By Team BeatRoute and Friends
BeatRoute AB editorial board (and friends)
Sarah Kitteringham, Music Editor
2014 has been a great year for music overall. Local bands appear to have cut back on oversaturating Calgary and are playing less frequently to bigger crowds (and getting noticed for it!), and better tours are coming through.
Top Five Releases
Anguish – Mountain (Dark Descent Records)
Sabbatory – Endless Asphyxiating Gloom (Unspeakable Axe Records)
Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Metal Blade Records)
Swallowed – Lunaterial (Dark Descent Records)
The Order of the Solar Temple – The Order of the Solar Temple (I, Voidhanger Records)
RANTS: Renting in this city is horrendous and landlords being “offended” when they get called out for gauging is ludicrous! Lastly, I miss Noctis a lot, which is exacerbated by a lack of interesting or groundbreaking heavy bands on all local lineups.
RAVES: International festival lineups are constantly improving, which is excellent. As for Calgary, it’s excellent to see the continuing success of Market Collective and the fantastic pairing of local bands with classic films through the Fifth Reel. Also, thanks to Mother Nature for not flooding this year. Also, The Lego Movie was the absolute best.
Shane Flug, Managing Editor and Web Producer
“Just checkin’ things out.”
Top Five Things in Calgary
Nice to see our city on film by people in our city with Whatcha Got Calgary? Congrats to all involved with the project.
Craving a good chicken slider with large meaty portions? Can’t go wrong with the buttermilk chicken at Cleaver on 17th Avenue.
Rocket From the Crypt live at Sled Island. Probably the most energetic and lively group I had the pleasure of photographing this year.
If you just couldn’t stop watching Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s bizarre and dramatic downward spiral, Robyn Doolittle’s Crazy Town is a great read.
Finally went to a few Social Media Breakfasts this year. If Facebook and Twitter are actually in your resume’s skill list and not just your favourite ways of procrastinating, go check one out!
RANTS: “Dewitos.” What dumb food/drink idea will they come up with in 2015?
RAVES: Glad to see Village Gardener and Big Rock Anthea Wet Hop ales back again this year. Grab a bottle of both while you can!
Colin Gallant, Jucy Editor
2014 was the year we said no to AMP Radio’s quick hits, yes to gays in punk and cinema and ehh, maybe to secondary suites and bike lanes. Woo!
The Five Best Things That Existed in 2014
Sherri – SOFT SPOT (Independent)
Caribou – Our Love (Merge)
Andy Stott – Faith in Strangers (Modern Love)
Shia Labeouf, #IAMSORRY at the Cohen Gallery.
Nymphomaniac, directed by Lars von Trier
RANTS: The man bun is the worst trend of the year and, possibly, of all time. What you think it’s saying: I once went to Thailand and “found myself.” I am in touch with spirituality. I am an individual. What it’s really saying: I met my best bro in Philosophy 101. I never pay less than $200 for jeans. My web presence causes terminal eye rolling.
RAVES: Sled Island lost its (arguably) biggest headliner the day they were set to perform at Olympic Plaza. Neko Case was set to play the eerily familiar torrential Friday night while the fest was touting its #NobodyRainsOnOurParade mouthful of a hashtag. Could it have been devastating? Could it have been another soaked-socks, gloomy blow to the festival? Yeah, absolutely. Thankfully, Canada’s most amiable and talented dad, Joel Plaskett, stepped in and Calgarians came out to a (now free) night with high spirits and undying support. That was the fucking coolest. (Full disclosure: Colin works as the Web Content Creator for Sled Island during their festival season.)
Joel Dryden, Film Editor
It suddenly hit me as to what a great year 2014 has been for movies (rounded out, of course, by Nicolas Cage’s career-defining turn in Left Behind).
Top Five (Film) Releases
Gone Girl, directed by David Fincher
Whiplash, directed by Damien Chazelle
Boyhood, directed by Richard Linklater
The Grand Budapest Hotel, directed by Wes Anderson
John Wick, directed by Chad Stahelski & David Leitch
RANTS: Not to be smug, but I told you guys the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles looked like a bore. “It looks fun!” you said. It wasn’t fun (not to be smug, though).
RAVES: It really was a knockout year for blockbusters, Michael Bay-produced affairs aside. Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men, Planet of the Apes… even Tom Cruise had his day in the under-attended Edge of Tomorrow. Anyone else out there somehow still secretly pulling for that crazy guy?
Sebastian Buzzalino, Editor-at-Large
2014 was delicious.
Top Five Releases:
Against Me! — Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble Music)
Haunted Hearts — Initiation (Zoo Music)
Reuben and the Dark — Funeral Sky (Arts & Crafts)
Teledrome — Teledrome (Mammoth Cave Recording Co.)
The Wytches — Annabel Dream Reader (Partisan)
RANTS: Calgary is too safe. We have all the talent in the world to carve out an exciting, forward-thinking scene, but for whatever reason — perhaps the city is too comfortable, perhaps there isn’t enough diversity, perhaps we retreat too much into ourselves and can’t hear above the echo chamber — we can’t seem to fulfill our potential. We need to take bigger risks. Interdisciplinary intersections and collaborations are key.
RAVES: 2014 may prove to be a watershed year as the conversations surrounding gender issues arguably reached an all-time high. It’s been a scandalous year but, in that wake, it seems like more people than ever are actively involved in radicalizing their consumption of media and thinking critically about issues surrounding privilege, sexual assault, normative gender roles and the way in which patriarchy flattens bodies: it seems like everyone has found their niche and is exploring their voice. The only way to change social and political superstructures is to band together and call bullshit out when we see it.
Sarah Mac, Writer and Photographer for BeatRoute
2014 has been the year of punk rock revival! There has been a mass amount of veteran punk rock bands reuniting and reissuing this year – it’s been ridiculous!
Top Five Releases:
Tim Timebomb & Friends – Tim Timebomb & Friends (Hellcat/Pirate Press)
Jack White – Lazaretto (Third Man Records)
The Dwarves – The Dwarves Invented Rock and Roll (Recess Records/Greedy Records)
Rancid – Honor is all We Know (Hellcat)
Lagwagon – Hang! (Fat Wreck Chords)
RANTS: I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of girl; so I don’t have much to bitch or complain about. It would be nice to get a new venue for the larger concerts; but let’s not hold our breath, because we’ll probably pass out.
RAVES: Since it has been 20 years since 1994, which includes all the epic releases that came with it; this year was exceptionally crazy for the lovers of punk rock. Epitaph (Records) and Fat Wreck Chords both did a shit-ton of reissues from many of their original artists, also they released box sets containing rare and unreleased material. Of course, all these releases were followed up by tours and festivals! Broke and happy – that sums it up for me. As for my Calgary raves, that’s easy… Sunshine and Sled Island. Need I say more?
Jennie Orton, Writer for BeatRoute
2014 marked my return to Calgary from Vancouver and I have been blown away by the music scene in this town. The talent here has warmed my cold, cold heart.
Top Five Releases
The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger – Midnight Sun (Chimera Music)
Five Alarm Funk– ABANDONEARTH (Independent)
Biblical – Monsoon Season (New Damage Records)
Jack White– Lazaretto (Third Man Records)
Wagons – Acid Rain and Sugar Cane (Six Shooter)
RANTS: This Jian Ghomeshi thing and the low-hanging fruit it offers what has become a truly despicable national press has been awful for all. The assumptions that those who like kink are mentally disturbed have now been given validation by choosing this story as a prime example of that community and have thus caused people who don’t understand to become aggressively judgmental. It has also popularized the issue of violence against women to almost saturation levels, which leads to desensitization. Don’t believe me? I heard about someone who went out on Halloween as the teddy bear Ghomeshi allegedly talked to while beating one of his victims. So if it’s become a hip joke: the victims risk not getting the needed respect, Ghomeshi risks not getting the necessary therapy, and the kink community risks withstanding a severe setback in tolerance.
RAVES: I was very impressed by The Sled Island Festival. The curators of that thing are geniuses. I didn’t see one bad set the whole time, with both local and visiting bands being not only innovative but absurdly talented. I had a blast that week. Also: I loved seeing Russell Brand get all political. It’s nice to see someone using their fame to promote being well-informed.
Angela Dione and Angel Guerra
Angela Dione and Angel Guerra, Market Collective Founders
Arts, culture, and collaborations all around!
Top Five Things
Dairylane / Bowness Vietnamese
Studio North picking up steam, Blank Page Studio hosting amazing events, and anything that makes Brendan Kane (of Welcome to the West) laugh / Hip-Hop Karaoke
Can I say the Market Collective six-year? It was so busy I almost passed out/ Almost any concert held in an old Church
Chili Goma at Shiki Menya / The Coup
The globetrotters Caitlind Brown and Wayne Garrett. Their future’s so bright, they gotta wear shades / The Bow River
RANTS: I’m zen man. Nothing frustrates me. Oh wait, how about Calgary tearing down two community spaces in inner city Kensington over one weekend, but not using them efficiently for the last decade? Yea, that’s one. Let’s figure out zoning for empty spaces and get them filled with people, businesses, and creative endeavors. It’s not rocket science. It’s arts and culture (Dione).
RAVES: Well, I nearly cried at the Market Collective 6-Year anniversary. It was so amazing to see how far all of the artists and musicians had come, and tears nearly came to my eyes when I saw the overwhelming support of the Calgary community. We had nearly 14,000 people attend the event (Guerra).
Spencer Brown, Talent Buyer/Entertainment Manager at The Palomino Smokehouse.
Recently elected to the Board of Directors of Music Calgary, many fun days and nights thanks to Calgary’s stellar music scene, celebrated 10 years on the dial at CJSW, found out how charming Winnipeg can be during Break Out West… these are the things that made 2014 special.
Top Five Things
I enjoy the selection of local microbrews available in Calgary
The Rueben at Gruman’s
Riding my bike along the river
RANTS: The sheer amount of NIMBY-ism in Calgary is staggering. Schools, Art Spaces, disabled children; these were all met with shrieks of “Property values!”
The other annoyance was the grumbling once the cycle track went in. It’s there and will improve the city, deal with it. Just like the Peace Bridge. Also, the real estate/rental market here has gotten painful.
RAVES: I was very, very happy that there was no flood this summer. Also, watching bands react positively to playing Calgary. I heard “highlight of our tour” in regards to our fair city more than a few times this year. Other than that, I was over the moon the misaligned “tour tax” aimed at smaller bands and venues was overturned. This made life much easier for touring bands, music fans, and the small businesses that are brave enough to operate as live music venues.
Brenda Lieberman, Festival Director/Programmer Calgary Underground Film Festival, and Senior Features Programmer Calgary International Film Festival – U
I kind of live and breathe arts and culture year-round and don’t think much about it, but definitely cram in as much as I can both as a programmer and attendee!
Top Five Things, “in no particular order…”
Legend Has It, Alberta Theatre Projects. I could have seen this play a zillion times!
A Brimful of Asha, High Performance Rodeo.
Field Trips of Terror, Calgary Underground Film Festival. We had our two films this summer – one at an indoor swimming pool where we had an entire pool full of people watching the entire feature film from the water! The other was outdoors at Cobbs Corn Maze.
Shiki Menya, the new ramen restaurant in Bridgeland!
At the Calgary Underground Film Festival’s CUFF.docs this year, we brought in Gruff Rhys (from Super Furry Animals) with his film American Interior, and had him do a concert at Palomino!
RANTS: I really have nothing to rant about, which is a good thing I suppose so I’ll focus on the raves in my area.
RAVES: This year the film festival audiences have been amazing, so engaged and the attendance keep getting stronger. All my festivals had their strongest years yet. I had a number of really heartfelt thanks in passing, or personal emails from such appreciative audience members, sponsors and general community about what we are doing for Calgary, or presenting in programming. I do my job for others, so hearing those comments (and this year more than ever) is the best. But what “I” couldn’t get enough of was Chess Pie at Bridgeland market (only some of you will understand what that means).
Sheena Jardine-Olade, Cultural Mediator at Theatre Junction Grand, Managing Editor Freq Magazine
If you want to see improvements in arts and culture in Calgary spearhead the initiative yourself!
Top Five Things
Festivals, markets, community events; whether in the middle of the forest or in an urban setting the combination of people music and a unique settings bolsters creativity and community.
New National Music Centre – The new building will supply much needed venue space for everyone and house the NMC’s amazing synth collection.
Theatre Junction Alley Party – The theatre and music together, in a seemingly unconventional space, celebrating community. Dreamy!
SOPHIE – Spearheading the cute musical movement. I am so impressed with his sound synthesis and ability to ride the line between sickly sweet and nefarious.
Freq Magazine –We grew up a bit but we are still trying to cover all the issues and music that is on the periphery ready to break. We learned from the best (BeatRoute) and Calgarians have been supporting us every step of the way. Thanks QTs!
RANT: Complaints about public art being wasteful. Infrastructure is important, but a world-class city is not paved with asphalt, it is paved with culture, art and beauty. There are problems with rent affordability and the provinces/ cities refusal to protect artists.
RAVES: Snøhetta architects, Big Architects, community support of Sled Island allowing them to have another year, grassroots urban, arts and food intervention initiatives.
Lindsay Shedden, Program Manager South – Alberta Music, Administrator – PEAK Performance Project Alberta, Director at Large – Music Calgary, independent promoter, live music enthusiast.
2014 has been a badass year for music in Alberta; tons of artists getting recognition across the country and beyond. Some really great bands and artists getting on cool labels, signing with big booking agencies, and playing enormous festivals. This makes me very happy.
Top Five Fave Things:
Pink Mountaintops – Get Back (Jagjaguwar)
Container Bar, Kensington
Vantopia w/ Bison, Equity, AB.
Market Collective’s open air market this summer
RANTS: I’m frustrated that the cost of living has gone up so much in Calgary and anyone working in the arts is barely getting by. Yeah, yeah, same old, right? No. It’s gotten extreme. Also, stop fucking telling me to move out of downtown if I want to have affordable rent. I’m pretty sure I’m exactly the kind of person the city wants to have living downtown since I’m always out doing stuff and participating in the arts and culture this city wants to be known for.
RAVES: Loving the new liquor laws. Small scale brewers allowed to open tap rooms and sell their beer. Festivals no longer having to have beer gardens. A step in the right direction, Alberta.
Chris Hewitt – Owner and Talent Booker for Dickens (Not pictured, sorry pal)!
2014 was a year of adapting to new ideas and new musical trends in a rapidly growing city.
Five things I have good feelings about from this past year:
Cygnets – Two new albums from this Edmonton band and they are absolutely the best thing going.
Beakerhead – Such an amazing spectacle of technology and creativity that’s growing every year.
Gary Numan – The new wave legend finally came to Calgary in October and it was amazing.
Calgary Comic Expo – A world-class collection of virtually everything that I love. It’s almost too much to handle.
Terminus – A personal project and immense source of pride. The dark synth/ electro-industrial festival is making a major mark on the world stage with acts flying in from all over North America and Europe.
RANTS: There are countless fantastic bands in our local scene but the thing that frustrated me the most this year is that too many of them play far too often. We’re dying to give you an amazing show and fill the room for you but we can’t do it if you’ve already played 17 shows in the last month. Don’t burn yourselves out!
RAVES: The finest piece of news to affect live music nation-wide in the past year was the government’s decision to remove the foreign worker fees that made it prohibitively expensive to book acts from outside Canada. There’s so much good music out there and now we get to hear more of it.
BeatRoute BC editorial board
Glenn Alderson, Editor-in-Chief
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days
BeatRoute’s June swimsuit edition cover boy dropped Salad Days early in the year and, while you’d think its countless plays would eventually wear thin, DeMarco’s crisp collection of upbeat yet laid back indie ballads are blessed with a shelf life that cements this Vancouver native’s latest as the year’s freshest in my books.
(Runners up: YG – My Krazy Life, Viet Cong – Cassette, Pink Mountaintops – Get Back)
Future – “Move That Dope (Feat. Pharell, Pusha T & Casino)
Everyone needs a good song to turn up to and with this well crafted Mike Will Made it production, some of the biggest names in the rap game come together to move all the nightclubs of the world in unison. I also love the way this track starts with Pusha’s maniacal laugh. Real dope dealaz f’real.
(Runners up: Rick Ross – “Sanctified (feat. Kanye West),” YG – “Who Do You Love (feat. Drake),” Bob Mould – “I Don’t Know You Anymore,” The New Pornographers – “War On The East Coast”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Christopher Owens – Oct. 8 @ The Biltmore Cabaret
Seeing the former Girls frontman perform live is such an enlightening rock ‘n’ roll experience. A genuine and gentle soul with an exceptional knack for honest songwriting, only Owens could pull off having two back-up soul singers accompany him throughout his entire set without it feeling contrived. The small number of people who were in attendance at this show was treated to one of the most wholesome and uplifting live spectaculars of the year.
(Runners Up: Shannon and the Clams @ The Golden Age Club (Sled Island), Outkast @ Pemberton, Courtney Barnett – July 4 @ Fortune Sound Club)
This film glorifies what I was taught all throughout journalism school — if it bleeds, it leads. A gaunt Jake Gyllenhaall makes the perfect leading sociopath in this edge of your seat thriller, chasing down the most horrific local tragedies with his video camera for an LA news station.
(Runners Up: A Most Wanted Man, Edge Of Tomorrow, The Grand Budapest Hotel)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Hanging out at Whytecliff Park with my girl, learning how to dive properly while a friendly little seal kept popping up to say hello every once in a while. Later that afternoon the ocean swallowed my phone when the tide came in but I’d like to think the seal is putting it to good use.
Jessica Brodeur, City Editor
Owen Pallett – In Conflict
This album reminds me of why I like music. It’s an intense listen, but so worth it. After seeing Her I kicked myself for not starting my dedicated fan girling of Owen Pallett years earlier.
(Runners up: Jay Malinowski and the Dead Coast - Martel, Arkells – High Noon, Kandle – In Flames, Hey Rosetta! – Second Sight)
New Pornographers – “Dancehall Domine”
The best new karaoke song to come out in ages! We know a good karaoke song is the best type of song.
(Runners up: Tegan and Sara – “Everything Is Awesome,” Mike Edel – “The Closer,” Magic Man – “Paris”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Sing it Foward 2014 at the Vogue. More of a massive party with everyone who has ever made music in Vancouver celebrating under one roof. The kids from St. James Music Academy stole the spotlight, names like Said the Whale and Hey Ocean! couldn’t even hold a candle to the kids’ blooming talent.
(Runners up: Jill Barber at the Vogue (Jazzfest) and the Arts & Crafts tour at the Biltmore with Reuben and the Dark, The Darcys and NO.)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Rich, old, leathery blonde women, a stolen heirloom, a jailbreak, a continent on the brink of war, and pink pastries tied up in perfect little boxes — how much more perfect can a movie get? If Wes Anderson could only direct my life.
(Runners up: Birdman, Guardians of the Galaxy)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
A ballistic week-long summer scramble that started with lazy sailing and drinking beer in False Creek on a perfect mid-July afternoon. The calm abruptly ended by hopping on a plane to Germany for a whirlwind trip seeing old friends, staying at an old farmhouse, and witnessing a beautiful fairytale wedding in a castle, and celebrating as Germany won the World Cup. I hopped on over to explore Amsterdam by myself – travelling solo is one of life’s greatest pleasures – and then arrived back in Van with a day to spare before launching into Vancouver Folk Fest. One day when I look back on my 20s, at least I’ll know I was efficient.
Joshua Erickson, Managing Editor
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World
Reunions can be a dicey affair, and even more so when an album becomes involved. The Physical World, DFA 1979’s first album in 10 years, defied all expectations. A seething beast of an album, the band doubles down on its defining characteristics and the result is a worthy follow up to their runaway breakthrough album, 2004’s You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine. Once again, JFK’s vicious bass tone is the star of the show here.
(Runners up: Mac DeMarco – Salad Days, Caibou – Our Love, White Lung – Deep Fantasy, Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust)
Sun Kill Moon – “Carissa”
Easily the most emotionally charged, tragic, and heartbreaking song of the year. “Carissa” tells story of Mark Kozelek’s second cousin, named Carissa, and how she died in a freak accident at 35, leaving behind her two children. The song then turns into a lament on what family means and how fragile the human condition is. It is nothing less than brutal and gorgeous.
(Runners up: Caribou – “Can’t Do Without You”, Ought – “Today More Than Any Other Day”, Cloud Nothings – “Im Not Part of Me”, St. Vincent – “Regret”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Damon Albarn – March 14 @ Fader Fort, SXSW, Austin, TX
After being billed “Damon Albarn w/ special guests,” most people thought De La Soul comin’ out to perform “Feel Good Inc.” were the “special guests,” but Albarn had an ace up his sleeve. For the encore he brought out Del Tha Funky Homosapien and Dan The Automator to perform Gorillaz’ classic “Clint Eastwood” for the first time EVER! The crowd erupted and just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, after Del’s second verse, SNOOP DOGG came out. The whole place lost their collective mind and Albarn had the best big dumb smile on his face. One of my favourite live show moments ever.
(Runners up: Kraftwerk – March 18 @ Walt Disney Concert Hall, LA, Deafheaven May 2 @ The Wall, Taipei)
Guardians of the Galaxy
C’mon. Who didn’t love seeing Andy from Parks and Rec running around blasting bad guys to a badass soundtrack of classic ’70s tunes? I know I did.
(Runners up: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Godzilla)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Too Many Cooks. Either that or moving to Taiwan or performing at SXSW. Let’s call it a three-way tie.
Alex Hudson, Live Music Editor
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream
It beats the hell out of Sun Kil Moon’s album, that’s for damn sure. (Runners up: Cloud Nothings – Here and Nowhere Else, Run the Jewels – Run the Jewels 2, Mac DeMarco – Salad Days, Alvvays – Alvvays)
Cloud Nothings – “I’m Not Part of Me”
Melancholia and introspection have rarely sounded so triumphant.
(Runners up: The War on Drugs – “Under the Pressure,” Real Estate – “Talking Backwards,” Run the Jewels ft. Zach de la Rocha – “Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck),” Prairie Cat – “Bad Storm”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
Justin Timberlake – Jan. 16 @ Rogers Arena
This was a really shit day for me, since my older dog was in surgery. But for three glorious hours, JT made me forget about the troubles of the real world with his larger-than-life pop spectacle. He had an enormous backing band, and his elevated walkway — which traversed the entire length of the arena, over the heads of the fans — was the most amazing stunt I’ve ever seen at a show.
(Runners up: The Flaming Lips – July 19 @ Pemberton Music Festival, Cool – March 22 @ Red Gate)
Edge of Tomorrow
I love Groundhog Day and I love apocalyptic films about alien invasions. This is the best of both worlds.
(Runners up: Interstellar, The F Word)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Riding home from the airport with my new nine-week-old puppy asleep in my arms. It was the cutest fucking thing, you guys.
Genevieve Michaels, Visual Arts Editor
Aphex Twin – Syro
It was his first album in 13 years and expectations could not have been higher. For still blowing everyone away, Mr. Richard D. James deserves to be number one.
(Runners Up: Flying Lotus – You’re Dead; FKA Twigs – LP1; Actress – Ghettoville; Ariel Pink – Pom Pom)
Sia – “Chandelier”
The best of the year’s pop hits, “Chandelier” proved veteran songwriter Sia can stand on her own. An equally creative video only made this track more memorable.
(Runners up: Kelis – “Jerk Ribs”; Shlomo ft. Jeremih – “No More”; aywy. and Ekali – “Your Love”; Aphex Twin – “Minipops67”)
Murcof and Simon Geilfus [Antivj] – Sept. 19 @ Science World
All of New Forms Festival was remarkable, but Murcof and Simon Geilfus’ audiovisual performance was especially unique. I had definitely never been immersed in a giant animation as it evolved in reaction to abrasive electronic music before.
(Runners up: Outkast – July 20 @ Pemberton Festival; Flying Lotus – Nov. 19 @ Commodore Ballroom)
The LEGO Movie
I’m not even one of those people that likes kids movies, but this was ridiculously entertaining. Also, the theme song is a total earworm that’s been plaguing me ever since.
(Runners up: The Tale of Princess Kaguya, Under the Skin)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
I had a lovely time escaping city life on Gabriola Island this year. The Gulf Islands have some of the most unique coastal scenery in the world – lunarlike sandstone formations and red arbutus. Dreamy.
David Nowacki, Film Editor
Run The Jewels – RTJ2
This is the kind of infectious hippidy-hop braggadocio that can make even a cracker-ass-cracker like myself feel like a straight banger while rolling around in his shitty old Subaru.
(Runners up: Swans – To Be Kind, Perfume Genius – Too Bright, Skull Defekts – Dances in the Dreams of the Known Unknown, Aphex Twin – Syro)
Perfume Genius – “Queen”
It was a close call between this and Swans’ excellent “Oxygen”, and what it came down to was how they moved me. “Queen” had me in a fist-pumping, ecstatic thrall, whereas “Oxygen” had me in a contorted, neurotic spasm. I found the former to be more enjoyable.
(Runners up: Swans – “Oxygen”, Liars – “Vox Turned D.E.D., Run the Jewels – “Oh My Darling Don’t Cry”, Parquet Courts – “Ducking and Dodging”)
Fuck Buttons – July 3 @ Fortune Sound Club
While I didn’t enjoy it as much as the two girls lying on the floor (ew) giggling, probably due to my lack of psilocybin-infused fungi, Fuck Buttons put on an entrancing, hypnotic performance.
(Runners up: Swans – Sept. 5 @ Venue Nightclub, Smalls – Nov, 7 @ Commodore Ballroom)
While it technically was released in 2013, us suckers in North America had to wait ‘til 2014 to see what might be the best South Korean post-apocalyptic train class struggle parable ever made. Bold, I know.
(Runners up: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Jodorowsky’s Dune)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
Finally, finally, enacting my decades-long dream of escaping the dreary Manitoba winters and moving to this lush, hospitable paradise of a province. And of course, being almost immediately welcomed by BeatRoute. That was nice too.
Maya-Roisin Slater, Contributing Editor
Beyonce – S/T
The woman is just undeniable.
(Runners Up: St. Vincent – S/T, Chad VanGaalen – Shrink Dust, Broken Bells – After the Disco, Pink Mountaintops – Get Back)
Spoon – “Inside Out”
I couldn’t be happier that the harp is making a comeback. I once listened to this song accidentally for 30 minutes because I didn’t realize I’d set it on repeat, for 30 minutes I was in relaxing harp heavy bliss. Sorry, I’ll stop harping on about this.
(Runners up: Theophilus London ft. Kanye West – “Can’t Stop,” COOL – “Pink,” Sleater-Kinney – “Bury Our Friends,” Jack Thomas – “Hey, Hey”)
BEST LIVE SHOW
COOL at The Remington during Music Waste
This show reminded me what it was like to see good music. Nobody was on their phone.
(Runners Up: Arcade Fire at Squamish Fest, Bruno Mars at Squamish Fest)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Wes Anderson has been wearing those New Balance sneakers everyone’s got on now since 2001 and everything he touches is gold. Haters need to accept.
(Runners Up: This is the only movie I remember seeing in 2014.)
BEST NON-MUSICAL MOMENT
This year I covered Squamish Fest for BeatRoute. Because they want people to spend money on $20 cups of beer the festival doesn’t allow attendees to bring unsealed containers on site. Attempting to save lunch money I brought a sealed litre carton of almond milk and a jumbo box of Rice Krispies. Noon struck and I went to the fancy media tent where sandwiched between respectable experienced journalists I consumed my bowl of cereal. It crackled loudly and the other writers shot eye daggers. Then a fight broke out between what I think was Vice Magazine and the festival organizers over where they were allowed access for an interview, “You can tell this festival to fuck itself!” one of them yelled. I poured more milk on my Rice Krispies, and it popped away in the following silence.
Andy Soloman, Electronics Dept. Editor
Roman Flügel – Happiness Is Happening
Intricately detailed, playfully genre-defying, and emotionally rich; it’s hard to pick favourite tracks from this record because it works so wonderfully as a complete journey.
(Runners up: Tin Man – Ode, Kassem Mosse – Workshop 19, Young Marco –
Biology, Max Graef – Rivers Of The Red Planet)
Taal Mala – Boards Of Canada – “Olson vs MJ (Taal Mala edit)”
A song is at its best when combined with the perfect occasion. Nothing else exemplified this for me in 2014 as well as when Taal Mala closed a hyperactive Bass Coast Saturday night with this beautifully emotive edit, drawing tears of happiness to many a tired eye.