For a city of this size, Moncton does quite well in the venue department. There are at least three bars willing to book local, independent acts playing original music. The Caveau, situated at 700 Main Street in the basement of the OC Club, is currently the premier venue for underground music. Bookings are now handled by the very capable Kyle McDonald who took over from Dana Robertson a few months ago. McDonald, a good soundman, also looks after the occasional booking at the historic Esquire Tavern. These latter shows are infrequent but are always welcome.
Plan B Lounge, on the corner of Lutz and St. George Streets, still features live music every night of the week. For this fact alone, they should be commended. I have personally seen blues, folk, jazz, grind, punk, metal, indie rock and country music being performed on that stage during this past year. Lots of unknown touring acts who desperately need a place to play in between Halifax and Montreal are always happy to make the trek. Word is that they have now moved the stage to the back of the bar which should lend to a better ambiance and experience for audience and performer.
Cafe Aberdeen have seen some interesting acts this year including Petunia and Olympic Symphonium and will hopefully continue to host the quieter shows.
The Tide & Boar, while mostly catering to thirysomething hipsters, keep getting top notch indie rock and singer-songwriter touring acts. This gastropub has decent food, decent beer and good music if you can afford it.
Spin-It Records, 467A Main Street, still has the occasional in-store performance, usually on Saturday afternoons. Features a stage that is actually a loading dock
Moncton's best punk export, Fear of Lipstick, did manage to get out for a brief Canadian Summer tour and were, by all accounts, a hit wherever they played... The Beaten Hearts, featuring two members of the aforementioned band, played a handful of shows and then went on hiatus this summer. No one's heard from them since... Thalidomy Kids, played many shows and managed to put out a nice 12" mini LP... Flex Martian, a hot new group, played a couple of shows and then disbanded just as quickly. Too bad... Feral Trash played their debut show in January and put out a hot 7" that is getting rave reviews from all over the punk globe... Blotto, according to reports, are one of the most original sounding bands on the scene at the moment. They are reportedly working on putting out a 7" recording engineered by Mark Gaudet... Savage Young are an impressive young band combining grunge and edgy britpop. The singer can really sing... After playing numerous gigs every chance they had, the Impulse Items seem to have faded into dormancy. Perhaps they are planning something... Moncton punk originators The Robins still play out occasionally and manage to thrill every time. They should receive some kind of award... Studs and spikes punkers the Adhesives still seem to come out of hibernation once in a while... Despite existing for years and playing fairly regularly, Rabid Reaction still don't have a proper release. There has been talk of a cassette release and a 7" but still nothing... Nerve Button, comprised of current and ex members of the Robins, Bad Luck #13 and Beaten Hearts, have played out twice and are working on material. Stay tuned... Deco are a cool trio with a Velvet Underground vibe that seem to be playing out with more frequency... Former teenage pop-punk delinquents The Virals seem to have reformed just in time for Germany's P-Trash Records to release an LP worth of material. Due out this Spring... Which Witch Is Which, one of the most promising local bands in recent memory are sadly on hiatus as bassist/songwriter PJ Dunphy is currently working in Alberta... Hope, one of the city's most successful and long lasting bands, have started playing again. No new about new material yet... The Dummmy-Ups are a new band comprised of members of Hope, Sour Grapes and the McFaddens. They played a 90's style of fast pop-punk. Think of Screeching Weasel and Sloppy Seconds...and finally, a new hardcore/thrash band named Fear Agent are ready to make their mark on this city. The group features René Leclair formerly of Ottawa's Dead City Rebels. According to witnesses, all members are sporting some type of facial hair. This isn't the 80's anymore baby!
The city saw vinyl being released by such acts as Feral Trash, Thalidomy Kids, John Jerome & The Congregation, Bong Jovi, The Motorleague as well as a nifty 7" by Sackville's Kappa Chow. Awesome stuff. Let's keep it up.
ZINES: Teenage Trash is exactly what the titles says. A teenage take on things going on. Good to see the return of print media.
2013 saw a disproportionate number of good country acts (yes, they do exist) hitting town. I'm talking about Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam, Rosanne Cash and Fred Eaglesmith.
INSPIRATION of THE YEAR: PUSSY RIOT once again for their awe-inspiring tenacity and dedication in the face of extreme hardship.
DISAPPOINTMENT of THE YEAR : The whole Black Flag reunion/lawsuit debacle.
2013 MUSICAL TOP TEN:
We've asked some friends to name us some of their favourites of the year. Some comments have been edited due to space...
Ray 13 (AKG editor, streetwalker)TOP TEN LIVE SHOWS:
- Claude Leger's Rock And Roll Send Off: featuring Idea of North, Bad Luck #13, Syntax Error, The Robins, Thalidomy Kids, Purple Knight, Marc Theriault @ Le Caveau, Moncton NB
- Bloodshot Bill @ MARS Fest, Amherst NS
- Doom @ Gus' Pub, Halifax NS
- Waterboys @ Casino NS, Halifax NS
- Leonard Cohen @ Moncton Coliseum, Moncton NB
- Zebrassieres @ Esquire Tavern, Moncton NB
- TV Freaks @ Royal Canadian Legion, Sackville NB
- Tim Polecat @ Maritime Rockabilly Festival, Amherst NS
- The Mahones @ Plan B, Moncton NB
- Doc MacLean @ Plan B, Moncton NB
TOP TEN MUSIC RELEASES OF 2013 (in no particular order):
Savages - Silence Yourself LP
JD McPherson - Firebug 7"
OFF! - Live at the 9:30 Club LP
David Bowie - Valentine's Day 7"
Voivod - Kluscap O' Kom 7"
Motorhead - Aftershock LP
Giuda - Let's Do It Again LP
The Sadies - Internal Sounds LP
Feral Trash - Dead Eyes 7"
Thalidomy Kids - Spirochaete 12"EP
Daryl Buote (ex-gig attendee, born again headbanger and re-discoverer of hardcore punk)
1. The Loyalties - 'til the death of rock n roll [ my favorite release of the year , rock n roll with swagger and a bit of a bite] catchy , sing along and stumble out of the pub rock n roll. the song "carry me home" is my favorite song of the year.
2. Black Grimalkin - demo this cd was given to me by the artist. i had no idea what to expect, thinking it be black metal or something crazy. when i put it on the first track was an acoustic number which is not uncommon for metal bands then it builds up into something fierce. but this didn't , the next track was the same idea, what a pleasant unexpected surprise a cd of heartfelt songwriting. not really folk but singer/songwriter. this was a true win for me. look forward to more.
3. Kromosom - Nuclear Reich , pure fuckin raging punk/noise mayhem . these guys blew my fucking mind live , intense fast relentless chaos and so much fun. the singer is a mad man when he hits the stage but a lovely gent to speak with before and after but look out when he is on stage. in the air , on top of the crowd their whole set.
4. Nick Cave - push the sky away i'm a late comer when it comes to nick cave , but this album is solid start to finish for me, its mellow but the songs are well written and when i put it on i don't turn it off until its done. one of those albums.
5. Motorhead - aftershock this wasn't going to make the list this year because i had a hard time getting into it due to the constant posts from their webpage/fb page was a bit of a detractor for myself. but i sat down and gave it a proper listen[s] and this is Motorhead . Lemmy and Co have yet to disappoint . their out put continues to deliver the goods in the only fashion motorhead knows. no apologies from this band. they play ROCK N ROLL!
6. Asta Kask - Handen Pa Hjartat WOW! swedish punk done so good , catchy as fuck .. this band has been around forever. i had them on a distort comp varning .. but this album is so good ! i highly recommend checking this out.
7. Swingin Utters - poorly formed probably one of my favorite releases by these guys in recent years. if you know the band i need not say say more. if you don't, check them out.
8. Nails - abandon all life heavy , fast ..
9. Dissension - crude wars 7" old band back to life with a new singer.. classic 80's punk /hc song without sounding dated. look forward to hearing more from these guys and eric buying me beer. p.s. where in my bonecrusher shirt?
10. Selfish - life has no vacant time finnish punk raging Japanese hardcore influence
Gavin MacNeil (oil merchant, sharp dresser, digital archivist)
TOP TEN SHOWS:
- Bloodshot Bill, Tim Polecat @ Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival., Amherst, NS Sept 7, 2013
- Doom, Napalm Raid, Systematik, Life Chain, Sleight @ Gus's, Halifax, NS Apr 9 , 2013
- Claude Leger Memorial w/Idée du Nord (reunion), Bad Luck #13 (reunion), Syntax Error, The Robins, Thalidomy Kids, Purple Knight, Marc Thériault@ the Caveau, Moncton, NB Feb 22, 2013
- Colin Stetson, Chain and the Gang, Snow Blink, Sarah Neufield performances @Sappyfest, Sackville, NB August 2013
- TV Freaks, Rabid Reaction, Impulse Items @ Plan B, Moncton, NB June 4, 2013
- Feral Trash, Thalidomy Kids and Big Dick @ le Caveau, June 14 2013
- AHNA, Rabid Reaction, Last Museum @plan b, June 17, 2013
- WL Altman, LeHum no2, vol#1, Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, May 9, 2013
- Blotto, Greasebeast, Dummy Ups, Famines @Esquire, Nov1, 2013
- Crosss, Cop Shades, Maryse Arsenault @ la Patente, August 14, 2013
Shane Mazerolle (lead shouter, bassist for EARTH AD)
- Carcass - Surgical Steel CD
- Voivod - Target Earth CD
- Rush - Clockwork Angels Blue Ray
- Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork CD
- David Bowie - Next Day CD
- Dropkick Murphy's - Signed & Sealed in Blood CD
- Bad Religion - True North CD
- Satan - Life Sentence CD
- Arcade Fire - Reflektor CD
- Motorhead - Aftershock CD
- Portugal. The Man - Evil Friends CD
- Blue Rodeo - In Our Nature CD
- The Head & The Heart - Let's Be Still CD
- The Mavericks - In Time CD
- The Heavy Blinkers - Health CD
- Dawes - Stories Don't End CD
- Billie Joe & Norah - Foreverly CD
- Phoenix - Bankrupt! CD
- Eric Burdon & The Greenhornes - Self-titled CD (Late 2012 release)
- Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me (Documentary DVD)
Glen Bourgeois aka Barney Rubble (Bassist for hire, prog archivist)
1. MIDLAKE - "Antipode" (mood rock/pseudo-prog)
A chance hearing during a practitioner's session... While all other indie Brit bands seem to be focusing on being sappy, Midlake (which, technically, hails from Texas) seems to have pulled out their Lizard-period King Crimson/McDonald & Giles albums. They remain accessible throughout most of the first half, until the Mellotrons come out in force on the instrumental "Vale". Then it's double your bliss from there. Doesn't sound like anything else current right now... but then again, it doesn't even sound like the band's previous albums.
2. FIELD MUSIC - "Plumb" (power-pop/psuedo-prog)
Despite hailing from (late) 2012, I really thought this album (which I discovered in late spring of 2013) would be at the top of my list. XTC-isms, as well as seeming nods to Gentle Giant and the odd threat of Queen influence, aromatically season this catchy and intelligent release by two brothers with a penchant for perfectionism in the studio. "Who'll Pay the Bills?" remains one of my favorites.
3. DAFT PUNK - "Random Access Memories" (dance/R&B/retro-pop)
Another one I thought I'd be giving first place. When I relegate the top dance album in my list to the 3rd position, you know it's been a good year. Daft Punk brought back live musicians, audiophile microphone use, Nile Rodgers, and my faith in dance music. "Get Lucky" also ended up playing on my car stereo all summer (and perhaps the next as well). Good job, robots.
4. MOODY BLUES - "Timeless Flight" (classic rock/pseudo-prog)
17 discs of Moody Blues, 3 of which are hi-definition DVD-A re-releases of recent years' SACD's, another 3 of videos and TV appearances, and a whopping 11 of live concerts. A few surprises too: the "Octave" tour finds the band launching into a "Twilight Time" (off DoFP) so updated that I thought I was listening to an unreleased track! Overpackaged, meaning just right for the MB fan.
5. ZEDD - "Clarity" (electronica/dance)
Another late 2012 release I only discovered this year (albeit the extended version was released this year). I'd long waited for someone to mix today's beats with New Romantic chord changes from the '80s. Sadly, though, the track order makes it sound a bit repetitive for the first half of the album.
6. JETHRO TULL - "Benefit" (2013 remix, deluxe re-release) (classic rock/progressive rock)
Perhaps my fave studio Jethro Tull album re-acquires most of my preferred tracks off "Living in the Past" (perhaps my other fave Jethro Tull release), as they were all recorded during the same time period. Steve Wilson remixes. Hi-resolution DVD. Amen.
7. LADIES OF THE CANYON - "Diamond Heart" (Americana/country-pop)
I hardly didn't hear about this delightful facsimile of the Bangles backing up Stevie Nicks. Thank Target. I had no idea what kind of country album they were selling for $12.99, until I listened on Sony Music Unlimited. Bingo, bought it the next morning.
8. KING CRIMSON - "The Road to Red" (prog rock)
King Crimson overload, and this is from the tour that spawned my favorite album of theirs. I haven't been able to finish the set yet... Then again, how many of us can sit through over 16 performances of "Fracture"?
9. SLOAN - "Hardcore" (with downloads) (punk)
The single is tons of fun. Add the MP3s which came with the original webstore order, and you have the closest thing to a party that Sloan has released since... "Songs Recorded Live at a Sloan Party!" Well, maybe even better.
10. BEATLES - "The Beatles (Stereo LP box set)" (as if you didn't know)
With "The US Albums" set to be released as a CD box in January, why should I even bother listing a set of albums I'll probably be owning five times over within a few months (and six, if promise of the mono LP box set hold true)? Well, because they finally released 24/96-mastered versions of the albums you could only get first-hand on LP at CD quality. Boo on the Rainbo plant for all the non-filled (ie. mis-pressed) copies amongst the advance orders: do it right next time. If you don't know the rest of the story about this music, then there are no truer words about it: you're fucking late.
Mark McGrath (seldom seen creature of habit)
1) The National - Trouble Will Find Me LP
2) Frightened Rabbit - Pedestrian Verse CD
3) The Brother Kite - Model Rocket CD
4) Tribulation - The Formulas of Death CD
5) Immolation - Kingdom of Conspiracy LP
6) Vorum - Poisoned Void CD
7) The Joy Formidable - Wolf's Law CD
8) Antediluvian - Logos LP
9) Power Trip - Manifest Decimation CD
10) Ulcerate - Vermis CD
Mark Gaudet (Moncton's cultural ambassador of the strange)
1. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance LP
2. Voivod - Target Earth LP
3. Carcass - Surgical Steel LP
4. Deep Purple -What Now !? LP
5. Blackmore's Night - Dancer And The Moon LP
6. Jello Biafra and the Guantatano School of Medicine - White People and the Damage Done LP
7. The Fall - Remit LP
8. Black Sabbath -13 CD
9. Burzum - Sol Austan Mani Vestan LP
10.Wire - Change Becomes Us LP
Damian Saiz (New England Correspondent)
1 - In Solitude "Sister" cd
2 - Carcass "Surgical Steel" cd
3 - Nails "Abandon All Life" cd
4 - London Suede "Bloodsports" cd
5 - Voivod "Target Earth" cd
6 - Toxic Holocaust "Chemistry of Consciousness" cd
7 - Daft Punk "Random Access Memories" cd
8 - Beastmilk "Climax" cd
9 - Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats "Mind Control" cd
10 - Portal "Vexovoid" cd
Top 10 live shows of 2013:
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - Boston Orpheum - Mar 24
Killing Joke - Paradise - Apr 20
Kromosom - Cambridge Elks Lodge - May 15
Dropdead/Reagan Youth/Tragedy - Dover Brickhouse - Aug 3
Poison Idea/Slapshot - Presidents Rock Club - Aug 29
FLAG - Paradise - Sept 20
Adrenalin OD/Flag of Democracy - Stanhope House (NJ) - Oct 12
Melt Banana - Sinclair - Nov 3
My Bloody Valentine - House of Blues - Nov 7
Watain/In Solitude/Tribulation - Palladium - Oct 10
Remi Leclair (Comic Hunter)
1. The Ocean - Pelagial LP/Boxset
2. Motorpsycho - Still Life with Eggplant LP
3. Milk+ - Band on Wire mp3 only...
4. Queens of the Stone Age - Like Clockwork LP (3x versions) + CD
5. And So I Watch You From Afar - All Hail Bright Futures LP
6. Vista Chino - Peace LP
7. Persefone - Spiritual Migrations mp3 only...
8. Anciients - Heart of Oak LP
9. Fuzz - Fuzz LP
10. Black Sabbath - 13 LP
Tyler Boutilier (Cape Breton's Stun Gun Guitarist)
10. Radioactivity- S/T LP
9. Thee Mighty Fevers - Fuckin Great R’n’R LP
8. Rajayttajat - S/T LP
7. The Sleaze - Tektonik Girls 12’’
6. Bad Sports - Bras LP
5. Shirks - S/T LP
4. Gino and the Goons - Play Loud 12’’
3. Teengenerate - Get More Action (yeah…it’s goin in here!) LP
2. Giuda - Lets Do It Again LP
1. Liquor Store - In the Garden LP
Derrick Hiltz (lab rat in Halifax) only bought two records:
1) My Bloody Valentine - m b v
2) Guided By Voices - English Little League
Craig Pinhey (sommelier, music freak and serious beer drinker)
1. Elvis Costello & The Roots - Wise Up Ghost
This is not Elvis Costello playing funk, nor is it The Roots punking out. It is a musical partnership that has resulted in some of Costello’s best lyrics – political and otherwise – produced in a different way, with snappy beats and in some cases funky bass, keys, lead guitar and a horn section…all behind Costello’s unmistakable voice. My favourite track, and my Song of the Year, is The Puppet Has Cut His Strings, a bonus song on the Deluxe version, a moving ballad Costello penned about his father’s recent passing from Alzheimer’s. Just try to listen to it without breaking down.
You may like this LP if you like: Musicians who are not afraid to take risks.
What to Drink: An American/UK hybrid, so how about a Manhattan, but made with Connemara Peated Single Malt from Ireland, $51.59, in honour of Declan Macmanus’s heritage.
2. Bettie Serveert – Oh Mayhem
This Dutch combo, fronted by a Canadian vocalist and song writer, is in my opinion one of the best rock and roll bands of the past two decades. The lyrics are excellent, as are her vocals, but Oh Mayhem – released in late 2012 but available here in 2013 – is really a guitar lover’s album. It rocks!
You may like this LP if you like: The Pretenders, Juliana Hatfield, Metric, Hendrix solos.
What to Drink: Grolsch, a crisp, refreshing Dutch lager in a swingtop bottle. $3.18/450 ml.
3. Tegan & Sara – Hearthtrob
Yes, I know, Canada’s indie twin darlings sold out and made a highly produced synth pop dance record, but, you know what? The lyrics are good, the tunes are memorable and catchy, and this is more original and better than the dance music that tops the US charts. I don’t want all their records to sound like this, but this has found its way into my car’s CD player an awful lot this year.
You may like this LP if you like: dance music with both brains and a heart
What to Drink: Something fun and bubbly but not too sweet: Segura Viudas Brut Rosé, Spain $16.99
4. Madness – Oui Oui Si SI Ja Ja Da Da
Most would say that this British pop and ska band peaked in the late 70‘s and early 80‘s, but this new album was a breath of fresh air in 2013, and as good as any of their early work. I’m not sure there was a better 2013 LP for hot summer days.
You may like this LP if you like: old school ska music and happy British pop, like if the Kinks meshed with Rancid.
What to Drink: a pint of UK-style bitter. My usual choice is Picaroons Best Bitter ($3.80/500 ml)
5. David Myles - In The Nighttime
New Brunswick’s Myles is now a Canadian star, and this latest record shows his maturity as a vocalist and songwriter. These songs have a lot of soul, and he sings them convincingly. The bonus mini-CD produced by Classified is particularly groovy. I love it!
You may like this LP if you like: Marvin Gaye, nice tall guys.
What to Drink: I’d love to recommend a wine from Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Vineyards, as Myles’s brother’s wife is the winemaker, but we don’t have any at ANBL. Jost, owners of Gaspereau, does have a smooth red called Jost Trilogy, though, for $19.99.
6. Wesley Stace – S/T
Wesley Stace used to go by John Wesley Harding but has reverted to his own name for this self-titled record. His career as a literary novelist (read the brilliant By George if you haven’t already) has perhaps been more successful than his music career, but this new record is essentially a guidebook on the songwriting craft. The Bedroom You Grew Up In, When I Knew, and Wrong For The Part are just perfect little songs.
You may like this LP if you like: imagine Bob Dylan with a beautiful singing voice and British accent
What to Drink: Since Stace now makes New York his home, I picked something quintessentially American: Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey, $36.99, on ice or in an Old Fashioned
7. Prefab Sprout – Crimson/Red
Iconoclast Paddy McAloon has come back in 2013 with a wonderful album of gorgeous, thoughtful pop songs. It was too long a wait for this new record.
You may like this LP if you like: Pet Sounds, Steely Dan, Thomas Dolby
What to Drink: a glass of pretty, aromatic white, wine, with some zip, such as Willm Reserve Riesling from Alsace, France, $18.99
8. Miles Kane – Don’t Forget Who You Are
A great British rock and roll record with songs co-written with legends like Paul Weller (the Jam) and Andy Partridge (XTC).
You may like this LP if you like: Supergrass, the more rocking Stones/Kinks/Who/Beatles songs, and the best of Oasis
What to Drink: what is more British than Gin & Tonic? But use local gin Thuya, $29.99.
9. Heavy Blinkers – Health
A very diverse record, long in the making, but satisfying. Lots of guest vocals, but still unmistakably The Heavy Blinkers, with the lush orchestration we know and love.
You may like this LP if you like: Pet Sounds, Halifax indie music, Jenn Grant
What to Drink: This is summer music, and I’m quite partial to a cold lager beer in the summer. This is tasty: Gahan Beach Chair Lager, PEI< 473 ml can/$3.29
10. Lloyd Cole – Standards
This Lloyd album could have come from the early 80’s, and that’s a good thing, as he was one of the best, and most original, singer songwriters to emerge from that age of excess.
You may like this LP if you like: Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, alt-folk.
What to Drink: A complex red wine, like a Spanish Rioja. Try this good value: Antano Crianza $14.99.
Kyle McDonald (booker, sound engineer, soundman, bassist etc)
10. Shooting Guns - Brotherhood Of The Ram - Saskatoon! 5 MEN, 1 instrumental vision. 70's psychedelic atmospheric instrumental riff rock! these guys are beyond a trip to see live, easily in the Top 5 active bands in Canada. this record sees the boys veer a little away from the stoner rock influence and a little deeper into the 70's psych, a dripping wet voyage into the unknown plains of rural Saskatchewan! pre-ordered this record the moment it was posted, it sold out within a day or two. they just reposted a repress on blue vinyl, order this record! can't wait to see these cats again.
9. Vista Chino - Peace - a new god damn Kyuss record! christ on the cross!, this album rips front to end. go ahead and tear me to shreds, but it's my favorite Kyuss record! i shouldn't be calling them Kyuss because Josh Homme's billion dollar estate caused them to drop the lawsuit and the boys decided to change the name rather than investing everything they own and putting their families lives in jeopardy to proceed further into the courts - meanwhile Josh is living in a billion dollar mansion and can just say "make it so"... not worrying about it any more than spending the cash on having someone bring him a coffee. the guy hasn't done a remotely interesting thing since 2002. Bruno Fevery (VC's guitarist) is 1000x the songwriter and player than Josh - flame away folks, i'm ready for it! That said - most of the album is written by Brant anyway (just like the old Kyuss hits he wrote). Personally I find Bruno completely slays anything Josh ever touched on the Kyuss material or beyond - and I prefer his tone to be honest.
8. Locrian - Return To Annihilation - LOCRIAN!!! Jon Cummins introduced me to this fantastic band. what drew me initially was the fact their previous records were much darker, more spacious and a little bit of a scarier atmospheric trip. This record is much more focused and hammered out though still very experimental. very shoegazey without treading too much in that kind of familiar territory. that said, still lots of diversity song to song and still has its dark moments. the vocals for the most part are Black Metal style, but they are so wet with FX and mixed so low, that even people who can't stand any kind of screaming with vocals truly wouldn't be affected by this background texture. this is much more of a beautiful record than anything they've done previous. i screwed up large when i sassed on making the trip to see them in Montreal - i hope there is another opportunity.
7. Darkthrone - The Underground Resistance - i showed this record to Mark Gaudet (Shithammer) and it's his favorite record of the year. close, but not so for me! that said, it's my fav Darkthrone record they've released since Ravishing Grimness in 1999. this record has some of their classic BM tendencies, but much more Celtic Frost, epic Bathory era, and King Diamond influence (which we've never really heard from them before). it's in my top 3 favorite Darkthrone records, though i can't give you my list at the moment haha! the record production is fantastic, the LP came with an enormous poster of the cover art which is gorgeous, and the performances are youthful yet spot on the money. THE MASTERS!!!!
6. Satan - Life Sentence - this band doesn't sound like you'd imagine at first thought! based on the name i'd think they were a gore/grind band or something. these guys formed in the UK in 1979, total New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound - but the dude doesn't have a Priest/Maiden style voice. the closest person i could think of to compare his vocals to would be like Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stone Age? bizarre i know, but it makes for a real killer match. the band changed their name a few times, to Blind Fury at one point, and to Pariah for an extended period. they just recently reformed as the original lineup of "Satan" from the classic "Court In The Act" from 1983. they hadn't actually played a show outside of the UK til this year. the guitar harmonies are over the top incredible, so classic yet fresh - which is kind of the best thing i could say about the sound of this record in general. i feel its their best record and i'm pretty certain i don't stand on my own in thinking so. if you remotely like any classic heavy metal (70's on), good chance you could truly love this album!
5. Raspberry Bulbs - Deformed Worship - Raspberry Bulbs came out of nowhere for me. imagine Ramonescore punk rock meets black metal with a touch of 90's heavy grunge? front to end unreal album! was late discovering this record too, though thankfully in time for it to make this list. i'd love to see these guys do a tour with Pissed Jeans or METZ. if you dig either of those bands you could probably get into these cats.
4. The Body - Christs, Redeemers - listen to this track posted below, and if you don't like it - you will probably never like THE BODY. this 2-pc has been one of my favorite bands in the last year (usually in the top 5 bands i will mention to people when they ask what i've been into). this record is pretty close to what you'll hear in the link to the video, brutally heavy, slow and doomy, with real maniacal vocals (reminds me actually of the vocalist from WEAKLING), almost slightly a psychotic kind of feeling - though it's mixed very classy (how i like vocals in this style), real wet with FX and mixed lower like a texture. you'll also hear what sounds to be like a female choir singing beautiful harmonies in background sections, also some of the songs feature stringed arrangements, violins etc. there is just nothing remotely like this band that i've ever heard - and they blow my mind. if they ever come to Montreal or Boston, i am there instantly.
3. Big Business - Battlefields Forever - Big Business are 2/3 of the current version of THE MELVINS. this is their band previous and they still co-exist (thankfully!). this record was released at a weird time toward the end of 2013, mostly due to the pressing plant royally screwing them over from what i gathered. because of this it seems everyone missed it on their year end lists, or even in general! this band is just straight up mind blowing (as you should already know). incredible almost tribal style drumming, wild progressive rhythms and chord progressions, powerful melodic vocals that demand your attention - just can't say enough about this band. they're classified as stoner metal but that really doesn't make sense, there's just nothing else to call them. just straight up buy it and rock out with a bottle of floor liquor.
2. Ghost - Infestissumam - if you know me, we've probably already had conversations or arguments about Ghost. i've seen them live 4 times, beyond mind blowing. i get that you love em or hate em, with a few stragglers in the middle. they're not a metal band, they had some kind diamond worship early on, but the blue oyster cult influence was just as prevalent there. people who liked them previous were disappointed with this record because it's not metal. they never were as far as i'm concerned. the first record was much riffier based, this record is more hook/song based. the songs from this record stick in my head much moreso than the debut. most people don't get Ghost, and that's fine by me. None of these guys believe in anything they have to say, and they've said it over and over again, when you see them live or listen to their records, it's no different than putting on a movie or going to see a theatrical play. there are a million bands that are going to walk on stage in their regular clothing, and sing about the bullshit in their lives or whatever. to criticize a band who takes a different approach and absolutely kill it - i just don't get it the issue with that? to each their own in the end.
1. Lustmord - The Word As Power - album of the year for 2013!!! there's Brian Eno/Fripp's Evening Starr, there's Tangerine Dream - and there is Lustmord! this one man project from the UK is a forefather of "dark ambience". this record is my favorite of his to date with the the middle eastern influence, production and vocal performances drawing me in right off the hop. i'm not familiar with his whole catalog, but from what i've gathered this is the first record to focus on the human voice along with his usual dark ambience textures. the dude is a living wizard. if any record in life can put you in a headspace - transporting you to a different place mentally than where you physically sit or stand, this album does it. i actually just discovered Maynard of TOOL sings on one of the songs, you'd never know it if you didn't read it in the liner notes! this is also my favorite recorded production of the year as well! just a huge overall, holy shit!!!!
TOP 5 7"/EP's of 2013
1. Flying Fortress - Wine & Speed
2. Al Cisneros - Ark Procession
3. The Body - Master, We Perish
4. Ides Of Gemini - Hexagram 45
5. Red Dons - Notes on the Underground
Eric Neurotic (singer, guitarist, record store manager, DJ, ex-smoker)
TOP TEN RELEASES OF 2013 (with commentary)
#10: Fat Stupids - No Fun Tape (Poor Sport)
I've seen these guys more times than I can count and every time they get better and better. It shames me to say I once saw them as a Tongan Death Grip substitute, I don't see that anymore. This tape rules and so does this band.
#9: The Visitors - Yeti LP (It's Alive)
The loooong awaited Yeti! Erin's darker song writing is at all time high on this and I couldn't be happier. I saw them play "Vlad" like 2 1/2 years ago and have been waiting to hear it again ever since. Worth the wait.
#8: Neon Piss - Close the Door 7" (Vinyl Rites)
These guys put out an LP last year on 'Deranged' that blew me away, then they put out this 7" which is even better, but I heard they broke up soon after which makes me sad cause I had high hopes for the direction they were heading.
#7: Outtacontroller - Remote Control Tape (self released)
There's a coked-out Ric Flair rant on this thing that has me in stitches every time I hear it. Everything about this tape rules, great songs, great sound, great laughs..it even has a 'Nerves' cover on it! Can't wait for the next LP.
#6: Bad Sports - Bras LP (Dirtnap)
Saw these chaps at OWX a few years back, but I was kinda in a drunken fog after playing my own set just minutes before, I wish I knew then what I know now. All 3 of their albums have been on heavy rotation at work and home this past year.
#5: Red Dons - Notes from the Underground (Grave Mistake)
Another great release by one of my top 5 bands of the last decade. I was never into band tattoos, but If was to ever get one, these guys would probably win. I have yet to see them live and will always be jealous Jesse saw them first.
#4: Crusades - Perhaps...LP (No Idea)
It's no secret I have an infatuation with the musicians in this band, I get a lot of inspiration from the Ottawa scene. I always try to keep it on the down low whenever we cross paths, to not seem like such a fan boy...but I think they know. That being said, This album is fantastic.
#3: Nervosas - s/t LP (Let's Pretend)
Down to the top three, time to get serious. Saw them for the first time a couple years back at a record store show in Ottawa with the Cold Warps and thought they were pretty good, bought a 7" and thought it was pretty good. Even met one of them at house party I was dragged to at 3am and we talked about the Replacements. Fast forward a year later to a show in Montreal only to be BLOWN AWAY. It's amazing how a 'pretty good band' can turn into a fucking powerhouse of a band in such a short time. Their speed had totally doubled. Saw them 3 times in 2 days this summer, and every set was fantastic, And don't get me started on the album. I'm pretty sure I've listened to it in full 100 times. Cold, dark, bitter, "sick of this world" punk. God I hope I get to see them again.
#2: Radioactivity - s/t LP + 7" (Dirtnap, Alien Snatch)
This is Jeff Burke's new band. Jeff Burke of the Potential Johns. Jeff Burke of the Marked Men. JEFF BURKE. I even met him once and he gave me a Potential Johns/Chinese Telephones test press. I know I always tell this story but I don't care. It's my favorite story.
#1: Vacation - Candy Waves LP (Let's Pretend)
So how did these guys beat Jeff Burke you ask? Well I'll tell you. Playing in a band for so many years you go through periods where you don't really feel like writing. You do anyways, but you're not as excited about it. Well this record/band lit the biggest fire under my ass. Ever since it's release and not to mention the couple times I saw them this summer (sooo fucking good!) I have not been able to put my guitar down. They made me wanna start playing in a band again, like it was the first time. And for that, they win record of the year.
And to anyone who made it through my pretentious ramblings, thank you. It's been a good year for music.