Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday Playlist #42a

Sunday Playlist #42a: Favourite Recordings of 2013 — Pop (Part 1)

Well, all things considered, I don't have enough of a grip on 2013 to do a full on "best of" list. (Hell, at my pace, I'm still not ready to pronounce on 2011.) But there have been a few of the recordings that I've posted that have stuck wiith me for one reason or another.

AroarA - #14

Recorded at Soundscapes, September 6, 2013. A nice, homey little in-store where pals like Leslie Feist and Daniela Gesundheit drop by for a show-stopping vocal break.

Beliefs - Catch My Breath

Recorded at Sonic Boom ("Record Store Day 2013"), April 20, 2013. Another in-store appearance, Beliefs had a very good year and are finishing off album #2 as we speak.

Bernice - Body Motivation

Recorded at The Great Hall, May 19, 2013. Two beautiful voices backed by a super-talented core of musicians, Robin Dann and co. sounded great whether it was in a concert hall or on a beach.

The Beverleys - Bre's House

Recorded at The White House, November 29, 2013. The Beverleys announced themselves as a band worth going out of your way to hear this year. They have some recordings in the can, ready to go for a release on Buzz Records in 2014.

Bizzarh - Cruella

Recorded at Daniels Spectrum ("Wavelength 570: The Regent Park Courtyard Session"), July 26, 2013. It's good to know that at least sometimes pure talent can get us (by which I mean, "me") to look past the genre silos we put ourselves in. Place your bets now for Bizzarh to be the soundtrack to summer '14.

The Bicycles - Requiem

Recorded at BLK BOX (SummerWorks Festival), August 15, 2013. Even in a year where The Bicycles returned with the the tasty Stop Thinking So Much, their greatest moment came at this one-night-only theatrical staging of a brand new song cycle (about young drones in love) that stands as the most emotionally resonant work they've done. Look for an album of these songs (and, dare we hope, a restaging?) to come out in '14.

The Blow - unknown

Recorded at Artscape Gibraltar Point ("The Final ALL CAPS! Island Festival"), August 10, 2013. Headlining the first night of the ALL CAPS festival, Khaela Maricich brought a bunch of songs that no one had heard before, but managed to create enough wiggly energy that the crowd seduced the pants right off her.

Jennifer Castle + Wyrd Visions - You Don't Have To Be

Recorded at The Music Gallery ("Weird Canada Showcase" a.k.a. Wyrd IV), May 11, 2013. Curating their own version of a pop showcase, Weird Canada brought together this inspired pairing, who spent the set accompanying each other as well as taking turns singing the other's songs.

Chelsea Light Moving - Burroughs

Recorded at Lee's Palace, March 31, 2013. The dissolution of Sonic Youth was a harsh loss, but rather mitigated by the chance that it gives us to see the successor bands in much closer proximity, playing new songs with a fresh edge.

Cold Warps - Dip Tripper

Recorded at The Silver Dollar Room ("Burger Records Party"), March 8, 2013. Sometimes the good stuff comes in shorty, ragged packages, half-ripping off their forefathers with a devil-may-care grin.

DAS RAD - Silver Latrine

Recorded at The White House ("Wavelength 580"), November 9, 2011. Sure sludge for now people.

Deciduous - Salt

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), August 7, 2013. Vanessa Hanson (who used to perform solo as Vanessa's Entire Heart) has toned down the feedback but still finding new ways to deconstruct folk music.

Ed Askew - Blue Eyed Baby

Recorded at The Piston ("Tin Angel Records showcase" – NXNE 2013), June 12, 2013. Look up Ed Askew and you'll quickly come up with terms like "outsider" or "idiosyncratic", but the way he yelps "oh, yes!" here is as pure an emotional release as you can find.

Emma McKenna - unknown

Recorded at The Great Hall ("Long Winter, Vol. 5"), March 23, 2013. Once a bandmate with Austra's Katie Stelmanis, Emma McKenna signalled a return to action with the debut of this trio. There haven't been many more rumblings since this, but do stay patient (it's been awhile!) and keep an eye out.

Evening Hymns - Rescue Teams

Recorded at The Drake Underground, November 14, 2013. It's always a thrill to catch a new song in the rough, as-yet unburdened by any preconceptions.

Gabe Levine - Where the Light Falls

Recorded at The Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), June 1, 2013. Gabe Levine hasn't been playing many shows of late, but he brought a few new songs along for this solo set, including this one that seemed just perfect with the evening's light beginning to dim outside the windows.

P.S.: It looks like the exfm widget that I've been using to make the music streaming go (I think that's the technical term) is going to disappear shortly. If anyone knows of an simple, easy-to-implement alternative, please let me know — otherwise, I'll be losing some functionality here.

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