Thursday, December 31, 2009

Matty B - Favorites of 2009

It only took me until New Years eve…but I managed to compile what only seems to be a mere sample of the best tracks I heard in 2009. I also recommend everyone stream Aussie radio station Triple J, on Australia Day, January 26th, and catch the annual Hottest 100 countdown. Always full of the best tracks and you may catch a few that you missed out on this year. I didn’t bother linking my tracks seeing as a fair few of them are repeats from others at BTA. So in no particular order…

1. Little Lion Man – Mumford and Sons

2. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys

3. Alive – Kid CuDi feat. Ratatat

4. VCR – The XX

5 .Forever – Drake feat. Lil’ Wayne, Kayne West, Eminem

6. Sky & Sand – Paul Kalkbrenner

7. La Roux – In for the Kill

8. Parade the dead – Hilltop Hoods

9. Crack a Bottle – Eminem feat. Dr. Dre and 50 Cent

10. Don’t Haunt this place – The Rural Alberta Advantage

11. Sticks and Stones – Jamie T

12. Thunder and Lightning – We were promised jetpacks

13. Idiot Heart – Sunset Rubdown

14. Help I’m Alive – Metric

15. Shooting Stars – Bag Raiders

16. Until We Bleed – Kleerup feat. Lykke Li

17. Heads will roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

18. 1000 Cigarettes – MSTRKRFT

19. Happy Up Here – Röyksopp

20. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Brad's Best of '09

Here are my fav's for 2009, or at least my top 20, there were far too many songs that could've made this list. If I had to put an album at the top spot for the year it would be between Camera Obscura, Handsome Furs, Miike Snow, Andrew Bird, and Phoenix, all exceptional sorts of pop with very, very few boring bits.

(YSI) Brad's Best Of 2009

1. The Big Pink - Dominoes
2. Handsome Furs - All We Want, Baby, Is Everything
3. Favours for Sailors - I Dreamt That I Dreamt That You Loved Me
4. The Lovely Feathers - Lowiza
5. The Cribs - We Share The Same Skies
6. Camera Obscura - Honey In The Sun
7. Andrew Bird - Take Courage
8. Phoenix - Lasso
9. Black Lips feat. GZA - The Drop I Hold
10. Bombay Bicycle Club - Always Like This
11. Delphic - This Momentary
12. Bag Raiders - Shooting Stars
13. Miike Snow - Burial (DJ Mehdi Remix)
14. La Roux - In For The Kill
15. Ladyhawke - Back Of The Van (Fred Falke Ultimate Beverly Remix)
16. Vega - No Reasons
17. BURNS - First Move (Fred Falke Remix)
18. Deadmau5 - Ghosts N Stuff (Sub Focus Remix)
19. Miike Snow - Animal
20. Sub Focus - Follow The Light

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

a.m.p.m.'s Best of 2009

Like Marc, my initial 'best of' playlist for 2009 was big enough for two albums (and then some). After painstakingly cutting selections to narrow it down to a sub-80 minute collection, here's what I came up with. I think it works pretty well in the order presented, but that's just personal taste. Click on the artist for the MySpace page, the track name for the mp3.
7. Mew - Beach

I'll post the runners-up as a separate mix shortly.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Marc.E.B.'s Healthy Serving of 2009

I've been tracking my favourite songs all year and I literally had a enough to fit two albums worth. This got me thinking that next year I may produce a multi-volume "best of". As with everything in life, music is best in moderation. So, I forced myself to ration my servings of this year's best tracks.
I agree with G.R.O. that this year left no shortage of quality tracks and I hope that you enjoy some of my faves.
A Healthy Serving of 2009 (Download here)
Settler - Balmorhea
Havin' My Baby - Think About Life
You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II) - Sunset Rubdown
It's Thunder and It's Lightning - We Were Promised Jetpacks
Dust - Crystal Antlers
Swim (To Reach the End) - Surfer Blood
Pretty Girl - White Wires
Lust for Life - Girls
Your Easy Lovin' Ain't Pleasin' Nothin' - Mayer Hawthorne
Heartbreaker - MSTRKRFT
Ghosts - Silver Starling
Tender Torture - Islands
Armistice - Phoenix
Drain the Blood - The Rural Alberta Advantage
Radio Kaliningrad - Handsome Furs
Lowiza - The Lovely Feathers
Serious Bedtime - The Balconies

Sunday, December 20, 2009

G.R.O.'s Best of 09

Does anyone remember the naysayers who boldly predicted that 2009 would be a thoroughly disappointing year in musical history? That theory collapsed in a heap after only a few steps into the year when "Merriweather Post Pavillon" dropped. This year it's felt like a Mensa sponsored compilation to arrive at my favourite albums and mix of songs to soundtrack the year. Here's my final entry:

Favourite Albums of 09
10. The Joy Formadible - A Balloon Called Moaning
9. Cymbals Eat Guitars - Why There Are Mountains
8. Metric - Fantasies
7. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavillion
6. Bill Callaghan - Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle
5. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - The Pains of Being Pure At Heart
4. Grizzly Bear - Vecktamist
3. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
2. The xx - The xx
1. The Antlers - Hospice

Best of 09 Mix - Download
1. Camera Obscura - French Navy
2. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Young Adult Friction
3. The Drums - Let's Go Surfing
4. The Antlers - Two
5. The Joy Formadible - Cradle
6. Jamie T - Sticks 'n' Stones
7. Silversun Pickups - Panic Switch
8. Jack Penate - Be The One
9. Django Django - Storm
10. The Molotovs - Flowers
11. Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard - Broken Broken Broken Heart
12. Local Natives - World News
13. Grizzly Bear - Two Weeks
14. Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man
15. Wild Beasts - Hooting & Howling
16. Animal Collective - My Girls
17. Slow Club - Our Most Brilliant Friends
18. Bill Callaghan - My Friend
19. The xx - Crystalised
20. First Aid Kit - You're Not Coming Home Tonight

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

bn... favourites of 2009

With attention to flow rather than order of preference, my absolute favourite songs of 2009.

1. Happy Up Here - Röyksopp
2. 1901 - Phoenix
3. Osaka Loop Line - Discovery
4. Lovesick Teenagers - Bear in Heaven
5. Blood Pt 2 - Buck 65 Remix ft Sufjan Stevens & Serengeti
6. Die Slow - Health
7. Shining - Islands
8. Only If You Run - Julian Plenty
9. Slow Life - Grizzly Bear ft Victoria Legrand
10. Winter Water - Harlem Shakes
11. Shelter - The xx
12. Revenge - Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse ft Wayne Coyne
13. Repeater Beater - Mew
14. Now We Can See - The Thermals
15. Come Saturday - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
16. Longform - The Dodos
17. 333 - Malajube
18. Feel.Love.Thinking.Of. - Faunts
19. Kettering - The Antlers
20. Sleep Alone - Bat For Lashes

Special mention to Fuck Button's album Tarot Sport, which would be represented on here had most of its best songs not been over 9 minutes long...

Download here!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Remix Sunday: The Rural Alberta Advantage

This live acoustic version of 'In the Summertime' was recorded at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco back in July. It's the closing cut from the fantastic albums Hometowns by Toronto's The Rural Alberta Advantage and one of my favourite songs of the past little while. These guys have been making tracks all over North America since mid-2009 but have yet to make an appearance in Europe. Here's hoping they plan to visit London soon.
Another live version of the same track, this time from a performance at Calgary's Sled Island festival with the full band:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bands Undone: Parlour Steps and Bonjay

I'm late on this post, but thanks to Bands Undone, I've been exposed to a couple really good acts. Last week featured Parlour Steps for the the third installment and Bonjay for the fourth.
I was fortunate enough to catch Parlour Steps' solid set at Canteen where the group played a couple tracks off their most recent release Hidden Names. Their sound is far from groundbreaking, but they're a good band. The track "Sleeping City" was a stand out for its yearning for simplicity, I think its a testament of strength when groups can strip-down their music to its strongest roots.
Now I'm truly bummed that I missed Bonjay's set, but for a glimpse into the duo's sound check out the track and the video of Bonjay's Feist cover. These guys are sure to make a dent in the party scene.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Movember Mania!

In honour of Movember, I present Andrew Wyatt's scraggly handlebar mustache. Delightful, although not necessarily philanthropic, since this video for Miike Snow's Animal was released in August. Plus this dude is always sporting some form of face fur, no? Regardless, everybody cares about men's health, especially BTA's own Brad, whose campaign (and mustache) is going strong.

Prostates and patchy facial hair aside, this ridiculously catchy song is now paired with an equally entertaining video. Not that the first effort wasn't good - this one is just better suited to the tune. Plus who doesn't applaud a band who creates two different videos for one single?

This fidgety eighties-style animation is the work of photographer and videographer Anthony Dickenson, who also created this great Groove Armada video . Enjoy!

The Seedy Seeds

Today I heard Cincinnati's, The Seedy Seeds. First getting together in 2006, they have put out a bunch of really solid tracks from what I have only just begun to dive into. The trio use everything from banjo riffs to synthed out melodies to create both pop dance tracks as well as some more mellow tunes. For myself at least I am reminded of Mates of State when I hear their harmonies. And for any of you that read BTA on a regular basis, you know how much I love motha f@%#ing harmonies. The group has a pretty decent tour scheduled for themselves for the remainder of 2009 and their album "Count the Days" may very well make it into some of our 'best of' lists for the year.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Five: Surf Songs

Simple-sounding song structures always impress me. I believe it's quite difficult to write a good "pop" song. A song that everyone likes without losing an element of credibility. The legends of surf-rock definitely had that ability and I'm glad to see surf making a resurgence. I've been listening to a lot of this surf-inspired garage/indie rock and here are some of my choice selections.
Girls have received a lot of press lately for their very-NSFW video for "Lust for Life", but this is a band I just can't get out of my head, pun intended.
Girls - Summertime
BTA's own G.R.O. gave me the tip about The Drums and their style fell right into what I've been listening to for a while.
Now, Surfer Blood is an "inbox gem", I got word about this group sifting through the many emails we receive daily. I'm not ashamed to admit that the name caught my attention. Think surf-rock meets BRMC.
I am embarrassed to admit that up until two weeks ago I was barely aware of The White Wires. They're based in Ottawa and run a label, Going Gaga Records, specializing in punk rock and all things non-commercial. Their brand of garage rock is dirty and simple. Most tracks have that familiarity that any good pop song should, not that these guys are in any way pop. I'm excited to have discovered another exciting band in the area. They're excellent 45 on Trouble in Mind Records called "Pretty Girl" is worth the six bucks, check 'em out.
Vampire Weekend needs no introduction. They are simply great. This is their great new single.
Vampire Weekend - Cousins (Track removed by request of XL and Web Sheriff)

D-Sisive Free Album Download

Just a quick post today to let you all know about the new album from Toronto emcee D-Sisive. Grab a cyanide laced cup of Kool-Aid and enjoy his new album for free called Jonestown. Just follow the link........ here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

We are the Sea Kings

A very quick and modest note came into our e-mail today from Joe of The Sea Kings. Yes, we do read our e-mail. It simply read, "We are the sea kings - London UK. Jake/James/Joe - Mandolin/drum/ 3 voices. We are currently recording our first album." Joe, that's all I needed to hear. So many bands try to impress me with lavish press releases, fancy dinners, and beautiful women. But I am a music purest, and simply cannot be bought. (Note to Bigwigs: I can be bought, everyone else disregard this) What I like about their track 'Villages' definitely has to be the three part harmony, which starts the track off nicely, and the simple percussion. They have a very east coast folk feel which I really enjoy.

The Sea Kings - Villages

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Anya Marina likes T.I, stupid vampire fad

Anya Marina is kinda hot and has an awesome voice. So naturally, she has fit my criteria to blog about her music on BTA. I literally came across this girl today while doing my daily scout of the interweb looking for new tunes. Now I haven't seen Twilight and don't really intend on watching movies about some lonely emo girl that shags vampires or whatever, but she must be on the soundtrack as one of her videos is the whole 'the artist is in the random movie setting / scene but not' deal. What caught my attention though was her cover of the T.I track 'Whatever you like'. It's pretty solid and shows that Anya has been deeply affected by T.I's prison sentence just as much as the rest of us. Now as I tend to do my research as I write..I discover at this point in the post that this track as been floating around for a while. Still good though. And the guy from Weeds is in the video! Anya has just released her new album, Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II, produced in part by Brit Daniel of Spoon.

Anya Marina - Whatever you like (T.I Cover)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Remix Sunday: Taken by Trees vs Animal Collective and Guns N' Roses

It's a rare breed of musician who can cover an Animal Collective track without creating an ungodly mess, but Swedish outfit Taken By Trees (the solo project of Victoria Bergsman) have managed it with aplomb. 'My Boys' is a gently reworked version of one of 2009's best tracks, 'My Girls', that begs repeated listing. The song appears on Taken By Trees' excellent sophomore album East of Eden which also features backing vocal's from Animal Collective founding member Panda Bear. See the connection there? There's an official music video that features Victoria walking on a tightrope. That's pretty much it.

Taken By Trees seem to have a particular flair for covers. Last year's treatment of the Guns N' Roses standard 'Sweet Child O' Mine' was similarly fantastic. Here's a video of a live performance:

Taken By Trees will be at The Garage on December 14th.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hip-Hop Hipsters and their mixtapes

The best hip-hop right now is coming from the unsigned and underground. No question. That's right 50 cent, your album sucks. Upon my return from some epic surfing in Tofino I came across these tracks to add to my November playlist. Chiddy Bang, who have been mentioned before on BTA, have recently released their mixtape The Swelly Express. Available in it's entirety on their myspace. I think one of the guys left the group...I'm not really sure. Let's just say he did and you can correct me. Xaphoon Jones kills it with the beats he forms from the likes of MGMT, Passion Pit, and now this one from Sufjan Stevens. These are not mash-ups for the most part. Xaphoon really takes the song and makes it his own.

Next is Wiz Khalifa, a new name for myself at least, only hearing about him recently. His mixtape, Burn After Rolling has a pretty good track with him rhyming over Empire of the Sun. The rest of it is.. so-so. I mean what's with the DJ drops man? You know I hate those. And probably could have done without the shout outs to your twitter followers. I think I am just really liking how the new face of hip-hop is showing that they are definatley aware of what's going on in the other realms of music and harnessing it.

Chiddy Bang - All things go (w/Sufjan Stevens)

Wiz Khalifa - The Thrill

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ottawa Scene: Bands Undone @Canteen

BTA was recently invited to participate in Bands Undone, a series of stripped-down shows at Ottawa's Canteen Art Shop & Gallery.
The first of which featured Sudbury's Meadowlark Five, a six-piece group with several members sharing lead vocals, backed by orchestral rock arrangements. Their set was well-executed and came off sounding quite good. Their cohesive sound shines far and above their recorded tracks. Several of the recorded tracks run upwards of five minutes, with the lead singer's voice overpowering all other instruments. Fortunately, when heard live, the band comes together. The highlight of the Meadowlark set was a solid Fleetwood Mac cover. There's definitely potential for this group and it rests on their ability to rein their creativity and focus on making tighter arrangements and balancing the stronger elements with the weaker ones.

Photo by Kyle Raven

On Saturday, Silver Starling rolled in to play their own Bands Undone session. Silver Starling has been garnering a lot of press for singer Marcus Paquin's involvement in the upcoming Arcade Fire record, which he confirmed is happening (he will be assisting in production and engineering). Being completely new to Silver Starling's music I was quite excited to experience it first-hand. The band certainly didn't disappoint. They played a tight set, it appeared that every swell was natural and every note simpler than the last. Silver Starling could be categorized as "radio friendly", but that is in no way a insult, I would be proud to hear a track like the upbeat "Ghosts" or the more tragic "Love and a Broken Heart" on the radio. Silver Starling's is only building momentum for what will surely be a good year. Also, their album cover has some of the best art of the year.
Congratulations to Kara Strang and her initiative in bringing together Ottawa music journalists, photographers, and bloggers. The events have already begun to connect the community with the artists who are passing through Ottawa. I've often complained of the lack of cooperation within the community and I see this as a leap forward in terms of stimulating Ottawa's scene.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Remix Monday: The Chairs Cover EP

The Chairs were featured in this week's Friday Five and it's convenient that I mentioned their likeness to Neutral Milk Hotel since they have covered "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" for their cover EP. Their cover is pretty true to NMH style, growing into complete cacophonous discord.
The EP entitled Can We Be Friends also features covers of Bon Iver, Radiohead, Wilco, and Jump, Little Children. The EP is available for free download here and I recommend it since their take on these tracks are pretty unique. Highlights of the EP are Radiohead's "Motion Picture Soundtrack" which features a melodious accordian and Bon Iver's "Flume" with some beats and a piano.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Five: Inbox Edition

BTA receives several emails daily with quality music submissions, unfortunately it's truly impossible to get to them all. This week's edition of Friday Five includes some artist submissions that have tickled my ear.
Touring the East coast, J.J. Ipsen dropped off a sample of his album that is in the works. Working with a full band, these tracks come together beautifully. Ipsen's songs have such an interesting structure, making them tough to label and a pleasure to experience on record and especially live.
Appleton, Wisconsin's The Chairs have a sound that will throw you back to the first time you heard Neutral Milk Hotel. Think NMH, but less obscure and a little more optimistic. They have a new release entitled Nine Ways which I've really enjoyed.
The rise in geographical band name references caused me to glance over these guys at first. The Wilderness of Manitoba have such a mature folk sound. Their sound is incredibly authentic and natural. It's easy to imagine the crackling of a fireplace and warm beverages being served with their music playing in the background. The Wilderness' Hymns of Spirit and Love is a soothing collection of tracks that will warm up your cool autumn evenings.
I really like Dinosaur Bones' self-titled EP, it's a little dark, a lotta rock, and very confident. Upon listening to the Bones play live, I was impressed at the sheer size of their sound. The band is in the process of recording a full-length to be released in the new year.
Having really enjoyed their first release, A Nice EP, I expected big things from The O'Darling. Upon receiving their latest self-titled release I was somewhat disappointed, but further listening revealed the masked intricacy of their songs and developed my true appreciation for this group. The O'Darling are representing an interesting side of folk, the tracks on The O'Darling are playfully fun.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Skipping Girl Vinegar

I think I've been on a kind of acoustic folky alternative kick lately. I find it's better to put on for the ladies. They don't get the same perplexed look on their face like they do when I throw on some grimey dubstep. Apparently it doesn't set the mood? Australian group, Skipping Girl Vinegar (or SGV) seem to fall into that category for me. Acoustic alternative..not dubstep. With some very fine melodies and song structure, it's no wonder the Melbourne group, which includes brother and sister duo Mark and Sare Lang, have become one of the hype bands across Australian media this year. What's also cool about these guys is that lead singer Mark has been releasing some cool, somewhat odd, animated clips to accompany some of the tracks of their debut album, Sift the Noise. God how I hate cats. Check out the clip that goes with 'Sinking' below. SGV are currently touring across Australia.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Inbox Wednesday: The Girlfriends

The Girlfriends are Ottawa's answer to every misconception you have about punk rock today. Their brand of punk rock is coy, straight-forward, and unapologetic. With a release on the horizon, BTA was fortunate enough to receive a preview of tracks from an impending tape release. Having seen these boys play live, I was sold on their sound and style. Their three-piece show is an experience that usually involves masks and other surprises. Tacky as that sounds, the tracks stand alone as reminders that punk rock was simple and exciting.
Most of their tracks clock-in at under two minutes, cramming-in an intensity that I haven't seen in while. Comprised of vocals, guitar, and drums, The Girlfriends' sound is as raw as it comes. The songs are short and and sweet, it's clear that the band has come across a song structure that compliments them well, concise and clear. Give "Robin Hood" a listen and you'll be left wanting more.
These boys are still young and have time to make mistakes and hone their live show, which is certainly the most unpredictable show I've seen lately.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Five: Hottest Bands in Canada

As 2009 comes to a close, the "best of" list will begin to multiply exponentially. I must admit that I'm a sucker for a list. This year, BTA participate in i(heart)music's 2009 Hottest Bands in Canada poll. This year's edition included 34 of Canada's most popular blogs and independent music publications. You can view the results and our commentary here.
These groups made my top-10 list:
Think About Life - Havin' My Baby

Honourable mentions:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Timber Timbre for Halloween

In celebration of Halloween, Timber Timbre are offering free downloads of their excellent self-titled album until midnight on Oct. 31. This album comes highly recommended, it's hauntingly moving.

Leak Wednesday: Julian Casablancas

With Julian Casablancas' Phrazes for the Young now making its way around the Internet, its time to decide whether the wait was in vain or not. To no one's surprise the album is good. Casablancas brings an unmistakable swagger to the tracks that helped The Strokes cement their place in music history.
The opening track, "Out of the Blue" conjures memories of Strokes' pacing and tone, with added production, making it assuredly unique. As the album continues, it's apparent that the album title is appropriate, every track is rooted in a different style or mood. From the folk-inspired "Ludlow St." to the dance track "11th Dimension", Casablancas has covered all his bases.
Overall, it's a great listen and arrived in time to make it on best-of-2009 lists. Be sure to check out the limited edition box set or iTunes version when the album drops, Nov. 2, since the leaked version is of poor quality.

P.S. A performance of "11th Dimension" on Conan.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Metric Unplugged

Metric's brand new acoustic EP entitled Plug In, Plug Out has just been released, which contains a collection of stripped down versions of noteworthy songs off of their latest full length album, Fantasies. I really enjoyed the acoustic version of "Help I'm Alive" when it first popped up on the interweb some time ago, and am quickly becoming a fan of these new releases. And I'm not just saying that because Emily Haines and I are lovers. Secret lovers, so you wouldn't have heard anything about it. So just accept it as fact. In addition to this, Japanese DJ's, 80kidz have also put their own spin on the band. Preview some of the tracks and check out some video below. Metric begins a few Canadian tour dates tomorrow before heading down south.

Metric - Help I'm Alive (80kidz Remix)

Mistabishi - From Memory (Matrix Remix)

Here's a relatively new drum and bass behemoth from from Hospital Records' Mistabishi. The song is quite mesmerizing and the video is all about nostalgia and loss of youth in times of adult frustration, with stop-motion and other sorts of integrated animation tying these things together.

Mistabishi - From Memory (Matrix Remix)

Sprengjuhöllin: Hoping for Icelandic Economic Stimulus

Photo and video by Ming Wu

Iceland's Sprengjuhöllin (pronounced "sprenk-yu-hok-lin" and roughly translated to, "castle of explosions") rolled into Ottawa's Avant Garde last night for the fifth show of their 10-day Eastern Canadian tour. The show was a treat for the 20-or-so people who turned out. Sprengjuhöllin played a sweat-filled set of well-executed pop rock. The five members squeezed onto a stage no bigger than the average balcony and ran through a selection of their two albums, Bestu kvedjur (2008) and Timarnir okkar (2007). Having translated half of the songs into English, for the tour, it's clear that the boys are aiming for new crowds, off the island.
Sprengjuhöllin's sound is best described as a more intricate, early Peter, Bjorn and John. The band is fun and serious at the same time. Their sound is pop and experimental, which results in a great dynamic both on record and on stage.
For your listening pleasure, I've included one track in Icelandic and two exclusive English tracks. Enjoy!

P.S. Check the instructional video on the pronunciation and meaning of Sprengjuhöllin below.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Weezer feat. Weezy...WTF?!?

I want to like Weezer, I really do, and every album I give them a fair chance. Raditude's MO aims for the charts. I'm talking Top-40, with the track "Can't Stop Partying" feat. Lil' Wayne, the band has no qualms about rubbing shoulders club tracks. No matter what, I'll always have a soft spot for the =w=, but it's a love-hate relationship.
It's worth a listen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

You Say Party! We Say In-Store!

Photo by Ming Wu

Vancouver's You Say Party! We Say Die! treated Ottawa to an acoustic in-store performance today. The dance-rock combo performed songs from their 2007 album, Lose All Time and their latest release XXXX (Check the video below).
Released Sept. 29, the album features a more polished and concentrated vision from the band. In general, the album appears more whole than its predecessors. With more pacing in the choruses and vocals taking centre stage, it's clear that the band understands where their strengths lie. YSP!WSD! has taken a serious step forward with this release. A track that stands out is "Laura Palmer's Prom", its 80's synth-ballad style is novel without being cheesy. "Dark Days" is sombre without killing the vibe, assuring that this YSP!WSD! will be keeping the kids dancing.
Check them out on their upcoming tour with BTA favourite Think About Life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inbox Wednesday: Friendo

Calgary seems to be the current buzz town for Canadian indie music thanks to Chad VanGaalen and his close Flemish Eye brothers Women. There are several bands defining Calgary's lo-fi sound, such as Hunter-Gatherer, Manchild, and Puberty (who lends it's bassist to today's featured band).
Friendo is based out of Calgary and includes the drummer from Women. Their sound is a hybrid of lo-fi noise, rock, and pop and the vocals are shared by all members adding an interesting dynamic. After a few listens, this album grew on me as complete work. Some of the tracks really don't stand alone, but when part of the whole, they seem integral. Overall, I get the impression that this is band is a work in progress with a solid foundation.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Mixtape

(image courtesy Altsounds)

There are loads of nice tracks emerging these days, so I decided to compile and share. This will be a decidedly electronic and remixed offering, highlights for me include a couple from English disco house newcomer Burns, who is currently on tour with Calvin Harris followed by dates with Canadian superproducer Deadmau5. New Miami Horror single "Sometimes" is pretty tight though not very groundbreaking, keeping with the Cut Copy/Midnight Juggernauts/Aussie retro electro steez we've been hearing for a couple years now...still, good shit. Loving the Keenhouse track remixed by Grum, who has been featured all over the place on account of "Heartbeats" and its infectious vocal hook. Listen to these in order, backwards, pick and choose, or not at all, but there's definitely at least a few you will want to keep with you a while.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Five: Sing-along songs

Here's a selection of tracks that I've been singing along to for the past few days.

Vampire Weekend's first LP was so good that I still haven't grown sick of it. In an attempt to appease their growing fan base, here's the first single. Look for the new album Contra January 11, 2010 in the U.K. and a day after in the U.S. Let's hope for a leak of the album soon.
Karen O has taken the world by storm this year; referenced as fashionista and cultural icon, she's definitely made her mark in 2009. Under the moniker of Karen O and the Kids The release of the soundtrack to Where the Wild Things Are is sure to solidify her impact. The album, comprised of acoustic tracks, could stand alone as a Karen O project. I really like it as a concept and I'm excited to see the release of the film.
Thanks to G.R.O.'s recommendation, The Drums have been playing non-stop on my Zune since his visit to the Dominion of Canada. Their surf-pop style really resonates with search for simple tunes of late; the tracks are infectious and uplifting. This track is from their Let's Go Surfing EP.
Released in March, Dan Mangan's Nice, Nice, Very Nice is a great collection of tracks. It's dark, surreal, and real all at once. Give the track a listen and you'll see.
The Hidden Cameras have such a unique sound and it comes through really nicely on this track from their new album Origin: Orphan.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Inbox Thursday: Vincat

This past Thursday, Victoria's Vincat killed a small house show in front of a dozen people. I showed up expecting the sounds of a space-folk band. Vincat's show turned out to be an inebriating psychedelic experience, with their own lighting and all. It appears that Vincat have a alter-ego in the form an experimental prog rock three-piece, whose music is made up of echoing lyrics and noise jams. This music can be found on the first of their alter-ego trilogy Inner Space.

Their most recent release, hoi polloi is a great collection of acoustic and electric campfire tracks. With chanting choruses and whispered verses, Vincat have perfected their sound, whatever it is. There is a certain element of the surreal that Vincat bring to everything they do. It's ultimately impressive that a band can entertain these two very different styles successfully. This is great stuff.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

U.S. Can Now Find Comfort in TAL's Family

Think About Life have a bunch of news. First off, Family will be available in U.S. as of today, October 13. Secondly, drummer Matt Shane has left the band to complete his master's degree of fine arts and that means TAL welcome new drummer Greg into the fold. Lastly, the band has added the female voice of Caila to the mix.
Check out the great video for 'Sweet Sixteen'. It's one of the better videos I've seen in a while; it features the band dressed in one large sweatshirt.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pop Montreal Discoveries: Merrill Garbus

The Phenomenal Handclap Band's attempts to establish a new world record for greatest number of tambourines incorporated into a never-ending jam. Fever Ray channeling unholy spirits to stun the audience. Girls collapsing and interrupting Sufjan Stevens work-shopping new material. The Balconies staking claim to being the best unsigned band in Canada. Pop Montreal 2009, The Quebecois version of SXSW, was not exactly bereft of memorable moments. Even so, there was one individual who stands out as the revelation of the festival.

Merrill Garbus, an adopted Montrealer, otherwise known as tUnE YaRdS gave astonishing performances first in a packed in-store basement show at Phonopolis and then with added theatrics at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. The instant appeal is to her incredible vocals which enable her to morph from a naive 13 year old girl, to a world-weary passionate African woman, often within the same song. This focus is helped by the relatively simple instrumentation consisting primarily of ukulele and drums giving a tribal folk feel. BTA was also in attendance to see her side project, Sister Suvi, at their last ever show. We've picked up their "pay what you like" LP, Now I Am Champion which also comes highly recommended.

tUnE YaRdS - Sunlight
tUnE YaRdS - Fiya
Sister Suvi - Champion

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Inbox Wednesday: Make Your Exit

As of late, Make Your Exit's Remind Me the Reason I Came is getting a lot of play on my Zune. MYE's successful use of varied tempos and multiple instruments keep ears tuned-in. What stands out is MYE's beautiful harmonies, check out 'Kids'. Most of MYE's tracks tend to build steadily into a very subtle, yet conscious climax. All this makes for great listening.
I'm glad to see another band that is not afraid to expose their influences. One could draw comparisons from Broken Social Scene to Bon Iver. With that said, MYE's sound falls smack-dab into the current indie conscience.

Monday, September 28, 2009

New Music Monday: Islands' Vapours

It's a week into the release of Vapours and things are looking up for Islands. Last year's Arm's Way left something to be desired and the loss of founding member Jamie Thompson soon after its release appeared to handicap Islands' potential. Darker than Return to the Sea, Arm's Way lacked the fun that for which Islands are known.
The triumphant return of Thompson in time to record Vapours injected a fresh wave of Islands greatness into their latest effort. Vapours successfully blends the playfulness of Return to the Sea and the anthemic Arm's Way; throw in a little auto-tune in 2009 and Islands have assured success for the coming year.
It's nice to see such a great band back to its fine form.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Must See: Bike For Three!

To make a long story short (being at work and all...):
- Buck 65 & Greetings from Tuskan recorded their first album without ever meeting.
- Bike For Three's "More Heart Than Brains" is an infectious mix of sombre electro and eloquent poetry.
- Their MySpace tells the rest of the story, so I'm just going to send you there to read and listen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

New Music Monday: Girls

San Francisco's Girls are poised to release their debut album tomorrow. These boys rock a simple sound that straddles garage, psychedelic, and surf. What I like about Girls is their straight-forward approach to their music. When a lot of groups are wrapped-up in doing something new and cool, Girls have looked back on their influences and taken them as their own. Girls have themselves to thank for building a serious buzz at SXSW resulting in an extensive European and North American tour. I'll be sure to check them out when they swing by.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Australia Hip-Hop favorites Hilltop Hoods have dropped a video for their track 'Still Standing' off of their recently released album, State of the Art. If you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend you do so. Go I say. Now I'm just waiting for a zombie apocalypse video for 'Parade the Dead'.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mumford and Sons

I was fortunate enough to stumble across Mumford and Sons this week while listening to Australia's Triple J radio station. This London quartet have been talked about for some time now here and there. Better late than never on these guys I reckon. Although their sound is primarily rooted in bluegrass, the band seems to have found a niche in the indie scene. The infectious banjo riff and four part harmonies of their first single, 'Little Lion Man' are fantastic. It really gives me an east coast folk vibe for you Canadian readers fortunate enough to live or visit that side of the country. They have already been recognized for their talents by DJ's and award panelists on various fronts. The band is currently playing a ton of sold out shows between now and the end of October, when their debut album Sigh No More is set to be released on Island records, who they have recently signed with. Catch these guys UK folk...if you can get a ticket.

Mumford and Sons - Little Lion Man

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

KiD CuDi + Ratatat = Goodness

Anyone who has read BTA for a while knows that we (well..myself at least) are huge fans of electro beat masters Evan Mast and Mike Stroud, also known as RATATAT. So ever since I heard the slightest whisper that the Brooklyn duo may appear on KiD CuDi's 'Man on the Moon' LP I've been waiting...watching..wondering. And wait no more as I finally got a chance to hear the two tracks with the instantly recognizable RATATAT sound with CuDi's flow layered over top. The trademark synthed out guitar riff which calls back to CuDi's chorus line on 'Alive' got me right away. 'Pursuit of happiness' presents a more laid back beat centered around one of their simplistic piano lines. As an added incentive on this track, MGMT also make an appearance, singing in unison with Cudi on the chorus. Finally, after two mixtape albums, a hip-hop artist has finally decided to work with Ratatat on an official release. This seems like an obvious choice to me, no? I'm hoping this is the first of many high-profile collaborations for the guys and we get a regular fix of new RATATAT from now on. Be sure to catch the boys performing live with Cudi on their first ever late night performance for Lettermen on Friday night. 'Man on the Moon' drops September 15th.

KiD CuDi - Alive (feat. RATATAT)

KiD CuDi - Pursuit of Happiness (feat. RATATAT & MGMT)

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Chiddy Bang

I’ve had a bit of a BTA hiatus this summer whilst working in the fjords of Norway. With an interweb connection that works depending on the weather in a house that pretty much used to be a brothel. So I’m going to try to make up for some lost time. Seems like I’m a little behind on this one, but I’m sure Chiddy Bang would have been part of my summer playlist if I had heard them earlier. Just when you thought you couldn’t stand to hear any more re-works of MGMT, these hip-hop hipsters from Philly drop a mixtape beat sampled from ‘Kids’ to get you bobbing. Lyrically, this track I find is hit and miss. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the beat. I don’t know much about these guys but they seem to be making the rounds lately due to their new era indie rock sampling. Along with this track they also put their own spin on Passion Pit’s “Truth” and have taken a little something from the book of Radiohead in their live performances. These precision cut samples are largely credited to producer Xaphoon Jones, who along with working with the Chiddy Bang boys also dropped his own mixtape this summer. I’m looking forward to some more hipster beats from both these camps as well as seeing what else these guys have to offer besides chopping up indie favorites.

Chiddy Bang – Kids (Feat. MGMT)

Chiddy Bang – Truth (Feat. Passion Pit)