ūüéľ #GuelphMusicClub: Best of 2016


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)



FYI: Everything ‚Äúranked‚Ä̬†alphabetically

Go to the next page for the TOP ALBUMS of 2016


#GuelphMusicClub: Best of 2015


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


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


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.


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Failure – the Heart is a Monster


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.


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Ghost – Meliora


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.


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Seinabo Sey – Pretend


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.


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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.


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TOP EPs OF 2015

Big Grams – Big Grams


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.


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Kaleida – Think


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.


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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.


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Will Haven – Open the Mind to Discomfort


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.


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Your Old Droog – the Nicest


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!


*     *     *     *     *


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.


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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.


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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.


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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!


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** 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! **


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.


*     *     *     *     *


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).


*     *     *     *     *


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‘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.


*     *     *     *     *


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


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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!


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!

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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!

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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.


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.


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


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.

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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.




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:



So thanks for everything, Stitches.

Thanks for being you.



And thanks for being my number five of 2014.


#GuelphMusicClub, Pt. XI: 1974-1983, Edition B


o shti!

#GuelphMusicClub is showing some real signs of life again.

I am happy to see some folks slowly making their way back.

This thing can’t die.

Saying that, I missed week 2 ¬†of ’74-’83 so I am likely to make two separate posts this week if I can manage squeeze them in.

Can’t be cheaping out after hassling everyone else to make their return!

Have a look at the picks made by some of the others within the club this week:

So without further adieu, I am gonna join the ranks and dive right into it.

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Let’s get one thing straight: Earth, Wind & Fire (@EarthWindFire) are one of the greatest groups to ever do this music shit.

That’s not an opinion but a downright fact.

Don’t believe me? Check out this laundry list of awards and achievements.

Love ’em or hate ’em, their ability to fit into a variety of genres allowed them to cross over racial boundaries and maintain relevancy as the musical landscape continually evolved.

With a career spanning across nearly five decades, you could start a small country with the amount of group members who have come and gone.

Which is to say, EWF have changed dramatically throughout the years!

Highlights have emerged at every point in their career but, in my opinion, the funk / R&B / disco era is where they dropped the majority of their jewels.

I have thought about this post for about a week now and have had difficulty narrowing my choice down between two albums.

So I won’t bother.

Earth, Wind & Fire ‚Äď That’s the Way of the World¬† (1975)

Earth, Wind & Fire ‚Äď All ‘N All¬† (1977)

The former is arguably the pick of their discography and the top selling album.

Originally planned as the accompanying soundtrack to a film sharing the same name, the band insisted upon putting the record out ahead of the movie, as they were convinced the flick would fail subsequent to seeing the screener (it did).

Wise move. That’s the Way of the World¬† would become their breakthrough record as well as their first (and only) to reach #1 on the Billboard 200.

It is also home to some of their biggest hits:

Earth, Wind & Fire¬†‚Äď “Shining Star”
from the album, THAT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD¬†¬†(1975)

Earth, Wind & Fire¬†‚Äď “That’s the Way of the World”
from the album, THAT’S THE WAY OF THE WORLD¬†¬†(1975)

The degree of musicianship on this recording is top-notch.
Like, I’m talking unfuckwitable territory.

Shit is uplifting, there’s just no other way to describe it.

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If you don’t acknowledge¬†That’s the Way of the World ¬†as the pinnacle of the EWF catalogue, it’s likely you claim All ‘N All ¬†as the peak.

By this point in their careers, the band had a stage show that was a full-on production, one that included pyrotechnics, elaborate costumes, as well as world class magic and illusions directed by the late Canadian Doug Henning (also acclaimed for his work in the 80s with Michael Jackson) and his assistant, a still-fledgling David Copperfield.

The Egyptian style album art was a reflection of this grandoise point in their career.

But the tracks banged hard enough to make it their second-best seller.

Earth, Wind & Fire¬†‚Äď “Serpentine Fire”
from the album, ALL ‘N ALL¬†¬†(1977)


Earth, Wind & Fire¬†‚Äď “Jupiter”
from the album, ALL ‘N ALL¬†¬†(1977)


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#GuelphMusicClub, Pt. XI: 1974-1983, Edition A


The #GuelphMusicClub is back risen from the dead.

It’s been the long and arduous summer we all expected it to be and the club has fallen down a bit on the list of life priorities.

However, with Music Lives (@MusicLivesCA) having successfully made the transition to print, it looks as if our founder is back and ready to take hold of the reins once again.

A special shout going out to our friend Rob over at soundinmymemory.com / @soundinmymemory.

He will be taking a brief sabbatical from the blog game and being that he is largely responsible for maintaining the pulse on this thing when no one else was willing, we would all like to wish him the best. Hope to see you back again soon, my bro!

Aside from that, I’d just like to say..


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After launching the #GuelphMusicClub with a 5-part series on our favourite albums released during the period of 1963-73, we are finally set to revisit this initial concept and focus upon the next decade.

There is one album in particular I was dying to acknowledge.
I figured it would be a popular pick so I am pleased to be the first to mention it.

The masterpiece I am referring to?

Stevie Wonder ‚Äď Songs in the Key of Life¬† (1976)

Stevie Wonder was already at the top of his game by the time he released his pièce de résistance.

After recording three massive consecutive successes in Talking Book¬† (1972), Innervisions ¬†(1973), and Fulfillingness’ First Finale ¬†(1974)¬†– the latter two would each go on to receive Grammy Awards for Album of the YearWonder was on the verge of abandoning his musical career in order to dedicate his life towards missionary causes in Africa.

Instead, due to his growing disdain for what he considered to be a hypocritical and unjust United States government, Stevie re-upped with Motown for a $37M / 7-year / 7-LP recording contract which also gave him full autonomous control over the creative process, thus becoming only the second artist in the history of the label to receive such a stipulation (the first being the late Marvin Gaye).

Inspired, Wonder would christen the Hit Factory with its first recording sessions, serving as the origin of the studio’s legendary reputation.


421 West 54th Street, NYC

Songs…¬†was becoming¬†his most ambitious project to date and, after a nine-month studio residency, would eventually result in a double-LP with accompanying 4-song EP.

Wonder was often criticized for being overly sappy in regards to his lyrical content and he was ready to show his critics that he was not above stepping outside of his comfort zone. Tackling difficult topics that were often considered taboo for the time, he tackles social issues such as race relations, classism, and mental health with a disobedience atypical of a 1970s pop star.

His level of musicianship was also hitting new plateaus, as Stevie was always unafraid to incorporate unusual instrumentations while never fearing the transition from analog to digital.

Stevie Wonder¬†‚Äď “Have a Talk with God”
from the album, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE  (1976)

The record was universally acclaimed upon its release and, by 1977, had earned Stevie his 3rd Album of the Year Grammy in four years.

He would also go on to win top honours at the ceremony for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, Best Male R&B Vocal Performance, and Producer of the Year.

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It is a bit of a miracle that I even became a big Stevie Wonder fan, as my parents have despised him for about as long as I can remember.

I think they belong to that previously mentioned group of people who find the man too sickeningly sweet.

But what can I say? I was being put onto the big screens at Square One since I was just a little baby dancing along to Lionel Richie at the center of the mall.

Speaking of which, it’s quite possible I have done the #beigelife‚ĄĘ¬†shuffle to this song more than any other in my lifetime:

Stevie Wonder¬†‚Äď “Sir Duke”
from the album, SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE  (1976)