The Telescope presents: the top albums of 2017. We gathered best-of lists from contributors, crunched some numbers and came up with a list of records that unanimously wowed us last year.
We already reviewed this one back in May, so we’ll keep this short.
Modern Pressure has aged well; it’s pretty clear now, that it’s Daniel Romano’s best work, though better will probably come. He just released two more albums, by the way [update: they were limited-time only releases and are now gone]. Dude is out of control, in a desirable fashion.
This one doesn’t let you rest. Tracks are bridged by mini songs and sitar jams. It’s the sound of Romano trying to bust himself and his music out of the Swedish cabin where it was recorded (“Roya,” above, was apparently named for an acquaintance there).
Looks like a lonely walk down that road, but she seems to be enjoying herself—sauntering, even. The problem: if no one sees your sign, does it count as a protest?
Maybe it isn’t meant to be, anyway. Daniel Romano describes her Ramonesy journey as: “Noble Avant-Guard-ist walks the evaded boulevards of the universal boondocks.”
The research portion of today’s post: If you google “repressed rapture” (the protest sign) the predominant source is poet Percy Bysshe Shelley: “A dewy moisture filled her eyes, as she gazed with an expression of tumultuous, yet repressed rapture, upon the hapless Verezzi.”
We’ll probably end up playing every video Daniel Romano makes for his new album. Here’s the title track.
He looks like he should be driving a convertible in Europe, in this one. That’s one of the few times that white gloves on a man don’t look out of place. They do fly off him eventually, as his clothes transform into a beige unitard (sure, that’s less conspicuous).
Modern Pressure is out now.
We’d normally advise someone who just put out their seventh album in seven years to slow down and give us time to digest their output, but we’re addicted now, and the craving for more is persistent. Daniel Romano is the nicotine of Canadian pop music.
Topping If I’ve Only One Time Askin’ (or insert your Romano favourite) wasn’t going to be an easy task; it’s hard to say if he’s done it here, because they’re two very different albums. It’s a tie, at least.
Modern Pressure is alive with urgency. It’s the sound of an artist approaching each song as if it might be the last one he ever makes. It’s epic, but never over the top. A flair for the dramatic meets down-to-earth sentiment—John Cale crossed with CCR.
Check out “When I Learned Your Name,” below.
When Daniel Romano released his latest country-tinged album, Mosey, he also set free a fast-and-loose collection of gritty pop under the guise of Ancient Shapes.
Speaking of gritty: these legged mermaids may look pleasant and innocent, but a ferocious blood lust lingers just below the surface. They’ll kill, eat and maim just about anything that washes up on shore.
We heard from a born-again Shotgun Jimmie, last post. Today, we get a redesigned Daniel Romano. We were still digging old-timer Romano’s classic country vibe; now he’s giving us lively, eclectic pop with dancing pin-up gals.
“Valerie Leon” will be on his new Mosey record, due out in May. It’s described as a “wide-ranging album that mixes together ’60s French and British pop music, psychedelic blues, Spaghetti western, ’70s funk, honky-tonk heartache, country-soul, barroom piano confessionals and rollicking rock n’ roll.” On top of all that, he’s put a picture of himself on the cover that looks an awful lot like Blonde on Blonde.
Valerie Leon, by the way, is an English actress who starred in a couple Bond films.
Juno nominations were announced today. Telescope favourites like Daniel Romano and Majical Cloudz made the cut. So did Death From Above 1979’s The Physical World. It was nominated for Rock Album of the Year, and “Virgins,” seen here, is in the running for Video of the Year.
From the outset, this does not appear to be a typical Amish party. Eating shrooms? Snorting grandma’s ashes? Humping trees? Headbanging? At least the goats got milked.