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Monday 16 December 2013



Albums: 2013

40% of Quick Before It Melts’ Favourite Albums of 2013 list looks very similar to 2011′s list, which is a coincidence not lost on me as I compiled this year’s compendium of preferred personal records. While I am very fond of the four repeat honourees on this year’s list, it wasn’t a forgone conclusion that their new records would make this list.  I may be getting old and cranky, but I think I’m far from being predictable.  This year’s top 10 favourite records are rounded out by four artists who’ve never appeared on this list before, and two that are making their second consecutive appearance.

The end result is a fair representation of the music that’s moved with me throughout 2013.  If you read and follow my posts, you won’t be surprised by some of these choices, which just goes to show that what I write about here really is the music I listen to every day.  After the jump, you’ll find the alphabetical list of the 10 records that made 2013 for me, and a snapshot from the archives about what I had to say about them throughout the year.

As always, your thoughts and opinions are greatly welcomed, especially if they are overtly complimentary and flattering.  Criticisms are okay, too.  I’m a big boy, I can take it.

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BELIEFS
Beliefs  (Hand Drawn Dracula)
QBiM 13 March 2013
“It’s that punk rock spirit of going for broke, holding nothing back, that makes Beliefs a record grounded firmly in the now.  If they’re going to write a catchy hook (“Catch My Breath”), then Beliefs are going to make sure the damn thing catches you by the corner of your mouth and makes you beg for mercy, or depending on your predilection, beg for more.”
BRAIDS
Flourish//Perish  (Flemish Eye)
QBiM 20 August 2013
“…Flourish // Perish is an exquisite wonder, a venerable rebirth.  The Braids of Native Speaker may have perished with Lee’s departure, but Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith have recovered and flourished with a gorgeous album number two.”
THE DARCYS
Warring  (Arts & Crafts)
QBiM 30 September 2013
“…Warring is remarkably easy to experience.  It’s fluid, not just in its pacing and sequencing, but in its temperament and attitude as well.  It goes to some pretty dark places as The Darcys will admit, butWarring isn’t artificially heightening the drama and tension.  It’s not a record that makes a spectacle of itself to get you to notice it.”
FRESH SNOW
I  (Reel Cod Records)
QBiM 25 November 2013
“…Fresh Snow’s sonic trajectory is anything but predictable.  Frenetic rhythms can be stopped dead in their tracks by wailing horns; synth swirls can come on like a flash flood, muting the blizzard of static that’s been playing touch tag with the buzz-saw guitars for the last five minutes.  And in the middle of it all, the clarity and precision of a sweet melodic line wafts above the din and deluge, leaving the listener in wonder and awe.”
MARINE DREAMS
Corner of the Eye  (You’ve Changed Records)
QBiM 07 October 2013
“On his sophomore record under the Marine Dreams moniker, Ian Kehoe has assembled a curio cabinet full of eccentricities.  From his subject matter… to his complex melodies and rhythmic explorations, all the songs on Corner of the Eye remind you of something you might have already heard or experienced, but feels slightly skewed, leaning off center.”
MOONFACE
Julia With Blue Jeans On  (Paper Bag Records)
QBiM 28 October 2013
Moonface‘s Julia With Blue Jeans On is a jaw-dropping wonder of a record.  It has compelled me to listen to it whenever and wherever I can since first hearing it.  Few albums of this simplicity (voice and one instrument) have ever touched me and moved me as this one has.”
DANIEL ROMANO
Come Cry With Me  (Normaltown Records)
QBiM 21 January 2013
Daniel Romano is a gifted and under-appreciated storyteller; Come Cry With Me showcases that talent exquisitely… three albums into his solo career away from Attack In Black, Daniel Romano has found his true voice.  He’s the real deal.”
TEGAN AND SARA
Heartthrob  (Warner Music)
QBiM 29 January 2013
“Their evolution has been organic, and unapologetic; as sure as Tegan and Sara pick up new fans with Heartthrob they’ll lose some long-time admirers who’ll be sure to feel alienated by the cool, synthetic sounds of “Shock to Your System”.  It’ll be those disenchanted fans’ loss; Heartthrob will renew your faith in pop music and remind you that it can be much more than typical.”
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN 
UZU  (Paper Bag Records)
QBiM 21 October 2013
“It is ludicrous how incredibly talented Yamantaka // Sonic Titan  are… the very notion of the band should be recipe for failure, but, like salmon swimming upstream, YT//ST push against the current of common sense, forging their own way forward… With just two albums under their belt, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan feel absolutely essential in 2013, an antidote to the innocuousness around us.”
YOUNG GALAXY
Ultramarine  (Paper Bag Records)
QBiM 22 September 2013
Ultramarine is the best celebration of new love, new summers, and New Order I’ve ever heard.  Young Galaxy do principled pop, respecting its structures and traditions, but never sound like they’re rehashing former glories (theirs or others)..”

 

Sample one or all 10 of Quick Before It Melts’ favourite albums of the year in one handy Rdio playlist:




Monday 25 November 2013



DiSC of the WEEK: Fresh Snow • I

fresh_now_IIn a year that saw an instrumental post-rock album win the Polaris Music Prize, the climate is right for Fresh Snow to fall onto the Canadian musical landscape.

The Toronto-based four-piece released I, their debut full length earlier this year, a record of extended sonic compositions that don’t fall into what’s become the standard structure of instrumental rock albums of late (quiet-loud-crash-bang-boom-hiss-purr).  The seven tracks of I glitter with hints of melody beneath the gritty, motorik groove.  After sampling just a snippet of “French Horse Hall Of Fame”‘s 14 minutes and 23 seconds (available on cassette and digital only), it will come as no surprise to learn that some (if not all of) the Fresh Snow bunch are indie record store clerks.  Fueled by their collective love of  krautrock, psych rock, and shoegaze drone, the band spent a full day in a basement recording long protracted jams that would eventually take the shape of these songs.  The first to surface in 2011, “Saturation Complete”, has a Morricone-covered-by-Stereolab vibe that’s spellbinding.

Fresh Snow’s sonic trajectory is anything but predictable.  Frenetic rhythms can be stopped dead in their tracks by wailing horns; synth swirls can come on like a flash flood, muting the blizzard of static that’s been playing touch tag with the buzz-saw guitars for the last five minutes.  And in the middle of it all, the clarity and precision of a sweet melodic line wafts above the din and deluge, leaving the listener in wonder and awe.  There’s no point in singling out any one track that typifies Fresh Snow’s plan oif attack, as anyone of these extended workouts would fit the bill.

Fresh Snow’s I is available on both vinyl and cassette from Reel Cod Records, both of which come with a download card so that no matter what format you buy, you get yourself the essential “French Horse Hall of Fame”.

Fresh Snow’s cover of Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle” is available on Hand Drawn Dracula’s Milkin’ It tribute to In Utero.

 

Bandcamp: Fresh Snow
CBC Music: Fresh Snow
Facebook: Fresh Snow
Twitter: Fresh Snow