December 30, 2010
10. LOCAL NATIVES // Gorilla Manor
They were the highlight of my SXSW, and their album continues to be a beacon of jangly, blurry goodness.
9. MENOMENA // Mines
Thanks to Bucky from The Liptonians for introducing me. Crazy. Technical. Catchy as all fuck.
8. JOANNA NEWSOME // Have One On Me
She can do no wrong. Evolved and evocative songwriting with production that is finding the right ways to present her outlandish voice.
7. FRIGHTENED RABBIT // The Winter Of Mixed Drinks
With no new We Were Promised Jetpacks album yet, Frightened Rabbit satiated my need for big Scottish post-punk.
6. THE KNIFE // Tomorrow, In A Year
Instead of an album, an electronic opera. Proving that they are one of the most versatile and creative artists in the world right now.
5. THE NATIONAL // High Violet
Who am I kidding… this would probably be #2 if my record player hadn’t been on the fritz till recently — meaning I couldn’t spin it enough to really dig into what is unbelievably actually an improvement on Boxer. I was set for a let-down. Instead, my boys delivered.
4. LIARS // Sisterworld
Within 45 minutes of landing in Austin, I was getting stoned with Mat from Boats and watching Liars rock the Brooklyn Vegan stage at SXSW. Sisterworld then became the soundtrack for Marcus & my post-mixing relaxations in Montreal in July. I love it when weirdos make great music.
3. BEACH HOUSE // Teen Dream
Like an updated Cocteau Twins, Beach House satiate my love of delay washes with sparse arrangements and beautiful voices. I’m a latecomer to the record, but it has barely left my turntable since picking it up.
2. JONSI // Go
A lush chamber-folk revision of the Sigur Ros sound, with impeccable production and personal songwriting. A record to turn to in the quiet moments. So intimate.
1. ARCADE FIRE // The Suburbs
Its #1 on everyone’s list for a reason. This album, just like their show at the MTS Centre, feels like its more about the listener than about the artists. Poignant and simply profound, shedding light on the small moments in millions of lives left unturned. One of the few albums in recent memory that demands digging into lyrics, metaphors, track order … all the things that we used to do with records.
December 30, 2010
While 2009 was the year of the Lo Pub, in 2010 there was good representation of most venues in Winnipeg – with no one venue dominating my list, from the West End Cultural Centre to the Walker Theatre. (I will never ever call it the Burton Cummings Theatre).
#10. 2010 WINNIPEG FOLK FESTIVAL (July)
With the exception of spectacular performances by the Avett Brothers and the workshop with Arrested Development, Andrew Bird & Konono No.1 it was a pretty underwhelming line up. Especially with the 2009 line up (including Elvis Costello and Iron & Wine) considered by many to be one of the best festivals ever. 2010 kind of felt like they phoned in the lineup. For the amount of money being charged for tickets we expect to see a more well rounded mix of new and exciting acts as well as a few more big names. Not a best of from 2004, 2007, & 2009.
#9. HEAD IN THE SAND SHOWCASE // The Cavern (October)
You know you’re at a quality concert when all 3 bands performing (Royal Canoe, Les Jupes & The Liptonians) could be the headliner. Plus it was a packed house and the crowd was really into it. The Cavern is not my favorite venue, but this night made it enjoyable.
#8. HOLY FUCK // The Pyramid (September):
One of many shows during an incredible month of September. The band delivered, rambunctiously. A special treat. Holy Fuck indeed.
#7. THE SADIES w/ PACK AD // The Pyramid (September)
Two great live acts that give it their all on stage.
#6. GREG MacPHERSON ALBUM LAUNCH // WECC (April)
This album launch show for the Polaris-nominated Mr. Invitation was classic G-Mac. A killer set that included a perfect mix of old songs and new. It was one of Greg best shows in recent memory.
#5. DAN MANGAN w/ BURNING HELL // Park theatre (November)
Two words: Pleasantly surprised. I went into this show only knowing a handful of Dan songs and never hearing the Burning Hell but left thoroughly impressed with both acts and the quality of Dan as a singer songwriter. He had the attentive Park crowd eating out of his hand. [Editor’s note: Here’s our review of his album Nice, Nice, Very Nice.]
#4. RURAL ALBERTA ADVANTAGE // WECC (February)
It’s shows like this one that make winter in Winnipeg almost bearable. Awesome renditions of The Dethbridge at Lethbride & The Ballad of the RRA. High energy set, great crowd. Another kick-ass West End show!
#3. ARCADE FIRE w/ CALEXICO // MTS Centre (September)
This was an incredible show with the potential to make #1 on this list, only Arcade Fire had the unfortunate luck of playing just 2 days after the band that stole the proverbial show. So by the timeI saw them I was totally blissed out and my passion for this concert plateaued quicker than I would have liked. It wasn’t as good as their 2004 Winnipeg concert @ the Walker but it was still pretty amazing. Calexico were stellar as usual, though their set seemed short.
#2. THE ROOTS w/ MAGNUM K.I. // Pantages Playhouse (June)
Hands down the best hip hop show I have ever seen. The Roots blew away my expectations of what this show was going to be. Pure showmanship, high energy, appreciative of their fans. Plus any live act that can rock a sousaphone as much as the Roots deserves your respect. [Magnum K.I. site.]
#1. THE FLAMING LIPS // Walker Theatre (September)
Pure rock spectacle! This was one of the most entertaining concerts I have ever been to at the Walker (including Arcade Fire, Wilco, TV on the Radio AND the Pixies). I was totally blissed out! A perfect balance of sight, sound and spectacle.