Top Albums of 2012

Alternative Rock
Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
Big Wreck – Albatross
Bloc Party – Four
Bob Mould – Silver Age
Jack White – Blunderbuss
Muse – The 4th Dimension
the Smashing Pumpkins – Oceania
Soundgarden – King Animal

Electro/Electronica
Air – Le Voyage dans la Lune
Azure Ray – As Above, So Below
Grimes – Visions
Trifonic – Ninth Wave

Folk/Folk Rock
Andrew Bird – Break it Yourself
Bahamas – Barchords
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Here
Evening Hymns – Spectral Dusk
Glen Hansard – Rhythm and Repose
Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg
Jason Collett – Reckon
John K. Samson – Provincial
Langhorne Slim & the Law – The Way We Move
Lord Huron – Lonesome Dreams
the Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
the Wooden Sky – Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun

Indie Rock
Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan
Father John Misty – Fear Fun
Joel Plaskett Emergency – Scrappy Happiness
The Shins – Port of Morrow
Tame Impala – Lonerism
Yukon Blonde – Tiger Talk

Metal
As I Lay Dying – Awakened
Baroness – Yellow & Green
Between the Buried and Me – the Parallax II: Future Sequence
the Contortionist – Intrinsic
Deftones – Koi No Yokan
Gojira – L’Enfant Sauvage
Periphery – Periphery II: This Time it’s Personal
Lamb of God – Resolution
Meshuggah – Koloss
the Safety Fire – Grind the Ocean
Torche – Harmonicraft
Veil of Maya – Eclipse

Pop
Mumford & Sons – Babel
Neon Trees – Picture Show
the Salads – Music Every Day
St. Lucia – St. Lucia EP
Tenacious D – Rise of the Fenix

Progressive
Art By Numbers – Reticence: The Musical
Chimp Spanner – All Roads Lead Here
David Maxim Micic – Bilo 2.0
the Devin Townsend Project – Epicloud
Intervals – In Time
Jeff Loomis – Plains of Oblivion
the Mars Volta – Noctourniquet
Rush – Clockwork Angels
Sithu Aye – Isles EP & Invent the Universe
T.R.A.M. – Lingua Franca

Punk
Cancer Bats – Dead Set on Living
Circa Survive – Violent Waves
Every Time I Die – Ex Lives
the Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
Japandroids – Celebration Rock

Rap/Hip Hop
Kendrick Lamar – good kid, M.A.A.D. city
Moka Only – Airport 6
Nas – Life is Good

Soul/RnB
Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls

My Top 10

1. Father John Misty – Fear Fun
2. Band of Skulls – Sweet Sour
3. Periphery – Periphery II: This Time It’s Personal!
4. the Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten
5. Michael Kiwanuka – Home Again
6. Bloc Party – Four
7. Sithu Aye – Isles EP
8. Big Wreck – Albatross
9. Meshuggah – Koloss
10. Jason Collett – Reckon

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Top Albums of 2011

ALTERNATIVE
Foo Fighters – Wasting Light (Hard Alternative Rock/Pop)
Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain In the Cloud (Indie/Alternative Rock)
Primus – Green Naugahyde (Alternative/Funk/Rock)
Puscifer – Conditions of My Parole (Alternative/Experimental)
Radiohead – the King of Limbs (Alternative/Experimental)
the Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You (Alternative Rock/Funk/Pop)
Rival Schools – Pedals (Hard Alternative Rock)

FOLK
Bon Iver – Bon Iver (Indie/Folk/Pop)
Eddie Vedder – Ukulele Songs (Folk)
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Indie/Folk)
Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo (Indie/Folk)
Thurston Moore – Demolished Thoughts (Alternative/Folk)

HIP HOP
the Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part II (Rap/Hip Hop)
the Roots – Undun (Rap/Hip Hop)
Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows (Rap/Hip Hop)

INDIE
Company of Thieves – Running from a Gamble (Indie Rock)
Stateless – Matilda (Electro/Indie)
Tune-Yards – W H O K I L L (Experimental/Indie)
TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light (Indie Rock/Alternative)
Vetiver – the Errant Charm (Indie Rock/Folk)
Yukon Blonde – Fire/Water (Indie Rock)

METAL
Animals as Leaders – Weightless (Progressive Metal/Instrumental/Djent/Fusion)
Between the Buried and Me – The Parallax: Hypersleep  Dialogues (Progressive Grind Metal)
Chaos Divine – The Human Connection (Progressive Metal)
Circles – the Compass (Progressive Metal/Djent)
Corelia – Nostalgia (Progressive Metal/Djent)
Cynic – Carbon-Based Anatomy (Progressive Metal/Fusion)
The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction (Progressive Extreme Metal)
the Haunted – Unseen (Melodic Death Metal)
the Human Abstract – Digital Veil (Progressive Metalcore)
Leprous – Bilateral (Progressive Metal)
Mastodon – The Hunter (Progressive Doom Metal/Rock)
Monstro – Monstro (Doom Metal/Hard Rock)
Protest the Hero – Scurrilous (Progressive Metal/Thrash/Punk)
Red Seas Fire – Red Seas Fire (Progressive Metal/Djent)
Revocation – Chaos of Forms (Death/Thrash Metal)
Scale the Summit – the Collective (Progressive Metal/Instrumental)
TesseracT – One (Progressive Metal/Djent)
Textures – Dualism (Progressive Metal/Djent)

ELECTRO
Bjork – Biophilia (Experimental/Pop)
James Blake – James Blake (Indie/Experimental)
SBTRKT – SBTRKT (Electro)

POP
The Black Keys – El Camino (Alternative/Blues/Rock)
Foster the People – Torches (Indie Rock/Pop)
Gotye – Making Mirrors (New Age/Indie/Pop)
Jamie Woon – Mirrorwriting (Pop)
The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar (Alternative Rock/Pop)
Little Dragon – Ritual Union (Electro/Pop)
Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do (Motown/Soul)
Mutemath – Odd Soul (Pop/Rock)
Sublime with Rome – Yours Truly (Alternative/Pop)

PROGRESSIVE ROCK
The Dear Hunter – The Color Spectrum (Progressive Rock/Alternative)
the Devin Townsend Project – Ghost (Progressive Rock/New Age)
Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors (Progressive Rock/Metal)
Opeth – Heritage (Progressive Rock/Metal)
3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me (Progressive Rock/Metal)

PUNK/HARDCORE
Glassjaw – Coloring Book (Post Hardcore/Punk)
Le Butcherettes – Sin Sin Sin (Punk/Alternative Rock)
Thrice – Major/Minor (Hard Alternative Rock/Punk)

MY TOP 10
1. Gotye – Making Mirrors
2. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
3. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light
4. TesseracT – One
5. Radiohead – the King of Limbs
6. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
7. Stateless – Matilda
8. the Black Keys – El Camino
9. Rival Schools – Pedals
10. the Joy Formidable – the Big Roar

Party on.

Bands that are ‘Metal as Fuck’

So I’m listening to Revocation right now and I was like “Holy shit this is fucking metal.”  (Made ever more apparent by the fact that I’ve been listening almost exclusively to folk music for the past three weeks.)  If anything is ‘Metal as Fuck’ THIS is.  Then I was like, “What other bands are ‘Metal as Fuck’?” This could be an interesting point of discussion, one that may or may not be related to the origin of species.  A subject that requires great insight and delicate analysis into the realm of ‘Metality’, and thus, I scrub my iPod.

Being the nerd that I am; Here are a bunch of other bands I think are ‘Metal as Fuck’.

Lamb of God – Lamb of God are fucking Metal, like holy shit. I don’t care what anyone says, I just can’t help but make this face every time I listen to them.  It’s retarded how Metal they are.  If Metal was a kingdom, they would be the rulers and pillagers.  They would rape all in their path. Randy’s growl alone could take down an army.  An army of tanks made of bullets and steaks.  Steel steaks.  Metal. As. Fuck.

Slayer – I have to include Slayer because they’re apparently the undisputed ‘Most Metal band ever’ according to most people.  I don’t even really listen to them at all, and couldn’t name hardly any of their songs, but Reign in Blood is fucking awesome.  I listened to it the other day.  Seriously, it’s undeniable.  Slayer, I salute you in all your ‘Metal-as-Fuck’-ness.

Meshuggah – Easily one of my favourite bands, they melt my brain. Crazy rhythms abound, and unrelenting, demonic-sounding vocals, with super heavy riffing. The music just pulsates and never stops, and just when you can’t take it any more, the grooves get even heavier, deeper, and more unrelenting.  They’re like a Metal Sauna.  Jens Kidman says it best.

Pantera – Holy fuck, Dimebag Darrell is fucking awesome. Just listen to ‘Mouth For War‘ and tell me that song is not fucking awesome. Seriously, what can you say?  The man could play guitar better than most dudes can jerk themselves off. No homo. Fuck!

Behemoth – They’re so metal that Leukemia couldn’t even kill them!  The Metality cannot be stopped with this band.  Just one of the most epic, demonic, brutal bands ever.  And they don’t give a shit about your religions or your laws surrounding them.  They will burn the bible in front of you and you will learn to love it… Mainly because they won’t ever stop… Sort of like hell… In an Atheistic sort of way… Yeah.

Strapping Young Lad – Fuckin’ Canadian Metal eh!  National allegiances aside, Strapping ruled the roost for a significant period of time.  Devin was all like, “I’m gonna try my hardest to be as heavy as fuck all the fucking time and make you think I’m fucking crazy.”  Then he stopped smoking weed and everything got very mellow… Unless you listened to Deconstruction, like holy shit.  Plus Gene Hoglan played drums, enough said.

Arch EnemyThis band has a female singer that is more metal than 99% of dudes screaming their balls off on the entire planet.  Angela’s more metal than the tinman!  She’ll eat your soul I swear. She might be smokin’ hot, but stay away from that one, she was sent straight from hell just to scare the crap out of us and eat us alive.  Meh, I’d still hit it.

Cannibal Corpse – Cannibal Corpse are seriously fucking metal. Are you gonna tell me they’re not? Cause you’d be so wrong.  There is nothing in the world that would be more wrong.  Maybe like… Babies raping dogs… or vice-versa, but Cannibal Corpse probably have a song about that.  Remember that part in Ace Ventura when Ace goes through that Metal show to find that researcher dude? New England Clam Chowder. White.

Amon Amarth – They’re fucking vikings.

Dethklok – Their fans will risk their livese to see them live.  The band does not care if the fans live or die at their performances.  They are the seventh largest global economy.  There are dead, rotting employees clogging their drainage pipes in their Lair. They have henchmen.

Honourable mentions: EmperorEntombed, The Faceless, The Red Chord, Revocation(duh!)

I’m sure there are other ‘Metal as Fuck’ bands out there that I am so obviously omitting, but I care not.  I either do not like those bands, consider them not to be 100% ‘Metal as Fuck’ , haven’t discovered them yet, or I’m too fucking lazy and don’t give a shit.  So fuck off.

Thanks for reading.  Let the haterade begin.

Favourite Albums of 2010

Birds of Tokyo – Birds of Tokyo

The Black Keys – Brothers

Broken Social Scene – Forgiveness Rock Record

The Damned Things – Ironiclast

Dead Letter Circus – This is the Warning

Deftones – Diamond Eyes

The Dillinger Escape Plan – Option Paralysis

Far – At Night We Live

How to Destroy Angels – How to Destroy Angels

Intronaut – Valley of Smoke

Jamie Lidell – Compass

Junip – Fields

Kings of Leon – Come Around Sundown

Land of Talk – Cloak and Cipher

Mutiny Within – Mutiny Within

Periphery – Periphery

Sevendust –  Cold Day Memory

Soilwork – The Panic Broadcast

Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz, All Delighted People EP

The Tallest Man on Earth – The Wild Hunt, Sometimes the Blues is Just a Passing Bird

Tesseract – Conceiling the Fate EP

These United States – What Lasts

Xavier Rudd & Izintaba – Koonyum Sun

Yukon Blonde – Yukon Blonde

What are yours?

Drool over Karnivool

So this band from Australia came barging into my head space recently, their name is Karnivool and they fucking rule. (See what I did there?) Metalsucks blogged about them a few weeks ago, and man… They are freakin’ good I’ll tell ya what. Apparently they have 3 releases and I hadn’t heard a peep about them on my desert island known as Canada. All the while Edge102 continues to play worn-out, crappy, mediocore, pop-based, Slushy music disguised as “Alternative” Rock. People really need to listen to this band, seriously. Their latest album ‘Sound Awake’ has just been released in North America and they are hitting T.O. in April at the Annex Wreckroom with Fair to Midland. I know I have my ticket, do you? Check out this video after the jump.

My Best of 2009

10. Pearl Jam – Backspacer
9. Mastodon – Crack the Skye
8. Mos Def – The Ecstatic
7. the Devin Townsend Project – Ki
6. Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue
5. Them Crooked Vultures – Them Crooked Vultures
4. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
3. Miike Snow – S/T
2. Portugal. The Man – The Satanic Satanist
1. the Devin Townsend Project – Addicted!

Honourable mentions:

Company of Thieves – Ordinary Riches
Chylde – Now it Can Be Told
Every Time I Die – New Junk Aesthetic
He Is Legend – It Hates You
John Frusciante – The Empyrean
Kylesa – Static Tensions
Lamb of God – Wrath
the Mars Volta – Octahedron
Thrice – Beggars
Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals
Between the Buried and Me – The Great Misdirect
Muse – The Resistance
the Temper Trap – Conditions
Austrian Death Machine – Double Brutal
Behemoth – Evangelion
Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
Matthew Good – Vancouver
Apostle of Hustle – Eats Darkness
Balmorhea – All is Wild, All is Silent
Charlotte Gainsbourg – IRM
Clutch – Strange Cousins from the West
The Decemberists – the Hazards of Love
Dredg – The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion
Eminem – Relapse
the Junction – Another Link in the Chain
Katatonia – Night is the New Day
Killswitch Engage – S/T
Baroness – Blue Record
Megadeth – Endgame
the Red Chord – Fed Through the Teeth Machine
3 – Revisions
Blakroc – S/T
the Dead Weather – Horehound
Dethklok – the Deth Album II
ISIS – Wavering Radiant
Keith Merrow – the Arrival
Omar Rodriguez-Lopez – Old Money
Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
Porcupine Tree – The Incident
Revocation – Existence is Futile
Threat Signal – Vigilance
the Used – Artwork
Wilco – S/T
Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion
St. Vincent – Actor
Monsters of Folk – S/T

Accept it!

J

Uplift uplifts

Toronto Positive Hardcore. Checked these guys out at The Kathedral last night and they killed it, and I’m not saying that just cause I know their drummer, I swear! They do very well helping to carry the torch for the Toronto Hardcore Scene.  The club was pretty full with kids and they had crazy affordable merch! I got 3 CD’s and 2 t-shirts for $20! Who does that!?! Also on the bill contributing to the carnage was On Burning Shores and A Distance From.., the latter sadly playing their last show, but still, both put on memorable performances.  It was a fitting end to the last Hardcore gig at the Kathedral, as the Big Bop building will be closing it’s doors for the final time on January 30.  The future looks bright for Toronto Hardcore, especially with these cats hanging around.

Uplift

A Distance From..

On Burning Shores

J

Back from the City of Wind

Lollapalooza definitely lived up to the hype! My first 3-Day Music Festival was a blast and I’m excited to show you guys some of the photos and videos we got from the weekend. I attended all 3 days and tried to see as much as possible. Some of my favourite performances were;

Day 1

Bon Iver; Very packed crowd and his renditions of the songs from the album was just as haunting with a little bit more instrumentation from his band members.

Fleet Foxes; Very good band, the crowd was way into these guys and so were we, we were right up front for their set singing along to most of everything. Singer said he was sick, but no one could tell.

Kings of Leon; They had a great set, extremely tight. They showed just how far they’ve come since their humble beginnings and are still as humble as ever. Much better experience for me than the first time I saw them at the Air Canada Centre.

Day 2

Coheed and Cambria; First time seeing these guys live. They played well, but they tend to over-play a bit in general on their instruments. Songs sound cluttered sometimes. Never-the-less, blistering guitar-solos were boner-worthy.

TV on the Radio; Great band. My first real exposure to their music and they pretty much had me dancing. Made me want to listen to everything they’ve ever done. This band is lots of fun.

Ben Harper and the Relentless7; Amazingly tight. Ben is a true master of the slide guitar and a great vocalist and songwriter. Cover Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” and Hendrix’s “Red House”. Worth the cost of admission. Too bad we had to bail earlier to get a good spot for Tool. Bad scheduling here. Broke my heart.

Tool; What can I say? It’s fucking Tool. Simply amazing, beautifully stunning visuals. Huge crowd!

Day 3

Portugal. The Man; Really interesting band, lots of energy and great bluesy guitar licks. Lots of snarl in their sound, feedback and all they kicked some major ass.

Vampire Weekend; Almost a bit too happy for me, but I came around quickly to their songs. Good songwriting shining through with minimal instrumentation. Very fun band.

Band of Horses; Despite a delayed set time they did quite well in easing the crowd back into their show from the debaucle which was presented before them. Sadly getting cut short by the promoters (guess who) and thus having a stage war with them for about 15 minutes (annoying!)

Jane’s Addiction; Not necessarily their fault but they totally stepped on BOH’s toes when they came on. The schedule got fucked up and they ended up playing simulateously with the Horses on adjacent stages, which was quite the clusterfuck. In any event, Jane’s absolutely killed it! They may have even taken the prize for the best performance of the weekend. Their band chemistry is almost unmatched. Navarro shreds.

And now for the best part… the Hall of Shame.

Lou Reed; “I skipped Snoop Dogg for this?” I’m all for experimental, against-the-grain kind of music, but this stuff was nearly unbearable. Lou’s songs are better off as poems. Very little changes in any of his songs, and he went on a 10-15 minute noise interlude which sent his set soaring way over time (unbeknownst to him or simply negligently, I have no idea.) He was reading from a teleprompter which subsequently fucked-up and he mumbled several verses (not that he wasn’t mumbling anyways). A very forgettable performance by this “legend”.

Dan Deacon – WTF? Are those actual songs? “Wait stop.. can I get more synth in the monitors?”

Actually.. that’s about it. Everything else was awesome.

Album Review – The Mars Volta – Octahedron

It’s that time again, I have a few new albums on my plate at the moment and I’ll try to review as many as I can, firstly, Mars Volta.

This band’s always been a head trip, they quickly became one of my favourites back in the days of “De-Loused in the Comatorium” and continue to put out mind-bending pieces worthy of Psychadelic, Prog heaven (or hell).  Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s lyrics are still largely a mystery to me, he seems to string sentences together about the most abstract concepts and imagery fathomable, and there are plenty of songs from their back catalogue that I still struggle to compehend. Not that I can’t understand what he’s saying, just that I don’t understand what he means when he’s saying it.  I wanna ask him about that actually if I ever get the chance to meet the guy.  “Do your songs always have meanings or is it just whatever comes to mind when your laying it down?” Who knows.

The Volta are back again, constipated with backed up albums, their latest effort is Octahedron. Apparently their “acoustic” album, it holds plenty of electricity.  It is, however, anchored on a couple ballady acoustic tracks “Since We’ve Been Wrong” and “With Twilight As My Guide”.  The former being my personal favourite cut from the record.  The opening track has a strong hook and the lyrics actually seem to make sense! Amazing! But I’m just poking fun.  The record ebbs and flows, after the opening track it picks up pace with “Teflon” and continues that momentum until “With Twilight As My Guide”, which brings the listener back down to the level of dynamic established by the opener.  Just as you’re about to dose off into slumberland, BAM! “Cotopaxi” kicks in, the lead single, with the same venom that “Wax Simulacra” had on their previous release “the Bedlam in Goliath”.  Another strong track follows in the form of “Desperate Graves”, this song has more of a traditional rock feel to it but still maintains Volta’s delicious mix of Waltzy grooves and Melodic breakdowns.  The album slowly descends from here, “Copernicus” is a slow-paced, delicate track which comes off very cerebral, and has a similar dynamic to the previous ballads.  The album then finishes up with “Luciforms”, containing an extended ambient intro going into a more upbeat but still slower-tempo’d waltz rhythm throughout the verses, a fitting end to the record.

All in all it’s a fairly typical Volta record, probably on par with Amputechture in my books.  It contains a few gems and is a journey not unlike any of their albums.  Those with patience will be able to get through this, whereas the casual listener will pick their favourites and be done with it.  Omar, Cedric and co. seem to have albums coming out of the Wazoo and I’m sure by this time next year (or maybe sooner) we’ll have another Mars Volta record to ponder over.  This one definitely has repeat value just based on the intricacy of the sounds and the technical playing alone, I don’t imagine this will reach the peaks of “De-Loused” but continues to make it’s mark on their legacy.

3/5