Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
I hope you all had wonderful Christmases! I had a very relaxing one, and tonight it's the thirteenth annual Group of 9 Christmas gathering which I am very much looking forward to.
Now that the busyness of Christmas is more or less over, I think most people are relaxed and just riding out the year that was. Now is the time of year when we can all reflect on the year that was and start crafting our resolutions for the new year.
I always enjoy making my list of my top ten favourite albums of the year. Note my use of the word favourite. I don’t claim these to be the best albums of 2010, but just the ones that I connected with the most while I listened to them or experienced them live. These are the ten albums that make up a great deal of the soundtrack of my life for 2010, and as usual, I love playing the role of an amateur music critic and posting them on my blog.
10) This is Good - Hannah Georgas
I discovered Hannah Georgas on a CBC Radio 3 Podcast about a year ago, and loved her EP The Beat Stuff. I looked forward to her full-length and it delivers. Most of the songs are fun sing-alongs but “Your Ghost” is hauntingly mournful. Hannah Georgas has a beautiful voice, and is able to create memorable melodies on this album, and yes, it is good.
Top Tracks: Your Ghost and This is Good
9) Lonely Avenue - Ben Folds & Nick Hornby
I’ve read some scathing reviews of this album, and I have to say I completely disagree with them. I think this album, with music by my one of my long-time favourite musicians, and lyrics by novelist Nick Hornby, is full of great songs. All of the songs are stories within themselves and evoke such vivd pictures with their lyrics. I find that Ben Folds has always been able to do this in his songs, but it’s cool that he’s collaborated with another wordsmith on this album. Heck, they’ve make me feel sympathy for Bristol Palin’s baby daddy in the song Levi Johnston’s Blues. That's pretty impressive. Yeah, there are a couple tracks that don’t work (Saskia Hamilton and Practical Amanda), but overall this is a strong album.
Top Tracks: Picture Window and From Above
8) Heartland - Owen Pallett
I never got into Owen Pallett when he was going by the moniker Final Fantasy, probably just based on the fact I didn’t like the name of his last record, He Poos Clouds (yes, I’m superficial). However, as soon as I heard the song Lewis Takes Action from this album, I was intrigued to hear more. The musicianship on Heartland is amazing and really smart; I seriously can feel the neurons in my brain making more connections between each other, and therefore making me smarter, as I listen to album. After seeing Owen Pallett live this spring, I appreciate his talent so much, and I’m just amazed at what he can do with his violin and a computer.
Top Tracks: Lewis Takes Action and Oh Heartland, Up Yours!
7) Sidewalks - Matt & Kim
This NYC duo’s previous album Grand made my top ten list last year, and I daresay they’ve upped their game this year. When I first listened to Sidewalks I thought “Wow! This is just like Grand, but better!” Sidewalks clocks in at under 35 minutes, but it’s 35 minutes filled with crunchy synth and drums that makes you feel like you are walking down the streets of NYC humming along with its catchy melodies. This album makes me want to go back to NYC right now. Well maybe not right now, since all of the flights are canceled 'cuz of the snowstorm...
Top Tracks: Block After Block and Northeast
6) Oh Little Fire - Sarah Harmer
Sarah’s previous album I’m a Mountain came out a long time ago, and I did enjoy its blue-grassy country-twinged songs, but I was psyched that Oh Little Fire goes back to the folk-rock of her other two albums. Sarah Harmer has one of the loveliest voices out there, and she writes incredible songs. One of the most exciting moments of this album is the duet between Sarah and Neko Case on Silverado. The songs on this album range from happy (The Marble in Your Eye) to sad (New Loneliness) and completely span the range of emotions that I experienced during 2010, so this album provides a great soundtrack for an up-and-down year in my life.
Top Tracks: The City and Washington
5) The Five Ghosts - Stars
I know that this album is much beloved by many of my blog friends, and I love it too, although I feel that Set Yourself On Fire is still the best Stars album ever. However, comparing Stars albums is like comparing different varieties of chocolate ice cream: they’re all awesome, aren’t they? I love the gothy theme of this album; I’ll take an album about ghosts and death any day. The first six songs of this album suit my tastes the most; I tend to repeat them over and over again. As usual, Stars delivers wonderful dark and romantic electronic melodies. Seeing them play tracks from this album at Massey Hall this October made this album more special to me.
Top Tracks: I Died So I Could Haunt You and He Dreams He’s Awake
4) The Falcon Lake Incident - Jim Bryson & the Weakerthans
When I heard that the Weakerthans, my favourite band of all time, were the backing band for Jim Bryson’s new album, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I didn’t get the album right away. Then iTunes released Metal Girls as the song of the week and I loved it, which motivated me to get the entire album. It’s great on its first listen, but it gets better as you listen to it more and more and you realize how fun the melodies are, and how great the musicianship is on each and every track. Hearing the Weakerthans play someone else’s songs is a new thing, but there’s something familiar about it, and I like it. This is a little album that will grow on you quickly, and it’s definitely one of my favourite things of 2010. I can’t wait to see the show at Lee’s Palace in 2011.
Top Tracks: Up All Night and Decidedly
3) The Suburbs - The Arcade Fire
The word epic is thrown around a lot these days (I’ll admit that I’m guilty of that), but this album is truly epic. I’m not even a big Arcade Fire fan (please don’t throw rocks at me) and I still love this album. This is one of those albums where each and every song works together very well, and I could seriously listen to it for hours on end. I didn’t grow up in the suburbs; however, my little small town sometimes had a suburban feel to it, and I can relate to the themes on this album. With The Suburbs, The Arcade Fire has completely won me over, and now I need to see them live oh-so-badly. I hope that they play Toronto again in 2011.
Top Tracks: The Suburbs and Ready to Start
2) Forgiveness Rock Record - Broken Social Scene
As I used to be meh about the Arcade Fire, I used to be pretty meh about Broken Social Scene. I guess I’m really late when it comes to falling in the love with the cool indie music collectives that Canada has to offer, and 2010 is the year when I finally got completely won over. I used to like BSS, but now I completely love them. Maybe I’m just that hard to get, ha-ha. Anyway, as anyone who had been ready this blog lately knows, I’ve been obsessively listening to BSS for a few months, and Forgiveness Rock Record played a big part in this obsession. When I first listed to FRR, I thought maybe it won me over because it was more accessible than other BSS stuff, but now that I’m more learned in BSS (again, that’s all I’ve been listening to lately), I’m not so sure. Honestly, I think it’s just been that there’s always been this awesome band in my city, and this was the year I was meant to really get into them with this record and with the film “This Movie is Broken”. And seriously, I really think I needed BSS this year, and it all worked out perfectly.
Top Tracks: Meet Me in the Basement and Sweetest Kill
1) Romance is Boring - Los Campesinos!
This album defined 2010 for me. In fact, it seems like most my year consisted of being excited for the new LC! album, being excited that I was going to see them in April, being sad that the volcano effed with my plans, hoping they’d reschedule, then waiting for their eventual awesome show in October. And now, I just live in the happy afterglow. I would say that Romance is Boring is darker and more cacophonous than previous LC! work, yet it’s just as catchy and brilliant with guy/girl vocals, horns, strings, and awesome melodies that make me want to dance. RIB opens with the crescendo of In Media Res where Gareth sings “let’s talk about you for a moment” and even though none of these songs talk about me, or you, or whoever is listening, this album rather seems like you’re hanging out with a fun group of friends, partying, swapping secrets and even having yet another documented emotional breakdown. And we all need our friends, and our favourite music around us when we are breaking down, and I’m thankful to have this album around for both good times and bad.
Top Tracks: The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future and A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State; Or, Letters from Me to Charlotte
And there's my favourite album list for yet another year. It was quite tricky to cull this list: there were albums that kept moving on and off this list, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always enjoy these ten albums. What were your favourite albums of 2010?
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
- Did I Make You Cry on Christmas? (Well, You Deserved It!)
- Come On! Let's Boogey to the Elf Dance!
- Get Behind Me, Santa!
- Hey Guys! It's Christmas Time!
- That Was the Worst Christmas Ever!