2014 – The Year That Was

by Jack Derricourt

Well, it’s been a good 12 months. There were highs and there were lows; mostly highs in my opinion. In no particular order:

1) Mac DeMarco at the Polaris Ceremony

Mac DeMarco’s Salad Days is a favourite record of mine, and even though he didn’t perform a track off the album for said award show, his falsetto-fused number with Juan Waters — a favourite from his residency at Smiling Buddha during NXNE — was exceptional and fun. The Mac’s irreverence for the ceremony — he had a friend from the GTA show up in a dishevelled penguin suit (March of the Penguins style, rather than black tie) — was exactly the kind of deflationary tactic the evening required. And while Tanya Tagaq rightfully stole the show with her political gestures, I was very happy watching the everyman of Canadian indie rockers doing what he does best: fucking with the program.

2) Alvvays at the Yorkville Library

I was on my first date with my girlfriend, couldn’t hear or see the band, but who cares: I was in a library watching CBC’s album of the year being performed, standing next to a beautiful girl. Listening to “Marry Me Archie” while flipping through sci fi novels is one heck of a way to feel connected with local music. I really hope to see more of the library sessions in Toronto this coming year.

3) Prom – Dumb Summer

The Editor reviewed this stellar EP, and all I could do was listen and gawp. The Toronto-based gloom rockers are stellar at adapting local place names and themes to elicit love in a time of laundry days and stale moments. I cannot stop listening to the record. It’s the kind of album that makes me want to wear leather all the time. Dangerous and thrilling.

4) Debut Show for Overnight

The band is an expansion of loveable rockers Sisters, adding a bass and a set of keys to the mix. Jets of stoner rock wedge in between mellow vibes and maritime highs — a little bit of every geography can be found in the wide songs of this newly minted act. Watching one of the warmup shows for this interesting new rock band was a treat. Also, looking at all the acrobat’s equipment used by the owner of the apartment to teach would-be cirque fiends was a real gas. Check these guys out as gigs approach in the new year.

5) Organ Eyes – Daze Pace

It’s important to have a record of the year: my Canadian pick of 2014 is Ottawa’s Organ Eyes and their stellar, punk fried chicken of an album, Daze Pace. There are quirks abounding, interesting lyric matter, and unique variations of song formats all over the album. I keep thinking that I’m getting older, losing my edge, falling off the bandwagon of thrash and slingshot rhythms. Then an album like the Pace comes along and makes me realize I just haven’t been listening to the good shit. I still love the good shit.

Happy Holidays! May all your last days of 2014 be filled with pompous, joyous sounds.

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