2014 Albums of the Year: Cousins – The Halls Of Wickwire

wickwire

The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2014. We gathered best-of lists from staff and contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with ten records that unanimously wowed us this year.

We already waxed poetic on this album back in May; head there for a primer.

What else to say? The Halls Of Wickwire has only improved with age (though it’s still tough to decide if it tops their previous record). To take a line from the song/vid up above, it’s as deep as the ocean—a tall accomplishment for a two-piece that just signed to their first label two years ago.

The more you listen to Wickwire, the further you’ll wend your way to its core—it’s a little like parting branches in a thicket—and what’s under the howling and dissonance is more vulnerable than you might be expecting.

We’ll reiterate a favourite edict found on Cousins’ Facebook page: “DON’T BE FOOLED BY IMITATORS.” We’ve been spoiled by the Maritimes this past year or two, and we’re expecting nothing less out of Halifax, these days.

-Scott Bryson

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The Weakerthans – “Civil Twilight”

Public transit in winter: don’t expect to make it home from work on time, even when your driver is John Samson. It’d be a more entertaining ride, at least, were a band playing at the back of the bus.

Interesting fact: civil twilight occurs twice per day—once in the morning and once in the evening. It’s likely the latter we’re seeing here, as dusk is mentioned. Second interesting fact: the “Confusion Corner” referenced at the start of the song is a real and complex intersection in Winnipeg.

“Civil Twilight” comes from The Weakerthans’ Reunion Tour album.

-Scott Bryson

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Beliefs – “Tidal Wave”

The screeching that’s currently injuring your ears is not a technological malfunction; it heralds the return of Beliefs.

“Tidal Wave” is set to appear on Beliefs’ upcoming Leaper album (due in the spring). If it’s anything like their last outing, we’ll be hearing all about it come year-end 2015.

To the video: Is music like this even on TV any more? Maybe we’re not watching Much at the right time. When the couch potatoes change channels half way through, by the way, it’s a Greys video that they land on, then quickly abandon, giggling. A playful poke? The birth of a video rivalry?

-Scott Bryson

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A Place To Bury Strangers – “Straight”

A Place To Bury Strangers demonstrate what happens to a tube TV if you walk by it with a large magnet (personal experience, and there’s no easy way to fix it).

How weird is that first ten seconds, with the buildings rising? It feels unnatural—like watching UFO footage (which we sorta get later in the vid, in addition to a sasquatch attack and some sort of glowing porch being). Strange Frontiers indeed.

“Straight” comes from Transfixiation; it drops in February.

-Scott Bryson

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Rah Rah – “Good Winter”

In which, Rah Rah crack some Pilsners and watch home movies.

Doesn’t get much more Canadian than this tune: drunk tobogganing; hockey; curling; brunch; craving the good old days. Winter wasn’t always bitter and depressing.

“Good Winter” will show up on Rah Rah’s Vessels—due out in March 2015.

-Scott Bryson

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The Crookes – “You’re Just Like Christmas”

Too soon?

Even Santa’s still on his Santa Cruz (get it?) vacation. He’s busy prepping for his one working night of the year, though—pushups… sprints… wrestling… boozing? Maybe it’s a good thing Rudolph drives that sleigh.

The Crookes released their third album, Soapbox, earlier this year.

-Scott Bryson

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Mogwai – “Teenage Exorcists”

Some videos will forever defy explanation. This one’s at the top of the heap.

Why was that woman floating in space? Why did the ectoplasmic icicle bore a hole through her skull? Why was she sucked up by the giant vacuum from Spaceballs?

“Teenage Exorcists”—one of Mogwai’s few with-vocals tracks—makes an appearance on their new EP, Music Industry 3. Fitness Industry 1—out next week. There are real teenage exorcists, by the way.

-Scott Bryson

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