Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
Back in January few people had ever heard of drone-y doom-folk crew Gowns, but by years' end the defunct Los Angeles duo had gained some serious posthumous notoriety as the creative birthplace of Erika M. Anderson. Past Life Martyred Saints, the South Dakota transplant's debut as EMA, proved to be one of the year's greatest surprises. The record's strength comes from its intimacy, but intimacy doesn't always equal weakness. Opener "The Grey Ship" begins with a sparse acoustic guitar and hushed vocals, pulling listeners in before swaths of overdriven guitars pummelling them into submission. From there, we're putty in Anderson's hands. Past Life finds its legs in "California" where Anderson adopts a Kim Gordon-esque speak-sing that opens with the line," Fuck California, you made me boring," delivering a visceral vocal over top guitar drones and drums the size of the Grand Canyon. Critics have had a hard time pinning Anderson down, given that each song on the record seems to reveal a new influence. "Milkman" offers the closest thing to dance floor groove while "Coda" is a 60-second ode to Appalachian folk. Then there's "Breakfast," whose slow burn reveals a fair bit of time spent listening to classic rock power ballads. Anderson is the through line, singing with a confidence that provides a guiding light through the album's beautiful noise.
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...