Polaris picks 2014, first ballot

Polaris Music Prize
Here’s my first ballot for this year’s Polaris Music Prize. Normally I write a bit about each album, but I’ve already raved about all of these before, so I’ll just post the list.

1. Mac DeMarcoSalad Days
2. Nicholas KrgovichWho Cares?
3. Said the Whalehawaiii
4. DrakeNothing Was the Same
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Babe Rainbow – “Twin Peaks”

Babe Rainbow
The music video for Babe Rainbow‘s song “Twin Peaks” is billed as a “life hack,” although it’s actually a hilarious instructional video about something we all already know how to do. Learn how to cut an avocado and listen to the beautiful IDM tune below.

Falling Apart is due out on July 7.

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Mounties – “Tokyo Summer”

I got a puppy three weeks ago (look how cute this fucking thing is), which is why I’ve slacked off on blogging lately. But in an effort to get back aboard the blogging train (toot toot!), here’s the excellent “Tokyo Summer” by the Canadian supergroup Mounties. Since it’s hot and sunny here in Vancouver, this is very seasonally appropriate.

I reviewed the album Thrash Rock Legacy for Exclaim! and interviewed the band. “Tokyo Summer” is my favourite song from the record.

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Jay Arner – “T.S.A.T.S.”

Jay Arner
Local boob Jay Arner has a flexi disc coming out for Record Store Day on April 19. It’s for the song “T.S.A.T.S.” — that’s a polite way of saying “Throwing Shit at the Sun.” It’s a psychedelic pop track that switches between woozy comedowns and cloudburst crescendos.

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The War on Drugs – “Red Eyes”

The War on Drugs
The War on Drugs‘ new album sounds almost exactly like Kurt Vile, which isn’t a coincidence, since Vile used to be in the band. “Red Eyes” is a psychedelic, synth-draped interpretation of classic heartland rock.

It comes from the excellent new album Lost in the Dream. It’s not my favourite album from 2014 so far, but it’s close.

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Mac DeMarco – “Brother”

Mac DeMarco
So far in 2014, Mac DeMarco is the leading contender for the year’s best album. Salad Days is a brilliant collection of warped jangle pop weirdness. I wrote about it for The Tyee.

Hear the excellent “Brother” below. The arpeggio riffs when the vocals enter are magic.

Now that Mac is famous-ish, will someone finally give his old band Makeout Videotape‘s album Ying Yang a proper pressing?

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Jack White – “High Ball Stepper”

Jack White
I don’t get starstruck easily, but if I ever met Jack White, I’m pretty sure I’d flip my shit. Today, I wrote a news story for Exclaim! about his upcoming album Lazaretto. Not only am I excited for the music, I’m equally eager to see all the art and promotional materials that will go along with it.

A video for the instrumental cut “High Ball Stepper” is below. I’m intrigued…

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Kings of Leon – “Supersoaker”

Kings of Leon
Back in December, I was having a conversation with a friend about how much I enjoy arena shows. I resolved to start attending more arena gigs, as last night was my fifth since then. I reviewed Kings of Leon for the Georgia Straight, but the band’s showmanship was a little lacking.

Below is “Supersoaker,” which has a pleasantly Strokes-y guitar part.

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Islands – “Wave Forms”

I interviewed Nicholas Thorburn of Islands for this week’s Georgia Straight. He’s one of my favourite singers, and his voice sounds especially great on “Wave Forms,” which is the standout cut from 2013′s Ski Mask.

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Against Me! – “Black Me Out”

Against Me!
I interviewed Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! for this week’s issue of the Georgia Straight.

The band is playing in Vancouver as I type this, but unfortunately I’m not able to make it to the show. As a consolation, I’m watching the video for “Black Me Out” from the recent album Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

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