1. Favourite albums of 2012

    Anybody that knows me reasonably well, and what I listen to, shouldn’t be too surprised by this list. While I gave the edge to Japandroids, I have a feeling that I’ll be listening to Celebration Rock and Channel Orange for years to come. Until October, I had Oblivion in the Top 3, but Cat Power made a slightly more cohesive album. Most indie rock and pop bored me to tears this year (albums that will be on many year-end lists that I hated or disliked strongly: The xx, Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear), hence the inclusion of so much R&B, hip-hop, and electronic music. I’m also probably the only music journalist that will put Schoolboy Q ahead of Kendrick Lamar, but I’ve listened to the former significantly more this year. Looking at my picks, I’d say the majority of these albums came out in the first half of 2012, but there’s still some that I completely missed that I’ll be checking out the next few weeks and into 2013 (Cloud Nothings and Swans, I see you). The two most underrated albums in my opinion here are Sorry and Tender Opposites, so definitely check those out if you haven’t. 

    1. Japandroids - Celebration Rock

    Top track: “The House That Heaven Built”

    2. Frank Ocean - Channel Orange

    Top track: “Pyramids”

    3. Cat Power - Sun

    Top track: “Cherokee”

    4. Grimes - Visions

    Top track: “Oblivion”

    5. DIIV - Oshin

    Top track: “Sometime”

    6. Chromatics - Kill For Love

    Top track: “Kill For Love”

    7. Flying Lotus - Until The Quiet Comes

    Top track: “Putty Boy Strut”

    8. Schoolboy Q - Habits & Contradictions

    Top track: “Hands On The Wheel” (feat. A$AP Rocky)

     9. White Lung - Sorry

    Top track: “Bag”

    10. TNGHT - TNGHT

    Top track: “Bugg’n”


    Honourable mentions

    Cadence Weapon - Hope In Dirt City

    Evian Christ - Kings And Them

    Frankie Rose - Interstellar

    Godspeed You! Black Emperor - ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

    How To Dress Well - Total Loss

    Jeremih - Late Nights With Jeremih

    Joey Bada$$ - 1999

    Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city

    Killer Mike - R.A.P. Music

    Miguel - Kaleidoscope Dream

    The Men - Open Your Heart

    METZ - METZ

    Titus Andronicus - Local Business

    TOPS - Tender Opposites

    Ty Segall & White Fence - Hair


    Favourite songs of 2012

    Here’s 15 songs that got serious plays on my iTunes that weren’t on any of the previously listed albums. Probably going to make a mix of my favourite rap and R&B songs of the year at some point, since there were many that just missed the cut (“Beez In The Trap”). For what it’s worth, “Orion’s Belt” was my personal “Call Me Maybe”.

    Angel Haze - “New York”

    Beach House - “Myth”

    Blood Diamonds feat. Grimes - “Phone Sex”

    CFCF - "Exercise 3"

    Dirty Beaches - “Funeral Gods & Neon Strippers”

    Dirty Projectors - "Gun Has No Trigger"

    Fiona Apple - “Every Single Night”

    Jack White - “Freedom At 21”

    Kanye West feat. Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz - “Mercy (RL Grime & Salva Remix)”

    Le1f - “Wut”

    Mac DeMarco - “Cooking Up Something Good”

    Mykki Blanco - “Wavvy”

    Purity Ring - “Obedear”

    Riff Raff feat. Kitty Pryde - “Orion’s Belt”

    Ryan Hemsworth - "Charly Wingate"

     

    Favourite shows of 2012

    I was pretty spoiled this year to see a lot of shows this year in a bunch of cool places. Coachella was definitely an experience I’ll never forget (R.I.P. WU LYF) and I also managed get to Montreal twice and New York for the first time in six years (#humblebrag). On my festival wish list for 2013: SXSW, Sasquatch!, Primavera Sound, and CMJ.

    1. Jack White - Sony Centre, Toronto

    2. Radiohead - Empire Polo Club, Indio, California (Coachella)

    3. Frank Ocean - Empire Polo Club, Indio, California (Coachella)

    4. WU LYF - Empire Polo Club, Indio, California (Coachella)

    5. Flying Lotus - Danforth Music Hall, Toronto


    Honourable mentions 

    Beck - Randall’s Island, NYC (Governors Ball Music Festival)

    Bleached - Silver Dollar, Toronto (NXNE)

    Grimes - Club Soda, Montreal (Pop Montreal)

    Modest Mouse - Randall’s Island, NYC (Governors Ball Music Festival)

    Riff Raff - Wrongbar, Toronto


    Ten acts to watch in 2013

    I reserve the right to take back saying any of these if they fizzle. 

    Absolutely Free (Toronto)

    Black Atlass (London, ON)

    Cyril Hahn (Vancouver)

    DIANA (Toronto)

    Evy Jane (Vancouver)

    Holograms (Stockholm, Sweden)

    Mikky Ekko (Nashville, Tennessee)

    Savages (London, U.K.)

    Jerome LOL (Los Angeles)

    Zodiac (Toronto)

     

  2. I reviewed Cat Power’s show at the Kool Haus last Saturday for NOW Magazine which, to put it lightly, wasn’t great. Sun is hands down one of my favourite albums of the year, and the crowd wasn’t really doing her any favours, but I still expected more from her (it did pick up slightly towards the end and I wasn’t nearly as harsh as this guy).   

     
  3. Photo Credit: Jesse Ship

    So Flying Lotus at the Danforth Music Hall was pretty great. Here are some words I wrote about the show.

     
  4. Here’s a photo that I took with my shitty cellphone of Purity Ring's lanterns during their Pop Montreal set at Club Soda. While I'm a fan of their debut album, Shrines, I have to say that I enjoyed them way more live. 

     
  5. Jack White - “Broken Boy Soldier”

    Here’s a video of Jack White’s playing The Raconteurs’ “Broken Boy Soldier” during his surprise set at San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music Festival last weekend. It was announced today that he’ll be playing two Toronto shows at the Sony Centre in October and I could not be more excited. 

     
     

  6. My National Post review of the sweaty dance party that everyone’s favourite Montreal electro-funk duo Chromeo started with their show at Sound Academy last week. Dave 1 and P-Thugg tweeted me after I posted the link to the review so that was pretty cool.  

     
  7. Yuck - “Suicide Policeman”

    Finally got the chance to see Yuck play last night and they did not disappoint. Nice to see a band whose live performance measures up to the hype about them on the Internet. “Suicide Policeman” will definitely make my year end list of favourite songs.  

     
     

  8. Here’s my review of The Shins show the other night for the National Post, complete with the requisite Garden State reference. It was all sorts of nostalgia-inducing. 

     

  9. Here’s my review of the Toro Y Moi show last Sunday night for the National Post. I’d like to dedicate this one to Hipster Runoff's Carles (wherever you are).

     

  10. Toro Y Moi - “Still Sound”

    I’m going to see this guy tonight. I’m not really sure what to expect, though based on Chaz Bundick’s music, I’m expecting the crowd to be pretty chilled out. Always funny actor/comedian Aziz Ansari interviewed him for the May 2011 “Music vs. Comedy” issue of Under the Radar - definitely worth a read if you haven’t already. “Still Sound” is from the 2011 album Underneath The Pine which Pitchfork really, really liked (if that counts for anything in your books).


     
  11. Photo Credit: Ivy Lovell

    Just another Wednesday night at The Shop under Parts & Labour in Parkdale. The band playing is called Iceage. They’re from Copenhagen and none of the members are older than twenty years old. Their debut album is entitled New Brigade and you should pick it up if you like really, really good post-punk.

     

  12. Here’s another review I wrote for the National Post about Weezy’s Toronto show. It was pretty entertaining.

     

  13. Here’s my review for the National Post of the good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s Osheaga Music Festival in Montreal. Not to get all sentimental on you or anything, but it might be one of my proudest moments in my journalism career so far. Here’s hoping there’s plenty more to come.

     

  14. This month’s issue of the Ryerson Free Press is now online, which features my coverage of the good, the bad and the ugly of this year’s NXNE. In the article (which can be found on page 17), I look at the dangers of rooftop drinking, discuss why shows on boats > shows not on boats and make a Justin Bieber joke. Give it a read, why don’t you?

     
  15. SBTRKT & Sampha feat. Drake - “Wildfire” (Live)

    You know what sucks? When you plan to go to a show, forget about it at the last minute, and then see a video like the one above the next morning. SBTRKT and Sampha were at Wrongbar last night, and were joined by none other than Toronto’s own Aubrey Graham, for a live version of Drake’s "Wildfire" remix (the original also features vocals from Little Dragon). As you can expect, the crowd went nuts. This is one of the most played songs in my iTunes right now and definitely an (early) contender for song of the year.