Top 20 Songs of February 2014

Here are my most played, favourite songs of February 2014:

20. ASTR – We Fall Down


19. Dum Dum Girls – Rimbaud Eyes


18. Elephant – Elusive Youth


17. Neon Trees – Sleeping With A Friend


16. Broods – Coattails


15. Serebro – Mi Mi Mi

Unrivalled preposterousness. Catchy as all hell.


14. Tokyo Police Club – Hot Tonight


13. Balance & Composure – Enemy


12. Lover Lover – The Fire


11. Lord Huron – Time To Run


10. Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna

Not surprised this was the second single. Rae Morris and Jack Steadman sound fantastic sharing the vocals.


9. Cage The Elephant – Spiderhead/Cigarette Daydreams/Telescope

The more I listen to Cage’s latest album, Melophobia, the more I enjoy it. Their sloppy accessibility is alluring. These three tracks are my current favourites.


Cigarette Daydreams:



8. Vance Joy – Riptide

Wonderful, sunny, joyous, summery pop music.


7. Darlia – Queen of Hearts

Embroidered with grunge and pop fabrics. The result is one catchy tune.


6. Katy B – Everything

On her latest album, Katy B’s eschewed the synthpop sound that so many of her contemporaries have clung to of late. In its stead, she’s gone (almost) Full House, a considerable achievement as DJ Tanner is nowhere to be found. “Everything” is a stud.


5. Against Me! – Fuckmylife666

One of the many fantastic songs on Against Me!’s latest LP. Though I couldn’t stop singing the line, “Don’t wanna live without teeth, don’t wanna die without bite,” the lyric that hits hardest is, “is your mother proud of your eyelashes?” Slaying gender ideals one burn at a time, Against Me! are back and at their fiery best.


4. Magic! – Rude

So, so, so, so catchy. I don’t think I’ll be sick of this song for a long time — if ever.


3. Bombay Bicycle Club – Feel

The opening eastern rhythm is out-of-this-world sensational. The guitar riff that joins the fray at 2:38 ups the ante even further, making “Feel” one of the best songs they’ve ever done. Bombay Bicycle Club can, quite simply, do whatever they want with songs, sounds, and music, such is their talent. What makes it so thrilling is that it all sounds so effortless. BBC are a one of a kind beauty.


2. Maximo Park – Drinking Martinis/Midnight On The Hill/Where We’re Going

Maximo Park are a treasure I hold very dearly in my heart. I wish they were a massive band the world over — it’s what they deserve. I wish they had a big enough fan base in Toronto to tour here so I don’t have to trek to the U.S. to see them. I can’t be greedy with so many wishes though, as they’re the embodiment of what I want my music to be: catchy for days and weeks and years. And that’s exactly what Maximo Park have been, for years: hard-working, staunch melodists, indefatigably likeable. Every album they’ve released is charming and fresh, and their latest, Too Much Information, is no different. Per usual, a handful of unbelievably good tunes comprise the record, with “Leave This Island” and the three tunes below the big winners. One thing that separates Maximo Park from the rest is that there’s something special, something indefinable about their songs that prevents them from getting tired. “Books From Boxes”, “Postcard of a Painting”, “By The Monument”, and “Questing, Not Coasting”, among many others, have not reached a point where I haven’t enjoyed listening to them. I believe these new set of songs will have a likewise affect on me. This is what many people call magic.

Drinking Martinis

Midnight On The Hill

Where We’re Going


1. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues/Black Me Out/Paralytic States

From the first moment I heard these tunes to now, I’ve been in awe. From a song and melody perspective, these collection of songs are on par with the indomitable “Trash Unreal”, “Borne On The FM Waves Of The Heart”, and “The Ocean” from their seminal New Wave LP. From a personal, lyrical, and culture-commenting perspective, the songs are even better. Lead singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) has undoubtedly gone through a lot. But she sounds so invigorated, energetic, chomping at the bit to tell a (her?) story that I’m so bloody thankful Against Me! are still around and adorned with their trademark ferocity. Transgender Dysphoria Blues will assuredly end up being one of the records of the year when 2014 is said and done, and these three tracks, along with lead single “True Trans Soul Rebel”, are the big reasons why. Culturally, it’s an important record, and musically, it’s a beast that bellows loudly and froths with intensity. It already sounds like a classic.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Black Me Out

Paralytic States



Top 40 Cover Songs of 2013 (20-1)

And here’s part two, the Best 20 Cover Songs of 2013:

NB: To reiterate, I’ve included the original artist(s) in parentheses.


20. Jimmy Eat World – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (Taylor Swift)

Classic JEW twist on the seminal T. Swift tune.


19. Alt-j – A Real Hero (College)

This acapella cover is downright striking.


18. Scout Niblett – No Scrubs (TLC)

This sounds like it would’ve been a low-fi grunge hit in the 90’s.


17. Chvrches – I Would Die 4 V (Prince)

One of the first songs I heard from Chvrches, and to date, a staple of their live set. One of Prince’s best songs made over perfectly.


16. Russian Police Choir – Get Lucky (Daft Punk)

This makes me endlessly happy. #RussianSwag


15. Of Monsters And Men – Skeletons (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Of Monsters And Men were already super charming before they did this cover. After? Not quite sure. I don’t want to be blinded by such light.


14. The 1975 – What Makes You Beautiful (One Direction)

I think “What Makes You Beautiful” is a world-conquering pop song. It was when I first heard it, and it still is a couple years later. What The 1975 have done to it is hidden its in-your-faceness. In its stead is an emotionally vulnerable song that sounds nothing like the original. Well done lads.


13. Ms Mr – Dance Yrself Clean (LCD Soundsystem)

This is a tonne of fun. Ms Mr had a huge year. I will never tire of hearing the line, “talking like a jerk, except you are an actual jerk, and living proof, that sometimes friends are mean.”


12. Say Lou Lou – Feels Like We Only Go Backwards (Tame Impala)

Complete revamp of the original. Say Lou Lou have painted the song with sensual electronic tones to brilliant effect.


For me, the following 11 covers stand above the rest. Tread lightly, there are potent concoctions ahead…


11. Cold War Kids – Opium Tea (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)

I had to look up the original, as this cover sounds unmistakably like a Cold War Kids original. (A formidable, frolicking CWK song at that.)


10. Arctic Monkeys – Hold On, We’re Going Home (Drake)

Alex Turner may be the only person on the planet able to accomplish what’s been done here. He takes Drake’s subtlety and throws it out the window, infusing his own brand of ever-developing, world-conquering, slick-backed, Turner magnetism.


9. Twin Shadow – W/O/W/U (With Or Without You) (U2)

Simply in love with this.


8. Tears For Fears – Boy From School (Hot Chip)

Smart move by Tears For Fears to do a trio of covers to get people talking about them again. Arcade Fire’s “Ready To Start” seems to have garnered most of the praise, but I think Tears For Fears’ take on Animal Collective’s “My Girls” and, in particular, Hot Chip’s “Boy From School” are much better. This is an incredible cover.


7. Kings Of Leon – Dancing On My Own (Robyn)

The more I heard this, the more I fell for it. Kings of Leon slow down the tempo, and Caleb Followill delivers an impassioned vocal, making this an undeniable hit. I can’t forget Robyn’s original — it was a massive statement — but I kind of feel like Kings of Leon wrote this song. It’s now a tormented, bluesy rock track, and it’s outstanding.


6. 2 Cellos – Every Breath You Take (The Police)

In case you haven’t heard 2 Cellos before, the collective consists of, you guessed it, two cellos. What those two cellos are able to do to songs, particularly this seminal  80’s hit, is nothing short of magic. The emotional resonance factor here is through the roof. This is an extremely powerful piece of music. It’s mere background info that it happens to be a cover.


5. Purity Ring – Grammy (Soulja Boy)

When I first heard this track, I thought it was a Purity Ring original, and one of their best. I found out weeks later it was a Soulja Boy cover (I know right?). Don’t let that fool you, this is electrifying electro-pop. It’s waaaay better, more full, more fun than the original.


4. Haim – Strong Enough (Sheryl Crow)

I’m partial to the original. It’s probably my favourite Sheryl Crow song. To hear it updated with such tact and care gave me the warm and fuzzies all over. In particular, the simple synth chords and the electric guitar make this a supremely special cover.


3. Basia Bulat – Glory Days (Bruce Springsteen)

It’s pretty simple. I root for Basia Bulat. She’s a Canadian musician who seems like she’s giving everything of her artistic soul to her music. She’s uber-talented. She chose to cover a classic song from The Boss. And that hammered harp (pianoette). My God, that hammered harp. What a marvelous instrument. What a remarkable artist. What a wondrous cover.


2. WOTE & KRNFX – I Knew You Were Trouble (Taylor Swift)

The coolest cover of the year. The most bad-ass. Walk Off The Earth are absolutely brimming with creative ideas. KRNFX kills it here. Go Canada.


1. Capital Children’s Choir – Untrust Us (Crystal Castles)

My favourite and what I think is the best cover of 2013. That I didn’t see it on any other list purporting to speak of the best cover songs of the year is a monumental crime. This version of “Untrust Us” is pure, peaceful, and full of some extremely weird alchemy. I’d love to meet the person who decided this choir should cover this song and shake his/her hand. This is what musicians hope to achieve when they cover a song, yet it’s nearly impossible for it to result in something so special, as it miraculously has here.


Capitol Children’s Choir – Shake It Out (Florence and The Machine)

Had I known of this cover last year, it would’ve placed in my top 3. An unbelievably beautiful, serene take on an already gorgeous song.