top 5 for 2012

every year i'm asked to do this and every year is super hard... there is so much good music put out every year and i can't even possibly hear 10% of it. sometimes much of what i hear is to review and discovering things gets lost in favour of writing about what i am assigned to write about. but anyway... i did it! and you can read them all HERE

#5: kathleen edwards-voyageur

#4: father john misty-fear fun

#3: macklemore and ryan lewis-the heist

#2: bahamas-barchords

#1: cold speks-i predict a graceful expulsion

but do click the link and see WHY i loved these most.

there were of course things missing: the avett brothers, m. ward and some others.

and now i wanna know something from all you music geeks out there... WHAT IS THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FRANK OCEAN? he's good and the album is good but only good. i wanna get what all the hype is about. please esplain!

inter(RE)view with christian hansen

Christian Hansen is a man who plays in a band with his wife Molly Flood. Christian Hansen is also a band that features the man and his wife as its sole permanent members. It’s pretty confusing and not confusing at all. Formerly Christian Hansen and the Autistics, this new incarnation is more about celebration than responding to backlash about the name itself. I asked Hansen if it was a hint to a future of solo music making.

“The name change”, responded Hansen, “was because we needed to signify a change. The Autistics were dead, and I wanted to ensure the name was something that could go on without the Autistics. I plan on making music for a long time.”

Full disclosure: I have been friends with Christian and Molly for almost a decade. In fact, Molly was my first friend in University and we even went to this weird leadership conference together when we were in first or second year.

There was a fabled Warped Tour stop in Calgary where the lead singer of Coheed and Cambria was too drunk to play and got booed off the stage—Christian and I were there for that. We booed. Later we ate granola bars in my car as we waited out a massive hailstorm.

Our friendship has been and punctuated by music. One of my favourite moments of intersection was late one night when my friend Chelsea and I were doing some work on a theatrical set and Christian stopped by the theatre late at night with guitar and beer (and maybe pizza) in hand and played us a number of songs that would eventually end up on his lovely and understated record, The Super Awkward Album.

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p!nk - the truth about love (2.5/5)

Upon listening to P!nk’s new album, The Truth About Love, it becomes important to differentiate between pop music and popular music. Pop music can certainly be, but is not always, popular and similarly, popular music isn’t always pop music.For the sake of argument let’s all agree that P!nk makes both pop music and popular music. For some naysayers one could even call it bubblegum pop. But it isn’t bubblegum – P!nk has too much bite to her bark to make music so easily consumed and thrown away… but just barely.

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father john misty - fear fun (4/5)

Fear Fun, the first solo album released under indie-wunderkind Joshua Tillman’s Father John Misty moniker, is a weird one. Not bad weird, but not great weird either. Just good weird. The oddity comes from the the juxtaposition between how great the individual songs are versus how strange it all feels as an album. In this case the whole is far stranger than the sum of the parts.

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alabama shakes - boys & girls (4.5/5)

Listening to Boys & Girls for the first time, relishing in it’s unabashed honesty and Howard’s androgynous vocal prowess, it’s nearly impossible to believe this is the band’s first release. Beautifully produced with Howard’s power shining through, she and fellow guitar player Heath Fogg drive the blues rhythms; bass player Zac Cockrell forces your hips to sway in their sockets; and drummer Steve Johnson will keep you dancing all night long.

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incidentally, my editor nathan and I got INTO IT about this review. he wasn't happy with the original copy and we had a pretty heated debated which led to me being a total child and turning this review in MONTHS later than i should have. if you are curious here is the original copy. i'd love some bigger and wider feedback:

Listening to Boys & Girls for the first time, relishing in it’s unabashed honesty and Howard’s androgynous vocal prowess it’s nearly impossible to believe this is the band’s first release. Beautifully produced with Howard’s power shining through, she and fellow guitar player Heath Fogg drive the blues rhythms; bass player Zac Cockrell forces your hips to sway in their sockets; and drummer Steve Johnson will keep you dancing all night long.

“You Ain’t Alone” is the album’s real stunner while the opener “Hold On” and the title track, “Boys & Girls” are nearly as strong. Relying on lyrical tradition deeply rooted in in soul and Americana The Alabama Shakes ask the real questions, asked for decades by popular music-questions of love, life, loss and loneliness.

But it isn’t perfect, nothing ever is, The Alabama Shakes are coming into their own and settling into their style and where Boys & Girls is occasionally one-note their future holds brilliant songs that will leave this already stellar debut in the dust.

As you listen to Boys & Girls for the first (or 11th time) imagine this: if “Dirty Dancing” was being remade in 2012 there would be no other possible for the scene that follows all that watermelon carrying business. The Alabama Shakes make music for the dirtiest of dancing!