BRAD PRETTY’S PICKS
This year, by chance, did you put off recording RPM tracks until the night before March 1st? Weird GF did. But if she didn’t say so at the beginning of “Fuck Regret,” you’d never tell. Sure, most of the album’s songs clock in at a minute or two, but you’ll enjoy every splendid second. Like a good granola bar, it’s equal parts sweet and salty. “Jacuzzi Dance Club” is a sugar rush, whereas “2 Loud” is a stompin’ and clappin’ sticky lament. With a knack for spooky melodies (check out “Graveyard”) and confessional lyrics that are both witty and charming, it’s like walking into a parlor of perfectly weird pop minimalism.
Nothing says burnt out like a Tolkien reference for a project name, and this album runs hot in the coolest way. It’s full of laid back grooves, is soaked in more reverb than a Yes album, and sees more signatures than a mailman’s pen. Writing and recording an album this complex should take a lot longer than a dark and stark Newfoundland February. The sheer detail contained in these post-prog tracks is enough for a mention, as they reflect an ethic and craftsmanship that are often set aside for RPM projects. But this is not only a grand undertaking of effort; it’s a meticulously mathy masterpiece in the scheme of the RPM challenge. Best consumed whole.
Do you like to chill? Yeah you do. Do you like to listen to sweet music while you chill? Yeah you do. Listen to this chill album. It’s a sleeper hit of the RPM challenge. It sounds like you’re in a dream where you can fly around and throw balloons filled with liquid chillness at people that make them as chill as you are. Then you and a pack of completely chill people continue to fly around and convert more people to your chillness. Once you completely chill everyone out, you land in a giant blanket fort and listen to this album and chill some more. People might smoke cigarettes. People start making out; or maybe they don’t. Depends on how you chill. You decide. It’s your dream, man. It’s all a dream.
JOANNA BARKER’S PICKS
Greatest Hits 2016-2016
Top Tracks: Indoor Voice, Hot or Cold, Witchcraft Is A Lonely Practice
This gloriously weird doom pop project stole my heart after the first few seconds and has become a steady and loyal companion of mine. It’s just catchy enough. Just noisy enough. And somehow familiar. It’s also familial: ‘Guilds’ is sibling duo Kev and Jess Barry. They haven’t really played music together since they were kids, and aren’t even living in the same province right now. That’s right, a sister-brother long-distance RPM. It’s a really neat project idea, and it resulted in a really great album. Well done, sibbz.
Top Tracks: Sterling, 1986, Tune In/Drop Out
This is the second RPM project from Wolf Kush and I am a huge fan. We’ve been gifted some very slick instrumental hip hop, here. It’s hot and very tasty. I wish each track was a little longer. And I wish there were more of them. I want more. Wolf Kush, please give us some more! I’d love to see some collaboration with Ouroboros. And yes, that is the NTV Captain Canada theme on the first track aptly titled “Sterling.” I truly believe the namesake would approve, and I would not be surprised if NTV picked this up. It’s a great sample.
Top Tracks: Notebook, Light Blue, Miracles, Come On Shawn
Ah Pet Legs. Pet Legs! I love you. And thank you. Thank you for freeing me from the plight of listening to Christmas music all year round. Because before this RPM, the only tunes of yours I knew was your Holiday music that I heard through my friend Emily. And it was so good that I would listen all year round. But now I am free. And listening to this album is as liberating and satisfying as the first swim of summer. I’m on my back floating and slowly moving my arms through some of the best dream pop this city has ever offered.
LUKAS WALL’S PICKS
Places to Sleep
It’s no small feat to record an album in a month and that’s part of the reason Family Video’s Places to Sleep is so impressive. The record doesn’t sound like an effort rushed to meet a deadline, it’s got a warm lo-fi charm that just floats along like a lazy spring afternoon. Jen King’s voice sits fantastically atop crunchy guitars and an occasional synth pad, and the driving bass and drums push the tunes along. Places to Sleep is a choice record from this year’s RPM, with the enveloping lazy rock grooves and King’s introspective lyrics on life and love making it worth a listen.
Surf Music for Shipwrecks
Taking their name from the ill-fated Soviet cruise ship that spent two years rusting away in St. John’s harbour, Lyubov Orlova’s Surf Music for Shipwrecks carries the theme of doomed ships throughout its seven crushing instrumental tracks. The trio have a powerful post-rock sound with huge, driving drums that set heavy grooves, while the guitar and bass share duties carrying the melodies or adding fuzzy textures. Through it all, the record is equally as melodic as it is rocking and heavy. Surf Music for Shipwrecks is a 2016 RPM standout that will be a favourite for fans of Don Caballero or GY!BE.
White Hot Mess
All That Surrounds Us
White Hot Mess’s 2016 RPM submission is anything but a mess. The ten short tracks on All That Surrounds Us are delicately crafted electronic tunes that range from experimental to flat out groovy. Equal parts ethereal and rhythmic, the instrumental tracks have a brilliant range of textures and sounds that create dense soundscapes full of digital wiggles and warbles. Despite the range of tones, the record plays well from start to finish, making it a unique collection of tracks among this year’s RPM crop.
Congrats to All 113 RPM-ers
Congrats to all 113 RPM-ers: Adrian House / AE Bridger / Al Drysdale / Alex Collins and the Accounting Dept. / AM/FM Dreams / Armahain / Arn Smit / BAND OFF / Ben Jackson / Best Kind Blues Band / Bison Jerry / Black Auks / Blind Bucket Baby / Call Off Your Masters / Calver / Cara Winsor Hehir + Neil Conway / Castabouts, The / Chad Pelley / Chance Placentia Junction / Chris Meyers and Kate Lahey / Concept, The / CrashJonesBand / DaddyTwofoot / Danielle Smith / Deep Soul Skeets / DJ Curtis & Mark Dymond / Dumbwaiter / Dylan Rose / EB Reid (x2!) / Elephant & The Bubbler / Elling Lien / Emo Pope / Ethan Gough / Evelyn Jess / Family Video / Fantasy House / Fifteen Sixes / Foulies, The / Gander Fire Department / Gary Lamkin / Gazelle / GOREFORGE / Got it On Tape / Grey Wails, The / Guilds / Gypsy water / Hal 9000 / Hashbrowns, The / Heather OKeefe / Holly Whalen / Hope It Sounds Good (Last Chance Noise Jam) / It Could Be Franky / Jacob Critch / Jason Winsor / Jeff Foran / Jesef Monty Frost / Joel Tourout / Jon Barnes / Julia / Justin Strong / Laura Jean Fraser / Leisure Palace / Liam Collins / Lindsay Barron / Literary Sensation Iain McCurdy / Logy Bay Groovers / Los Beatniko / Lyubov Orlova / Magnus Svensons, The / Maudite Incantation / Michael Dalton / Michael Hannaford / Mike Coffen / Mike Fardy / Mike Mosher / Mike Neville / Mimi Stockland / Mistwalker / Mitchell Spencer / Monica Joyceina / Monica Walsh / MRA / Mt. Scio / NO CULTURE / Old Goat, The / Patrick Peori / P R O P E R T Y / Pallmar Elderidge / Personal Space Invaders / Pet Legs / Philip’s Phonographical Phenomenon / Phyllis Hancock & Alicia Dean / Plaid Boys / Proper Things, The / Rhombus / Rich Kitsch / Scrambled Meggz / Shop Class / Shower Thoughts / Siddhartha / Skanes / Stray Sacks / Taylor Stocks / This is Terrible / Uwin / Weird GF / White Hot Mess / Witches Kiss / Wolf Kush