New Year, New Tunes 2017

yorinda-and-yoringel-in-the-witchs-wood

It’s 2017, finally! We’ve kicked 2016 to the curb and good riddance.

Last year, we lost a Dame. We lost a Prince. We lost a Poet Laureate. We lost a myriad of others who we count as heroes. Somewhere in there, the world gained a Drumpf. Last year sucked, basically.

From here, we have quite a job to do to make sure that this year, 2017, doesn’t suck as much. It’s early yet. But I get the feeling it may be a tall order. This is particularly given our political climate as racist organizations re-brand themselves, slither into the mainstream, and drip poison into the ears of the public.  We have to fight them. For that, we’ll need fuel for the trip.

Among other sources of spiritual nutrients, music is pretty high up on my personal list. If you’re here, you probably share my point of view on that. With that in mind, here is a selection of new music to kick off your new year. As is the norm, I invite you to take a deep dive, and tell me about your favourite tracks, and maybe even some ways you’re going to make sure that 2017 rocks instead of sucks. So, what are you waiting for? Step into my office …

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New Year New Tunes 2016

winter fairy 2016
(image: Alice Popkorn)

New years and new beginnings. In the dead of winter here in the northern hemisphere, we need that sense of a clean, snow-swept slate. But, I’m not necessarily talking about ambitious resolutions and grand statements of changing one’s ways. If that’s your position and you are committed, I applaud you. Sometimes though, it’s the small and un-Facebookable changes we make that make the most difference, and tend to be the ones that we stick with. The examples of these are many. But, let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk about your soundtracks for 2016 as you change your life or build upon what’s best about it. What will you be listening to this winter 2016, good people?

To help you answer that question, or at least give you a wider field of play, here is a selection of new sounds from independent artists from across the musical and geographical spectrum for you to consider as you shake off the remaining rags of Yuletide, and don your New Year apparel. Read, listen, and tell me your favourites in the comments section. And perhaps what you change first this new year 2016 is your new favourite artist.

As Billy Shakespeare once said: lend me your ears!

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New Year, New Tunes 2015

Father FrostAnd we’re back, Good People!

It’s a new year, and I hope that all of you ‘Binners out there had a great holiday. And now that’s all over with and everyone is back at work, what is more appropriate to ringing in a new year than to do it with some new tunes? It would be crazy not to.

With that in mind, as we did last year, here is a selection of new music for you to dive into with all of the gusto that a fresh new outlook for a bright 2015 will allow. For me, I feel like this year is the cusp of a new era. Maybe you feel the same way, and I hope you do.

In any case, having a soundtrack to kick you off can’t hurt, right? So, lend me your ears for this smorgasbord of song from your new favourite acts!

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New Year, New Tunes 2014

Happy New Year, ‘Binners! Here’s hoping you had a nice holiday, and/or are continuing to have one. Whether you’re still on holiday, or are contemplating having to go back to work, a few new tunes couldn’t hurt either way, right?

Well, then. Here you go; a number of tunes from the best minds in pop music with whom perhaps you’re not altogether familiar. But, you can solve that by perusing the tunes below, clicking ‘play’, and perhaps discovering the best music you’ve heard all year – so far!

Snow Fairy
image: katmary

Fill your boots!

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1.”Helios” by Raleigh

Kicking things off is Calgary’s Raleigh, most certainly one of my favourite Canadian bands. I got to interview them a couple of years ago when they put out their debut. This one is the lead track off of their sumptuous follow up, Sun Grenades and Grenadine Skies.

2. “Fall Of The Summer Heart” by The Foreign Films

Art-pop vehicle The Foreign Films led by multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Bill Majoros will follow up 2007’s Distant Star, after a number of stellar EPs. Look out for that later in the year. In the meantime, this track is practically an EP all in one; a multi-layered series of songs within a song inspired after a tour of the UK.

3. “Butane Brain” by The Almighty Rhombus

Dark and angular, yet also bright and poppy all at once, here’s my favourite track as taken from Sudbury Ontario’s The Almighty Rhombus’ Lucid Living full-length. Light it up!


4. “6 Year Vignettes” by Vast Robot Armies

Sumptuous, ambitious and slightly on the proggy side if I might be so bold, Vast Robot Armies (under the creative direction of songwriter Jason Thompson) evoke a sort of Porcupine Tree-esque approach to bold, and epic scale music that still hits the pop spot. This track is taken from the most recent full-length, Goodnight Myopia.


5. “Fortunate Boy” by Dave Rave

Dave Rave is a local legend on the Southern Ontario music scene and beyond, having exercised his capacity for pop music of all kinds of sub-categories, including a stint in punk-pop daddies Teenage Head. As a departure from that sound, this track hits on a late-70s singer-songwriter feel with jazzy flourishes, taken from his most recent release Memphis Midnight.


6. “Button” by Colornoise

But, maybe all of these gentle, radio-friendly pop hooks need to be tempered with something more avant-garde. This band from Costa Rica delivers all of that, but keeps the hooks blended in quite nicely, thanks.


7. “Origin of Water” by Nheap

If soundtrack-y Sylvian/Sakamoto-influenced instrumental pop turns your crank, then this will help you start the year off right. This track is taken from Italy’s Massimo Discepoli, aka Nheap’s, latest record Flying In The Silence.


8. “A Freckle In Time” by The Sunshine Dreamers

If sunshiny psych (from the Mid-West!) is your favourite way to begin a new year, then what are you waiting for? This is the closing track to The Sunshine Dreamers’ record Good Morning Afternoon. Get your lysergic pop fix!


9. “Wasted” by Dog Day

Transporting yourself back to that classic late ’70s punk sound is easily done with this track from Halifax, Nova Scotia; Dog Day. It was offered as a free track from the band’s recent record Fade Out.


10. “Spaceship X” by Sun Stone Revolvers

If Apocalyptic Pop isn’t a genre, it’s possible that Toronto’s Sun Stone Revolvers have just invented it with this track as taken from the album after which it’s named – Spaceship X.

11. “1994” by Ben McKenzie

When you’re starting a new year, sometimes you need an anthem. Ben McKenzie’s “1994” may be that anthem, easily suitable twenty years into the future in 2014 (is it twenty years already? How did that happen?). This track is taken from his most recent EP Stand Down Son.

12. “Grand Tracadie” by Newsmen

Toronto’s Newsmen have managed to create effervescent power-pop meets art rock by mixing in a level of complexity that doesn’t interfere with its pop appeal. No small feat! This is their most recent single.

13. “The Tourists” by Clockwork Noise

A new year can be uncertain, and events can change direction at any time for ill, but also for good. So, here’s a soundtrack to all that in the closing song from the album Whethermachine,  a pop-hook laden noise-rock feast if there ever was one by Ireland’s Clockwork Noise.

14. “The Family Tree” by Unconditional Arms

Under the name Unconditional Arms, post-rock composer Jeffery Wright created an album of soundscapes in honour of his newborn son Owen (born in August of 2013) appropriately entitled Kinship . Instrumental, and emotionally evocative, this track also manages to sing with a pop music spirit.

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And there  you have it, Good People; a veritable smorgasbord  of musical delights to help you kick off your 2014. Which one’s your favourite? Tell me all about it in the comments section!

Otherwise, thanks for staying tuned! More to come all year long!

Enjoy!