Saturday, January 28, 2017

2016: The Year in Review / Top Ten Lists

Well another year has passed and I've managed again to pester a few people into digging deep into their memory banks and record collections to come up with the much anticipated Top Ten of 2016. Enjoy!

Ray13 (AKG editor, street walker, ale drinker)
Top 20 Music Releases in alphabetical order:
David Bowie - Blackstar  LP
Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker  LP
D Generation - Nothing Is Anywhere  LP
Discharge - End of Days  LP 
Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression  LP
Rolling Stones - Lonesome And Blue  LP
Sleaford Mods - T.C.R.  12"
Wire - Nocturnal Koreans  LP
Wovenhand - Star Treatment  2LP
Various Artists - Punk 45: Les Punks - The French Connection  2LP

Top 10 Live Shows in alphabetical order:
Arkona @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
Impulse Items @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
Mick Futures @ Claude's House (Moncton NB)
Sintax Error @ Aberdeen Cultural Centre (Moncton NB)
SNFU @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
Mark Sultan @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
TV Freaks @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
UK Subs @ L'Anti Bar (Quebec City QC)
Vacation @ Esquire Tavern (Moncton NB)
Voivod @ The Marquee (Halifax NS)

Top Three Disappointments of the year:
1) Esquire Tavern changes management meaning rock and roll shows at this legendary venue are no longer welcome.
2) The continuous rising price of vinyl records at the manufacturing and retail fronts.
3) The break-up of the Impulse Items

Top Magazines of the year:
1) Ugly Things
2) Vive Le Rock
3) Razorcake
4) Maximumrockandroll
5) Shindig

Looking forward to new records by Wire, CJ Ramone, Real McKenzies, Wolfbrigade, Disfear, T.S.O.L., The Damned, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Voivod among others....

Gavin MacNeil (rule breaker, pedal maker, video documentarian, knows a thing about boxes)
Notable Shows:
Mick Futures @ Claude’s (Oct 21)
SNFU @ Esquire (Sept 10)
UK Subs @ L’Anti Bar Quebec QC (Sept 4)
Weird Lines @ Claude’s (Dec 10)
Steve Adamyk @ Claude’s (Oct 28)
Voivod @ the Marquee Halifax NS (Oct 20)
TV Freaks/Impulse Items/Phone Jerks/Reagan’s Rayguns/Dan Hayward @ Esquire (March 26)
Adrian Teacher & The Subs @ the Esquire (July 26)
Iskra @ Esquire (July 24)
Nerve Button @ Claude’s/Esquire (various)
Alienation @ Memorial North Public Library Halifax NS (May 26)
Outtacontroller @ Esquire (April 23)
GOMS @ Spin-it (June 21)
Marie Davidson @ Menz Bar Halifax NS (May 27)
Zs @ Deep Water Church Halifax NS (May 27)

Notable releases:
Iggy Pop - Post Punk Depression  LP
Black Mountain - IV  LP
Wire - Nocturnal Korean  LP
Nerve Button - S/T  LP
Zaum - Eidolon  LP
The Scientists - A Place Called Bad  2LP
Lisa Leblanc - Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?  LP
Weird Lines - S/T  LP
Jennifer Lopan - Full Moon  demo

Tyler Boutilier (guitar slinger at Nerve Button and the Phone Jerks)
Five albums I dug this year:
5. Crown Court – Capital Offense  (thanks Dan Adhesive! Killer street punk rock'n'roll)
4. Pale Lips – Wanna Be Bad (Cynthia Ross' and Nikki Corvette's bad offspring. Good Bad Not Evil)
3 Vapids – Suburban Reptiles (Still the kings of Canadian Ramones-style punk)
2. Juvie – You Ain't Gonna Rock'n'roll No More (Travis Ramin!)
1. Ancient Shapes – S/T (A Daniel Romano record I actually like. Maybe even love)

Honorable mention: Ramones 40th anniversary S/T release. Mono version of first album (with all 1-2-3-4's intact!). 2nd CD includes Dick Charles Studios February '75 demos - save for Judy Is A Punk" and "I Don't Wanna Go Down to the Basement", for some reason. Some of these were released already over the years on "All the Stuff and More Vol. 1" in 1990 and the Rhino reissue in 2001. But many of them were NOT.  "You're Gonna Kill That Girl" sounds SO GOOD as a demo.

Underrated Hero: Josiah Barnett releases 40 local recordings digitally on his Astral Plane label. Two volumes! This Caper is digging the sounds.

 Favourite 3 shows:
- TV Freaks (I've never been to Hamilton, but I'm convinced that it may be the 2nd greatest city in Canada after Moncton).
- Neck at No Funswick. Canada's answer to Head. Killer album from last year, and a much wilder show than the Claude's House "snowstorm" show which far too many people missed for understandable reasons.
- BBQ at the Esquire. What a fucking vocal. What a guitar sound. And those SONG! Spaceshits/Les Sexareenos wildman proving once again why he's the king of Canadian garage punk.

Favorite drink of the year: Diet Coke and Snowfox Vodka.

Sonia Noel (east coast enthusiast)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1.  Les Hay Babies - La 4ieme dimension (version longue)  CD
2.  Shotgun Jimmie - Field of Trampolines  LP
3.  Adrian Teacher and the Subs - Terminal City LP
5.  Weird Lines - Weird Lines  LP
6.  Gord Downie - Secret Path  LP
7.  Frederick Squire - Spooky Action at a Distance  CD
8.  Nap Eyes - Thought Rock Fish Scale  LP
9.  Julie Doiron / Nancy Pants - Greville Tapes Vol 2 (four song collaboration cassette)
10. Vanessa Carlton - Liberman Live  CD

Honorable Mentions:
Devon Sproule And Mike O'Neill - Colours  LP
The Tragically Hip -  Man Machine Poem  CD
Nerve Button - Nerve Button  cassette

Marc Doucet  (drummer extraordinaire, epicure of the black bottle)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1  Wire - Nocturnal Koreans  LP
2  Various Artists - Punk45: Les Punks - The French Connection  2LP
3  Hawkwind - Onward  LP
4  Cheap Trick - Bang Zoom Crazy Hello  LP
5  Discharge - End of Days  LP
6  Electric Prunes - I've Got a Way of My Own  7"  (Record Store Day reissue)
7  The Outcasts - Frustration  LP  (reissue)
8  Nerve Button - s/t  LP
9  Sonic Avenues -  Disconnector  LP
10 Metal Urbain - Panik  7" (Record Store Day reissue)

Mark McGrath  (creature of habit)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1)  Wintersleep - The Great Detachment  CD/LP (yup, grabbed both formats!)
2)  Frightened Rabbit - Painting of a Panic Attack  CD
3) American Football - American Football  CD
4) Voivod - Post Society  CD
5) Bob Mould -  Patch the Sky  CD/LP (another double format-er!)
6) Lisa Hannigan - At Swim   CD
7) Band of Horses - Why Are You Ok" CD
8) Trashcan Sinatras - Wild Pendulum  CD
9)  Chte'list - Le Dernier Crepuscule  CD
10) Teenage Fanclub - Here  CD/LP

Best shows:
Voivod @ The Marquee  Halifax NS
Spirit of The West @ Tide And Boar
The Once @ the Riverview Arts Center

Mark Eveleigh  (local scene supporter)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1. Metallica - Hardwired...To Self-Destruct CD
2. Thee Requiems - Death Perception CD
3. Kappa Chow - Kappa Chow LP
4. Nerve Button - Nerve Button Cassette
5. Heart Attack Kids - No Future LP
6. Use Yr Delusions 2 - Comp. Digital Download
7. Public Animal - Palace Arms LP
8. The Lord Almightys - X-Ray Eyes Vinyl CD Hydrid
9. Counter Clockwork - Counter Clockwork CD
10. Local H - Straight Outta Zion Bluray

Grant Forsythe (self described grouchy old man, microphone screamer at Neighbourhood Watch)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1)  Artificial Dissemination - Past. Present. Future  CD
2)  The Bourbon Saints - Shake, Rattle, Explode  CDEP
3)  Dayglo Abortions - Apocalypse Survival Guide  LP
4)  Forbidden Dimension - Every Twisted Tree Watches As You Pass  2CD
5)  The Freeze - Someone's Bleeding  7"
6)  Hard Charger - Bad Omens  LP
7)  Jim Threat And The Vultures - Afraid of The Dark  7"EP
8)  Mad Parade - Real Horror Show 1982-1983 Demos  LP
9)  Shattered Faith - Volume 3  LP
10)  The Undead - The Morgue... The Merrier  LP

Top Five Reissues (in alphabetical order)
1)  Broken Bones - Vigilante  7"EP
2)  The Cramps - Gravest Hits  LP
3)  The Faction - Corpse In Disguise  12"EP
4)  Mad Parade - s/t  LP
5)  Mad Parade - Clown Time Is Over  LP

Biggest Disappointment:
The Adhesives -  Living  cassette
(If this was on vinyl or CD, it would be in my top ten. Cassette? Blah!)

Daryl Buote (Port City correspondent, beer, bbq, black t-shirt)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1)  D Generation - Nothing Is Anywhere  LP
2)  Discharge - End of Days  LP
3)  Hard Charger - Bad Omens  LP
4)  The Bad Beats - His Vengeful Hand  LP
5)  Neurosis - Fires Within Fires  LP
6)  Zaum - Eidolon  LP
7)  Nerve Button - s/t  LP
8)  Shattered Faith - Volume 3  LP
9)  Victims - Sirens  LP
10) Alejandro Escovedo - Burn Something Beautiful  CD

Only got to see a handful of shows but the following kicked my ass live :
Nerve Button
Bend The River
Needles / / Pins
Mental Fix
TV Freaks

Craig Pinhey (epicure of fine drink and fine tunes)
Top Ten Music Releases with recommended drink:
1) TUNS - self titled 
What to Drink: How about a super beer from one of Nova Scotia’s long standing micros? Garrison Nut Brown Ale is a good session beer, malty but finishes dry. It is at the ANBL. But if I was in Halifax I’d look for Unfiltered, Bad Apple, Tatamagouche or Big Spruce on tap, or head to Rockbottom brewpub or the Good Robot tap room.

2. John Southworth - Small Town Water Tower

What to Drink: This is a contemplative record so I want to have a nice malt whisky to contemplate while listening, something smooth and sherry cask aged. Balvenie and Macallan are nice, but Aberlour 12 is cheaper.

3. David Bowie - Blackstar 

What to Drink: This is hard. But I have to toast to him, because he was one of the greatest, and most influential, musicians of my lifetime. I’m breaking the bank and going for Champagne. Piper Heidsieck is always available at ANBL, and it is classic. Cheers, David Jones. PS I also lament our loss of Prince but his last record, the very catchy HITNRUN Phase 2, was in 2015.

4. Robbie Fulks - Upland Stories 

What to Drink: I always look for Bourbon when I listen to country music, or watch episodes of Hell On Wheels, Justified or Deadwood. Jim Beam Black is a good value choice, as is Bulleit or Buffalo Trace.

5. Tegan and Sara - Love You To Death 

What to Drink: This is dance around the kitchen type music, for the most, part, which is always accompanied at my place with a glass of fresh, crisp white wine, like a good Canadian Riesling. See Ya Later Ranch from BC is great, and you should check out the good examples now made in Nova Scotia, Gaspereau, Avondale Skye, Benjamin Bridge, Lightfoot & Wolfville, and Domaine de Grand Pré all make very good Riesling, although for now you have to go there to get it or get them shipped to your house.

6. John K Samson - Winter Wheat 

What to Drink: His sound is rather mellow, but has an edge sometimes, and it’s always passionate, which reminds of good Pinot Noir or Gamay Noir. Peller Estates Private Reserve Gamay at the ANBL is a Platinum medal winner, and so should this album be.

7. Iron Maiden - The Book of Souls 

What to Drink: I would suggest Trooper, their own beer brewed by Robinsons in England, but we don’t get it at the ANBL. That said, I think the strong, Belgian inspired Unibroue Maudite is a good choice. It is spicy and delicious.

8. David Brent - Life On The Road 

What to Drink: This goes with anything, really, but I’d like to drink something with a sense of humour, so how about one of the Petit-Sault beers from Edmundston, with their cheeky labels. Buckdjeuve ($2.50 a stubby) is a strong (7.3%) dark ale, perfect for winter warming. And it has a jackalope on the label…

9. Regina Spector - Remember Us To Life 

What to Drink: Not sure why, exactly, but this makes me want to drink gin and tonic, perhaps because it is pungent and refreshing, especially when you use the local and very botanical Gin Thuya from Distillerie Fils du Roy.

10. ABC - The Lexicon of Love II   

What to Drink: This is a dance club kind of record, but a classy kind of spot. I’d drink a Martini. Do it however you like, but I enjoy Gin Martinis with a splash of Absinthe or a similar anise based spirit. There is a very good NB product called La Courailleuse.

Kyle McDonald (bassist at Zaum, promoter, soundman, recording engineer etc.)
Top Ten Music Releases: 
1)  Lustmord - Dark Matter  CD
2)  Cauldron - In Ruin  LP
3)  Helms Allee - Stillicide  LP
4)  Yawning Man - Historical Grafitti  LP
5)  Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder  LP
6)  Stranger Things Soundtrack  LP
7)  Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression  LP
8)  The Melvins - Bases Loaded  LP
9)  Horseback - Dead Ringers  LP
10) Abbath - Abbath  LP

Remi Leclair (Comic Hunter, radio host @ Quoi-ce Que T'ecoute? Avec Remi pis Shawn - CKUM)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1. Alcest - Kodama (LP Box Set)
    shoegaze/post-rock/black metal hybrid

2. King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard - Nonagon Infinity (LP, black and green splatter)
    Surf/garage/psych/stoner insanity with some conceptual continuity and an infinite loop where the first and last tracks sync up

3. Elephant Tree - Elephant Tree (LP)
    stoner/doom with a psych/mellow vibe throughout

4. Black Peaks - Statues (LP)
    alternative metal meets sludge with elements of prog-metal and math-rock

5. Atsuko Chiba - The Memory Empire EP (digital download only, doesn't exist on vinyl)
    Psych/space/prog with occasional hip-hop vocals

6. Motorpsycho - Here Be Monsters (LP)
    Prog-rock meets Psych-rock meets 70s hard-rock

7. Hypno5e - Shores of an Abstract Line (LP, Bone / Aqua Blue / Grey Splatter)
    Prog-metal/djent/post-metal. Very cinematic feeling

8. Cult of Luna + Julie Christmas - Mariner (LP, Blue Splatter)
    Post-metal concept album with amazing guest vocalist

9. The Pineapple Thief - Your Wilderness (LP)
    Prog-rock with an alternative rock lean

10. Deftones - Gore (LP, White)
    Kind of proggy aggressive art metal

Mark Gaudet (drummer at Purple Knight and Parlour Tricks, guitarist at the Robins)
Top Ten Music Releases:
1)  Darkthrone - Arctic Thunder  LP
2)  Cheap Trick - Bang Zoom Crazy Hello  LP
3)  The Cult - Hidden City  LP
4)  Discharge - End of Days  LP
5)  Death - Scream Bloody Gore  3 CD Deluxe Reissue
6) Voivod - Post Society  EP
7)  Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Memories In Rock  3LP
8)  Tuns - Tuns  LP
9)  The Monkees - Good Times!  LP
10) Wire - Nocturnal Koreans  LP

Peter Leger (Sackville correspondent, marsh walker)
Top Ten Music Releases in no particular order...
1)  David Bowie- Blackstar
2)  Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression
3)  Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker
4)  Kate Bush - Before The Dawn
5)  Pink Floyd - Discovery Box Set  (14 CD Remastered Studio Albums)
6)  The Who - My Generation  5 CD Box Set
7)  Dr. Feelgood - Original Album Series 5 CD Set
8)  The Kinks - Mono Collection  10 LP Box
9)  Carl Wilson - Bright Lights: My Father's Place, NYC 4/11/81
10) Bob Dylan - The 1966 Live Recordings  Box Set

Once again we have weathered another twelve months and while lots of things remain the same, other things have changed. For better or for worse, here is the local synopsis from where I sit...

VENUES: It was a dark day indeed back in October when we found out that the Esquire Tavern was being run by an aggressive new manager who was not into live rock and roll music and the accompanying revenue that it brings. In addition to not honoring the already booked calendar, the stage and the arcade machines were removed thus cementing the deal. Alea Jacta Est... Plan B Lounge is still booking live music seven days a week often featuring touring bands. Unfortunately for us, the more interesting bands usually play midweek often making it an unlikely proposition for us workin' stiffs. C'est la vie... The Tide And Boar continues to be good to the urban city dweller. Many local and regional bands play on the main floor at the Gastro-Pub where there is fine grub and a decent beer selection. Down the hall to the Ballroom is where the better known touring acts (Alvvays, Frank Turner, Voivod) ply their trade. Word is that there are future plans for the basement (formerly the Caveau). Can't wait...  Claude's House continues to be the scene's gem. A small, all-ages, DIY basement venue that caters to hip locals, first-timers and broke desperate indie touring acts. Shows are usually early and are always cheap. Thank goodness...

FESTIVALS: The Mud City Meltdown, continues to improve with each year and we cannot wait to see what Xavier Leger and crew have in store for us in 2017... The Re:Flux Festival bills itself as a "festival of music and sound art" which is a totally accurate description. Features avant-garde, free jazz, noise, drone, neo-classical, ambient, experimental and everything in between. We hope to see this year's program within the next few months... Festival Inspire is a summertime urban street art festival, but features a decent amount of music and most events are free. We hope the tradition continues... Acadie Rock started as a purely francophone music fest with an emphasis on Acadian acts. We are happy to report that they are branching out as evidenced by last year's inclusion of Tribe Called Red among others... No Funswick is the city's 3 Day D.I.Y. punk fest in July. Most of the local bands get to play and there's always cool traveling acts from across Canada who make an appearance. Prices are cheap and there's lots of camaraderie. We hope that the loss of the Esquire as a venue does not have a huge negative effect.

The Impulse Items R.I.P.
BANDS: Radium Doxy are a great noisy trio who have been playing a bit and have done some recording in Halifax. Let's hope something gets released for consumption... Local thrash merchants Fear Agent have recently released a 4 song CD EP and seem to attract headbangers as well as a growing hardcore crowd...  Warsick, purveyors of d-beat crust punk, are writing, recording and hitting the road playing shows as far as Ontario... Dirty Kills broke up a while ago, but managed to release a split LP (With Dildozer) culled from leftover recordings... Which Witch Is Which isn't doing much these days but have reportedly recruited a new vocalist (their third?) so we look forward to seeing the new line-up perform... The Disasterbaters still play occasionally but it seems that frontman Richie Bourbon plays solo sets just as often... Zaum, the two-piece stoner/psychedelic/ambient band, have released their second full-length and continue to tour internationally where they are carving out a name for themselves. Congrats boys... Nerve Button saw their debut album arrive during the summer and managed some great European reviews. They're planning on releasing a single sometime soon using leftover tracks from the album sessions... Sintax Error quietly played their final show back in November as part of the FICFA. Fans need not despair because the most of the boys are already busy in other groups such as Superlove, Papa Ya and the Gregories...  City Bus Hand Jobs are a great young punk quartet that have been playing out of town a bit and will hopefully soon be releasing some kind of recording... The Peter Parkers, a long-time indie rock/ shoegaze outfit have been in the studio of late... The Adhesives, punks of the studs and spikes variety, announced their final show back in October but have since had a change of heart and are back up and running. Reportedly sounding better than ever. Oh those millennials... Jennifer Lopan released a cool cassette of retro rock and roll flavoured punk but hasn't done much since. Hmmmm?....  Jesse LeBlanc may have quit his Outtacontroller bassist job, but his one-man guitar ambient-noise act Last Museum is alive and well. Expect new recordings by this fella in the near future... The Phone Jerks, the city's ambassadors to the Rip Off Records sound, have just released a brand new 3 song 7" on Goodbye Boozy Records from Italy. Copies are apparently in transit and should be here soon. We are excited...  Leather Jackal, a trio made up of members of more established bands, play a speedy, catchy and almost clean type of punk and are certain to impress with their musical ability. Watch for them... Perhaps one of the best punk bands to ever come out of this city, the Impulse Items, have broken up. Sad news, but it seems all former members are still active in the music community... Earth A.D., one of the city's best-loved metal acts, have been recording songs despite not having played a gig in a couple of years. We wish to see activity from the Mazerolle brothers... We expect a new album by hard rockers The Motorleague in the new year. Their last one Holding Patterns appeared back in 2015... The long-dormant Monoxides have been readying up for some rehearsals which can only mean that some gigs are bound to happen... Small Package, which started out as a one-man Ramones core act featuring Alf Chase, has now grown into a full fledged trio. Our intrepid reporters have said good things... And finally, we don't know what's happening with the following bands except that they do play once or twice a year (in typical Moncton fashion). We're talking about The Robins, Parlour Tricks, Blotto, Thee Requiems. St-Elsewhere and Loud Buttface Grunge.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Moncton Gig Alert: Wednesday January 25, 2017

Who: Richie Young (Fredericton), Lester Slade, F.S.F.S.H., Josue Goguen, Marc Thériault
What: Country Folk Night
When: Wednesday January 25, 2017  8PM
Where: Claude's House
Cost: $5

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Moncton Gig Alert: Sunday January 22, 2017

Who: Whoop-Szo (Guelph, ON) , Usse (Saint-John), Last Museum
What: shoegaze, experimental, psychedelic, noise
When: Sunday January 22, 2017  9PM
Where: Plan B
Cost: $5

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Moncton Gig Alert: Wednesday January 18, 2017

Who: Protruders (Toronto), Towanda (Montreal), Booji Boys (Halifax), Phone Jerks
What: lo-fi indie/garage rock all-ages show
When: Wednesday January 18, 2017  8PM
Where: Claude's House
Cost: $10 PWYC

Friday, January 13, 2017

Moncton Gig Alert: Friday January 13 / Saturday January 14, 2016

Who: Papa Ya
What: Acadian Reggae Black Light Party
When: Friday January 13, 2016  9PM
Where: Centre Culturel Aberdeen
Cost: $15

Who: Diner Drugs, Counter Clockwork, Wild Card
What: CD EP Release Show!
When: Friday January 13, 2016  10PM
Where: Plan B Lounge
Cost: $7

Who: Wintersleep (Halifax/Montreal), The Everywheres (Halifax)
What: Indie Rock
When: Friday January 13, 2016  9PM
Where: Tide And Boar Ballroom
Cost:  $23

Who: Scoop Outs (Dartmouth NS), Phone Jerks, Leather Jackal, Small Package
What: all kinds of punk rawk
When: Saturday January 14, 2016  8PM
Where: Claude's House
Cost: $5