Wednesday, January 05, 2022
going, going, gone

 Here's some music I loved this year:

Albums:

Songs:
  • Lucy Dacus - Thumbs
  • Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen - Like I Used To
  • Laura Stevenson - Continental Divide
  • Megan Thee Stallion - Thot Shit
  • Cassandra Jenkins - Michaelangelo
  • Faye Webster - I Know I'm Funny haha
  • Your Old Droog, Lil Ugly Mane, and billy woods - Meteor Man
  • Spiritualized - Always Together With You
  • The Alchemist and Earl Sweatshirt - Loose Change
  • G Perico and Rucci - Keep Killin
And here's all of that plus some more stuff I really liked in one place.

now playing: Big Brave - Abating the Incarnation of Matter


Sunday, January 02, 2022
and if i go there, i won't stay there

 Here's a playlist of all those songs below. And here's the one including all the honourable mentions.

now playing: Radiator Hospital - Cut Your Hair


Thursday, December 30, 2021
downtown hotspot halfway through this life

 


2017 - Miya Folick - Give it to Me

I've been embedding the actual music video to songs, if it exists (and if the recording isn't heavily edited), because that seems obvious. And some of them are good and most of them are middling and some of them are bad (which I guess is also obvious), but none of the videos fit the ups and downs (sorry) of the actual song as well as this one's does.

When I hear "it's like a rollercoaster" it always feels like there's an element of surprise there, so maybe this is like a rollercoaster that you've ridden a bunch of times, because it's calm at just the right times and explodes at just the right times.

I think the homer thing or me to say here is something about the Coaster, but I'm talking that gnarly double corkscrew joint at New York, New York in Las Vegas or Colossus at Six Flags.

A note on one of my other favourites of '16: even though "And Breeding" is on the main list down there, "Jj" is my absolute favourite Priests song, which is just kinda how it goes when you decide to do this stupid by year thing. For the record, I used to smoke Golds when I was in the States.

These were close: Priests - Jj, Waxahatchee - Silver, LCD Soundsystem - Oh Baby, St. Vincent - New York


2018 - Boygenius - Me & My Dog

I guess it's not appropriate to say "supergroup" to describe three people that were not that famous in the grand scheme of things (although Phoebe Bridgers is sure properly famous now). And maybe it's also inappropriate because most supergroups are a let down and this this one was anything but.

When they toured, seeing Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, and Phoebe Bridgers all in one evening was incredible, but it was even more incredible that their set together was the easy highlight of the show.



2019 - Sharon Van Etten - Seventeen

As someone getting on in age, I can fully relate to thinking fondly about all of your old stomping grounds. Even specifically for this video, I wouldn't claim them as mine, but I've had very good times at Pianos and Cake Shop and Union Pool and Baby's Alright. But more importantly, this video and song make me think of Mesa Luna and the Emergency Room and Richard's and the Starfish Room and the Secret Space and the old Red Gate and the Royal Unicorn and a bunch of other places.

More importantly, this song just has this massive hook and also Sharon Van Etten's singing it.




2020 - Sun June -Karen O

Listen, there was no way I was going to not like a song called "Karen O" that opens with the lines, "I saw Karen O live in a basement in Brooklyn/had a dream that night that you came back to me".

The song itself is soft and beautiful and (maybe actual New Yorkers would disagree, but SJ is from Texas) captures some of those weird things that just seem to happen on the regular in NYC. And I can picture Laura Colwell stumbling up the steps of a brownstone at 4am.



2021 - Lucy Dacus - Thumbs

Lucy Dacus has a knack for writing really heart wrenching songs, but I can't think of many tunes (hers or otherwise) that hit as hard and as beautiful as this one.

You should listen to the episode of Song Exploder about it.




Wednesday, December 29, 2021
we'll come back seven years later


 2011 - EMA - California

I couldn't get enough of this song the first time I heard it. The noisy textures in the background. Those piano chords that dropped like they were plucked right off of Cat Power's covers record. And the vocals that are just hooky enough to prevent it from sounding like spoken word.

And the video. Even though there's a lot more going on behind Erika M. Anderson, it's always reminded me of the "Nothing Compares 2 U" video, cause she's just this singular focus for 5-minutes or so.

A note on another one of my favourites from '11: on the podcast they made for the reissue of Sit Resist someone Laura Stevenson worked with talks about how--and I'm paraphrasing here--she just shows up in the studio and hits all the notes. So, they still do multiple takes, but there aren't really any bad ones. On that note, instead of linking to the studio version down there, it's a live performance which is awesome because it's on the Chris Gethard show, but also because it underscores what a great singer Laura is.

These were close: Laura Stevenson - Master of Art, Real Estate - It's Real, PS Eliot - Sadie, Love Inks - Black Eye, Julianna Barwick - Envelop, Friends - Friend Crush, Eleanor Friedberger - I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight


2012 - Hop Along - Tibetan Pop Stars

This song sounds massive. I've seen Hop Along twice (and side note: Frances Quinlan was the last show I saw before the world shut down), but both times opening for someone else, so I'm dying to see them headline, so I can hear this song like this, which is what it deserves.




2013 - Swearin' - Dust in the Gold Sack

Before I went to New York for the second time, my friend Becky (who has graciously hosted me there like 6 times) made a Google doc of stuff we were going to do and one of them was "go see Swearin' they play here all the time. "All the time" did not actually translate to when I was there and but I listened to "Kenosha" about 100 times when I zipping around the city that week and I can't listen to them without thinking about NYC.

The thing about "Kenosha" is that--as the name would imply--it's not even about New York, but this one definitely is. And I can't listen to "Dust in the Gold Sack" in particular without thinking about going "back and forth" from Bedford-Nostrand, getting off at Metropolitan and bouncing between bars.

These were close: Laura Stevenson - L. Dopa, Mapei - Don't Wait, Waxahatchee - Swan Dive, Eleanor Friedberger - Stare at the Sun


2014 - Priests - And Breeding

While I never saw Swearin' in New York, I did see Priests there. And speaking of bouncing between bars, after they closed with this one, we went to a couple of places and I lost the 7" that I bought, because I drank too much. I want to say "oh to be young again"... but I was 33 already.



2015 - Laura Stevenson - Torch Song

Even though I listen to way less new music than I used to, there's still so many artists that I didn't listen to when I was writing this thing regularly that I love now. Some didn't exist, but others just weren't on my radar. Laura Stevenson is in the latter category, but even combining the two, her songs are the ones I've fallen in love with the most in the last decade or so.

I'm not sure if Cocksure is my favourite of her records (honestly, they're all close), but it's the poppiest. And this might be the hookiest track off of that record.

A note on one of my other favourites from '15: the link to "Air" down there is someone's recording of her playing at the Biltmore (iirc Girlpool opened too), because remember going to shows? Like, I went to see the New Pornographers a couple weeks ago, but I wanna be crammed into some shitty (no offense to the Biltmore) bar drinking bad draft and listening to music maybe once every couple of weeks again.



2016 - Angel Olsen - Shut Up Kiss Me

I can't think of an Angel Olsen song I've heard and disliked, but for some reason I've never delved that deeply into her music. I've definitely put full albums on when I'm working or otherwise kinda distracted, but I've never really done a deep dive and I'm honestly not sure why, because in addition to never hating any of her stuff, I've been instantly drawn to quite a few songs. None more than this huge sounding weirdo pop song.




Friday, December 24, 2021
i've got a mental image of the way you used to look at me


2006 - The Hold Steady - Girls Like Status

I've always wondered--and still don't know--how this song got relegated to b-side status, because, maybe after "Stuck Between Stations," it's always sounded like the most Hold Steady Hold Steady song. We're back in Penetration Park and there's some of the most obscure references, even for Craig Finn. That line about the Locust has always made me smirk like a teenager and it's so sweet when everything drops out and they quote the Mountain Goats (and I'm not even that much of a Mountain Goats fan--yeah, I know).

Comparatively, "Stuck..." has always seemed smarter because it has literary references and this one just has relatively obscure indie rock ones, but I've always been more of a smart dumb cat (or maybe dumb dumb cat).

These were close: Cat Power - The Greatest, TV on the Radio - Wolf Like Me, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins - Happy, Califone - The Orchids (Psychic TV), Ladyhawk - The Dugout, Camera Obscura - Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken, Fiery Furnaces - Waiting to Know You, Voxtrot - Warmest Part of the Winter



2007 - LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great/All My Friends

These songs have always felt like they just fit together, so here they are as intended.

That said, while I think "Someone Great" is something great, "All My Friends" is my favourite song of all time. 

Maybe it's something that would've dawned on me once I sat down to write something like this anyways. But being mostly stuck in once place during the pandemic, has made me think (more than once) about how I've heard this song in so many places at so many different times in the last decade and a half. In NYC actually seeing them for what (at the time at least) could be one of the last times. But also in bars and clubs in San Francisco and Copenhagen and when I used to throw it on at parties here (if you need to pee or grab a beer or both, a 7 and a 1/2 minute song that never really lets up once it gets going is ideal).

It would be a little disingenuous to say this song soundtracked me growing up, since I was already 25 when it came out, but I still had a lot of growing up to do over the next 15 and this song was playing for a lot of that.




2008 - Waxahatchee - Black Candy

In the grand tradition of Guided by Voices, a good song is still a good song, even if the recording sounds pretty shit. And I love this one. It is, however, weird going year by year like this, cause I think a bunch of songs a couple years before or a couple years after, would bump this out (including forthcoming Waxahatchee songs), but I can't think of anything else in 2008 that I liked more.

A note on another one of my favourites from '08: I certainly haven't devoured music as much as I did when I was writing this thing regularly, but there's still quite a bit of music that I've stumbled upon since then that isn't just new music. And there isn't anyone's songs that I have fell in love with more than Laura Stevenson's. "Mammals" is the first time she'll show up here (and it's off of her first record), but it certainly won't be the last.




2009 - PS Eliot - Tennessee

I flew to NYC in 2016 to see PS Eliot's show at the Market Hotel and I remember feeling like that guy at the Metallica show going, "do you think they'll play Sandman?!" Buddy, they're gonna play "Sandman". 

They closed the show with "Tennessee" and in my brain full of New York moments, the ooh-ooh-ing intro with the subway flying by outside the window behind the band remains one of the my favourite ones.

These were close: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Hysteric, Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys - Empire State of Mind, Marissa Nadler - Little Hells, Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire, Warpaint - Billie Holiday, Pink Mountaintops - Holiday, Miley Cyrus - Party in the USA, The Abramson Singers - Take a Camera


2010 - Japandroids - Younger Us

When this song came out, it reminded me a lot of my last year (you know, the 5th one) of university, particularly buzzing peoples' dorm rooms even though they'd retired for the night, because we found another party.

It's a toss up between this, "Young Hearts Spark Fire," and "The House That Heaven Built," but this one's up there.

There's an argument to be made that this should really just be that part when the beat drops in "Dance Yrself Clean" too.


now playing: Jason Collett - Rave on Sad Songs

Wednesday, December 22, 2021
i'm sick of this brave new world

2001 - Spoon - Anything You Want

Spoon and also the Walkmen (who have a couple These were close) are two of my favourite bands that, for a long time, I never would've identified as two of my favourite bands. They just sort of existed, kinda quietly putting out solid records. Spoon's still doing it.

A note on one of my other favourite songs from '01: I haven't listened to a lot of Ryan Adams since all that shit about him came out. No shade if you still do. It's not like he's R. Kelly or something. But when I started listening to all my LPs A-Z last year, I just kinda skipped over his solo records. Especially with most of the songs being mopey love songs, it was hard not to think, "ok, but this guy's a fucking asshole!" But Liz and I were at an outdoor party in the Summer and "The Ballad of Carol Lynn" came on what I'm pretty sure was just some Spotify "alt-country" playlist and man, do I still love that song.

These were close: Whiskeytown - The Ballad of Carol Lynn, Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Art Star, Constantines - Young Offenders, The Strokes - Someday, The Avalanches - Since I Left You


2002 - Wilco - Jesus, Etc.

I was working in the (aforementioned) Music World in Landsdowne Mall when the actual physical version of this album was released. We used to be able to bring home the promos once they left the rotation that Music World's head office set. But also, my manager sent me home with this about 6-weeks before it was supposed to rotate because I played it so much when I was on shift, that she was sick of hearing it. 

I didn't really know anything about Wilco before Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, even though they'd been a band for 7 or so years before, but I just immersed myself in their catalogue after hearing this record. They remain one of my absolute favourite bands and I can't even remember how many times I've seen them (or Tweedy solo) in the two decades since.

 


2003 - Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Maps

"Bang" and "Art Star" both still rock, but they were both so brash (and funny!) that I wasn't really ready for "Maps" (or even "Y Control" for that matter) ringing in the last half of Fever to Tell. There was still that hypnotic drumming and the weirdo guitar lines, but also this sweet lil' love song that got tons of MTV play (their 2004 MTV Awards rendition is still one of my favourite TV performances of all time). 

A note on one of my other favourites from '03: "Young Lions" is easily the song I've walked down the street bellowing in the wee hours of the morning, while extremely drunk... which is a weird thing to know and I can't think of what would be second, but I can remember (kinda) multiple occasions where I stumbled home belting it out.



2004 - The Killers - All These Things That I've Done

I don't really even like the Killers that much (though I certainly don't actively dislike them) and "Mr. Brightside" is pretty obviously the better song, but this one's gone from "sounds enough like an upbeat Spiritualized ripoff" to a song I can't get enough of.

I think I had "The Rat" penciled in here first and then realized that I've listened to "All These Things..." way more the last couple years, which is probably something I would've been embarrassed about back when I used to write here more, which is the embarrassing thing now, to be honest.




2005 - Sleater-Kinney - Modern Girl

The Woods is still my favourite record of all time and this is my favourite song on it.

These were close: Bright Eyes - Landlocked Blues, The Hold Steady - Your Little Hoodrat Friend, The New Pornographres - Jackie, Dressed in Cobras, Fiery Furnaces - Here Comes the Summer, Wolf Parade - This Heart's on Fire, Leah Abramson - Letters to B., Constantines - Soon Enough, Cadence Weapon - Oliver Square, Ciara feat. Ludacris - Oh

now playing: The Walkmen - The Rat

Monday, December 20, 2021
if i told you you were wrong, i don't remember saying

 


1996 - The Fugees - Fu-Gee-La

Lauryn has always kinda carried the Fugees, but also is there a better opening line than Wyclef's "we used to be number ten/now we permanent at one"? And Pras' weird flow just works here. I had this CD forever, but after getting rid of all of my CDs, I finally picked this up on vinyl and Liz had to endure me winding this one back about 3 times in a row.




1997 - Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space (Elvis Version)

It's probably cooler to say "Cop Shoot Cop" here, but the Elvis interpolating, love song opener of this record has always been my favourite.

A note on one of my other favourite songs of '97: when I was working in the now shuttered MusicWorld in Landsdowne mall, I remember putting on the Beta Band's "Dry the Rain" and mimicking a line from High Fidelity, "I will now sell three copies of the Beta Band's Three EPs"

First off, that was impossible, because it was a shocker that the Richmond outlet of Music World had one fucking copy, let alone three. But, my manager and I were briefly, pleasantly shocked when a young lady approached the counter. 

Ready to respond, "I know" when she told us how great this song was, I was suddenly deflated when instead, she proclaimed "what is this? It's really weird."

Anyhow, that song aged really well and the movie didn't, but you probably already know at least the latter.

These were close: The Beta Band - Dry the Rain, Radiohead - No Surprises, Sleater-Kinney - Words and Guitar, Wu-Tang Clan - Triumph, The Weakerthans - Confessions of a Futon Revolutionist


1998 - Cat Power - Colors and the Kids

My favourite Cat Power songs have always been the most minimal. I don't really care whether that was out of necessity or not, but her voice has always been the thing that drew me in and the lyrics were always second. And while the big arrangements certainly work sometimes (see: "The Greatest"), I could listen to Chan Marshall sing over this plinking piano riff for hours.

A note on one of my other favourite songs of '98: I once got asked to write about a song of my choice for an upstart Vancouver weekly and chose "Kiss Me". I was never asked to write for them again, but I stand by my decision. Well, kinda. It probably would've been doing them a solid to write about something more current and it was definitely an opportunity to write about something local. Sorry again, Graeme.





1999 - Fiona Apple - I Know

1999 was the year I graduated high school and also I think this is the first year where "the song I love most now" and "the song I loved most then" match up, which is pretty weird, since my other hobbies at the time were: getting very high, trying to convince girls to let me touch their boobs, Street Fighter 2: Championship Edition Turbo, and playing my electric guitar very loud. Kudos to 17-year-old Quinn for mostly being a teenage boy piece of garbage, but also for some inexplicable reason recognizing that Fiona Apple is one of the greatest songwriters in human history (actual kudos for the latter only).

A note on one of my other favourite songs of '99: one of my most lasting live music memories ever is seeing ...Trail Of Dead at Richard's on Richards, where they closed the show and the tour with "A Perfect Teenhood", and then as per usual threw all their gear around. But since it was the last show on the tour, they kept throwing their gear around until some of it ended up completely trashed and some of it ended up out the back door of the venue. And then they came back on stage and sang "Sweet Caroline" a cappella.



2000 - Doves - Cedar Room

It's funny because my most lasting memory of Doves is actually showing up a little late for their opener at a show (also at Richard's) and being flabbergasted by some scruffy looking dudes called "The Strokes".

"Are these guys local?"
"I feel like we would've heard of them if they were local."
"Hi, we're the Strokes from New York!"

"Someday" shows up in the "these were close" category next year, but it's been two decades and I come back to this song more than anything off of Is This It?.

These were close: Primal Scream - Kill All Hippies, Idlewild - Actually, It's Darkness, Dead Prez - Hip Hop, Shellac - Squirrel Song, Cat Power - I Found a Reason


contests

music

upcoming shows
2/8 Twin Sister, Eleanor Friedberger, and Ava Luna @ the Media Club
2/9 David Choi @ the Rio
2/10 Secret Chiefs 3 and Dengue Fever @ the Rickshaw
2/13 White Buffalo @ the Media Club
2/14 The Ballyntines and Pleasure Cruise (TT) @ the Biltmore
2/18 Grimes w/Born Gold @ Fortune (early)
2/18 Cruel Young Heart, Young Liars, the Oh Wells, and Matiation @ the Dodson Rooms (AA)
2/18 Cursive w/UME @the Media Club
2/19 The Asteroids Galaxy Tour w/Vacationer @ Venue
2/20 Veronica Falls w/Bleached @ the Media Club
2/26 DJ Krush @ Fortune
2/29 Trevor Hall @ the Media Club
3/6 Slow Club w/Signals @ the Media Club
3/7 Cloud Nothings w/Mr. Dream @ the Media Clubr
3/8 Islands @ the Rio
3/10 Memoryhouse @ the Waldorf
3/17 William Fitzsimmons @ the Biltmore (early)
3/18 Magnetic Fields @ the Vogue (AA)
3/21 Plants & Animals>/b> @ the Rickshaw
3/22 Drive-by Truckers @ the Commodore
3/23 White Rabbits @ the Biltmore
3/23 Loney Dear @ the Media Club
3/24 Sharon Van Etten and the War on Drugs @ the Biltmore (early)
3/25 Nada Surf and An Horse @ the Rickshaw
3/27 The Ting Tings @ the Commodore
4/5 House de Racket @ the Electric Owl
4/6 Chairlift w/Nite Jewel @ the Electric Owl
4/7 Heartless Bastards @ the Media Club
4/8 Metronomy @ Venue
4/8 Gotye @ the Vogue (AA)
4/9 Cults @ Venue
4/10 First Aid Kit @ Venue
4/10 Andrew Bird w/Laura Marling @ the Vogue (AA)
4/13 The Odds and the Grapes of Wrath @ the Rickshaw
4/14 The Joel Plaskett Emergency @ the Vogue (AA)
4/24 School of Seven Bells w/Exitmusic @ the Electric Owl
4/26 Justice @ the PNE Forum (AA)
4/27 M83 @ the Vogue (AA)
4/27 Yukon Blonde @ the Commodore
4/28 Neon Indian @ Venue (early)
5/6 Delta Spirit w/Waters @ the Electric Owl
5/9 Yann Tiersen @ the Rickshaw
5/11 Great Lake Swimmers w/Cold Specks @ the Commodore
5/12 The Boxer Rebellion> @ the Biltmore
5/27 Coeur de Pirate @ Venue

legend:
AA = all ages
DG = @damaged goods
DFTK = @dirty for the kids
FJW = @fake jazz wed
EN = @easy now
GD = @glory days
HL = @higher learning JH = @junior high
JY= @junkyard
RRPP = @rocknroll pizza party
SD = @shindig
TT = @toonie tuesday
NW = @no worries

more shows
shindig
the biltmore
fortune
pat's
the railway
the red room
venue

club action
culture club
damaged goods
east van soul club
glory days
ice cream social
no more strangers
re-up
wild zero

local favourites

mostly music
a day in the life of...
a reminder
chipped hip
deftone
duncan's donuts
expressway to my skull
goodnight neverland
guttersnipe
hero hill
the indie files
my indie world
radio zero
the skinny
vanmega
weird pop vancouver
winnie cooper

consume
dandelion
red cat
scratch
zulu

formed a band
the abramson singers
basketball
bison
black mountain
brasstronaut
the clips
destroyer
fine mist
jpndrds
koban
ladyhawk
mt-40
no gold
nu sensae
twin crystals
white lung

dj kicks
betti forde
cam dales
dg djs
expendable youth
john cougar
my!gay!husband!
paul devro
tyler fedchuk

everything else
beyond robson
chez nous presents
citr
cjsf
ion
linds & nicola
only
ryan walter wagner
safe amplification site society
scout
swak
the straight
timbre
twee death
urban diner
vancouver is awesome
vanity presents

everywhere else

blogs
b(oot)log
brooklyn vegan
catbirdseat
catchdubs
chromewaves
cliptip
copy, right
discobelle
feed your habit
fluokids
fluxblog
for the 'records'
good weather for airstrikes
gorilla vs. bear
i am fuel, you are friends
i (heart) music
largehearted boy
macleans
mad decent
marathonpacks
mcnutt against the music
more cowbell
music (for robots)
my old kentucky blog
the outernet
palms out sounds
pop (all love)
popsheep
rock, paper, pixels
ryspace
said the gramophone
soul sides
stereogum
songs: illinois
swedesplease
ttiktda
weird canada

you ain't no picasso
zoilus

sites
buddyhead
cbc radio 3
coke machine glow
daytrotter
glorious noise
pitchfork
schedule two
stylus
tiny mixtapes

scribbles
chart
color
discorder
exclaim!

interact
email
last.fm
twitter

history

on repeat
i'll make you a tape
one song
promo pile

previous posts
going, going, gone
and if i go there, i won't stay there
downtown hotspot halfway through this life
we'll come back seven years later
i've got a mental image of the way you used to loo...
i'm sick of this brave new world
if i told you you were wrong, i don't remember saying
i'll be waitin' forever
i'll write you a letter tomorrow
another day come and gone, oh well

archives

mp3s are for preview purposes, if you like what you hear, buy it at your favourite indie record store. please don't direct link to photos. click for more.

writing by Quinn
unless noted

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