Thursday, January 2, 2014

past year in music

I'm not quite the indie music aficionado I used to be, but then again the indie music scene isn't what it used to be. It's different and so am I - but I believe we still cross paths and meet in some really happy places. Here is a list of albums from this past year I really enjoyed.

1. Wild Nothing - Empty Estate
Nothing ground breaking nor their best work, but this EP is short, varied and energetic. It makes me want to move so I find it's great to run to.

2. Deerhunter - Monomania
Still sounding the same as their previous releases which is nothing but a good thing. They are noisy, strange and interesting in all the right ways.

3. My Bloody Valentine - MBV
My favourite band throughout the high school years finally releases their follow up to 1991's Loveless. Picking up where they left off decades ago this album can only be listened to loudly though your stereo or with headphones and with your undivided attention. This album was set up for disaster decades ago and could have gone very wrong. I think we are all breathing a collective sigh of relief as this is a fantastic album.

4. Arcade Fire - Reflector
You just don't get bigger than Arcade Fire! I still marvel at their career releasing Funeral on Merge Records, seeing them in a basement club in Hamilton and then excitedly watch everyone else discover what we loved about them, then launch the band to monster concert venues and inflated ticket prices. With every album since they bring it and this album is no exception. It's an easy listen and is a shining example of an album as a complete experience. 
5. Beach Fossils - Clash The Truth
Couldn't let a year pass without including a Captured Track release. I'm kicking myself for missing them not only once, but twice this year when they toured and stopped in Buffalo. Music like this makes me feel young and reminds me of similar garage recorded bands like the Aisler's Set in aesthetic, but are actually more akin to Joy Division.  
6. Pure Bathing Culture - Moon Tides
My only decent new music discovery this year, Pure Bathing Culture create music similar to 90's dreampop we love such as Lush or the Cocteau Twins.

7. Camera Obscura -  Desire Lines
Another Camera Obscura release sounding just like all their previous releases. And can we possibly complain? They are everything we want them to be and magical when at their best. Their music is heartfelt, genuine and sounds effortless. It always feels so good to listen to albums like this straight through.
8. The Pastels - Slow Summits
Another band I worshiped in high school release new material in 2013. This one was a surprise and only discovered when a video for Check My Heart appeared on the Wedge. They are a fun & sweet listen and Stephen is still adorable in his 50's with his signature shaggy blonde hair.

9. Sigur Ros - Kveikur
Beautiful and haunting. Just bought this for Nuno's birthday in December so it's still very new to me. But after several listens it's the perfect soundtrack to the winter.
10. At the moment I can't seem to recall any other noteworthy albums. I did revisit some oldies I never really enjoyed when I first listened decades ago. Namely Pavement's Wowee Zowee and Brighten The Corners. I had gotten over them by those later releases and never gave those albums a fair chance. What a mistake! They are gold. I was also just a few months late with Allo Darlin's - Europe. Simply loved that release all this year as well. 
Any album recommendations out there? Let me know what you loved!

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