We were asked to do a top albums of the year for a magazine that we won’t name. They chose not to run it, so here it is.
NOTE: We just sent it in as the transcript of a text-message conversion we had. Probably why they chose more conventional articles, but c’est la vie. It has been edited for some clarity, but is otherwise presented as it happened.
Tyson Wiebe (guitar, vocals): ok. I need a top five albums of the year list from you for a year-end review thingy for [MAGAZINE]
Mickey Hayward (drums, vocals): Haha ok! Let me do some reminiscing
TW: Also, do a few sentences on why it’s your AOTY
MH: Sentence for each one or my top?
TW: Sentence for each, or a few sentences. We’ll get it sent in later tonight if that is cool with you.
MH: Works for me!
MH: I’ll have it to you before 5.
MH: I’m on #3.
TW: Sweet Baby Ray’s… how did you do that so fast? I literally can only think of two albums I bought this year
MH: I have the newest Mogwai, Manchester, Gord so far.
MH: I really like the new Alvvays record (Antisocialites)
TW: All I’ve bought (this year) was stuff I forgot to listen to last year.
MH: Gord Downie – Introduce Yerself
These songs gut me every time. You can hear Gord’s acceptance of the end and it hangs over every track while still being hopeful in many ways. I am a late in their career hip fan, which was initiated by Gord Downie and the Country of Miracles, simply because I am a huge fan of Chris Walla– since then I have digested Gord’s solo catalogue as well the Tragically Hip’s. They were a band that was always on the radio at home and I never realized how much I loved them until I went deep. Gord’s skills as a poet and lyricist are ever-evident on Introduce Yerself. “Coco Chanel No. 5” is a highlight for me.
Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun
Every Country’s Sun feels like pt.2 of Hardcore Will Never Die, but You Will. I love the way Mogwai makes songs you can sing along to even though they don’t have lyrics.
Manchester Orchestra – A Black Mile to the Surface
I fell for Manchester Orchestra when I heard Cope for the first time — It’s why I suggested Cope as a name for our band. Andy Hull and co. seem to do something different on every record and while I listened to the previous records, they didn’t stick to me like Cope did – it was heavier. AND THEN – A Black Mile to the Surface happened. From start to finish it is beautiful. Lyrics, composition and production all play an equal role on this album. “The Maze” right into “The Gold” are my favourite minutes of the album.
TW: I still haven’t listened to two of those, but I’m going to agree with you on the one though Black Mile is a gd masterpiece. Someone told me that they weren’t able to get into Manchester since ‘Mean Everything to Nothing’ and I think that’s a real disservice. The adolescent rage of the old albums is marked instead by adult fear and disappointment. The heavy riffs are still there, but now the passages shift into vocal harmonies instead of screams.
MH: TOTALLY! The first few records are similar but keep growing and then with Hope they threw caution to the wind. Black Mile is like a rebirth combination of everything they have done
TW: Jeff Tweedy – Together At Last
I usually hate this kind of album. It feels like such a cop out: “hey here’s a bunch of stuff I already did that you can get on any of my other albums, but this time it’s acoustic.” It’s bullshit, and it IS a cop-out, but it’s also Jeff Tweedy and I’d probably buy a bottle of his stale piss if it was marketed right.
TW: Uh. What else have I bought this year…
TW: aha! Rap Album 2
TW: I’m still spinnin’ that one
TW: Jonwayne – Rap Album 2 Conscious rap that has more in common with spoken word than rap at times. There’s some production stuff on this album I thought would get tiring, like the skit intro to “Live from the Fuck You” or the 1:40 seconds he tries to rap his lines on “The Single” but keeps failing spectacularly. This is stuff I’d skip on most releases, but here they have a kind of quirky charm.
Run The Jewels – RTJ 3 I know this one technically released on digital last year but the CD came out this year. I’m counting that as 2017. Anyway. Mike & El. Still running Jewels, still hitting dope beats, still not trusting the government. This album hits on those same things they’ve been running with since RTJ and RTJ2, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for more. You want another slice of the same pizza, ya know?
MH: Action Bronson – Blue Chip 7000
This record could be instrumental. Musically, I love how jammy the tracks are and his lines are all stunners.
Benjamin Gibbard – Bandwagonesque
Teenage Fanclub were to Glasgow what Death Cab was to Seattle, just in the early 90’s instead of the late 90’s. I love that Gibbard doesn’t stray. He just plays his favourite album and it holds up.
TW: I’m behind again. Uh. What else?
TW: Spoon – Hot Thoughts. See my review for RTJ3, but swap running jewels for playing stabby guitars, not trusting the government for lookin’ for love and Run The Jewels and RTJ2 with the whole of the Spoon discography. They’re still the same band you’ve always loved, but now there’s more.
MH: Oooo i need to listen to that one
TW: You know which one I had high hopes for? The new LCD Soundsystem (american dream). Couldn’t get into it
MH: Yeah it was kind of lame. It was like they are trying to be themselves. Same with the new Matthew Good (Like A Storm) – it was pretty lame. The first three (tracks) on the record are great and then it dies off and gets repetitive.
TW: I was also pretty let down by the new Father John Misty. I gave it maybe three spins
TW: Maybe I was supposed to give it four spins.
MH: I Love You Honey Bear was so fucking great and Pure Comedy was so unexciting
TW: He forgot how to be FJM I think
TW: did you listen to the new At The Drive-In?
MH: I did!
MH: I liked it – but it didn’t stick. Like I’ll listen to it from time to time but I’m not like “fuck yeah, I need to hear it”
TW: Which is the exact opposite of the new Refused (Freedom) from last year. I’m still playing the hell outta that.
MH: Who you got locally? I like that Child Actress record (Milking A Dead Cow).
MH: That was a heavy spinner
TW: I think that The New Weather Machine record (Seas of Dawn) was great, but how the hell did Jon Martin get Kenny Aronoff on his tracks?
TW: I didn’t know us mere mortals could hire out legends. Guess I’m getting Steve Porcaro on the next Cope record.
TW: And Lukather… Basically just be ready for a new Toto album.
TW: We’re gonna bless some fuckin’ rains.