What a year!!! You take the good, you take the bad….. I had a lot of family heartache (hence the comprehensive list) and saw a lot of AMAZING live shows. I’ve been loving the picks by the other members of #GuelphMusicClub and I’m sure those of you that know me aren’t surprised that I’m posting my picks at the last possible moment of the year. So here is my mess of a list for 2014. Metal, princesses, some indie and some mega stars. And a record that came out in 2013. Let’s start with that one.
Northcote – Selftitled
Yes, I know, it came out in 2013, but I hadn’t heard the name Northcote until this year. So it counts. On a random Tuesday this fall I headed up to DSTRCT to check out a show that was getting quite a bit of buzz. Northcote was already on stage and blew me away. When I saw they had their record on vinyl I knew I needed to have it. I left the show half way through the headlining act to go home, poor a glass of whiskey and put the vinyl on, where it stayed for three weeks. Northcote has a great mix of small town, working man rock, with some subtle punk undertones. I’d say it has a New Jersey feel, but it’s Canadian, so I’ll say it has a very Hamilton feel. One of the best bands I saw this year, and a great album that translates from the turntable to the stage perfectly. You can stream/download the whole album on the Northcote Bandcamp page. Do IT!!!
Mastodon – Once More Round The Sun
I’ve been a Mastodon fan for a long time. I find their albums are always above and beyond a lot of that other hard rock/metal dribble. Although I’ve loved almost every album they’ve done up to this point, often times felt like there was something missing. Like it could have been BIGGER or… whatever it doesn’t matter. What was missing is there on Once More Round The Sun. It’s a wickedly EPIC, juggernaut of an album. When I put in my headphones, this album makes me walk really fast. So it comes in really handy when you’re late for something like the bus. Once More Round The Sun has to be the most complete sounding Mastodon album to date and I love it almost as much as I love my dog. THAT’S how good it is!
Prince & 3rdeyegirl – Plectrumelectrum
Prince!!! Back with two albums and a major label! I prefer Plectrumelectrum to Art Official Age. Did you know he got the rights back to his his old songs?! That’s huge! Prince is the most under rated guitar player EVER! I mean Prince just wails. Watch his musical guest spot on Saturday Night Live from a few weeks back if you don’t believe me. Why would they even get a host? SNL should have just played a Prince concert. I can’t listen to the album in public. Plectrumelectrum makes me tingle and fizzle and makes me awkward to be around. There is a flavour for everyone on this album. Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues, whatever. Call it a day. Prince is BACK!
The Balconies – Fast Motions
Fast Motions is an awesomely catchy rock record by Toronto band The Balconies. It came out last January and hasn’t left my MP3 player since. It’s the type of right on, sing-a-long, hooks for days, high paced rock record that you’ll be bouncing around to on your first listen. I’m sure Fast Motions is technical, crafted and produced and stuff. The Balconies could have slaved for years in the studio over these songs but they don’t sound that way and you won’t care anyway because you’ll be having too much fun listening to them. Tomorrow when you wake up all hungover from too much New Year’s partying drink a glass of water and take a dose of Fast Motions by The Balconies. You’ll feel better.
Taylor Swift – 1989
Ugh. I know…. This is like that scene in High Fidelity, when Rob walks into the record store and Barry is listening to Vince and Justin. You know, the skater kids that hang out in the parking lot. Then Barry is trying to describe the music but he’s reluctant and just saying, “It’s really… It’s really,” then he rubs his forehead like what he’s about to say is stressing him out or is going to hurt him and adds, “It’s really F@#kin’ good.” That’s how I feel about the latest Taylor Swift album. I knew I was in TROUBLE (anyone catch what I did there?) the second I heard Shake It Off. It broke some sales records and stuff too, so there’s that. I am a grown-ass man now and have no problems announcing my guilty pleasures from on high! Turn off your brain, stop stressing and over thinking what you may like, or my not like, and just enjoy a really fun pop record. If I ever cleaned my apartment, I’d listen to 1989 on repeat while I did it.
There you go #GuelphMusicClub! From everyone here at Music Lives, be safe tonight and have a happy New Year one and all!