ūüéľ #GuelphMusicClub: Best of 2016

imback2017

Yep, it’s true. Phoenix from the ashes and all that good stuff…depending on your opinion of this blog, I suppose. Either way, I’M BACK.

But,¬†yeah, I’m dreadfully late this year with my best of 2016 recap but I don’t feel too bad about it this go around. In fact, does it bother anyone else that most major music publications and review sites/blogs tend to have their year-end lists published¬†near¬†the top of December? That means that albums released at the very end of the calendar year aren’t even available to be considered if their roundtable discussions are taking place throughout October/November. And I always thought it was dumb to see year-end lists incorporating items from the year previous – DUMB.

Guess that’s just the reality of the world these days. There is a heavier emphasis placed upon being FIRST than there is to produce thoughtful and considered reviews. I mean, I know I’m just talking about critical opinions¬†here (which have always been worthless, mine included) but the age we live in has allowed¬†for poseurs like Anthony Fantano to proliferate and position themselves as musical authorities – LOL!¬†My apologies to¬†his corny azz followers…¬†ūüôĄ

In regards to my own recap, this year, I chose to go with¬†the same format employed as last year, only this time, I thought I’d throw¬†a few extra categories into the mix.

Nowadays, the¬†#GuelphMusicClub¬†seems to have transformed into more of an annual tweet-up at best but I would encourage you to click the link above to peruse some of the other contributions if you’ve yet to do so. Those of you who have kept up with THE CLUB over the years are surely aware of the diverse and eclectic array of tastes weaving throughout its contingency. Definitely worth the perusal! I have no doubt you’ll be introduced to a ton of great stuff!

2016 was also a tough year for the #GuelphMusicClub in the sense that it marked the end of Sound in My Memory. If I’m not mistaken, Rob was one of the originators of THE CLUB (alongside Aaron Dale?¬†ūü§Ē) and his candor will certainly be missed.

In fact, a lot of the blogs have fallen off, mine included. This year, several individuals from THE CLUB decided¬†to primarily share their best-of¬†picks through Twitter. With that being the case, I sincerely hope I’m able to retain your attention throughout this post…

.. ’cause it’s been a minute¬†since I’ve been here and I’m about to go OFF! (no Skintastic)

youready

LET’S DO THIS!!!

FYI: Everything ‚Äúranked‚Ä̬†alphabetically

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TOP ALBUMS of 2016

Anderson .Paak ‚Äď Malibu

paakmalibuOne of the earliest releases of 2016 was a no-doubter for inclusion on my year-end list. The first time I heard Anderson .Paak (@AndersonPaak), I have to admit I wasn’t impressed. Like most, I was introduced to him by way of¬†Dr. Dre‘s (@drdre)¬†2015 album, Compton, and I wasn’t really feeling his contributions. To be fair, although there were definitely some jams on that record, I found it to be an incredibly underwhelming comeback overall. Due to this, perhaps, my first impression of .Paak¬†was a cursory one.

Upon the release of Malibu, I was excited to see what he was capable of on his own and was pleased to have my expectations ultimately surpassed. This album takes the listener on an excitingly modern and upbeat musical excursion that tastefully harkens back to the nostalgic sound of funk and soul from the 1970s era. The lyrical content is also of a very high quality as Anderson demonstrates his capability for crafting picturesque tales to vividly describe his daily life, trials, and tribulations.

With production from the likes of 9th Wonder¬†(@9thwonder), Hi-Tek (@HiTek), Madlib (@madlib), Kaytranada¬†ūüá®ūüᶠ(@KAYTRANADA), and more (not to mention .Paak himself) and guest appearances including artists such as ScHoolboy Q (@ScHoolboyQ), Rapsody (@rapsody), and BJ the Chicago Kid (@BJTHECHICAGOKID), this record could end up standing¬†as a relevant listen for years to come.

Standout¬†track: “Put Me Thru”¬†

*** As NxWorries,¬†.Paak also put out a collaborative album with Knxwledge (@Knxwledge) entitled, Yes Lawd!, back in October. Although I wasn’t personally a big fan, I did see it ending up on plenty¬†of year-end best-of lists. At the very least, that project is also worth a listen or two.

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David Bowie –¬†‚ėÖ
&
Leonard Cohen – You Want it Darker

bowiecohen2016 was a tragic year for artist and celebrity deaths with arguably none sadder than the passings of David Bowie (@DavidBowieReal) and Leonard Cohen.

These two albums certainly stand on their own merit, however, in my mind, it’s difficult not to couple them. If there was¬†any silver lining to the loss of these two musical legends, it may be the fact, together, they managed to bookend¬†the¬†year with a pair of unbelievable swan songs.

Bowie‘s¬†‚ėÖ was¬†ironic in that it produced a revitalizing listen while the artist¬†himself was in a period of physical decline. Keeping his liver cancer a secret from just about everyone (bandmates included), the lyrics are introspective, often morose, while at the same time, offering itself as a “parting gift” to his listeners and followers.

It has been reported that Bowie and his producer were listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar), Boards of Canada (@boctransmission), and Death Grips throughout these final recording sessions, a fact that becomes quite apparent when digesting¬†the album’s bombastic, often chaotic, experimental free-jazz instrumentations.

Standout¬†track: “Lazarus”¬†

Leonard Cohen¬†has always been a bit of a funny artist to me.¬†Growing up, I heard his music constantly in our home and I literally couldn’t stand him. But as is often the case, you learn¬†to appreciate the things you grew up with, if only because it provides an opportunity to reminisce. Saying that, as I’ve gotten older, I have really come to appreciate his music as well as the things that separate him from his contemporaries.

The raw emotions contained within You Want it Darker are palpable. In declining health, Cohen was forced to record his vocal takes from a specially-designed medical chair with his son, Adam (@ThisIsAdamCohen), producing the sessions.

Prior to his death, Cohen penned a letter to his long-time muse, Marianne Ihlen, who herself was on the verge of succumbing to leukaemia. She would pass on two days subsequent to its receipt. A little more than three months later and both of them would be gone. Many have speculated that Cohen finally left us with the cause being attributed to a broken heart.

As brooding and sparse as this album can be, it is truly a fabulous listen with a world-class musicianship. And it wouldn’t be fair to brand¬†this album a “downer” either. Despite the ever-present theme of death that hovers ominously, Cohen‘s razor-sharp¬†wit hasn’t dulled in the slightest. The Canadian icon couldn’t have gone out on a classier or more memorable note if he tried.

Standout¬†track: “Treaty”


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Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

dbatrocityThere’s no doubt¬†Danny Brown (@xdannyxbrownx) is in his own lane. The Detroit rapper seems to get darker, weirder, and more erratic with every¬†new full-length project.

His shrill high-pitched voice is tremendously polarizing Рinfectious to some, irritating to others Рand his sinister, often hypnotic production entrances the listener with its psychedelic and near hallucinogenic qualities.

Despite his lightheartedness, Danny Brown has always had a sound that borders upon the paranoid and Atrocity Exhibition could be his most “evil” release to date. But he is also displaying¬†a new maturity¬†and confidence where he appears to have set no boundaries for himself.

While not for everyone, in my opinion,¬†Danny could be one of the most interesting “mainstream” or “hype” rappers or whatever you want to call him. If you like rap that you can take drugs and mean mug to, this is one album you’ll want to add to the playlist.

…the¬†new grill is weird, though. Toothless Danny >>>

Standout track: “Really Doe (feat. Ab-Soul, Kendrick Lamar & Earl Sweatshirt)”

*** Check out Accelerator, the 2-song EP that frequent collaborator, Paul White (@paulwhitemusic), just released with Danny Brown.

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KING – We Are King

wearekingI’d been wondering what had become of this R&B trio ever since the release of their fantastic 3-song EP from 2011, the Story. Five long years later and¬†KING (@weareKING) have finally released their long-awaited full-length LP. And it lives up to its somewhat lofty¬†expectations!

Serene, airy, and dreamy, twins Amber and Paris alongside third member Anita tastefully intersperse their subtle vocal arrangements across a backdrop of luscious and atmospheric instrumentals that has earned them early co-signs from A-listers like the recently fallen Prince (@prince) and ?uestlove (@questlove) of the Roots (@theroots), to name a few. They were even famously sampled by Kendrick Lamar on his Section.80 album.

Although some of the songs here are previously heard compositions, these fresh re-workings feature lavish harmonies and head-nodding grooves that are sure to keep your ears perked throughout. The all-new originals manage to do all the same and more.

We Are King is an extremely promising official debut and an indicator that the group only has¬†better things in store for the future. While this album didn’t have the popular acclaim to match its critical appeal,¬†they are certainly an act worth¬†keeping an eye on moving forward. Ultra chill and fully deserving of their surprising Grammy nom! ūüĆ䬆ūüŹĚ

Standout track: “the Greatest”


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Meshuggah – the Violent Sleep of Reason

meshuggahvsorIt’s difficult to speak about¬†Meshuggah (@meshuggahband) without constantly repeating oneself.

The fact of the matter is, they have shown with every release why no other metal band can even come close to what it is they’re doing. Often imitated but never duplicated, the Swedish quintet pop up every few years to drop a new album and completely¬†obliterate their competition.

No other metal band is capable of producing these types of subtleties, intricacies, and complexities that have the ability to blow the minds of discerning listeners without overwhelming the average ear. In fact, I think Meshuggah are very much responsible for informing a lot of people about polyrhythms in general.

On the Violent Sleep of Reason, for the first time ever, we hear major writing contributions from bassist, Dick L√∂vgren. Alongside drummer Tomas Haake, the two are responsible for the vast majority of the musical composition work here and this¬†provides a slightly sound than we’ve gotten¬†used to on previous records. As¬†L√∂vgren‘s previous writing credits can¬†likely be counted upon one hand, this was pretty neat to see. The results here seem to have led to an even more percussive sound for the band, if that can be believed.

Perhaps, the biggest change on this album comes in the form of their “live off the floor” recording sessions. The¬†altered approach manages to¬†capture a raw and honest sound¬†not previously heard before. Meshuggah has always had a reputation for being a little too perfect in the studio due to their (over?)¬†reliance upon computers and software technology. The live approach really seems to have reinvigorated them.

For the most punishing grooves in existence, please look no further. Also, watch the drum play-through video below. The shit is unbelievable! However, I noticed one minor¬†mistake in Haake‘s¬†playing. Comment with the timestamp if you’re able to spot it!

Standout track: “Clockworks”


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NAILS – You Will Never Be One of Us

nailsywnboouWith 10 tracks clocking in at just under 22 minutes, You Will Never Be One of Us is the longest running NAILS (@NAILStyranny) release to date.

If you like your heavy music fast, brutal, and violent, this is the band you need to be listening to right now. Call them powerviolence, call them grindcore, regardless of how you want to classify them, they’re busy tearing your fucking head off regardless.

Due to his outspoken nature, guitarist/singer¬†Todd Jones had a somewhat¬†controversial 2016¬†after being branded a “scene bully” by garbo music tabloid, Metal Sucks. However, in my opinion, the dude is a classic, aggressive, and straight-up pissed off frontman – AND I LOVE IT.

I grew up as a big¬†metal fan and part of the reason I’ve become so disillusioned with the genre is due to the fact that there are far too many tropes nowadays and bands seem to appear¬†to feel as if they need to¬†assimilate in order to thrive. As far as I’m concerned,¬†that is¬†the antithesis of what rebellious music is supposed to represent.

Look, if you like heavy shit and you’re not a total wimp, put this on. If it gets you too amped, do something constructive and find a bully to beat up or something. Also, everything¬†produced by Kurt Ballou is basically a must listen. SHIT IS RAW, BRUH.

Standout track: “You Will Never Be One of Us”


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Neurosis – Fires Within Fires

neurosisfiresAfter 30 years as a band, Neurosis are showing no signs of slowing down with their juggernaut release, Fires Within Fires.

While similar¬†to Meshuggah in terms of influence and years in¬†existence, musically, they’re on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Whereas the Swedes provide¬†a full-on rhythmic assault to the senses that helped to propel¬†the ‘math-metal’ movement, Neurosis have arguably done more than any other act has in regards to the pushing forward of sludgy and atmospheric heavy music.

Although the record is only five tracks, those familiar with the band won’t be surprised to see¬†the total running time clocking in at 40 minutes. Another crushing release that reasserts their¬†title of the kings of ambient doom from one of the most consistent acts of the past three decades.

Standout track: “Broken Ground”


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Nothing – Tired of Tomorrow

nothingtiredPrior to the actual release of Tired of Tomorrow, I have to admit that the first few songs weren’t immediately connecting with me. The first single, “Vertigo Flowers“, has a slightly different feel from their previous material and its follow-up, “Eaten by Worms“, contains a riff that sounds¬†eerily similar to “Pink Maggit” by Deftones (@deftones).

The new album was a slight departure for Nothing (@BandofNOTHING) in that it places a larger¬†emphasis upon their grunge components¬†while edging their shoegaze elements a bit more into the periphery. Which isn’t to say this is a completely different band but it definitely have more of a ‘rock’ vibe going on this time around.

The guitars and vocals seem to be pushed higher into the mix with a slight decrease in the amount of reverb that¬†saturates these particular recordings. As a complete body of work, this is arguably¬†the band’s strongest effort to date.

Their sense of hopelessness and self-loathing is still ever-present¬†but the music itself is much punchier, and for lack of a better term, ‘poppier’. As previously mentioned, certain songs clearly demonstrate that Nothing aren’t afraid to wear their influences on their sleeves (am I the only one hearing a bit of Nirvana‘s (@Nirvana) “School” on “Curse of the Sun“?) but at the same time, the aforementioned “Eaten by Worms” did become one of my favourite tracks on the album…¬†ūüėŹ

A tremendous sophomore effort – highly recommended.

Standout track: “Eaten by Worms”


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Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 3

rtj3This is the album that all the mainstream publications were kicking themselves over for releasing their year-end best-of lists before the 12 months had actually come to a conclusion. But to be fair, Run the Jewels (@runjewels) originally had this album scheduled for a January 2017 release and decided to drop it a few weeks early on Christmas Eve.

Seeing El-P (@therealelp) and Killer Mike (@KillerMike) transform into critical darlings while ascending into the realm of the mainstream has been pretty surreal. They’ve certainly come a long way since the Definitive Jux and Dungeon Family days (this despite Mike having won a Grammy Award with Outkast¬†[@Outkast]¬†in 2001).

It is pleasing to see them achieve the acclaim the two of them have worked so hard for. El has been a favourite producer of mine since the Company Flow days and his beats are now better than ever. As far as Mike goes, he has quickly gained a reputation for being a credible thought leader and political commentator. RTJ3 is the work of a group that has fully hit their stride, while at the same time, acknowledging that they have become a pertinent voice for a tumultuous social climate.

This record is stuffed with a diverse list of guest appearances including Danny Brown, BOOTS, Trina (@TRINArockstarr), Kamasi Washington (@KamasiW), and more. Far from militant or preachy, Run the Jewels also offer plenty of fun and silliness as they barrage you with a sonic assault of deep bass and hard drums.

One of the biggest hype acts out at the moment with all of the recognition being long overdue.

Standout track: “Stay Gold”


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ScHoolboy Q – Blank Face LP

blankfacelpI wouldn’t have expected this album to end up on my year-end list but here we are.

ScHoolboy Q (@ScHoolboyQ) showed a lot of promise early on in his career. The rapper turned heads with his 2011 release, Setbacks, and took listeners back to the G-Funk era with a street debut that was authentically west coast. He would follow that up with Habits & Contradictions, a stellar album that was only plagued by its lack of consistency.

Hopes were sky high¬†by the time 2014’s Oxymoron dropped and¬†the album landed flat on its face coming nowhere near expectations. So with the release of Blank Face LP, it seemed like a bit of a “all-or-nothing” moment. Thankfully, it sees¬†ScHoolboy¬†finally living up to his potential.

The most experimental and lengthiest release of his career, we hear the MC delving into the psychedelic at times (if not the straight up weird), and in the end, we are gifted with his most cohesive project to date.

2016 was a big year for Top Dawg Entertainment with releases from Kendrick Lamar (the to Pimp a Butterfly b-side compilation album, untitled unmastered.), Isaiah Rashad [@isaiahrashad] (the Sun’s Tirade), Lance Skiiiwalker [@skiiiwalker] (Introverted Intuition, his official debut), and Ab-Soul [@abdashsoul] (Do What Thou Wilt.) all making notable waves – the latter of which put me into a toss-up with this album.

But it was Q and his diverse array of producers who ended up crafting¬†the TDE album of the year. Some amazing guest appearances too – for example,¬†E-40¬†absolutely kills it on “Dope Dealer“.

Standout track: “THat Part (feat. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar & Ab-Soul) [Black Hippy remix]”


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TOP EPs of 2016

Snoh Aalegra – Don’t Explain

snohdontexplainHailing from Stockholm, Sweden, Snoh Aalegra (@snohaalegra) could be poised to become the next ‘retro’ success story.

Discovered by veteran producer No ID, Snoh creates soulful R&B with an old school flair in the mould of artists such as Sade (@SadeOfficial), Janelle Monaé (@JanelleMonae), and the fallen Amy Winehouse (@amywinehouse).

With a limited catalogue available, Don’t Explain¬†already shows a tremendous amount of range artistic growth in comparison to previous efforts. This is a musician who¬†looks set to make a much larger impact in 2017. Don’t sleep.

Standout track: “In Your River”


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Gavlyn & Blimes Brixton –¬†Dodgy

gavbbdodgyI got into this late in the year but it’s kinda funny how I stumbled upon¬†it.

I stumbled into the¬†video for the best track on the EP, “Adios“, after watching a few music videos of¬†Nova Rockafeller (@NovaRockafeller) on YouTube. Nova,¬†a Los Angeles transplant from Edmonton, Alberta who was¬†regularly featured on early¬†King of the Dot (@KingOfTheDot) videos, has a co-directing credit on the “Adios” video. Strangely enough, Blimes Brixton (@blimesbrixton), who used to go by the stage name Oh Blimey, was actually a fairly accomplished battle rapper back in the Grind Time days. Not quite a full circle moment but nearly.

Like Blimes, Gavlyn (@HiiGAVLYN) has been rapping for the better part of the past decade, earning herself quite a reputation throughout the underground LA rap scenes. This EP pits the two MCs and their undeniable chemistry against a backdrop of cold and steely beats sourced from the UK which allowed for Dodgy to show up as a nice little surprise towards the end of the calendar.

Standout track:¬†“Adios”


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Harrisun21 – Damn Shawty

h21damnshawtyWith the Doppelgangaz (@TheDoppelgangaz) being one of the more prolific underground rap acts of the moment, it was a welcome sight to see their first solo release emerge from their camp last year.

For the first time, we hear MC/producer,¬†EP, without his partner, Matter Ov Fact, by his side and¬†we’re left with a smooth, humorous, and easy-to-digest project which¬†acts as a nice stopgap¬†in anticipation of the forthcoming, Dopp Hopp.

At 10 songs and 30 minutes, this record may¬†technically be more of a mini-LP than an EP but I felt it was close enough and certainly worthy of inclusion.¬†If you’re already familiar with the Gangaz, none of the material contained here on Damn Shawty is necessarily treading new ground – just more consistent beats and rhymes from one of the best crews in the game.

If you dig the production on this one, an instrumental version is also available for your listening pleasure. Get down with the black cloak lifestyle.

Standout track: “Fake Inspirational (intro)”


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Vic Mensa – There’s Alot Going On

vicmensatagoMy biggest gripe with this EP is the misspelling in its title – fuckin’ annoying!

In spite of this glaring oversight, the Roc Nation artist manages to produce an extremely engaging and honest listen. With There’s Alot Going On, Vic Mensa¬†(@VicMensa) has created his most personal project to date while revealing just¬†how far he’s come since his time with Kids These Days.

In fact, the title track touches upon his split from his¬†aforementioned band as well as a variety¬†of other personal matters that shows a rapper as naked and vulnerable as we’re ever likely to see and hear. A true highlight with a fantastic video to match.

We’re still awaiting an official full length from Vic but this EP acts¬†as a¬†healthy appetizer in the meantime.

Standout track:¬†“There’s Alot Going On”


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Vince Staples – Prima Donna

vincestaplesprimadonnaThis dude is a weirdo.

It took a while for Vince Staples (@vincestaples) to click with me. His two previous projects were cool but I didn’t go back to them often and felt the critical praise was slightly over-the-top.

Dude utilizes often bizarre instrumentals to rap over and has an odd cadence that can have a tendency to grate at times. Saying that, I’m sure many would say the same and more about Danny Brown…but I digress. After repeated listens of Prima Donna,¬†it began to resonate¬†and I quickly appreciated the experience on offer.

Bleak and optimistic, oftentimes within the same breath, the EP is a lot more conceptual than it may appear to be upon first listen and if you stick with it, there’s a great payoff by the time the 21-minute listen¬†completes its run.

Check out the video below as it serves as something of a mini-journey throughout the project in its entirety.

Standout track:¬†“Prima Donna (feat. A$AP Rocky)”


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TOP SONGS of 2016

the 1975 – “Love Me”

from the album, I LIKE IT WHEN YOU SLEEP, FOR YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL YET SO UNAWARE OF IT 

After a promising debut, the 1975 (@the1975) return with their sophomore record with the stupidly long name.

Personally, I felt the album fell short of expectations. At 75 minutes, it’s a long listen and towards the end, you do get the impression that a lot of fat could have been trimmed to make this a truly great album.

Because when these guys are on, the songs are huge. “Love Me” has shades of David Bowie, INXS, and other 70s/80s hallmarks that are so prevalent, to say the 1975 wear their influences on their sleeves would be a huge understatement.

Nevertheless, this is just a great song.

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Candiria – “Mereya”

from the album, WHILE THEY WERE SLEEPING

After a substantial absence, Candiria returned last year and “Mereya” made it seem as if they’d never left. On the whole, While They Were Sleeping was a much better album than it maybe should have been, especially given¬†their mostly 7-year absence, however, this track was definitely the standout above the rest. Heavy, catchy, and the addition¬†of a mid-song jazz interlude¬†– classic Candiria.

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Giraffe Tongue Orchestra – “Blood Moon”

from the album, BROKEN LINES

The term “supergroup” is too easily applied nowadays but a band consisting of members of the Dillinger Escape Plan (@TDEP_), Mastodon (@mastodonmusic), the Mars Volta (@themarsvolta), and Alice in Chains (@AliceInChains) certainly fits the definition.

To be honest, I thought Broken Lines, the debut from Giraffe Tongue Orchestra (@GTO_Band), mostly sucked but this song was an earworm.

Check this one out if you’ve ever been a fan of Faith No More (@FaithNoMore).

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Magic City Hippies – “Hush”

from the single, HUSH

Here’s a user description I read¬†for this track online: “Tarantino trip-hop meets dusty, rock-and-roll-infused, post-apocalyptic R&B in this escalating ode to make-up sex.”

Can’t put it much better than that myself. Looking forward¬†to hearing more from the Magic City Hippies (@magicityhippies) in the new year.

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Alex Newell, Jess Glynne & DJ Cassidy – “Kill the Lights (w/ Nile Rodgers)”
&
Trey Songz – “Life on Mars?”

from the album, VINYL: THE ESSENTIALS: BEST OF SEASON 1

I bundled these two together because they are both taken from the soundtrack of the short-lived HBO original series, Vinyl.

“Kill the Lights” is a punchy disco throwback that acts as a genuine throwback to the height of the era. To this day, I can’t get enough of this track. Over the past few years, “Life on Mars?” seems to have been covered by everyone and their grandmother, but accompanied only¬†by a piano, Trey Songz offers a memorable take on the Bowie classic.

With the latter song, I chose to attach a clip from Vinyl that the song was actually featured in, as I consider¬†it to be one of the better¬†moments from¬†the show. Ray Romano (ūüė∑) plays a record executive with this scene translating¬†the genuine feeling of wonder and awe one would imagine a music scout feels¬†upon the discovery of¬†an exciting unknown talent.

It wasn’t a great series but it did feel like it was beginning to find its rhythm towards the end of the season. Rarely does HBO cancel a show after one season but this unfortunately happened to be one of them. I’m saddened to see it go because the subject matter is tailor-made for television, but then again, I’m probably not as bummed as Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger who reportedly spent more than a decade attempting to get the series produced.

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Frank Ocean – “Nikes”

from the album, BLOND

This might be the best song Frank Ocean¬†has produced to date. Textural, emotional, and hypnotic, “Nikes” introduces¬†the Blond album, which makes sense given¬†how much this track instantly demands your attention.

After a long wait between solo albums, Frank¬†released¬†Blond, as well as a second Apple exclusive release, entitled Endless. Which reminds me, I’ve yet to hear the latter because, well, fÔ£Ņck Apple! It’s probably pretty good, though!

* full disclosure Рthis blog was composed using a MacBook Pro.

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Phantogram – “Answer”

from the album, THREE

Phantogram (@Phantogram) makes their second consecutive appearance on my year-end list, this time due to their latest solo effort, Three. While there are some good songs here, overall, the effort feels a bit muddled.

Having said that, “Answer” is a gem.¬†Dark and haunting, yet hopeful, the repetitive piano bars underscore their brooding shoegaze tendencies¬†rather than their more prominent poppy ‘trip-hop’ side. I wish they’d put a heavier emphasis upon creating songs in this vein¬†a little more frequently as the results tend to be positive.

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Jalen Santoy – “Foreplay”

from the EP, CHARLIE EASTERN

This may very well have been my favourite track of 2016 – I’ve probably listened to it hundreds of times. “Foreplay” is pretty close to a perfect hip-hop track. The lyrics aren’t the most complex but the tale is certainly picturesque.

Unfortunately, I’ve yet to hear anything else from Jalen Santoy (@JalenSantoy) that’s hit me as hard as this song has but he is definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye out¬†on¬†going¬†forward. Beyond this track, the rest of the Charlie Eastern EP is kinda ehh.

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Ty Dolla $ign – “Stealing”

from the mixtape, CAMPAIGN

This and “Zaddy” were two of my favourite songs of the year but I think I preferred this one due to its simplicity. I actually really dug Campaign in its entirety and was big on Free TC, too. What can I say, I guess I’m a fan of Ty Dolla $ign (@tydollasign)…

ūüė∂

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Kanye West – “Ultralight Beam (feat. The-Dream, Kelly Price, Chance the Rapper & Kirk Franklin)”

from the album, THE LIFE OF PABLO

I feel like one of the very few who doesn’t miss the old Kanye (@kanyewest). Personally, I consider him to be a more interesting artist now than he has ever been previously. Deeply conflicted, hypocritical, and downright crazy at times, his music from the past few years has become¬†just as erratic as his own personality.

Overall, I’m a fan of The Life of Pablo but “Ultralight Beam” is the cream of the crop. When Kanye first described TLOP as a gospel album, I was a little taken aback, however, if he made an album full of tracks like this, I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

The above SNL performance was something else.

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LOCAL BONUS #1

Dont Mind Dyin – “Kickin’ a Can”

from the EP, RESURRECTED


Love these guys and am so happy to see they’re back. With a retooled lineup featuring former members of Arise and Ruin, Farewell to Freeway, and Kobra Kobra, Dont Mind Dyin¬†is highly recommended for fans of Burnt by the Sun¬†(@BurntByTheSunNJ),¬†Doritos, and chicken burgers.

*     *     *     *     *

LOCAL BONUS #2

Noah23¬†– “High With You”

from the UNICORN EP


One of the most prolific and underrated rappers in the game is proud to refer to¬†Guelph as his home. I love the directions Noah23 (@THENOAH23) has been heading¬†in of late and this track was genuinely one of my faves of 2016. Dreamy, spacey, shoegazey…it seems there can be no limits placed upon the evolution of the Guelph Oracle.

*     *     *     *     *

TOP MUSIC VIDEOS of 2016

the¬†Avalanches – “Because I’m Me (feat. Sonny Cheeba)”

from the album, WILDFLOWER Рlisten here

The Avalanches (@TheAvalanches) drop a sample-laden ode to love with this cute video which co-stars Sonny Cheeba of Camp Lo (@OfficialCampLo).

*     *     *     *     *

DJ Shadow¬†– “Nobody Speak (feat. Run the Jewels)”

from the album, THE MOUNTAIN WILL FALL Рlisten here

Run the Jewels make brief cameos in this pertinent, hyper-relevant, and ultra-entertaining¬†DJ Shadow (@djshadow) video. Many may disagree but I feel¬†The Mountain Will Fall is Shadow‘s best work since Endtroducing…..

*     *     *     *     *

Massive Attack – “Take it¬†There (feat. Tricky & 3D)”

from the EP, RITUAL SPIRIT Рlisten here

The last time Massive Attack (@MassiveAttackUK) released an album without the production of Neil Davidge was 1994’s Protection. That effort also marked¬†their last collaboration¬†with trip-hop artist Tricky (@KnowleWestboy).

On Ritual Spirit, Davidge is absent and Tricky returns. This really should have ended up in my best of EP list but I wanted to shine a spotlight on this fantastic video which stars actor John Hawkes. In particular, the choreographed dance scene within the drained pool is phenomenal.

*     *     *     *     *

Radiohead¬†– “Burn the Witch”

from the album, A MOON SHAPED POOL Рlisten here

I’ll admit, I haven’t been a fan of Radiohead (@radiohead) since OK Computer¬†but when “Burn the Witch” came out of nowhere, it sort of took me back to that era. The video even has a bit of a “Paranoid Android” feel to it. I moved on from this band a long time ago so I can’t really say I was disappointed by A Moon Shaped Pool –¬†it just didn’t do anything for me.

Loved this video, though. And I preferred it to the Paul Thomas Anderson video.

*     *     *     *     *

Isaiah Rashad¬†– “4r da Squaw”

from the album, THE SUN’S TIRADE¬†– listen here

Loved the concept for this video with each individual’s financial net worth hovering above their heads. It’s actually quite a heartwarming feature as Isaiah Rashad (@isaiahrashad) travels along the boardwalk with his son, the latter of whom absolutely steals the show. The Sun’s Tirade was a very dope album and a worthy follow-up to the extremely underrated Cilvia Demo.¬†This is definitely the upcoming¬†rapper’s best work to date.

*     *     *     *     *

GUILTY PLEASURE of 2016

Post Malone¬†‚ÄstStoney

poststoneyYep, the “White Iverson” guy. I know it’s pretty embarrassing but I can’t deny that Post Malone¬†(@PostMalone) knows how to put out a catchy single. At nearly 70 minutes, Stoney drags a bit at times but there are some genuinely great moments throughout. The track with Justin Bieber is even a personal favourite. I would¬†not have expected to have enjoyed¬†this one as much as I did but here we are. A fun and breezy listen.

Standout¬†track: “Deja Vu (feat. Justin Bieber)”¬†

*     *     *     *     *

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT of 2016

Deftones¬†‚ÄstGore

deftonesgoreBeing a fan of Deftones since the release of their debut album, Adrenaline, all the way back in 1995, I have to say I was pretty taken aback by how great Koi No Yokan was upon its release. At that time in 2012, it seemed as if the band was achieving new heights, which was especially impressive given their recent dip in quality (though I enjoyed Saturday Night Wrist, it is my opinion that Deftones and Diamond Eyes are mostly bad albums).

I came to believe that KNY was the most complete, and arguably best,¬†Deftones¬†album¬†until that point so I was heavily anticipating the release of Gore. Sadly, it turned into a major disappointment. To me, this sounds like a band that is struggling internally with what type of band they’re trying to be. They have always managed to incorporate a diverse range of influences into their compositions, however, this time around, their heavier parts seem more forced than ever.

This is another album that found its way onto a lot of year-end best-of lists and I have a difficult time¬†comprehending what others saw in it. While there are some interesting ideas at play here (Abe Cunningham is still one of the best drummers in rock – see “Xenon“), I really feel that these¬†guys are capable of so much¬†more.

P.S. Honourable mention to Drake (@Drake) for Views. Similarly to Gore, it was a massively disappointing release to follow up what was arguably the best project of his career.

*     *     *     *     *

DUMBEST SH!T of 2016

D.R.A.M.

It’s probably not entirely fair to award this solely to D.R.A.M.¬†(@BIGBABYDRAM) considering there was a lot of¬†ūüĆĹ in 2016. But I can’t be the only one who isn’t tryna hear Busta Rhymes¬†(@BustaRhymes) doing his best Chance the Rapper (@chancetherapper). Don’t even get me started on Lil Yachty (@lilyachty). This song sucks hard. I’m old. Good to see dude getting his shine, though, after getting¬†swagger-jacked by Drake.

*     *     *     *     *

BEST NON-2016 STUFF of 2016

Cavanaugh

cavanaughI’ve been a fan of both Open Mike Eagle (@Mike_Eagle) and Serengeti (@serengetidave) for a few years now but somehow, their 2015 collaborative album, Time and Materials, managed to slip beneath my radar at the time of its release.

Dubbing themselves Cavanaugh, the conceptual album imagines both MCs as maintenance workers inside of a fictional mixed-income residence.

From their bio: “In a new urban development on the far west side of Detroit, Florida, it’s mandated by a 5-to-4 city council vote that a new housing structure be erected that has both luxury condominium units available for private ownership and section 7 housing in the same building. Via separate entrances, the Cavanaugh building services two very different populations. And though the lifestyles of the residents vary, each unit relies on the same system of pipes and wiring and are serviced by the same crew. Mike and Dave have a combined 14 years of experience in Cavanaugh maintenance. They usually work drunk, mumbling greetings to the residents, soaking up all the disdain that the higher and lower income inhabitants have for each other. They talk shit to each other all day. Complaining about their home lives, spinning passive aggressive tales where they pretend to be angrier, stronger, more expressive men.”

A fun and deeply textured listen, this also marks¬†Open Mike Eagle‘s first project where he¬†is responsible for all of the production work. On the whole, the album is a little more left-field / progressive from your average hip-hop but the dystopian beats and sociological themes make for a compelling record that warrants multiple listenings. Really hoping this won’t be a one-off.

*     *     *     *     *

Colonel Loud – “California (feat. Young Dolph & Ricco Barrino)”

colloudcaliThis track will be a summer jam for years to come. And with each star-studded remix version going so hard, it should help to extend the overall replay value of the song itself.

Smokin’ on the best loud!

*     *     *     *     *

Dungeon Family

dungeonfamilyThe release of The Art of Organized Noize was a personal blessing because it inspired me to revisit all the classic records that came out at¬†the peak of the Dungeon Family‘s (@DF_INTL) dominance.

Sometimes, you forget how good certain album¬†are, and goddamn, those early Outkast¬†(@Outkast) and Goodie Mob records still knock to this day…not to mention mega-hits such as TLC‘s (@OfficialTLC) “Waterfalls“…

The documentary is a worthwhile watch for any serious music fan as the insight offered into the production techniques and studio conditions add a¬†new context to the compositions. If you’re not already familiar with genius of¬†Organized Noize (@organizednoize), that is reason alone to check the flick out – the¬†entire collective heavily made its¬†way back into my rotation last year because of it!

*     *     *     *     *

Lorn

lornI became acquainted with Lorn (@Lornnn) through the kick-ass video for “Acid Rain” below. Turns out, this guy makes all kinds of amazing electronic music, specifically, the dark and heavy kind.

Due to its December 30, 2015 release date, Vessel just missed out on contention for a place in my top albums list. Dude rules.

*     *     *     *     *

Melanie Martinez

melaniemartinezYou know you’re losing touch when an artist can rack up hundreds¬†of millions of plays on YouTube and you don’t even learn of their¬†name until a year after the hype began. Sucks. However, I¬†had no idea that she was “discovered” on The Voice so I’ll use that as my excuse.

One way or another, Melanie Martinez (@MelanieLBBH) was one of my favourite finds of last year. Her lyrics can get a bit silly at times but her blend of pop, electronic, and hip-hop is quite engaging and highly memorable.

Upbeat but always with an ever-present air of the morose, I can only hope her subsequent efforts will provide as many satisfying repeated listens as Cry Baby has managed.

*     *     *     *     *

Sepultura (Max-era)

sepulturaI’m not sure what brought it on but I listened to a ton of Sepultura (@sepulturacombr) again last year; specifically, the Max era from Beneath the Remains through until Roots. I just can’t get into the Derrick Green /¬†Andreas Kisser-led version of the band. They’re good but I’m likely biased due to growing up with the original lineup.

One of the best metal bands of all-time.

*     *     *     *     *

MOST ANTICIPATED STUFF of 2017

Zack de la Rocha

zackdlrCould 2017 be the year that former Rage Against the Machine frontman, Zack de la Rocha (@ZackdelaRocha), finally releases his long-awaited solo LP?

When the rumours about his album first began over a decade ago, it was said that Zack was working alongside producers such as Dan the Automator, DJ Premier (@REALDJPREMIER), ?uestlove, DJ Muggs (@DJ_Muggs), Roni Size (@ronisizebristol), Trent Reznor (@trent_reznor), and El-P. In respect to the latter, the video below (and their RTJ collaborations) demonstrates that their relationship remains fully intact.

Is¬†“Digging for Windows” a sign of more¬†to come?¬†ūü§Ē

*     *     *     *     *

The Get Down

thegetdownThis may not be an album¬†but Netflix‘s¬†The Get Down is dropping some serious music knowledge. A show about the origins of DJing, MCing, and graffiti? Count me in!

Set in 1977, deep into the heart of the South Bronx, this dramatization¬†does a wonderful job retelling some of the stories that are a bit¬†more obscure to most anyone outside of¬†the hip-hop historian. With supporting¬†characters including the likes of the gods Kool DJ Herc and Grandmaster Flash¬†(@DJFlash4eva), it’s a really fun ride hanging¬†with these wide-eyed disco kids from the 70s discovering (and developing) hip-hop in its infancy.

As a huge rap fan, the¬†second season can’t come soon enough! So many great stories can be told here.

FYI: the series is also narrated by the one and only, Nas (@Nas).

*     *     *     *     *

J. Cole / Kendrick Lamar

kendrickjcoleIt’s being rumoured that the long-whispered J.Cole (@JColeNC) / Kendrick Lamar collaboration album is finally slated to drop in 2017.

Whether or not that will end up being the case remains to be seen, however, with the both of them in the midst of their respective critical and commercial peaks, now would seem to be as good a time as any.

Cole‘s 4 Your Eyez Only and Lamar‘s untitled unmastered. were both great releases in their own right¬†– let’s see what the two of them are capable of when they combine. If the former handles all of the production, on paper, this hypothetical project has¬†high¬†potential to¬†find its way onto next year’s¬†best-of list.

*     *     *     *     *

Mew – Visuals

mewOne of rock’s best kept secrets, Denmark’s Mew (@mew) are set¬†to release their new album, Visuals, on April 28th.

Sadly, this will be the band’s first release without guitarist, Bo Madsen, which is a shame. I always felt the guitars in Mew were¬†very interesting and extremely unique – Bo will be missed.

Luckily, the fact that the band has now become a trio doesn’t seem to have slowed them down any. However, their¬†two pre-release singles, “Carry Me to Safety” and “85 Videos“, do seem to be a little more ‘conventional’ than what we’re used to.

I still really dig these songs and have high hopes for the album…but Bo‘s absence may cause them to streamline their sound slightly. Nevertheless, these guys are still the atmospheric dream-pop masters and if you’re not familiar with them, I’d suggest you get acquainted as soon as possible! Truly in a class of their own.

*     *     *     *     *

the¬†U.K.¬†ūüá¨ūüáß

ukmusic

Sampha (@sampha) already dropped his phenomenal soul/electronic debut, Process, only a few short weeks ago. Skepta (@Skepta) released an AOTY contender last year in Konnichiwa. Despite being a massive Manchester United supporter, Stormzy (@Stormzy1) has me heavily anticipating his forthcoming debut. Jay Prince (@JayPrince) has been putting out a ton of great shit over the past two years. Not to mention the likes of 808INK (@808INKmusic) who are just making really dope RAP MUSIC.

The UK urban, rap, and grime scenes have been bubbling for years now and it looks like some of that hype is actually poised to crack the North American mainstream. Look across the pond for the next big wave this year!

By the way, anyone know what happened to Plan B (@4PlanB)? I can definitely use a sequel to Strickland Banks

*     *     *     *     *

MUSICIANS LOST in 2016¬†ūüė≠

David Bowie
January 8, 1947 – January 10, 2016

bowiepic

*     *     *     *     *

Blowfly
February 14, 1939 – January 17, 2016

blowfly

*     *     *     *     *

Maurice White (of Earth, Wind & Fire)
December 19, 1941 – February 4, 2016

mauricewhite

*     *     *     *     *

Sir George Martin
January 3, 1926 РMarch 8, 2016

sirgeorgemartin

*     *     *     *     *

Phife Dawg (of A Tribe Called Quest)
November 20, 1970 РMarch 22, 2016

phifedawg

*     *     *     *     *

Prince
June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016

prince

*     *     *     *     *

John Berry (founding member of Beastie Boys)
May 31, 1963 – May 31, 2016

ogbeasties

*     *     *     *     *

Prince Be (of P.M. Dawn)
May 15, 1970 – June 17, 2016

princebe

*     *     *     *     *

Bernie Worrell (of Parliament-Funkadelic)
April 19, 1944 РJune 24, 2016

bernieworrell

*     *     *     *     *

Alan Vega (of Suicide)
June 23, 1938 РJuly 16, 2016

alanvega

*     *     *     *     *

James Woolley (former member of Nine Inch Nails)
September 26, 1966 РAugust 14, 2016

jameswoolley

*     *     *     *     *

Jerry Heller
October 6, 1940 РSeptember 2, 2016

jerryheller

*     *     *     *     *

Leonard Cohen
September 21, 1934 РNovember 7, 2016

leonardcohen

*     *     *     *     *

Sharon Jones
May 4, 1956 – November 18, 2016

sharonjones

*     *     *     *     *

George Michael
June 25, 1963 РDecember 25, 2016

georgemichael

*     *     *     *     *

Hey, you made it! Or maybe you didn’t…in which case, I’m talking to myself. Nothing new there, if that is the situation.

If you happened¬†to read this entire entry, feel free to like, share, subscribe, and all that other good stuff you’re required to say when preying upon¬†the attention of others. Better yet,¬†just let¬†me know about how much I’ve overcompensated and/or what a self-indulgent prick I am.

Seriously, though, I’d love to hear about some of your faves from last year, if you’re interested in leaving a comment. Otherwise, definitely be sure to check out all the other best-of lists from the¬†#GuelphMusicClub¬†conglomerate.

Until next year, when I up the ante to¬†a 15,000¬†word post!¬†ūüćÜ

THANK YOU FOR BEING MY FRIEND.

byedad

#GuelphMusicClub: Best of 2015

itsbeenawhile

Hey all.

Hope everyone is having a nice start to the new year and was able to enjoy their holidays. Speaking of the holidays, it was something of a surprise to see the revival of the #GuelphMusicClub at the end of last year. The decision to resurrect THE CLUB was made in order to discuss our respective favourites of 2015 and I really enjoyed reading through all of the entries. Times passes so quickly nowadays that I had nearly forgotten how eclectic and varied the tastes of the group actually are.

I also appreciate its return because it gives¬†me the¬†opportunity to resurrect this dead ol’ thing and CHAT SHIT (GET BANGED?) about my favourite musical items¬†from¬†2015. Given that we’re getting towards the end of January now, I’ve already slacked so hard that I’m¬†just going to dive¬†right into it.

Bear with me as I indulge myself..

FYI: Everything “ranked”¬†alphabetically

TOP ALBUMS OF 2015

Drake – If You’re Reading this it’s too Late

drakeIYRTITL

I can’t lie – I listened to the shit out of this. Also, I realize that it’s not technically an album but the line between album and mixtape has become so blurred that I’m not sure the distinction even matters anymore.¬†No real radio singles on this one – just a lot of great beats from a primarily hometown / in-house cast, including¬†Noah “40” Shebib (@OVO40), Boi-1da (@Boi1da), and¬†PARTYNEXTDOOR (@PARTYOMO) –¬†19-year-old Mississauga native WondaGurl (@WondaGurlBeats) even¬†grabs a few production credits.¬†ūüá®ūüᶬ†ūüćĀ

It was an eventful year for Drake (@Drake) considering¬†his beef with Meek Mill (@MeekMill), the¬†Quentin Miller (@Quentin__Miller)¬†ghostwriting accusations, and his surprise collaboration tape with Future (@1future), but beyond it all, I won’t¬†deny it – I dug this tape big time and have no shame about openly being¬†a fan of da¬†6 God.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Failure – the Heart is a Monster

failureTHIAM

Given that Failure (@Failure) had, in hindsight, become critical and indie darlings¬†since disbanding¬†in ’97,¬†it was a bit of a shock to see¬†the Heart is a Monster¬†absent from so many year-end lists. Having¬†been name-checked by everyone from A Perfect Circle (@aperfectcircle) to Paramore (@paramore) over¬†the years, their space-rock influence has since been felt throughout¬†a variety of genres.

Post-Failure, each member went on to partake in a multitude of projects: Ken Andrews (@andrewsken) became a sought-after producer and pursued a solo career while also playing in the likes of ON, Year of the Rabbit, and Digital Noise Academy; Greg Edwards primarily became known for his work in Autolux (@autolux) but was also involved in the short-lived supergroup, Lusk; Kellii Scott (@kelliiscott) played with Blinker the Star and Veruca Salt (@verucasalt), among others; and, of course, Troy van Leeuwen (@troyvanleeuwen) is well-known for his involvement with Queens of the Stone Age (@qotsa) and the aforementioned A Perfect Circle.

Most reunions are shit and almost all reunion albums are even worse but this one turned out to be¬†a wonderful exception to the rule. Nearly 20 years after the fact, it picks up right where Fantastic Planet left off and that point is only reinforced by¬†an intro track entitled,¬†“Segue 4” (Fantastic Planet had three “Segue” tracks of its own).

I was weary of this one due to how beloved FP is but it easily became one of my favourite and most listened-to albums of 2015.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Ghost – Meliora

ghostMELIORA

This album really blew my away because I have been talking copious amounts of shit about Ghost¬†(@thebandGHOST) for quite some time now. I felt their music was so over-the-top in its cheesiness and their costume gimmick made them look like some lame Slipknot¬†(@slipknot) for grown-ups type thing…but this¬†latest album is pretty undeniable.

I’ve seen a number of¬†publications denoting¬†“Cirice” as one of the songs of the year but the one¬†that really changed my opinion on them was “He Is“. I see now that while the band are certainly cheesy, they are self-aware in doing¬†so and happen to write songs with¬†incredible pop sensibilities. It’s especially¬†impressive seeing as they are, at their core, a metal band.

I still have yet to go back and revisit their previous two records. I’m curious to see if my negative opinions of Opus Eponymous¬†and Infestissumam¬†(which I particularly loathed), will have changed since falling¬†so hard for Meliora…but I’m not ready to return and investigate just yet. Until I am prepared to do so, I’ll continue to enjoy¬†the melodic sermons of Papa Emeritus III.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Seinabo Sey – Pretend

seinaboPRETEND

I became familiar with¬†Seinabo Sey (@SeinaboSey) through the FIFA 16 soundtrack.¬†For those who don’t know, the FIFA series (@EASPORTSFIFA) compiles incredible soundtracks for their games year after year.

The album’s title track, “Pretend“, is featured in the game and it quickly grabbed me with its poppy, electro-soul grooves. I spun it enough that her then-upcoming¬†debut album would become¬†one of my most anticipated. This track also inspired me to look into some of her previously released singles such as “Poetic“, “Hard Time“, and “Younger” – all of which were eventually included on Pretend.

Seinabo Sey, a native Swede ūüáłūüá™ ¬†of part-Gambian ūüá¨ūüá≤ ¬†descent, incorporates a wide array of influences and has an absolutely outstanding voice! She’s one of my favourite new artists and I feel she’s one to keep an eye on going forward.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Tuxedo – Tuxedo

tuxedo

Man, I fucking loved this album.

I have never been a big fan of Mayer Hawthorne‘s (@MayerHawthorne) solo output but I have always loved Jake One‘s (@JakeUno) beats and this collaboration between the two just does¬†it for me.

Tuxedo (@Tuxedo) tastefully blend the perfect combination of disco and funk with a sprinkling of 80s sensibility. These guys have produced an album of unbelievably catchy, feel-good, danceable tunes. They had been teasing the project as far back as 2013 and the full length turned out better than could have been expected. A purely addictive record.

Top 3 songs (in alphabetical order):

  1. Do It
  2. the Right Time
  3. Roll Along

P.S. “Do It” was one of the songs – and videos – of 2015.

 

*     *     *     *     *

TOP EPs OF 2015

Big Grams – Big Grams

biggrams

Phantogram (@Phantogram) and Big Boi (@BigBoi) had already displayed¬†their chemistry on the latter’s most recent solo album, 2012’s Vicious Lies¬†& Dangerous¬†Rumors, and after also having connected¬†on a personal level, decided to team up for a collaborative self-titled EP.

A tight and concise listen that wraps¬†in less than¬†30 minutes, Big Grams (@BigGrams) are clearly having fun crossing over into each other’s worlds. The EP includes a couple of great features from Run the Jewels (@runjewels) and 9th Wonder (@9thwonder) and one not-so-great pairing with Skrillex (@Skrillex) to close the record out.

Aside from the underwhelming outro, every other track on here hits and the overall replay value remains high.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Kaleida – Think

kaleidaTHINK

John Wick is¬†a silly movie starring¬†Keanu Reeves¬†as a guy who gets¬†revenge on some bad dudes¬†for killing his dog or some shit. However, the portion of the flick that really stood out for¬†me was the violent club shootout scene¬†juxtaposed against¬†Kaleida‘s (@KALEIDAMUSIK) calm and serene “Think“.

After re-watching the scene about four or five more times, I immediately began to look into the band, of whom there was very little information available¬†online at the time. Shortly¬†thereafter, it would be¬†announced that Lex Records (@LexRecords) – who I’ve been a big supporter of throughout the years – had signed Kaleida to a deal. The female duo play a very minimalistic style of synthpop that incorporates a¬†uniquely¬†haunting vocal style. They have dropped a couple of¬†other fantastic songs prior to and since the release of the Think EP (“Picture You“, “Detune“).

Definitely one of my “ones to watch” for¬†2016.

 

*     *     *     *     *

RATKING – 700-FILL

ratking700FILL

Quietly impressing with their 2014 debut, So it Goes, RATKING (@RatKing) are turning heads on the NY underground, having already attracted some impressive co-signs Рjust ask their engineer, Jay Z affiliate, Young Guru (@Young_Guru). They have a somewhat jarring, off-kilter style, incorporating a punk aesthetic that has much in common with alternative hip-hop acts like Dälek (@daleknwk), for example.

Saying that, Wiki (@wikset) is flat-out one of the more interesting MCs to pop up in the last few years and plays well off of Hak‘s monotone, sing-songy style, and SPORTINGLIFE‘s experimental beats.

So it Goes is a bit more streamlined than its predecessor and I imagine that makes it a little easier for the first-time listener to digest. They won’t connect with everyone but I consider them to be one of the most refreshing rap groups currently on the come-up.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Will Haven – Open the Mind to Discomfort

willhavenOTMTD

Lots of nostalgia involved with¬†this pick. As great as this EP is, a big part of the reason why I included it is because it inspired me to go back and revisit Will Haven‘s (@willhavenband) amazing back catalogue. This is the kind of ‘metal’ band I like – simple, droney, doomy, and heavy. I think one of the reasons I became so disinterested in metal in general was because it started reverting back to an overemphasis on speed and technicality – the hallmarks of the cheesy 80s. WHVN are still doing the one-note riffing with odd time signatures, and to me, it sounds as good as ever.

I won’t say¬†that Will Haven were ever known for their superior production values but the recording quality of Open the Mind to Discomfort¬†does leave something to be desired.¬†That is a very minor complaint, however – the EP should be a¬†visceral¬†experience and the raw production certainly helps to emphasize¬†this.¬†A nice surprise from a record I really had no actual¬†expectations of.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Your Old Droog – the Nicest

YODnicest

Even though it’s been a while since I’ve written a new entry, I’ve spent a lot of time discussing Your Old Droog (@YourOldDroog) in the past here so I’ll keep it¬†brief. This EP demonstrates how much Droog is beginning to come into his own. A punchline master with an obvious¬†love for 90s hip-hop, his wordplay is improving¬†and¬†shares much more in common with Big L than the likes of a¬†Big Sean (@BigSean).

Droog dropped another EP in the first half of 2015 by the name of¬†Kinison,¬†which was also great, but wasn’t quite as sharp as the Nicest, in my opinion. For those of you with a love for the golden age who are still sleeping on this dude, ūüĒī STOP ALREADY¬†ūüĒī!

 

*     *     *     *     *

TOP SONGS OF 2015

the Chemical Brothers ‚Äď “Go” (feat. Q-Tip)
from the album, BORN IN THE ECHOES 

I’ve never considered myself to be a massive fan of the Chemical Brothers (@ChemBros) but this collab with Q-Tip (@QtipTheAbstract) was hard to ignore. It isn’t the first time these two have worked together but it is certainly the best time! Great song and video.

 

*     *     *     *     *

the Game ‚Äď “100” (feat. Drake)
from the album, THE DOCUMENTARY 2 

Cold¬†beat + hot¬†flows from the Game (@thegame) and Drake¬†= addictive track. Really not much more to say about this one. Lyrics are a little funny but it’s not really about that here. Get into it.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Kendrick Lamar ‚Äď “Alright”
from the album, TO PIMP A BUTTERFLY 

I know Kendrick Lamar‘s (@kendricklamar) new album was somewhat polarizing, despite its near-record number of Grammy nominations. The only reason I chose not to include To Pimp a Butterfly on my best-of list of albums is because I find it’s not an album you just throw on at any given time; in my opinion, it’s more of a record that you have to be in a particular¬†mood for in order to sit down and absorb it.

You could make the case¬†that “Alright” isn’t even the best song on the album and I may even¬†be inclined to agree with you. However, I feel it’s the only track that stands on its own outside of the context of the rest of the record – it works as a single. And I believe that’s a big part of the reason why many were¬†disappointed by the album. That is, it didn’t have those big radio singles on it the way¬†good kid, m.A.A.d. city did.

Overall, I do feel To Pimp a Butterfly was (by far)¬†one of the year’s best albums and I wore this track out in a big way.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Raury ‚Äď “Mama”
from the album, ALL WE NEED 

Just an incredibly sweet song. I really feel this is up there with the all-time “mom” tribute songs out there. Raury (@Raury) is an interesting cat and weaves in and out of several genres with the greatest of¬†ease. I didn’t really buy into the hype after he dropped Indigo Child last year but I have gotten¬†fully on board with All We Need.

He still has some rough edges that need to be smoothed out but this kid looks poised for big things in the future. By far, one of my favourite songs of the year.

 

*     *     *     *     *

Tennis ‚Äď “Mean Streets”
from the album, RITUAL IN REPEAT

Tennis (@TennisMusic), the husband-and-wife duo from Colorado, released their most recent full-length¬†album, Ritual in Repeat, back in 2014. However, it was re-released as a deluxe version in 2015 and “Mean Streets” was included as one of the bonus tracks.

I’m not sure how you’d classify this group¬†– they’re sort of like the¬†modern incarnation of a surf band. This particular song is fun and catchy as hell with the video being¬†just as awesome. Great album in its entirety, too!

 

*     *     *     *     *

BEST NON-2015 STUFF OF 2015

** I wanted to add one last section to this blog entry – the best stuff I listened to in 2015 that wasn’t released in 2015! **

COCTEAU TWINS

Discovering Cocteau Twins in 2015 has been life-changing. As far as I’m concerned, they’re right up there with all the greatest shoegaze acts. I listened to these guys like crazy and have fallen in love with every entry¬†into their discography. My only regret is having not discovered them sooner. In particular, Heaven or Las Vegas is a masterpiece. Highly recommended for those who aren’t¬†already aware.

 

*     *     *     *     *

CODE ORANGE

Similar to what I’ve already stated¬†in regards to why I enjoy¬†groups like¬†Will Haven, Code Orange (@codeorangekids) just know how to¬†keep things¬†simple. Heavy, straightforward metal/hardcore doubling as a nod to what was going on during the 90s and early 2000s can be a lot of fun. Which isn’t to say they sound outdated! These guys are all in the early 20s and I guess I get an unusually big kick out of the fact that they wear Nine Inch Nails¬†(@nineinchnails) and Fear Factory (@FearFactory) shirts.

The thing that really¬†got me into this band was through watching their live videos on YouTube – pretty insane stuff! I still haven’t investigated their albums outside of I Am King¬†(aside from what has been featured in their live performances) but I plan to get onto that soon.

Sidenote: these guys are produced by Kurt Ballou of Converge (@Convergecult).

 

*     *     *     *     *

the DOPPELGANGAZ

Despite the fact that I was into each¬†of the Dopp Gang‘s (@TheDoppelgangaz) 2015 releases – Rhyme Over Beats, Parts Unknown, and Beats for Brothers, Vol. 3¬†– I found myself¬†mostly revisiting¬†their older output, particularly the Lone Sharks project.

These guys have got to be one of the most underrated groups in rap and have also managed to remain as one of the most consistent. GANGAZ!

 

*     *     *     *     *

iamamiwhoami

iamamiwhoami‘s (@_iamamiwhoami_)¬†2014 audiovisual project, Blue, spent a ton of time in my rotation last year. It doubles as a great watch on YouTube as well with every song being¬†accompanied by a music video. Water is heavily incorporated into the theme which makes for a very soothing and ethereal listen/view.

I can’t say enough about this album and it turned me into a major fan of this excellent singer/producer duo.

 

*     *     *     *     *

JEMINI the GIFTED ONE

I’m not sure what it was that brought Jemini back into my rotation¬†but I found myself listening to a lot of his shit¬†again for whatever reason. His collab with Danger Mouse¬†(@dangermouseHQ) was dope – 2003’s Ghetto Pop Life¬†(oh look, there’s Lex Records popping up again!) – but it’s the Scars & Pain EP from 1995 that I’ve been giving the most burn to.

What ever happened to this guy‚ĀČ

 

*     *     *     *     *

Thanks to all who managed to get all the way through this entry. I may have been overcompensating due to the year+ of inactivity on this blog. White Catholic guilt, etc.

Hope everyone enjoyed the read! Any thoughts? Share your best-of 2015 in the comments – I’d love to hear them! And don’t forget to check out all of the other great #GuelphMusicClub¬†year-end lists!

kittywave

Bye for now!

#GuelphMusicClub: Top 5 Songs of 2014, Pt. IV

Happy 2015!

I don’t know about the rest of you but my holidays were jam-packed.

Got nowhere near seeing¬†every person I had hoped to…

things there's never any time for: hair washing, studying, getting into Stanford, etc.

Things there’s never any time for: hair washing, studying, getting into Stanford, etc.

Nevertheless, here we are entering the new year and I have yet to wrap up my latest installement for the #GuelphMusicClub.

So, let’s get on with it then!

*     *     *     *     *

kimbra

How many of you are familiar with New Zealand’s, Kimbra (@kimbramusic)?

Those of you who are were most likely introduced to her as the featured artist on¬†Gotye‘s (@gotye) Record of the Year¬†(2013), “Somebody that I Used to Know“, otherwise known as one of the most irritating songs of all time.

But don’t expect more of the same when it comes to her own material.

The Kiwi has shown a knack for the experimental since the beginnings of her career, pumping out genre-bending compositions that make her a tough artist to pigeonhole.

Dipping her feet into everything from jazz to indie-rock to disco and just about everything in between, her chameleon-like abilities¬†tend to result in projects that¬†avoid establishing any one particular “comfort zone”.

And yet, when it comes to her latest record, the Golden Echo, what else can you refer to it as except for a fucking fantastic pop record?

Kimbra - the Golden Echo (2014)

Kimbrathe Golden Echo (2014)

When you take a look at its all-star cast¬†of songwriting / feature collaborators, Kimbra‘s eclecticism becomes immediately clear and¬†apparent.

The likes of Daniel Johns of Silverchair (@Silverchair) fame, Matt Bellamy of Muse (@muse), Mark Foster of Foster the People (@fosterthepeople), Thundercat (@Thundercat), Bilal (@Bilal), and John Legend (@johnlegend) all receive credit for their contributions.

If you get into the deluxe version, the diversity expands even more so with Jonas Bjerre (@jonas_bjerre) (!) of Mew (@mew), Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (@ORLProductions) of the Mars Volta (@themarsvolta), and Ben Weinman (@dillingerescpln) of the Dillinger Escape Plan all showing up by name in the liner notes.

And though they were left off of the album, she even collabed with Flying Lotus (@flyinglotus) and Dave Longstreth of Dirty Projectors (@DirtyProjectors) during the creation process.

Not to be overlooked, the production quality on this project is bar none.

Overseen by the famed Rich Costey (@RichCostey), the album also contains the fingerprints of top names such as Fraser T Smith (@FraserTSmith), Dave Tozer (@DaveTozer), Matt Morris (@MattMorris), John Hill, and Keefus Ciancia.

She displays an ear-to-the-ground credibility by enlisting Mystery Skulls (@MysterySkulls) as well as (in my opinion) one of the most overlooked producers in rap, M-Phazes (@Mphazes), to handle a portion of the board work.

In spite of the impressive roster, it is Kimbra and her boundless vocal range that shines and subsequently dominates your attention here.

Whether she’s being fun and upbeat or soft and sultry, the huge¬†and often dreamy melodies¬†captivate while you travel¬†through her¬†tumultuous pop journey.

It should also be noted¬†that she¬†herself is credited as a co-writer and co-producer on every track which is doubly impressive considering she is rubbing elbows with a who’s-who of the industry.

A truly unique talent, Kimbra turned me into a big fan of hers in 2014 and I can’t wait to she where will be going next.

My no. 2 song of 2014 is “Miracle“.

Awesome video, too.

Kimbra¬†‚Äď “Miracle”
from the album, THE GOLDEN ECHO  (2014)

I’m rising up. Sometimes, I want to get away. And from the moment I met you, I’m ready to fade. I ran into a brighter day.
– Kimbra, “Miracle”

#GuelphMusicClub: Top 5 Songs of 2014, Pts. II & III

Back again with a double edition in order to catch up to the rest of the #GuelphMusicClub.

Please click the hashtag above to see all of the entries to date.

It feels like there are more participants this time around since the previous iteration of THE CLUB and that is so great to see.

Selections¬†have been quite diverse thus far and I’ve already been exposed to a number of great tracks that I wasn’t previously familiar with.

If you happen to be a fan of THE CLUB¬†and would like to contribute, write a post, get a Twitter account, and tweet it out using the #GuelphMusicClub hashtag and you’re all set!

Even¬†if you don’t have a blog of your own, one of us will gladly host your content.

For example, @soundinmymemory (soundinmymemory.com) has been very gracious in that respect.

So get on it!

All of us are hoping to see a lot of fresh faces (usernames?) in the near future!

*     *     *     *     *

YODnasWere you up on the Your Old Droog (@YourOldDroog) conspiracy over the summer?

It was quite a fun ride while it lasted.

For the uninitiated: back in June, an unknown Droog dropped a free EP out of nowhere that sent the internet into a frenzy.

Upon first listen, it immediately becomes apparent why – the dude sounds a helluva lot like Nas (@Nas).

Due to his lack of visual presence, the hype culminated in a fever pitch where people were convinced it actually was Nas rapping under a pseudonym.

Fans felt they were finally getting the Nas they had been fiending for ever since his classic debut, Illmatic, dropped some 20 years prior.

And at the time, the speculation was not only plausible, but pretty damn convincing.

Except that it wasn’t him.

Confirmation of that fact came with his live performance debut at Webster Hall.

YODwebster

Some were disappointed to learn that Droog is, in fact, a white Russian kid from Brooklyn.

Some went on to call him a biter.

But many of us continued bumping his shit as if the entire side show had never happened.

Although the two MCs are very alike in terms of their cadence, I am not of the opinion that this fact should discredit his work.

Action Bronson (@ActionBronson) faced very similar criticisms early on in his career with the Ghostface (@GhostfaceKillah) comparisons and it did nothing to prevent me from naming Dr. Lecter as my favourite record of 2011 because above all, he made great music.

And look at Bronson now.

The dude is thoroughly and indisputably his own entity as we head into 2015 and arguably one of the most original characters in rap.

So let’s see what¬†Droog¬†can do.

Subsequent to releasing the EP, he went on to drop a handful of spare tracks, including collaborations with the likes of Prodigy (@PRODIGYMOBBDEEP), Mac Miller (@MacMiller), Marco Polo (@marcopolobeats), and the Alchemist (@Alchemist).

The EP would have a few of these “loosies”¬†tacked onto it, as well as a couple of remixes, and eventually be repackaged as Your Old Droog‘s official debut LP.

Of those loosies, the one that ends up as my no. 4 song of 2014 is entitled, “On the News (Tamron Hall)“, an ode to the NBC News correspondent who is two decades his senior.

Has a bit of a creepy “Every Breath You Take” vibe over one of the smoothest soul samples you’re likely to hear this year.

#4:¬†Your Old Droog¬†‚Äď “On the News (Tamron Hall)”
from the album, YOUR OLD DROOG LP  (2014)

Four months clean and the urge to stay sober got me goin’ so berzerk.
– Your Old Droog, “On the News (Tamron Hall)”

And remember the aforementioned Webster Hall show?

Yeah, about that..

ūüėÄ ūüėÄ ūüėÄ

Droog recently dropped his first video for “Nutty Bars” which can be seen below.

Your Old Droog¬†‚Äď “Nutty Bars”
from the album, YOUR OLD DROOG LP  (2014)

A good guest and an ill host, these other cats milquetoast, fake Steve Wilkos.¬†Shoulda stuck to doing security, your honor.¬†That’s a cush gig like selling medical marijuana.
Your Old Droog, “Nutty Bars”

 

*     *     *     *     *

For my no. 3 song of 2014, I look towards the guys who released my favourite rock album of the year.

Although they had been building a steady buzz, Nothing (@BandofNOTHING) underwent a few lineup changes and seemingly came out of nowhere when they released their full-length debut, Guilty of Everything, in the first quarter.

March 4, 2014

March 4, 2014

It certainly blew its predecessor, Downward Years to Come, out of the water.

Equal parts space rock, shoegaze, and grunge, it also becomes apparent that the members have a background in heavy music, with a pummeling rhythm section that is quite often thunderous in its ferocity.

Although GOE is without a doubt their most complete work to date, I think their best songs may have been written for their recently released split with best buds, Whirr (@WhirrBand).

Whirr guitarist, Nick Bassett, actually joined up to play bass with Nothing early this year and now pulls double duty in both bands.

While both acts are great, Nothing seems to have the greater potential of the two, as they have managed to add a degree of accessibility to a genre like shoegaze, one that is often too noisy and niche for the average music consumer.

Prior to forming the band, leader Dominic Palermo had served two years in prison for aggravated assault and attempted murder.

And you can hear the despair, isolation, and pleas for redemption throughout their catalogue.

It’s apparent that Nothing is a very cathartic project for Palermo and that likely adds another layer of intrigue onto their compositions.

They’re my favourite new band that I’ve come across in a good few years and I hope you dig them too.

My no. 3 song of 2014 is Nothing‘s “Chloroform“.

#3:¬†Nothing¬†‚Äď “Chloroform”
from the split release, WHIRR/NOTHING  (2014)

Locked in chains under the floor. Cover my lips. Chloroform. Duct taped eyes, fear no more. It’s over now.
Nothing, “Chloroform”

 

As a bonus, I have to add the video for “Bent Nail” off of Guilty of Everything, simply because its one of the best videos I’ve ever seen and it features a shit-hot¬†Kurt Vile (@therealkurtvile) cameo.

Nothing¬†‚Äď “Bent Nail”
from the album, GUILTY OF EVERYTHING  (2014)

If you feel like letting go.
Nothing, “Bent Nail”

Obviously, the song just kicks ass as well.
As does all of their shit.

Peep.

#GuelphMusicClub: Top 5 Songs of 2014, Pt. I

WWYD

Oh, hey!

#GuelphMusicClub has a pulse!

It has been a favourite of mine since its creation and I welcome its return.

There appear to be some new names involved since the last go-round and that’s great to see as well!

Click the hashtag above to see the first round of contributions pertaining to our latest topic Рthe top 5 songs of 2014.

Shout to @MatCalverley for reviving the group.

*     *     *     *     *

Now, I think the parameters for the #GuelphMusicClub‘s take on this topic have¬†been expanded to allow for¬†songs that have been personally discovered within¬†the calendar year of 2014.

For myself, though, I felt there were enough AMAZING tracks from this year that choosing five would be a breeze.

Let me tell you, my no. 5 pick is no exception.

Behold…

stitches

DA GAWD STITCHES

Please note that when I say amazing, I am speaking in the broadest sense of the word here.

But make no mistake – the song I have chosen is fucking spectacular.

Bask in the beautiful absurdity that is Stitches (@StitchesTMI)!

#5:¬†Stitches¬†‚Äď “Brick in Yo Face”
from the mixtape, NO SNITCHING IS MY STATEMENT  (2014)

I got an AK-47 on my¬†face, ho. So you know I¬†don’t shoot no piss toe. – Stitches, “Brick in Yo Face”

A cold ass beat.

Some dude lookin’ like the result of the Joker banging a juggalo.

And the soulless glorification of cocaine.

All the ingredients for a hit viral smash!

This is the definition of your internet-age one-hit-wonder.

Although, to be fair, this song was equally entertaining, if you ask me:

Stitches¬†‚Äď “Mail”
from the mixtape, NO SNITCHING IS MY STATEMENT  (2014)

I send it. You receive it.¬†– Stitches, “Mail”

This one shows the more vulnerable side of Stitches.

The introspective drug dealer, if you will.

The one who has your girl on his pole.

Coke rap has been around for a minute but this guy is a straight up cartoon.

I feel like he may even be a pioneer of sorts.

Like, I imagine this corny yt record exec watching “Brick in Yo Face” and thinking about how he needs to repackage it for the streets.

And then coming up with this:

O.T. Genasis¬†‚Äď “CoCo”
from the single, CoCo  (2014)

Baking soda! I got baking soda!!O.T. Genasis, “CoCo”

And without this incredibly timeless piece of art from O.T. Genasis (@otgenasis), we never would have been blessed with this unforgettable Busta Rhymes (@BustaRhymes) moment:

BREAK YO NECK!!!

BREAK YO NECK!!!

So thanks for everything, Stitches.

Thanks for being you.

stitchesgold

^^^ LOVES SELLING BLOW

And thanks for being my number five of 2014.

NOW WHATCHA GON DO WIT IT???

14/15 Fantasy Premier League: Week 8 Recap

yahooRIP

I do apologize for the late update.

This past week has been a fantasy hell.

Remember when I mentioned that I hadn’t received my two championship trophies from last year’s Yahoo! Premiership fantasy season?

It appears a representative grew tired of my repeated requests for resolution and decided to lock my 15-year old account.

Why?

I’ve been trying to sort this out since last Friday and the closest I’ve come to an explanation is that my account was locked due to an old inactive Yahoo! chat ID that contained inappropriate language.

Pretty ridiculous as my primary ID is the one I had been using exclusively for the past 10+ years and it was a lame reference to System of a Down (@systemofadown).

LOL.

Anyway, needless to say, I am very upset to have one of my fantasy seasons ending prematurely in a game I have had fun documenting over the past couple of years.

I am still in touch with Yahoo! but the previous representative told me they were unable to locate my league despite giving them the correct league ID# and password.

Holding out hope but my hopes are slim.

Some arbitrary bullshit.

Leaves a bad taste in the mouth when you get burned by a platform you’ve been championing for years.

Regardless, the series will continue with posts pertaining to my official team.

If I manage to get my team back in the Y! game, I will likely resume posting recaps for that format as well, even though my season has been effectively ruined.

But until then, my apologies to those of you who were following along with me.

Not only was it a tough week due to fantasy issues but Arsenal (@Arsenal) put up some forgettable performances.

They scored a last minute equaliser versus Hull (@hullfcofficial) to scrape away with a point and had no business taking the three points from Anderlecht (@rscanderlecht).

It felt as if Alexis Sánchez (@Alexis_Sanchez) won that game for us on his own.

Oh, by the way, 2-3 months is our new holy grail.

As in, that’s how long¬†David Ospina (@D_Ospina1) has been ruled out through injury.

And in case you forgot that water is wet, Abou Diaby (@AbouVDIABY) is hurt again.

Poor fucker.

F.U. Shad Forsythe aka the saboteur.

This was just a brutal week and my feelings are still hurt over the Yahoo! thing so let’s keep it movin’.

*     *     *     *     *

OFFICIAL

1415fplwk8

Overall Points: 435

Global: 127,700 (Last week: 174,448)
Fans of Arsenal: 5,646 (Last week: 6,894)
Canada: 1,226 (Last week: 1,723)

Private League I: 3/9 (48 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 2/13 (7 points out of 1st)
Private League III: 1/3 (86 points clear)

*     *     *     *     *

YAHOO!

y!freedom

Total Points: ???

Global: ???
Fans of Arsenal: ???

Private League I: ???

YAHOO! IS NOT FOR THE PEOPLE.

*     *     *     *     *

Damn, that makes me sad.

Anyway, you can see that I was forced to play my wildcard in the official format as I had 5 inactive players either through injury or suspension.

Made out pretty well considering I missed out on¬†Ag√ľero‚Äės¬†(@aguerosergiokun) 4-goal performance.

But it was Dusan Tadic and his 1-goal / 3-assist who I was most upset to have lost out on.

It’s a shame that you can only add a maximum of three players from each club but it adds to the strategy.

I felt that Bertrand (@ryanbertrand3) and Forster (@FraserForster) needed to be added to my squad for gameweek 8 and beyond.

And I had no intention of dropping Graziano Pellè (@GPelle19).

Make no mistake, though – Tadic has season keeper potential.

And I fear for the out-of-form Arsenal as they travel to the Stadium of Light.

Last week, Southampton (@SouthamptonFC) polished off Sunderland (@SAFCofficial) with an 8-nil drubbing and the Black Cats are sure to be full of piss and vinegar.

 

How did you make out in Gameweek 8???

14/15 Fantasy Premier League: Week 7 Recap

fifa15endmatch

.. and the Arsenal (@Arsenal) woes continue to pile up.

It is amazing how so much can happen in the span of a week.

First off, the Chelsea (@chelseafc) match.

Yet again, Wenger was unable to get the best of his arch-nemesis, Mourinho.

Chelsea won the match 2-0 and it was a confrontational affair.

The sparks began to fly after this vicious Gary Cahill (@GaryJCahill) tackle on Alexis Sánchez (@Alexis_Sanchez):

Certainly worthy of a sending off but¬†Martin Atkinson didn’t see it that way and only issued a yellow.

This threw Wenger into a rage which¬†led to a scuffle with Mourinho as the former approached the latter’s technical area:

By the end of the match, each manager estimated the other side was lucky not to have finished with eight men.

While it’s true that an overall lack of discipline defined this match, it¬†would have altered the game dramatically had¬†Chelsea¬†gone¬†down to 10 men after only having played about 20 minutes of football by that point.

Nevertheless, it was always going to be a tough fixture and now, unfortunately, it is one that has left Chelsea as the only unbeaten team remaining in the Premier League (@premierleague) this season.

How nice did Cesc Fàbregas (@cesc4official) look on that assist to Diego Costa?

Hindsight is always 20/20 but regardless of depth, passing on an exclusive world-class player transfer for less than £30M is rarely good business.

Looking at his relative ease in re-acclimating to the BPL, there is no question that we should have exercised the buy-back clause.

But it’s an even tougher pill to swallow now that¬†√Ėzil¬†(@MesutOzil1088) is confirmed to be¬†out until 2015 with torn ligaments in his knee.

Blame it on the Touch of Satan?

Blame it on the Touch of Satan?

The most disturbing part of this story is knowing that the injury was¬†only detected due to¬†√Ėzil¬†leaving for international duty.

The German National¬†team doctors discover a severe injury and have to inform the medical staff of the player’s parent club about it?

That is some disgraceful, backwards-ass shit.

But wait, it gets worse!

The French Football Federation has also sent Laurent Koscielny back to Arsenal because he is suffering from acute tendinitis in both achilles tendons.

WTF??? These players were allowed to leave for internationals?

Look, if you want to talk overrated Americans, leave Jozy Atildore (@JozyAltidore) alone.

Let’s talk¬†Shad Forsythe.

BUST.

BUST.

Let’s face it, the injury bug became an epidemic at Arsenal long before Shad‘s arrival but this year is about as bad as it’s ever been.

The training staff and facilities were supposed to be a summer priority and it appears we may actually be working in reverse.

Again, Shad just got here, so by no means am I blaming him for the image below but it truly is something that has to be seen to be believed:

A comprehensive list of Arsenal injuries over the past 10 years or so

A comprehensive list of Arsenal injuries over the past 10 years or so

And if you weren’t having enough fun with that image, why not check out the complete¬†injury¬†list (in text form) dating from August 2002 to present.

Is that unbelievable or what!?

Perhaps,¬†it’s time Arsenal looked into borrowing some steroids from¬†Real Madrid (@realmadrid).

Bale: First Blood

Bale: First Blood

Anyway, as previously mentioned, players have been sent out for national duties which means no Premier League action this weekend.

The timing works as I have some decisions to make regarding my fantasy squads.

Speaking of which..

*     *     *     *     *

OFFICIAL

1415fplwk7

Overall Points: 369

Global: 174,448 (Last week: 147,155)
Fans of Arsenal: 6,894 (Last week: 6,751)
Canada: 1,723 (Last week: 1,422)

Private League I: 3/9 (16 points out of 1st)
Private League II: 4/13 (24 points out of 1st)
Private League III: 1/3 (65 points clear)

*     *     *     *     *

YAHOO!

1415y!plwk7

Total Points: 702

Global: ???
Fans of Arsenal: ???

STILL NO GLOBAL RANK WTF!!!

Private League I: 2 / 6 (5 points out of 1st)

*     *     *     *     *

I had planned to use my wildcard in week 7 of the official game but decided against it when I realized I could swap out the injured Aaron Ramsey (@aaronramsey) for Raheem Sterling (@sterling31) at the same price point.

However, I feel it will be impossible not to activate it this week:¬†Calum Chambers (@CalumChambers95) is suspended having (already!) picked up his 5th yellow,¬†James Ward-Prowse (@Prowsey16) and¬†Yaya Sanogo (@Yayasanogoal22) are still ruled out through injury, and Dejan Lovren (@DejanLovrenLFC6) is returning from Croatia with a “torn abdominal wall”.

I’m mostly satisfied with my strikers and midfield in the official game but my fullback and keeper situations are getting worrisome.

As far as the Yahoo! game goes, it’s still driving me bonkers that there is no words on the reintroduction of global rankings AND I AM STILL WAITING ON MY TWO CHAMPIONSHIP TROPHIES FROM LAST SEASON.

And for your information, their customer support and engineering team are useless tits.

JUST IN CASE ANY OF YOU BUMS HAPPEN TO READ THIS.

In Yahoo!, I thought I was being clever by moving Thibaut Courtois (@thibautcourtois) to the bench in order to bring in Kasper Schmeichel (@kschmeichel1).

Except that Courtois finished with more fantasy points despite leaving the match after 10 minutes due to a head injury.

Hahha.

At least I reclaimed my 100-point-a-week average.. for now.

How did you make out in Gameweek 7???