Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
The number of bands that create a memorable debut album but stumble thereafter are more numerous than stars in the sky. New York indie pop band Pains of Being Pure At Heart's introductory full-length in 2009 was nothing short of pure bliss. And this year they sidestepped fading into the unknown mist ― their follow-up album Belong slaughtered the sophomore slump with a loving middle finger. Produced and mixed by the same fine folks who have worked with the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins and Depeche Mode, Pains capture the uplifting pop sensibilities of those bands without becoming a nostalgic clone. The fuzzed-out guitars, inviting synth melodies and Kip Berman's soft vocals combine to create this warm feeling that can cure a broken heart, or lift a euphoric feeling even higher. From the title track that begins the album with this "us against the world" feeling that makes you believe anything is truly possible, to the closing track "Strange" that cements that same sentiment under the light of a couple in love, Belong takes the listener on a heart-wrenching ride toward hope.
FeaturesMay 28, 2015
Patrick WatsonBlinded By Science
An album about robots may seem suited for the kind of experimentalism seen in science fiction, but Patrick Watson — the Montreal-based...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
Samantha Savage SmithSteps Outside the Box
It took four years for the release of Calgary singer-songwriter Samantha Savage Smith's follow-up to her 2011 debut. In that time Smith has ...
FeaturesMay 26, 2015
High EndsClass Act
There's a line at the start of "Working Man's Blue," the last song on Yukon Blonde frontman Jeffrey Innes's debut LP as High Ends, that goes...
StreamsMay 25, 2015
Pick a Piper"Dinghy in a Quiet Cove" on Exclaim! TV
Although Pick a Piper started as a group that aim to bring "organic dance music," their switch to electronic instrumentation did not stop th...
NewsMay 25, 2015
Shamir Finds His Disco-Pop Voice on 'Ratchet'
One of last year's best new discoveries was a confident debut single called "If It Wasn't True" that sounded straight out of the DFA laborat...
FeaturesMay 22, 2015
How I PlayDine Alone Records' Joel Carriere
It all started in a mall. Joel Carriere was working at Sam the Record Man in St. Catharines, ON. Still in his early 20s, the local show prom...
NewsMay 21, 2015
Patrick Watson Melds Flesh and Machine on 'Love Songs for Robots'
Patrick Watson's new album may be called Love Songs for Robots, but it was inspired less by science fiction than science fact. The Montreal-...
NewsMay 20, 2015
Brandon Flowers Goes in Depth on the Killer Collaborations of 'The Desired Effect'
Brandon Flowers is best known as the frontman for the Killers, but for the second time in five years, he has gone out on his own. While the ...