for more information contact

On Trump
Bob Dylan - Wisdom is Thrown Into Jail
Bob Dylan: Tempest
Adam West voices the Dark Knight
Apple's Calendar Inconsistency
Is Pono Dead?
Inbox Zero is Old News: Welcome to Inbox Negative One
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Effects Reel
Evolution of Stop Motion Photography
7 Story Cycling Centric Apartments

What Happened to Jai Alai?
Greatest Text Conversation Ever
Quarry Rock in the Rain
Careless Reckless Love
Electricity, Heights and Women
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
How Can You Just Leave Me Standing Alone in a World So Cold
Today Was a Tough Day
The Resonant Frequency of Love - Rocco DeLuca with Daniel Lanois
Dan Mangan - Forgetery
Birch Tree: Toronto, 2016
Japan's Disposable Workers
Jeff Tweedy Plays Charades with Ewan McGregor
Steph Cameron at the Railway Club (February 1, 2016)
Wilco at the CityFolk Festival, Ottawa (September 20, 2015)
Rice Lake, North Vancouver
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Running Away
Stanley Rohatinski: 1925 - 2015
Chewie...we're home!

November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
October 2015
April 2015
March 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
August 2014
May 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
July 2003
June 2003
January 2003
November 2002
October 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
May 2001
April 2001
January 2001
October 1999


your blue hood
Thin Systems
Listen to the Bell, Mr. Premier...It Tolls for Thee
Gordon Campbell Won't Run Again?
Bike Maintenance Lessons: Disc Brake Pads
Cycling is Mainstream Transportation
Brave New World: The Musical
Perennial Also Ran?
Daniel Lanois and his AC30
Dan Mangan - Forgetery

I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
I think that ghosts like / The cooler weather / When leaves turn colour / They get together
— Hawksley Workman, Autumn's Here
December 18, 2009
2009’s Best Albums

With the end of the year approaching, lists are everywhere. It seems rather silly for me to buck this rather benign trend, so some thoughts about a year in music.

Having gotten rid of my television completely early this year, I’ve had a year that’s been fairly saturated in music.

Picking a Best album can be a fool’s game. Is there ever a single best? Is one album so much better than others that it can really be singled out from the crowd? This list is far from a complete list of everything I liked this year, but it’s a good start.

Dan Mangan: Nice, Nice, Very Nice

If there was this year, for me, it would probably be Dan Mangan’s Nice, Nice, Very Nice. Coming in a year which had Neko Case releasing Middle Cyclone and Wilco’s Wilco (the Album) this is no faint praise. Dan’s album has a depth that’s just amazing, and it’s been on heavy repeat for me since late August when I discovered it. I first heard Dan being interviewed by Stephen Quinn on CBC on one of those extremely rare summer days when I had driven to work in the last week of August. I was immediately blown away, and bought the album as soon as I got home. Sadly, I missed the album launch that weekend at The Cultch on my birthday.

Fair Verona is quite possibly my favourite song on the album. It’s quirky timings lack the radio friendliness of Road Regrets and the crowd pleasing hand clapping of Robots but it’s a song that lingers in the mind. Basket is another, and after hearing Dan play it live it’s firmly in the category of music that reaches deep into me in a very personal way.

It’s an amazing album, and if Dan doens’t win the Polaris Music Prize next year…well, buy whatever does. It’s hard to imagine an album of this depth.

There’s no doubt that the fact that Dan is new to me is a huge part of the appeal, but an album this good would have blown me away regardless. If I do have to pick a single best of Nice, Nice, Very Nice is probably it.

Wilco (the Album)

A new Wilco album is always a treat and this year’s was no exception. Jeff Tweedy claims to be happier than he has been in years and it shows—the album is cheerful and upbeat when compared to Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Summerteeth, and A Ghost is Born. If there’s an album this year that defies the notion that great art comes from sadness, this is it.

Standout tracks include One Wing, Bull Black Nova and I’ll Fight.

Wilco also released Ashes of American Flags on DVD and (as they have always done) offered the DVD’s music content for download. If there’s anything better than Wilco in the studio it’s Wilco live and Ashes of American Flags doesn’t disappoint. From the chimes of the opening track to the rediscovered vocal of It’s Just That Simple from A.M. this was the album that I listened to the most through late spring and beginning of the summer.

Neko Case: Middle Cyclone

It seems as if Neko can do no wrong: from the very early Canadian Amp through Blacklisted and all the way to Middle Cyclone her albums are so consistently good it’s hard to imagine her ever putting out a bad one.

Middle Cyclone, largely produced on her farm in Vermont, has been called the only animal rights album that doesn’t suck. Neko’s lyrics are full of the kind of wry humour that comes from the dark places in your heart.

Neko called Don’t Forget Me the saddest song ever the first time I heard her sing it, and it’s hard to disagree with that. On the album the much discussed piano orchestra she rustled up from Craigslist gives the song a big, rich sound.

She’s introduced the incredibly fun People Got a Lot of Nerve this way:

“Picture elephants, and killer whales, in a jeep…on a killing spree. They’re four wheelin’, they got rifles, let’s do it.”

and Middle Cyclone was recorded with a home made music box as the main instrument and it’s rough analog sound is just beautiful.

Topping it all off, the album ends with 31 minutes of frogs and crickets recorded on the farm. In an interview Neko said that it was actually about four minutes that was looped back on itself because that was about as long as she could stand still before her cords started making that “whup whup whup” sound. I wish I could find that interview, but you’ll have to take my word for it.

Amy Milan: Masters of the Burial

CBC radio’s Q has been the single best thing to happen to the Canadian arts & culture scene in the last year, and it’s how I found Amy Millan. On the way home from Dan Mangan’s show at the Port Moody Festival of the Arts I was listening, and Jian Ghomeshi was interviewing Amy. Struck by the interview, I thought I’d go see her live at the Biltmore. It turned out to be a great and memorable night out.

After the show I bought the album—with a photo of an elephant on the cover, it was almost mandatory for me—and its gradually worked its way into my frequent listening over the past month or so. Beautiful and introspective, its spare roots aesthetic has endless appeal. Between Amy and seeing Jason Collett I may yet become a Broken Social Scene fan (though I feel disloyal to Vancouver’s local supergroup The New Pornographers when I say that.)

Posted by skooter at 2:24 PM This entry is filed under Music, Vancouver.
This entry is tagged: Amy Millan, Best of 2009, Dan Mangan, Neko Case, New Pornographers, Wilco

blog comments powered by Disqus