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Year in Review: Favorite Tracks!

Posted on by Ricky in Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

Lots of good tracks this year, so if I was to make an imaginary two disc compilation of my favorite tracks of the year and give it to people to download and burn on to cd’s here is what would be on it!

I have written a blurb on each track.

CD1
01 – Caribou – Can’t Do Without You
Caribou put out one of the best records of the year, this is one of the best tracks off of it.

02 – FKA twigs – Two Weeks
May have usurped Grizzly Bear for my favorite track called “Two weeks”. No one ever writes a song called “Three weeks” for some reason and obviously, Barenaked Ladies own “One Week”

03 – Bad Bad Not Good – Can’t Leave The Night
Toronto trio’s third album featured this amazing instrumental. BBNG’s best experienced live so just turn off the lights, turn this one really loud and then pour beer on your living room floor to mimic a live show atmosphere.

04 – Timber Timbre – Hot Dreams
This is song sounds like Canadian Richard Hawley according to Vik

05 – Jessie Ware – You & I (Forever)
Jessie Ware put out probably the best pop album this year. You could of picked a bunch of songs off this album and it would fit nicely. Reminds me of the glory days of 90′s pop without the horrendous fashion of the time.

06 – La Roux – Sexotheque
Not sure why she named herself after a thickening agent, but La Roux’s second album was another one in a long line of extraordinary pop records released this year. I am disappointed she didn’t seem to catch on as much as she did when her debut rolled around a mere five (!) years ago.

07 – Belle And Sebastian – The Party Line
B&S released one song this year (AFAIK) and it was perhaps a glimpse into their new synthy danceable sound. I am excited. I bought tickets for their show while in Budapest. Not sure how much that cost my company in roaming fees but I’m sure it was worth it.

08 – St. Vincent – Digital Witness
St. Vincent is the current queen of indie pop. Her new album once again, redefines what the St. Vincent sound is and with choreographed shows featuring highly organized costumes, I feel like the St. Vincent experience is only going to getting started. This track is one of the tracks of the year.

09 – Calvin Harris – Pray To God (feat. HAIM)
somehow Calvin Harris went from singing “the girls” to becoming one of the biggest DJs and producers in the world. While his music is quickly veering towards “samey”, there is no doubt when he makes it hit, it is spectacular. Pray to God combines sounds like an 80′s power ballad on whatever drugs the kids are taking these days.

10 – Royksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
A great example of how people from different countries can get along. Norway’s Royksopp and sweden’s Robyn collaborated on a EP this year and as is all things Robyn it is quite a treat.

Picture break

11 – Tennis – I’m Callin’
If some people in my company can provide as consistent an output as Tennis does every year, I would be so happy. Tennis music is summery, vibrant and makes you want to get on a boat.

12 – Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys
The Wizard turns 26 in 2015. The power glove is 26. Some people on this email thread are not even 26.

13 – Lykke Li – Never Gonna Love Again
Lykki Li put out a spectacularly sad and amazing record this year. This is just one of the many tracks off it. I wonder if Jian Gomeshi listens to this track.

14 – TOPS – Outside
This Montreal band released a stellar sophomore record this year and this tune is best imagined as a romantic montage in a 80′s era John Hughes era featuring Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Matthew Broderick and also a bunch of really stereotyped minor characters.

15 – La Sera – Summer of Love
I remember first time I saw La Sera at SXSW a few years ago, I was all excited because the girl from it used to be in Vivian girls. But then a few minutes later, I was like ‘who are Vivian girls?’

16 – Hurray For The Riff Raff – The Body Electric
I don’t know who she is, but Paul and Gary really like it. When Gary said he was going to see them at SXSW, I thought he meant the rapper that James Franco’s character was based off of in Spring Breakers.

17 – Sharon Van Etten – Every Time the Sun Comes Up
I just realized I committed myself to writing a lot more then I intended.

Part 2:
01 – Jungle – Busy Earnin’
This English collective sounds like a a band from another time and their lead single would do well as a theme song for a 70′s Cop show staring OJ Simpson

02 – Kasabian – Eez-Eh
Kasabian are like celery. People either love them or hate them with passion. I think people were pissssed when they headlined glastonbury. Despite all the resentment that they receive, even the naysayers would have to agree – they are a helluva live band. 48:13 was a record they wrote exclusively for Glastonbury and Eez-Eh was a single clearly designed to jump and down to. so listen to it and jump up and down in your home.If anything, do it for cardio.

03 – Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You)
Pretty much the song and dance move of the year. They and Pusha T played my open bar birthday party for free on the island this year as well, so really nice guys. Actually, Vice hosted that party but whatever.

04 – Temples – The Golden Throne
Every year there seems to be a UK band that listens to a lot of 70s music that comes to the forefront. This year, it was Temples Where will they be next year? Probably bagging groceries. Still, glory!

05 – The War On Drugs – Red Eyes
Boo boo beep boo

06 – Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me
1a in terms of song of the year.

07 – Parquet Courts – Bodies
Their music reminds me of being in college, which is weird, because I went to University and not college. How come they only have college rock and not university rock? Probably because people in university are too busy studying.

08 – Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part of Me
Cleveland’s had an up and down year, for the ups, Lebron came back and the new Cloud Nothings record. For the downs, it’s still Cleveland.

09 – Run The Jewels – Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)
Including this song means I’m keeping it real. What are the odds that Zack de la rocha would be on one of my best of’s? Next year: Derek Whibley

10 – Spoon – Rent I Pay
Spoon has managed to keep sounding good all these years, their Horseshoe show was one of my favorite NXNE highlights and a really good use of my media wrist band.

Picture Break:

11 – Ex Hex – Waterfall
I caught on to Ex Hex way too late. This isn’t a TLC cover.

12 – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Eurydice
I’ll always remember the POBPAT for blowing up a speaker and starting a fire at this one bar at SXSW.

13 – TV On The Radio – Ride
42

14 – I Break Horses – Faith
It’s rare to see a Swedish band not be on Labrador records or be Robyn, so we should all appreciate the appearance of I Break Horses on this compilation. Meatballs.

15 – Warpaint – Disco-Very
Warpaint used to be the band that former IT girl Shannon Sushamananya was on, but since they ditched her, their music has improved dramatically. Full Ewing theory in effect here.

16 – James – Moving On
I’m equally ecstatic and horrified that this song is on a Scotiabank or RBC commercial. Hopefully this will entice them to visit our city one more time.

17 – The Horrors – I See You
The Horrors have come a really long way from back when they were merely a joke on the show The Mighty Boosh. Every release from them brings forth a new sound and this shoegazey track is just another example of how much they’ve grown since Sheena is a Parasite was released.

Gary’s Year-End Review 2014

Posted on by Gary in Everything, Year End Reviews | Leave a comment


There are few things more alarming then the sudden realization that you’ve become desensitized by something that was a constant worry, an adrenaline-inducing rush, or a simple unadulterated joy. Then again, this is what powers change, renewal, and some times, regression. So, with that off-kilter note, in this year-end review I will collect a few items where the old is new, the new is again old, and rings of retro is drawn around the world. Onward with the never-ending sushi conveyor belt…

Songs/Albums
In some sense, I take quite a negative/evolutionary approach to my music collection - whatever survives rounds of deletion regimes becomes a “favorite song”; and favorite album is simply one that escapes the Trash Can onslaught with the most number of tracks intact. That happens to be alt-J’s This Is All Yours and Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy (which was actually out 2013) this year. The entire method, of course, leaves a systematic imprint on the collection: potential run-ins with music that I can’t immediately relate to, and was merely to confused/ambivalent about which to press the delete button. Be that as it may, both these albums contain real gems. alt-J’s cover of “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers) actually threw me back to dig up the original. They are polar opposite takes on the same tune – one nonchalant, idealistically ignorant while the other passive-aggressively defiant – each distinctly the product of their times. Another good track on the same album is “Every Other Freckle”, which would sound immediately familiar to anyone who has listened to their first album.

During SxSW 2014, one of the highlights that I didn’t detail (after rightly realizing the probable lack of general interest) is Anamanaguchi’s set at the Karma Lounge. Let’s just say that “moshing” with chiptune/anime nerds is a strangely civil affair where your personal bubbles interfere to the extent of a Venn diagram of the agreeable topics between the Democrats and Republicans, even if the music is going at a ludicrous-speed and 120 dB. Relative to the other 20 odd tracks on Endless Fantasy, “John Hughes” actually proceeds at a conservative pace, if you can believe it. But it did motivate me to read about the late director and re-watch Home Alone. With Christmas fast-approaching, that’s not even a remote stretch.

 

1x1.trans Garys Year End Review 2014

Documentary
The oil prices are crashing (and Richard Branson wants you to believe OPEC is dropping prices because they need to starve renewable technologies of cash). CDC fears perpetual ebola (and scientists are still talking about the semantics in “gain-of-function” as it applies to genetically boosted uber viruses). The ocean off Maine is so warm that blue crabs from Maryland now live there (let’s not forget that Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line and therefore THE SOUTH). So what else could you be doom and gloom about? After shedding the above external fears, you can turn to the internal dichotomies of human nature! It’s elementary, my good chum. I reviewed the Watchers of the Sky this past April during HotDocs. I still wholeheartedly recommend it. To summarize – it is about genocide, how we never learn, and have apparently shown little capacity to change in the 20th century even while some keep hoping we do. If you’re not already shuttering your DVD collection from a tsunami of tears, at least refrain from watching it with your whole family during the holidays while the neighbors’ kids are carolling outside the door. That would be a HUGE buzz-kill. Compartmentalize your ability to empathize and “festivate” (which would go perfectly well with a genocidal Dalek on a T-shirt), then watch.

 

1x1.trans Garys Year End Review 2014

Science stuff
2014 marks the first time I heard the term black hole and “white hole” used simultaneously in a scientific context. How? Apparently, back in 1964, someone thought that if it’s impossible to exit a black hole, somewhere there must also exist another “-hole” that is impossible to enter. And thus the white hole was born. Putting aside the fact that such a description would be preposterously scandalous if read in Einstein’s time, for 50 years everyone thought that even black holes were only theoretical. Now that we know they are not, physicists have been on the trail of black holes’ illusive white counterparts, and ideas abound as to how to find/create such a spacetime oddity. Among others, one idea popularized by the show “Strip the Cosmos” claims that a wormhole connects a black- and white-hole together and finding/maintaining one would finally satisfy our sci-fi fantasy of traveling faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately, the show then went to great lengths to describe how to build two gigantic balls in order to maintain a wormhole – too weird. At the other, SLIGHTLY more mathematically sound end of the spectrum, two physicists suggest that black-holes could basically invert and turn into a white-hole. Look, I didn’t make any of this stuff up. I merely reorganized the flow to make it a more interesting read. If at any point you have the slightest doubt that I’m simply cobbling together terminologies to saturate PM with smut and politically incorrect play-on-words, I would only say that 1) you might not be wrong, and 2) science is much more colorful than most people would allow.

 

1x1.trans Garys Year End Review 2014

Game
Disclaimer: I haven’t played Dragon Age: Inquisition.
For most people that would probably have been enough information to disregard this paragraph. But not only is Dragon Age not the lone, popular, heavy hitter this year, it would also be quite useless for me to recapitulate what has been said the umpteenth time elsewhere. What I will recommend is Divinity: Original Sin. Developed by Larian Studio from Belgium, DOS has been the most interesting daily time-sink I’ve crawled-out-of if only to step right back into the quicksilver 8 hrs and 2 meals later. Sure, DOS has a somewhat compelling story. Yes, there is character development, skill-tree progression, dialogue depth, humor, all that jazz. But that’s where BioWare really shines. DOS’ isn’t visibly great in those dimensions compare to even Dragon Age Origins. It is, however, a turn-based, stats-driven, hands-off RPG in the truest sense. Basically, if you believe in punishing tactical chess matches where you are almost always out-numbered and out-gunned, then this will be a Christmas treat. While the game softens toward the end, the steep learning curve at beginning to mid-game was the real selling point. There are two games in recent memory where scouring the land and constructing plans simply to level-up was absolutely necessary – this, and Dark Souls. You see, the game opens and leaves you alone just as quickly. You are the wildebeests that feeds itself to the lion pride every 2 minutes as you attempt to move about on a big map. And surprises are aplenty: standing in water? Instant death by electrocution; covered by toxic sludge? Instant death by chemical explosions; far away from the Boss enemy and behind a smoke screen? Instant death by crushing due to teleportation of the 800 lb invisible Boss above your head. The ever-so-faint hope of victory while you stare down the last drop of blood in your last surviving character can be maddening. Add to this the fact that character death (at least early on) is practically permanent, you can rightly question how this game is ”fun” if not only in the sadistic sense. But if we look back to the golden days: NES’ Ghosts and Goblins was categorically unfair; DragonQuest 7 on PlayStation almost turned me into a volcano in the opening battle; and let’s not forget the Demon/Dark Souls games. These are no more chances to earn nerdy bragging rights than they are a projection of the never ending, revolving nature of fashion/trends. So, support an indie game company and give it a shot. And get your TV/PC an insurance policy.

That concludes the lecture for 2014. Have fun doing none of the things I recommended!

2014 in Review: Ricky’s Favorite albums

Posted on by Ricky in Rickys Random Articles | Leave a comment

1x1.trans 2014 in Review: Rickys Favorite albums

This year, I lost the plot.

Mainly, I just worked way too much. As a result, my typical time spent with music reduced severely and is starting to induce a semi mid life crisis. Personal feeling asides, I did get to listen to a few albums this year and in no particular order, here are some of my favorites.

War on Drugs – Lost in the Dreams
I can’t even name one song off this album, but I listen to it all the time. It reminds me of a chiller time and also summer. I love albums that remind me of summer.

Lykki Li – That really sad record
Totally forgot what that album was called, but it was super sad and super awesome. I listened to it non-stop when it first came out and I still put it on regularly today. It really sucks that Lykke Li had to go through such heartbreak, but man does it make for phenomenal art.

Jessie Ware – Her second album
I remember when I first heard Jessie Ware and me and my friend Jessica were discussing her track and thought it was kinda meh. How wrong we were! Ware’s first album was great and she continues to build on it with her new album. Maybe it’s nostalgia but she has got that classic 90′s R&B sound that many singers try to imitate but few succeed. It’s just gorgeous pop music.

Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal
Parquet Courts released two albums this year, the second one I have yet to really engage with but the first one was an album I was constantly listening to this summer. The album was exactly how I like meetings at work – short, to the point and sweet. The album reminded me a lot of late 90′s college rock, but Parquet Court combines that with good vocal hooks that ab adds just that much more to it.

Caribou – Our Love
First album in four years and Dan Snaith has not lost a step. The album’s first track Can’t Do Without You is one of the best tracks of the year and it should definitely be on the Polaris list for next year. It’s a complex electronic album that abandons a lot of conventional EDM tricks and will only grow with time.

Alvvays
It only took one album for Molly Rankin to surge to the top of the Rankin family power rankings. A great poppy debut record from the Canadian group had everyone’s panties in a bunch and for a great reason – great jangly beachy pop tracks like the ones that dominate this album are hard to find. Combine that with Rankin’s icy cool distant vocals and it makes the album that much cooler. A no brainer record that is probably on everyone’s best of.

Tennis – Ritual in Repeat
Sometimes the best summer albums get released in the fall. Tennis is a band who’s sound is pretty refined by now, but like a sushi chef who is dedicated to his craft, the band only seems to improve with each iteration.

Manic Street Preachers – Futurology
Manics seem to come up with a new record every year in recent times but Futurology took them in a drastically new direction from 2013′s Rewind the Film and the results were amazing. Inspired by Kraut rock and glam pop, Futurology has a freshness from the Welsh trio that would normally seem rare for a band with so many albums under their belt. I was kind of stunned when it wasn’t nominated for the Mercury Prize. I thought it was a good bet to win it when this record first came out. But then again, Talvin Singh won over Manics in 1999 so I guess a snub should not be all that surprising.

There were a few more I enjoyed, but I am too tired to write about them.
St. Vincent
New Pornos
Spoon
Warpaint
TV on the Radio

CHRISTMAS BONUS CONTEST: Win Vinyl/CD of She & Him’s Classic

Posted on by Ricky in Contests | Leave a comment

1x1.trans CHRISTMAS BONUS CONTEST: Win Vinyl/CD of She & Hims Classic

Hard to believe She & Him have been around for six years now. I guess it really isn’t a side project after all. I’m not sure if this is purely a cash grab or M. Ward just doesn’t feel like writing anymore songs but Classics is their latest record featuring covers of some of your grandparents favorite classics. Still, there is something there with the duo and the album is once again, entirely pleasant and something that you can easily give away to some excitement at Secret Santas or whatever.

You know what? You can win this album as well, thanks to our friends at With a Bullet promotion. To win, do one of three things!

1. Retweet this tweet and follow our twitter account
2. Like us on Facebook and comment on this post
3. Email panic@panicmanual.com with the subject “Im dreaming of a She & Him Christmas” (include mailing address).

Canadians only.

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