🎶 Notes on Notes (2021–05–26)
$2.50 for a highball and a buck-and-a-half for a beer. Happy Hour is here.
Have you ever been late to a class or a meeting and then just tried to sneak in and play it off like you were there the whole time? I’m going to attempt to do that with this so-called weekly newsletter and just pretend like there was a note last week. Moving on…
I’ve yet to delve into current events/news that relates to music and don’t expect to do it often, but as someone who’s dabbled in memberships with Deezer and Tidal to experience a lossless streaming music service, I was excited to see Apple will be offering lossless tracks across their library. There are asterisks a-plenty for how you’ll actually be able to benefit from the higher quality tiers (and even more asterisks on whether most people actually notice a difference) but I’m all for it! For the time being, I’ll continue to enjoy the 256kbps AAC goodness.
Buckle up, this is a longer-than-normal note.
👀 Goings On About Music
Let us take a look at some new(ish) albums and singles…
There are certain instruments that, at least for me, seem to really set the mood of music - two great examples are a well-placed saxophone or an organ. In this case, the organ brings a certain nostalgic sound to the tracks that instantly place it alongside 60s/70s music. This album certainly has that feel to it but there’s some soul and upbeat rock 'n roll to go along with it. It’s a quick listen (just over 30 minutes) but I think would be well-suited for sitting outside catching up with a couple pals you haven’t seen in a while.
This week in, How I Approach New Music, is the recurring concept: My Mood 100% Determines My Willingness To Give An Album A Listen. This one is a little bit noisy and a little bit shouty but not so much that I couldn’t tolerate it. It felt like I was listening to album from the 90s which is not something I would normally be up for but in this case I was ready to get amped up to some tunes.
It’s been almost five years since The Hip embarked on their super emotional last tour that left most of Canada in collective tears as we watched the finale in August on the CBC. They’ve been releasing themed compilations over the last few weeks and the remaining band members will be performing at the Junos this weekend with Feist taking over the vocal duties. I’m sure there will be more tears. While in the spotlight, they’ve also given us material that was originally intended to released with their Road Apples album and by the sound of these tracks, they would have fit right in. It was a neat little time capsule experience to get these tracks after they’ve been locked up for so long.
Iceage - Vendetta
This album was a toss up with the Pardoner album. I had to make an executive call but they’re both enjoyable albums. I’m a sucker for a steady beat that could get you tapping your toes or shuffling your feet when it’s mixed with rock sensibilities and this track nails it.
Islands - Carpenter
They’ve been around since the early 2000s Canadian quirky indie scene (especially when you consider the band they were born out of, The Unicorns) and if you were a fan of bands like Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, or Handsome Furs, then you’ve likely continued to enjoy their tracks AND will enjoy this song from their upcoming album.
Olivia Rodrigo - good for u
When drivers license was released a while back I saw the headlines about it breaking all kinds of streaming records and couldn’t wrap my head around it. Was I so out of touch with music that someone who I’ve never heard of could become the most popular artist over night? (As an side - yes, this is totally possible). It took me a while to actually check out the track and I could see the appeal. A couple of weeks ago Olivia Rodrigo was on SNL and performed drivers license and good for u and, as has been the case more than a dozen times, the live SNL performance sold me. If you squint (or the aural equivalent), you can even hear a bit of Misery Business-era Paramore in this one but check out the whole album.
MAN ON MAN - Beach House
The first year of the pandemic brought us a lot of livestream performances and bands putting out some shorter-length EPs (with a lot of covers) but I think it continues to be interesting to see how artists deal with the combination of the lack of touring and the limitations of not always being able to hop into a studio with a full band. In this case, the keyboardist of Faith No More and his boyfriend found themselves in lockdown together early in the pandemic and took the opportunity to just write a whole album about their relationship. Pretty awesome use of time.
🎧 In My Queue
This is what happens when you combine two weeks of music - you get a much longer In My Queue section. I didn’t keep everything from last week but I did keep a couple.
I saw a new track from The Tea Party and knew I had to at least listen. My memory of their sound might be hazy but it seems like the music has changed but Jeff Martin’s vocals still sound like they should be set to dark and moody riffs, not bluesy rock ones… Should you give the benefit of the doubt to children of famous people who explore artistic outlets? Probably not. But maybe? In the case of Willow, I would have missed out on a very enjoyable power pop track if I wrote it off because of their parents… If you’re a long-time reader, you didn’t have to wait for Leafs vs Habs pre-game show to hear Let’s Go fromThe Beaches as you would already be in-the-know based on a previous note (side note - as a Toronto band, you know they were cheering for the good guys, right?). Their EP was released and it’s rockin' (as expected) so please enjoy Slow Mo… Not to be confused with The Beaches, Bleachers have a new album due out later this year and have kicked off the build-up with some very enjoyable synth- and retro-filled singles for our enjoyment… Lastly, from the westcoast bestcoast Vancity, new-to-me artist bbno$ has an interesting sort of bedroom-pop, sort-of hip-hop EP that caught my attention - especially the help herself track that is perfect if you’re the kind of person who really like Such Great Heights by The Postal Service but really wish there was a cover by someone who sounded like Julian Casablancas… and, as usual, songs from the singles and albums noted above.
Iceage - Vendetta
The Beaches - Slow Mo
The Tea Party - Summertime
Reigning Sound - Let’s Do It Again
The Tragically Hip - Ouch
Pardoner - Donna Said
Bleachers - Stop Making This Hurt
bbno$ & Diamond Pistols - help herself
MAN ON MAN - Beach House
Islands - Carpenter
WILLOW (feat. Travis Barker)- t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l
Olivia Rodrigo - good 4 u