Top 5 Albums of 2016

Top 5 Albums of 2016

 

  1. Preoccupations – Preoccupations

Preoccupations is a throw-back album to the industrial era of music.  They settle right in between the Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine.  Growling vocals, moody baselines, and matching drums and guitar strokes makes this album memorable and unique.  2016 wasn’t a great year for music in my personal opinion.  But when this album kind of fell into my lap while looking into old Echo and the Bunnymen records.  Preoccupations don’t make any apologies for the type of music that they have released.  They aren’t looking for that one single that will make them relevant.  The best song on the album is a 12 minute marathon of multiple layered dimensions of every style of industrial that has been acknowledged.  There is something about this album that I can’t put my finger on that I love which is why I love it.  Nick Cave meets Echo and the Bunnymen at a Wolf Parade concert.  Memory is the best song on the album.  This record isn’t a juggernaut, but it’s solid all the way through.

  1. David Bowie – Blackstar

It’s obvious that the death of David Bowie will be felt all over the music scene.  But the amazing thing about Bowie is that he didn’t fade away.  He created a masterpiece of music while fighting off cancer.  This album is completely different from multiple Bowie eras.  It doesn’t have a lot of that 80’s feel.  It doesn’t have the early rock feel.  It also doesn’t have that space feel from the early 90’s.  Blackstar is its own entity – sounding nothing like what he has released previously.   Bowie used horns, saxophones, piano, computers, and of course the usual instruments.  Every sound of this record is a well thought out feeling.  There are two stand out singles on this record – Blackstar and Lazarus.  Of all of the fantastic people that passed away in 2016 David Bowie is the one that affected me the most.  If you just go through his catalogue of music you will find something new nearly every time.  Fantastic artist and a beautiful final album.

 

  1. Car Seat Headrest – Teens of Denial

I had zero expectations for this album.  I already had it pegged as a super aggressive no talent millennial that was looking for a hook to get that one single noticed and become famous from there.  I was flat out wrong.  This mid-20’s Asian man named Will Toledo can play the fu**ing guitar.  If you miss Dinosaur Jr. and Stephen Malkmus have a listen to this album.  It’s raw, it’s emotional, and the best thing about it is it doesn’t sell out.  This album vomits all over your Drake sweater and doesn’t apologize for it.  Vincent and Destroyed by Hippie Powers are the two stand out tracks on this album.  Top to bottom though it’s a thrashing good time.  This might be the live show that I look most forward to when he decides to come back to Toronto.  Refreshing as a glass of Hi-C when you were 13 years old.  Music is in good hands if Car Seat Headrest becomes popular.

 

  1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

Radiohead is the best band on the planet currently.  They continue to show this each and every time that they release an album.  A Moon Shaped Pool is no different.  There is just something about this band.  They know exactly the feel of the album that is required to stay relevant and fantastic.  Try to describe this band to anybody that listens to another not quite as respected genre of music – oh let’s just say country for the heck of it.  They will not understand what the big deal is with Radiohead.  You will be left shaking your head to yourself at the end of the conversation.  The vibe, the feel, the sounds, the instruments – everything is mathematically calculated similar to a casino sound for your brain to enjoy and to accept that this band is a unique group that may never be duplicated. Burn the Witch is the best song on the album, but there are quite a few 5 star singles.  Does this record get to the areas of greatness such as the Bends and In Rainbows – I don’t think so, but it was still the best record of the year up until the last month when…

 

  1. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It From Here

It must have been a few months ago when I heard that this album was going to be released.  I decided to go back and listen to their catalogue.  Why can’t rap sound like this again?  There are actual instruments in this record.  There is fluid vocal stream from each member of the band. Samples that are relevant to the feel of the song.  There is absolutely no question that this is the best rap album for 2016.  But, then there’s the fact of being the best album of the year.  This masterpiece has everything.  Top to bottom listening capability.  Head bobbing and extremely intelligent lyrics.  Fluid motion that is required for a top notch rap album.  I miss this sound being played on my iPod.  There are multiple fantastic singles on We Got It From Here.  I am not sure that I can even attempt to pick one out.  Number 1 without even a question.  If you can beat a Radiohead album out on Hosehead’s Top 5 albums you have done something right.  You should be proud of yourselves gentlemen.

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Going Back in Time with Will Ferrell

Even as the words came out of my mouth I knew that they didn’t make any sense.  “I thought Sausage Party would be a little bit wittier and smarter.”  It’s called Sausage Party.  Why would I think that?

The golf clubs might be hung up for another year.  They went out with a high, and it’s very unlikely that they will strike the ball that well for the rest of the year.  It’s called the George Castanza. You go out on top, and don’t look back.  The high for me is shooting an 84.

If you uttered or thought the comment “was that on 9”; you have no shot in the stand-up comedy scene.  Any laugh that you receive on that joke is called a pity laugh, and most people hope that you go away after saying it.

I was notified today by Sara that there are people drilling holes in new iPhone 7 thinking that there headphones would work after this was done.  These people should be put down.

Trump and Hillary have a debate coming up this weekend.  The person on the news believes that Trump is more likely to say something that will hurt his chances than Hillary.  On the contrary.  He could state that blowing up the moon with laser cats is a good idea, and he wouldn’t lose one supporter.

Sausage Party – 5.6/10

Where has the smart humor gone?  There hasn’t been a solid comedy that has come out in a few years.  They actually usually coincide with the good of Will Ferrell and every time Wes Anderson releases a flick.

There is new music to talk about as well.  Have you been missing the sounds of Echo and the Bunnymen?  No, or never heard of them?  Well, move on.  If your answer was yes.  Then have a listen to the self-titled album by the Preoccupations.  It’s one of the first solid albums of 2016.

Our Lady Peace and I Mother Earth are playing Halloween night at Centre in the Square.  Rumors are that when the clock strikes 10pm on Halloween night with these two bands and their original line up together that every fan will be transported to a half-price flannel sale in 1995.

Sunday morning is excellent for banana pancakes and the largest coffee that you can possibly find.  You will have a weird sugar and caffeine high clutching your pro-line tickets watching the clock with anticipation until 1pm when football starts. You will then hit a wall at 1pm after you come down from the high, and probably have a nap at 1:47pm watching a scoreless Bills/Cardinals game.

I am debating buying goaltending equipment to begin to play hockey again.  Then I remember how much damn equipment that you need to be a goalie.  I also remember how much getting hit in the groin by a puck hurts.  You always have that guy that’s on your team in warmups that wants to show how hard his slap-shot is from the hash marks.  He never knows where it’s going, and his laugh is similar to a stoned Seth Rogen.  Even after saying all of this I have opened 3 Kijiji ads for hockey equipment.

As we watch the Blue Jays march towards that Wild Card Playoff game remember that getting to the playoffs is a fu**ing difficult thing to do as a mid-market team in the AL East.  Enjoy every moment of it.

Top 5 Albums of 2015

As you know I do this every year.  No greatest hits, and no soundtracks.

Enjoy!

5.    Lower Dens – Escape from Evil

Originally I had Father John Misty slotted in this spot.  The more and more I thought about it though, I came to realize that the Lower Dens is a permanent staple in my playlist and deserves to be mentioned in the top 5 this year.  One thing that really stands out in this album is the distinct voice of Jana Hunter.  It’s a delivery that plays so well with the mood of the album.  There are tiny bits of multiple genres of music played here.  Sprinkle of Caribou, dash of New Order, and a tiny bit of XX.  The album really shines with it’s ability to balance the guitar work with the tone that the album is really trying to show off.   By far the top point of the record is To Die in LA.  The keyboard gives it a feel of a ’80s John Hughes movie, but the rest of the song feels like it’s the transition from 80’s to 90’s.   Escape from Evil is a solid play from top to bottom.  It’s mixed well, and the instruments flow together seamlessly.  It’s an unexpected pick for my top 5, but my iPod doesn’t lie.

 

4. Tame Impala – Currents

What can you say about this band that hasn’t already been said.  They are able to change styles throughout each album without missing a beat.  They still have a bit of their psychedelia in this album, but have really raised the bar when it comes to synths and keyboards.  Tame Impala have grown up.  The filler on each song isn’t just a band-aid for the song.  It’s a well thought out sound that mixes beautifully with each tune.  Kevin Parker has also raised the bar for his vocals.  Not only using his soft voice for feel, he now uses it as an instrument to in each song.  He is able to change tones to match the identity of the song.  There is only one tiny draw back to the complete change of style.  The drums have been practically removed.  Mind Mischief off of Lonerism has one of the best starts of a single in recent memory.  There are points of this album that I miss that sound.  Currents is not only a beautifully sounding album; it gives you a certain feeling.  You can’t put your finger on it, but the songs are calculated perfectly and the talent of this band really shows up on this record.

 

3 – Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges and Claws

I try not to be bias when I write my top 5.  It’s very difficult to do this when your favourite artist constantly puts out masterpieces regardless if he is solo or with Junip.  Classic guitar style with maybe the best voice in the business.   There is having high-hopes for an album then there is what I had for this record.  Jose is a magician on the acoustic, and the weird thing about it – he makes it look so easy.  Like he just sat down on his couch and came up with a song in 10 minutes.  If you enjoy acoustic of any sort and haven’t really had a listen to his catalog of music.  Give yourself a full day to be submersed into his world.  Every single thing about the album gives me chills.  Whether it be the smoothness of each note, to his outstanding ability to lull you into a dream without actually putting you to sleep.  The only reason why this isn’t number one is because it’s an extension off of his previous solo stuff.  It’s gorgeous and will make you feel fantastic.

 

Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

Welcome back Sufjan.  You ventured off in a different direction.  I applaud you for broadening your horizons, but we really need you back.  The Age of Adz was a good album, it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but I understood why people enjoyed it.  Stevens has a magical way of making his music sound like everything that you would want an orchestra to be.  Using instruments that would be odd for others, but for him is just another way to process what’s going on in his head.  It’s difficult to describe to other people what Sufjan sounds like.  You either get it or you don’t.  Throw on Illinoise for details.  Carrie and Lowell is a striped down back to earth album.  It’s using everything that works without going to far off of the tracks.  Stevens voice is absolutely gorgeous throughout this album.  Pausing and expressing tones at perfect times within the record.  After listening to Carrie and Lowell I expect to feel sad, but it’s actually the complete opposite.  Beautiful album that cannot be rushed through.

 

  1.  Kurt Vile – B’lieve I’m Goin Down

You ever sit down and start to just think of lyrics without actually jotting them down?  They sound absolutely perfect in your head.  You have a sound that you want the guitar to make that would sound wonderful with what you just wrote, but then you actually begin to play, and you can’t make it work.  Kurt Vile made it work.  This album is a masterpiece.  It’s a story that was written without a pause or a second thought.  Like a slice of your life that was cut out and somebody made a soundtrack to it.  His guitar work is perfect.  Vile has always been great at creating a mood for his music, but there are times when he can be a bit to dark.  This album is a weight on your subconscious.  It’s not something that you can just throw on in the background at a party.  It needs your full attention from top to bottom. Have a listen to “That’s Life Tho,”  It’s the best song of the year, and this the best album of the year hands down.