Death Cab For Cutie-Plans (2005)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 65%

Rolling Stone Rating: 60%

Metacritic Rating: 66%

Average Rating: 73% (B-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Marching Bands Of Manhattan
  2. Soul Meets Body
  3. Summer Skin
  4. Different Names For The Same Thing
  5. I Will Follow You Into The Dark
  6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room
  7. Someday You Will Be Loved
  8. Crooked Teeth
  9. What Sarah Said
  10. Brothers On A Hotel Bed
  11. Stable Song

Label:

Atlantic, Barsuk

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling nostalgic.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Meh, it’s okay.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need this one!

Final Thoughts:

Man, I love Death Cab For Cutie, they were such an influential band for me. One of the first bands I ever listened to that was alternative was Snow Patrol and they opened the doors for this album, an album that has hit after freaking hit. Seriously, every track on this album is as memorable to me as the last, it’s a perfect album that will always have a spot in my heart. There’s little wrong Death Cab can do in my mind, they were one of those bands that really opened my mind to other genres of music, so I’m pretty biased when it comes to their early work, but damn, Plans is just such a great album.

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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.

The Shins-Heartworms (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 76%

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 80% (B+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Name for You
  2. Painting A Hole
  3. Cherry Hearts
  4. Fantasy Island
  5. Mildenhall
  6. Rubber Ballz
  7. Half a Million
  8. Dead Alive
  9. Heartworms
  10. So Now What
  11. The Fear

Label:

Columbia

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Feeling like a mix of Arcade Fire and Empire of the Sun.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Anything acid art is pretty much a win, so this one really works for me.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Just bought it! So stoked on it.

Final Thoughts:

I hate when a band I’ve loved for a long time releases an album that trumps all their previous work, why? It always makes me sound like an amateur fan and I lose 100 pretentious points. Heartworms is The Shins best album yet, it’s a good mix of awesome instrumentals and really unique vocal performances. The album reinvents the band in a good way, they rolled the dice on this release and won big. It’s like we got a little bit of both worlds between The Shins and Breaking Bells on Heartworms. Controversial claim or otherwise, The Shins have never been this good, Heartworms is a huge accomplishment from this instantly lovable band.

Alberta Cross-Songs Of Patience (2012)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 65%

Average Rating: 83% (B++)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Magnolia
  2. Crate Of Gold
  3. Lay Down
  4. Come On Maker
  5. Wasteland
  6. Ophelia On My Mind
  7. I Believe In Everything
  8. Money For The Weekend (Pocket Full Of Shame)
  9. Life Without Warning
  10. Bonfires
  11. Rambling Home
  12. Wait

Label:

ATO

 

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Driving on a sunny day.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Super trippy. I love it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

The first song I heard of Alberta Cross was Hard Breaks and I liked it enough that it entered my 25 most played songs on iTunes. Usually when a band has a really catchy song, I’m cautious to explore the rest of their work because I’ve been burned one too many times. It wasn’t the case with Alberta Cross, their music has been shockingly enjoyable. Songs of Patience may be their most friendly album yet, anybody should be able to start with this album and understand the band a couple tracks in. It shocks me that this band isn’t bigger based on how friendly their music would be on the radio, it’s not too experimental and I’d be comfortable putting it on at a family gathering. Songs of Patience may be your new favourite record, it may be one that you put on shuffle, but I highly doubt it’d be one you’d end up disliking.

Eels-Shootenanny! (2003)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 28%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 67% (C+)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. All In A Day’s Work
  2. Saturday Morning
  3. The Good Old Days
  4. Love Of The Loveless
  5. Dirty Girl
  6. Agony
  7. Rock Hard Times
  8. Restraining Order Blues
  9. Lone Wolf
  10. Wrong About Bobby
  11. Numbered Days
  12. Fashion Awards
  13. Somebody Loves You

Record Label:

Dreamworks

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Not really sure on what genre you’re currently in the mood for.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Reminds me of early Blues covers, nothing special, but kind of cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

I went to college in Saskatchewan, a province that gets so cold that doors are frozen in the morning, and it was there that I discovered Eels. Maybe it was something about the dark utterly miserable conditions where I lived, or maybe it was being in a transitory part of my life, but Eels made a lot of sense to me. I loved the vulnerability in the lyrics, the openness to be sad and not try to cover up, but then following up with songs about how excited he is for Saturday is a really odd mix, but one that I really like. Shootenanny! flows from genre to genre, and to some these may work against Eels, but for me it kept the experience entertaining, if not a little jumbled.

Aesop Rock-Skelethon (2012)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 82%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 79%

Average Rating: 87% (A-)

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Leisureforce
  2. ZZZ Top
  3. Cycles to Gehenna
  4. Zero Dark Thirty
  5. Fryerstarter
  6. Ruby ’81
  7. Crows 1
  8. Crows 2
  9. Racing Stripes
  10. 1,000 O’Clock
  11. Homemade Mummy
  12. Grace
  13. Saturn Missiles
  14. Tetra
  15. Gopher Guts
  16. Dokken Rules (feat. Rob Sonic)
  17. BMX (feat. Blueprint & Rob Sonic)

Favourite Song on Album:

Record Label:

Rhymesayers Entertainment

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Having an existential crises.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s rad, most of Aesop’s covers are awesome.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Already do, I spin it all the time.

Final Thoughts:

2012’s Skelethon caught me off guard, more than even The Impossible Kid which I think is the better of the two and should be considered a masterpiece (I hope it will get that title over time). What Skelethon did for me is gave me the ability to understand Aesop, I mean as much as one can understand Aesop. This was the album that turned me from casual listener to geeky fan, honestly anyone who knows me knows I love this guys work. Skelethon showcases Aesop’s diversity all while mixing in a couple songs with Kimya Dawson (giving them the idea to form The Uncluded). The best part of Skelethon is how accessibly it is, maybe not as much as The Impossible Kid, but still very easy for casual listeners to get into. Skelethon was the calm before the storm, an amazing album that led to his best, it’s the album that I thought he couldn’t surpass, but then did 4 years later.

Oliver The Penguin-Button Pusher (2009)

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. Girls & Boys
  2. Scissors & Glue
  3. Paper Airplane
  4. Pictures By the Seashore
  5. Pressing the Function Key
  6. Do I Leave My Heart Here
  7. Mad Scientist
  8. From Long Sleep
  9. Second Chances
  10. Something Like Love

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Walking home from a great first date.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Pretty chill.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

What an underrated band Oliver The Penguin is, I love every one of their tracks on Button Pusher, and that’s not just being generous, I legitimately love this album. It’s kind of like a band formed around the song Nothing Better the song on The Postal Service’s Give Up. Oliver The Penguin is a more mature Owl City, with both female and male vocals, their songs are usually pretty flowery, mostly about relationships, but there is a certain level of maturity and creativity behind their music. I love this band and wish I could find more of their stuff, but for the time being I guess I’ll just have to stick to Button Pusher.

Beck-Colors (2017)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 63%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 72%

Average Rating: 79%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Colors
  2. Seventh Heaven
  3. I’m So Free
  4. Dear Life
  5. No Distraction
  6. Dreams (Colors Mix)
  7. Wow
  8. Up All Night
  9. Square One
  10. Fix Me
  11. Dreams

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Starting off on a fun road trip.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s okay, kinda reminiscent of Sea Change.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yes!

Final Thoughts:

Beck continues to be impressive with Colors, honestly, will this dude ever fall off? It’s kind of frustrating really, like dude give some other people the spotlight, stop being such an attention seeker. Colors is enjoyable throughout, there’s weaker tracks than others for sure, but none are bad by any stretch. Beck is one of the few artists I know who can leave the studio for a long time and come back and continue making relevant music. Beck never feels like he’s following someone’s idea of popular music, he makes music and others follow him.

Redcloud-Hawthorne’s Most Wanted (2007)

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. Deep Thoughts
  2. Welcome All
  3. Guns & Roses (feat. Jayo Felony, Eek-A-Mouse, & Tonex)
  4. Boulevard Knights
  5. 405 (feat. Lord Zen & Dannu of Visionaries)
  6. Tapatio (feat. Pigeon John)
  7. Hawthorne’s Most Wanted (feat. Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound)
  8. The Boombox Saints
  9. Krylon Teardrops
  10. The Time Has Come
  11. Battle Of Little Bighorn (feat. Def Shepard)
  12. My People
  13. Songs They Sang
  14. Death Of A Salesman (feat. Pigeon John)
  15. South Central Farms

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a really funky hip hop album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s what got me to buy it, super cool.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

So badly.

Final Thoughts:

There are few albums that I can remember the first time that I listened to, but Hawthorne’s Most Wanted was so jaw droppingly original that I remember first hearing DJ Wise’s crazy intro and getting excited for the rest of the album. Redcloud has made one of the funkiest hip hop albums I’ve ever heard, there are no weak tracks on this project, all the pieces fit together so well. But it’s not just the awesome sampling that makes Hawthorne’s Most Wanted classic, Redcloud’s vocals and lyrics are original, funny, and honest. One of my favourite lines (from Songs They Sang) is: “God’s a blanket I’m Linus, it’s 10 degrees below minus.” Clever writing, awesome DJing, Hawthorne’s Most Wanted is one of my favourite hip hop albums of all time.

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