Great Big Sea-Play (1997)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 100% (A++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Ordinary Day
  2. When I’m Up (I Can’t Get Down)
  3. The Night Pat Murphy Died
  4. How Did We Get From Saying I Love You…
  5. Donkey Riding
  6. Haven’t Seen You In A Long Time
  7. End Of The World
  8. General Taylor
  9. Seagulls
  10. Recruiting Sargent
  11. Greenspond
  12. Jakey’s Gin
  13. Something I Should Know
  14. Jolly Roving Tar
  15. Rigadoon

Label:

Warner Music Canada

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Missing the Canadian East Coast.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s strange, I don’t really know what to think.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Absolutely!

Final Thoughts:

Great Big Sea was one of those bands that was always played in my household. They were a band that I think all of the family could enjoy to some extent. No other album stands out as much as Play to me. I remember seeing the album artwork and trying to wrap my head around the concept of music making, it was so foreign to me at that age. Play is a Canadian staple, no one in this country should have made it through the 90’s without hearing a couple of these tracks. Great Big Sea is a feel good band for me, little makes me think of my country more than these guys.

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Iron & Wine-Beast Epic (2017)

My Rating: 97% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 75%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 80%

Average Rating: 81% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Claim Your Ghost
  2. Hearts Walk Everywhere
  3. Kicking the Old Rain
  4. Thomas County Law
  5. About a Bruise (Demo)
  6. Bitter Truth
  7. Claim Your Ghost (Demo)
  8. Song in Stone
  9. Summer Clouds
  10. Summer Clouds
  11. Call It Dreaming
  12. About a Bruise
  13. Last Night
  14. Right for Sky
  15. The Truest Stars We Know
  16. Our Light Miles

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Tired but happy.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

One of my favourites of theirs so far.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

The thing that is most impressive about Iron & Wine is how long he’s been making music and how consistently good his releases are. Beast Epic is nothing new, but I don’t want anything new from this artist, he’s perfected his sound and he’s glad to stay in his lane. Few artists get so much leeway when it comes to catching criticism as not growing (Jack Johnson is typically hated because his songs all sound the same) as Iron & Wine does. The main difference here is that all of Iron & Wine’s albums sound roughly the same, but their individual songs all have a life of their own, and it never seems to get old. Beast Epic is welcome material for Iron & Wine fans, but more cannon fodder for those who want to say that he’s a stagnant artist.

Brett Dennen-Loverboy (2011)

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 92%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Surprise, Surprise
  2. Dancing at a Funeral
  3. Comeback Kid (That’s My Dog)
  4. Frozen in Slow Motion
  5. Sydney (I’ll Come Running)
  6. Make You Fall In Love with me
  7. Only Rain
  8. Can’t Stop Thinking
  9. Must Be Losing My Mind
  10. Song For Leaving
  11. Queen of the Westside
  12. Little Cosmic Girl
  13. Walk Away, Watch Me Burn

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling blue, Brett Dennen has a natural way of lifting your spirits.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really really simple, and I like it that way, singer/songwriters usually have great album covers.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah, I’ve never seen it for sale though.

Final Thoughts:

Brett Dennen is my homeboy, he hasn’t always been (I’ve been a fan since this album released) but I’ve repeatedly found comfort in his tunes. Loverboy was the album that showed me his diversity as well as helping me through some lonely times when I was still trying to find my way in the world, it has a lot of sentimental value to me. He’s an excellent songwriter and a very warm soul, I got to see him live and I remember how soul soothing it was, just a man, his guitar, and a cup of tea (he was actually sipping tea during his performance). If you haven’t checked him out yet start with Loverboy, you won’t be disappointed.

Damien Rice-My Favourite Faded Fantasy (2014)

Record Review Requested By: Trevor Loken

My Rating: 94% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 76%

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. My Favourite Faded Fantasy
  2. It Takes a Lot to Know a Man
  3. The Greatest Bastard
  4. I Don’t Want to Change You
  5. Colour Me In
  6. The Box
  7. Trusty and True
  8. Long Long Way

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Angry/sad and need to get it out of your system.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super cool, I wish I could draw as well as the person who did the cover.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Damien Rice’s My Favourite Faded Fantasy sounds like an epic. As if a man who has been in a marriage for years has lost everything and is putting it into his music. Huge sounding. Really beautiful, but incredibly sad and angry. It’s great for any angsty teen/adult/baby that may be out there. I can see myself singing some of these lyrics loudly in the middle of the night. Honestly if you haven’t gotten into Damien Rice yet, it’s about damn time. This is a great starting point, but honestly all of his albums are.

Leonard Cohen-Popular Problems (2014)

Record Review Recommended By: Trevor Loken

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 86%

Average Rating: 87.3%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Slow
  2. Almost Like The Blues
  3. Samson in New Orleans
  4. A Street
  5. Did I Ever Love You
  6. My Oh My
  7. Nevermind
  8. Born In Chains
  9. You Got Me Singing

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Drinking a whiskey and thinking about life.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not that great, kinda outdated in my opinion.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh, hell yes.

Final Thoughts:

I’m not one to automatically sing praises to albums/artists just because they are influential or critically acclaimed. I expected this album to be so-so, but I ended up loving every friggin’ song on this album. Cohen’s gravely voice is just so perfect throughout this entire album, I’m blown away.

Iron & Wine-The Shepherd’s Dog (2007)

My Rating: 92% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 86%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 84%

Average Rating: 87%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car
  2. White Tooth Man
  3. Lovesong Of The Buzzard
  4. Carousel
  5. House By The Sea
  6. Innocent Bones
  7. Wolves (Song Of The Shepherd’s Dog)
  8. Resurrection Fern
  9. Boy With A Coin
  10. The Devil Never Sleeps
  11. Peace Beneath The City
  12. Flightless Bird, American Mouth

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You:

Need to grieve something. Or you’re alone in a cabin with a whiskey.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, it’s alright. I think as a vinyl it’d look cool, but  on my ipod it’s kinda whatever.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

YES!

Final Thoughts:

This is one of those albums that I didn’t realize that was actually really close to my heart until I sat down and listened to the whole thing. It’s hit after hit, flowing smoothly from one song to another. Absolutely beautiful music.

Aidan Knight-Versicolour (2010)

My Rating: 81% (B+)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 81% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. The Sun
  2. Fighting Against Your Lungs
  3. Eyelid Clicks
  4. Altar Boys
  5. North East South West
  6. Knitting Something Nice For You
  7. Sorrows
  8. Jasper

Favourite Song on Album:


Listen to This Album When You’re:

Ready to relax with some solid folk.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s simple, not too much to say about it, it’s not keeping me away from trying it, but it’s not drawing me in either.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yeah I think it’d be a great addition.

Final Thoughts:

Aidan Knight is an absolute gem, almost all the songs on this album have been played in the dozens, they’re beautiful and relaxing and sometimes even a bit angry (see the end of Knitting Something Nice For You).

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