Chali2na-Fish Outta Water (2009)

My Rating: 87% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 79% (B)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Get Focused
  2. International Feat. Beenie Man
  3. So Crazy
  4. Lock Shit Down Feat Talib Kweli
  5. Don’t Stop Feat. Anthony Hamilton
  6. Keep Goin’ Feat. Choklate
  7. Comin’ Thru
  8. F.O.W.
  9. Love’s Gonna Getcha
  10. Righteous Way
  11. When Will I See You Again Feat. Elizhi
  12. Guns Up Feat. Damian Marley & Stephen Marley
  13. Graff Time
  14. Controlled Coincidence Feat. Kanetic Source
  15. Be Be Feat. Ming Xia

Label:

Decon

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting Chicago blues mixed with hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

This is an absolutely incredible album cover, one of my favourites.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

Chali2na’s voice should be used for narration as much as Morgan Freeman’s, seriously, it’s so bassy and smooth, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Fish Outta Water is great fun, the tracks are diverse but cohesive, the lyrics are witty and cautionary, and, unlike a lot of underground emcees production, Fish Outta Water’s production is A+. I wish Chali2na released more music because he is one of my favourite emcees, Fish Outta Water is more than likely the most impressive LP the rapper will release, any J5 fan should have this album in their collection.

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Thee Oh Sees-An Odd Entrances (2016)

My Rating: 58% (D+)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 70%

Average Rating: 65% (C)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. You Will Find It Here
  2. The Poem
  3. Jammed Exit
  4. At The End, On The Stairs
  5. Unwrap The Fiend, Pt. 1
  6. Nervous Tech (Nah John)

Label:

Castle Face Records

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Winding down.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Awesome and weird as usual.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

I don’t really view An Odd Entrances as an album by Thee Oh Sees, I don’t think it’s meant to be anything more than a companion piece to A Weird Exits, almost a couple tracks to add to that album more than anything. So no wonder it didn’t score well, what with Dwyer’s mood of getting a little too jammy for my liking as of late, and the limited number of tracks worth revisiting. That isn’t to say An Odd Entrances doesn’t have its charm, actually there are times where you can really hear influences from the likes of Boston, Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, but all in all it’s just an afterthought, it’s not an album that many Oh Sees fans should list among their favourites.

The Kills-Ash & Ice (2016)

My Rating: 81% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: 62%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 68%

Average Rating: 70% (C++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Doing It to Death
  2. Heart of a Dog
  3. Hard Habit to Break
  4. Bitter Fruit
  5. Days of Why and How
  6. Let It Drop
  7. Hum for Your Buzz
  8. Siberian Nights
  9. That Love
  10. Impossible Tracks
  11. Black Tar
  12. Echo Home
  13. Whirling Eye

Label:

Domino

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Getting ready to go out for the night.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Very cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely.

Final Thoughts:

I have no idea how I originally found The Kills, it must’ve been around the time that I was getting into bands like Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, and Alabama Shakes. Ash & Ice continues suit, a really solid album that is really easy to put on to appeal to a large audience, but nothing too different or impressive that it stands out than more than a solid album. The Kills are great musicians and Ash & Ice is a really enjoyable album, but it’s not something that caught me off guard or that demanded a second listen. I’m hoping that their other work gives me a couple tracks to sink my teeth into more than Ash & Ice did.

Bombay Bicycle Club-Flaws (2010)

My Rating: 91% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 40%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 63%

Average Rating: 65% (C)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Rinse Me Down
  2. Many Ways
  3. Dust On The Ground
  4. Ivy & Gold
  5. Leaving Blues
  6. Fairytale Lullaby
  7. Word By Word
  8. Jewel
  9. My God
  10. Flaws
  11. Swansea

Label:

Island

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Fits the album so perfectly.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

Bombay Bicycle Club caught me off guard with their second release Flaws. Known for being a alt rock pump up band, this down-tempo acoustic album may come as a shock to those exploring this bands discography, especially the fact that a lot of these songs are actually just striped down versions of tracks from their first album: I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose. Flaws may not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially for those who have been fans from the very beginning, but to those that it caters to (Death Cab and Sufjan fans come to mind) it is a truly wonderful album.

The Reatards-Not Fucked Enough (2005)

My Rating: 39% (F)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 39% (F)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Saturday Night Suicide
  2. Sour And Vicious Man
  3. Oh My Soul
  4. Twice As Hard
  5. Won’t Take You Back
  6. Break Down
  7. Drink Today
  8. I Won’t Make It
  9. You Can’t Run
  10. Make It Fit
  11. Pretty Baby
  12. I Like Your Titty, Eric
  13. Sick When I See
  14. Keep On Walkin’ Away

Label:

Goner

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Angry/stoned.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty rad.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this one.

Final Thoughts:

It’s a delicate balance making a great garage rock album, you don’t want it to be so melodic that it’s easily accessible to the posers, but you can’t make it so distorted that it’s next to impossible to listen to. Unfortunately Not Fucked Enough missed the mark for me, it didn’t live up to the standard that i expect of Jay Reatard. The whole thing is distorted to hell, the lyrics are barely audible and overly aggressive, it’s a trip that I didn’t feel like I was invited on. Jay Reatard is an incredible artist, his group The Reatards may be a write off, we’ll see if I like any of their other work.

The Kooks-Inside In Inside Out (2006)

My Rating: 93% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 59%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 75% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Seaside
  2. See The World
  3. Sofa Song
  4. Eddie’s Gun
  5. Ooh La
  6. You Don’t Love Me
  7. She Moves In Her Own Way
  8. Matchbox
  9. Naïve
  10. I Want You
  11. If Only
  12. Jackie Big Tits
  13. Time Awaits
  14. Got No Love

Label:

Virgin

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Need to dance and let out some steam.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not the greatest.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes, for sure.

Final Thoughts:

The Kooks have been on my shuffle for a while now, but I have not explored their discography nearly as much as I’d like to. So I started off with their debut Inside In Inside Out and damn is it good for a debut. It’s funny how there only seems to be two lanes for artists to take in my experience: 1. The Illmatic lane: always trying to one-up their debut album but never quite making anything as significant. 2. The My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy lane: hitting their stride later in the career and keeping fans on their toes. I’m curious to see if Inside In Inside Out is an Illmatic or if I’ve got a My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy coming down the queue from The Kooks.

Zion I-True & Livin’ (2005)

My Rating: 78% (B)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 78% (B)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. True
  2. Doing My Thing
  3. Bird’s Eye View
  4. The Bay
  5. Luv
  6. Soo Tall
  7. I Need M
  8. Rockin’
  9. Temperature (Feat. Talib Kweli)
  10. One Chance
  11. Amerika
  12. Poems 4 Post Modern Decay (Feat. Aesop Rock)
  13. Heads Up
  14. Next 2 U
  15. What U Hear (Feat. Del)
  16. Stranger In My Home (Feat. Gift Of Gab)
  17. Oh Lawd
  18. Livin’

Label:

LiveUp Records

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting some uplifting melodic hip hop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s alright.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I love when albums catch me off guard, there’s little better when I have no expectations going into an album and it turns out to be a wonderful record. True & Livin’ did exactly that for me, I’ve always liked Zion I, but this album bumped them up a notch. It’s no wonder that their song Temperature broke into the mainstream, what with Talib lending some help and the fact that True & Livin’ was a solid offering as a whole for hip hop heads to delve into. With features to make you giddy, Zion I may never have or will be better than True & Livin’.

Vince Giordano Trio-A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

My Rating: 88% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 88% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. O Tannenbaum
  2. What Child is This
  3. My Little Drum
  4. Linus and Lucy
  5. Christmas Time is Here (instrumental)
  6. Christmas Time is Here (vocal)
  7. Skating
  8. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing
  9. Christmas is Coming
  10. Fur Elise
  11. The Christmas Song
  12. Christmas is Coming (alt take 1)
  13. The Christmas Song (alt take 3)
  14. Christmas Time is Here (alt vocal take)
  15. Greensleeves
  16. Greensleeves (alt take 6)

Label:

Fantasy

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

In the Christmas spirit.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Classic.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Almost bought it like a week ago.

Final Thoughts:

Nothing will ever quite say Christmas like Vince Giordano Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. It’s such a heartwarming nostalgic trip, it’s next to impossible to not feel a little happy when this gem is on. A Charlie Brown Christmas is both classy and accessible, most of us grew up with these songs and a lot of us had them playing in our houses as kids. Vince Giordano Trio plays through the tracklist with ease while adding a bit of character to each classic Christmas tune they cover. Need to feel like Christmas? Throw this on and you’ll be there.

City And Colour-If I Should Go Before You (2015)

My Rating: 86% (B++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 80% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Women
  2. Northern Blues
  3. Mizzy C
  4. If I Should Go Before You
  5. Killing Time
  6. Wasted Love
  7. Runaway
  8. Lover Come Back
  9. Map Of The World
  10. Friends
  11. Blood

Label:

Dine Alone Records

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving on a dreary day.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Classy, I like it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Not this release.

Final Thoughts:

City And Colour is one of those staple bands that most Canadians are familiar with, they’re always on the radio, at least four of your friends are obsessed with them, and they are always coming to a city near you. I love this band, they make consistently great music, catchy and emotional, it was easy to get into them after being in love with Death Cab For Cutie. If I Should Go Before You is more of the same, great music to add to their already awesome collection. Not their best work (the opening song Women got under my skin pretty fast, not a great way to start the album) but still lots of fun, glad to have it a part of my collection.

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