2016 will be remembered as a year that saw the passing of many great artists. David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Sharon Jones and Merle Haggard were some of the musical icons that passed away. A lot of the year was spent re-listening to the wonderful albums these artists made (including Bowie's Blackstar and Cohen's You Want it Darker, two albums released just before their deaths).
But there were also many bright spots in the musical landscape this past year. Our Local Music Collection continued to grow and showcase the rich talent of musicians from across Toronto and Canada. Here are three of my personal favourites from 2016 that are in the Local Music Collection, plus a couple of other albums of note.
Andy Shauf - The Party. The characters in The Party are all familiar - the early arrival, the wallflower, the guy hitting on his best-friend's girlfriend - but Andy Shauf manages to turn them into real people during the course of a four minute song. The album comes together beautifully, like a book of interconnected short stories. Underpinning the songs is Shauf's trademark orchestration, adding beautiful musical phrases but never taking away from the central melody. This is, by far, my favourite album of the year.
If you like this, check out Head in the Sand by Kate Maki.
TUNS - TUNS. It should be no surprise that Chris Murphy (Sloan), Mike O'Neill (Inbreds) and Matt Murphy (Super Friendz, The Flashing Lights) made one heck of an album filled with addictive hooks and lovely harmonies. What is most impressive is that their debut album does not sound like a mixture of three songwriters cobbling together odd and ends, but like a road-tested band with a defined sound.
If you like this, check out Thought Rock Fish Scale by Nap Eyes.
Weaves - Weaves. Anyone that has seen Weaves live (like those people at our 10th anniversary celebration of Make Some Noise) can attest to the fact that this band is an absolute juggernaut. They take their sound to the edge of chaotic, but still manage to hold all the pieces together. Capturing that feeling on record was a tough task, but Weaves managed the feat on their debut LP and reinvigorated what bands could do with only guitar, bass and drums. Of course, it also helps when your singer is a dynamo like Jasmyn Burke. We don't have this CD in our system yet (it's on the way!), but in the meantime you can borrow the Weaves EP.
If you like this, check out Outer Heaven by Greys.
Other Albums of Note:
Margaret Glaspy - Emotions and Math