A playlist for my little sister

I’m hanging out with my little sister in our parents’ basement with our golden retriever while a fire smolders in the woodstove. A few minutes ago, she said, “Hey, show me some new music you’ve been into lately.”

So here we go.

I really like William Alexander from Long Beach, both in his solo projects and as The Meanest Boys. Hazy, faded lyrics with a gentle semi-falsetto, looped and shuffled samples, and blissed out melodies. Both of Alexander’s musical projects are my go-to for when I want to feel inspired, jittery, and calm at the same time.

 

Tonkapuma is Daniel Lee of Lee Paradise, Phedre, Hooded Fang, Daps Records, ect. This particular project allows him to flirt with bass-heavy, rhythmic surf rock. I love the slow start in Hey Lady that gradually progresses to a hair-tossing, lip-smacking, hi-hat crushing conundrum.

On that note, I also love Lee’s work as Lee Paradise. Think Tonkapuma with an eerie, silly-sinister funhouse warp in the grooves. Last weekend, I threw a distro pop-up shop at Ratio for Wyrd Distro with Marie & Aaron and one of my purchases was Lee Paradise’s Water Palace Kingdomwhich came out earlier this year in April on Pleasence. If you haven’t bought anything from Wyrd Distro yet, I highly suggest it! After browsing dozens of cassettes and records, you’ll leave with an emptier wallet and/or an updated wantlist.

I believe that Breaker made Wavelength’s Adam Bradley’s 100 Essential Canadian Songs of 2014, and I’m not surprised why.  It’s got a sick, unforgiving bassline and lyrics that seem to be squeezed out of Dan Lee’s gut. As choice as it is, it’s still not my favourite track on the album. Diner Talk is a playful call-and-response sung alone. The spiky octave jumps in the bassline really accent the sharp snare hits with a crisp sonic bookmarking.

Toronto’s Absolutely Free are such a good band. They’ve been picking up critical acclaim like fresh white socks attracting dirt in a student house. Their new ST is probably one of the best albums of 2014.

(Side note, I couldn’t be bothered to compile a Best of 2014 post; I am too busy not washing my hair and eating everything that can be brought to the couch with minimal effort).

Montreal’s Moss Lime are minimalistic and sharp. They just released their debut cassette EP on Fixture Records and I will confidently bet you a hundred dollars it will sell out. This hundred dollar bill will also be attached to a fishing line that is sewn into my jeans, so it’s a win-win scenario for me. I snagged my copy of the EP from the Wyrd pop-up!

Favourite tracks are Ice Cream Sandwiches, which is in the same key signature as their cover of Calabria 2014, but carries a pure surf rock vibe.

 

My friend Matt just texted me this afternoon that a vinyl copy of Sean Nicholas Savage’s latest album, Bermuda Waterfall, is currently on sale for $5 at Rotate This. Thanks Matt, but you know I’ve already got a copy of this! It came out in May on Arbutus and it’s dreamy, sexy, and dozy. The first time I played it, I was folding laundry in my boyfriend’s room while he was out running a show, and his roommate was reading in bed with the door open. I looked in as I was finishing up and he was fast asleep by the time I flipped to the B side. That’s how good this record is. It’s a little silly and embarrassing but I think of Naturally is my private love song that I sing whenever I’m by myself. I love how detuned it sounds (without actually being detuned) because of the minuscule pitch bends in the synth chords.

The Rat‘s lyrics are so good. Savage is a pop genius. I wish I had a physical copy of Arbutus Records’s Taste of Savage which is Savage covers done by other artists on their roster. You can still listen to it online, but I don’t think they ever pressed any copies.

Since we’re talking about videos now, here’s the Chad VanGaalen-animated video for Timber Timbre’s Beat The Drum Slowly off their molasses-dark album Hot Dreams.

I was lucky enough to be taken to see Timber Timbre on their third night at Lee Palace’s a few weeks ago, and it was a real treat. Neon signs bent into cryptic eyes, narrow palms, and blank crosses, dark smoke drifting from the left corner of the stage, and the absence of overhead lighting. Every song was milked for the most emphatic emotion and the only thing that spoiled it was the number of moderately disruptive “new” fans, some of which didn’t even face the stage during the incredibly long set (absurd!)

I had two free tickets to see Montreal’s TOPS at Tattoo last week but I didn’t go because I was too tired and got caught up making decorations for the Wyrd pop-up. She’s So Bad is one of my favourite songs from their 2012 album, Tender Opposites, released on Arbutus. I haven’t listened to all of the tracks on their new album Picture You Staring yet, but I would be awfully glad if someone picked me up a copy (hint hint) as I really like Way To Be Loved.

Last comes one of my absolute favourites, Toronto’s Omhouse (aka Steven Foster, one of the nicest & most enthusiastic people to have in your audience or playing a set right before yours) released a single in May called Have I Fooled You which does a great job sinking its teeth into your brain. I haven’t been able to stop singing the chorus (even if I don’t have the uncanny ability to loop my natural voice).

This turned into a much longer post than I intended, but my sister seemed to like these songs as I was writing about them, so my work here is done! Goodnight!

Four feisty singles from Toronto’s The Ketamines – Stay Awake 7″ out Feb 18th

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Toronto’s The Ketamines might be some of the hardest working humans on the planet. Between scheduling a 2014 tour spanning across Canada and releasing four singles plus an LP in the last year, I’m surprised nobody’s died yet.

Tomorrow, the band releases their fourth 7″ entitled Stay Awake via Mint Records. Each record in the series is limited press and features collage work by Montreal artist Felix Morel. All four 7″s fit together to make a 14″ x 14″ art collage. The records have been released out of order, so read on for details on how to purchase them together.

Part 4: Stay Awake might just be the best of the series. Stay Awake is goofy, fun, & well-executed art rock. Since I’m an insomniac with a fondness for catchy guitar riffs, I will probably listen to this 7″ on repeat for the next year. Sorry, friends and family. Can’t talk to you right now, I’m getting down.

Part 2: Eleven Eleven, a six-track EP about numerology, was just made available on Saskatoon label Leaning Tree Records on February 15th. From my first listen, standouts include You Can’t Stop Time and We Are One.

When asked about the EP series by Saskatoon music & culture blog Ominocity back in May 2013, Ketamines bassist Paul Lawton had this to say:

“I had this idea for a while ago. We were working with this artist in Montreal who does this really great collage work for our tour poster. And we had this idea about doing this package where you could collect all the 7” singles and put them together to make the bigger piece of artwork. So we are working with four different labels to put out a new 45 every two months for the rest of 2013. The first one is about to come out on Pleasence Records, and they had put out the last Slim Twig record. They do a lot of really interesting avant-garde Toronto bands.”

Part 1: All The Colours Of Your Heart was released on June 6th 2013 via Pleasence Records.

Part 2: 11:11 was released on Feb 15th 2014 via Leaning Trees Records.

Part 3: So Hot! was released on Oct 8th 2013 via Hosehead Records.

Part 4: Stay Awake will be released on Feb 18th 2014 via Mint Records.

All four can be purchased from Hosehead Records in a $22 bundle (am I reading that right? Seems like a total steal). Purchase it here. Tad, if you’re reading this, I would totally go halves with you here.

On top of all this, The Ketamines also released an LP in September called You Can’t Serve Two Masters via Southpaw & Paul Lawton’s own label, Mammoth Cave. That’s a hell of a lot of songwriting and releasing to do within one calendar year. However, I am grateful. You Can’t Serve Two Masters is slinky, bouncy, and fuzzed to the extreme.

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