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I want to like HBO’s Girls, I really do. I’m a pop culture whore; if it’s part of the zeitgeist, I want to be in on it. Alas, try as I might, I just don’t get it—and believe me, I have tried.

Lena Dunham’s show about twenty-something New Yorkers (white, privileged, liberal ones) seems to have struck a chord with the culture mavens and critics alike. Many have lauded Dunham for her frank and honest portrayel of women of her generation, especially when it comes to their sexual proclivities. They’ve also celebrated her decision to appear fully naked (time and time again), since she’s a fuller-figured women with a “real body.”

There’s no denying Dunham has captured the vacuousness of today’s millennials; the white, privileged, liberal ones at least. Indeed, episode after episode we’re entreated to the oh-so-serious travails of Dunahm’s character, Hannah; struggles with her body image, her place in the world, her fledging career as a writer, wanting to do something that matters. Blah blah blah.

That I’m a man makes me ill-equipped to properly review, let alone understand her show. This I know, from her many strident female defenders. Moreover, having crossed the thirty threshold, I sense, too, I’m out of touch with the generation following in mine’s shadow. After all, I prefer email to SMS.

Nevertheless, I am fascinated by my own intense dislike of her show: I don’t simply find it uninteresting; I can’t stand it.

When Dunham won her Golden Globe for best television series, and, upon reaching the microphone, breathlessly invited her fellow award-winners to “get close together” when on stage, I wanted to throw the empty rocks glass I had been nursing across the room.

Suddenly, I understood my rage. And it isn’t about the sex, which I know bothers many older viewers. (If anything, the characters’ sex lives and sexualities are the only mature things about their characters; otherwise, they’re positively infantile, which may explain some reviewers’ revulsion of their allegedly promiscuous behaviour: they’re children.) No, what bothers me about Dunham’s show is that I get the real sense she actually thinks it is the stuff of serious drama. Like the character she portays, she actually believes the lives of the twenty-something New Yorkers on her show (the white, privileged, liberal ones) are weighty, real, raw.

I attempted to float this hypothesis to a group of women with whom I was having dinner a few weeks’ back. I was roundly chastised. Dunham, they argued, was much too smart; she knew what she was doing; of course it was all a big inside joke.

I should’ve known better than to press the issue; I was, after all, the lone male at the table.Still, I pressed on and suggested the acclaim Dunham was receiving from critics—most of which seemed to center on the fact she wasn’t your typical, size-zero starlet—had little to do with her talent and everything to do with her showing her naked body. That a woman with a ordinary body would go nude on camera was, I thought, considered cute by the fawning Hollywood clique among whom she would never, truly, be accepted. To this point, I was simply ignored, the conversation abruptly changed to something else. What did I know?

In the end, I think I’ll skip Girls, leaving it to others, younger, smarter, hipper to enjoy whatever piece of brilliant irony Dunham has created. It’s probably for the best, too. After all, even if I’m wrong and Dunham has masterfully skewered her generation, she’ll still remind me of a plumper Annie Hall… AND I HATE ANNIE HALL.

Bloombloom
Beach House

Apparently “dream pop” is a musical genre. News to me. Also, if, like me, you want to know what that genre sounds like, apparently you should listen to Beach House’s Bloom. It does the trick.

Yes, their sound is dreamy; but it’s still approachable—even, you guessed it, popular. It’s at turns sweet and pleasant, mournful and full of grief.

Weirdly, and with apologies to die-hard fans of Beach House, I can imagine an alternate universe in which the castrato-pop sensation, Justin(e) Bieber, released this album.

TAKE IT EASY, SELENA GOMEZ.

Jiaolongjiaolong
Daphni

If you input “Jiaolong” in Wikipedia (my go-to resource for answers to most of life’s questions), you find it is, “a polysemous aquatic dragon in Chinese mythology.” What then to make of this album? Is it spiritually akin to a crocodile? Is it manlike, or a mere fish?

Fuck if I know. Might as well be a Chinese lizard. I suppose, if you dabbled in meditation or controlled substances, listening to this album while entranced might produce visions of such far-east reptiles of lore. More likely, however, you’ll want to reach for a glow-stick and sway back and forth like an idiot for seven straight hours.

But I digress. This is a solid album, if you like music of the electronic variety, which I do occasionally.

Indeed, Daphni—also known as Caribou, previously known as Manitoba, actually Daniel Victor Snaith—has a long and productive history of making good shit. His previous effort, Swim, as Caribou, was so good I included it among my favourites of 2010. I couldn’t really ignore this one, especially since it’s equally good, albeit a little more downtempo. Anyways.

SOOTHERS ARE FOR BABIES.

Django Djangodjango-django
Django Django

I haven’t really played video games of any sort since the early 90s. Rest assured, I don’t feel short-changed. And even if I did—I don’t!—I think this album makes up for it.

For reasons I can’t quite explain, Django Django’s eponymous debut reminds me of those early games on the NES. A B A B UP DOWN LEFT RIGHT START. So few buttons; so many possibilities! Shitty graphics. Simplistic story lines. (Rescue the Princess! Eat the bananas! Kill the bad guys!)

Moreover, this album could’ve easily been used as the soundtrack to that brilliant bit of product placement wizardry, The Wizard. Pop this album in your CD player, or more appropriately plug your iPod into an analog auxiliary jack and connect it to the analog input of your Bose Soundwave, then watch this movie. You’d swear Django Django is to The Wizard that Dark Side of the Moon is to The Wizard of Oz.

Yes, I realize this hardly constitutes a review of the music. Whatever. I gather this album is on many best-of lists this year. Read those if you want to know what this band actually sounds like.

USE THE WARP WHISTLE!

The Lion’s Roarthe-lions-roar
First Aid Kit

What is it about the Swedes and excellent Americana music? Seriously. Utterly delightful. America should rest a little bit easier: on this one front, they’ve been beaten by a country other than China.

In the same vein as Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, the Avett Brothers, Fleet Foxes and, ahem, The Tallest Man on Earth, the sisters Söderberg, Johanna and Klara, have put together a truly beautiful album. Their song, “Emmylou,” might just be my favourite song of the year.

FUCK IKEA.

Visionsvisions
Grimes

More dream pop. WTF? Apparently, I like this shit—and I don’t even own a glow stick, let alone many glow sticks that would necessitate an entire rack.

Actually, I think I dig this album because, like so many on this year’s list, it features a female vocalist who, aided by some wicked synth-pop melodies, makes some bad-ass tunes.

CHICKS RULE.

Shieldsshields
Grizzly Bear

This is a very enjoyable album from a talented bunch of grimy hipsters from Brooklyn. It doesn’t grate on your nerves and test your patience like, say, Arcade Fire. In fact, what makes this album so good is it seems to take the nice bits about Arcade Fire, while discarding the wailing from that band’s female vocalist. Oh, and on this album, not every song sounds like the last one. So there’s that, too.

I suspect the fact I’ve drawn (badly, too) a comparison between Grizzly Bear and Arcade Fire will prompt the die-hards, true audiophiles, and readers of actual music magazines to castigate me as a know-nothing—or worse, simply throw me in with the Bieber-loving masses. Fine. I liked this album; I tend to wince at the shrill tones of Arcade Fire. If that makes me an uninformed hack, so be it. I’ve been called much, much worse.

JUST DON’T CALL ME LATE FOR DINNER!

Port of Morrowport-of-morrow
The Shins

I really like the The Shins. I’ve been a faithful listener for years. (Granted, I was completely unaware the lead singer dissolved the old band and brought together a new group of lads before releasing this album, but I’ve already established myself to be an uniformed, stereophonic slut.) Their latest, Port of Morrow, is a real treat.

I suppose what I like most about this album, their first in five years, is how much the sound of the band has evolved. True, the lead vocals are as haunting and unique as they were on their first album, back in 2001. The synth remains, too. (Thankfully. I adore the synth.) And yet, there’s something else, something new and fresh and, well, more poppy about the thing.

Sure, those college kids who adopted, “New Slang,” as their anthem are likely to be thrown into an existential crisis—recorded in real-time with endless Facebook updates and constant Tweets, befitting the millennial generation. Thankfully, I’m immune to such things: I long ago adopted Huey Lewis and the News’, “Hip to Be Square,” as my anthem.

FORE!

There’s No Leaving Nowtheres-no-leaving-now
The Tallest Man On Earth

The Swedish folkie strikes again! This time in the form of male vocalist Kristian Matsson.

There’s No Leaving Now, Matsson’s third album, is a solid offering from start to finish. And, while Matsson isn’t actually the tallest man on Earth (again, visit Wikipedia for those stats), he does manage to sing like someone reaching for great heights.

When I reviewed his 2009 album, The Wild Hunt, I remarked: his vocals are haunting, raw, and unique. The same can be said of him today. However, I’d add infectious. Indeed, Matsson’s music has a way of burrowing into your brain. Not in that earwig-from-Star-Trek-Wrath-of-Khan kind of way, but in the way that makes your toes tap, your head bob, and a smile in the corners of your mouth whenever you hear one of his tunes.

ENOUGH SAID.

It hasn’t all been block-busting superheroes and science fiction. Occasionally, I’ve opted for the lighter, the artier, the sillier, the grimier.

Moonrise Kingdom
My first Wes Anderson film was Rushmore. I didn’t know anything about the film, or the director, and saw it on a whim. It was such a delight. In the days that followed, I bought the brilliant soundtrack (back in the days when people actually purchased CDs) and sought out Anderson’s first film, Bottle Rocket. I was hooked. I was lucky, too: the local cineplex pulled the film from its roster a week later.

In the years since, I’ve seen every one of his films. I adore his quirky style, his use of music, his interesting cast of characters, many of whom make repeat appearances. Naturally, then, I made it a priority to see his latest, Moonrise Kingdom.

I’ll say this: while it isn’t his strongest film (wedged between Life Aquatic and Darjeeling Limited, in my humble opinion), Moonrise Kingdom is good fun. And the soundtrack, which mined Benjamin Britten, was a lovely reminder of my choirboy days of yore. Oh, and Bill Murray’s madras pants were awesome.

Magic Mike
Steven Soderbergh made a movie about male strippers. It features Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum and some youthful lad named Alex Pettyfer—all of whom are filmed in various stages of undress. What more do I need to say, really? Oh, right: a nude Olivia Munn.

But seriously, if you peel back the layers, get past the sun-drenched Florida scenery, beautiful bronzed bodies, hilarious dance numbers, McConaughey’s scene-stealing shenanigans, and yes, a nude Olivia Munn, you discover a tender movie that documents one man’s journey from innocence to experience, a veritable celluloid Bildungsroman for our times.

Cough! Hack! Spit!

Do you believe that bullshit? Me neither. Magic Mike was simply a great bit of summer fluff—and most importantly, showed a lot of skin. Enough said.

Killer Joe
A darkly comic southern romp with more sex and violence—gratuitous, of course—than you could possible shake a fried chicken leg at.

And yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this bit of cinematic pulp with a screwball storyline only made believable by the sincerity with which the cast plays it. Indeed, Killer Joe works precisely because of the actors, all of whom seem to revel in their parts; no one more so, however, than Matthew McConaughey, who is mesmerizing as a deviant, murderous psychopath.

It’s not for the feint of heart, or those with a low tolerance for violent sex and sexy violence. However, if you’re willing to give it a go, don’t mind a bit of art for art’s sake, then this one is a hoot.

Ted
How could I pass on this, Seth MacFarlane’s first feature film?

Not only does MacFarlane write, direct and provide the voice of the title character, a foul-mouthed teddy-bear, he also manages to convince Patrick Stewart to narrate the thing and co-opt Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis to go along for the ride.

Ted is funny, filthy, and yet tender-hearted, too. It has “repeat viewing” written all over it. Indeed, when I think about each of the aforementioned films, I only foresee myself reaching for Ted again, and again. Frankly, MacFarlane’s created a modern comedic classic. Hats off to him.

I’ve never understood the aversion to seeing a movie alone. Is there a more anti-social activity than sitting in a darkened theatre to watch a film, during which time talking and texting are verboten? Just ask Fred Willard.

But seriously, I love going to the movies. I’m easy to please, too: my tastes run the gamut of art-house to big-budget, drama to comedy, epic to epically stupid.

Moreover, with the humidity keeping Toronto’s average daily temperature hovering around +30C, simply sitting for a few hours in an air conditioned theatre is a treat unto itself.

And so I’ve found myself at the movies a fair bit this summer, often opting for the big-budget blockbusters. ‘Tis the season, after all.

Herewith, I humbly offer my take on…

The Amazing Spiderman
Like so many people, I was skeptical this reboot would hold up; so much so, I avoided the film in its first few weeks. Then, a random outing to the cinema and a sold-out first-choice meant I was stuck: see this film, or turn around and walk home. I saw the film, and was I ever pleasantly surprised. Tickled, actually.

The Amazing Spider-Man was a romp. Funny, full of action and even a little camp, it was a near-perfect summer blockbuster. But what made the film all the more entertaining, to me, was seeing, nay feeling the on-screen chemistry between the two leads, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. Electrifying. I suppose it helped they’re real-life-lovers, whatever that means in Hollywood. No matter. Good fun. Money well spent.

Prometheus
Whoa. Ridley, buddy. Prometheus is at once an example of you at your best and, alas, your worst. Being a bit of a sci-fi fan (okay, nerd) I grew up on Blade Runner and Alien. Blade Runner‘s dark, dystopian future Los Angeles all but defined the look-and-feel of the future, and Alien remains the gold standard for sci-fi horror. Naturally, I was pumped for Prometheus. After your hiatus from the sci-fi genre, I, along with countless fans, was ready for your return to it.

I guess I should have done a better job of managing expectations. Your cast was solid; Fassbender was Oscar-awesome, for example. Your premise so terribly promising; a big, bold morality tale that seeks to answer one of humanity’s most enduring questions: where did we come from? Frankly, dude, you had the chance to make this generation’s 2001. And yet, you opted for something far more… pedestrian. You replaced brooding with bombs, drama with dynamite. Bummer. I fear, as with Blade Runner, we’ll have to wait for the zillionth “Director’s Cut” before we see your full vision realized. Sigh.

The Avengers
It’s all about Robert Downey Jr., er, Tony Stark. Seriously, buddy is hilarious. And this movie, The Avengers—another vehicle for him to zip around in that suit, in all its CGI glory—is classic “summer blockbuster” fun. Loud. Silly. Packed with action. Samuel L. Jackson.

I haven’t been a faithful follower of the films that culminate in this one, Marvel’s Magnum Opus. However, I’ve been told I didn’t miss much by skipping Thor, though I’m sorry I didn’t catch Iron Man 2. Nevertheless, for even a casual comics fan, Joss Wheddon managed to bring me up to speed pretty quickly on whatever it might have been I missed in what passes for a plot in Marvel’s universe. Not that I was expecting, or looking for a densely-packed, character-driven drama in this one; no, it was undoubtedly a hot day and I was merely looking for a bit of light-hearted escapism, which is precisely what I got.

Thank goodness.

The Dark Knight Rises
The Dark Knight RisesI’d been waiting for this one. So, too, was just about everybody by the conclusion of Christopher Nolan’s near perfect second Batman flick, The Dark Knight. Nolan did not disappoint.

Among other things, I respect Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker because he, like Roger Ebert, loathes 3D technology, preferring to use other means, like IMAX, to enhance and expand cinema-goers’ experiences. While I did not have the pleasure to see The Dark Knight Rises in all its IMAX glory (nearly a full hour of the movie was filmed with IMAX cameras), I don’t think I suffered much without it. I was still able to appreciate the scope and sweep of Nolan’s vision, this time situated in Pittsburgh.

As with his previous Bat flicks, the standout wasn’t the Bat himself, though Bale does an admirable job; nay, as before it was the supporting cast that really made the movie soar. Tom Hardy is brilliant. I could listen to Marion Cotillard speak for days. Anne Hathaway manages to do the impossible: make Catwoman interesting, deep and not the butt-end of a joke (a task mastered by Halle Berry). And of course, there’s Michael Caine, who is, as always, a pleasure as Michael-Caine-As-Alfred.

As I say, though, the film isn’t perfect: it lacks the… discipline of the second. It’s not as tightly-woven, or cleanly executed. It plods, if only a little. Still, as both a film unto itself and the final film in Nolan’s trilogy, it is solid—and my hands-down favourite of this summer’s blockbusters.

Another year draws to a close; another (digital) stack of albums to review.

Without further ado, may I humbly present my picks for 2011…

The Rip Tide
Beirut

Indie Pop. Balkan Folk. Whatever. I’ll leave it to the tireless, selfless editors of Wikipedia to accurately label the musical genre into which Beirut falls.

I’ll simply say this: I really enjoyed this, their third album. Like Sufjan Stevens, these guys manage to accomplish the seemingly impossible musical feat of sounding at once melancholy and cheerful. Which may explain why I like this album so much: it’s the musical equivalent of my state of mind.

El Camino
The Black Keys 

Hell yeah!

Forget what you know about El Caminos, or the fact the cover of this album doesn’t actually depict one, but a vintage Chrysler mini-van with faux wood panelling.

Do you even care? If you were listening to this album right now, you sure as shit wouldn’t. Seriously.

Bon Iver, Bon Iver
Bon Iver 

Give me a moment.

Honestly, this is a tough one.

It’s hard to say exactly what it is about this album I find so… enchanting. Haunting vocals? Sombre music? Nevertheless, no list of my favourite albums for this past year would be complete without the inclusion of Bon Iver’s eponymous (squared) effort.

Mylo Xyloto
Coldplay 

I realize the inclusion of Coldplay’s latest offering, “Mylo Xyloto,” puts in jeopardy my standing as a bad-ass hipster. Honestly, though, if I were worried about what people thought of me, there’s a long list of things about which I would be sorry before I fretted about what people thought of my musical tastes.

Thankfully, I don’t really give a damn. Nor do I care this album, produced by committee, must’ve been focus-tested for ages before finally being released, since it’s hard to find anything not to like about it. It’s good, and very much in the same vein as what so many have come to expect from Chris Martin and his crew.

So yeah, Coldplay’s on my list. Deal with it.

Cults
Cults

Boy-girl Indie-pop duos are nothing new; in fact, they’re a dime a dozen nowadays. It just so happens I like ’em — especially when they’re actually good. And New York duo, Cults, are just that: good. So good I’ve included their debut album on this here list.

Might not be your cup of tea, but it sure is mine. Especially when I’m wearing skinny jeans, a plaid shirt, wayfarers, and a pair of Chuck Taylors… without socks!

Helplessness Blues
Fleet Foxes

Ah yes, Fleet Foxes. Instantly a hit with me and just about everybody else after the release of their self-titled debut album; their second, “Helplessness Blues,” does nothing to dissuade me, or everybody else I suspect, from continuing to like them very much.

Sure, it’s more of the same, and in another context that might be considered a criticism; with this baroque pop troupe, it’s a compliment. If, after all, you’ve hit upon a particularly lovely note (pun intended), why not play it again?

Ritual Union
Little Dragon 

What is it with Scandinavians and synth pop?

I’ll tell you what: they go together like gravlax and cream cheese… or a progressive taxation system and well-funded health and social programs.

Seriously, this album is awesome.

Lifeboats and Follies
Tommy Guerrero 

Is it apt the final album on my list is full of tunes perfect for chill-axing? Hard to say, since I’d intentionally alphabetized the thing. Regardless, this album is just that: ideal for those times when you want nothing more than to chill out and relax.

No, it won’t put you to sleep, or even make you lethargic; Guerrero’s stuff is much too cool for that. But it’ll definitely help you unwind after a miserable day, especially when paired with a cocktail made from top-shelf spirits.

I can’t recall the last time I went to the movies. Regardless, I sprang at the chance to attend a screening of Woody Allen’s new film, “Midnight in Paris,” with friends the other night.

What a wise decision.

I’ve long been a fan of Allen’s films — save for, “Annie Hall,” which I loathe with a rage that burns hotter than a thousand suns. (More on this in a moment.) His wit, his charm, his outlook on life; I adore them all.

His latest offering, in which Owen Wilson more than capably stands in for Allen himself, is a real gem, and a true return to form for the septuagenarian auteur.

Aside from the fact it features an extraordinary cast, many of whom ape artists and other literary icons from the 20th century (Adrien Brody’s take on Salvador Dalí is hilarious; Alison Pil is a riot as Zelda Fitzgerald; and, Corey Stoll’s Ernest Hemingway is a scene-stealer), it puts Paris, itself, centre stage. And for that alone, I absolutely loved this film.

I fell madly in love with Paris at about this time last summer. And Allen manages to capture the magic, the mystery, the magnificence of the city in every shot, every scene. (A skill he has used to great effect when documenting New York, across the pond.) So much so, in fact, that when my friends and I were leaving the theatre, we experienced genuine culture shock when we spilled out of the Towne theatre onto the mean streets of Winnipeg’s Notre Dame Avenue — a far cry from the Notre Dame of Paris, I assure you!

Yes, I was so absorbed by Paris — of today, of the 20s, of La Belle Époque — I was momentarily disoriented by the crumbling sidewalks, empty streets, neglected façades of my hometown. For a brief second, I was at home in Paris, a foreigner in Winnipeg.

And it was that fleeting feeling that I think best captures why I loved this film so much.

Of course, I cannot say the same about Annie Hall — neither the film nor the character, herself, played painfully by Diane Keaton. (Those hats, those pants, that simpering manner. Gag me.) I suppose had I seen the film when it was first released, I might be more sympathetic. I did not, and so cannot be. I find it grating, contrived, and altogether unbearable. Thankfully, “Midnight in Paris,” is none of those things.

I highly recommend Allen’s latest film. It’s a marvellous summer treat, and a pitch-perfect postcard for the city that gave it its name.

It’s that time of year again!

Herewith, I present to you those albums from my iTunes vault I’ve enjoyed more than most this past year.

Without further ado…

The Suburbs
Arcade Fire

Okay, no surprise here: it’s been on virtually everyone’s “best of” list. For good reason. The album rocks.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of the band, or new to them, this album is a treat. Especially when you have the chance to see them live at an outdoor concert on the Toronto Islands. Which I did, earlier this summer.

Not that I’m trying to establish my credentials as a “cool dude” or anything…

Crazy For You
Best Coast

Chicks who sing in rock bands are always awesome. Seriously. I think this is a fact, long ago proved by someone more expert in this field than I.

But whatever. This album is wicked. It features lots of reverb, and a totally loveable summer sound. Oh yeah, and a chick on vocals.

Not for people who are lame.

Brothers
The Black Keys

Fuck yeah, man. Fuck yeah.

It’s late. I’m tired. But I’m not ready to call it a night. Heck, I think I might even feel a second wind coming on. So, I pick up a 2-4 of Standard Lager and keep going.

It’s going to be a long night of being a cool dude. Which is hard work.

Thankfully, listening to this album is anything but.

Swim
Caribou

This album is awesome.

Either you’ll love it or you’ll hate it. I know in which camp I reside: THE COOL CAMP.

That is all.

The Big To-Do
Drive-By Truckers

Damn straight I drink bourbon. And I’d like to think the dudes in the Drive-By Truckers do, too.

A little known fact about me: I have a soft spot for southern rock. (Who doesn’t, really?) Lynyrd Skynrd. The Allman Brothers Band. Creedence. The Band. These guys.

Pour yourself a stiff one, put on a pair of your most faded, torn, straight-cut Levi’s, fire up the barbecue, sit in your backyard and chew the fat with your pals.

Les Chemins De Verre
Karkwa

Another unsurprising pick, I know. Polaris Prize winners and Montreal natives, Karkwa have produced an outstanding album. In French no less. Which doesn’t really matter to me, since I’ve never been one to pay much attention to the lyrics of songs anyway. For me, it’s all about the mood the music puts me in, and how it makes me feel.

What’s my mood with Les Chemins De Verre? Upbeat.

How does it make me feel? Trés cool.

Big Echo
The Morning Benders

Wikipedia lists “baroque pop” as one of the genres in which The Morning Benders fall. I don’t know what baroque pop is, nor do I really care to learn.

Regardless, this album is fun. Nothing spectacular. It won’t be accompanying me on a prolonged stay on a deserted island. (That honour is reserved for Paul Simon’s Graceland, thankyouverymuch.) Still, it’s a solid effort.

I especially liked the fourth track, “Cold War.” It’s a be-bopping good time that, I’d like to think, could have even got JFK and Kruschev up on their feet.

Together
The New Pornographers

From the opening guitar riff on the first track, to the last note on the last one, this is a solid album from Vancouver’s indie rock darlings. Sure, it’s a little cute listing yet another Canadian band on my list of favourites. Making good music is about the only thing I think Canada does well. (That and maple syrup. And carbon dioxide.)

Anyway, good album. No reservations about including it on my list. You shouldn’t have any including it on yours either.

Darker Circles
The Sadies

God, more Canadian schlock. What’s my problem this year? Jesus.

A little more country than the New Pornographers. A little grittier too. Just as good. Better, maybe? Who knows. I don’t.

Still, this is a solid effort by a solid band.

Astro Coast
Surfer Blood

Remember Kids in the Hall? If not, you probably shouldn’t even be reading my blog. Honestly. How did you find me? Who are you, anyway?

Regardless, my point: the theme song for KITH was a song by defunct band, Shadowy Men On A Shadowy Planet. Which doesn’t really matter. What I’m trying to say is this: Surfer Blood are like the new, louder, better guys who provided the theme song to one of the best shows the CBC ever underwrote.

Is that a compliment? It was meant as one.

The Wild Hunt
The Tallest Man On Earth

Finally, a little folk. Phew. About time, eh?

I agree, and I can think of no better example than the latest album by Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson. (Swedish? I know, right?!)

Anyway, his vocals are haunting, raw, and unique. And his tunes are an audible treat, too.

What’s he singing about? Dunno. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m not big on the words. But the melodies are delightful. And that’s enough for me.