Rex Manning Day’s Top Albums of 2012 {Part 3}

December 13, 2012 in Alternative, Baroque Pop, Electronic, Electropop, Experimental, Folk, Indie, New Wave, Noise Pop, Noise Rock, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Rock, Surf Pop, Surf Rock

{PART 1} {PART 2}

Jack White - Blunderbuss {Rock}

RIYL: The Black Keys, Bob Dylan

Top albums of 2012

Jack White ventures off into solo territory for the first time with his divorce-driven debut album, and this time he’s recruited an all-female backing band to help with his solo efforts. And although it’s easy to compare some of the tracks to his past projects (The White Stripes, The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs), it’s safe to say that Jacky boy is trying to take a new direction with Blunderbuss, which is refreshing for any long-time fan.

Thee Oh Sees - Putrifiers II {Psych Rock}

RIYL: Black Lips, The Velvet Underground

Top albums of 2012

Putrifiers II has easily become one of our favourites this past year, and not only because their sound draws in influences from all the greats; (think: The Doors-meets-Pink Floyd-meets-Velvet Underground). The release takes listeners on a psychedelic listening journey, so if psych rock is your thing then you should give this album a considerable listen and sit back, hold tight and enjoy the ride.

Fiona Apple - The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do {Alternative/Baroque Pop}

RIYL: Tori Amos, Cat Power

Top albums of 2012

Fiona Apple certainly didn’t need a ridiculously long album title and a crapton of hash drama to turn heads this past year, because her latest release (appropriately shortened to The Idler Wheel) has become one of the most talked about albums of 2012. The girl has been around since 1994, so the fact that she’s still being praised by critics deserves recognition.

Wintersleep - Hello Hum {Rock}

RIYL: Matthew Good, Tool

Top albums of 2012

For all you non-Canadians out there who think we hit our peak with Rush and Neil Young, feast your ears on these bad boys. Not just limited to Hello Hum, their entire catalogue is packed full of some great rock tune-age, so if you like what you hear then we highly recommend you check out other tracks like “Jaws of Life,” or “Danse Macabre.”

Deerhoof - Breakup Song  {Experimental/Noise Rock}

RIYL: Yoko Ono, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Death From Above 1979

Top albums of 2012

Whether you like their sound or not, Deerhoof has achieved a cult-like following thanks to their talents of bending the laws of what we know as music. And although we were never really the Deerhoof type, the epic track otherwise known as “There’s That Grin” eventually won us over.

Full album stream:

Mesita - The Coyote {Indie Rock}

RIYL: The Shins, Tapes ‘n Tapes

Top albums of 2012

We’ve come to the conclusion that there’s really no reason not to like this album, especially given that the group’s main man James Cooley released the album independently. Besides the hit single “Onward, Upward,” the release also features a ton of other great tracks like “You or the City” and “Into the Wind,” one of the many album tracks that shows off Cooley’s impressive musicianship.

Mark Lanegan Band - Blues Funeral {Alternative Rock}

RIYL: Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen

Top albums of 2012

We’ll be the first to admit that we only got into Lanegan because of his involvement with Josh Homme in Queens of the Stone Age/Desert Sessions, but the former Screaming Trees frontman has proven that he’s more than just a contributor. A lot of the songs are a tad on the slower side, but haunting nonetheless thanks to his famous raspy vocals.

Lower Dens – Nootropics {Alternative/Psych Rock}

RIYL: Beach House, Lou Reed

Top albums of 2012

We weren’t really a fan of Lower Dens’ sound when we first heard it, but after seeing the album pop up left and right on all these end-of-year lists we thought we’d give it another chance. And despite the fact that it’s dark, moody and dreary, it certainly deserves its place on anyone’s top albums list just for the sheer fact that it’s different than anything else being released at the moment.
 

Friends – Manifest! {Electropop}

RIYL: New Young Pony Club, Peaking Lights

Top albums of 2012

This energetic and charismatic quintet are more than just a perfect filler in between New Young Pony Club albums. The fact that the album hasn’t received top-notch reviews while other mediocre ones have remains to be a mystery to us, especially with tracks like “Mind Control,” “I’m His Girl” and “Friend Crush.”

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Aufheben {Psych Rock}

RIYL: Dandy Warhols, The Rolling Stones

Top albums of 2012

It seems hard to believe that BJM has been around for almost 13 years now. And given that we’re such hardcore fans, we were relieved to hear that time hasn’t hampered with Anton Newcombe’s under-appreciated songwriting talents. Living up to the group’s reputation, their 13th (!) album is packed full of all sorts of references any music nerd will appreciate (like “I Wanna Hold Your Other Hand,” “Blue Order New Monday” and “Stairway to the Best Party.”)

Chromatics – Kill For Love {New Wave/Electronic}

RIYL: Depeche Mode, The Cure

Top albums of 2012

It’s been five long years since we’ve seen a Chromatics release, and this one certainly deserves its place on any end-of-year list. The album is a little raw around the edges, but with tracks like “Lady,” “Kill for Love” or “Back from the Grave” it’s easy to see why Chromatics have got everyone’s tongues wagging this past year.

Here We Go Magic - A Different Ship {Pop/Rock}

RIYL: The Shins, Grizzly Bear

Top albums of 2012

Just because Here We Go Magic’s latest album is all over the place doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t great. And although we’re not huge fans of a lot of the songs, the two leading singles (“How Do I Know?” and “Hard to be Close”) deserve a good nod just for the songwriting and vocals alone. Plus it’s always nice to see Luke Temple return to the Here We Go Magic driver’s seat.

Crystal Castles – III {Experimental/Noise Pop}

RIYL: Sleigh Bells, HEALTH

Top albums of 2012

Before everyone was ranting and raving about Sleigh Bells Crystal Castles were dominating the electronic/noise pop scene. And although their sound may not be for everyone (and the album is a mere 40 minutes in length), there’s no denying that III was one of the most talked about albums of the year.

DIIV - Oshin {Alternative Rock}

RIYL: Editors, Nirvana, Interpol

Top albums of 2012

DIIV (pronounced “Dive”) was formed by the guitarist of Beach Fossils and named after one of the most epic Nirvana songs known to mankind, so forgive us for being biased. Nevertheless, Oshin is a good listen from start to finish, but tracks like “Druun,” “Doused” and “How Long Have You Known?” definitely stand out.

Taken by Trees - Other Worlds {Alternative Rock/Dream Pop}

 RIYL: Best Coast, Sea Pinks, Vampire Weekend

Top albums of 2012

This is the first we’ve heard of the former Concretes frontwoman Victoria Bergsman, but apparently she’s been turning heads in the industry for quite some time now. Other Worlds marks her debut solo release, and features influences from just about every musical genre possible.

Dirty Projectors – Swing Lo Magellan {Experimental Rock}

RIYL: Yeasayer, Toro Y Moi

Top albums of 2012

2012 saw not one, but two releases from the Dirty Projectors (with the second being their About to Die EP). Their compositions are so complex and off-the-wall it’s almost impossible not to be intrigued by the band, and for that reason alone this album deserves all the recognition it can get.

Tennis - Young & Old {Surf Pop/Rock}

RIYL: The Walkmen, Beach Boys, Best Coast

Top albums of 2012

Out of all the bands hopping on the surf rock gravy train, this husband-and-wife duo is the real deal (and not only because their music is influenced by a sailing trip around the Eastern Atlantic). And although they are probably best heard when suntanning on a tropical island, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that this album was definitely our “numero uno” only because it defined our summer of 2012. The album was produced by Patrick Carvey of The Black Keys (and you can definitely hear the influence in songs like “Origins”) and it’s a true travesty that it wasn’t included on every single year-end list.

Full album stream:

 

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Top new music videos: Tom Waits, My Morning Jacket, Feist/Mastodon + Zach Galifianakis attempting wizardry

August 7, 2012 in Alternative, Dream Pop, Electronic, Experimental, New Wave, Pop, Progressive Metal, Rock, Roots, Soul, Surf Pop, Top 2012, Tribal Pop

Feistodon – “A Commotion” {Prog Metal}

Somehow Feist went from singing about sea lions to collaborating with a progressive metal band and trashing a hotel room, but we Canadians can be pretty random like that. The track was originally recorded by Feist but then later covered by Mastodon, (and if you check out the interactive HTML5 video here you can switch up the audio to hear both versions of the song).

Liars – “Brats” {Experimental Rock}

Hide yo wife and hide yo kids, because you’re about to watch a trigger-happy Elmer Fudd battle it out with a horny Bugs Bunny. Plus the mullet makes a  triumphant return at 2:25. Truly some disturbing shit and slightly NSFW.

Black Moth Super Rainbow – “Windshield Smasher” {Electronic/Rock}

Here’s how it all goes down: Some dude and his wench of a girlfriend get lost driving around the city, then all of a sudden a bunch of masked hooligans start smashing up their car, shove the couple’s faces into tubs of water, and worst of all…shave the dude’s beard off. It’s really not a pretty sight.

Stealing Sheep – “Genevieve” {Dream Pop}

Check out the Liverpool trio as they blow up a bunch of balloons reverse-style and pull the kind of dance moves that only Napoleon Dynamite would be proud of. The track is the second single off their debut album Into the Diamond Sun, which is set to be released on August 20th via Heavenly.

Lower Dens – “Candy” {Alternative Rock}

The latest music video from this Baltimore-based band seems to be about some kind of weird boot camp/team-building exercise, but the transvestites sporting blue face paint has left us feeling confused and slightly disturbed to say the least. The video was directed by Alan Resnick and Noah Collier, and the track is off the band’s latest album Nootropics.

Frankie Rose – “Know Me” {New Wave}

The latest music video from the Dum Dum/Vivian girl is a little bit Tron, a little bit eXistenZ, and even a little bit Terminator (blame the futuristic goggles), and was directed by Ricardo Rivera and produced by Urban Outfitters.

Oberhofer – “Cruisin FDR” {Alternative Rock}

This video starts off with what looks like a typical and pleasant summery car ride, but then ends with the members getting attacked by flesh-eating zombies and then mysteriously transformed into a tiny, fluffy puppy. The single is off their recent album Time Capsules II which was released via Glassnote.

The Mynabirds – “Disarm” {Tribal Pop}

This track is off the band’s recent album GENERALS, which was produced by Richard Swift (who also co-directed the video). The band’s frontwoman Laura Burhenn (seen sporting the tribal-ish taxidermy headdress) describes the concept of the video/track as “a real Zen approach to ending fighting on every level.”

Tom Waits – “Hell Broke Luce” {Experimental Rock}

You can thank director Matt Mahurin for coming up with the concept of this “apocalyptic war dream” of a music video, which Waity boy himself describes as “uplifting and fun.” Okay then.

Passion Pit – “Constant Conversations” {Pop/Soul}

Passion Pit’s latest video was directed by Dori Oskowitz and is packed full of all sorts of famous peeps like Peter Bogdanovich (The Sopranos), Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love), Taryn Manning (8 Mile) and Roger Guenveur Smith (American Gangster).

My Morning Jacket – “Outta My System” {Rock/Roots}

The latest music video from My Morning Jacket transports you to another world where all the band members are one-eyed space travelers and The Hangover‘s Zach Galifianakis can shoot lightning bolts from his fingers; (killer Snooki boots man!).

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Rex Manning Day’s Top Tracks of 2012 {Part 2}

June 13, 2012 in Alternative, Electronic, Electropop, Experimental, Funk, Garage Rock, Pop, Psychedelic Rock, Rock, Soul, Surf Pop

{PART 1} {PART 3} {PART 4} {PART 5}

Japandroids – “The House That Heaven Built” {Garage Rock}

First, I’d like to personally thank the Japandroids for helping make the Vancouver rock scene bad ass again. Second, the band’s recent album Celebration Rock is proof that the duo is still capable of writing great adrenaline-fueled, fist-pumping music.

Izabo – “I Like It” {Pop/Funk}

With tinges of psychedelic rock, funk, soul and Middle Eastern music, this falsetto-friendly track is off Life is on my Side, which was released May 21st via 100% Records; (and P.S. whoever it is that Izabo “likes” should really help a brother out).
Watch the official music video for “I Like It” here.

American Royalty – “Matchstick” {Soul/Electronic}

If being described as an “impossible cross between The Black Keys and Boyze Noize” isn’t a good enough reason for you to give this band a chance, then I don’t know what is. This track is off the Matchstick EP, which was released February 14th.
Watch the official music video for “Matchstick” here.  

Chris Holm – “When I Die” {Pop/Rock}

We’ll be the first to admit that this track may be overshadowed by the star of its music video (AKA horse-boy), but this “Norwegian he-popper” has been making his mark in the Norwegian music scene over the past few years thanks to his contributions to other Bergen-based acts like Young Dreams, Bloody Beach, Sondre Lerche and The Alexandria Quartet.
Watch the official music video for “When I Die” here.

The Walkmen – “Heartbreaker” {Alternative Rock}

I’m a little disappointed in The Walkmen for releasing an album during the summer season when they know very well that they are a winter band; (see “In the New Year,” “While I Shovel the Snow,” “Seven Years of Holiday,” and “The North Pole“). Having said that, we are fully prepared to listen to their latest album Heaven non-stop for the duration of the summer, because we’re die-hard Walkmen fans like that.

Liars – “No. 1 Against the Rush” {Experimental Rock/Electronic}

We fell in love with this track before we saw that one of the band members rocked a wicked mullet, but awesome hairdos aside this is definitely another band to keep your ears out for in the near future. The track is off their latest album WIXIW, which was just released this month via Mute Records.

POND – “You Broke My Cool” {Indie/Psych Rock}

We’ll give credit to any band who can pull off morphing a Pink Floyd-esque intro into a Modest Mouse-sounding verse and chorus, but the fact that they recorded their recent album Beard, Wives, Denim in an old farmhouse in Western Australia makes them that much cooler.
Watch the official music video for “You Broke My Cool” here.  

Jordsy – “Safe in Sound” {Indie Rock}

If you think that the Canadian Prairies are full of musicians who “stomp in bathtubs while playing the cat,” then you’re sorely mistaken. The song is off Jordsy’s recent New Age EP, which was released digitally back in March via his own record label, Sweet Knuckle Records. (If you dig the tune then don’t forget to get it for free at Jordsy’s Soundcloud page).
For more info on Jordsy click here.  

Clock Opera – “Man Made” {Rock/Electro}

You ain’t fooling me Clock Opera; I get that you’re using Freddie Mercury to win us over…and it’s totally working. Even though their latest album Ways to Forget got a luke-warm review by NME, this track is definitely one of its highlights.

Tennis – “My Better Self” {Surf Pop}

Before the surf rock phenomenon truly hit off a couple of years ago, the two members of Tennis were off gallivanting on a sailboat around the East Coast and writing songs inspired by their sunny journey. By the time their voyage was over, other bands like Best Coast and The Drums were already paving the way for the surf rock movement, but at least Tennis has a better story.

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Top new music videos: Feist,The Hives, Foster the People, Of Montreal + The Flaming Lips

May 14, 2012 in Alternative, Electronic, Experimental, Folk, Pop, Rock, Top 2012

Tenacious D – “Rize of the Fenix” {Rock}

So much for “the greatest song in the world” and lazering off that Tenacious D tattoo, because rock’s sexiest duo has finally released the official video for the first single off their third album Rize of the Fenix, which is set for release tomorrow via Columbia Records.

 

Here We Go Magic – “How Do I Know” {Indie Rock}

The latest music video from Here We Go Magic was directed by Sean Pecknold (who also happens to be the brother of the Fleet Foxes’ frontman Robin Pecknold). The track is off the band’s 2012 album A Different Ship but is also being released as a 7″ single on May 21st.

Feist – “Bittersweet Melodies” {Pop/Folk}

The former Broken Social Scener has released yet another single off her 2011 album Metals, and its video is built around a photography project by Argentinian photographer Irina Werner, (and appropriately titled  “Back to the Future“).

Cursive – “Drunken Birds” {Pop/Rock}

Directed by Tony Bonacci and co-directed by Scott Dombeck, Cursive’s latest music video documents the trials and tribulations of a wannabe actor starring in strange theatrical play.

The Flaming Lips ft. New Fumes “Girl, You’re So Weird” (NSFW) {Experimental/Electronic}

FYI, this video stars a bunch of naked chicks spraying around coloured smoke, so needless to say this video is definitely not safe for work; (you’ve been forewarned). The track is off the band’s recent double-LP release, which features collaborations with Tame Impala, Erykah Badu, Bon Iver and many more.

Foster the People – “Houdini” {Pop}

SPOILER ALERT! In Foster the People’s latest music video, the band members die in a tragic accident during a production shoot, but luckily for the band their manager finds a group of scientists who figure out how to transform their corpses into “reanimated People-puppets.”

Zambri – “Hundred Hearts” {Experimental/Electronic}

Zambri (consisting of two sisters Cristi Jo and Jessica Zambri) are based out of New York City, and were also declared as Stereogum’s “Band to Watch” back in November of 2011. Their latest music video was directed by Milton Ladd, and the track is off the duo’s debut full-length album House of Baasa.

Of Montreal – “Spiteful Intervention” {Indie Pop}

Of Montreal’s latest video ain’t no “Wraith Pinned to the Mist,” but is still a must-watch for any Of Montreal fan. The single is off the band’s 11th studio album release, Paralytic Stalks.

Patrick Watson – “Into Giants” {Folk}

The latest music video from the Montreal-born Patrick Watson was shot at The Ukrainian Federation in Montreal, and was directed by Brigitte Henry. The track is off Watson’s fourth album Adventures In Your Own Backyard, which was released on April 30th via Domino Records.

The Hives – “Go Right Ahead” {Rock}

Yes, The Hives are back and yes…you’re still going to have to wait until June 5th to hear rest of the tracks off their forthcoming album Lex Hives, which was produced by Josh Homme. But for now, the band has revealed the album’s first single, which is one of 12 tracks off the new album (although two bonus tracks will be included as a digital download).

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Wintersleep – “In Came the Flood” {Rock}

March 30, 2012 in Rock

Hello Hum (2012)

It’s been a couple of years since we’ve heard from our favourite Nova Scotia-based band Wintersleep.

Their 2010 album New Inheritors helped the band achieve both national and international fame, and their third album Welcome to the Night Sky won a 2008 Juno Award for “New Group of the Year.” But it was their 2005 untitled album that first caught our attention, thanks to tracks like “Lipstick,” “Jaws of Life,” and “Danse Macabre.”

The band just released the first single off their forthcoming album Hello Hum, which is set for a June release. The album was recorded in 2011 and was produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian) and David Fridmann (Weezer, MGMT, The Flaming Lips).

In a press release (which was just published on the band’s website yesterday), the new album is said to have “glowing melodies…backed by rhythms that can stand as the skeletons of songs or be studied for their subtle complexities.”

The first single off the album, “In Came the Flood,” proves that Wintersleep still has what it takes to pen some unforgettable rock tunes.

Wintersleep is currently working on a new music video for “In Came the Flood” with director Sean Wainsteim, and the band describes the video as having “a whole helluvalot of spinning around, train tracks, lasers and fog machines.” Sounds epic.

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