Banks: 'The Altar'

With the release of her second full length album, the excitement surrounding Banks' music proves to be one of a kind.  For dedicated fans, and those curious to see what this creative force releases next there's certainly a sense of discovery, of possible surprise awaiting when she welcomes you into her world.  From the opening track 'Gemini Feed' it feels like this project shows us the inner turmoil of a person in the midst of great change, and an artist determined to make that change into growth.

When the first song ends and 'Fuck With Myself' you can start to feel how raw and honest this project is.  It's as if you're getting to know the artist personally, with the tougher exterior gradually fading into more tender moments as the record progresses with 'Lovesick' into 'Mind Games' and beyond.  As she calls out 'Do you see me now?' time and again it's clear that the personal evolution you sense early on is a pervaisve element on a powerful album.  Things have changed and Banks is out of this world.

'The Altar' balances uptempo jams like 'This Is Not About Us', an energetic track with percussion so intricate and unique we can't wait to see it played live by the masterful Derek G. Taylor.  To compliment there are the deep, at times somber moments like 'Mother Earth'.  It's a bold, vivid example of Banks' ability embrace heavy subject matter and still write songs of great beauty.  The poetic nature of her music makes it both relatable, and the cause of great curiosity.  How much of this is real?  How much is rooted in her personal experience?  At times these songs can feel almost too personal, as if the lyrics are really entries in Banks' personal journal.

There is the true beauty and sadness of Banks' new record.  It's also what sets her apart from the endless list of artists vying for your attention.  This music is so real in it's vulnerability that at it's most heartbreaking you see an unbelievably strong artist putting herself out there in a world that can often feel like it's falling apart. 

You need to hear this.



Bon Iver: '22, A Million'

One of the first words that comes to mind when thinking of '22, A Million' is defiance.  Bon Iver has never shied away from taking chances, but never quite like this.  The sound of this record is a long way from the woods of 'For Emma, Forever Ago', the titles make searching for and discussing the songs interesting, and the album art is mysterious and fascinating.  Bon Iver gives you their best music on a record that pushes the artists emphatically toward anonymity, letting the songs speak for themselves.

The tracklist for '22, A Million' was not what we expected but it certainly isn't that surprising from an artist who titled the songs on the last album after places.  Five years after the self titled second album and Justin Vernon is ubiquituous, but not in the way we might have predicted.  With an evergrowing, eclectic group of collaborators it's clear that Justin Vernon and company are here to further the plot, and to leave us with powerful, innovative and surprising music.  '22 (OVER S∞∞N)' is the opening track, and an introduction to the sound you can expect from this album. 

It also invites thoughts of impermance, and with it a sense of urgency to live and ultimately love.  As it ends for the first time you begin to savour the richness of the album.  It's followed by '10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄', a noisy, unpredictable example of how the record defies the modern digital era that helps it come to life by eliminating the sense of perfection that has become commonplace in modern music production.  '715 - CR∑∑KS' follows with only a voice, yet a multidimensional one.  The clean, bold piano sound cuts straight to the core as '33 “GOD”' begins.  As one of the singles that introduced the world to this new music, it's been given a lyric video.  It comes from the same universe as the album art, and seems like a coded message, much like the cover itself. 

'22, A Million' reveals its true greatness over timeThe balance of incredibly talented musicians and innovative digital technology give you a glimpse at the timeless beauty of this music as the banjo fades away at the end of '____45_____'.  The album in each of it's facets defies the status quo of the art form, and likely contains more information than we're gleaning despite countless listens.  Few artists create such unique music, and fewer still present it to the world in such a creative, unorthodox way.  In doing so, this record truly feels like an instant classic; familiar yet futuristic.



Get the album on iTunes




Slow Down Molasses - 100 % Sunshine


One our favorite bands are back with more incredible noise. Coming from the Canadian prairies, Slow Down Molasses have been at it for years - and in that time have crafted one of the most finely tuned, distorted and truly iconic sounds in Canadian music. Or anywhere for that matter.

'100% Sunshine' has a comforting familiarity to it, but not because we've heard anything like it, moreso because we got into it so instantly that it felt like we had been listening to it for years. 'Intentions' is a brooding, dark track that manages to be bursting with light at the same time. This album from start to finishes pulls off a stark contrast, and it's something that makes it more and more engaging and awesome each time we listen.

Slow Down Molasses creates a formidable wall of sound on this record, and one thing we can't help but notice is how the production is loose and clearly the band is great enough to play their parts without being over produced. They human element is ever present on songs like 'Moon Queen' but they always sound air tight.

This is a band that keeps growing and making more and more fascinating music. Their catalog is not one you would wanna miss, and '100% Sunshine' is the perfect place to start. Get into this record, you'll love it.


The Dead Love 'So Whatever'


What immediately drew us to this record is the nostalgic vibe that hit us head on, grabbed hold of us and didn't let go until the end of the last song.

This record could be the soundtrack to so many of our favorite movies from growing up like Mallrats or American Pie.

The Dead Love are from Sydney, Australia and they are known for being rock and roll monsters of the highest order. 'So Whatever' does nothing but reinforce this notion. They make noisy, catchy, airtight but also messy rock music that we can essentially promise you're gonna get into.

 'Summer' reminds us of growing up, being an awkward and self conscious teenager. This reminds us a little bit of Incubus mixed with Silverchair mixed with a bunch of other great stuff. It's an album we will listen to again and again. 'Friend' is easily one of our favorite songs of 2016, even though it feels like we have been jamming to it since 1996 (and we mean that in the best way).

This record is a homerun. The sophomore release from The Dead Love is a fantastic collection of tunes that we will be listening to forever. We can't wait. for more details 





A Tribe Called Red 'We Are The Halluci Nation'


We have had the honor of seeing A Tribe Called Red a whole bunch of times by now. We have seen them evolve and grow and reach unspeakable heights of creativity.

Over the years, they have refined their sound to include a variety of influences - and they have created something so magnificent you will barely believe your ears. This is some of the most important music in a while, both sonically and socially.

One thing that has finally become blatantly clear lately is that many, many wrongs need to be righted when it comes to First Nations people and marginalized communities. A Tribe Called Red both calls attention to these vital issues and provides an inspiration for a younger generation who is literally up against the world.

Every song on this record is beyond gigantic. The first two tracks are the title track and 'R.E.D.' with Yaasin Bey and Narcy. It only gets more insane from there, if that's even possible. Features from Tanya Tagaq, Shad, Northern Voice and so many more help make this album extra special. Everyone put a lot into this - it's clear as day. This music matters.

Go here and get the album and see them live. This is brilliant, important music.