Archive for December, 2008

AWmusic’s Top Songs of 2008 pt3: #26-50

Onto the top 50! These lists take long to do. To finish my list today or tomorrow hmmm. Again 10 word description limit.
Part 1 #76-100
Part 2 #51-75

Next in the series:
Part 4: #1-25
#26 Teen Creeps by No Age (myspace/live)
I’m feeling regretful of not including Nouns in my list.
#27 Eraser by No Age (video/live)
Can be #26 (tied), both are equally good.
#28 Feel The Love by Cut Copy (myspace/live)
“All the girls I’ve known are crying” Conceited but catchy.
#29 Bare Feet On Wet Grip Tape by Chad VanGaalen (myspace)
Soft Airplane’s most accessible song.
#30 God? By The Dodos (myspace)
“Oh God, where’d you go?” Agnosticism at its finest?
#31 Ottoman by Vampire Weekend (myspace)
At least we got this song from a shitty movie.
#32 Beat (Health, Life and Fire) by Thao Nguyen With The Get Down Stay Down (myspace/live)
Upon listening to this track, I’ve become a big fan.
#33 Heart of Chambers by Beach House (myspace/video)
My favorite song off Devotion.
#34 Dying Is Fine by Ra Ra Riot (myspace/video-ep version)
Sounds emo without reference to this poem.
#35 Hitten by Those Dancing Days (myspace/video)
All girl indie pop bands ftw.
#36 Let’s All Sleep Together by Team Genius (myspace)
Orgies ftw. (All girl orgies ftw?)
#37 For Emma by Bon Iver (myspace/live)
This song is simple but captures the atmosphere of loneliness.
#38 The Modern Leper by Frightened Rabbit (myspace/live)
“You must be a masochist, to love a modern leper”
#39 Rabid Bits of Time by Chad Van Gaalen
Beautifully sung.
#40 Winter ’05 by Ra Ra Riot
This song makes Winter depressing. Sad in general.
#41 Agoraphobia by Deerhunter (myspace)
“Cover me, comfort me” is stuck in my head.
#42 Skeleton Man by The Evangelicals (myspace/live)
“When someone loves you very much, you’re fucked”
#43 Why Do You You Let Me Stay Here? By She and Him (myspace/video)
Fuck you Ben Gibbard!…oh I meant congrats.
#44 Move by Cansei De Ser Sexy (myspace/video)
Another catchy CSS track.
#45 Another World by Antony and The Johnsons (myspace/video)
Antony apparently doesn’t think much of us. Still beautiful though.
#46 Uncalibrated by Bridges and Powerlines (myspace/video)
This song puts the power into powerpop.
#47 Shut Up And Let Me Go by The Ting Tings (myspace/video)
The Ting Tings are a guilty pleasure.
#48 Poison Dart by The Bug ft. Warrior Queen (myspace/video)
My introduction to The Bug. I was amazed.
#49 My Year in Lists by Los Campesinos (myspace/video)
“Send me stationery to make me horny” Mail-sex ftw?
#50 I Hate Dell by Oldfolks Home (myspace)
Dell pissed off the wrong guy.

Best Of 2008 (Aaron Long)

It’s late December, there’s a nip in the air, and everyone is panicking while trying to figure out what to do for New Years eve, and on top of all of that, we’re all having year end, top ten lists shoved down our throats. The whole format sickens me. Say I was doing the list for the top ten post-hardcore albums of the year. Honestly, I can only come up with two or three. Does that mean that I should fill in an album that disappointed me like Senses Fail’s Waiting Room, just so I can have a nice round number. No. No I shouldn’t. It is with that hatred of top ten’s in mind that I present my best of the year review. It’s broken down into several categories, and crammed full of goodness, so pay attention and you may learn something, or learn to hate me.

Best Albums

1. Protest The Hero – Fortress

It’s rare when the album that you had pegged as the best of the year before the year has even began turns out to prove you right, but then, Protest the Hero are a rare band. The follow-up to 2005’s prog-metal opera, Kezia, Fortress finds the boys in Protest ratcheting up the noodeling, bringing more effects to the table and deeper more violent imagery to the lyrics. And it’s hard to beat front man Rody Walkers uniquely falsetto growl, especial on lines like “….Be thankful you died by Irish steal.”

The Dissentience

2. The Matches – A Band In Hope

I love The Matches and I love this album. They were all over the place on their last album Decomposer, working with a plethora of producers, including Mark Hoppus, but A Band In hope delivers on the promise made by some of Decomposers better tracks. It’s at times solemn and reflective, and then equally catchy and poppy. The Matches are just realizing who they are as a band and just coming into their own.

Wake The Sun

3. Underoath – Lost In The Sound Of Separation

It’s technically superior to anything else that came out this year, and Underoath just keep brining it, time and time again, album after album. Spencer Chamberlin’s scream is continuously getting better, and they’ve relegated drummer Aaron Gillespie nasal voice to a more secondary role on all but one song. If you’ve never listened to Underoath before, I’m sorry to say, that you don’t deserve the gift of hearing.

Breathing In A New Mentality

4.Finch – Finch EP

Finch re-defined post hardcore, had a bevy of bands line up to steal their sound, and then re-created themselves and had all the same bands steal their sound again. They split up in 2006 and took some time off before getting back together and releasing four songs of purest gold. The Finch EP finds the boys doing what they do best coming straight at you hard and melodic, and once again, putting a new spin on post hardcore.

Chinese Organ Thieves

Honorable Mention

Norma Jean – The Anti Mother
The Sound Of animals Fighting – The Ocean and the Sun
Jack’s Mannequin – The Glass Passenger

Best Side Projects

1. Anthony Green – Avalon

Anthony Green fronted Saosin before they sucked sweaty goat balls. His current band Circa Survive are going to reach new hights in the coming year, as their last album, On Letting Go was phenomenal, and they’re only getting better and he easily has the best voice in music. Avalon is sincere and showcases Green’s voice, the way it is meant to be heard.

Dear Child (I\'ve Been Trying To Reach You)

2. Cinematic Sunrise – A Coloring Storybook And Long-Playing Record

What a year for the hardest working man in rock. Craig Owens toured the country with Chiodos, released Cinematic Sunrise’s debut EP, joined the band Glaciers?, began plans for the release of his solo album, and ended the year with a handful of solo dates. Oh, and he tried to commit suicide too. Either way his voice is incredible, and his intelligence and passion for literature shine through his lyrics whether they’re found on a Chiodos disc or on this mellow, piano driven gem.

Pulling A Piano From A Pond

3. The Sound Of Animals Fighting – The Ocean And The Sun

TSOAF came back this year with another offering from your favorite animals. The Nightingale (RX Bandits – Rich Balling(who also produced)), The Walrus (RX Bandits – Matt Embree), The Lynx (RX Bandits – Chris Tsagakis) and The Skunk (Anthony Green – Circa Survive), compose the slimmed down roster this time around. The sound is slimmed down too from Lover Thy Lord Has Left Us, and focuses on Green and Ballings intertwining vocals, and atmospheric rock backing them up. Definitely worth checking out.

The Ocean And The Sun

Honorable Mention

LoveYouMoon (Matt Embree) – Wax Wane

Best Live Show

1. Protest the Hero w/ Chiodos
@ The Sound Academy, Toronto

Chiodos is all energy and play like they’re on fire and to follow that up with Protest, who play so hard and loud, they could make your eyes bleed, and as it was the end of the tour and there hometown show they brought it extra hard.

2. Fall of Troy w/ The Dear Hunter, Foxy Shazam and Tera Melos
@ The Mod Club, Toronto

Go see Fall Of Troy Live. Nough said.

Honorable Mention

Minus The Bear
@ The Opera House, Toronto

Songs Not on Any Of The Above Albums

1. Yesterday’s Rising – The Alarm

2004’s We Speak We Breathe EP, promised a lot from Yesterday’s Rising, and after 2005’s far too Incubus-y full length Lightworker, that promise had still gone unfulfilled. The Alarm is the first step back to proving that they may very well be the best band most people have never heard of. Currently labelless, but constantly recording new music, it won’t be long before Yesterday rising gets another kick at the can, and likely launch that mother fucker into deep space.

2. Say Anything – I Got Your Money
from: Punk Goes Crunk

Say Anything‘s Max Bemis a genius. A Bi-Polar genius, but if anything, that’s just icing on the cake. For this years release in the Punk Goes….. series, Crunk, as it were, Bemis tackled the 1999 ODB smash, I Got Your Money. As many of the tracks in that disc proved, hip-hop lyrics are pretty shit, but somehow he makes it work, without seeming to even make fun of it. Nothing I say can do Bem-Dawg credit, so just go and listen to the song, and for god sakes, someone give Bemis his money.

Say Anything – Got Your Money

Anticipated in ‘09

’09 could potentially kick ass musically, or it could be so disappointing that I won’t want to make it twenty-ten. Releases from Chiodos, Circa Survive, Taking Back Sunday, The Ataris, Killswitch Engage, Finch, and hopefully Yesterdays Rising, are but a few, and God help us all, ’09 could also finally bring a new Glassjaw disc. If that’s not enough of a reason to look forward to 2009 with a finger in the air, yelling “fuck the recession”, than I don’t even want to talk to you.

AWmusic’s Top Songs of 2008 pt 2: #51-75

I forgot to mention that these top songs are still very personal opinions despite trying to take as many suggestions of the rest of the writers. I’m not sure how people will respond to the list, numbering isn’t quite as important as inclusion. I like taking suggestions as there will be millions of tracks I likely missed. As is the goal with this list, 10-limit descriptions included.


Next in the series:
Part 3: #26-50
Part 4: #1-25

Numbers #51-75:
#51 Creator by Santogold w/ Switch and Freq Nasty (myspace/video -unofficial was canceled?)
The intro is risky, brave and wildly effective.
#52 Crystal Stilts by Crystal Stilts (myspace)
A song should be good if it’s your band name.
#53 I Wish I Could Keep You by Little Pictures (myspace/live)
This song makes me wish I was a kid again.
#54 In The Kitchen by The Pomegranates (myspace/live -poor visual quality)
A song I want to play on the guitar.
#55 Never Miss A Beat by Kaiser Chiefs (homepage/video)
The kids on the street, are scary! Shiiet.
#56 Death To The Los Campesinos! By Los Campesinos! (myspace/video)
“I’ll be control-alt-deleting your face with no reservation”.
#57 Marry Me Annie by Matthew and The Arrogant Sea (myspace)
Hey Annie, I’m serious, MATAS is a great band.
#58 Whiite Fantaseee by Slim Twig (myspace)
How about an Asian fantaseee?
#59 Dance Dance Dance by Lykke Li (myspace/live with Bon Iver)
Lykke Li’s hips lie and she’s shy. I’m in love.
#60 Galaxy Of The Lost by Lightspeed Champion (myspace/video)
Emmy The Great makes this song gold. Weird video.
#61 Skinny Love by Bon Iver
Bon Iver should try BBW. Morbidly Obese Love anyone?
#62 Good Time by Brazilian Girls (myspace/video)
I just want to have a good time too.
#63 Can’t Shake It by Kate Miller-Heidke (myspace/video)
I can’t dance either though this song is danceable…
#64 New Soul by Yael Naim(homepage)
I’m a new ipod product with a new catchy song.
#65 Boneless by The Notwist (homepage)
Great song off a slightly disappointing album.
#66 Shadow Falls by Hello, Blue Roses (myspace/live)
Awesome duet, too bad they were bashed by Pitchfork.
#67 Get Better by Mates of State (myspace/video)
“Forget your politics for awhile”. 2008 was a tough year.
#68 Xavia by The Submarines (myspace)
The Submarines don’t let me down in this song.
#69 Home Sweet Home by Those Dancing Days (myspace/video)
A perfect holiday song.
#70 Not Your Savior by Peasant (myspace)
Peasant keeps it honest, leave him alone.
#71 Call It A Ritual by Wolf Parade (myspace)
I enjoy Spencer Krug’s metaphorical writing.
#72 Black Rice by Women (myspace/live)
Best Song that ends in a whimper.
#73 The Rip by Portishead (homepage/video)
Just beautiful.
#74 That’s Not My Name by The Tings Tings (myspace/video)
Wait..what is her name again?
#75 Gila by Beach House (myspace/live)

Lights – Lights EP

2008 is coming to a close and it’s been a great run here at AWmusic. Thanks to every reader who took the time to enjoy my articles and most importantly shared in the great music that’s been featured on the site. A lot of these bands deserve the exposure and it’s great to see the supporters coming out, even if they do spam the comments section =). Also compliments to Allan for taking the site to the next level and allowing us writers to write. With that quick blurb out of the way, it’s time to get to my final review of the year. This year I decided to give the finale to a Canadian artist who has been blossoming in the mainstream media. Already featured on Much and other popular media outlets, she is Valerie Poxleitner more commonly known as Lights. Currently residing in Toronto, her songs got their first break on Old Navy commercials and now she is touring across North America. I’ve noticed I very rarely review Canadian artists, and perhaps this review is coming months too late. But upon listening to her EP, it’s clear that Lights deserves every bit of the exposure she is getting.

Besides being a pretty face and a fellow Canadian, Lights offers a medley of synth-infused pop. Her brand of music is something that most definitely has been attempted, but her style is what sets her apart. The self titled EP released in Canada features 6 tracks, all of which have a compelling flare to them. Ice is the first track and right away listeners get a sense of the kind of innocent and simple music Lights is known for. The most notable element to her music is the fun and addictive synthetic melodies played throughout the album. Being simple is probably her greatest strength, and having pop-dramatic beats gives off a very sweet and welcoming aura. When matched with her warm vocals, the finished product is something that’s almost euphoric and very calming. Ice is one of the faster-paced tracks featured on this EP, and the chorus can get pretty lively and vibrant, something like a dance track. Ice features one of the most robust synthetic beats on the album with a variety of different sounds it makes for a very interesting and entertaining listen.

The next two tracks are her singles, Drive My Soul and February Air. Drive My Soul is a touching track about love among other things. The vocals in this song put it over the top, probably why it was such a hit in Canada. Valerie has a very powerful presence even though her voice is more underwhelming and sweet by nature. The tone is passionate and emotional making it the most epic track on the EP. Drive My Soul is appropriately titled, because it provokes the emotions of listeners and provides a heavy but pleasant sound. February Air is much more upbeat but still ties itself with an emotional backdrop. The great thing about Lights is she so easily infuses a sense of genuine meaning and soul in her very pop endorsed music, something that is hard to find in this money-driven industry. February Air doesn’t have the presence of Drive My Soul, but more fittingly uses the upbeat vocals of Lights. All things combined, it’s a very soft and mellow track but beautiful in sound.

The EP finished off in similar fashion with three more tracks that all speak volumes, using simple and soft elements. I Owe You One is another example of a really simple theme, sequenced perfectly to create a great sound. Lights should also be complimented on her affectionate lyrics that are honest and friendly. I Owe You One is so clever and charming using nothing more than an everyday line as her premise about a special someone. It has that affable sound as heard from her hit single February Air, and is overall a nice listen. Lights has proven she produces very likeable music, but that only describes the half of it. Beyond a pleasant tune, she provides an upbeat morale and a wealth of emotional bullets that pierce deep into the fans. Her mainstream success so far is a step in the right direction for her and the genre as a whole. Hopefully 09 will see more of this type of pop on the radio.

Check out her Myspace for official tour dates and album info.

Lights – February Air
Lights – I Owe You One

AWmusic’s Top Songs of 2008 pt 1: #76-100

Rest of the series:
Part 2: #51-75
Part 3: #26-50
Part 4: #1-25
I’m really late with my top songs list. There are far too many and it’s likely I missed a whole bit. In order not to just give a list of 100 songs, I’ll split it into four-parts with a 10-word limit describing each track.
#76 (Why Don’t You Go) Take A Hike by Thunder Power (myspace/video)
Even if she tells me, I’m not leaving.
#77 Wishing Well by Love Is All(myspace/video)
Josephine Olausson is a goddess. I’ll make her feel better ;).
#78 Take Me Home by Team Genius(myspace/video)
Most optimistic attempt to be Michael Jackson vocally?
#79 Clouds by The Rumble Strips (myspace)
“I’m lying on my back, looking at the clouds”
#80 Singer-Songwriter Anthem by Silver Speakers (myspace)
I think of this whenever I hear a singer-song writer.
#81 The Hollows by Why? (myspace)
10 words doesn’t do it here.
#82 Cherry Tulips by Headlights (myspace/video)
Pop at its finest.
#83 The Nun’s Litany by Magnetic Fields (myspace)
Fuel to the “dirty nun” fantasy.
#84 Black Satin by The Raveonettes(myspace)
Another simple yet effective Raveonettes song.
#85 California Girls by Magnetic Fields
Someone actually hates California Girls?
#86 Where Do You Run To by Vivian Girls (myspace)
A simple yet catchy song.
#87 You, Me and the Burgeoise by The Submarines (myspace/video)
I-phone commercial for the win?
#88 Bye Bye Bye by Plants and Animals (myspace/video)
Good song….album? ehhh
#89 Stormy High by Black Mountain (myspace)
A great start to a great album.
#90 Nothing Ever Happened by Deerhunter (myspace)

“Best song to play on a road trip”
#91 Constructive Summer by Hold Steady (myspace)
Me and my friends are like “constructive summer”?
#92 Ghosts by Ladytron (myspace/video)
#93 House Music by Cadence Weapon (myspace)
Best song on Afterparty Babies.
#94 Creeper by Islands (myspace/video)
Video is odd.
#95 The Old Days by Dr. Dog (myspace)
“Let go of the old ones, we’ve got new ones.”
#96 Jodi by The Dodos (myspace)
Jodi my dear, this is a song you must hear.
#97 Battle Royale by Does It Offend You Yeah? (myspace/video)
A catchy instrumental for one of my favorite movies.
#98 I Wasn’t Made For Fighting by Woodhands (myspace/video)
They were actually made for dancing.
#99 Heaven (Narctrax Remix) by Health (myspace)
Health’s Disco has amazing remixes.
#100 Dawn Of The Dead by Does It Offend You Yeah? (video)
Critics hated on the wrong album.

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