The Best of 2012 by Amil Delic
I try my best to carry out both shows on a weekly basis but it gets tough at times as I'm also the program and music director at Radio Regent. The Show TO deals mainly with interviewing artists and conducting live acoustic performances in-studio with The Show TO crew. Directors Cut is a show where I explore new music that comes through my inbox/mailbox and try to give more background info about the artist(s) than what's given on the press release. It's a very eclectic show and spans through a number of genres. www.theshowto.com (Re-Launching in early 2013)
2012 in Review
!earshot's Top 200 of 2012
Grimes tops out the Top 200 of 2012 as the most played album on campus / community radio across Canada with her stellar break out, Visions. Japandroids are another band that broke big this year landing Celebration Rock in the number 2 spot on the Top 200 of 2012. And Metric had another strong year finishingat number 3.
We have asked some of our regular writers to share some of their favourite releases of the year.
Amil Delic !earshot writer and host of The Show TO and Director's Cut
Jim Dupuis !earshot writer and host of Jazz Notes
Clash Contrast !earshot reviewer and host of Key Contast feat. Clash
Scott Wood !earshot writer and host of the interview show
Shelley Gummeson!earshot writer and host of Jazz on the Rocks
The Best of 2012
Before I get started, I'd like to say that all the records that I've picked out, or will be picking on are Canadian Content (CanCon) and somehow found me.
Top 3 Records of the Year:
Patrick Watson - Adventures In Your Own Backyard - (Secret City Records)
This is Patrick Watson's (group name and lead singers name) 4th record in 9 years. With his previous two records being shortlisted as Polaris Music Prize finalists, it comes as no surprise that Patrick has picked it up where he left off. Adventures In Own Your Backyard is a huge melodic playground that puts you in a place where you never want to leave and don't regret visiting. The Canadian music scene looks very bright with Patrick and his posse at the helm.
Agnus Dei - Gros Mene - (Independent)
Agnus Dei, translated as "Lamb of God," in Latin which references Jesus Christ, is a French-Canadian blues rock band that was on a 13 year hiatus until recently. The gang got back together under Fred Fortin's guidance and determination, and produced Gros Mene. The entire album is in french with a few little exceptions here and there, but that doesn't stop you from listening by any means. The cord progression on this record is fucking "sick, wicked and nasty," to quote the great Toronto Raptors colour guy, Chuck Swirsky. Every song has a very muddy waters feel to it and flows really well throughout with distorted vocals that interact pleasantly with the bass. This record gave me a good reason to start learning french.
PANOS - Self-Titled - (Independent)
Panos Giannoulis (stage name: Panos) is a east coast artist with a soothing but avant-garde experimental sound that almost seems like he's creating on the spot. He collaborated with a number of great artists such as; Rich Aucoin, Seamus Erskine, Graeme Campbell and Rebecca Zolkower in creating PANOS while using a wide-range of instruments to orchestrate some amazing layering effects. This record is truly a piece of work; with touches of jazz, hints of rock and a twist of folk accents making PANOS stand out among the rest. With so much musical training under his belt and his writing skills nowhere near the peak point: Panos Giannoulis is on his way to a very successful career. Kudos Mr. Giannoulis.
Most Under-Rated Record of the Year:
The Rest - SEESAW - (Independent)
When "Steel City" comes calling, you can't say no because you know that there's a good party in store. That's what you get with The Rest and SEESAW. This 7-piece group from Hamilton, Ontario have put together a pretty amazing discography over the last six years and have somehow flown under the radar. I don't understand how a group like this can just go unnoticed for so many years and still keep pumping out great tune, after great tune…after great album; it's true. This album is a collections of amazing ballads, great vocals, good use of reverb and some of the best instrumental arrangements in 2012. The group recently won Record of the Year for SEESAW at the Hamilton Music Awards.
Most Over-Rated Record of the Year
Jason Collett - Reckon - (Arts & Crafts)
I want to get something straight before I say anything about this record: Jason Collett is a cool fucking guy. But he makes records faster than Antonio Cromartie fathers children -- last time I check, Cromartie was working on #12. Though Jason hasn't reached 12 records…as of yet, he's getting pretty close with 8 under his belt. If Jason was mediating the CBA talks, the NHL wouldhave been been back in action long ago, no doubt -- because this guy gets shit done. One of the reason as to why I feel this record was a tad over-rated had a lot to do with the duration between Collett's previous work and it all being so tightly packed -- 3 albums in 4 years. I'm a huge Arts & Crafts (Collett's label) guy and love the work that they do, but the approach that was taken in marketing Reckon pissed me off more than a rotten can of corn. Firstly, this record isn't much different from Collett's previous work (released two records in 2010) as he references a number of Canadian landmarks (Collett staple) and continues his smooth storytelling skills by almost forcing some lyrics as if they were constipated. Secondly, his single "I Wanna Rob A Bank," which references the economic crisis -- a very common topic amongst artists nowadays, plays off a number of terrible rhymes; but it's kind of catchy and also cheesy. And why be so blunt about wanting to rob a bank; you know that it's illegal, right? [sarcasm] Collett will always have a unique sounds that will stay with us for a very long time thanks to his pipes and great acoustic skills but he/? picked the wrong song to market the album around. But I still got love for you Collett!
Best Local Release
Hannah Georgas - Self-Titled - (Dine Alone Records)
Hannah has come a long way since I saw her three years ago at the Drake Underground during NXNE. From playing a solo show with maybe 30 folks in the crowd; to opening up for Mother Mother at the Kool Haus in Toronto. Pretty impressive for a University of Victoria grad, Newmarket, ON born gal. This is Hannah's second full length record but first with Toronto's, Dine Alone Records. The pretty young lady from the GTA has gradually improved her vocal skills, her lyrics are a lot deeper with a calming vibe and the production value has also been taken to the next level. Every song on this self-titled record fits really well with the mood of the album and the vibrant bass that really keeps the album moving forward. I've enjoyed watching Hannah Georgas find her sound over the last few years and evolve into an amazing musician .
Top 5 Hip-Hop CanCon Floaters:
Moka Only - Airport 6 - (Urbnet Records)
SonReal - Good News - (GoodLife)
Tory Lanez - Sincerely Tory - (Independent)
Top 3 EPs in 2012
Best personal campus/community radio moment or experience of the year.
Learning how to run a station solo; part-time. Awesome! Radio Regent all day! Regent Park: best believe!
Record you are most anticipating for 2013
Stuck on Planet Earth - I think their next record will be make or breakthrough for the Toronto threesome. A full-length record might give them the credibility that they deserve after a long string of EPs. Exited to see what these guys do with some solid studio time to make that grand masterpiece that we've all been waiting for….4 EPs later!
C/C Music Director of the Year
Kat Dornian - CJSW 90.9FM University of Calgary