Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015 Highlights (Shows # 593 & # 594)

This year to count down my favourite releases for Revolution Rock, I did something a little be different. Me and my occasional co-host Adam both picked 15 of our favourite releases from 2015 and did two programs focusing on them. Below are a list of our top 15 albums, a short write up on some of these albums and the playlists/download links to the two episodes of Revolution Rock that focused on our favourite releases from 2015.

Dave’s 15 of 2015:

1. Dead Ghosts – Love And Death And All The Rest
2. Pow Wows – Broken Curses
3. Young Rival – Interior Light
4. La Luz – Weirdo Shrine
5. Thee Oh Sees – Manipulator Defeated At Last
6. What Seas What Shores – Spiritual Nap Machine
7. Middle Sister – Cries Of The Wild
8. Diamond Rugs – Cosmetics
9. Mick Futures – Banned From The Future
10. The King Khan & BBQ Show – Bad News Boys
11. Thee Rum Coves – Thee Rum Coves
12. Courtney Barnett - Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit
13. Fuzz – II
14. The Famines – Too Cool & Other Songs
15. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Adam’s 15 of 2015:

1. Tame Impala – Currents
2. Viet Cong – Viet Cong
3. Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit
4. Titus Andronicus – The Most Lamentable Tragedy
5. Sleater-Kinney – No Cities to Love
6. Mount Eerie – Sauna
7. Destroyer – Poison Season
8. Ought – Sun Coming Down
9. Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear
10. Deerhunter – Fading Frontier
11. Jim O'Rourke – Simple Songs
12. Waxahatche – Ivy Tripp
13. Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect
14. Wilco – Star Wars
15. Kurt Vile – B'lieve I'm Goin’ Down

A few write-ups from a selection of our top 15 of 2015:

1. Dead Ghosts - Love And Death And All The Rest

Love And Death And All The Rest is the third full-length album released by Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts. Dead Ghosts first formed in 2007 by guitarist/vocalist Bryan Nicol and guitarist Andrew Wilkinson. They then added Mike Wilkinson on drums and Maurizo “Moe” Chiumento on bass to complete the group’s line-up. The band drew influences of 60s garage rock, blues, country, 50’s rock and doo-wop, but blended those influences with a lo-fi aesthetic. Although you can break it down several different ways, when discussing their sound Bryan Nicol describes it just as “rock n’ roll music”. On Love And Death And All The Rest, Dead Ghosts take their lo-fi rock n’ roll sound adding psychedelic R&B frequencies and broadcast twelve songs with an organic groove. Despite being recorded in a barn with a non-traditional studio atmosphere, the production on this album is cleaner and the best that Dead Ghosts have sounded on record to date.

2. Pow Wows - Broken Curses

In 2011, Pow Wows served up a potent fizzy cocktail with Nightmare Soda. In the mix we found the ingredients were made up of garage, punk, surf and R&B influences. 2012 and 2013 brought singles to quench our thirst, but with Broken Curses Pow Wows have shaken things up yet again. The fizzy cocktail that was once served to us in 2011 has now exploded in a ten-track blast. Like a dried up soda that has crusted over, this album offers a new grittiness in the spirit of the cyclic fuzz driven sounds of Davie Allan & The Arrows, garage, punk and surf music all in a modern context. With Broken Curses, Pow Wows provide us with their own unique garage noir lyrics and musical style in ten tracks that has a dizzying cohesiveness to it.

3. Young Rival - Interior Light

Interior Light is the third full-length album by Hamilton’s Young Rival. Released on Toronto’s Paper Bag Records, the sounds on this album have been described as “Roy Orbison tripping on acid with Ray Davies and Bradford Cox.” Found on the back of the LP this description goes perfectly with the term that Young Rival coined to describe the music created during the recording of this album, croon-psych. Produced by Graham Walsh and Young Rival guitarist/vocalist Aron D’Alesio, the band took their time when creating the sounds for Interior Light. Even the album’s cover has an interesting backstory. It was adapted from an old stained glass window from 1987 by Benjamin Nelson in collaboration with Young Rival bassist John Smith. This design was mixed in with an array of colours that compliment the music found on Interior Light.

4. La Luz - Weirdo Shrine

Recorded in an old surf shop by Ty Segall, La Luz’s second full-length album comes off with more of a hazier mood to it as opposed to this Seattle band’s first album, It’s Alive. In addition to the hazy feeling that glides across all of the tracks on Weirdo Shrine, the lyrical subject matter is also darker. Inspired by the Charles Burns graphic novel Black Hole, many of the themes that were found across its pages seep their way into Weirdo Shrine’s lyrics and overall mood. La Luz’s undeniable 60s surf rock influence from bands such as Dick Dale and The Ventures are still apparent, but the band combines this with their strong vocal harmonies ala The Shangri-Las or The Ronnettes, adding a bit of doo-wop and subtle soul influences in with their love of surf music for a sound that is uniquely their own.

5. Thee Oh Sees - Mutilator Defeated At Last

Throughout Mutilator Defeated At Last’s nine tracks, Thee Oh Sees dig into a groove so deep that it will burn holes in your speakers. John Dwyer arrives energized with his new incarnation of Thee Oh Sees, who despite having mostly new members still sound like Thee Oh Sees. There is an undeniable sound to Thee Oh Sees, perhaps it is similar to the mysteriously creepy feeling expressed by the sneaky creature knocking on the palace door in the album’s closing track. With Mutilator Defeated At Last, John Dwyer and Thee Oh Sees knock on another door, yielding different results that at times draws a similar effect to the sounds explored on 2013’s Floating Coffin. Regardless of which door the band chooses to venture to, Thee Oh Sees are once again victorious.

6. What Seas What Shores - Spiritual Nap Machine

T.S. Eliot’s “Marina” evokes a vast array of emotions and themes said to be associated with being reunited with someone you never thought you would see again. The first line of this poem is where Windsor, Ontario’s What Seas, What Shores draws their name. What Seas, What Shores ambient, post-rock instrumental sounds are experimented with more so on Spiritual Nap Machine, their highly anticipated second full-length album. Spiritual Nap Machine features songs that drift in dream-like quality (“Texas”, “Invisible Architecture”), to more aggressive sounds (“Gugelhupf”, “The Ibex”). Breaking down the music on this release you can hear the influences of post-rock, progressive, math rock and several elements of ambience throughout. “Czar Bomba” simmers with a brooding fiery intensity, while the album’s title track flirts with experimental ambient textures. Like the “Woodthrush calling through the fog” in the last lines of Eliot’s “Marina”, the music on What Seas, What Shores Spiritual Nap Machine calls out to the listener with an emotive musical depth that differs from the generic fog of modern mainstream music.

7. Middle Sister - Cries Of The Wild

Cries Of The Wild is the new album made by Windsor’s Middle Sister. As each song progresses something different reveals itself within its construct. Their 2014 EP was described as “mid-century folk rock and chamber pop, whose sounds are flush with Canadiana,” Cries Of The Wild isn’t far off from that description. The line-up on this recording consists of singer/guitarist Colin Wysman, Kaitlyn Kelly (piano/mandolin/vocals), James Oltean-Lepp (bass), Stu Kennedy (violin/guitar) and Nate Gelinas on drums. Dave Dubois plays bass in the band’s current line-up. Recorded by Mark Plankce at Sharktank Studios on analog tape, the sounds found here strike a chord with the influences of Bonnie Prince Billy, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Simon & Garfunkel and the sounds of post rock.

8. Diamond Rugs - Cosmetics

What do Deer Tick’s John McCauley, Robbie Crowell, Ian St. Pe (formerly of The Black Lips), Hardy Morris of Dead Confederate, Bryan Dufresne of Six Finger Satellite, Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and a trash bag used as an instrument all have in common? You can find all of this on Cosmetics, the sophomore album by the band Diamond Rugs. The term supergroup is tossed around in articles about this band that seems to focus on all the outside elements that make up this band and while that is important, it is the songs themselves and their content that make this album and band so striking. Building on 2012’s self-tiled fourteen-track release, Cosmetics adds more groove, soul and chemistry to Diamond Rugs aesthetic.

9. Mick Futures - Banned From The Future

Banned From The Future is the debut full-length album by Sudbury’s Mick Futures, a pseudonym for Strange Attractor drummer and Statues bassist/vocalist Mitch Houle. At fifteen tracks, there is a lot of content, although most of the songs found on Banned From The Future are relatively short, some barely over one and a half minutes. The music pulls from the ubiquitous synth-driven sounds of the 80s, but specifically the sounds of artists such as early Brian Eno, Gary Numan, Devo and Kraftwerk. Futures also dons other subtler influences such as The Wipers, Buzzcocks and Wire. The songs that make up Banned From The Future can at times have a bleak view, but there is also a silver lining of hopeful optimism. Banned From The Future takes the cold icy dystopian views of the past and applies it to the present.

10.  The King Khan & BBQ Show - Bad News Boys

Bad News Boys begins with the doo-wop, garage stomp of “Alone Again”, a song drenched in 50s rock ‘n’ roll influences. Sung by this duo’s drummer, rhythm guitarist and main vocalist Mark Sultan (aka BBQ), the song strikes a powerful, yet melodic chord that not only introduces us to King Khan & BBQ Show’s first album in six years, but it is also seeped in 50’s rock ballad drama. During the song’s three minute time frame, lead guitarist King Khan plays his own blend of arpeggio-drunk-a-billy guitar riffs amongst his doo-wop backing vocals and BBQ’s primal backbeat groove. While this song contains the obvious elements of a love song, it also is somewhat symbolic given The King Khan & BBQ Show’s chaotic history. In 2010, the band announced they were splitting up for good following the release and tour of 2009’s Invisible Girl. “Alone Again” evokes a togetherness in contrast to the songs surface message. The King Khan & BBQ Show are alone and together again creating their own brand of musical mayhem.

Show 594 - Best of 2015 Part Two Playlist:

1. The Scenics - Sunshine World (In The Summer - Dream Tower Records - 2015)
2. The Pointed Sticks - - Impatient (Pointed Sticks - Sudden Death Records - 2015)
3. Ty Segall - The Picture (Mr. Face EP - Famous Class - 2015)
4. Deerhunter - Snakeskin (Fading Frontier - 4AD - 2015)
5. Father John Misty - The Ideal Husband (I Love You, Honeybear- Sub Pop - 2015)
6. Ought - Beautiful Blue Sky (Sun Coming Down - Constellation - 2015)
7. Destroyer - Midnight Meet The Rain (Poison Season - Merge Records - 2015)
8. King Khan & BBQ Show - Ocean Of Love (Bad News Boys - In The Red Records - 2015)
9. Mick Futures - A Few Pieces (Banned From The Future - Telephone Explosion - 2015)
10. Diamond Rugs - Voodoo Doll (Cosmetics - Sycamore Records - 2015)
11. Middle Sister - Tongue Of Silver (Cries Of The Wild - Self-Released - 2015)
12. What Seas What Shores - Czar Bomba (Spiritual Nap Machine - Mudtown Records - 2015)
13. Mount Eerie - Turmoil (Sauna - P.W. Elverum & Sun Ltd. - 2015)
14. Sleater-Kinney - Fade (No Cities To Love - Sub Pop - 2015)
15. Titus Andronicus - Dimed Out (The Most Lamentable Tragedy - Merge Records - 2015)
16. Courtney Barnett - Elevator Operator (Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit - Mom + Pop Music - 2015)
17. Viet Cong - Pointless Experience (Viet Cong - Jagjaguwar - 2015)
18. Thee Oh Sees - Poor Queen (Manipulator Defeated At Last - Castle Face - 2015)
19. Thee Oh Sees - Rogue Planet (Manipulator Defeated At Last - Castle Face - 2015)
20. La Luz - I’ll Be True (Weirdo Shrine - Hardly Art - 2015)
21. Young Rival - Elevator (Interior Light - Paper Bag Records - 2015)
22. Pow Wows - Rebel Stomp (Broken Curses - Get Hip Recordings - 2015)
23. Tame Impala - Let It Happen (Currents - Interscope Records - 2015)
24. Dead Ghosts - All In A Row (Love And Death And All The Rest - Burger Records - 2015)

Download this show here!

Show 593 - Best of 2015 Part One Playlist:

1. Jaill - Look At You (Brain Cream - Burger Records - 2015)
2. Archie & The Bunkers - I’m Not Really Sure What I’m Gonna Do (Archie & The Bunkers - Dirty Water Records - 2015)
3. Mexican Knives - Killer Snake (Mexican Knives - Fever Dreammms/Bellyache Records - 2015)
4. Mac DeMarco - No Other Heart (Another One - Captured Tracks - 2015)
4. Library Voices - Slacker (Lovish - Nevado Records - 2015)
5. John Grant - Down Here (Grey Tickles Black Pressure - PTKF - 2015)
6. Daniel Romano - The One That Got Away (Came Back Today) (If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ New West Records - 2015)
7. Tea Leaves - The Sun (Wooden Hands Self-Released - 2015)
8. Colleen Green - I Want To Grow Up (I Want To Grow Up - Hardly Art - 2015)
9. Damaged Bug - Jet Set In Jungle (Cold Hot Plumbs - Castle Face - 2015)
10. Protomartyr - I Forgive You (The Agent Intellect - Hardly Art - 2015)
11. The Famines - Attack Machine Blues (Too Cool & Other Songs - Pentagon Black - 2015)
12. Fuzz - Let It Live (II - In The Red Records - 2015)
13. Courtney Barnett - Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party (Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit - Mom + Pop Music - 2015)
15. Thee Rum Coves - Simple Little Lie (Thee Rum Coves - Self-Released - 2015)
16. Kurt Vile - Dust Bunnies (B'lieve I'm Goin' Down - Matador Records - 2015)
17. Wilco - Pickled Ginger (Star Wars - dBpm records - 2015)
18. Protomartyr - Pontiac 87 (The Agent Intellect - Hardly Art - 2015)
19. Waxahatchee - The Dirt (Ivy Tripp - Whichita Recordings - 2015)
20. Jim O'Rourke - Half Life Crisis (Simple Songs - Drag City Records - 2015)
21. Bob Dylan & The Band - Lunatic Princess (The Cutting Edge - Columbia Records - 2015)
22. Bob Dylan & The Band - I Wanna Be Your Lover (The Cutting Edge - Columbia Records - 2015)
23. Bob Dylan - Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands (Take 3 Complete) (The Cutting Edge - Columbia Records - 2015)

Download this show here!

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