January 24th, 2012
Put another gold star on Calgary’s list of impressive singer-songwriters.
Reuben Bullock just released his second album Man Made Lakes, recorded in a garage studio with producer Lorrie Matheson. It’s packed with four-part harmonies that swell with emotion and arrangements that push the bounds of the indie folk label.
Bullock’s music is best heard live, but this album is about as a good an imitation of live performance as you are going to get in a digital download.
Cue it up and enjoy a concert for one. —Jaelyn Molyneux
December 15th, 2011
Refresh your Christmas tunes with this list of contemporary carols.
The Christmas Waltz by She & Him
The Christmas Song by The Raveonettes
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Death Cab for Cutie
Angels from the Realms of Glory by Annie Lennox
Silver Bells by Meaghan Smith
The Cowboys Christmas Ball by The Killers
In the Morning by Jack Johnson
Song for A Winter’s Night by Good Lovelies
Tracks in the Snow by The Civil Wars
O Holy Night by Matt Andersen
November 21st, 2011
He broke guitar strings and broke onto the music scene playing Calgary bars with sets that left audiences ready to follow him wherever he went. Wil Mimnaugh known affectionately as just Wil calls Vancouver Island home now, but he is sticking to his roots with his latest album Heart of Mine.
The folk rocker wrote all ten songs recording them in a Victoria studio trying to capture the soulful verve of his live shows. He aggressively strums his guitar while crooning poetic lyrics with an authenticity that keeps the attention of even the most cynical bar crowd.
Blasting Heart of Mine in our living rooms is no substitute for a live Wil show, but it is as close as we’re going to get.
For an extra helping of Wil paired with some provincial pride, check out the new Travel Alberta videos set to his original recordings. —Jaelyn Molyneux
October 6th, 2011
Dear Leslie Feist, we heart your crafty pop and the four-year layover between your last album and your latest album, Metals, was worth the wait.
If The Reminder was the album that taught the world how to count to four and garnered a fistful of Grammy nominations, her latest recording, Metals might be the album that reminds us again that Feist’s quirky pop can be both complex and catchy, hopefully leading to some actual Grammy hardware.
Recorded this past February in an abandoned barn at the top of a California cliff, Metals is what you might expect from a punk singer turned indie-pop darling who read Steinbeck in her downtime. Which is to say the songs are confidently all over the place, sometimes chaotically noisy, sometimes hauntingly quiet, and always carefully thought out. —Jaelyn Molyneux
August 27th, 2011
It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights!
As we anxiously await the first Muppet Movie in over ten years to be released on November 22, we
can get our Animal on with the inspirational, celebrational, muppetational Green Album, featuring covers of popular Muppet music by contemporary artists. Sing along to old favourites like "The Muppet Show Theme Song", performed with a rock edge by OK Go, a quirkily wistful rendering of "Rainbow Connection" by Weezer (featuring Hayley Williams), and a stunning "Halfway Down the Stairs" by soprano Amy Lee of Evanescence.
Even Statler and Waldorf couldn’t give a negative review. —Jennifer Nachshen
Available on iTunes.
July 30th, 2011
The ukulele is a great kids’ instrument: it is small, easy to play and it never gets too loud (reason why recorders aren’t allowed in this home!).
That’s why we loved this make your own ukulele kit (US $40) from Uncommon Goods. It comes equipped with a wood body, neck, and strings which are easily assembled, and then you can customize it with different paints, stains or decorations.
And, when you've heard Old MacDonald Has A Farm for the one thousandth time, you know how they put it together, so you can take it apart.
—Alexandra Suhner Isenberg
July 14th, 2011
In the summertime I like “Cocaine Trade”, “Calypso Hippo,” and “Pump It.” In the summertime I want to be an Autistic.
Along with word wizards Christian Hansen & the Autistics, that is, the Edmonton-based electro-disco-pop-punk band that takes the stage to a whole new dimension (think sparklers, litres of sweat and glowing fluorescents against a keyboard, cowbell, and synth).
While the release of their sophomore album after Power Leopard ($9.99 on iTunes) won't happen until spring 2012, we’re already excited about the new album title, Dance Floor Death Core and the foursome’s upgrade to a fifth member, a drum set, and a guitar.
As Calgary Stampeders get their country on, the Autistic crowd with the controversial name will be shooting animated, electrified music videos with E-town extras (this time for “Ma-Me-O” and “Pill Popper”).
Only these guys and gals could come up with such idioms. —Caroline Gault
June 30th, 2011
You could play “O Canada” on repeat, or you could stock your patriotic playlist with these tunes and rock your Canada Day BBQ true north style.
Junior Boys - "A Truly Happy Ending"
The Slew - "Problem Child"
Caribou - "Selfish Boy"
Miracle Fortress - "Tracers"
Shout Out Out Out Out - "Bad Choices"
Chilly Gonzales - "You Can Dance"
Jacques Green - "Another Girl"
Zeus - "How Does It Feel"
Sloan - "G Turns to D"
Austra - "Lose It"
The Zolas – "You’re Too Cool"
Brasstronaut – "Hearts Trompet"
Broken Social Scene – "World Sick"
Rural Alberta Advantage – "Stamp"
Arcade Fire – "Sprawl II"
Crystal Castles – "Celestica"
Coeur de Pirate – "Comme des enfants (Le Matos Remix)"
Chromeo – "Fancy Footwork"
Feist – "1234"
Stars – "Take me to the riot"
—KD & AG
June 1st, 2011
The mysterious and reclusive Calgary artist Chad VanGaalen, whose previous albums were recorded in a basement studio, has emerged, literally and figuratively.
The new album and his fourth, titled Diaper Island—VanGaalen is a father to a three-year-old girl, hence memories of diapers—was recorded in a much larger recording room with a straightforward approach, resulting in it being called the closest thing he’s ever done to a rock album.
There are still plenty of VanGaalen-isms on the album like musings on life and death and instrumentally layered jams (it was recorded on a vintage tape machine after all). But as most critics would agree (us included), it’s “Sara,” a lovely, whistling ditty, and ode to VanGaalen’s partner, that is the apple of the album’s eye. —MG
May 25th, 2011
The release of Bon Iver’s new album is still a month away, but Calgarians got a pleasant surprise last week when the Wisconsin band released their first single, “Calgary.”
The upcoming 10-track, self-titled album is the follow-up to the melancholic 2007 For Emma, Forever Ago, and a collaborative affair, according to frontman Justin Vernon who also offered a preview of the album in a recent interview with the Guardian, stating that the sound varies from heavy metal influences to layers of bass saxophone with finger-picked guitar. “Calgary” is a beautifully charming mix of Vernon’s impressive vocal prowess with a head-bobbing drumbeat that lingers long after the song is done.
As each tune on the album is inspired by a place, Perth, Minnesota and Lisbon also made the cut but hey, we were first. —MG