Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
1. Bon Iver
2. St. Vincent
8. PJ Harvey
9. Timber Timbre
10. Sandro Perri
11. Wild Flag
12. Shotgun Jimmie
13. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
16. Bill Callahan
18. Rich Aucoin
19. Tom Waits
21. Ty Segall
22. Lykke Li
24. Handsome Furs
27. Dog Day
28. Kurt Vile
30. The Rural Alberta Advantage
1. Bon Iver Bon Iver, Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar)
Back in 2008, Justin Vernon, aka Bon Iver, won over hearts by taking the broken pieces of his and turning them into his bedroom-bruised debut For Emma, Forever Ago. His outstanding follow-up reveals that while time (and success) healed certain wounds ― note that his own moniker takes the title (twice!) this time 'round ― our folk-hero is still a fractured soul searching for his place in the world. But this time he's armed with fabulous '80s flourishes. The hopeful "Calgary" starts tranquil and cold, but warms as the layers of drums, guitar and synthesizers crescendo and retreat. "Holocene" aches with a similar winter-y feel, but the drum rolls and spare arrangement focus all the attention on Vernon's vocals and the lonely refrain "I can see for miles, miles, miles." For all this distress and earnestness though, Vernon's bolstered by some balls, as evidenced by "Beth/Rest," the album's last song. It works both as a brilliant summarizing of affairs ― electronic keyboards, vocal distortion, moody saxophone ― and a warning cry of what's to come. It forces the listener to fully consider the scope of Vernon's bizarre and brave artistry. Thankfully any egregious bravado is tempered by his grounded humbleness, which is a refreshing combination compared to other creative geniuses.
StreamsFeb 25, 2015
Lagwagon and Swingin' Utterson Exclaim! TV Chatroom
West Coast punk legends Lagwagon and Swingin' Utters have been consistently inspiring bands since the late '80s/early '90s. So when Lagwagon...
FeaturesFeb 24, 2015
Most People"Lover's Spit" (Broken Social Scene cover) on Exclaim! TV
Until a month before performing a set of Broken Social Scene covers at the 15th edition of the Wavelength Music Festival, Paul McEachern of ...
StreamsFeb 23, 2015
Lisa LeBlanc"Katie Cruel" on Exclaim! TV
Acadian folk-rocker Lisa LeBlanc has been gaining overwhelmingly positive reviews for her 2014 EP (and debut English language recording) Hig...
FeaturesFeb 20, 2015
B. A. JohnstonPerforms Three New Songs (Exclaim! TV x Pinball Sessions)
Judging by the title of his upcoming album Shit Sucks, things may appear a bit down in the life of B.A. Johnston. However, the Hamilton-base...