Pop & Rock 2011: 30 Best Albums
This art-driven foursome of Calgary to Montreal transplants made major waves with the release of their stunning debut this year. Braids create a sort of dream-like haze that refracts tribal sensibilities through contemporary musical means; meditative repetition based around vocal melodies with tom-heavy syncopated drumming, awash in gently whirring echoes, bouncing loops, soft fuzzy synth pads, twinkling keys and deliberate crystalline guitar picking. It's a fascinating and viscerally gripping sound as aptly described by the hypnagogic pop tag as obvious influences Animal Collective. As comfortable sculpting sound as they are arranging instrumentation ― the warped, ethereal harmonies and rhythmic delay loop tweaking of the title track is an excellent example ― the young Taylor Smith, Katie Lee, Austin Tufts and Raphaelle Standell-Preston come from a generation surrounded by such a rich history of diverse sounds that there are no limits to what can be put into the service of the ever-evolving notion of what pop music can be. Powerful vocal melodies are always in the driver's seat, even when songs like "Lammicken" rely on few other traditional dressings, or "Lemonade" takes extensive instrumental detours. Like all great and vital pop music, Braids perform musical alchemy with Native Speaker, combining influences from a history of sonic amalgamation to create new traditions in popular sound.
Scott A. Gray
FeaturesJul 29, 2015
Titus AndronicusAmbition In Five Acts
Since Patrick Stickles rose up with fists held high in July 2005 as frontman for Titus Andronicus, he and the band have done nothing half-as...
StreamsJul 22, 2015
The Lonely Parade"Girl" on Exclaim! TV
Augusta Veno, Charlotte Dempsey and Anwyn Climenhage are the Lonely Parade, a punk-y indie rock trio from Peterborough, ON. Their debut albu...
StreamsJul 21, 2015
Elliot Maginot"Monsters at War" on Exclaim! TV
After spending his teen years playing in skate-punk garage bands, Montreal musician Elliot Maginot's debut LP might come as a surprise. Insp...
FeaturesJul 21, 2015
Conor OberstFolk In Many Guises
Conor Oberst is many things to many people. Emo wunderkind, folk troubadour, rock'n'roll saviour — he's been called it all. Yet for so...
NewsJul 21, 2015
Titus Andronicus Dissect the Epic, Emotional 'Most Lamentable Tragedy'
"By the way, all my tears are on the record," Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles tells Exclaim! over the phone from his NYC home. "T...
ReviewsJul 20, 2015
Hundred WatersBass Camp Stage, Pemberton BC, July 19
Falling right into the beautifully crafted "Out Alee," Hundred Waters graced the Bass Camp Stage on the last day of Pemberton (July 19). Cup...
StreamsJul 17, 2015
The Muscadettes"Growing Pains" on Exclaim! TV
Twin sisters Chantal and Kathleen Ambridge are the Muscadettes, a band whose sun-drenched, reverb-laden sound reflects an upbringing on '60s...
NewsJul 17, 2015
Left and Leaving: An Essential Weakerthans Playlist
Earlier this week, beloved Winnipeg indie rockers the Weakerthans broke the hearts of Canadian music fans everywhere when drummer Jason Tait...