My Top Five Albums of 2010 – Connor

Nothing glamorous today, folks! I just thought I’d give you a long overdue (read: belated cause I’m a lazy fuck) list of some of my favourite things that came into existence over the last year. THAT’S RIGHT! A 2010 “Best Of” list from Grub Street! You feel that? That ‘s what it feels like… when dreams come true…

So here you are, just some humble and innocuous opinions on the year that was. Enjoy, and please, feel free to share your opinions as well.

Top Five Albums of 2010 (With respects to Rob from High Fidelity)

Odd Blood – Yeasayer

Click to view on iTunes

This was a bold new direction for me; coming from strict indie-rock backgrounds and having certain, chaotic psych-rock expectations from their first album. But I was absolutely blown away by the relatable pop-influenced rhythms and serious, impressive lyricism. Honestly, the album embodies everything I’ve ever want from pop music: I can finally talk about the amazing addiction of certain hooks without being down-trodden about the terrible lyrics therein. It reminds me of the sound that Radiohead used for In Rainbows, but more up-tempo, and with many of the same themes. It was a wonderfully mature follow-up to their first album; it seems they were able to focus each track to produce the highest quality pop-rock they could.

Download These: Ambling Alp \ O.N.E. \ Madder Red

Continue reading

What We’re Listening To: Vancouver 2010 – Week 1

[A quick rundown of the acts we saw last week and our thoughts on each. There’s plenty of great music to discover in here, so be sure to give everything a fair shake. Who knows? You may come across your next favourite band.]

Image courtesy of Ryan Rose. Click the image to check out the rest of his amazing work.

The Olympics come but once a year…
No, that’s not right. Let’s start again.

The Olympics, America’s favorite pastime…
Ok, cut. Take three.

The Olympics, cause The Stanley Cup is still months away…

As you’ve probably heard from your TV, the Winter Olympics have been taking place in Vancouver the past week and, depending on where you live, that may very well mean you’ve been rocking your socks off since the opening ceremony. As Vancouverites born and raised (except Raihan, who was born in England, the dirty foreigner) we here at Grub Street have taken it upon ourselves to go to as many free events as we possibly could… you know… for you, the readers, so that if you can’t be in Vancouver for the biggest snow-based athletic event of the… year(?) … you can live it vicariously through our words.

That in mind, here are the best live shows we’ve seen since the Olympics started last week. If you were there too, good on ya, let me know and we’ll be “OMG now ways!” buddies. If you weren’t… then how have you not killed yourself yet? Continue reading

10 Great Indie Bands (You’ve Probably Never Heard Of) – Part 4/4

[IT’S OVER! Please check out the first three installments (1,2,3) if you want that indie rock goodness to invade your world!]

NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL

For those of you that have always wondered how to make Anne Frank kickass

These young rapscallions make their way to your ears straight out of the late nineties, low-fi era; a simpler time, before Britney Spears, Eminem and Justin Timberlake all got together and decided to defile Kurt Cobain’s still relatively warm grave. Utilizing the indie rock method of taking three random things to create your band’s name, (see:  Olivia Tremor Control, Synthetic Flying Machine, and Tokyo Police Club) Neutral Milk Hotel had its genesis when front man Jeff Mangum was wondering across the Northwest, literally sleeping in the closets of his friends. Since then they’ve forgone all kind of popular or commercial success to live the life of a true indie band: get a few measly reviews from a handful of popular magazines, disappear, then half a decade later show up on a college kid’s dorm wall and be heralded as genius. It’s the musical equivalent of an old sage that exiles himself off to a mountain in order to find Indie Rock peace… you might not be recognized in your time, but you will be able to understand what the hell is going on with all those random indie ablum covers!

…ah, now I get it…

Download These:
  • Aeroplane Over The Sea
  • Ghost
  • Holland 1945
THE TIGER LILLIES

For those of you that seriously… seriously hate popular music… and your parents

Where do I even begin? The Tiger Lillies bill themselves as “The world’s foremost Death Oompah band,” so take from that what you will. To say that they are unlike most other bands is as effective as saying bestiality is unlike most other fetishes… just by mentioning it you’re in a whole other plane of operation. Their featured instrument is the accordion, but they use it in a way that polka nerds living with their Ukrainian immigrant parents could never dream of; campy is a word some might use, satanic, would be another. And don’t get the wrong idea, there’s no heavy metal Satanism involved here, oh no, just the regular kind of Satanism. Technically they sound far more like Tom Waits than any kind of actual rock band. They paint their faces a deathly white, and accentuate their most horrific features of their faces; they role on stage like a three-piece gypsy band, which I suppose, in essence, they really are. Cabaret Comedy to some is Blaspheming Bullshit to others, but I like to think they have a nice sound, kind of fun, but sometimes beautifully lamenting. Now, granted, your ears might prick up at lyrics like “I’m crucifying Jesus, in my piss he bathes / I think I am a pervert, I think I am depraved” but it’s all in good spirits, and that comes across in the atmosphere of their songs. You’ll want to sing it to children, and then you realize they’re singing about giraffe vaginas and you’ll tend to think twice.

“Go ahead, just try not to think of my vagina now”

Download These:
  • Russains
  • Bully Boys
  • Banging in the Nails

Well we’ve reached our end; ten bands that you’re totally gonna go off and download now, because I’ve made you understand how awesome they all are, right?! At the very least some of you will stop calling yourselves indie because of that one time you listened to the Ok Go at the mall, and maybe you’ll even branch out and investigate some bands that you aren’t familiar with seeing on television. If you enjoyed the list, much obliged, and I’m sure it won’t be too long until I decide the world needs more rambling and tell you about all the other great indie bands you should know (i.e.: The Decemberists, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Arcade Fire, Slow Club, Powderfinger, Morphine, Grizzly Bear, Band of Horses, Placebo, Bright Eyes, Cake, Anathallo, Heartless Bastards, Tiger Army, Yeasayer, Motion City Soundtrack…etc)

What We’re Listening To: The Beach Boys

[Hey, what do ya know? It’s back! What we’re listening to, round two! This week, we get a little “diggy” with it. My apologies in advance.]

Brian Wilson is the handsome one in the middle... oh wait that's a goat

Brian Wilson is the handsome one in the middle... oh wait that's a goat

Band: The Beach Boys

Genre: California Rock

For Fans Of: The Beatles’ early work, Barenaked Ladies, The Flaming Lips (follow me here…)

Ever since music became a big thing in my life I’ve fought this; I’ve valiantly struggled against the Beach Boys and their “friendly” rock anthems. My dad likes them, almost to a fault, which I could understand if there was nothing to compare them to. But After the release of albums like London Calling, Doolittle and Nevermind… how could any legitimate rock fan even tolerate the sappy crap of this California quintet? Well, goddamnit, I’ve finally found enough songs to tolerate and yes, even love The Beach Boys. I figured it would be a crime to make anyone else dig through seemingly endless collections of songs about cars and surfing (always cars and surfing), so here are some that can be appreciated purely on their merit. These are four good, somewhat brilliant songs.

Well, three… and then Barbra Ann.

Featured Songs: