THE HIGHS, THE LOWS AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
BC EDITORS’ LISTS
Glenn Alderson – Editor-In-Chief
Drake – NWTS
Not everyone can fuck with Drake, it’s a fact. But those who do know there are so many different ways to take in the enigma that is NWTS. Drizzy unearthed this gem back in September and nothing really has been the same for me since. #yragoodgirlanduknowit
(Runners Up: Lorde – Pure Heroin, Joanna Gruesome – Weird Sister, Shawn Mrazek Lives! – Thought He Was Dead)
Pusha T – “Numbers On The Boards”
Camille Vega, our go-to rap correspondent at BeatRoute, dropped this song in the car on our way to Rifflandia Festival and it’s been on every one of my playlists since. Pusha T may have Kanye to thank for the next level beat that this song rides on but everything about this banger is dope.
(Runners Up: Blood Orange “You’re Not Good Enough”, A$AP Ferg “Shabba feat. A$AP Rocky”, BESTiE “Asleep On The Bus”)
Best Live Show
Saves The Day – September 7 @ The Biltmore Cabaret
Sometimes you just have to let nostalgia take its course. Through Being Cool was a very important album for me at one point in time and when these New Jersey emos rolled through the Biltmore they basically played it in its entirety. I was probably way more stoked than I should have been that night but thankfully everyone else in attendance was just as lame as me.
(Runners Up: Screaming Females – Nov. 14 @ The Media Club, Built To Spill – February 6 @ The Rickshaw Theatre, Destroyer – Nov. 3 @ Mississippi Studios)
Look at all my shit! This movie is errything I hoped it would be. My friends and I drove to Bellingham to see it one week before its Canadian release and I’m glad we did. James Franco is hilarious and babes in bikinis with machine guns is exactly where I was hoping Harmony Korine would take his next cinematic outing.
(Runners Up: Blue Jasmine, Place Beyond The Pines, Now You See Me)
Best Non-Musical Moment
Watching Tristan Orchard get a “bb” stick-n-poke in my living room from VICE senior editor Ben Shapiro. Still kills me every time I think about it. Woof.
Joshua Erickson – Managing Editor
The Knife – Shaking The Habitual
At a staggering 96 minutes in length, this album is not for the faint of heart, but it’s remarkable nonetheless. Shaking The Habitual is full of massive, lush synth landscapes that are equally beautiful and terrifying, industrial jams, and tribal/jungle-esque percussion. This is the Swedish duo’s most abrasive work yet, and you get the feeling you are actively being confronted. It is a challenging listen, but one that is incredibly rewarding.
(Runners up: Savages – Silence Yourself, Deafheaven – Sunbather, Disclosure – Settle, Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels)
Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”
There has always had a grandiose quality to Arcade Fire’s music, but with “Reflektor” they have loosened up and abandoned their earnest yearnings. Arcade Fire continues to be one of the most fascinating and exciting bands around today, and a huge part of that is their ability to constantly reinvent themselves without sounding contrived or tired. Plus this track is groovy as hell.
(Runners up: Kanye West – “Black Skinhead,” The So So Glos – “Wrecking Ball,” FIDLAR – “Cheap Beer,” Darkside – “Paper Trails”
Best Live Show
Coachella Valley Music Festival
I know this is kind of cheating but Coachella is awesome, so whatever. Highlights were Violent Femmes, Savages, Jurassic 5, Wu-Tang Clan, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.
(Runners up: Neutral Milk Hotel @ Mountain Oasis Music Festival; Titus Andronicus @ The Media Club)
This film is an absolute thrill-ride. With amazing special effects, motion sickness-inducing filming, and a storyline FAR more compelling than it had any right to be considering the concept, Gravity was my runaway favourite this year.
(Runners Up: Spring Breakers, Jurassic Park 3D)
Best Non-Musical Moment
My band’s album release show at the Cobalt. It was amazing to see so many friends, family and fans in one place. The place was packed, the crowd energy was incredible, and we played one of, if not the best set of our lives. I crowd surfed AND it totally didn’t turn out like Jack Black’s attempted crowd surf at the beginning of School of Rock. An incredible and overwhelming enjoyable night. OK, this is music related… but I think this is an exception.
Camille Vega – Marketing and Events Coordinator
Chance the Rapper – Acid Rap
I’m surprised that Chance the Rapper isn’t ruling the entire hip-hop world right now. This 20-year-old Chicago native has bars for days. Acid Rap bounces around from hard-hitting baselines to soft, spoken-word poetry in front of easy, mellow beats.
(Runners up: Earl Sweatshirt – Doris, James Blake – Overgrown, Johnny Rain – Lullaby of Machine, Run The Jewels – s/t)
Tory Lanez – Icey Dicey
This beat is infectious. It’s filthy and full of life, the perfect backing to the spit-game that is 20-year-old Torontonian Tory Lanez’s own. It’s much more than just a club-banger and has been overlooked one too many times.
(Runners up: Pusha T – “Suicide ft. Ab-Liva”, Lorde – “Glory and Gore”, Childish Gambino – “3005”, Ta-Ku – “We Were In Love”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Mykki Blanco at Club 919 in Victoria, BC – September 12th, 2013
When I interviewed Mykki for the June issue of BeatRoute I couldn’t have had a better time. Mykki’s live show was flawless when I caught her at Rifflandia. Her energy on stage is something unlike anything I’ve experienced, from crowd-surfing to jumping on top of tables, there wasn’t much else missing. Did I mention she did all of this in lingerie and a weave?
(Runners Up: James Blake at The Commodore – April 25th, 2013, A$AP Ferg at Fortune Sound Club – November 10th, 2013)
As a horror movie fanatic, I suppose it has the same look as most horror movies do, a lot of “noise” scare tactic and not enough actual plot-line, character development, etc. This couldn’t be further from the truth. James Wan, the dark mastermind behind Insidious and Insidious Chapter 2, gave me more than chills.
(Runners Up: World War Z, Fruitvale Station)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
This year has given me the hobby of writing professionally. What makes this even sweeter of a year is that I went out and sought every single writing gig I have today. It’s a creative outlet unlike any other, and I love it for no reason other than I get to listen to stories told by some of the greatest people in my generation and relay them to whomever takes the time to read. Everyone has a story, myself included, and no two are alike… so let me tell you one.
Alex Hudson – Local and Live Editor
Dirty Beaches – Love Is the Devil
My favourite musical memory of 2013 is the unseasonably warm week in spring that I spent sweating my ass of in my grandparents’ attic in London, ON, while listening to Dirty Beaches’ experimental opus Love Is the Devil on repeat.
(Runners up: Kanye West – Yeezus, HAIM – Days Are Gone, Nicholas Krgovich – Who Cares?, Boards of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest)
Daft Punk – “Get Lucky”
Around the time “Get Lucky” came out, I hosted one leg of a party crawl; for the entire 45 minutes that everyone was at my house, we listened to this song on repeat. No one complained.
(Runners up: HAIM – “If I Could Change Your Mind,” Sean Nicholas Savage – “Other Life,” Drake – “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” Gal Gracen – “Sylvan Tragedy”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Apollo Ghosts – May 10 @ Rickshaw Theatre
For years, I’ve been known to my BeatRoute colleagues as “the guy who really likes Apollo Ghosts.” Their last-ever show was a joyous, catalogue-spanning celebration that was the perfect send-off for one of the city’s best bands. On the downside, I’m now going to need a new local act to fixate on.
(Runners up: Shotgun Jimmie – May 18 @ Biltmore Cabaret, Billy Bragg – April 5 @ Vogue Theatre)
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney sitting in a tin can, far above the world. Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing they can do.
(Runners up: This Is the End, Before Midnight)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Walking through Golden Gate Park in February. San Francisco is way nicer in the winter than the summer (in my limited experience), and the sunny, 18-degree weather was the perfect antidote to Vancouver’s rainy season.
Summer Swanson – Electronics Dept. Editor
A$AP Ferg – Trap Lord
Captivating fierce, innovative verses supported by Ferg’s surprisingly melodic vocals and some damn fine production, the album reads smoothly from start to finish, and I’m still addicted to “Shabba” and “Trap Lord” six months after the release.
(Runners up: Special Request – Soul Music, Run the Jewels – s/t, Graze – Graze EP, Om Unit – Threads)
Breach – “Jack”
Born out of Ben Westbeech’s attempt to add sex appeal to the flip side of “Let’s Get Hot,” the title tune far surpassed expectations, becoming wildly successful in its addictive simplicity.
(Runners up: Machinedrum – “Eyesdontlie,” Duke Dumont – “Need U (100%),” Shlohmo ft. Jeremih – “Bo Peep (Do U Right),” Pusha T – “Numbers on the Boards”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Eats Everything w/Ricco, Phil David, and Marcello – August 9 @ Shine Nightclub
A night before his scheduled Shambhala performance, Eats Everything came to Vancouver – and for some reason, never made it to Shambhala the next day. Flailer night or cancelled flight rumours aside, he drove the intimately packed dancefloor to tears that hot Friday night with an intoxicating energy and nonstop heaters.
(Runners up: Machinedrum – August 4 @ Bass Coast, Bike Rave – June 29th @ Crab Park)
The Act of Killing
Indonesian mass murderering “gangsters” convince local civilians to re-enact their crimes on film at the behest of the documentarian, grotesquely glorifying the deeds as they laugh, smoke cigarettes, and gossip amongst each other about the most horrifying atrocities. An absolute must-see.
(Runners up: Stories We Tell, Leviathan)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Getting engaged to my soulmate!
Alison Sinkewicz – City Editor
Kanye West – Yeezus
Mr. West is dead. Kanye’s killed the backpack-clad peer-pressure apologist we’ve come to know and love to hate. Slain on the first track when the swirling and snarling intro to “On Sight” immediately rejects any Nikki Minaj storybook bullshit. By “I am a God” there’s no doubt Kanye has been reborn and he’s definitely not our savior. Long live Yeezus.
(Runners up: Kelela – Cut 4 Me, Drake – NWTS, The Knife – Shaking the Habitual)
FKA Twigs- Papi Pacify
Net darling FKA Twigs delivered one of the most uniquely direct singles of the year. The UK songstress coons over Yeezus producer Arca’s muscular beat, begging for clarity, pacificity that’s never granted. Twig’s hollow sweetness dullens the sharpness of the track, but it still hurts so good.
(Runners up: Kanye West – “New Slaves,” Angel Olsen – “Forgiven/Forgotten,” Drake – “Hold on We’re Going Home”)
Best Live Show
Screaming Females – Nov 14 @ Media Club
“Pint sized powerhouse” is a phrase used too loosely in the female-fronted music world. “Bad-ass shredder in a size 6 shoe” is more accurate to describe this particular pint. Front woman Marissa Paternoster thrashed her way through the set with punkette poise on perfect head-banging point.
(Runners up: Mount Kimbie – June 13 @ Fortune, Yeezus @ 4eva In My Dreams)
Want to experience a complete mental break down for only two hours? Commiserate with Cate Blanchett with this flawless performance of a selfish train wreck. A daughter/son’s worst nightmare, see it with your mom and give her a hug afterwards.
(Runners up: Frances Ha, Blue is the Warmest Color)
Best Non-Musical Moment
Artist Mike Bourscheid distilling schnapps while honking the familiar sounds of the Canada goose.
Sarah Bauer – Contributing Editor
Phosphorescent – Muchacho
Man. Muchacho is a smoky golden sunrise, a warm and sweet blend of country, folk and atmospheric rock. Matthew Houck is the mastermind behind it all, cutting through soothing sonic textures with a voice equally matched in raw vulnerability and rich strength.
(Runners up: Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, Water Liars – Wyoming, Typhoon – White Lighter, Royal Canoe – Today We’re Believers)
Hop Along – “Sister Cities”
This rascally, blistering rock tune fronted by the scrappiest (in a good way) female voice I’ve heard all year will make you want to get on your bike and go find some trouble.
(Runners up: Angel Olsen – “Sweet Dreams”, Lightning Dust – “Diamond”, Daniel Romano – “A New Love (Can Be Found)”, Haim – “Don’t Save Me”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Daniel Romano – January 26 house show
Talk about good luck! I saw Daniel Romano perform on a makeshift stage in an apartment on Main Street, following his brilliant, Nudie-suit-clad performance at the Commodore earlier that night. Someone had a bottle of Ballantine’s, the taste of which I now associate with tidy Johnny Cash covers and pedal steel swells.
(Runners up: Neko Case – September 20 @ the Orpheum, Marnie Stern – April 25 @ the Media Club)
Not since No Country For Old Men has a film physically rattled me to the point where it was borderline unpleasant to sit through. Glad I did though because Tom Hanks calls shotgun on Best Actor of the Year in the last five punch-drunk minutes.
(Runners up: The Bling Ring, Blue Jasmine)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Showing Jian Ghomeshi text messages from my mom, because “Geom Gomeshee” is the best.
Tiina Liimu – The Skinny Editor
The Sadies – Internal Sounds
Okay, so many albums, can I pick? NO! So here’s a “GOOD” Canadian
band. I dunno, alright. Recently I had my paws on an advance and
ignored the press. So, one day I plugged my headphones while working
on some artwork. First spin this album took me on such a great trip
song to song, place to place. Easy, no warm up required. This is a
solid band that just keeps getting better and it never wears thin. No
prompting, no hype, just easy. A good enough reason, right? And kudos
to the self-produced effort!
Sorry can’t pin ONE down and kinda the same above and below, I know
I’m missing a bunch. Hey, next live show, save a bit of your beer money
and buy a record from a band if you really dug it.
BEST LIVE SHOW
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – April 6 @ The Vogue
Look, this guy can walk on water.
(Runners up: Roky Erickson – November 17 @ Electric Owl, DISTORT Vancouver VOL. IX – Sept 5, 6, 7 @ WISE, ANZA, ASTORIA)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Having the luxury of being fairly urban central but in 20 minutes
on a Sunday morning while the city slickers nurse their hangovers, I
can be out with the four-legged crew hiking in the rain forest and
dipping toes and paws into a mountain stream.
ALBERTA EDITORS’ LISTS
Best Record: This year was a goldmine for great albums, but standouts include Hanni El Khatib’s Head in the Dirt, This Hisses’ Anhedonia and Lindi Ortega’s Tin Star.
Worst Record: Not necessarily the worst record, but I was disappointed in Kvelertak’s sophomore effort, Meir. It was too much of the same and they didn’t do anything to further their sound in any meaningful way.
Best Local Release: SAvK’s Love Letters and Hate Mail takes the top prize for me — an immaculate, catchy album, from start to finish. An honourable mention goes out to Cold Water’s 7”, “Wolf Willow” b/w “Buffalo Beans.” Stebner’s post-hardcore country combo is one of the best things in town.
Best Local Show: July Talk, both during Sled Island and recently at the Gateway. Watching Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay build an entire set around their sexual tension cuts to the core of rock and roll. Love and rock and roll is all about what you can’t have.
Favourite Festival Memory: Learning how to stick-and-poke by candlelight during the flood, a 40 of Jameson in one hand and a needle in the other. Dustin’s “Flood Island 2013” on his knee looks amazing.
Best Local Moment: Banding together after the flood to help those in need. I didn’t think Calgary had such a deep sense of community spirit before this summer and I was happy to be proven wrong.
Best Record: Can’t pick only one. The ones I loved the most were new albums by Atlantean Kodex, The Ruins of Beverast, Magic Circle, Darkthrone, and Sacriphyx.
Worst Record: Pfffft. Why shit on records when I could name more I love? Releases by Funeral Circle, Cult of Fire, Procession, House of Atreus, Bölzer, Monarque….
Best Local Release: Blackrat’s Whiskey and Blasphemy and The Weir’s Yesterday’s Graves were the winners for me. Our writer described the former as “Sodom, Disrupt and Bestial Mockery thrown into a microwave, from which they emerge as one mutated bastard child,” which sums it up astutely. The second brought all the BLAOW you’ll ever need. Crushing.
Best Local Show: Tough call. Everything Joe from Fornication and Savage Streets put on was great. Broken glass, ample booze, great bands. Fuck Off Life Fest, the Primitive Black Metal Tribute show and a handful more were viciously excellent.
Favourite Festival Memory: Standing backstage, with about 10 hours of sleep in three days, watching Candlemass during Noctis 666: Lucifer Rex was too good. Also, seeing Dutch death/doom legends Asphyx front row, centre for an all doom set at Roadburn.
Best Local Moment: It’s amazing how strong the Calgary metal scene is. Though there is an obvious division in musical preferences, shows are double and triple stacked almost every weekend and there is something to do all the time. Band quality has never been higher!
Best Record: Madchild finally released the highly previewed Lawnmower Man, which was best for “Prefontaine.” That basically became the anthem of my household, because my roommate’s last name was Prefontaine and it did justice to his type of badass. He had scorpions and lured a neighbourhood cat with his love. After the flood, he’s been going as Prefontaine on the Slam scene of Toronto and it just recalls good memories.
Worst Record: I don’t know, Miley Cyrus? I’m really just waiting for her to release a sex tape with McCaulay Caulkin. It would probably be anticlimactic, but at least there would be great .gifs
Best Local Show: Wreck City rocked my world in amazement and marked the end and beginning of a new era in Calgary arts.
Favourite Festival Memory: Definitely the resilient mecca of Flood Island.
Best Local Moment: The flood brought out a lot that had been just below the surface. Things are still falling into place and it’s been pretty tough, but this is an incredible time in history and it’s kind of amazing to get to be a part of what happens next. The city is your prairie oyster!
Best movie: Frances Ha.
Worst movie: This Is The End. Dumbest piece of crap I’ve ever watched.
Best local film: The Right Kind of Wrong shot in the Canmore area.
Best local show (music): Probably Passion Pit’s DJ set back in January. We all loved the shitty remixes and the system breaking down halfway through the show.
Favourite Festival Memory: Buying my parents tickets to the Folk Fest to see Creedence Clearwater Revival and them completely loving it. Oh and Alabama Shakes was unreal! That voice!
Best Local Moment: Analog Coffee opening. Reminds me of Europe. You have not lived if you haven’t tried the brownie there.
Best Record: Life Changes by Casey Veggies. The L.A. rapper released this mixtape back in January when he was but a wee lad of 19. Appropriately enough, it’s comprised of cheeky driving jams and skate-thug introspectives produced by Harry Fraud and D.R.U.G.S. Plot twist: The subtle complexities of a kid with grown-up taste grappling with the industry come out and render every track lyrically italicized. I’m still spinning it.
Worst Record: The Weeknd’s Kiss Land. Some may call it a step down in creative quality from his mixtape trilogy. I call it a horribly embarrassing trip down an entire flight of stairs, punctuated by plaintively blasé wailing about Japanese hookers and underscored with drugged-out misogyny. Abel, you need a gimmick other than emotionally tortured man-flower/reluctant, racially ambiguous womanizer. That`s Drake’s thing.
Best Local Release: Beach Season’s Ugly Summer, for those with a palate for chillwave, psychedelic house, and progressive R&B. Go listen to “Paralyzed” on one of those 20-below days and you’ll feel a little bit sunnier.
Best Local Show: It goes without saying that Wreck City was a phenomenal way to kick off the summer. Sound-wise, Sanctums live is always a solid experience.
Favourite Festival Memory: Eating McDonald`s with The Sword. Dancing backstage at Afrikadey. Sweating all of my black lipstick off during Hunx and His Punx`s after-hours set in the BeatRoute basement and then waking up in a bra and a leather jacket.
Best Local Moment: Love as it is born in the photo booth at Broken City and over chocolate cream pie at the Blackfoot Diner.
Best Record: Hooded Fang’s Gravez has been in my headphones all year. A frantic mix of garage and indie-rock, crammed with enough cynical emotion and danceable guitar lines to leave you lying on the floor, wanting more. Honourable mention goes to skate-punk shit-heads FIDLAR for their compilation of previous EPs.
Worst Record: I don’t think it’s the worst album per se, or even the band’s worst, but there was something largely disappointing with the latest Edward Sharpe release. It seems the band has found an audience and are content with pandering to it.
Best Local Release: Jung People’s Gold Bristle! is not only my favourite local release, but probably the best thing my ears have encountered all year. Cathartic, fragile and engaging in a way that post-rock can only hope to be.
Best Local Show: Seeing the Sparta reunion in the confines of Broken City really made my year. Mostly-foggy memories of Jim Ward spewing nostalgic bliss will remain with me for years to come.
Favourite Festival Memory: Maybe not my “favourite” memory, but the surreal feeling of walking through an empty downtown core, after what would end up being the final sets of the Sled Island, was a feeling I’ll never forget.
Best Record: Pearl Jam – Lightning Bolt; Phoenix – Bankrupt!; Dream Theater – self-titled
Worst Records: Nah. Didn’t hear an album I hated.
Best Local Release: Tanner James – How To Ruin Your Life With Women (disclosure: he was a classmate of mine, so a completely biased answer).
Best Local Show: Colin Stetson at Commonwealth during Sled Island. I didn’t know such sounds on the saxophone were humanly possible.
Best Local Moment: The way our city pulled together after the June flood.
Best Record: Revocation – Revocation
Worst Record: Megadeth – Super Collider
Best Local Release: Phantom Limb – Mantra
Best Local Show: The Unlucky 13 hosted by Red Deer’s Justin Shadows (vocalist of Leave the Living). I played close to 20 shows over the last year, but that one took the cake. It was by far the most fun and energetic gig I was able to play yet.
Favourite Festival Memory: Hanging out with Gene Hoglan at Noctis. I’ll never forget it.
Best Local Moment: The sheer vastness of Calgary Metalfest and what transpired over those three days. It was absolutely fantastic to see how much metal talent the city had to offer.
From Team BeatRoute