Playlist: New tunes from 2019, part one

I guess it was just a matter of time before playlists became a thing on this blog. The only surprise to me is that it took me this long to break down and post a Spotify playlist to these pages. And I’m already imagining this won’t be the last. Hence, the “part one” adjunct at the end the title above.

These here twenty-five songs are all from albums that have been released in the first three months of 2019 and are amongst my faves from said albums. Indeed, these are the songs that have soundtracked a very long winter up here in Canada’s capital, making my morning and afternoon commutes to and from work that much more bearable.

Highlights include:

      • “Not so proud”, track five off the self-titled debut album by Tallies, a four-piece dream pop outfit from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
      • A track (“Dylan Thomas”) by the surprise collaboration between Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers, from the album titled “Better Oblivion Community Center”
      • “Motor city steel”, one of the few highlights off an otherwise disappointing outing from Dandy Warhols, an alternative rock favourite in my books
      • “First world problems”, a song I wanted to hate off Stone Roses’ frontman, Ian Brown’s latest solo effort because its title is oh so millennial… but I just can’t help myself…
      • Reviews have been decidedly mixed for the debut album by (don’t call us a) supergroup Piroshka, who include ex-members of Lush, Moose, Modern English, and Elastica, but I love the single “Everlastingly yours”
      • “Tough enough” by Ex Hex is so so so 1980s in a Go-gos, Bangles, and Pat Benatar kind of way

For those who don’t use Spotify or if the embedded playlist below doesn’t work for you, here is the entire playlist:

      1. “Not so proud” Tallies (from the album Tallies)
      1. “About the light” Steve Mason (from the album About the light)
      1. “Her cold cold heart” Night Beats (from the album Myth of a man)
      1. “[10 good reasons for modern drugs]” The Twilight Sad (from the album It won’t be like this all the time)
      1. “Seventeen” Sharon Van Etten (from the album Remind me tomorrow)
      1. “Death in midsummer” Deerhunter (from the album Why hasn’t everything already disappeared?)
      1. “Dylan Thomas” Better Oblivion Community Center (from the album Better Oblivion Community Center)
      1. “Motor city steel” The Dandy Warhols (from the album Why you so crazy)
      1. “Sequence one” TOY (from the album Happy in the hollow)
      1. “Spiked flower” Swervedriver (from the album Future ruins)
      1. “Mexican dress” Blood Red Shoes (from the album Get tragic)
      1. “Five on it” Spielbergs (from the album This is not the end)
      1. “First world problems” Ian Brown (from the album Ripples)
      1. “Gallipoli” Beirut (from the album Gallipoli)
      1. “Bellyache” Yak (from the album Pursuit of momentary happiness)
      1. “Everlastingly yours” Piroshka (from the album Brickbat)
      1. “Until the fire” Ladytron (from the album Ladytron)
      1. “Jonatan” Desperate Journalist (from the album In search of the miraculous)
      1. “Pressure to party” Julia Jacklin (from the album Crushing)
      1. “One last night on this earth” Sundara Karma (from the album Ulfila’s alphabet)
      1. “Exits” Foals (from the album Everything not saved will be lost, part 1)
      1. “Woman” Karen O and Danger Mouse (from the album Lux Prima)
      1. “Tough enough” Ex Hex (from the album It’s real)
      1. “Look at you now” Sleeper (from the album The modern age)
      1. “Wasted youth” Jenny Lewis (from the album On the line)


For those of you who are on Spotify, feel free to look me up. My user name is “jprobichaud911”.

Best tunes of 2011: #15 Kasabian “Let’s roll just like we used to”

<< #16    |    #14 >>

A few years ago, I developed this theory that Kasabian’s records alternated between excellent and just mediocre. I was completely enamoured with their self-titled debut in 2004, with its melding of the best of Madchester’s best party-down qualities. I was disappointed with the sophomore record, 2006’s “Empire”, but then, the quartet from Leicester hit it out of the park again with 2009’s “West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum“. Now, I don’t know if the pattern continues because I have yet to give their last album, 2017’s “For crying out loud”, a chance but if it does, their next album should be one for the ages.

Of course, according to this dubious theory of mine (and I realize it is only my own opinion, man), their 2011 effort, “Velociraptor!”, would not be one to recommend to those looking to hear the best of the band twice named best live act by the Brit Awards. There are, however, a handful of tracks worth mentioning and the opening number, “Let’s roll just like we used to”, is most definitely at the forefront of these.

The lyrics are a harkening back to a simpler time “when we were young our hearts got lost in the circles”. The party boys are older and looking wistfully back at their rises and falls, the friends they’ve lost and the “ones that got away, oh”. The gong and horn call from far off that begin the song resound to us as if from a dream or through the ages from this half-remembered time. Then, the beat kicks in with the bass line, all snazzy and suave, and you see yourself walking into a bar or a party like James Bond oozing retro cool. The music is your theme song, calling to mind action hero invincibility and youthful exuberance. Yes, the song is remembering things better than they actually were, No bad times or hangovers, only euphoria and drunken debauchery, providing all sorts of stories to regale.

Can our aging bodies still handle the grind of party life? Well, let’s roll just like we used to and see.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.

Best albums of 2008: #2 The High Dials “Moon country”

So here’s a band and album that might have many of you ducking out for Google and Wikipedia.

The High Dials are a Montreal-based psych rock band whose driving force is Trevor Anderson. Originally called The Datsons, they got their start in and about 2001 and had to change their name a few times because they learned it was taken by other, more established groups. They landed on The High Dials around 2003 and released their debut album, “A new devotion”, that same year. In 2005, they released “The war of the wakening phantoms”, a psych rock masterpiece that received rave reviews from all corners and really should have made them stars. However, justice was not served and in 2008 they were self-releasing their third album, “Moon country”.

I was really looking forward to this album after become completely infatuated with their previous release and I wasn’t disappointed at all. It is 14 tracks of throwback psych mixed with folk, drone, country, power pop but all with an eye to the future. It was released on CD and in digital formats like MP3 but still marketed itself as two sides, a nod to a vinyl past and future resurgence that had not yet fully taken hold. Like their other albums, the songs are great on their own but taken as a whole, listened to as they were meant to be, they feel an invincible force and you can’t believe that you are one of the few people in the world that have experienced them.

The High Dials are still a going concern despite always operating on the periphery. They’ve released two more albums since “Moon country” and a new EP just last year that I still haven’t gotten around to but intend to do so very soon. In this environment where there is so much music at our fingertips and so little time for new discoveries, I still say this group and especially this album is worth your precious moments. Have a look at my three picks for you below and let me know what you think.

“Clare”: “The future’s no place for me. Watch it sink like a boat in the sea. Tie my past to the mast. It can all go down.” It’s a lazy beat and even lazier vocals. Sounding like floating on the moon or on a cloud of ether, Trevor Anderson’s breathy voice here is fed through echo chambers of reverb. There’s lots of layers for such a simple sounding concept of a song but there you have it. Harps to close things out. Of course.

“Killer of dragons”: Electronic beats set against the strum of an acoustic guitar hint at a blurring of time and space. Eerie synths are added and the acoustic gives way to pedal-mutated electric guitars but the beat remains the same. Meanwhile, Trevor sings a tale reminiscent of Don Quixote. “Bring your bow and arrow and fortified wine. Take a taxi to the caves tonight.” Yeah, “Killer of dragons” inhabits a modern world rife with magic and the fantastical… or is it just the fortified wine? No matter. It’s a great tune to close your eyes to, adjust your noise cancelling ear phones and ride out the waves of dizziness.

“Book of the dead”: This final track, which follows the previous one discussed on the album, track five on ‘side one’, is the one that reminded me the most of the work on their previous album, “War of the wakening phantoms”. It is crazy upbeat and danceable, snakes and ladders guitars, frenetic beats, and plenty of haziness and dreams. It meshes Manchester craze with shoegaze introspection and a handful of psychedelic pink pills, making for a beautiful party in your head. “Secrets I need. Secrets you can read from my book of the dead.” Not sold yet? Listen to it again! You’re obviously not doing it right.

Check back next Thursday for album #1. In the meantime, here are the previous albums in this list:

10. Fleet Foxes  “Fleet Foxes”
9. The Submarines “Honeysuckle weeks”
8. Schools of Seven Bells “Alpinisms”
7. Glasvegas “Glasvegas”
6. Spiritualized “Songs in A & E”
5. Elbow “The seldom seen kid”
4. Death Cab For Cutie “Narrow stairs”
3. Vampire Weekend “Vampire Weekend”

You can also check out my Best Albums page here if you’re interested in my other favourite albums lists.