40 Songs I Liked in 2015

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A couple of weeks ago, I ran down my favourite albums of 2015. Today, I’m going to talk about my 40 favourite songs of the year. Why 40? Because I did 35 last year, and I wanted to do more this year. Why did I do 35 last year? STOP ASKING QUESTIONS. More

Album Review: Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys

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Ever since indie rock kings Death Cab for Cutie leaped to a major label, they haven’t been the same. That’s not a bad thing, by any means; Plans and Narrow Stairs feature some of the band’s best work. But with a major label come studio magic and glossy production, things that fans of the band’s early lo-fi days might abhor. If your favourite Death Cab album is Something About Airplanes, chances are that Codes and Keys isn’t for you. The band’s newest album takes full advantage of the ability to experiment with new textures, sounds, and effects that comes with being on a major label. It’s incredibly slick, with nary a misplaced note or a hint of guitar feedback. It’s also derivative to the extreme, ripping liberally from new-millennium U2. It’s not particularly memorable, and it contains almost no surprises.

But even if Codes and Keys isn’t much more than How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb for the indie crowd, it’s damn good at being that. Major-label production really paid off for the band. Codes makes extensive use of Brian-Eno-esque atmospherics to generate an uplifting feel, but it’s tempered by Death Cab’s knack for generating a sense of nostalgia. As a result, Codes sounds big without aping U2’s grandiosity. That’s right: Death Cab for Cutie is better at being U2 than U2 is. Who cares if the album is derivative? Good music is good music, plain and simple, and Codes and Keys delivers plenty of it. More

5 Awesome Songs, Vol. 9: Love the Drum Machine

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A couple of years ago, I read an article that pissed me off. (Scroll down to the piece entitled “Ghost in the Drum Machine.”) Apparently, drum machines have no soul. Duh. They’re machines, you idiot! As a very belated “fuck you” to John Wood, I’ve compiled this list of 5 awesome songs that use drum machines. Trust me; they’re anything but soulless. More

5 Awesome Songs, Vol. 8: Songs of 1999

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Before we hit the new millennium (which actually started in 2001, not 2000, but let’s just forget about that for a second) we were in a glorious decade called the nineties. Remember grunge music? Remember the Clinton affair? Remember Sharon, Lois, and Bram? Anyway, by the time the decade came to a close, grunge had morphed into post-grunge, the Clinton affair was yesterday’s news, and people finally realized that The Elephant Show had been cancelled way back in 1995. Those days seem distant now, but eleven years ago, there were people who were rocking out to the some of the awesome songs that I’ve listed here. More

5 Awesome Songs, Vol. 1

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Every once in a while, I’m going to post a list of 5 songs that I really like. For now, I’m going to post about 5 songs that I’m digging at the moment. More