As the fog begins to clear on 2015, we'd like to give you a couple of lists ('tis the season after all) of a few of our hosts' favourite musical releases of the year that was 2014.



Julie 2014 Picks Banner

Host: Julie Maier
Program: Snake Mountain Mixtape (Saturdays, 8:30-10pm (Alternating weeks))

The War on Drugs — Lost in the Dream
Featuring driving rhythms and a warm sonic wall of ambient guitars, this is the album that found on a home on my turntable more than any other this year. Lost In The Dream is filled with classic Americana rock melodies and 80s synth that would sound at home on a Springsteen or Dire Straits album, but carefully structured with a shoegazer’s patience. The tracks build slowly and deliberately, carrying the listener along for the ride until, sometimes quite suddenly, it catches you up in some wonderful “holy shit, that was good” moment of realization.

Morgan Delt — Morgan Delt (Trouble In Mind)
A lovely bit of psychedelic rock that warbles and pulses with a uniquely weird energy, as if LSD experimentation wasn’t just a 1960s detour in your favourite artists’ catalogue but instead stuck around as the main event. "Obstacle Eyes" is one of my favourite songs of the year, and I suspect it would sound nearly as awesome played backwards.

Future Islands — Singles (4AD)
Like a lot of people, Future Islands came to my attention this year after I spotted their viral Letterman performance of "Seasons (Waiting On You)" on my Facebook news feed. An album of extremely danceable synthpop with the odd death metal growl thrown in, it all seems to work on the strength of Samuel Herring’s likeable earnestness. Watching him, I realized just how cool it is to see a unique frontperson and not feel like you could place your finger right on their influences.

Todd Terje — It’s Album Time (Olsen Records)
Norwegian DJ and producer Todd Terje put together a slick debut of electronic and disco beats that will appeal to the polyester-clad lounge lizard in us all. The whole record is cohesive enough to coolly bridge the gaps between harder-hitting brainbug tracks like "Inspector Norse" and "Strandbar." A cover of the Robert Palmer track "Johnny and Mary," featuring Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music) on vocals, is a highlight.

TOPS — Picture You Staring (Arbutus)
Filled with ethereal 70s-style vocal melodies that harken back to The Carpenters, Carly Simon, and Fleetwood Mac, but paired with jangly lo-fi guitars and well-placed synth chords it still sounds definitively contemporary and fresh.

Timber Timbre — Hot Dreams (Arts & Crafts)
Hot Dreams conjures up a truly cinematic feel, with echoing vocals, sparse 1950s-guitars and vintage synth effects that bring to mind grimy scenes and shady characters pulled straight from the grindhouse. Less foreboding than 2011’s Creep On Creepin’ On, this album retains the band’s signature haunting sound but manages a dose of urban sensuousness as well — most obviously during the sultry saxophone solo on the title track.

Beck — Morning Phase (Capitol)
Because I’m a selfish person, I’ve spent a lot of time since 2002 breakup album Sea Change wishing that Beck would go through another devastating personal disaster and give us another introspective masterpiece. Morning Phase doesn’t quite live up to its predecessor, but it’s a sister album in spirit and sound, combining wistful melodies and folky, stripped-down guitars with beautifully dreamy flourishes of piano and synth effects.

Caribou — Our Love (Merge)
The side-project Daphni notwithstanding, the wait since 2010’s Swim for another Caribou album felt like a long one. Lead single "Can’t Do Without You" probably got more repeat plays from me since … well, probably any other one track since "Odessa." Dan Snaith is on top form with this meticulously-crafted album.

St. Vincent — St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic)
Ambitious and uninhibited, with complex arrangements and always-impressive musicianship, this may be the most accessible that St. Vincent has been yet. Annie Clark’s work is hyper-calculated and smart almost to the point of intimidation, but on St. Vincent, she is exuberant and open in a way that invites the listener to connect like never before.


Aaron 2014 Picks Banner

Host: Aaron Scholz
Program: Nightwaves (Tuesdays, 9-11pm (Alternating weeks))

Protomartyr — Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art)
I caught this band playing live in Texas earlier this year, and man, were they ever unique! Complex musicianship embracing sloppy imperfection, which is supported by a vocalist who doesn't seem to be sure if his spirit animal is Morrissey or Jaz Coleman.

Swans — To Be Kind (Young God/Mute)
Uncompromised noise-rock and bellowing vocals make up the majority of Swans' To Be Kind. Some argue this doesn't match the composition of their 2012 effort entitled The Seer, but I politely disagree. Song-after-song will put the listener into a dark hypnosis, and do it with a sneering love.

Couch Slut - My Life as a Woman (Handshake Inc.)
Impressively diverse, this debut by Brooklyn's Couch Slut grazes every single subgenre of the metal and hardcore worlds with precision. Complete with one of the most controversial covers of 2014, this album makes me squirm with twisted delight.

Goat — Commune (Sub Pop)
Both young and old fans of psychedelia will enjoy Goat's impressive album released this year via Sub Pop. The band employ the stylistic playings of 60s psych with hints of world music, taking the listener away to another dimension where they live under the guise of some mystical Scandinavian cult.

Rhythm of Cruelty — Dysphoria (Self-Released; Crude City (Vinyl))
Saskatoon ex-pat Ian Rowley and his bandmate Brandi Strauss have been writing dynamite songs as Rhythm of Cruelty since their earliest days together. In the year 2014, they've blossomed to maturity like a young boy finding himself suddenly covered in body hair. This is excellent goth/post-punk with flange-laden guitars, eerie vocals and unrelenting computerized drums.

Wovenhand — Refractory Obdurate (Deathwish)
There's really no proper way to pigeonhole this album with a genre. There is a sense of hopelessness in the songs; a sense of dread. It is beautiful. Basically, if Angels of Light were still going, and were better.

Total Control - Typical System (Iron Lung Records)
Okay, this is the one. Seriously, this takes the cake for me. Aussie masters of depressive new wave and post-punk.


Jay 2014 Picks Banner

Host: Jay "The Jay Of Spades" Allen
Program: Pirate Radio (Thursdays, 7:30-9pm (Alternating Weeks))

Feral Trash — Trashfiction (P. Trash) — Moncton, NB trio brings a razor-sharp collection of angst-ridden garage-punk, without even a hint of irony. If that sounds like a description for The Exploding Hearts, there’s a good reason.

Ty Segall — Manipulator (Drag City); Meatbodies — S/T (In The Red); Wand — Ganglion Reef (God?) — It might sound silly to say, but there’s something going on in California music these days, and a lot of it centres around the prolific and increasingly glam-rock-leaning Ty Segall. Segall’s guitarist Mikal Cronin has his own solo project band, which features Chad Ubovich of Meatbodies on guitar (Ubovich also plays bass in another Segall band called Fuzz). And then there’s LA’s Wand, who released their outstanding debut LP Ganglion Reef on Segall’s Drag City imprint God?. That, along with Segall’s Manipulator and Meatbodies’ self-titled album are among my favourites of this year.

Snake River — McKruski (13th Ave Records) — After leaving the more raucous, whisky-soaked sounds of The Lonesome Weekends, Regina’s Chris Sleightholm started to focus on his own project, Snake River. After touring with Besnard Lakes side project The Soft Province, he enlisted the rest of that touring band to join Snake River. In 2014, they released McKruski, a sort of concept album about a fictitious dude in a fictitious town. The result is a move towards a bigger, echo-ier, jammed-out “cowboy boot-gaze” sound. It’s a real prairie gem that deserves attention.

The Budos Band — Burnt Offering (Daptone) — This Brooklyn/Staten Island, NY instrumental afro-soul band has always been really, really good. Their previous releases on the Daptone label are all stellar. However, I knew Burnt Offering was going to be something different as soon as I saw the epic snake-staffed wizard emblazoned on the cover. What sets the album apart from the bands previous releases is its heaviness. This record chugs along with a driving rhythm section and fuzzed-out guitars, evoking early-metal bands like Blue í–yster Cult and Iron Butterfly, while managing to maintain and perfectly integrate their flawlessly funky horn section. It’s just nasty is what it is.


Matt 2014 Picks Banner

Host: Matt Yablonski
Program: Hallucinations (Thursdays, 1-2pm)

Wand — Ganglion Reef  (God?)
A garage rock band from California who add elements of folk music and prog into a proto metal/punk. At times the singer sounds like Bradford Cox from Deerhunter fronting Ty Segall's band Fuzz!

Total Control — Typical System (Iron Lung Records)
Total Control's Henge Beat was one of the best records, and this is a perfect follow up! Literally the best postpunk band today, and we have Parquet Courts to compete with! This Australian supergroup is seriously the best export from the land down under! Do not miss out on this record!

Obnox — Louder Space (12XU)
Hip Hop-fueled noise rock that will rattle your brains so hard! If you want to know what I'm talking about look up his performance at Gonerfest from last year, amazing!

Odonis Odonis — Hard Boiled Soft Boiled (Buzz Records)
Industrial punks from Toronto that will blow your mind! Heavy grooves will have you stuck either dancing or thrashing. You might need to buy more than one copy seeing as you might wear out the record!

Reigning Sound — Shattered (Merge)
Amazing soul and roots garage record that will probably never leave your record player. Evan from Calgary band Fist City turned me onto this record this summer and I haven't looked back since! Trust me this is a record your parents will probably dig too, and that is a good thing!

Michael Rault — Living Daylight (Pirates Blend)
Canadian psych pop wizard, this is wicked. Originally from Edmonton, this rocker use to play a more 50s-style rock but now has taken a more twisted turn! Burger Records is planning on releasing his record this year so get this before it becomes a rarity!

Moon — Moon (Bruised Tongue)
Crazy krautpop record that came out right at the end of the year, super excellent. I waited months for this one, it is honestly the best early Xmas present I got!

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard — I'm in Your Mind Fuzz (Castle Face)
Damn man, the first four songs blend into one long guitar freak out! The second best import from Australia!

Energy Gown — Evening Molasses (Alona's Dream Records)
Insanely weird psych band from Chicago. Think Ya Ho Wa re-imagined as a punk band. Far ooooouuuut! Drugs not included!

Betrayers — Let the Good Times Die (Perfect Master)
This record is still super unknown, listen to it immediately, one of the best prairie bands at this moment! Garage psych that is so perfect that you will be wondering where this band has been all your life!

Useless Eaters — Bleeding Moon (Castle Face)
Devo like guitar tones from this Jay Retard devotee! This will take you back to the 80s!

Al Lover — Sacred Drugs (Psych Army Intergalactic)
Trip Hop beats from the Austin Psych Fests resident DJ. Super trippy stuff going on here, I can only imagine the samples that were used in making this record!


All of us here at CFCR wish you a great and musical 2015! Thanks for listening to and supporting community radio in Saskatoon!