My Top 10 best songs of 2014! (Finally)

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Here is my ever changing top 10 songs of 2014!
Against Me! – Paralytic States
Tinashe – Feels Like Vegas
Troy Ave – Your Style (feat. Mase, Puff Daddy, and T.I.)
Mark Ronson feat. Mystikal – Feel Right
Doja Cat – So High (Kid Masterpiece Remix)
Arianna Grande feat. Weeknd – Love Me Harder
Saint Pepsi – Fiona Coyne
Lana Del Rey – West Coast
Rick Ross feat. Jay-Z – The Devil Is A Lie
Michael Jackson – A Place With No Name

Honorable Mention
Moist – Bayou
Gary Clark Jr – When My Train Pulls In (Live)

Ryan and Marielle’s Top 11 tracks of 2014!


Power couple in the making! Here are their top 11 tracks:

Chvrches – Get Away

Charlie XCX – Boom Clap

Sleeper Agent – Waves

NONONO – Pumpin Blood

Sia – Chandelier

Lorde – Yellow Flicker Beat

Misterwives – Reflections

Lykke Li – I Never Learn

Foxes – Talking to Ghosts

Ingrid Michaelson – GIrls Chase Boys

Taylor Swift – New Romantics

@Mariellediz @ryelac

Tis the season for best of 2014 lists! Part 1 – AJ & BJ Top 10 songs of the year


Introducing my twin cousins Aaron and Brian who have put together their top 10 songs of the year.  These guys are the tastemakers of Lethbridge/Calgary for all things music, dining, and all other entertainments.  We also used to play Ninja Turtles with plastic weapons back in the day.  Follow them @Aardizzle and @bfunk08bri. Enjoy!

Aaron’s Picks

1.  SBTRKT – The Light (feat. Denai Moore)

2.  TV on the Radio – Happy Idiot

3.  Foxygen – How Can You Really

4.  Basement Jaxx – Never Say Never

5.  Damon Albarn – Lonely Press Play

6.  Arianna Grande – Love Me Harder (feat. The Weeknd)

7.  Glass Animals – Gooey

8.  Afghan Whigs – Algiers

9.  Julian Casablancas + the Voidz – Where No Eagles Fly

10.  Mac de Marco – Let Her Go

Honorable Mentions: Hollie Cook – 99, Black Keys – In Our Prime

Brian’s Picks

1.  Jessie Ware – Tough Love

2.  Jessie Ware – Want Your Feeling

3.  Miguel – Simple Things

4.  Julian Casablancas + The Voidz – Johan Von Bronx

5.  Foxygen – How Can You Really

6.  Jamie XX – Girl

7.  SBTRKT – The Light (feat. Denai Moore)

8.  Iceage – Forever

9.  TV On the Radio – Test Pilot

10.  Bri didn’t have a 10th but had two honorable mentions, both of which are not from 2014 (?).  Here they are anyways:

Smashing Pumpkins – Zero and George Harrison – What Is Life

EP Review: Twenty Centuries of Stony Sleep – “She Dreamed a Drought”


Full disclosure: I don’t really listen to a lot of newer guitar and drum based music anymore.  Not much past anything released after 2004 roughly.  Sure there are a few songs here and there I’ve liked, but In the last few years there probably has been only a handful of rock records that I’ve enjoyed front to back.  One of the bands I have enjoyed though is Twenty Centuries of Stony Sleep, which contains two of my cousins in law (outlaws?) Alexi and Dwight.  So when Alexi told me the band was releasing a new EP “She Dreamed a Drought”, and would like my two cents on it, I was stoked.  I threw it on the system, gave it a listen, and was thoroughly impressed.   Because I am cheap and have free wordpress I can’t upload any audio so check out another review here by imveryape where you can stream 3 of the tracks. {official site and iTunes links below}

This EP basically consists of six tracks equaling 21 minutes of anthems.  The songs have an air of familiarity about it, where you can vaguely decipher the influences without being overwhelmed by them.  This is a testament to its uniqueness.  It has a bit of a pop sheen to it without being over-polished or losing any of its rawness or punch.  By no means is this a straight ahead pop record, nor is it one of those indie rock records where they are completely devoid of melody.  The EP is a showcase for the versatility of the band as it starts with the driving, chunky riffs of the opening track “Confluence” followed by the crunchy chords and falsetto in “I Invoke Ragnorok”.  The third track, “White Hospital Room” which is my favorite of the EP, has a fantastic surf rockish/50s vibe complete with a fantastic rolling beat and bassline, dueling guitar lead riffs, and offsetting harmonized vocals.

Track 4 “Something Temporary” is a bit of an interlude complete with with an acoustic backbone, a twinkling piano, and a bit of introspection.  The volume gets turned back up in the chugging “Vertical Stranger” and EP closes with the soaring epic jam session “Heartstrings”.  The lyrics are thoughtful throughout the EP and bear repeated listening.

All in all, a very solid, confident, well produced release.  The EP has a very concise, cohesive quality about it, and functions well as a whole.  It’s a reminder that rock isn’t quite dead yet, and that you don’t have to pander to nostalgia to be enjoyable.  Or that you don’t need an EDM bass drop or a Drake verse to build a catchy song in 2014.


For more info visit the Official Band Website.

Purchase and preview here: iTunes, CDBaby

Sample Anatomy! Amerie – One Thing (siik remix)

I’m a huge fan of hip hop music and sampling so every now and then I like to look back and find the sample sources of tracks I really like.  This week we’re looking at probably one of my favorite mashups/blends of all time: Amerie – One Thing (siik remix).  Listen here:

Download here.  If you are familiar with the original, you’ll know the remix has quite a different vibe than the original.  It’s incredible how well the new sample fits in with the track, especially with the crescendos throughout the song.  Make sure you check out siik’s other remixes as well here.  The sample itself is from a track called Araurian Dance by the late Japanese producer Nujabes.  Listen here:

Anime fans may recognize the track from the Samurai Champloo show. Make sure you check out other records from his catalog, they are definitely worth a listen if you like jazzy/soulful hip hop and instrumentals.  It’s a shame he was taken from us so early in his career.  Not surprisingly the main guitar riff in the Nujabes track itself samples another record: Laurindo Almeida – The Lamp Is Low.  Listen here:

Laurindo Almeida was a Grammy award winning Brazillian classical/jazz guitar virtuoso, who released multiple albums in his career, as well as performing in numerous TV and film soundtracks.  I liked the sample so much I grabbed his record “Classical Current” on wax, released in 1969.

And looking at the liner notes, the track itself is based on Ravel’s “Pavane por une Infante Defunte”

This goes to show how powerful a melody can be, and that the craft of sampling is indeed one that should not be trivialized or looked down upon.

Mixtape Wednesday: DJ Al Fingers – Combination Mixtape Series Vol. 1:Zakee Shariff – Stardust

Digging through some old mixtapes and found this incredible mix by DJ Al Fingers.  It’s centered around the Joni Mitchell track “Woodstock” and includes various versions of the song, as well as tracks from Jill Scott, John Lennon, Minnie Ripperton, and Brian Eno among others.  Lots of soul/r&b/reggae gems on this one.  The hip hop heads might catch some familiar samples on this one as well.  Track listing and download link found here.

Animation legend Hayao Miyazaki honored by the Academy


Miyazaki, one of my favorite filmmakers recently received some sort of lifetime achievement award from the Academy the other day.  He is probably most well known from his films Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest directors of any genre.  John Lasseter who runs Pixar has gushed over his talent and influence many times.  If you’ve seen any of Miyazaki’s work, he works primarily in 2-D animation, and you’ll notice the art/visuals are very original and unlike anything you’ve seen before.  His films also touch on a variety of different themes not immediately identified with animation such as industrialism, environmentalism, the innocence of childhood, and coming of age.  The action set pieces in his films are also very well done, and in many instances have quite a bit of a darker edge.   My favorite Miyazaki film is probably Nausicaa – Valley Of the Wind, which my uncle sent to me on VHS when I was around 5.  It was completely in Japanese with no subtitles, but the storytelling and visuals were such that you could kind of get what was happening.  It wasn’t until about 20 years later when anime had already exploded in North America that they released a version with English subtitles.  I believe that most of his films have now been released on DVD/Blu-ray by Disney, with some fairly big names doing some voiceover work for the English dub.  Check out the wiki for his production company for a whole list of his films.