2018 Albums of the Year: IDLES – Joy as an Act of Resistance 

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The Telescope presents the top albums of 2018. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us this year.

“My blood brother is an immigrant
A beautiful immigrant
My blood brother’s Freddie Mercury
A Nigerian mother of three
He’s made of bones, he’s made of blood
He’s made of flesh, he’s made of love
He’s made of you, he’s made of me
Unity”

What a positive, non-judgmental message filled with love and unity. In fact, IDLES entire second album, Joy as an Act of Resistance is filled with messages of inclusivity and love, in case that isn’t obvious by its title. But if you think this powerful message is delivered using sad folky acoustic guitars, think again.

Singer Joe Talbot has said time and time again that IDLES are not a punk band. Sure, okay, but with the aggressive power behind the music and Talbot singing like someone who would easily headbutt you and then spit on the floor at a pub if you ever got in his way, I can understand the label’s origin.

The aggression doesn’t stop with the band’s music – their live show is just as raw and angry. I was fortunate enough to see IDLES twice in 2018, and their combative stance was just as apparent. That doesn’t mean the audience didn’t feel any love; at my first show, the band led the crowd in a spontaneous, acapella version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” (note – this was at an outdoor show in March in Austin) and at my second IDLES experience, the entire audience sang the chorus to Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. To quote Talbot after my first singalong: “That was a fucking miracle.”

Joy as an Act of Resistance was released August 31, 2018, and if you’re looking to add some aggressive positivity into your life, as well as a surprising cover of  Solomon Burke’s “Cry to Me”, this just may be the album for you.

-Michelle Farres

 

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Low – “Quorum,” “Dancing and Blood,” and “Fly”

Only thing better than a new Low video is three of them.

Provided your eyes can take it, that is. The Minnesotan trio is no stranger to unsettling clips, and—flickering frames aside—the old guy pole dancing at 4:00 is right up there with their creepiest. The least disturbing thing about these 14 minutes is the scrawled, near-subliminal word “truth” that periodically flashes across the window like scratches on a film strip.

If these tunes are any indication, their upcoming Double Negative album (September) will indeed be as “brazen [and] abrasive” as promo materials are touting.

-Scott Bryson

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Jo Passed – “Glass”

Now these seem like the sort of nice, clean-cut kids you’d want to have over for tea.

Wait, why does that one look like she’s about to puke? And why do they keep looking at that door like there’s something unpleasant lurking behind it? These youngsters couldn’t be in some kind of trouble, could they?

The debut Jo Passed album (described as “fucked-up Beatles”), Their Prime, is out now.

-Scott Bryson

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CMW 2018 Preview: Le Couleur – “Voyage Amoureux”

Canadian Music Week hits Toronto on May 7. Between now and then, we’ll be previewing some of this year’s participating bands.

Join us, as we travel to the 1980s, where visions of the future see humans, robots and one of the guys from Daft Punk existing harmoniously on the bridge of an off-balance spaceship.

The outfits may not be trendy, but the parties look sexy.

Le Couleur play a CMW set on Thursday, May 10 at the Monarch Tavern.

-Scott Bryson

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CMW 2018 Preview: Kaia Kater – “Southern Girl”

Canadian Music Week hits Toronto on May 7. Between now and then, we’ll be previewing some of this year’s participating bands.

Are those suitcases decorative, or is she going somewhere?

She says she has a big ol’ jug of whiskey to get through, so it’s probably the former. No one would leave town when that’s pending.

“Southern Girl” comes from Kaia Kater’s Sorrow Bound debut (she has since released Nine Pin). She plays a CMW set on Friday, May 11 at the Dakota Tavern.

-Scott Bryson

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CMW 2018 Preview: Sunshine & the Blue Moon – “Welcome to the Future”

Canadian Music Week hits Toronto on May 7. Between now and then, we’ll be previewing some of this year’s participating bands.

If this is the future, I don’t want to be there.

Human-sized animals are creepy to begin with (right?), but dancing human-sized animals? There’s a reason adults turn away when this stuff shows up on a kids show.

“Welcome to the Future” comes from the album of the same name. Sunshine & the Blue Moon play a CMW set on Thursday, May 10 at the Horseshoe Tavern.

-Scott Bryson

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CMW 2018 Preview: Barry Paquin Roberge – “Pawnshop Bargain”

Canadian Music Week hits Toronto on May 7. Between now and then, we’ll be previewing some of this year’s participating bands.

Are they parodying the ’70s, ’80s or ’90s in this one? Maybe just the Bee Gees.

It’s as if every cringe-worthy video from Much Music’s early days was rickrolled into one, but it’s somehow sexy while trying its hardest not to be. Guitars in space always turn the tide.

Barry Paquin Roberge—three-fifths of now defunct Buddy McNeil & The Magic Mirrors—play a CMW set on Wednesday, May 9 at the Monarch Tavern. It’s probably worth seeing the self-proclaimed “APOCRYPHE SOUND FRAME OF ZARDOZ’S EROTIC SIMULATION.”

-Scott Bryson

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