2016 best and brightest

What’s to be said about this year that hasn’t been said already? Mostly everything that happened fell under the category of “never thought it would happen” and yeah, honestly most of it sucked. But no matter how awful things are, music is still there to pull your soul out of an abyss and it always will be if you’re willing. It’s the only thing I know to be true at this point. Here’s what worked for me:

Mitski – My Body’s Made of Crushed Little Stars

As if Liz Phair was born 20 years later and still knocking it out of the park like Exile in Guyville.

Let’s Eat Grandma – Rapunzel

Basia Bulat – Let Me In

Appeared on no “best of” lists that I could find, but I thought this was her best effort in a while.

HINDS – Easy

Charlotte Cornfield – Big Volcano, Small Town

you turned out to be a letdown

The Tragically Hip – In Sarnia

It’s a Tragically Hip song on a best of the year mix that I made. I maintain that they’re not a great live band, but this song did it for me.

Francis – Holy

we’ll break the ugly borders too

Lucy Dacus – I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore

The Casket Girls – True Believers

Black Mountain – You Can Dream

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Rings of Saturn

Frightened Rabbit – An Otherwise Disappointing Life

Jenny Hval – Conceptual Romance

Agnes Obel – Familiar

for the inevitable haunt

Bat For Lashes – I Will Love Again

Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me

I’m short on time and didn’t give full notes or link everything up this year, but please please google and give people your money. Give your money away. Austerity is not the answer and greed turns my stomach. Furthermore: my advice to you is to be honest, read more books, hug people who deserve it and listen to as much music as you can. Tell me what did it for you. I’ll be back in 2017, just trying to do my best.

 

September

September has come to an end and so has another edition of Pop Montreal. Last I heard it knocked everyone out cold. I know I tried to pack as many shows as possible into 5 days, with little sleep and a whole lot of beer. Here’s what I managed to catch:

Tess Roby, Hua Li, Look Vibrant, Caveboy, I Shot Samo, Thanya Iyer, Buckshot Bebe, Cop Car Bonfire, Belave, Let’s Eat Grandma, James Irwin, Nennen (& more)

It’s was probably the best Pop Montreal ever. Maybe it was just because of what I chose this year, but unlike other years I never got turned away at the door because of a full show or spent the evening bouncing from venue to venue because something didn’t pan out. I was a bit disappointed that the chef stuff at Rialto did not start at 7pm as promised, but it’s not impossible to find food in Mile End on a Saturday night, so I survived.


As for new music, Jenny Hval’s Blood Bitch is out today.

And here are a few other things to check out:

Au gust

August was a whirlwind of a month. I managed to catch one solitary show (Landlady @ Casa del Popolo) and it was amazing. A big chunk of the month was taken up by a trip to NJ/NY to see babies, mostly (followed by serious gratitude that I bucked the procreation trend myself). I passed up seeing the latest retro reunion (Belly) though I heard it was great.

Next month promises to be a epic one in Montreal, since it’s time again for POP. Looking forward to Angel Olsen & Let’s Eat Grandma, even though they’re on the same night (how’s that going to work?)

Anyway, here’s some stuff I found… enjoy!

July

July is coming to a close, and have I been keeping up with new music? Not entirely, no.

Have I been going to shows? Yes! Here’s what I’ve seen.

  • Joe Jackson @ Place des Arts
  • Nomadic Massive @ Le Savoy
  • Blakdenim @ Jazz Fest
  • Brian Fallon & Chris Farren @ Theatre Fairmount
  • Marissa Nadler & Wrekmeister Harmonies @ Sala Rossa
  • Black Mountain & Man Forever @ Theatre Fairmount
  • Jay Som, Japanese Breakfast & Mitski @ Le Ritz
  • Terrified Michael F. & Steve Jr @ Constellation Records

I’m pretty content with how much ground this list covers. I saw everything from the legendary to the completely bizarre, and a whole lot in between.

As for new stuff… here’s new music from D Generation, which I never thought I would say again. They released their fourth album on July 29th. I’m going to go listen to it 1,000 times in a row.

June?

June is over, and I feel like a weathered a storm. I managed to make it to ONE Suoni show this month, which was more like an all day picnic-marathon than one little show. At least five acts (one including local fave and super sweetheart YlangYlang) on one sunny Saturday with good company and veggie dogs, real dogs, and one cat who showed up at dusk, yes please! I’d like to say it was enough to last all month, but I do have a few regrets for not getting out to more stuff. So far my plans for July will more than make up for it though. Here’s what I almost missed out on in June.


Three blocks up Parc Avenue & three blocks back down Clark, am I hearing you right?


Whaaaaaaaaaaa…


Just wait until 1:24

May

May is the month I never got caught up on weekly mixes. Sure, I had plans and sketches, but somehow I got swept away with so many other things and now, who knows if I’ll ever catch up. Maybe it’s time to rethink things?

At any rate, music still keeps happening, even if you’re not paying attention. Spring is officially here in Montreal and it feels more like summer (which is scary, since 30 degrees in May equals how many in July, exactly?), but with the warmth comes the absolute explosion of everything in this city: music festivals, living outside, pushing photo-happy tourists out of the way while trying to get daily errands done, etc. I’ve set up a desk in front of my big window to replace my winter reading area because this season is for making instead of cocooning. It’s a move that makes sense since I’ve lost my prime cocooning partner.

In lieu of mixes for this month, you can listen to the 2 hour episode of New Shit that I put together yesterday (May 30th). Plus there’s all of this stuff I found. See you in June.