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.

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.