Mixtape: Osheaga 2012 – Festival preview

If you’ve never been to Osheaga, you don’t know what you’re missing. Heat, dehydration, screaming crowds, exhaustion and, most notably, a lineup of more than fifty amazing musicians playing at Jean-Drapeau Park for three long days. Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, Osheaga is the most anticipated summer event for any music-savvy Montrealer. This year between Aug. 3 to 5, twenty talented artists—along with many more—will flood our city and play for tens of thousands of people. With big names like Snoop Dogg, Feist, Florence and the Machine and Brand New, Osheaga is bound to be the best three days of your life. Festival passes are now on sale. Let this mixtape be your precursor to Montreal’s most anticipated summer weekend of 2012.

SIDE A: Homegrown, Canadiana

1. “Help, I’m Alive” – Metric – Fantasies
2. “My Moon My Man” – Feist – The Reminder
3. “Grind” – Down With Webster – Time to Win, Vol. 1
4. “We Found Each Other in the Dark” – City and Colour –  Little Hell
5. “A Song About California” – Hey Ocean! – It’s Easier to be Someone Else
6. “I Don’t Know” – The Sheepdogs – Learn & Burn
7. “Tom Cruz” – Plants and Animals – La La Land
8. “Cover Your Tracks” – Young Galaxy – Shapeshifting
9. “Journey of a Lifetime” – Zeds Dead – Single
10. “High for This” – The Weeknd – House of Balloons

SIDE B: Come from afar

11. “Mind Eraser” – The Black Keys – El Camino
12. “Drop it Like it’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg – R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece
13. “Howl” – Florence and the Machine – Lungs
14. “Kissing the Lipless” – The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow
15. “Electric Feel” – MGMT – Oracular Spectacular
16. “Helicopter” – Bloc Party – Little Thoughts (EP)
17. “Cough Syrup” – Young the Giant – Young the Giant
18. “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” – Brand New – Deja Entendu
19. “Jacqueline” – Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
20. “Only Happy When it Rains” – Garbage – Garbage


Quickspins + Retroview

The Shins – Port of Morrow (Columbia/Aural Apothecary; 2012)

Frontman James Mercer, now an astonishing 41 years of age, has finally returned from a four-year-long hiatus during which he collaborated with Brian Burton in their tag-team project Broken Bells. Then, with much anticipation, Mercer released Port of Morrow’s first single, “Simple Song” and its B-side “September,” on Record Store Day. Fans knew immediately that the wait was worth it. The video for “September” featured the song’s lyrics scrolling whimsically across inanimate objects, remaining true to Mercer’s indie mastery. Fusing bossa nova rhythms, unidentifiable white noise, quivering guitar and a simple complexity, with quite possibly the most poetically romantic lyrics that have ever crossed Mercer’s lips, the B-side outshone its A-side. Featuring both new and old cast members, the entire album has got to be one of the best of 2012 with its multi-instrumentality, layers of acoustic and electric guitars, spot-lighted strings, low-fi snippets, and of course, Mercer’s emotionally-infused vocals.

Rating: 9.5/10

Trial track: “Port of Morrow”

– Allie Mason

The Ting Tings – Sounds from Nowheresville (Columbia; 2012)

UK duo The Ting Tings planned on releasing their second album in 2010, but scrapped most of their songs because they sounded like “everything else on the radio.” Two years later, they’ve released Sounds from Nowheresville, and despite comprising of only 10 songs—a total track time of less than 35 minutes—the album should satisfy fans who enjoyed their previous effort We Started Nothing (2008). The band says they took influence from Berlin’s electro-scene, which is obvious on songs like “Hands” and “One By One,” the former only appearing on the album’s deluxe edition. Vocalist Katie White shows her softer side on the song “Day to Day,” which brings a welcomed change from her usual in-your-face punchy singing style. Unfortunately, the album’s final three songs are its weakest, and leave us feeling very underwhelmed—too bad for an otherwise great album.

Rating: 8.5/10

Trial track: “Give It Back”

– Natasha Taggart

The Decemberists – We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11) (Capitol; 2012)

Indie-folk stars The Decemberists have released their live album We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11–08.11), available as a double-album or triple-vinyl set. Lead singer and songwriter Colin Meloy and his merry bandmates take listeners through hits such as “This is Why We Fight,” “The Bagman’s Gambit,” “Oceanside,” and “The Mariner’s Revenge Song,” recorded during their 2011 North American tour. What seems to lack the most on the album is something different. Usually, live albums, like concerts themselves, are supposed to add an extra dimension of awe-inspiring musicianship. Instead, the Portland, Ore. band seem to simply play their songs, and while they are not played poorly, they leave listeners wanting more. Nevertheless, the collection of fiddle, guitar, vocals and other instruments is sure to entertain.

Rating: 7.8/10

Trial track: “Down by the Water”

– Andre-Joseph Cordeiro

Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers – Moanin’ (Blue Note; 1958)

Listen up, cool cats! Recorded in 1958, Moanin’ is an impeccable hard-bop classic by the legendary Art Blakey and The Jazz Messengers. This essential piece of musical history is easily one of Blakey’s most accessible and widely adored records, partly due to its fresh and melodic sound, and its all-star lineup. The sensational Lee Morgan delivers some stunning trumpet solos. Benny Golson not only plays a mean tenor saxophone, but is also responsible for composing the majority of the songs on this album. Bobby Timmons and Jymie Merritt keep the rhythm in check on the piano and bass, but who can ignore Art Blakey and his insane mastery of the drums (in my opinion, one of the greatest drummers of all time)? Moanin’ is the perfect introduction to anyone who has an interest in jazz music. This sophisticated, modern jazz record with a bluesy influence is essential to any music lover’s collection.

Trial track: “Moanin'”

– Paul Traunero

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