Top 2011 Albums
1a. Guards - Guards EP - Leftover songs from Cult sessions, Richie Fallon brings a charisma and garage sound that did the trick for me. That 50's echo mixed in with several danceable tracks was a throwback to yesteryear.
1b. Ume - Sunshower EP - After seeing this band perform earlier this year, you had to buy their EP. This was on rotation (and still is) for over 8 months now. While their recently released LP was a let down, this thrashing homage to mid 90's girl rock puts you in a past era which we rarely experience.
2. Karkwa - Les chemins de verre - This album actually came out in 2010 when I wasn't even aware of the band. All I can say is where was I? They get compared to Sigur Ros in the states, but really that is only because they sing in French. It's not as 'atmospherical' as Ros, but simply one of the best albums I have heard in a while. It won the Canadian Grammy.
3. EMA - Past Life Martyred Saints - I picked this as my favorite midway through the year and it still resonates with me. I stopped listening to it after July but recently picked it up again. Didn't miss a beat.
Top 2011 Shows
1. Wise Blood - 4.10.11 - Liquid Sundays - Probably the most fun I had at a show all year. First, this was a place of worship who booked WB for reasons they only know. Second, they told him no drinking onstage (they were serving alcohol the whole night), no cursing, no drugs, etc. (mine as will give him a lighter). The performance was going well for the sparse crowd who probably had never heard any of his music before he was cutoff by management. Yes, he had a few choice words, swigged a beer onstage, mentioned coke, but come on? What did you expect? It was hilarious watching the manager try her best to coral his antics and hearing the aftermath.
2. Karkwa - 12.7.11 - Brillobox - One of the most disappointing attendances for a phenomenal act that sells out all over the world in venues of 3k+. For all those musically inclined yinzers who didn't bother to even acknowledge, it was disappointing. French Canadians that know how to perform for thousands including the 20 that showed up this evening.
3. Muse - 8.5.11 - Lollapalooza - One of the most consistently phenomenal live acts going for the past 8 years. I have seen them three times now and this was their best show yet. It probably helps it was 10p and they shot off a 4th of July like fireworks display during 'Hysteria'. Just fun loving Brits.