The Pop-Culture

ctoverdrive's Top Five Records of 2013 Thursday December 19, 2013

So like clockwork, it’s time for me to dust off the neglect of the old c.t.overdrive for some good old year end reflection.

First up on my hit list of things to reminisce about for 2013 is my favourite records of the year. And unlike the past couple of years, I actually had a chance to listen to records in 2013 and to my shock there was enough music to make this list a bit of a challenge whip up. So even though my list doesn’t match up with many of the other lists out there (Yeezus? Really? Arcade Fire? Sort of Really?), here are my favourite records of the year and a couple of also rans to brighten the final days of the year.

P.S. I’ve even created a playlist to make it easier to listen too. I know I’m such a sweet heart.

1. Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of The City.

Before 2013, I absolutely hated Vampire Weekend.

Like, really hated them.

Everything I’ve heard about the band and their music just screamed upty-hipster-douchenozzle. It also doesn’t help that I can’t stand listening to Paul Simon records, but overall Vampire Week was never my cup of tea.

… that was until Modern Vampires of The City rolled out. Either way, it’s hard to argue that this wasn’t the record of the year. Such a brilliant record from start to end that was on a continuous loop throughout our rickety household. Hell we even ventured out to the Ottawa Folk Fest to see them live. Which truth be told was one of three fun evenings we had in Ottawa all year.

2. Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream

I absolutely fell in love with these guys because of some random Washington based Cable TV Program and their killer set at the 2012 Sweetlife festival in Maryland and boy did they kill it with More Than Just A Dream. Such a fresh poppy and throwback sound in comparison to all the vomit inducing auto-tuned crap out there.

Break The Walls is one of the most underrated tracks of 2013.

3. Queens of The Stone Age – Like Clockwork

Anyone who knows me, knows I have an unhealthy man crush on Josh Homme. So it goes without saying that a QOTSA Album would end up on this list. It also helps that Like Clockwork was a solid tripped out musical ride from start to finish… even if it could use a little more uptempo songs of the My God Is The Sun variety.

4. Arctic Monkeys – AM

Anyone who knows me, knows I have an unhealthy man crush on Alex Turner. So it goes without saying that an Arctic Monkeys album would end up on this list.

Wait a second, didn’t I just f###‘n write that line.

Oh well… Mr. Turner and the rest of the Monkeys are up to their best on this album. A far better product than the epic disappointment that was Humbug and AM brings the Monkeys’ back to their wittiest. Plus who can’t be excited about a record with a song called Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?

5. The Bronx – The Bronx (IV)

It’s been over 14 years since I was sliding Millencolin and Face To Face records in my Math 30 textbooks, but out of the long slumber The Bronx managed to rekindle my long forgotten love with Punk music in 2013. IV is a fantastic and tight 40 minutes of pure energy and joy… It also helps that their hysterical side project Mariachi El Bronx is just as epic.

The Also Rans…

CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe

Truth be told CHVRCHES deserves to be on the top five list. I just couldn’t find a space to fit it in. While the Lorde record will probably steal most of the limelight from CHVRCHES this year, The Bones of What You Believe is a great record in the same vein as early Portishead. The track Lies is an inescapable track that should easily be one of the best of the year.

A Tribe Called Red – Nation II Nation

Can’t deny how amazing a year it has been for A Tribe Called Red. Sure they’ve been plagued by that ridiculous Head Dress controversy, but from breaking out of the Can-con doldrums to becoming an international musical success in less than a year is pretty impressive. Also, in my opinion, A Tribe Called Red may do more for Canadian/Native American relations in the long term than any piece of legislation passed in the House of Commons this year.

Cults – Static

I actually really don’t like this record as a whole, but the song I Can Hardly Make You Mad is so damn good. I’d say it’s a track of the year contender, but I don’t have any streetcred left in my old age to make that claim.

Pusha T – My Name is My Name

One of my favourite records from my short lived Music Reviewing career is The Clipse – Hell Hath No Fury. Pusha T, the main reason the Clipse were so brilliant, released My Name is My Name and it totally flew under the radar, but it is worth a spin or two or three.

Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

I can already hear people rolling their eyes, but hear just me out. Alright, here’s the truth Robin Thicke totally out Justin Timberlake’d Justin Timberlake, by making a record that is the essence of cheeseball R&B at it’s best. Yeah, yeah, yeah … Blurred Lines is over played, but anyone who can openly sing the song Give It 2 U with a straight face deserves my respect. No seriously, listen to that track and try not to burst out laughing when he sings Angel … Try it, I bet you can’t do it.

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Month Of New Music - 2013 Edition (Aftermath) Thursday December 5, 2013

So earlier this month I took part in my umpteenth Month of New Music and like clockwork I almost, almost completed the fully 30 days of listening to a new record. You can see the full list and what I listened to here … or if you’re bored you can see the top five records that I found during Month of New Music right here.

Sebastian Graigner – Yours To Discover

One half of Death From Above 1979 churning out some poppy gems. One really can’t go wrong here.

Lorder – Pure Heroine

I know it’s a bit of a cliche, but I really, really dig that infectious Royals song.

Matt Mayes – Coyote

A big surprise from Mr. Russ Fee. A pretty solid record from top to bottom, probably a record that has flown under the radar of pretty much everyone out there, but worth a listen for sure.

Bryan Adams Live at The Sydeny Opera House

I’m calling it now, this guy will be our generations Bob Segar… or already is our generations Bob Seger… I’m not sure which is more true.

John Fogerty – A Wrote A Song For Everyone

Fogerty rerecording his classic CCR songs with the Foo Fighters and and Bob Segar… don’t mind if I do.

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Month Of New Music - 2013 Edition Thursday October 31, 2013

Guess what time it is again kids? If you said Movember, you’re right, but it’s not what I was going for.

If you guessed Month of New Music then you’d be a 100% correct. Yes, it’s finally Month of New Music.

A quick back history for those curious and trying to figure out what I’m talking about, Month of New Music was started by Colin Sproule and some other cool Calgary Twitter people way, way, way back in 2008. The idea is simple, for the month of November try to listen to one new to you record for each day – the record doesn’t have to be a new one, just new to you. You can then share what you’re listening to for the day via twitter using the #monm hashtag.

Since 2008, many of us #yyc’ers have partaken in this yearly ritual. Personally, it wasn’t until Rdio came along that I was even remotely close to being able to complete this task. Last year I was able to almost hit the goal of a full month, by hitting the 23 record mark. This year I’m going for broke and as god as my witness I’m going to pull off 30 records in 30 days.

So if you’re up to the challenge feel free to join in. Feel free to use a clone of my monm Google Spreadsheet to track your progress and join the conversation on twitter with #monm.

Let the fun begin.

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Teaching Soccer To (North) Americans Thursday August 15, 2013

This. This. Is amazing.

As a first generation Ir-glish Canadian, I grew up trying to decipher the differences between the typical North American sports leagues and the English Premier. It took me a long while to wrap my head around the differences between the two styles, so it goes without saying that this bit to promote NBC’s coverage of The English Premier league with Jason Sudeikis is absolutely brilliant.

If you watched that and didn’t pick-up three or four different catch phrases, then I’m not sure we can be friends.

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My New Love of Comedy Thursday April 4, 2013

Two years ago, one of my good friends introduced me to the world of comedy podcasts. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like this was my first introduction to stand-up comedy, for that you have to thank A&E’s endless reruns of An Evening At The Improv.. you know when the channel was less about addiction and more about actual art.

Anyways, I digress. Where was I? Oh yes, discovering comedy again.

I was first introduced to the The Sklarbro Country sports podcast and then eventually discovered Welsh comic Rhod Gilbert podcast. From there I discovered Patton Oswalt’s full-length albums and then discovered that buried deep within the depths of Rdio is a treasure trove of comedy albums.

And over the past few months, for whatever god foresaken reason, I started listening to the calming sounds of stand-up comedy before falling a sleep. Don’t ask me why, but for a few stressful weeks in January the only thing that would keep my mind off of the toils of life was the sounds of Lewis Black, The Sklars and other hilarious comedians. I may never know why this happened, but it worked like a charm and thus my new found love of comedy was born.

So after a few months of trolling comedy albums, I thought I’d share my favourite comedians with people. Now as a caveat this is by no means a professional top ten list, in honesty these are just the comedians I really dig – so you won’t find Louis C.K. or Daniel Tosh on the list. Frankly I’m just not a fan of their stuff.

But I do hope you enjoy the list and if you’re new to stand-up, like I am, I hope it kick starts an interest in the genre.

Patton Oswalt

Overal the past couple of years Patton Oswalt has been quietly establishing himself as The King of the Nerds. Whether it’s live tweeting Downton Abbe, the GOP Debates or even acting as Dr. Octopus to his kid’s Spider-girl, this man is a nation treasure. And while many people have heard of Patton Oswalt because of his infamous breakdown of the KFC bowls, this skit had me in tears the first time I heard.

If you’re looking for a sole reason for why I got into stand-up comedy, this man is it.

Lewis Black

If you’re a fan of The Daily Show, you’ll know of Lewis Black. He is that grumpy political assoholic uncle we all wish we had. If you thought he was over the top, then check out his stand-up work. He has an impeccable delivery and political observations are dead on.

Oddly enough, the more I think about it, the more I’m probably going end up being Lewis Black in 20 years.

The Sklar Brothers

Goes without saying, but The Sklars are pretty epic. Two identical twin brothers from St. Louis who are all over the pop-culture spectrum, but have still managed to lay the ground work for the perfect fusion between comedy and sports reporting on their legendary podcast Sklarbro Country. Whether it’s their irrational hatred for Saskatoon, their great taste in indie music or anything involving Jessie The Body Ventura or Kris Jenner The Sklarbro Country podcast is a pure comedy-avalanche.

Also… HEEEEENDERSON!

Aziz Ansari

Aziz Ansari is probably best known for a role on NBC’s Parks and Rec, but his stand up is pretty amazing. It takes a while to really get into it, but they guy is classically funny. Anything where he makes fun of his cousin is just pure gold.

Hannibal Burris

Hannibal Buress is probably one of the more popular comics on the circuit at the moment… or that is what the Internt tells me at least. And for that reason alone, I would typically skip over him on a list like this (it’s why Daniel Tosh isn’t on this list), but the man can deliver a punchline. So give him a couple of spins.

Donald Glover

Not only does he rap and star in NBC’s Community, but he’s also a stand-up comic. This guy’s a beast

Now, this list isn’t not nearly as complete as it should be. If you have recommendations, unleash it in the comments.

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