Worth – Jonny Dylan Hughes

Vancouver electronic musician Jonny Dylan Hughes (JDH) released a new 6-track EP today. It’s both upbeat and beat-heavy, perfect for summer.

JDH has released three albums under his own name, but has been involved in numerous projects in the last decade, currently including downtempo electronica Branches and noisy dance-pop COOL MAN, and previously including Cran and Finance (and then some).

Holobody – Riverhood

Holobody - Riverhood - cover

 

If only I knew sooner that simply typing “Canada” into Bandcamp’s search bar would bring incredible music like this to my ears, I wouldn’t have waited so excruciatingly long.

Riverhood is one of the most creative albums I have ever heard, and I do not say this lightly. It’s the work of Montreal’s highly talented Luke Loseth (aka Felix Green), Charlotte Loseth (aka Sea Oleena) and others listed on their Bandcamp page.

The production is incredible. At any given moment, the sound is a flawlessly layered cake; an auditory delight: vocals reverberating, bass marching, synths spiralling up and down, and an incredible array of ambient sounds – claps, old European radio broadcasts, pianos, glass bottles, and the like.

Genre? “No” is the band’s apt reply. “Sonic exploration”.

Pick this album up. You’ll love what you discover.

Get Riverhood directly from the artist for $8 here: holobody.bandcamp.com

12 Notable Albums from 2012

2012 saw the rise to fame of new artists like the ubiquitous Carly Rae Jepsen and the baffling PSY through contagious singles, but the album charts saw material from a lot of veteran musicians returning to post their sixth albums (No Doubt), ninth (Cat Power), twelfth (Leonard Cohen) or even seventeenth albums (Bruce Springsteen). Artists both new and old have put out innumerable incredible pieces; here’s a sampling the year’s more successful, creative and/or influential albums:

jpndrds-celebrationrock
Celebration Rock
Japandroids
The Vancouver rockers mince no words with the title to this short, rousing anthemic record.
Grizzly-Bear-Shields
Grizzly Bear has concocted something exquisite with the disparate sounds of Shields.
thexxalbumcover
Coexist – The xx
Purposefully leaked by the British outfit to a single fan days before the official release, Coexist went viral and has enjoyed comfortable popularity since. The album is characterized by pulled-back dream-pop and R&B instrumentation with subdued anti-duets, evoking both tenderness and conflict.
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Bloom – Beach House
Suspicions about Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s ability to provide a follow-up to Teen Dream are put to rest with the hypnotizing Bloom: worth a two-year wait.
ARTS_Battle-born-killers
Battle Born – The Killers
The Killers play with past and present with epic Battle-Born. The synth-infused, reverberating guitar sound possesses all the arena-rock feel of U2 and Tom Petty, without tritely imitating them.
creation liturgy gungor
A Creation Liturgy
Gungor
For whatever “Christian music” is in its broadest sense right now in North America, Gungor may be the most important independent band. Producing liturgical post-rock that is equally technical, artful and enjoyable, their rise to popularity and their message disregard church walls. In October, lead singer Michael published a book on creativity titled The Crowd, The Critic, and The Muse.
provincial john samson
Provincial
John K. Samson
Weakerthans frontman John Samson decided that for his first solo album, he’d write an apostrophic love letter to Canada. This album makes it onto this list partly for that fact, and partly because Samson does such an incredible job with his lyrics, examining topics from grad school to winter in Manitoba.
music_mumford_sons_babel_album_cover
The London folk-pop quartet returns with a listenable yet stylistically similar follow-up to Sigh No More, pleasing fans, repulsing others, and nonetheless attracting considerable Internet buzz. The dulcent sound of “banjolin” has secured its comeback.
lecraegravity
Gravity – Lecrae
Appearing prolific and full of potential with two albums out this year, Lecrae’s Gravity peaked at #1 on Gospel charts and #1 on Rap charts while his free mixape Church Clothes rose to #5 on the charts, featuring contributions from notable up-and-comers like Beautiful Eulogy.
satellitekite
Satellite Kite
Beautiful Eulogy
Derived from a theological analogy of a kite tethered healthily in a way that enables the kite to fulfill its true purpose, Satellite Kite brings fresh textures and fresh insights to the rap scene, intended, as stated in a lyric from the album, to “make you logically stop and think doxologically cause honestly a little bit of music and theology never really hurt anybody.”
Ten Stories
mewithoutYou
Three years after their last release, post-hardcore band mewithoutYou re-converged to begin writing again. Vocalist Aaron Weiss found inspiration in William James’ tale of a tiger that because of habit dared not leave its cage when opened by a circus train crash. Weiss finds stupendous symbolism in the story and uses his unique lyrical gift to paint allegories in tracing the stories of various animals with his characteristic spoken-word and sung vocals.

The Dare – Gina Williams

She’s a singer, a pianist, an actress, and an educator. After shelving her master’s degree in Piano performance for a decade, Gina Williams “dared” herself to perform again at the Bell Performing Arts Centre in Surrey, BC, Canada on October 20, 2012. The Dare is a 65-person multi-genre performance. Tickets are available at the door. For all other details, watch!

Gina Williams – The Dare October 20th from Craig Ketchum on Vimeo.

Skelethon – Aesop Rock

In interviews he reveals a careful and introspective eloquence about the conceptual framework of his album. But rapper Aesop Rock (Matthias Bavitz) is just as apt to drop the gate for verbiage to fire on overdrive like an over-stimulated James Joyce narrating a late-night pillow fight.

Each song lyrically replete, Skelethon chronicles a rough period in Bavitz’s life, themed, in his words, by the “death of friends, house plants, and relationships”. It’s characteristically dark, and can get a little intense. But it also recounts experiences from his life that bring rootedness and meaning. Even the quirky “Fryerstarter” converts trips to Bob’s Donuts into religious experiences that provided Bavitz with home-away-from-home New York as he settled in California. If you can withstand the wordiness and appreciate a unique and headier rap style, Skelethon could be worth digging out.

Bloom – Beach House

bloom beach house

Beach House’s captivating synth cocktail sits well in the eardrums. Lush, without being overpowering or overdone, it’s equally appropriate for a drive, the quieter side of a house party, or perhaps a summery romp in a field. Everything about Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s tone and look is reminiscent of 80’s dream pop, conveying yearnings for simplicity amid the constancy of turbulent emotion. Legrand’s vocals and Scally’s guitar concoct something perhaps intended to soothe recoil from heartbreak: “fleeting moments of happiness before it all disappears”.