Tag Archives: Lana Del Rey

Leonard Cohen’s Tribute Show In Montreal Was Heavy

Lana Del Rey and Adam Cohen. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

Lana Del Rey and Adam Cohen. Photo by Claude Dufresne.

Last Monday the Risky Fuel team made a pilgrimage to Montreal to pay our respects to the late, great musical poet, Leonard Cohen.

Titled, Tower of Song: A Memorial Tribute to Leonard Cohen, the Bell Centre event organized by Leonard’s son Adam Cohen featured big names like Elvis Costello, Sting, Courtney Love and Lana Del Rey to cover Lenny’s classic songs.

Those marquee names were fine, but it was the “singer songwriters” who really shone. Damien Rice and Patrick Watson were beautifully heavy and Adam, who seems to have fully embraced the family legacy, was uncanny (and unsettling) in his renditions of his father’s songs.

Sarah wrote about all this in a live review for Consequence of Sound.

To read it go here.

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Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Are We There’ Is Aaron’s Top Album For 2014

Sharon Van Etten's Are We There

Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There

Looking at my Top 10 for the year is revealing both for what’s on it and what isn’t. This year there were easily 20-30 “really good” records which bubbled under my eventual picks, including offerings from The Hidden Cameras, My Brightest Diamond, Ariel Pink, Prince Rupert’s Drops, Thus Owls, Budos Band and, rather shockingly, Robert Plant. This was also the year where I rediscovered my heavy music roots and spent a substantial amount of time with bangers from Lost Society, Judas Priest, Comet Control, Orchid, The Prophecy 23, Exodus, Accept, The Skull, Incite, and the improbable rap-metal of Rise Of The Northstar. That said, when it came down to it I didn’t feel that deeper connection with any of these albums.

In the realm of reissues and the like, I’ve developed a deeper appreciation for The Velvet Underground thanks to those ultra-thorough deluxe reissues and took quite a trip by going through the complete Bob Dylan discography. Better, though, was my time with the 27-disc Fela Kuti complete works box set. That quite literally consumed about two month of my music-listening time.

Here is my official Top 10 album list for 2014:

10) Common Nobody’s Smiling

Not sure why it was that after 20 years and 10 albums this particular Common record stuck with me. Certainly Nobody’s Smiling‘s reflective, unflinchingly honest look-back quality had something to it. It also helped that “Out On Bond” and “Hustle Harder” are full of tough truth.

9) The Horrors Luminous

I frequently purge ‘n’ rebuild my iPhone’s music library throughout the year, often using it as a tool to listen to new records while I’m commuting. With that in mind, it wasn’t until I realized Luminous had survived numerous digital cullings that I became fully aware of how much I dug this collection of lysergic, broody synth rock.

8) Lykke Li I Never Learn

There’s a scene in an early Mad Men episode where Arthur Case says to January Jones’ Betty Draper character, “You’re profoundly sad.” She then responds, “No. My people are just Nordic.” I’m still trying to figure out whether Lykke Li is profoundly sad or just Nordic.

7) Run The Jewels Run The Jewels 2

There’ve been at least a half-dozen instances where I second-guessed putting this album on the list as an inverse don’t-believe-the-hype reaction to all the praise it’s getting. Then I listen to it again and it’s BAM… like that song… BAM… dig that one, too… BAM… shit, that’s the best thing Zack De La Rocha’s ever done… and then I remember, “Yeah, this is pretty amazing.” Best of all, there’s actual rapping. Using words. And rhymes. And if we don’t support craftsmanship like this the world is just going to serve us up more Tyler, The Creator.

6) Lana Del Rey Ultraviolence

Ultraviolence may be prepackaged hipster lounge from a soulless coke zombie, but it’s also pretty much the platonic ideal of what prepackaged hipster lounge from a soulless coke zombie would sound like. When I listen to Ultraviolence I’m not sure if I should be sad for Lana Del Rey, if I should hate her, or if I’m supposed to be jealous of her. In fact, about the only thing I feel confident about when I listen to this album is the belief it’s secretly a concept album tribute to the movie version of Less Than Zero.

5) Paolo Nutini Caustic Love

Blue-eyed soul’s been taking a beating recently what with its Robin Thickes and Maroon 5s and the people who love them (and the need for them all to be set on fire). Thank Gaye, then, for Paolo Nutini’s Caustic Love. Things aren’t great when Nutini tries to funk below the belt (see “Numpty,” “Scream (Funk My Life Up)”), but the more earnest moments (“One Day,” “Better Man,” “Iron Sky,” “Let Me Down Easy”) are heart-sickeningly gorgeous.

4) Alvvays Alvvays

If you’re a human person and you don’t like at least three songs from this album there’s something wrong with you.

3) Guy Blakeslee Ophelia Slowly

Who knew that there were still musicians making records about heroin in 2014? But Guy Blakeslee, frontman for The Entrance Band, did just that with his Ophelia Slowly solo album. There’s less psychedelic sonic adventuring here than with Entrance and a greater focus on “songs,” the result of which is an incisive, uncomfortably bleak journey.

2) Lisa Leblanc Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted

Full of compulsively listenable stories from the struggle, I seriously contemplated making Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted the #1. Ultimately, what stopped me were the facts that it was an EP and I needed more, and the suspicion the instrumental title track exists mostly as padding.

1) Sharon Van Etten Are We There

I’m still not 100 per cent on this as my #1 pick and have no idea how I’ll feel about it in a few years. That said, the song “Your Love Is Killing Me” is perfect. As obvious as it sounds to most ears, the song’s a mystery to me, an inscrutable diary entry filled with an intense, poisoned passion my always-measured self can only ever look at through the lens of a curious outsider. Add songs like “I Love You But I’m Lost” and “Every Time The Sun Comes Up” and it’s clear Are We There ably speaks to the darkest parts of the soul.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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Dirty Ghosts Tops Aaron’s Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Dirty Ghosts

Dirty Ghosts

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2012:

1. Dirty Ghosts Metal Moon

Most conventional modern “rock” music is horrible. This is not, and Metal Moon reminds me of all the best moments of gal-fronted rock from the last 30 years (Hole, The Pretenders, Toronto, Pat Benatar, PJ Harvey, etc) and some dudely bands like Thin Lizzy, too.

2. Lee Fields Faithful Man

There’ve been some great moments in this post-Amy Winehouse, post-Sharon Jones old soul revival, but few match the ascension of an actual old soul guy, Lee Fields. You know how when you hear a classic, like say James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” and you go, “Damn, I wish there was more music like that”? This, is that music.

3. Lana Del Rey Born To Die

People hate on Lana for her live performance and lips and gimmick-ness, but damn if this isn’t a conceptually perfect album with its broken Lolita lounge singer vibe.

4. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats Blood Lust

There are many bands — mostly really bad metal bands — who claim they’re making really evil sounding music. Unfortunately, most of the time what they’re making isn’t evil so much as it’s extreme noise poop with unintelligible vocals. Uncle Acid, though, he’s one bad dude and you can tell straight away when you hear him.

5. D-Sisive Jonestown 3: The Dream Is Over

It took me awhile to give in and admit I really liked this album. Mostly this was because I’m friends with D-Sisive and didn’t want to appear too homer. But the truth is it’s a brilliant, moving album and the bummer singalong “When We Die We Die Together” is one of the hardest hitting songs I’ve ever heard.

6. Hooded Fang Tosta Mista

Imagine a bunch of Weezer nerds trying to pretend they’re a Cramps cover band. That’s what this is and it’s great.

7. Christopher Douglas Smith Earning Keep

Every year I seem to have one unexpected late-year creeper that slowly makes its way into my life and this year it’s Earning Keep. This is a subtle, haunting record that yields new finds with each listen.

8. The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends

I generally have low expectations for weird collaborative projects like this, but there’s something so perfectly off-kilter about this album that it won me over. The combination of Ke$ha, Biz Markie and Flaming Lips on the opening track can’t be underestimated in helping turn the tide.

9. Neil Young Psychedelic Pill

Psychedelic Pill isn’t so much an amazing Neil Young album so much as it’s an amazing Neil Young echo. This record, anchored by three mega-guitar jams, reminds me of all the things I really like about Neil Young records and that’s why it makes this list.

10. A Tribe Called Red A Tribe Called Red

I love the idea of this album, but I’m just a touch less hot on the actual record. That’s not meant to be a backhand compliment so much as it’s the expression of some sort of cosmic desire to see ATCR’s electric powwow vibe get articulated in some perfect world-conquering way. This album isn’t quite there, but it’s close enough to make the list.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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Spinner’s Top 50 Albums & Songs Of 2012

Top Album And Songs Of 2012

Top Album And Songs Of 2012

The overlords at my day job Spinner.ca went into to their data mines and determined the top 50 albums and songs of 2012.

I ended up writing about a number of the artists included in these lists, like Flaming Lips, Lana Del Rey, Lee Fields, Dirty Ghosts, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, Patrick Watson, A Tribe Called Red and D-Sisive.

To read the Top 50 album list go here.

To read the Top 50 song list go here.

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Musicians Who Might Be Monsters

Pumpkin Rob Zombie

Pumpkin Rob Zombie

Every year music publications do a “dress like your favourite musicians” story around Halloween.

This year I did something different and instead contemplated which musicians might actually be monsters.

Jack White, Rob Zombie and Lana Del Rey were amongst the non-humans.

To read the story head over to Spinner by clicking here.

 

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Matthew Good Signs To Frostbyte/eOne + His Opinion On Lana Del Rey

Matthew Good

Matthew Good

Veteran multiple Juno Award-winning Canadian rocker Matthew Good has just signed a worldwide record deal with Frostbyte Media/eOne.

I know this because he told me so in an interview for a story that ran on Spinner.

In news completely unrelated to his new status as a citizen of the world, he also told me he loves Lana Del Rey‘s “Video Games” song.

“Let’s face it,” said Good. “Maybe the greatest penis euphemism of the last decade has been ‘Video Games’ by Lana Del Rey, because if you read into that song she’s talking about blowjobs. The whole joystick, video games thing? C’mon?

“I think, that song is one of the best songs I’ve heard in years. Like, it’s awesome. The actual ‘Born to Die’ song, I’m not a fan of that, but that ‘Video Games’ tune is fucking stellar. ‘Blue Jeans,’ that’s good too. When I heard ‘Video Games’ I saw that video that she did and I was just like, goddamn.”

To read the full story over at Spinner click here.

 

 

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Top 11 Pop Songs About Objects

http://blog.music.aol.ca/2012/04/04/songs-about-objects/

Rihanna, clearly airbrushed

Some musicians write about love and others write about politics. Then there are those who write about things. As in stuff, trinkets, baubles, items, junk, bits… y’know, stuff.

Sarah tracked down a bunch of the best for the AOL Music Blog. Amongst them: Weezer, Rihanna, Toby Keith and Kanye West.

You can read the article by clicking here.

 

 

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