Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
When Tom Waits was in his 20s, he was straining to be the artist he is now in his 60s. Although it's been seven years between albums of original material, the glorious gumbo of blues and balladry that is Bad As Me sounds as effortless as anything Waits has ever done. While some may not describe it as the most challenging work in his catalogue, Waits certainly has nothing left to prove after redefining himself so convincingly so many times over the past 40 years. Yet Bad As Me is far from derivative. It's only the legions of Waits imitators who have never been able to replicate the graveyard rockabilly of tracks like "Raised Right Men," and "Get Lost" that he's been perfecting since the early '80s. The amount of notable guests on the album is in some ways a tribute to Waits' persistence with that approach, and it's especially significant that Keith Richards contributes more than he has on any previous Waits album on which he's appeared. They sound like soul mates on both the rockers ("Chicago") and the album's designated weeper ("Last Leaf") to the point where it seems as though Keef wouldn't hesitate to become Waits' full-time henchman if only he could somehow divorce himself from Sir Mick. What he must surely recognize is that Waits at this moment is the embodiment of American music's renegade spirit, and Bad As Me puts all of those elements on full display.
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 ...
StreamsMay 20, 2015
Danko Jones and Damian Abrahamon Exclaim! TV Chatroom (Part 2)
In part one of Danko Jones and Damian Abraham's recent Exclaim! TV Chatroom session, the two endlessly discussed their views on music, award...