2016 albums of the year

img_20161216_091614_processedHere we are again. Another year has passed. 2016 was an interesting year indeed. We lost so many artists. This was hard. And then there was/is Trump. I suspect this to be even more difficult (I try to remain optimistic, but it will be the American folks who will need to hold him in check). I had promised new blog posts throughout the year = failure. I finally, after 10 long years, completed my PhD (I pity the fool who calls me *Dr.*T…hehe). I found out that San Diego and surrounding area is AWESOME. Two different trips out east were made. A Rheostatics concert was witnessed on one eastern adventure (a slight disappointment as it was a bit of a hot mess – but they remain one of my favorite bands of all time). I got pink eye for the first time ever (I wouldn’t wish this on anyone!). My band “Burns & Maciag” disbanded (super sad, but I’ve let go finally – it just took all year). I began writing tunes for my next album (under the name “Drive By Trees”, hopefully to be released in 2017). I played my first solo gig ever (Thanks Joey)! Salsa adventures with Sylvia. Saskatoon trips remain to be awesome fun adventures. Paintnite events are super fun. Work is going well and the folks I work with are all super awesome (those crazies got me a ukelele for Christmas. A real unexpected thing. They are all such special folks and make work less like work). Statistics are hard. Outdoor sprinkler connections are a bitch to seal. The Regina Folk Festival is always an awesome time. Thinking of starting a Knowledge Management consulting business with a few folks. Life is beautiful, life is hard, life is an adventure.

And now on to my top 10 list of 2016. Musically, 2016 was both great and difficult. With so many artists passing (notably for me, Bowie and Cohen just to name the 2 that stung most), there were also so many great artists/albums. I had over 200 albums in my 2016 playlist, and about 40ish of these albums spun (both in analog and digital (haha)) in my ears throughout the year. When making this list I found it quite hard to go from 30 to 20, and even more hard from 20 to 10. Before unveiling the top 10, here were some of the ones that were most difficult to cut (in no particular order):

  • Jim Bryson, Somewhere We Will Find Our Place
  • David Francey, Empty Train
  • Violent Femmes, We Can Do Anything
  • The Strumbellas, Hope
  • Plants & Animals, Waltzed in from the Rumbling
  • The Tragically Hip, Man Machine Poem
  • Gord Downie, Secret Path
  • Federal Lights, Coeur De Lion
  • Danny Michel, Matadora

All of the above are very good albums from super awesome artists. But now for my top 10 list of 2016.

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10. Pretenders, Alone. A band I’ve always super enjoyed. On this one, Chrissie and Co. created many catchy and super “chunky” anthems. Favs include: Gotta Wait, Alone, Chord Lord, and Roadie Man.

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09. Amon Amarth, Jomsviking. Wooooo. Now here we have a doozy of an album. This one was in constant rotation throughout the year (well, since March). A headbangers delight indeed. Favs include: On a Sea of Blood, First Kill, Raise Your Horns, The Way of the Vikings, Wanderer.

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08. Ron Hawkins, Spit Sputter and Sparkle. Another very excellent album from Mr. Hawkins and Co. Just great, catchy, rock and roll. Favs include: Chrome, Sliver, Beautiful Girl, Sunflowers, Till It Kills Ya, Constellations.

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07. Blue Rodeo, 1000 Arms. Quite possibly my favorite band ever. On their latest here, they do not disappoint. A great, solid album that will be in rotation for years to come. Looking forward to seeing them in a couple weeks! Favs include:  1000 Arms, I Can’t Hide This Anymore, Jimmy Fall Down, Long Hard Life, Can’t Find My Way Back To You, So Hard To See, Hard To Remember.

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06. Killswitch Engage, Incarnate. Another fantastic album by these folks. This album, and its first single “Hate By Design,” speaks volumes on the current state of where we are as a collective people. One only needs to look down south with the divisiveness that is occurring. My fear is I see it happening here at home. Hopefully I’m wrong. It’s songs/bands like this that help me get through it all. Favs include: Hate By Design, Alone I Stand, Cut Me Loose, It Falls On Me, The Great Deceit. Actually, I love every song on this album.

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05. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Nonagon Infinity. This album is best listened to in its entirety, start to finish. Each song melds into its previous in a rocking, psychedelic, groovy, foot-stomping kind of way. What a great find of 2016. Favs include the whole thing, start to finish 🙂

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04. The Burning Hell, Public Library. I simply love these fine folks. Led by one of Canada’s great poets, Mathias Kom. Like all Burning Hell LPs, this album is most fantastic. Mathias’s lyrics are both humorous and impactful. Really such a treat! Favs include: Men Without Hats, Fuck the Government I Love You, The Road, Good Times, Give Up, bah, all tunes are really quite excellent!

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03. The Pixies, Head Carrier. What a fantastic album. Frank and Co. have been inspirations to me for quite some time. A constant on the 33 and in the Google Music. Not much more to say. This album rocks. Every song is great, but to pick a few: Baal’s Back, Classic Masher, Oona, Tenement Song, Bel Esprit, Um Chagga Lagga.

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02. Against Me!, Shape Shift With Me. Another fantastic album from Laura Jane and Co. There is not much room between my number 3 pick, this album, and my number 1 pick of 2016. I simply love this album (and all 3). Every song is great but to pick a few: Haunting Haunted Haunts, Dead Rats, 12:03, Crash, 333, Norse Truth, All This and More.

And one more for good measure…

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01. Face to Face, Protection. Having been a fan of these folks for 20-odd-ish years, I was finally able to see them live this year at The Cultural Exchange. What a show. A definite highlight of 2016. This album does not disappoint. Every song is just fantastic. Like mentioned with my 03 and 02 picks of 2016, there is little room differentiating these 3 fantastic albums. However, this album does inch itself slightly ahead of the pack. This one has spun many times on the 33 and in the Google Music. Picking a few favs, keeping in mind there is not a single tune on this album I don’t like, favs include: See If I Care, Double Crossed, Protection, Fourteen Fifty-Nine,  And So It Goes, I Won’t Say I’m Sorry.

and one more for good measure…

There you have it. A great year in music. Although 2016 had its challenges and many sad moments, there were many highlights. Cheers to 2016. Bring on the New Year!

-tMac

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