Friday, August 13, 2010

Another Summer Playlist! (Can't Have Too Many)

My summer playlist…is long and all over-the-place. When you have a job that allows you to listen to music during all 8 hours you work every day, the amount of music you acquire tends to build up. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with my entire playlist.

Janay beat me to the punch on several artists she mentioned in her playlist, so I just wanted to add that Hesta Prynn, Japanese Cartoon, Steel Train [my favourite album for work] (+ Terrible Thrills), and Kaki King are all on heavy rotation for me too. Fantastic albums!

Geographer - Animal Shapes EP

I stumbled upon this band by complete accident a couple years ago around the time their first album, Innocent Ghosts, came out. I was an instant fan. Since then, they’ve released Kites EP and now Animal Shapes EP. Their sound has changed quite a bit as well; their latest releases are more up-beat…a mix between electro-pop and rock. The instrumentals are always BIG with lots going on – I can never sit still listening. Then add Mike Deni’s very distinct vocals and the result is one of the most beautiful songs you’ll hear. On Animal Shapes, Mike definitely challenges his vocal range, adding so much more emotion and power to their songs (Age of Consent [Kites EP] is a great example). I can’t say enough about this band, nor do them justice with my thoughts, you got to see...err listen yourself.
Standouts: ALL

Braids [CAN]

Braids recently opened for Holly Miranda and I had the pleasure of witnessing their phenomenal live set (I’m pretty sure I had to pick my jaw up from the floor). Originally they resided in Calgary and were known as The Neighbourhood Council. They put the Set Pieces EP out through this name. Now known as Braids, they moved to Montreal where they taught themselves how to record/make an album in their self-made studio. Native Speaker is the end result of this adventure, which is supposed to be released sometime in the fall. There are four members to the band, which is hard to believe when you hear all the layering of vocal tracks and instruments. It is also for that very reason why their live show is truly amazing.
Standouts: Live and Tan (Set Pieces), Lemonade, Native Speaker (Native Speaker)

Blue Hawaii – Blooming Summer [CAN]

The band consists of Raphaelle Standell-Preston (from Braids) and Alexander Cowan. Raphie refers to it as a “love project”. The songs on Blooming Summer are all about love and revelations with a very dream-like feel to it. The keyboards, synth, and drums have been beautifully layered and topped with Raphie’s unique vocals. There are only a few points during the album where her vocals sound like that in Braids, which shows the range she has and the challenges she creates for herself. The album will leave you in a daze and wanting more. Recently, they did a split cassette tape with Braids, which can be bought at their shows. I only have Floral from this release; it’s very Blue Hawaii-like but with more layers and backing vocals.
Standouts: Lilac, Dream Elextrixra, Blue Gowns

Eminem – Recovery

Em is back! Relapse was one of the worst albums I’ve heard and I can no longer listen to the majority of Encore. So let’s just say I was worried when I got Recovery. But Eminem pulled through and put together a great album that I can’t stop listening to. Recovery reminds me a lot of The Eminem Show; with him singing on tracks, using old classic song snippets, heartfelt songs for/about his daughters, etc. He has some great artists featuring on the album, however I wish he used Rihanna and Pink better, maybe give them more to sing. Eminem has always been known for his clever lyrics/lines, I think he took them to a whole new level this time; a lot more insulting, hilarious, and powerful (ie. love is evil, spell it backwards, I don’t need the swine flu to be a sick pig, I don’t need a tank top to be a wife beater, shake that ass like a donkey with parkinsons). It’s a very emotional album – as most of his are – but this one is different. You can tell he reached his breaking point, that he is hurting, and is ashamed (Going Through Changes is a great example…listen to the sound in his voice). The album left me thinking and reflecting on life.
Standouts: Going Through Changes, Not Afraid, Seduction, No Love, Space Bound, 25 to Life, Love the Way You Lie

Goldfrapp – Head First

I’ve been a fan of Goldfrapp for several years now and saw them in concert when they toured in support for Seventh Tree. Until recently, it was flat out THE best concert I had ever been to. Head First has Goldfrapp going back to its more electro-pop without grunge days. It was a nice change after Seventh Tree, which was a much slower album. You can’t help but move around in your seat and dance to Head First (very 80s like). Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp are an amazing pair; they balance each other so well. If they are ever in your city, do yourself a huge favour and go! Alison sounds amazing live and is accompanied by a huge band (note: W.Gregory does not do any live shows).
Standouts: Rocket, Believer, Head First, Shiny and Warm, I Wanna Life

Lights – Acoustic EP [CAN]

I found out about Lights when she wrote songs for the show Instant Star (yes, I actually liked that show). At that time, she only had a few songs on her myspace I could never remember and google could never find. The Acoustic EP (5 songs) is her latest release which has her covering a Rancid song, as well as releasing a new song, Romance Is… The EP really strips down her songs, which are very electro-pop driven, almost creating a demo-like sound (but better). To me it also shows off her vocal talent. A lot of people seem to write her off, not giving her the credit she deserves. I’d go into it, but my post is getting long. Look her up and read about her, watch her videos and you’ll see what I mean.
Standouts: Romance Is…, River, Saviour

Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

I’ve been listening to a lot of oldies lately because well, they really don’t make music like that anymore. There is something really special about it all. Rumours has been on repeat for a week and I’m still not tired of it. Every song is amazing and it’s a great album to dance around your room too. So blow the dust of your (or parents) old vinyls and give them a spin!
Standouts: ALL

Fences – Fences

A beautiful album - very raw. Christopher’s voice and the instrumentation are very soft and delicate with brutally honest lyrics about love, loss, and life. I really enjoy emotional acoustic records like this. It reminded me of City and Colour’s Sometimes record. It’s a must-have and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Fences.
Standouts: Boys Around Here, My Girl the Horse, From Russia With…um ALL

Honourable mentions: Lydia – Assailants, Hannah Georgas – This Is Good [CAN], Long Long Long – Shorts EP [CAN], Mesita – No Worries EP

Note: I’m a big person of putting on a bands entire discography and listening to it all (if you are able to do this with a band, it shows their talent). I also tried to only mention new releases in this post. With that I’d like to point out that Silversun Pickups, Shiny Toy Guns, Flyleaf, Against Me!, Angels & Airwaves, Paramore, Lydia, Tegan and Sara, Lightning Dust, Anberlin, and The Jezabels are my most played bands!!

[CAN] – Canadian Band

Thanks for reading...and thanks to Janay for asking me to do this!


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