My Drunken Haze – My Drunken Haze

drunkenhaze

Another stellar late 2014 release that we’ve neglected for long enough.

There’s more of a baked than a drunken haze here, whether it be drug baked, sun baked, or some combination of the two. A haze is a haze, though, and these Greeks know how to turn a gush of chiming guitars into a blinding beach sun (Mediterranean-style).

My Drunken Haze might find kinship with Canada’s 1977, but their primary selling point on these shores should be that they’re alluringly foreign—not unlike a certain band that came out of Estonia in 1998. There’s nothing lost in translation—just a nuance in the voice that says, “We’re not from around here.”

Easily beats anything made by the current crop of coastal American bands (east or west): Best Coast, Surfer Blood, Wavves, Dum Dum Girls et al. Hard to believe it’s a debut record. Check out “Carol Wait” below.

-Scott Bryson

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The Golden Dogs – “Decided”

New Golden Dogs is a welcome treat. “Decided,” on first listen, reminds of the worldly grooves found on their Everything In 3 Parts debut.

A bit like a Monkees skit, this—four kids running around a soundstage, acting nutty and playing dressup. That is, of course, until things get trippy in a gorilla-chewing-on-a-screwdriver sorta way. Anything goes, during a blazing guitar solo, I suppose.

The Golden Dogs release next month.

-Scott Bryson

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The Twilight Sad – “Last January”

If someone had directed a video of what I was up to last January, there would be no tank tops, no road trips, no laying in fields and no smoking joints on the hood of my friend’s car. Instead, viewers would have been treated to a five minute video of me in my pajamas watching Netflix with the cat. January isn’t normally a very exciting month.

It is, however, a month of reflection before starting anew (at least, the beginning of the month is at any rate), and the occasional disappearance of one member of our tattooed, black and white duo in the “Last January” video has me thinking that The Twilight Sad feel the same way.

January: a time to reflect, a time to watch Netflix.

-Michelle Farres

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Kate Tempest – “The Beigeness”

The link between poetry and hip hop is closer than many may realize. Prolific emcees like Nas have demonstrated this time and time again, and books and essays on poetry and hip hop are a plenty. It’s not surprising that some hip hop artists are actual poets; Canada’s Cadence Weapon is one such example, as is the UK’s Kate Tempest.

Starting at open mic nights and poetry slams, Tempest sites influences from Virginia Woolf to James Joyce to Wu-Tang Clan; with a list like that, you know the end result can’t be anything less than profound. Tempest is already a published poet and playwright, so why not cut an album?Not bad for someone just turning 30.

You might be tempted to draw comparisons to The Streets after hearing “The Beigeness”, and on first listen, I would agree. But it’s not until the second or third spin that you realize that there’s more here – Tempest has carved out a sound that is all her own.

-Michelle Farres

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Old 97s – “Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)”

Was everything really that brown, a few decades ago? At least they had beer and moonshine to liven up their parties.

Discover the secrets of a woman’s bedroom… is that a wedding ring she’s removing, before going out on the town? Finally, we get to see what’s in those mysterious drawers! Puzzling: are the two people we see getting ready even at the party that we’re shown afterwards?

“Every Night Is Friday Night (Without You)” comes from the Old 97s’ 2010 album, The Grand Theatre, Volume One. Their most recent release is last year’s Most Messed Up.

-Scott Bryson

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The Wilderness Of Manitoba – Between Colours

wildernesscolours

Catching up on goodies from the latter half of 2014, and this is one that probably should have been trumpeted earlier.

Between Colours is far and away the most formidable outing to come from The Wilderness Of Manitoba camp, and they’ve managed their best recording by retreating to the past. Shades of Fleetwood Mac, Mike + The Mechanics and the softer side of Treble Charger weave seamlessly between modern influences, here—check out the Death Cab For Cutie-ish “Leave Someone,” down below—to build a collection that endears gradually more with every spin.

The Toronto-based trio is perhaps less insular on this one (both literally and figuratively) than they’ve tended to appear in the past. There’s an eyes-wide-open attitude permeating most of these tracks—like they’ve emerged from the woods into the sunlight, for the first time in a long time—and it’s lyrically upward-gazing: the sky, horizons, the sun, stars and tall trees dominate the landscape.

Some prominent guest players pop up—Rush’s Alex Lifeson and the Rheostatics’ Michael Phillip Wojewoda, among others—and The Wilderness have uncovered a welcome affinity for electric guitar solos. All in all, a surprising and satisfying excursion.

-Scott Bryson

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Moon Duo – “Animal”

With a mustache that impressive, the world is your oyster (or your skateboard, in this case).

Profound questions arise: can you be in violation of a No Skateboarding rule if you’re not in possession of a skateboard? Or does the act of skateboarding extend beyond the titular implement? Either way, it’s clear that Richie Jackson—the so-called “psychedelic skateboarder”—is a natural match for Moon Duo’s mind-bending vittles.

“Animal” comes from their new disc, Shadow Of The Sun, due out in March.

-Scott Bryson

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