What a year for music! 2014 saw countless great releases and memorable concerts. Here are the Indie88 announcers’ picks for a favourite song, album and show from the last year.
SONG OF THE YEAR: Brave Shores – “Never Come Down”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Future Islands – Singles
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Glasvegas @ The Mod Club
SONG OF THE YEAR: Shakey Graves – “Dearly Departed”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Tove Lo – Queen of the Clouds
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Constantines @ Field Trip
SONG OF THE YEAR: Korallreven – “Spirit Away”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib – Pinata
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Cam’ron @ Danforth Music Hall
SONG OF THE YEAR: Alvvays – “Archie Marry Me”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Field Trip
SONG OF THE YEAR: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Luna”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Broken Social Scene @ Field Trip
SONG OF THE YEAR: Future Islands – “Seasons”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Alvvays – S/T
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: The National @ Massey Hall
SONG OF THE YEAR: Jack White – “That Black Bat Licorice”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: Mac DeMarco @ The Danforth Music Hall
SONG OF THE YEAR: Mac DeMarco – “Salad Days”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Lowell – We Loved Her Dearly
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: St. Vincent @ Yonge-Dundas Square, NXNE
SONG OF THE YEAR BRAVE SHORES: “NEVER COME DOWN”
This is the song that made you want to dance like an animal in 2014. The crazy catchy vocals and guitar-vs-synth arpeggio ending make you want to skip back to the beginning and play it over and over again.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: FUTURE ISLANDS – SINGLES
Seasons was on infinite repeat for me back in the spring but there are lots of other gems on here too. The bouncy “Doves”, the poignant “A Song For Our Grandfathers”, and the dark growl of “Fall From Grace” all found a happy place in my hear-holes.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: GLASVEGAS @ THE VIRGIN MOBILE MOD CLUB, FEBRUARY 22
Meeting frontman James Allan before the show wasn’t at all what I expected it to be – he was soft spoken and frail, and just seemed genuinely appreciative of the fact that anybody even cared about his band anymore. What a difference a couple hours can make – onstage he was a total rockstar, even telling people in the audience to “shut the fuck up” for talking over the music. There were massive sing-a-longs to “Geraldine” and “Daddy’s Gone”, and new ones like “Later…When the TV Turns to Static” were firmly lodged in my head for days afterwards. And did I mention their drummer Jonna plays the drums standing up? Awesome.
SONG OF THE YEAR: SHAKEY GRAVES “DEARLY DEPARTED”
The first time we played the song on Indie88, Brian, Matt and I all perked up. For possibly the first time ever, all three of us agreed on something. This song is incredible!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: TOVE LO – QUEEN OF THE CLOUDS
I just started running this year and Queen of the Clouds is a great album to run to. The songs are all hooky and mostly upbeat. My favourite song on the album is “Moments”.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: CONSTANTINES @ FIELD TRIP, JUNE 8
Let me just say that Field Trip was the best music festival in Toronto this summer! Both days were full of great music, great attitudes and great weather. The Constantines reuniting was absolutely incredible. It was pissing rain but nobody cared. The show was electric. You could feel the energy in the crown. Amazing!
SONG OF THE YEAR: KORALLREVEN “SPIRIT AWAY”
This whole record is amazing but this indie-dance pop track blows me away. It’s like partying in some futuristic, melancholic dance club for hyperactive kids.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: FREDDIE GIBBS AND MADLIB – PINATA
Gary, Indiana O.G. teams up with legendary underground producer to release one of the best hip-hop records in years. I hope we see a follow up to this brilliant record. Honourable mention to Run the Jewels.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: CAM’RON @ DANFORTH MUSIC HALL, AUGUST 16
This show ruled as I’ve never been able to catch Cam live before. The audience was split 50/50 between hipster kids and gully hip-hop dudes – a hilarious blend. Cam owned it, can’t wait until he’s back.
SONG OF THE YEAR: ALVVAYS “ARCHIE MARRY ME”
It was my Reason for the Repeat Button back in the summer – and I still find myself replaying it over and over again. “Archie, Marry Me” from Toronto band Alvvays is a stand-out track from one of the best albums of the year. And with even just one listen, it’s not hard to understand why. This song sounds like a sun-bleached photograph, a nostalgia just out of reach; the vocals warm, but distant and washed-out. It has the innocence of a childhood summer memory of a simpler time, starting with the sweet sound of chirping birds… And of course, the name “Archie”, which is inextricably linked to a wholesome-50s-malt-shop-nostalgia fantasy. Molly Rankin’s yearning vocals combined with the impossibly catchy hook make this a perfect song.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: MAC DEMARCO – SALAD DAYS
In a world of singles, this was one of the few albums of the year I repeatedly listened to all the way through. Here’s what I wrote about it when it was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize: In Mac Demarco’s third full-length, Salad Days, you encounter a songwriter who has managed to refine the unrefined. Sure, it might sound wavy – like a wobbly cassette tape, at times – but it’s by no means lazy or one-dimensional. Through those deceptively chill-sounding instrumentals, a world-weary 23-year-old DeMarco meditates on introspection and being alone in “Chamber of Reflection”, to dealing with a blossoming career that takes him far from family and home in tracks like “Passing Out Pieces” and “Go Easy.” Demarco has made a coming-of-age record for a generation of twenty-somethings who have never known life without the internet, who are used to sharing every moment, but who, somehow, still feel isolated. While you’re worrying about which aloofly funny Facebook status to post, DeMarco’s not afraid to admit that the world is scary, or boring, or sad, or lonely. Or that he loves his mom. In a world where image and irony often feel like the most important things, this album seems almost subversive in its earnesty.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: It’s a tie!
NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS @ SONY CENTRE FOR PERFORMING ARTS, JULY 31
We cried! We worshiped! We snuck out of our seats to get down to the floor so we could touch Cave’s ringed fingers while he crawled over the crowd like a deranged preacher. This was one of the most powerful, hypnotic performances I’ve ever seen. A religious experience.
FIELD TRIP @ FORT YORK & GARRISON COMMON, JUNE 7&8
Aside from being a magical weekend full of awesome music, Field Trip is far and away the best organized festival going on in Toronto right now. Everything about Field Trip was executed perfectly, from the food to the vendors, to the stages, the line-up, and the atmosphere – the *ATMOSPHERE*! They made Historic Fort York & Garrison Commons flow perfectly, cohesively and comfortably. Plus, we had the Indie88 Yurt, which I wanted to move into and live in forever.
SONG OF THE YEAR: BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB “LUNA”
I think I’ve listened to this more than any other song this year. It usually takes a big guitar riff for me to fall in love, but how the drums and bass compliment each other, and the gigantic build up, this song is a stand out for me.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979 – THE PHYSICAL WORLD
I was still in high school when DFA were touring their first album, and thanks to a long break and a lot of nostalgia, they had the impossible job of trying to live up to the hype that’s built up over the last decade. This record completely holds up. Jesse’s bass riffs are gigantic and Sebastien’s vocals are just as intense.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE @ FIELD TRIP, JUNE 8
I had never seen Broken Social Scene live before, and mixed with the setting of the final day of Field Trip it was an experience. The set featured an ample amount of high kicks from Brendan Canning, and Amy and Torquill from Stars and Leslie Feist all made it out.
SONG OF THE YEAR: FUTURE ISLANDS “SEASONS”
No song offered up the unadulterated feeling of love and pain quite like this one. The sound of clouds and sunshine colliding in one’s heart.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: ALVVAYS – S/T
The jangle-jingle sound of this album conjures up feelings of learning, longing, growing, and yearning and leaves you with more questions than answers.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: THE NATIONAL @ MASSEY HALL, APRIL 11
A band, at the height of its creative powers, pounds out two hours of colour-filled sounds that enhance their grey matter masterpieces.
SONG OF THE YEAR: JACK WHITE “THAT BLACK BAT LICORICE”
Technically this is my second favourite song of the year but I felt like a fan boy if I picked Mac DeMarco for everything. This song stood out to me on Jack’s record Lazaretto. There are a few mellow songs on the album but when this song comes on it instantly injects the entire thing with life. After hearing it for the first time, I replayed it six more times. No lie. It’s a song that I have trouble listening to at work because I immediately want to drink all the beers and be a lame guy pretending to be Jack White. Also Jack makes a Dumbo reference in the song, and that’s tight.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: MAC DEMARCO – SALAD DAYS
I wasn’t super familiar with Mac DeMarco before 2014, but this record turned me into a super fan. Records always seem to find a way to sync with exactly what’s going on in your life, and Salad Days has been the soundtrack to my year. The good, the bad and everything in between. I dubbed this my favourite album of the year because I can’t listen just one song, I need to finish the entire album and I know my neighbors would back me up on that.
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: MAC DEMARCO @ DANFORTH MUSIC HALL, NOVEMBER 6
The Danforth has quickly become one of my favourite venues in the city, so when it played host to Mac, I was psyched. It can be a struggle to find a good crowd in this city, no one ever wants to let loose and dance or sing like an idiot. Mac finds a way to make everyone in the crowd as comfortable as possible for a non-judgmental night of madness. The two highlights of the show for me was when “Ode To Viceroy” came on and EVERYONE pulled out a cigarette to light up, and of course the huge crowd surf Mac pulled off. The guy went from stage to the back wall, climbed up to the balcony, crowd surfed in the seats, then all the way back down to the stage and finished “Still Together”. Amazing.
SONG OF THE YEAR: MAC DEMARCO “SALAD DAYS”
While this is not the first single from the second full length from Mac DeMarco, “Salad Days” came out of nowhere for me and I haven’t been able to turn it off since. Although the album is pretty fantastic as a whole, Mac’s surf rock, laid back attitude make it impossible not to have a huge smile (possibly gap-toothed) on your face.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: LOWELL – WE LOVED HER DEARLY
Lowell is a force to be reckoned with. Only in her early 20s, she’s just released her debut album We Loved Her Dearly/em> that is lyrically edgy, full of crazy sound samples and synths, and completely addictive. The whole album goes the spectrum of pop-style ballads like “Palm Trees”, to really fun jams like “I Love You Money” and “Cloud 69”. The girl has lived, and this album is really strong start to finish. Enjoy!
CONCERT OF THE YEAR: ST. VINCENT @ YONGE-DUNDAS SQUARE, NXNE
First off, this one was FREE. So huge bonus points there. This my first time seeing St. Vincent in action, and between the amazing guitar licks (I would argue one of the best female guitarists of our time), the Stage performance and outfits, singing on top of huge speakers, shredding while laying on the floor…all of it was amazing. To quote one of the fans in the crowd… “You’re just so God Damn Whimsical!”