Like we always do at this time, today Ca Va Cool presents the 20 albums we collectively overplayed and played loud in 2012. The first half of our list includes some faithful R&B from the unlikely state of Colorado, past CVC favourites both noisey and subdued, psychedelic rock from the West coast of Australia, cinematic Neil Young covers, coming-of-age rap from the city of Compton, a new indie rock superduo of sorts, and turn of the century hipsters growing up. Don’t read too much into that last one, we’ll continue our list-making ways for years to come.

Photograph by Florian Reimann

20. How to Dress Well – Total Loss

It’s quite possible that 2012 will be remembered as the year that R&B re-entered the zeitgeist. It’s not only been an important year for the genre on a commercial level, but for the first time in decades we’ve been reminded of just how advancing it can be. Tom Krell, like his contemporaries Frank Ocean, Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd), Miguel, and Solange, is a vanguard, and Total Loss, his second LP, is a turning point, where R&B became less about a type of content and more about a type of sound, less rooted in the story of a race and more rooted in the story of a person. Krell is a white guy from Colorado who learned about R&B through a childhood affinity for Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. On Total Loss he not only creates a beautiful and wrenching exploration of chronic depression, he also manages to deliver the single best ode to Houston since her passing, on album standout ‘& It Was You’. — Sal Patel

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— , December 18, 2012    1 Comment

Photograph by Gemma Harris

Canadian Music Week isn’t quite as big as NXNE, but this year’s edition boasted a few must-see shows each night, even with notable cancellations like Childish Gambino. Though my initial intent was to just see Wintersleep for the first time in a couple years, winning a wristband made me decide to get to Toronto a day early to get some use out of it.

The prime event for Friday night was, of course, the Arts&Crafts showcase at the Horseshoe Tavern, featuring the new ex-Stills/Broken Social Scene project Eight and a Half, The Darcys, Zeus, and others. As good as that line-up looked, it also meant the wristband line-up stretched out to Spadina, so unless you were there early or had a ticket, you were out of luck.

So instead, it was off to Lee’s Palace to catch Cloud Nothings. Attack on Memory is one of the more hyped releases this year, and the band performed it in its entirety. Opening with ‘Stay Useless’, ‘Fall In’, and ‘Cut You’, they quickly got my three favourite songs out of the way, and I was left to absorb the rest of the set. Little to no banter occurred between songs, and the riffs started to blend together towards the end. I was hoping for something more, but the crowd seemed to approve.

Saturday began with catching a bit of Little Foot Long Foot’s in-store set at Sonic Boom’s new location in Honest Ed’s. Not having been in the city since the Dollarama announcement, I was impressed with the new space, as well as the vinyl specialty store in Kensington Market. Sadly, I realized too late that Zeus was doing an in-store performance later in the day, and will have to settle for seeing them in London in a few weeks.

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— , March 30, 2012    Comments Off on Canadian Music Week 2012