i’m dumb and i’m a bore
and once you get to know me you won’t love me anymore

Did I hear it live? No, but I did see her perform most of the rest of the album. Sadly I think this little gem with a driving Tainted Love/Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) background is a bit too complicated to play live?

Speedy Ortiz – Raising the Skate from Foil Deer

i’m not bossy, i’m the boss

Did I hear it live? Nope, slept on seeing them this year.

Siskiyou – Imbecile Thoughts from Nervous

you’re gonna need some money
a whole lotta money
you’re gonna need it until you die

Did I hear it live? Nope. Did they even tour?

Waxahatchee – Poison from Ivy Tripp

while your short-term memory’s slipping
you’ll improvise, travel the world ivy tripping
with no spotlight

Did I hear it live? Nope, slept on this one too, with much regret.

Lady Lamb – Batter from After

a body’s sacred when it’s naked
so go ahead and let it be a bible for another
blood’s your compass let it wander
may it stick thick like a slaughter
halle, halle, hallelujah

Did I hear it live? See above. I think it was the same silly, sleepy month.

Father John Misty – Bored in the USA from I Love You, Honeybear

is this the part where i get all i ever wanted?
who said that?
can i get my money back?

Did I hear it live? Indeed I did, at Osheaga in the blazing sun, and it was epic.

Chastity Belt – Cool Slut from Time to Go Home

to all the girls in the world
trying to take off their shirts
ladies it’s okay to be
it’s okay to be slutty

Did I hear it live? Nope, once again I was asleep at the switch.

Jenny Hval – That Battle Is Over from Apocalypse, Girl

statistics and newspapers tell me i am unhappy and dying
that i need man and child to fulfill me, that i’m more likely to get breast cancer
and it’s biology, it’s my own fault, it’s divine punishment of the unruly
it’s fearful out here on the calmest seas

Did I hear it live? Thankfully, yes, and it was brilliant. This song is the gift that keeps on giving. It explains everything always.

Shilpa Ray – Pipe Dreams Ponzi Schemes from Last Year’s Savage

i’ve got my free will
and nobody’s gonna be my man
so thank god
if all i take is your money

Did I hear it live? Sadly, no, but I would have in a heartbeat.

Beach House – Wildflower from Depression Cherry

you built a city
all in your head
triangle of every light
it turns you on every night

Did I hear it live? No, but I have tickets to seem them in March!

Titus Andronicus – Come On, Siobhan from The Most Lamentable Tragedy

we’re just two catholic kids out on the run
either from god or a guy with a gun

Did I hear it live? No, but I did see them.

CHVRCHES – Never Ending Circles from Every Open Eye

here’s to taking what you came for
and here’s to running off the pain
and here’s to just another no man
if you want another, say you need another
here’s to never ending circles
and building them on top of me
Did I hear it live? No. They played at Osheaga on the day I wasn’t there.

Jesse Malin – San Francisco from Outsiders

i’m happy when you’re gone
baby you can bring it on

Did I hear it live? Yes, and I’ve been waiting probably over four years for its proper release. Check out the video above from 2011.

Grimes – Kill V. Maim from Artangels

i got friends in high places, i get out for free
i got in a fight but they don’t know me
cause i’m only a man
and i do what i can

Did I hear it live? Nope, the Montreal show sold out in seconds and I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. This song kills me though. (It’s also apparently written from the perspective of Al Pacino in The Godfather Pt 2, except he’s a vampire who can switch gender and travel through space)!!!! Also parts of it sound like late 80s Top 40 Radio shit, so it lights up my hidden preteen feelings.

And there you have it. Listening to the whole thing as a mix gives me 2015 feelings. I prescribe it at max volume as your New Year medicine. Enjoy!

November

I made it to a total of 0 shows this month. I am in fact missing one right now to stay at home and watch cartoons and write this post. This is not entirely a bad thing though. I’ve been extra busy doing other things, and then staying at home drinking wine and making dinners from scratch to wind down at night, and of course there’s been knitting and the prerequisite cocooning that comes with November in Montreal. That all being said, I’m planning on going out to see someone, somewhere before the year ends. December Will Be Magic.

And this doesn’t mean I haven’t been keeping an ear out for cool stuff. Here’s what I found.