Friday, July 28, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ Top 8 favourite songs of 2017 so far

One song per artist, playlist link at the end.

1. Black Rain - Creeper

Eternity, In Your Arms is already a lock for my favourite album of 2017. Um, spoiler alert lol. And this glorious, scream-out-the-chorus arena-ready goth rocker is the crown jewel. "They don't make music like this anymore," I might have said last year before I heard Creeper. But they do. THEY DO. And Creeper is coming to Edmonton in November and I'm probably going! eeeeeeeeeeee!

2. From Outer Space - Jaime Wyatt

"Honey, it's a long way home from outer space." Country music that's actually about something is the best. And that's exactly what Jaime Wyatt is making. I've never been to prison, but this song resonates with me. I guess outer space is a big place.

3. Idle Worship - Paramore

First of all, this is an album that needs to be listened to as a whole. Picking just one song was tough, but I guess this one spoke to me the most. It's also really catchy and pretty indicative of the album. Basically the message is, your heroes are human and just as messed up as you are. Don't put anyone on a pedestal, they didn't ask for it and you'll just be disappointed. Hayley Williams has been through some shit, she's pulling no punches, and it's amazing.

4. Redbone - Childish Gambino

Get Out is my favourite movie of 2017, even beating out Guardians of the Galaxy 2. And hey, they both have cool music. This is a soul song, in every sense of the word. A good soul jam immediately takes you back to the 70s, the glory days of the genre, but this manages to sound both retro and fresh. Even without the amazing movie attached to it it's a fantastic journey of a song, but I love that the two are connected forever. A couple of bright spots in a year that's been... well, better than 2016 at least?

5. I Feel Like Hank Williams Tonight - Sunny Sweeney

I doubt I'll hear a more beautiful song than this all year. Chills. Apparently this is a cover (I haven't heard the original), but Sunny sure sings it like she wrote it. And lives it. I mean, I guess we all live this from time to time. That's the point. Again, nothing resonates like country music that's about something. The radio's lost that, but happily artists like Sunny Sweeney have not. Great song, great album.

6. Tin Man - Miranda Lambert

I hate damning this song by calling it the second most beautiful song of 2017, but that's still pretty high praise, right? I love songs that make pain beautiful. More than anything. Miranda's been kind of hit or miss for me these past few years, but this is right in the centre of the bullseye. "Take it from me darling, you don't want a heart." Well, shit.

7. I Feel it Coming - The Weeknd and Daft Punk

It's been a surprisingly good year for mainstream r&b. A bright, catchy, 80s-ish jam with some of the tightest production you'll ever hear. The Weeknd is becoming one of my go-to artists for quality mainstream music. Don't let me down.

8. Kiwi - Harry Styles

Guys... I don't know how else to say this, but Harry Styles kinda rocks? Seriously, if you like 70s rock, or Cage the Elephant for that matter, check out his stuff. Close your eyes and pretend he's ugly and was never in One Direction. Cause this is a killer track from a pretty damn good album. Maybe he'll be the one to save rock n roll, cause Fall Out Boy sure as hell didn't lol.

Honorable mentions: Crickets - Creeper, 26 - Paramore, Stone Hotel - Jaime Wyatt, Broken Halos - Chris Stapleton, Black Butterflies and Deja Vu - The Maine. My fun summer jam, Parking Lot - Blink-182 ("Fuck this place, let's put up a parking lot!" You said it, Blink-182.) And my country summer jam, One Beer Can - Brad Paisley. I haven't been super impressed with Brad Paisley lately, but this one does it for me. Prominent guitar and fiddle, catchy and fun with good energy. It's basically 2017's "Chattahoochee."

EDITED TO ADD: Margo Price just dropped an EP! It's really good! After a couple listens my favourites are "Paper Cowboy" and "Weakness." I'll just call them honourable mentions for now, since I literally just heard them.

Albums in my to-listen queue:
Childish Gambino
Chris Stapleton, again (listened once but was distracted)
Angaleena Presley
Aaron Watson
Killers Battle Born (not from this year, but still)

We're getting new albums from Weezer, Beck, The Killers, and maaaaaybe System of a Down? this year, so hopefully lots more to come!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Underrated albums Spotify playlist

In my effort to keep spreading good music, here's a playlist!

At least four favourite songs from each album, except Crawdaddy which isn't on Spotify. My favourite song from Forever Halloween, Ice Cave, also isn't on Spotify, but I still found 6 must-have songs from that album. Yeah. Plus a couple extra songs from a few artists and that great Killers song "Runaways." I haven't listened to Battle Born yet so I don't know how I feel about the album, but that song is underrated as hell. Oh and "Little Rosa" isn't on there twice, the first one is actually "Pizza Cutter." Silly Spotify. Enjoy!

Seriously, this song kicks ass.

9 underrated alt rock albums you should be listening to right now!

Clickbaity title, as if this thing is out there to be clicked upon lol. Why 9? Unlike the Nostalgia Critic, I like to go one step below. Anyway, in no particular order, except #1.

9. The Strokes - Angles

Is this underrated? Idk, but in 2002 the Strokes were everywhere and I don't remember hearing about this album when it came out in 2011. That might be because rock wasn't much of a thing then, or I just wasn't paying attention, but holy crap am I glad I found this. This is actually my favourite Strokes album with my favourite Strokes song, "Taken for a Fool." That song alone is enough to warrant a spot here, but this list is about albums and this one's a really good listen. I hope these guys get back on track after their disappointing last release. More like this, please.

8. The Toadies - Rubberneck

Guys. This album is AMAZING. Everyone knows "Possum Kingdom," but how did this album not produce several hits?? I feel like "Away" and "I Come From the Water" would have been perfect followups to Possum Kingdom. No idea why these guys didn't catch on beyond that one song. There's a real distinctive sound to this album, like just describing them as "alt rock" doesn't quite get the job done. It's just good hard, driving music and this is a fun listen all the way through. They disappeared after this and I never heard anything else from them, which is such a shame.

7. Letters to Cleo - Wholesale Meats and Fish

Or really, anything by Letters to Cleo, except maybe Aurora Gory Alice which got some recognition. This album, the followup, got like no attention which might indicate the dreaded sophomore slump, but NO! This thing is bursting with fruit flavour, and it's actually my favourite LTC album. "Pizza Cutter," "St. Peter," "Little Rosa," it's full of should-be 90s classics.

6. Local H - As Good as Dead

Is this list gonna be all forgotten 90s bands? Maybe! Here's another band that's well known for one song, "Bound for the Floor." You know, the "copacetic" song? Oh yeah, those guys! Here's what you might not know: this band, which is still together, has an awesome discography I'm still working my way through. I'm putting this album on the list because it's the one with the classic Bound for the Floor, and it's also really good. But this is a band to dig deeper into, from their 1995 debut Ham Fisted to their 2004 release, Whatever Happened to PJ Soles? If you dig that title like I do, you're in for a good time with Local H. Also, they took their band name from two old R.E.M. songs, and I'm not sure it gets cooler than that.

5. My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Can anything by MCR really be underrated? I say yes, because - yes, really - I think I like this album as much as the beloved Black Parade. See, I feel like if a band makes an album like Black Parade - so perfect, so iconic, so game changing - no matter what they do next isn't gonna measure up. You're kind of screwed by being so good. And no, I don't hear Danger Days get even half the love that Black Parade does, yet... it could? Should? Because it's really damn good. It's a concept album with an epic glam-rock feel and great songs like "Bulletproof Heart" and "Planetary (Go!)". It's a more upbeat-sounding album than, well, obviously the one about cancer, or anything in their discography. It would be a good radio rock album if the radio still played rock. The deluxe version is also worth a listen.

4. Kay Hanley - Cherry Marmalade

The bad news is, Letters to Cleo was broken up for many years. The good news is, we got this gorgeous solo album from frontwoman Kay Hanley. Man, this album got me through some rough times. I feel like no one has heard this album other than diehard LTC fans, and that's a real shame because every song on here is catchy and punchy and great. Even if you've only heard LTC's big song "Here and Now," if you like it, check this album out. I think you'll be hooked from the first song, "Fall."

3. The Darling Buds - Crawdaddy

Forgotten 90s bands, ahoy! This album had a couple minor hits you might remember if you were there and paying attention, "Tiny Machine" and "Crystal Clear." If you like those, well, the whole album is like that. Catchy and pop-rocky and short and sweet. "It Makes No Difference" and "Honeysuckle" are other faves of mine.

2. The Maine - Forever Halloween

And a more recent album, which has become an all time favourite. I did an entire album retrospective of The Maine when I got into them last year, and my favourites by far are the harder, classic-rocky Pioneer, and this more darkly-themed, also rockier album. While Pioneer seems to get a lot of love from fans, I don't feel like Forever Halloween gets the love it deserves. This seems to be the theme of this post - my favourite album from a band is not most people's favourite.

The Maine is an interesting band with pretty strongly varying sounds. I liked their big breakthrough American Candy a lot, and I like this year's followup, Lovely Little Lonely, which is kinda American Candy Part II sound-wise. (Something which I predicted in my post.) And I think that bright, airy pop-rock is what most people associate with them, but man do I love this darker vibe. It's almost like they became a different band for this one album, like musical cosplay? The deluxe version is a MUST here, as it features my favourite The Maine song, "Ice Cave." Just listen to the opening riff and you'll be in. It rocks.

1. Weezer - Maladroit

Well what else would it be?? My favourite album from my favourite band. Every time I listen to this I ask myself, how is this not everyone's favourite Weezer album? And then I'm like, well, people have different tastes, you KNOW this, your list of favourites is pretty weird. And then I stop talking to myself, cause that's also weird. But - it's not like I wanna impose my taste on people, this album is just so damn good! It's catchy Weezer songs with a harder rock edge. It's the best of both worlds. Oh dammit, Hannah Montana ruined that phrase forever.

Here's the thing about Weezer - while I dislike entire albums they've put out, they're my favourite band because I list six of their albums among my favourites - SIX!* And Maladroit is the cream of the crop, from my favourite track, the riff-happy "Burndt Jamb," to the ridiculously catchy "Keep Fishin'," "Slave," "American Gigolo," and of course the single "Dope Nose," it's pure melodic guitar rock heaven. I keep waiting for this album to get Pinkerton'd, for people to look back on it and be like, holy shit, this is amazing, why do I not listen to this all the time? Pinkerton is great and it was overlooked for a long time. This is even better, and it doesn't get nearly the love it deserves, even among Weezer fans. Maladroit, in my totally not humble opinion, should be required rock listening. It has classic written all over it. Don't miss out.

*6. Pinkerton
5. Green Album
4. White Album
3. Blue Album
2. Everything Will Be Alright
1. Maladroit

HONORABLE MENTION: Cage the Elephant - Tell Me I'm Pretty

This is an honourable mention because it's more unfairly maligned than overlooked, and also it won a Grammy, not that that means anything really except yeah, it's not overlooked. But among CTE fans, holy crap does this album get a ton of shit! And I have no idea why! Okay, it's not Melophobia, but what is, a freaking Beatles album? Melophobia is a masterpiece, they're probably not gonna reach that height again. But that doesn't mean this album is bad, and it's actually good!

Look, I love CTE, they're one of my favourite modern bands, but that doesn't mean I'd love any old thing they put out. I've listened to this album many times and I've never been able to hear what people are criticizing. It's "formula?" Yeah, it sounds like a CTE album, what else do you want? Bands get criticized when they change their sound or when they don't. I don't care, as long as it sounds good to my ears. CTE making a typical-sounding album sounds good. Paramore changing their sound and making a new wave album also sounds good. Some bands change their sound and it's awful, or, in the case of ZBB's latest album, they try to recapture their old sound and it does sound kind of formulaic. Maybe what I hear in that album is what others hear in Tell Me I'm Pretty. But all I hear is an enjoyable 70s-esque rock album with great vocals and riffs. Put it on on a Saturday night with some good beers and you'll dig it. No, it's not the immediate awesome punch of Melophobia, and I don't like Dan Auerbach's production as much as Jay Joyce's, but again that's no reason to dismiss it. It's a grower, really. And "Trouble" still gives me chills every time I hear it.

Whew, I've been wanting to make that list for a while now. The things I'll do to avoid going through 400 vacation photos. In all seriousness, it's been a tough few months. Hug your rockstars, they deserve it. <3


Here's a great, forgotten song from the early 90s... if anyone wants it. I used to listen to this over and over and over.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Feel Good Friday ~ The Killers

You ever hear a song and think welp, this was pretty much made just for me? I guess Brandon Flowers was reading my blog because this is precisely the kind of music I wish for people to be making. It somehow sounds like every 80s power-rock hit and none of them at the same time. The opening kind of reminds me of that "believe it or not, I'm walking on air" song, there's a riff that reminds me of "Heat of the Moment," a little "Don't Stop Believing," a little "Livin' on a Prayer," and probably a dozen other songs I can't put my finger on. It's the perfect homage, is what I'm saying. And I love it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


The nostalgia when your local supermarket, of all places, plays a song you haven't heard since the early 90s and had completely forgotten about. Happy to hear it again, sad because nothing sounds like this anymore. Damn I loved this sound.

General update-y thing, I guess?

Well, it's been a minute. I've been wanting to update for a while, but I was 1, on vacation for two weeks, which really means three weeks counting the prep and recovery time, 2, dealing with emotional crap, and 3, possibly the hardest to deal with, coming to terms with the fact that I really like Harry Styles' album. I mean, I'm a grown ass woman, not a *shudder* "directioner." But I'll be damned if he didn't make a grown ass adult album. And not in a Miley Cyrus LOOK AT ME I HAVE SEX AND DO DRUGS CUZ I'M AN ADULT NOW, GET IT??? kind of way, like an actual mature classic rock type album. It reminds me of Cage the Elephant at times, and that's not a comparison I make lightly. Yeah, I don't know either. But it's good, I listen to it, and being ashamed of what you like is stupid. So there you go.

Um. I guess first things first, I have to talk about Linkin Park. LP is one of those bands that I never threw myself into like say, MCR or Weezer, but were always just kind of... around? Like, until their last album (oh God that actually will be their last album, how incredibly fucking sad), I never disliked anything I heard from them, and I actually think Meteora is a great album. I wouldn't generally seek them out, but if they were playing, yeah cool, I wouldn't object. Now after a disappointing and critically panned album, singer Chester Bennington has committed suicide.

I guess what I wanna say is, as someone who makes fun of music as a hobby, I really hope that all the shit he took for the album didn't contribute to him wanting to end his life. I think it's important to be able to freely criticize music, even if, or maybe especially if, you're a fan of the band. But it's also important to remember that these are people we're talking about (except for the Chainsmokers, who I'm pretty sure are bro robots. Brobots?)* and to keep the criticism about the music and not personal.

*sorry, cheap shot, but I had to lighten things up a little.

Obviously if you reach the point of taking your own life, there are probably a lot of issues built up including depression, addiction, and God knows what else. It's just really hard to see all those scathing reviews in light of this, you know? Even if the album deserved it. It's kind of a tough line to walk. I can say whatever I want here because nobody reads this, but if you're a widely read music critic, do you have the responsiblity to be constructive with your criticism and not just be like "THIS SUCKS?" Either way, RIP man. Suicide's always the saddest and most frustrating thing to see. It feels less like a failure of the person and more like a failure of the world around them.

EDIT: Oh shit, today would have been Chris Cornell's birthday. That can't be a coincidence. Sadder and fucking sadder. :(

I have a couple other posts I want to make, so I guess that's all for the update. Be nice to each other and keep on keepin' on. <3