Articles posted in December 2011

Chipped Hip 2011 Playlist

Chipped Hip 2011 Playlist
Just like last year, I can’t be bothered to do a proper ranked list for the blog. I’ve already contributed to year-end summaries by the Georgia Straight, BeatRoute, and Exclaim!, so I’m all listed out.

Once again, I’ve put together a non-definitive playlist of some of my favourite stuff from the past twelve months. Not all of these songs were posted on this blog, although I shared material from all of the albums that the tracks originally appeared on. The songs are listed in chronological order according to the posts made here on the blog.

Special thanks goes to Mike Withers for creating another awesome album cover to accompany the playlist.

1. Destroyer – “Savage Night at the Opera”

2. Brave Irene – “No Fun”

3. Mother Mother – “The Stand”

4. The Ladybug Transistor – “Clutching Stems”

5. Chad VanGaalen – “Sara”

6. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – “Belong”

7. Washed Out – “Eyes Be Closed”

8. Rose Melberg and Jay Arner – “Old Days”

9. Apollo Ghosts – “Money Has No Heart”

10. Handsome Furs – “Repatriated”

11. Wavves – “Nodding Off”

12. St. Vincent – “Cruel”

13. Cloud Nothings – “Understand at All”

14. Real Estate – “Green Aisles”

15. Wars – “East Van Cross”


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Prairie Cat – “Bad Storm”

Prairie Cat
I’ve been waiting to hear a recorded version of this Prairie Cat song for a couple of years now, ever since I heard him play it during a live show in 2009. It’s called “Bad Storm,” and it’s a heartrending breakup tune that he previously described as being about Scattergories. Sure enough, there is a line about starting the clock and rolling the dice, adding a bit of levity to this otherwise poignant song and reminding me why Prairie Cat is one of my favourite Vancouver artists.

Watch a video below, which plays out like a day in the life of Prairie Cat songwriter Cary Pratt (yes, pun), who evidently wakes up very early.

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The Weeknd – “The Morning”

The Weeknd
Fuck it. Fine. You win, Abel Tesfaye. After months of dismissing it, I’ve come around to the inevitable conclusion that the Weeknd is awesome and House of Balloons is a creepy, mind-bending masterpiece. It’s one of the most lyrically debauched albums I’ve ever heard, and this might be a turn-off were it not for the angelic soul crooning and chilling beats. Below is the standout “The Morning.”

The Weeknd’s been keeping me busy over at Exclaim! by releasing mitapes with no warning. Such is Abel’s way.

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Woods – “Christmas Time Is Here”

It’s about time that I posted a Christmas song on the blog this year. Here’s Woods‘ version of the Vince Guaraldi Trio classic “Christmas Time Is Here.” It doesn’t deviate too much from the original, but Woods naturally give it a weirdo freak folk update. If there’s one singer with a voice that’s high and squeaky enough to replicate the children’s choir of the original, it’s Woods singer Jeremy Earl.

If I was feeling picky I would complain about them changing “Christmastime” to be two words, but it’s free music, so I shouldn’t be such a purist.

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Slim Twig – “There’s a Secret to Your Pleasure”

Slim Twig
I used to fantasize about becoming a rockabilly dude with dapper suits, shiny shoes and a slicked back pompadour. Of course, I could never pull it off with my Blonde on Blonde hair.

Toronto songwriter Slim Twig, however, manages to carry off the rockabilly schtick without coming across like a faker. This is partly because he has a malleable quaff, and partly because he gives the retro-tinged music an electronic, forward-thinking update.

The new single “There’s a Secret to Your Pleasure” is below. It’s available on 7″ through Slim’s own Calico Corporation label.

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Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

Arcade Fire
I’ve posted a remix of this song, but it’s only now that the best song from The Suburbs by Arcade Fire has finally been released as a stand-alone single. As you hopefully already know, “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” is a gorgeous, synth-spiked banger that sounds a bit like “Heart of Glass” with some added rock muscle.

The clip isn’t exactly essential, but who cares? I’m just glad that one of the best tunes from 2010 finally has a video (even if it is about a year late).

There’s also an interactive video, but again, this is really all about the song.

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Twin Sister – “Gene Ciampi”

Twin Sister
I’ve already participated in year-end roundups for Exclaim! and BeatRoute, but my most extensive year-end list appears in this week’s issue of the Georgia Straight.

It includes Twin Sister’s excellent debut LP In Heaven, which has been burrowing its way into my brain ever since it was released back in September. Here’s the peculiar standout “Gene Ciampi.” Who is this Gene fellow, and why does his song sound so weird?

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John K. Samson – “When I Write My Master’s Thesis”

John K. Samson
I’ve never exactly been a massive fan of the Weakerthans, but the upcoming John K. Samson album, Provincial, is sounding pretty great. Just listen to the excellent first single “When I Write My Master’s Thesis,” which blends a gritty rock arrangement with heartbreaking lyrical details about playing video games and how much graduate school sucks. I’ve thought periodically about going back to school to do a master’s degree in journalism, and this is making it sound like a pretty bad idea.

I’ve written about Samson’s album for Exclaim! a couple of times.

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Basketball – “Suspiros de Chile”

If you’re a Vancouverite with a penchant for getting freaky on the dance floor, chances are good that you’ve done just that during a set of electro-infused tribal jams from Basketball.

The band recently put out the album Maw through the Broadway to Boundary. Below, watch a video for the thumping world fusion track “Suspiros de Chile.” You might not get the point if you listen to this one through your laptop speakers.

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Cloud Nothings – “Stay Useless”

Cloud Nothings
Cloud Nothings‘ self-titled album is one of my favourites of 2011, and so naturally I’m pretty excited to hear the Steve Albini-produced followup, Attack on Memory.

Here’s the raw and rocking “Stay Useless,” which sounds a bit like something that could have appeared on Cloud Nothings, although this time his ’90s-tinged pop punk style sounds a bit more Lollapalooza than Warped Tour.

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