Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Favorite Sh*t of the Year!!!

Album of the Year:

JK: Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest

This record was such a departure from everything I had been listening to at the time I heard it. In fact I only heard it about a month and a half ago when I started desperately trying to find and listen to all of the year's releases I missed so that I could compile a 'Top 10' list for Alter The Press! (which you can find HERE). I think it was the lyrics that got me. Most of the lyrics are so dark, depressing and hopeless. The music behind the lyrics are actually dreamy and ambient. This provides the light at the end of the gloomy tunnel. The lyrics make you feel sad but the instrumentation is that gleam of hope that gets you through the record without having an emotional breakdown. It's a gorgeous record. I'm really into hard rock and lately some metal, but this was refreshing. It's amazing how much you can hear and feel when you slow things down.

LLV: The National - High Violet

Have you ever been drawn to something, but could never explain why? You just loved it. Simple as that? This is how I feel about The National’s High Violet. From the first listen and every listen after that, I knew it was going to be my record of the year. I don’t necessarily understand all their songs, but there are many lines and verses that I found so much comfort in. I’m sure a lot of this has to do with Matt’s voice – deep, stern, and full of emotion, without making many or drastic vocal changes. The beautiful instrumentals that compliment Matt’s hypnotizing voice provided me with many much needed escapes for 47 minutes at a time. What did I get out of those 47 minutes? A beautiful soundtrack for solitude from the harsh realities of life.

Song of the Year:

JK: Blood Red Shoes - "Colours Fade"

The opening line got me, "You take all you have and you leave it behind in the hope that there's more to find. In blind ambition, yeah in blind faith, you wait for things to change". That's what I did when I left the city. That's the stage I'm at in my life, as are most people my age. This is when we make those first big life decisions without any certainties of a positive outcome. All we know is something has to change, we've got to move forward so we finally take the necessary steps and hope for the best. I love this band. I decided against a 'favorite new artist' category but if I had to choose, I would pick BRS. I'm a complicated person. I don't process emotions well and I've never even been in a relationship worth crying about. So it's hard for me to relate to songs about love and romantic failures. BRS write about everything else, all the other ways in which life flat out sucks. "Colours Fade" is a perfect example of that. Press Play. Cue cheesy anthemic fist pump!

LLV: Foals - Spanish Sahara

If I were to base this off of the song with the highest play count, Holly Miranda’s Slow Burn Treason would be the “winner”. I love that song; I had it on repeat for days, spending many nights in bed crying to it. It had been a while since a song (or record) had affected me to the core on such a personal level. So while it’s definitely in my top favourite songs, Foal’s Spanish Sahara – a new song I got – is my number one. I’m not even going to explain why – I’ll let the song do that. Wait until about midnight. Put on a good pair of headphones. Turn off all lights. Lie in the middle of the floor. Close your eyes. Press play.

Video of the Year:

JK: Arcade Fire - "The Suburbs"

I know, I know! So predictable. I hate myself. But it's so great! This was a great year for music videos. Which is saying a lot because I'm quite sure I'm missed some. Hesta Prynn's stop motion clip is great. Also I have to say Band of Horses have been putting out great videos as well. And I mean did any band come harder than Ok Go this year? All their videos blow my mind. In the end though, I love a video that tells a story. I love cool visual effects and great editing but I always find myself most impressed by videos that are more like short films and tell a complete story, in a very short period of time. I was going to go with Cee Lo's video for his Band of Horses cover, "No One's Gonna Love You". It's pretty much every romantic/drama film you've ever seen. It blooms then comes crashing down in less than five minutes. Perfection. However, again, romance/relationships are lost on me. But a video about fucked up teenagers in the suburbs isn't.

LLV: Hesta Prynn - "Can We Go Wrong", Blood Red Shoes - "Heartsink", The Good Natured - "Prisoner"

Three-way tie. What? I suck at choosing. Common theme: Editing and Artsy. (1) HESTA PRYNN – CAN WE GO WRONG. 13k photos! THIRTEEN THOUSAND! That’s incredible. And the video looked fantastic. It’s probably the art geek in me, but that’s how stop motion is suppose to be. So smooth. Plus who doesn't love Central Park and Simon!? (2) BLOOD RED SHOES – HEARTSINK. Simple, but effective. The editing was great, with all the shots of fans and slowing down of parts. The concept of smashing prized possessions was also great. It had a powerful effect. (3) THE GOOD NATURED – PRISONER. Alright, so I’ll admit I’m not 100% sure if I fully understand the video, but that attracts me more to it. It’s really artsy and I miss weird fucked up videos. The video and what I take from it, made me like the song more.

Collaboration of the Year:

JK: Tiesto ft Nina Diaz (Girl In A Coma) - "In Your Mind"

Probably the most unexpected, most "wtf" moment in indie music this year! But it's great! Weird, but in the best way possible! Nina's unique powerhouse vocals lacing a Tiesto beat? Amazing. When this popped up in my subscriptions on Youtube I didn't know what to expect! Nina's voice is so wonderfully odd I honestly would never think it would work with a dance/techno/trance-y instrumental (program) in the background. But it works well. She isn't overpowering Tiesto and he isn't drowning her out either. It sounds like just what it is, a collaboration and too often collaborations come across as competitions, like the artists aren't friends at all and are trying to over power each other on the same track.

Runner(s) Up: Fences ft Sara Quin - "My Girl The Horse", City & Colour ft Shad - "Live Forever"

LLV: Peter Lee Johnson - "Changes (The Way It Is)" Tupac, Bruce Hornsby cover

This is probably cheating, (*JK interrupts* "IT IS!") but I don’t care ("Fine!"). I may be a total sucker for anything with violins, but Peter Lee Johnson is a phenomenal musician. Fact. And what he does to the songs he covers is pretty much breathtaking (I mean he made me like a “Katy Perry” song o_O). Changes by 2Pac is by far one of my all time favourite/life changing songs. I didn't think anyone could make me appreciate it more than I already did…until I heard this cover. As I listened to it, I could hear all of Pac’s verses and the violin made it more inspiring, beautiful, and hopeful. It made me tear up.

Runner(s) Up: Biggie vs The XX (LLV doesn't understand the word 'collaboration'), B.o.B ft Hayley Williams & Eminem - "Airplanes pt II"

Concert/Show of the Year:

JK: Kaki King w/An Horse, City & Color/Tegan & Sara w/Ra Ra Riot and Wintersleep

I'm a loser. Well, it's not really my fault. Due to my hopeless work schedule and lack of funds I rarely even make it out to a show. I'm no concert or music snob. I'm not jaded and hope to never be. I have yet to go to a show and not enjoy myself. I have yet to leave a show going "Well, that sucked". I love live music. It's amazing to me. Live music is transcending. My only complaint is to the bands who you can tell themselves have become jaded. I'll admit this was where Tegan & Sara disappointed me. I've only seen them twice and I think I missed the phase where they were rough around the edges and really had fun doing this. I understand why they're the way they are after so long. Not much surprises them and not much is new to them. Their professionalism at times just came across as them being "over it". But I've also seen amazing footage of shows that prove they can still let loose and have a good time. I'm just referring to the vibe at that particular show I attended. End Rant.

Point. Kaki King is fucking amazing! She's charming, hilarious and charismatic on stage. When you're not laughing you're simply in awe of her raw talent. There's never a moment to relax or feel settled. You're always on edge and always engaged, simply because she is. I loved that! It took quite a few shows, quite a few months later for anything to come close. When I went on a road trip to Toronto in late August to see City & Colour and Tegan and Sara with some Ra Ra Riot on the side, something finally did. Great performances from Dallas, Ra Ra Riot and TnS. When Tegan & Sara joined Dallas on stage for "At The Bird's Foot" I almost lost my mind! Then when Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip) joined him for "Sleeping Sickness" I DID lose my mind, along with everyone else in the amphitheater who all jumped up and pushed to the barriers screaming their heads off!

Runner Up: Tegan & Sara w/Holly Miranda & Steel Train (March 27th). Yeah, they were a little uptight, but still awesome! With fantastic support acts!

LLV: Roger Waters, Holly Miranda w/Braids

Roger Waters hands down! But with the small concerts I see, it would be hard to beat this one. It was amazing to see all the different generations in attendance. The concert took me back a few years when Pink Floyd were pretty much the only thing I listened to. My love for them was born again. And that’s just the music. I can’t even put into words the visuals that were going on throughout the entire show. Things flying, massive blow up puppets, the wall made of TV screens being built and exploding, and the imagery on those TVs. It was beyond amazing. And if you caught one of his shows you know what I mean.

Out of my not-so-extravagant-concerts…aka club concerts, the Holly Miranda/Braids concert takes the cake. Braids were probably one of my biggest obsessions this year. I had never heard of them before this concert. And I kid you not from the second they started playing my jaw dropped. It pretty much stayed there through the set too. If you've heard their music, there is a lot going on and to see them pull it off live is just………. There is one moment I clearly remember. Native Speaker – the title track off their upcoming album. Watching Raphie just belt out the lyrics. Her voice is just too amazing and unique I couldn't stop staring in awe. The four of them are extremely talented and since that night I haven’t wanted an album to come out so fast then Native Speaker (Jan 18). The jaw dropping didn't stop there. I had seen Holly Miranda before, but it was only her and Timmy. This time she had a full band. Hearing her songs with a full band made them even more powerful. And holy crap that drummer can play! I can never get used to Miranda’s voice…so soulful, raspy, and beautiful. Her cover of an Etta James song sent chills down my spine. It was a very powerful night of music that I now compare all concerts to.

Runner(s) Up: Blood Red Shoes, The XX w/Warpaint

What's YOUR favorite album, song (or single), video, collaboration and concert of the year? You don't even have to pick one for all you can answer for one AND you can have ties, obviously we're not the people to force you to make a decision!

City & Colour footage:
Roger Waters footage:


carter said...

"I love a video that tells a story. I love cool visual effects and great editing but I always find myself most impressed by videos that are more like short films and tell a complete story, in a very short period of time" <-- my.thoughts.exactly!

mmm love me some Deerhunter. Definitely liking them more than Bradford's Atlas Sound...BUT I love both!

...Crystal Castles with Robert Smith was a pretty dope collaboration!

leehoosierforlife said...

your blogs get better all the time! you are SO educated about music! (and you reminded me that I missed that awesome show in Toronto, boo.) keep it up J. :)

Melissa said...

ooh fun! good choices!
song: All to All by Broken Social Scene.
music video: We Used to Wait by Arcade Fire (the interactive one... you know?)
concert: The National and Band of Horses at Sasquatch... and T&S in Vancougar.
collab: Kanye/Bon Iver for Lost in the World

Dana said...

Okay, so after reading this a few times.. and watching all the videos.. a few times.. I've decided that "Jukebox Hero" is a very accurate discription of you, Janay...

I've been listening to Deerhunter a lot lately. I decided to check them out after numerous people I follow on Twitter were like "OMFG, this band is the shit!" I wasn't let down.. in fact, I fell in love. Hard..

I can't sing The National's praises enough. From start to finish, High Violet is one beautiful, sweet ride..

BRS is another "Janay Made Me Do It" discovery.. In. So much. Love.

A band I've gone apeshit for recently, who stole my heart and my vote for album of the year is Atomic Tom with The Moment. Can't say enough good things about this band. Lyrics, vocals, etc.. just, I was blown away...

Great post, as usual...

M. said...

Cd: The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
song: A tie between Sprawl II and Ready to start, both by Arcade Fire
Video: Don't have a favourite video #Fail
concert: Autobus ft Rey Manta and Franz Ferdinand (March 30th, Lima, Peru)

Jusjay said...

M: I would love to see Franz Ferdinand live! I bet that was awesome. ~JK

LLV said...

I know what collaborations are...we just have different definitions of it ha! :p

Jusjay said...

LLV: YEAH I think a collaboration is when people work TOGETHER and you know...collaborate :P

I'm just not sure covers and mash-ups count because it's not people working together necessarily it's someone else working with someone else's material on their own...BUT as we know I would never argue with you and I think you're always right's cool.

Firebolt said...

Wow! So much new music in one post that I feel ashamed to even call myself a music addict! I need to listen to all of these things before I can muster enough clout to comment on anything at all. :)

I have been under the proverbial musical rock this year, listening to older, esoteric records instead of really bothering to check out the brand new stuff. The only music that I heard that was actually released this year was either mainstream music (Brandon Flowers, Linkin Park, Clint Mansell's OST for Black Swan, Tinie Tempah etc.) or isolated stuff from here and there (SOS's Kick Back video, Vivek Shraya etc.)

To sum up, all these artistes here are going on my "to check out soon" list and thank you very much for being Dana's and mine Jukebox Hero! ♥

Jusjay said...

BOLTY: I know how you feel. That's why I always ask 'LLV' to give her input, she talks about bands I've never heard of. So much of what she mentions here I wasn't aware existed until I was preparing this.

I have my own jukebox hero. And I'm honored to be you and Dana's! :)

and Yay for SoS and Vivek!

Jaime said...

Blargh, every time Kirsty plays Spanish Sahara I just bawl for no ascertainable reason. I'm just like, stop, stop, never play that again! It's very deeply moving, and I'm pretty sure that's why it makes me cry, and you know I can't handle stuff like that!

Other than that, must say I agree with you about T&S and yeah... it's kind of sad. These days they're so professional and polished it sometimes feels more like a machine than musicians... and they wonder why we enjoy it so much when they screw up? I think it's because that's the only time anymore where we get to see them off the script and on their toes. But yeah... dunno what else to say about that. Hmmm. /End Rant/