I spent a couple of days in Mississauga last week, which meant I had a few hours to pass on the plane. I’ve been promising a few friends and colleagues some new music to start 2015, so I figured there was no better time to take inventory of what I’ve been listening to this year.

Here’s 25 of my favourite tunes so far.

4th And Roebling – The Districts
They released my favourite song last year, and were half the bill of my favourite show. The new album has a number of standouts beginning with this opening track.

A Beginning Song – The Decemberists
The Oregonian folk rockers return with a decent follow-up to 2012′s excellent The King Is Dead. The final song on the album really shines.

Addicted – Jesse Malin
A lively up-tempo tune from the former punk/glam rocker. Singer/songwriter seems to to suit his sensibilities quite well. The new album is out in March, his first in five years.

All This Wandering Around – Ivan & Alyosha
The Seattle folk-popsters just announced their sophomore album a couple of weeks ago, and released its first single. Really great melody; I think it’s better than anything on their debut.

American Beauty – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
A simple country/folk-tinged melody from the Nashville singer/songwriter.
Listen to the full album here.

America’s Sweetheart – Elle King
Her lead single, Ex’s & Oh’s, from the just-released Love Stuff, was my second favourite song last year. This foot-stomper from the AC/DC-loving King is the early odds-on favourite to be my number one this year. Turn it all the way up to 11.

Anne Marie – Wood & Wire
Hard-driving, traditional bluegrass from the Austin quartet whose singer, Tony Kamel, bears an uncanny resemblance to Ricky Skaggs on this tune.

Annihilation Affair – Torche
The ferocious first song from the Miami sludge rock quartet’s new LP. Brutish, pounding guitar riffs contrast with melodic vocals to produce the perfect noise.

Blood Song – Divers
A noteworthy debut from the Portland band, they lean heavily on classic Americana punk/roots rock. Think early Springsteen-Gaslight Anthem with a British accent.
Also check out: Getaway.

Breathless – Waxahatchee
Indie singer Katie Crutchfield returns with a top-notch follow-up to Cerulean Salt. I’ve hit repeat a few times on this synth-laden fuzz pop track.

Gunsight – Sturgeon City
Strong picking and fiddlework coupled with a great harmony on this rousing number from the traditional bluegrass stringband out of Virginia.

Handsome – The Vaccines
The Brit-popsters are back and picking up right where they left off from Come Of Age with their catchy new single. Huge expectations for this album from one of the best live acts today.

Heaven’s High – Wrinkle Neck Mules
They’ve been around for 15 years, but I had never heard of these Virginia roots rockers until last month. Boy, I’ve been missing a lot. This is the first song off their latest (sixth) album, and it’s fantastic.
Also check out: a free download sampler of tunes from earlier albums.

Hypnotized – The Lad Mags
By no means a token entry on this list, the newest tune from the local garage pop act has this groovy retro psychedelic feel going on that I’m really loving.

I Need A Friend – Davie & The Untamed
Soulful guitar hooks and a voice reminiscent of early Mick Jagger from the Virginia-born, Nashville-based Davie Smith.

Incidental – Two Gallants
A driving ‘Mats-like number with a ragged guitar hook and crashing drum line. The newest album release from the San Francisco garage folk duo is first-rate.
Listen to the full album here.

Let The Good Times Roll – JD McPherson
The Oklahoma native is back with his signature rockabilly sound. There’s no worries about having a good time listening to the rollicking lead single here.

Meet You In The Middle – Parker McCollum
The first tune off the Galveston native’s debut album – a mixed-tempo, radio-friendly number – is very promising. Hopefully he stays off the bro-country path.

Mona Lisa – Dead Sara
As much as I loathe Vevo for their video pre-rolls, they get the credit for serving up this rocking track that grabbed my attention last month.

Not A Song – Jim White
The upbeat melody overshadows the darker lyrics, but the catchy la-da-da chorus will have you happily singing along regardless.

Sedona – Houndmouth
The lead single off the Indiana quartet’s forthcoming LP. It’s a little more folk-poppy than their previous alt-country sound, but their exceptional harmony and catchy choruses are still present. Very excited to hear this next month.

Time Will Wait – Kristin Diable
A bluesy, southern Americana melody with a voice reminding me of a young Stevie Nicks. Produced by Dave Cobb, who oversaw Isbell’s Southeastern and Sturgill’s Metamodern Sounds, the entire album is a delight.
Listen to the full album streaming on NPR this week.

Top Shelf Drug – Ryan Bingham
It’s been hard to pick a favourite off Bingham’s latest release; the album is outstanding from start to finish. I’m hoping the gravel-voiced roots rocker finally tours Canada with this one.

Wolves – American Aquarium
The “most active band” in America last year with over 200 gigs are back with a new album and show no signs of slowing down. An honest follow-up to their Isbell-produced 2012 album Burn.Flicker.Die.

So it looks like we’re off to a grand start to the year. (Well, except for that Drake mixtape, but we’ll put that behind us and move right along.)

Hopefully there’s a track or two that you enjoyed, and as alvvays, feel free to leave a comment or tweet at me to let me know what I’ve been missing.

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Best of 2014… Top 10 Albums and Songs

by deej on December 30, 2014

We had our year-end meeting this past weekend to discuss our favourite songs and albums of 2014. It was a grand chat: plenty of diversity and no overwhelming consensus favourites from everyone. (I’ve spent most of this week listening or re-listening to albums that I had missed or passed over.)

I’ll post the others’ favourites once I get them, but in the meantime, here’s my list of the best that 2014 had to offer.

Albums:

10. Feel Not Bad – SW/MM/NG
9. Augustines – Augustines
8. Mended With Gold – The Rural Alberta Advantage
7. Kerowax – The Jack Kerowax
6. Benjamin Booker – Benjamin Booker
5. Alvvays – Alvvays
4. HEAL – Strand of Oaks
3. El Prado – Black English (formerly NO)
2. Water Liars – Water Liars
1. Somewhere Else – Lydia Loveless

Honourable mentions:
Metamodern Sounds in Country Music – Sturgill Simpson
Good Luck Charm – The Mastersons
Small Town Heroes – Hurray for the Riff Raff
The Endless River – Pink Floyd

Songs*:

10. Falling Off – Unicycle Loves You
9. These American Hearts – Bryan Elijah Smith
8. Stuck In The South – Adia Victoria
7. Blood Bath – Saintseneca
6. Keep On Shining – Curtis Harding
5. Stand Up – A.J. Ellis
4. Divisionary (Do The Right Thing) – Ages And Ages
3. Moving Target – Fire Mountain
2. Ex’s And Oh’s – Elle King
1. Funeral Beds – The Districts

Honourable mentions:
Empty Promises – The Wild Family
Radio On – Ex Hex
Transgender Dysphoria Blues – Against Me!
Canyon – The Dead Ships

*Based on tracks that weren’t included in the albums above.

Happy new year everyone!
~ nutsandgum

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Favourite Songs of 2014… It’s Warming Up.

July 15, 2014

It’s a couple of weeks overdue, but with familial obligations since late June, I’ve finally found the time to put together my second post of the year. Better late than never, right? Since my last post in March, the mercury has been rising steadily with new music releases in 2014. There’s still plenty of country, [...]

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Favourite Songs of 2014… Getting Started.

March 14, 2014

With a broken entertainment console and a one-hour delay on my flight back from Mississauga last week, there was no better time to write my first post of 2014. It’s been sitting in my drafts ever since, but I managed to finish it while watching the Oilers fall apart in the third last night. Lots [...]

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Sled Island 2014: Initial Headliners Announced

March 7, 2014

When the Sled Island festival was cancelled last year due to the flood, there were a lot of questions about the future of the event. It was disappointing to miss performances from the likes of The Jesus & Mary Chain, but even more concerning was wether this institution that had become so important to Canada’s [...]

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Sasquatch 2014

February 5, 2014

Well done Harry. Well done. I was completely oblivious that they were taking a page out of Coachella’s playbook and doing 2 weekends……but with 2 completely line-ups!! That will be over 175 bands. I’m still trying to comprehend the magnitude of this undertaking. It’s quite remarkable actually. With that being said there is a hell [...]

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Chris’s Favourite 50 Concerts of 2013

January 22, 2014

We’re almost a month into the new year and I was recently reminded to post my top concert list from 2013… …which was an insane concert year for me. According to my spreadsheet, I saw almost 400 different “sets”. I defined a “set” to include all performances by headliners, opening acts, and festival acts that [...]

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“I Listen to Bands That Don’t Even Exist Yet”

January 3, 2014

Isn’t it great “discovering” a new band? I think it’s one of the truly great joys in life….especially if you can throw it in someone’s face. “Oh….well. You’ve never heard of them? Hmm. I’m surprised.” Down below are some of my favourite debut albums of 2013. I will say that Chance the Rapper isn’t technically [...]

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Best of 2013… Albums

December 31, 2013

The Top 10 Albums of the year is a @yegmusicclub ritual where we compare our lists, note those who have made multiple lists, create new lists of great music we missed this year and most often, the time where we beg for more than 10 slots to fill. Without further ado, here are the lists! [...]

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Best of 2013… Songs.

December 30, 2013

As per previous years, #yegmusicclub gets together at the end of the year and shares lists. Top 10 Albums, Top 10 Songs and Top Gigs. To start us off, here are some of our club members’ song lists. Heather “I Need My Girl” by The National “Sirens” by Pearl Jam “Broken” by Jake Bugg “Another [...]

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