Posted in Listed

Favourite Albums of 2018

51k7S8+kLDL._AA327_QL65_5. Kacey Musgraves – Golden Hour: Arguably the biggest country crossover into the indie rock world of 2018. Musgraves’ fourth major album release was as slick as they come but hard not to appreciate the quality of the songs. “Lonely Weekend”, “Space Cowboy” and album standout “High Horse” are the touchstones. But those are accompanied by opener “Slow Burn” and “Velvet Elvis”. While many of these songs could easily be featured in almost every commercial on TV, it doesn’t take away from the fact that virtually every one is a winner.

Mitski4. Mitski – Be The Cowboy : The first vocal on Mitski’s fifth album claims “you’re my number 1” which is fitting as this is topping album polls across the world. Clocking in at just over 33 minutes with most songs around the two-minute mark, it is easy to leave this one on repeat for a few hours. First single “Nobody” provides the longing that is at the heart of this album. The hard rocking “Remember My Name” is followed by the defiant “Me and My Husband”. There is a reason people keep talking about this album, the quick snapshots of music cut across numerous styles but most of all, it does them expertly.

trcy3. Tracyanne & Danny – Tracyanne & Danny : Quietly one of the most welcome returns to music was from Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Campbell. Her voice is like a warm fire on a cold winter night. Here she appears with Danny Coughlan and together they create one of the best runs of music in 2018 from first track “Home & Dry” to infectious single “Alabama”. Second half highlight belongs to Coughlan with his 50s style “Anybody Else”. Overshadowed by bigger releases, this Merge Records release is an easy album to fall in love with.

41M5dXB2SNL._AA327_QL65_2. Courtney Barnett –  Tell Me How You Really Feel: In the disposable world of streaming and downloads, it’s rare that an album is a grower but Tell Me How You Really Feel did just that. Hard to get into at first, it feels disjointed and a bit of a downer album about touring but repeated listens prove that is not true. “City Looks Pretty” and “Nameless, Faceless” are dynamite indie rock songs. “Need A Little Time” features a pretty melody in the chorus and it’s all closed down with the melancholic uplift of “Sunday Roast”. Barnett tore the Winnipeg Folk Fest down on the Friday night this past summer. Too hard rocking for a lot of the crowd but was a glorious racket for the rest of us.

61KEfYl6iVL._AA327_QL65_1. Beach House – 7: When reviewing the latest Beach House on the Celebration Rock Podcast, critic Steve Hyden talked about how 7 does exactly what he wants from a BH album. This is pretty much bang on. “Pay No Mind”, “Lemon Glow and “Dive” standout and the rest of the album does a very good job of being atmospheric and ethereal. “Lose Yourself” is beautiful as is “Woo” but with an 80s synth feel. 7 glides along on its rails and is happy to take the listener to the next station for its duration.

Posted in Album Reviews

Beach House – 7 (2018)

61KEfYl6iVL._AA327_QL65_Since 2015, the release schedule for the band Beach House has been many. Depression Cherry and Thank Your Lucky Stars appeared within a few weeks of each in 2015 and this was followed up with a B-side and rarities collection last year. 7 is the Baltimore band’s latest release. For this listener, having those two 2015 releases come out so quickly muddied the waters and it was hard to commit to either.

In March, the band released their best song in years, “Dive”. Atmospheric at first before giving way to a driving guitar that blows all the clouds away, this is one of the singles of the year thus far. “Pay No Mind” is BH at their most straightforward but also most effecting. The vocals are more upfront so you can hear the sweet chorus more easily. First single “Lemon Glow” is darker with an insistent hi-hat that gives a slight witch house feel throughout. The electronic influenced “Black Car” recalls Ladytron without the icy vocals whereas acoustic guitar nicely warms up the otherwise melancholy “Lose Your Smile”.

Throughout 7, the duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally move from strength to strength. The varied styles all flow together and make it an easy album to listen to on repeat. Time to go back and give a re-listen to those albums from 2015 that didn’t immediately hit the first time around. This also marks the first ever streamed album review for this website. Our 40 year old listening habits are evolving along with the Beach House sound.



Posted in Album Reviews

Beach House – Bloom (2012)

Several months ago when publications were creating short lists of hotly anticipated albums for 2012, Beach House were one of the heavily mentioned bands. Their third album, 2010’s Teen Dream, was a massive critical success and gained the Baltimore duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally many new fans in the process. Set to do an Animal Collective and become the “it” cool band, Beach House released Bloom back in May and have been on the road ever since.

The chiming guitars of first single, “Myth”, gently welcome listeners into Beach House’s orbit, while the rolling drums pull you in deeper. Similar to many tracks on Bloom, the lyrics are like reading a book that’s missing every third page. “Wild”, tells of drunken parental concern before it loses you in a swirl of ambiguity. Both “Other People” and “The Hours” swing a bit harder in the choruses while “Lazuli”s hushed background vocals and twinkling keys recall the 80s more ethereal moments. The duo’s ability to make even the most simple moments sound majestic is one of Bloom’s most charming traits.

All the songs mentioned appear on the first half of the album and while the second half merely feels like excellent b-sides to the first half’s extraordinary singles, final track “Irene” is another Bloom highlight. Once the final chords disappear, the only thing left to do is go back to the beginning and lose yourself all over again.