Friday, January 10, 2014

2013 In Review - The Longlist Part 2

To quote the great Steve Miller, "time keeps on slipping, into the future." I had intended to get Parts 2 and 3 of my Longlist up before New Years' Eve in time for the annual countdown show on UMFM, but went on holidays with my family. Traveling with 3 kids under 5 is quite an experience and doesn't leave time or energy for talking music. So the cat is out of the bag on my Top 20 songs and albums, but I'm still going to share the other great records I enjoyed in 2013 before we get too far into 2014. _________________________________________________ Derrick Hodge - Live Today [Blue Note] I couldn't find a stream of "The Real," the lead-off track that immediately convinced me of Live Today's merits as a top album of 2013. "Message of Hope" isn't the barnburner "The Real" is but it certainly holds its own. Yosi Horikawa - Vapors [First Word] First Word Records have stepped up over the last year to earn a place alongside Tru Thoughts, Thrill Jockey, Ubiquity and a few other select labels I always make time for. Needless to say, I made time for Vapors, and you should too. Sample some "Maki." Doug Hoyer - To Be A River [Old Ugly] I owe this one to The Pro From Dover - I might have overlooked this record when it arrived at the station but he mentioned he'd heard good things and thought it might be up my alley. Songs like "Already Gone" proved him right. Kvelertak - Meir [Sony/Indie Recordings/Roadrunner] I have a thing for sweeping, symphonic metal. Maybe the closet classical nerd in me (seriously, I got high school credits in musical theory) finds echoes of my past in the squall of music like Alcest, Russian Circles and this record from Kvelertak, featuring "Bruane Brenn" below. Lady - Lady [Truth & Soul Records] This one almost made it on the strength of the song below alone. "Money" was one of my Top 20 songs of the year and found its place early when I posted it here on RR in January of 2013. If you're a fan of the retro-soul folks like Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones are slinging, make a date with Lady. The Lytics - They Told Me [Camobear] I still remember when these guys were so fresh we had them play our Orientation Week stage to a couple dozen beer gardeners. Bigger is better for local hip-hop act The Lytics as they've justifiably blown up in the past few years. Majical Cloudz - Impersonator [Arbutus] I had two opportunities to see Majical Cloudz play in Winnipeg and I continue to kick myself for missing both of them. If they're coming to your burg, check them out - or at least listen to "Childhood's End" and the rest of Impersonator to find out what you're missing. Laura Marling - Once I Was An Eagle [Ribbon Music] Marling is darling. The Mavericks - In Time [Valory] I was so stoked to find out The Mavericks were back after a lengthy hiatus. My uncle first introduced me to the band with 1995's Music For All Occasions. I was going through an "I hate country" phase and he convinced me to give them a try. Lord knows what other great music I would have missed out on if The Mavericks hadn't ended that phase. "Back In Your Arms Again," indeed. Jenks Miller - Spirit Signal [Northern Spy] I mentioned labels I always make time for in the Yosi Horikawa entry, but I should add that Northern Spy (along with Cuneiform and Silber Media) is a label I find fascinating. I never know exactly what I'm going to hear from its roster of artists, but I frequently make great discoveries and hear sounds I have never heard before or can't hear anywhere else. For instance, the title track from Jenks Miller... The Moas - The Moas [Independent] This one came in on cassette and I think that's apt as it could've found a home on my walkman back in high school alongside Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine tapes. Disappointed they couldn't attend this year's Big Fun Festival, but fingers-crossed they make their way to Winnipeg at some point. Janelle Monae - The Electric Lady [Bad Boy] We live in a world where Janelle Monae has enough of a Q rating to be a Cover Girl. Hopefully the folks that have seen her commercials take the time to listen to her music. Monochromie - Enlighten Yourself While You Sleep [Fluttery Records] Instrumental post-rock? Yes please. If these type of sounds are your thing, Thursday nights from midnight to 4am on UMFM are strongly recommended. Laura Mvula - Sing To The Moon [Blue Note] "Green Garden" is gorgeous. While the rest of Sing To The Moon doesn't quite go as sky-high as that song, such heights are hard to sustain. Nightlands - Oak Island [Secretly Canadian] This was an early-year release that hung on throughout the months without wearing out its welcome. "So Far So Long" indeed. Nymph - New Millennium Prayer [Northern Spy] Another great title-track from another great Northern Spy release. Ola Podrida - Ghosts Go Blind [Western Vinyl] Here's another longlist entry from a previous Top 10 performer. How many is that now? Oldfolks Home - Black & Blue [Head In The Sand] Ricardo Lopez-Aguilar is quite the guy - not many people could come out the other side of a divorce with a record this upbeat (Shoot Out The Lights anyone?). Black & Blue is the silver lining to his cloud. Oshima - The Age Of Shapes [Head In The Sand] A second local release on Head In The Sand, this one from roster boss Michael P Falk whose primary gig is as the leader of Les Jupes. Oshima is decidedly different and undoubtedly beautiful. Pale Eyes - Sweatshop [Independent] A mixtape of tracks from 2010 to 2013, Toronto's Pale Eyes sent this one to the station and the picture of the old Memorex cassette on the cover took me back while the music took me forward.

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