Photograph by Handsome Joel Hansen

The holidays tend to be rife with tension, and our Ca Va Cool family is no exception. Picking only 20 albums from 2010’s offerings is tricky; every year, some fantastic records/EPs/tracks are overlooked. Our super-secret ranking process starts from civilized debate and degenerates into name-calling, tantrums and sulking. To pacify the whiners and to give you, the readers, more awesome music, we present our 2010 mixtape. Happy 2011!

Download | The Ca Va Cool 2010 Mixtape – Disc One

01. School of Seven Bells – Windstorm
02. Titus Andronicus – Theme from “Cheers”
03. Sharon Van Etten – Love More
04. Harlem – Someday Soon
05. Baths – Hall
06. Gorillaz – Empire Ants feat. Little Dragon
07. The Black Keys – Unknown Brother
08. Wye Oak – My Creator
09. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – Can’t Hear My Eyes
10. Superchunk – Everything at Once

Download | The Ca Va Cool 2010 Mixtape – Disc Two

01. Library Voices – Haunt This House
02. A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Drink Drank Drunk
03. Young Man – Up So Fast
04. Owen Pallett – Scandal at the Parkade
05. Future Islands – Long Flight
06. The Morning Benders – Excuses
07. Gold Panda – India Lately
08. Jenny and Johnny – My Pet Snakes
09. Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Lovesick
10. Spoon – Got Nuffin’

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— , December 31, 2010    Comments Off on The Ca Va Cool Mixtape 2010

Photograph by Matt Jacoby

UPDATE: This contest is now closed, the winner has been notified by email.

The Morning Benders have a knack for beautiful symphonic arrangements. Christopher Chu’s voice rings with elegance atop bellowing drums and swelling guitars. Their album, Big Echo, sounds energetic and eager, and with an eleven day production time, breathes a sense of urgency. The quartet harmonizes like a folk band and resonates like a baroque ensemble. The Morning Benders possess a versatility that embraces jangly psychedelia and indie pop sensibilities. The result is a surge of unavoidable exuberance and graceful instrumentation.

On Friday, November 5, the Morning Benders will be joined by Twin Sister and Oberhofer at Toronto’s Mod Club. If their debut record was any indication, the Morning Benders are apt to hit the city with a big sound and an even bigger echo. Ca Va Cool has a pair of tickets to give away for the show, courtesy of Collective Concerts. To win, send an email with “Big Sound Big Echo” in the subject line and your full name in the body to contests@cavacool.com. This contest closes this Wednesday, November 3 at midnight.

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— , October 31, 2010    Comments Off on The Morning Benders: The Mod Club

It should be quite clear to anyone who has been following my mixtapes over the last year that I suffer dearly from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). While I’ve tried many a remedy, the only medication that seems to work is a carefully constructed playlist which bridges the transition from one season to the next. So what you’ll find in this installment of my seasonal mixtape series is a trip through the denial of the season’s change to a few songs that sound like the early Winter months, some that echo the deepest doldrums of January, and a few sweet tunes to welcome Spring along. Thank you for allowing me to spread my med-cin with you all once again.

Download | The Soul’s on Ice Mixtape

1. Jonathan Boulet – A Community Service Annoucement

Jonathan Boulet came onto my radar a few months ago when Kanye West took a break from blogging about uncomfortable but aesthetically immaculate lounge chairs and scantily clad video ho-fessionals, long enough to plug Boulet’s video for ‘A Community Service Announcement’. The video is justifiably sick, playing like a game of capture the flag gone horribly wrong, though I have no idea how it, or the song’s lyrics and title, relate. Boulet’s first album is making its rounds in Australia, and will likely see the light of day sometime up-over, this year.

2. Empire of the Sun – Without You

Staying in Australia, and propelling the denial of Winter along, is ‘Without You’, my favorite track from Empire of the Sun’s – now old – debut. Drawing comparisons to MGMT, Empire of the Sun have been everywhere as of late, showing up on Jay-Z’s Blueprint III last year and getting a shout-out on HBO’s Entourage as being Jamie-Lynn Siegler’s favorite band, which really begs the question “is Entourage the new ‘OC’?” in terms of it’s music referring power – and is Jamie-Lynn the new Marissa Cooper, in that leaving the show may find her as an actor out of work (via St. Vincent). Think about it.

3. Gorillaz – On Melancholy Hill

The ever-secretive and animated Gorillaz have a new album out this Spring, and this is my favourite track on it. The track is mellow synthpop that can be read as a commentary on over-consumption and materiality leading to doldrums, or simply as a jam that can be jived to no matter what you’re feeling. I prefer the latter. Dance now, deal later.

Continue Reading ‘Souls on Ice’ Mixtape »

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— , March 30, 2010    10 Comments